Over the first two months of the NFL season, no head coach has gotten ripped more than Nathaniel Hackett of the Denver Broncos. Not even Matt Rhule, and the Carolina Panthers already fired him.
Well, let's take a look at the bottom of the AFC West standings after Week 8, shall we?
Hackett's Denver Broncos: 3-5
Josh McDaniels' Las Vegas Raiders: 2-5
Maybe we need to shift at least some of the Hackett jokes and slander to McDaniels, who is having a bad time of it in his second go-around as a head coach. If we go by record, Hackett has been better than McDaniels this season. You just haven't heard as much about how bad McDaniels has been.
The Raiders were listless Sunday in a 24-0 loss against a New Orleans Saints team that came in with a 2-5 record and was without receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, and standout cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The Raiders trailed 17-0 at halftime and showed no signs of life.
Derek Carr had 43 yards passing in the first half against a defense that has struggled most of the season. Just to show the first half was no fluke, the Raiders came out flat in the second half and immediately gave up a long touchdown to Alvin Kamara. Carr took a ton of punishment and was replaced in the fourth quarter by Jarrett Stidham. It wasn't a competitive game.
The Raiders shouldn't be 2-5. They were a 10-win playoff team last season, and then added Davante Adams in the offseason. Maybe the Raiders should have kept Rich Bisaccia. He had five losses in 12 games as the Raiders' interim head coach last season. McDaniels has five in his first seven.
The Raiders were a bit lucky last season and a bit unlucky this season. But some of the Raiders' bad luck this season is their record in close games, and some of that is coaching.
NFL team owners couldn't give up the idea of McDaniels being a great head coach. They didn't quit on him after he bombed with the Broncos many years ago. They didn't cross him off the list after he told the Indianapolis Colts he'd take their job but backed out before he got on the plane for his introductory news conference. Everyone ignored that practically all Bill Belichick assistants have failed as head coaches, and McDaniels had already failed once.
Raiders owner Mark Davis wanted him, and along with new GM Dave Ziegler, he turned the Raiders into Patriots West. It could work out. McDaniels is a smart offensive mind, even if Carr is having a much worse season than last year despite the addition of Adams. It takes any new regime some time to find the right pieces to fit exactly what it wants to do. But so far, it looks no better than McDaniels' time in Denver.
The Raiders have been one of the NFL's most disappointing teams, and Sunday's fiasco in New Orleans should bring attention to that fact.
McDaniels won his first six games as a head coach in 2009 with Denver. He is 7-22 as a head coach since.
Carr was supposed to be better with McDaniels, the offensive mastermind. He is not. The Raiders had a chance to build off of last season's playoff berth. They have not. Las Vegas should have a lot of hope going forward with a new coach who was hailed as a genius for so many years.
They should not. Not yet anyway.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 8 of the NFL season:
Derrick Henry: On Sunday, Henry set a record that’s very unlikely to be matched.
No player had ever rushed for 150 yards in four straight games against the same opponent, according to NFL.com. On Sunday, Henry had his fourth straight 200-yard game against the Houston Texans. The Tennessee Titans won, 17-10, behind Henry’s 219 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
It’s hard to imagine anyone will have four straight 200-yard games against the same team again. But Henry is a unique player.
The Titans had to use rookie Malik Willis at quarterback due to Ryan Tannehill’s injury. It didn’t matter because they had Henry. The Titans are 5-2 after an 0-2 start to the season and in full control of the AFC South. They'll keep riding Henry, probably all the way to another division title.
The bold move to trade for McCaffrey was the key part of a 31-14 win over the Rams that gives the 49ers the season sweep. McCaffrey threw a touchdown pass, had a running touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the win. Receiver Deebo Samuel didn't play and the 49ers' offense was still very good. That's the sign of a team that can can get on a roll.
At 4-4, the 49ers aren't off to the best start. But Shanahan and Lynch, the team's coach and general manager, carried themselves like contenders with the trade for McCaffrey. They might end up being pretty good in the second half of the season.
Bill Belichick: Everyone who wrote off Belichick this past week had to know they were setting up the punch line for Sunday, right?
The Patriots looked bad in a Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears, but it isn't like Belichick forgot how to coach. He was going to eat Zach Wilson's lunch in Week 8. Everyone knew that, or should have.
The Patriots beat the Jets 22-17 on Sunday. Belichick passed George Halas with his 325th win, counting playoffs, and is now alone in second place on the all-time list.
Wilson got a lot of empty calorie yards but he also threw three interceptions that turned the game. The Patriots' offense still isn't fixed, and might not be this season, but New England is more than capable of winning games.
