There were eight key Broncos players in their victory over the San Francisco 49ers -- Hillman (74 yds, 2 TDs), Manning (318 yds, 4 TDs), D Thomas (171 yds, 2 TDs), Talib (Int), Ware (3 sacks), Miller (2 sacks), Harris Jr (2 Passes Defensed), Marshall (8 solo tackles) -- so the Water Cooler Quarterbacks thought it would be appropriate to share eight thoughts going into Week 8.
1. Will Oakland go 0-16?
This seems like a very real possibility. Their head coach was fired after an 0-4 start and replacement Tony Sparano has not fared any better, going 0-2 since taking the reins. Admittedly, the Raiders played three teams that have each posted 5 wins thus far in 2014, one .500 team and two teams with losing records. Their road will not get any easier in the last ten games: they have three games versus teams with 5 wins (Denver twice and San Diego), two 4-win teams (San Francisco and Buffalo), three .500 teams (Cleveland, Seattle and Kansas City) and one team with a losing record (St. Louis). We cannot say it makes us sad that the Raiders are in this predicament.
2. Scratching our heads over this one.
Percy Harvin traded to the Jets? If you remember, Seattle traded three draft picks (a 1st rounder, a third rounder and a seventh rounder) to obtain Harvin, then signed him to a 6-year, $67 million contract. Yet, after just five games, the Seahawks dealt Harvin to the Jets for a conditional mid-round draft pick -- one which could fall anywhere from the 4th to the 6th rounds according to many reports. What has the Water Cooler QBs scratching their collective heads is the question of why -- despite the alleged locker room problems created by Harvin -- the Seahawks would trade a potentially explosive player -- whom opposing defenses have to account for on any given play -- for virtually nothing. We were not surprised to see Seattle lose its next game.
3. How many can Peyton throw?
It was completely delightful to see Manning make history against the 49ers. Even the 49ers fan in our group thought it was great to see history being made. That said, the only question is how many touchdown passes Manning will end up with when he finally hangs up his cleats.
If he continues the pace he is on in 2014, he will finish with 51 touchdown passes, or 542 in his career. Add in the fact that the general consensus is that Manning might very well be back in 2015 -- if he's healthy and having fun -- which means he could conceivably come close to 600 career touchdown passes. Wouldn't that be something?
4. Hillman dropped the Ball?
Could it be that Ronnie Hillman has finally come into his own and very possibly unseated Montee Ball as Denver's starting running back? Most of the Water Cooler Quarterbacks have been pulling for Hillman to be successful -- given the fact that he went to high school just down the road from our campus. That said, consider each running back's 2014 statistics:
Hillman - 55 rushes for 240 yards (4.4 average), 2 runs of 20+ yards, 2 TDs, 11 first downs
Ball -- 55 rushes for 172 yards (3.1 average), 1 run of 20+ yards, 1 TD, 9 first downs
If Hillman continues to hold onto the ball and run with that kind of confidence, we might very well see him continue in the role of primary running back.
5. Paper or plastic?
Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware have been putting on a sack clinic. They are currently the NFL's leading sack duo -- Miller has 8 and Ware has 7 -- and their combined total of 15 sacks represents more sacks than 17 other NFL teams have recorded in 2014. Denver's 21 sacks ties the Broncos for 3rd in the league. When we compare Miller and Ware's numbers to the Broncos' division rivals, they still stand out, as Kansas City has 17 sacks, San Diego has 15 sacks and Oakland has a sad 6 sacks. Just think, Miller/Ware still have 10 games to go.
6. Hillman, part deux
Something else to consider about Hillman: he is on a pace to finish the 2014 season with 960 rushing yards, 208 receiving yards -- for a total of 1168 yards from scrimmage -- and 8 touchdowns. This puts him within shouting range of Knowshon Moreno's 2013 production (1584 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns) and would place him ahead of Willis McGahee's 2012 production (952 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns).
7. Another quarterback record
No, this one did not go to Peyton Manning. Seattle's Russell Wilson gained the distinction of becoming the first NFL player to ever record 300+ passing yards and 100 rushing yards in a single game. That is a very impressive record. He also threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third. Sadly, he was also sacked three times for a loss of 21 yards and the Seahawks spoiled his celebration by losing 28-26 to the St. Louis Rams. Maybe he would be better served by spreading the ball around a bit more.
8. Scratching our heads, part deux
The NFL made a very perplexing decision. They have decided that the kick off time for this Sunday's matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons, which is being played in London, should be at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. This means that Falcons fans will have to start their game day watching approximately 3 1/2 hours earlier than most early games.
Worse yet, Lions fans will have to begin their watching at 8:30 a.m. or over four hours earlier than normal. This does not even take into consideration that anyone living on the West Coast will have to get up for a 6:30 a.m. game if they want to watch.
We're guessing that the NFL can expect the size of the viewing audience to plummet like the Raiders' playoff hopes. This is not even the first time that the NFL has jilted its fans with oddball scheduling. In 2013, the Oakland-San Diego contest in London had an 11:35 p.m. ET kickoff (or 8:35 p.m. for all the Raiders and Chargers fans). This was some seven hours after the Denver-Dallas Sunday night game on the same day.
Have a great weekend of football!!!!!