It's an annual event in the NFL when the Patriots lose a game or two and everyone piles on Belichick. Then the next game he puts on a clinic. It's predictable by now.
The simple answer is that they completely misread the exploding receivers market, but the other answer is they screwed up.
Brown had 156 yards in the win. He has helped transform the Eagles from a good team to the best in the NFC. The Titans are doing pretty well this season, too. But they'd be a lot better with Brown in the lineup. Ask Philadelphia.
The 6-1 Minnesota Vikings: They don't always look pretty doing it, but they're winning.
The Vikings put another win on the board and a little more space between them and the Green Bay Packers with a 34-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. They held on for three different drives in the final eight minutes with an eight-point lead, getting an interception, a fourth-down stop and a couple sacks that led to the clock running out on Arizona (3-5).
Is Minnesota one of the five best teams in the NFL? Maybe not. But it doesn't matter all that much. The Vikings are winning, which is something most of the rest of the NFC can't say. They're now comfortably ahead of the Packers, who were 3-4 coming into Week 8, and that's more than enough good news for the first half of the season.
Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts: Reich pulled out a huge "break glass in event of emergency" move this past week and benched Matt Ryan for Sam Ehlinger. For 59 minutes Sunday, it worked out pretty well.
Then the Washington Commanders, thanks in large part to a great play by Terry McLaurin on a contested catch that set up a game-winning touchdown, came back in the final minute to win 17-16. Now the Colts are stuck with a limited offense and an inexperienced quarterback, trying to dig out of a 3-4-1 hole.
Ehlinger wasn't bad but he wasn't great either. He had 201 yards and no touchdowns. Jonathan Taylor had a very costly fumble in Washington territory. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore couldn't knock away the big pass to McLaurin that set up Washington at the 1-yard line. The Colts just aren't good enough to win right now.
They'll try to salvage their season with a new quarterback finding his way in the NFL, and the outlook for that isn't too great.
The New York Giants' fourth-quarter magic: The Giants have been kings of the fourth-quarter comebacks, but that wasn't going to last forever.
On Sunday they met a Seattle Seahawks team that is also having a magical start to the season. The Giants tied the game 13-13 early in the fourth quarter but the Seahawks scored the next two touchdowns and got the 27-13 win.
The Giants are now 6-2, and they didn't deserve to win Sunday. The offense wasn't good enough. They had 46 total yards and three first downs in the first half. The complete lack of receivers or any weapon outside of Saquon Barkley looked like it caught up to them Sunday.
The Giants are still in a great spot after eight games. Their streak of comeback wins couldn't last forever.
Dan Campbell: It keeps getting worse for the 2022 Detroit Lions, and at some point Campbell's job security is going to come into question.
The Lions twice had a 14-point lead against the Miami Dolphins, and didn't even hold that lead into the fourth quarter. The Dolphins, who are 5-0 in games in which Tua Tagovailoa starts and finishes, came back to beat the Lions 31-27. The Lions had a shot to take the lead late, but a fourth-and-1 pass was incomplete and that was it.
The Lions seem to be the type of team that folds quickly when there's any adversity. It has happened a few times this season. Campbell's rah-rah persona should help prevent that, but it hasn't. The Lions keep losing, and a season that had some promise before it started has been a nightmare. The Lions went 3-13-1 last season. They're 1-6 this season.
We'll have to start asking how many wins Campbell needs to collect to feel safe for 2023.
It's amazing how many people don't want to say the Cowboys.
Dallas is 6-2 and by now, you need to let go its poor offseason or ugly Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys are good. Really good.
Dallas demolished the Chicago Bears on Sunday, 49-29. Tony Pollard had a massive game in place of injured Ezekiel Elliott. He had 147 total yards and three touchdowns. Micah Parsons scored a touchdown after he recovered a fumble and Bears quarterback Justin Fields did the high hurdles over him to avoid touching him down. Maybe the defense could have been better Sunday but that's overthinking it. The Cowboys had another dominant win.
Trevor Lawrence: At some point, Urban Meyer doesn't fit in the conversation about Lawrence anymore.
Yes, Meyer was a disaster last season and it didn't help Lawrence in his rookie season. But Meyer didn't throw an inexcusable goal-line interception to Justin Simmons on Sunday in London. It wasn't Meyer who, with the game on the line with 1:43 left against the Denver Broncos, immediately threw an inaccurate pass that was picked off to practically end a 21-17 loss to the Broncos.
Lawrence was supposed to be a star for the Jaguars (2-6). Yet, 25 starts into his career, he's used as a high-end game manager. He had 133 yards passing in Sunday's loss. The Broncos' defense is very good. But Lawrence was supposed to be too. And he just isn't, at least not yet. We have to quit blaming Meyer for that.