This past week in the NFL gave fans much to be excited about with intense games, disastrous injuries, Herculean performances, and everything in between.
As the halfway point in the season progresses, the cement has been poured, and fans are beginning to see what every team in the league will become — for better or worse. Here is the best and worst from Week 8.
With 1:02 left in the game, Dallas kicker Dan Bailey drilled a 44-yard field goal to extend the Cowboys' lead over the Detroit Lions to 30-24. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford took the field with no timeouts and 80 yards to go.
Four passes and 79 yards later, Stafford found himself hurrying his team to the line of scrimmage at the one-yard line with 12 seconds remaining on the clock. He motioned and yelled at every player on his team that he was going to spike the ball.
That was when Stafford did something that not even his team saw coming. Instead of spiking the ball, Stafford leaped over his offensive line and stretched the ball toward the end zone. The late-responding defense reacted by trying to shove Stafford back. Stafford landed on his feet, and then proceeded to run into the end zone, finishing off the drive and the comeback.
Stafford passed for 488 yards and a touchdown in the 31-30 win. Calvin Johnson set an NFL regulation record with 329 yards receiving, including a touchdown.
When reflecting on the final touchdown run by Stafford, not even the offense knew what he was about to do.
"I was just as fooled as the defense was," offensive guard Larry Warford told ESPN.
According to Stafford, the plan was originally to spike the ball, until he saw the way the defense set up.
"I was yelling that I was going to spike the ball," He said. "But their linebackers were just standing there."
With the win, the Lions now sit at 5-3, one game behind the Green Bay Packers for the division lead.
With back-up quarterback Nick Foles still out from a concussion, Michael Vick reclaimed his spot as the Philadelphia Eagles' starter against the New York Giants. However, early on it was clear that Vick was still suffering from a hamstring injury he sustained several weeks ago.
Vick opened the game by throwing an early interception, and the way that he moved made it clear that he wasn't himself. Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly benched Vick for rookie Matt Barkley.
Barkley wasn't much better, however. He threw for a mere 158 yards with an interception. With Vick out, the Eagles weren't nearly as big of a threat running Kelly's read-option offense. It requires a mobile quarterback to run it successfully. Because of Barkley's lack of speed, the Giants defense easily met LeSean McCoy at the line of scrimmage and held him to only 48 yards for the game.
When it was all said and done, the Giants came out on top, 15-7. With the loss, the Eagles have now lost a franchise-record 10 straight home games.
If Vick isn't 100 percent, and Kelly isn't willing to alter his offense, then looking to a free-agent mobile quarterback like Vince Young or Tim Tebow might not be such a bad idea.
After having the worst record in the NFL in 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs raised eyebrows all over the country with the best record in the NFL.
With the 23-17 win over the Cleveland Browns, the Chiefs improve to 8-0 behind quarterback Alex Smith, who threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Because the Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, every week the pressure will get bigger and the games will get tougher, but Smith and the Chiefs welcome that pressure.
"We love it," Smith told ESPN. "You want the stages to get bigger. That's why you put all the work in. You want this opportunity. You want that honor."
If the Chiefs leave their feet on the gas, expect them to trounce the 3-5 Buffalo Bills next week and improve to 9-0.
With injuries to Roddy White, Steven Jackson, and Julio Jones this season, it seemed like the Atlanta Falcons had hit rock bottom, but things could get worse.
The Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 27-13, Sunday, and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed only 34 for 61 passes (55 percent) with four interceptions.
With Jackson working is way back into the rotation, the Falcons' new run game should open up the pass so that Ryan can make plays. Either way, Jones' season-ending injury will be a thorn in Atlanta's side the rest of the way.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton made a statement in Cincinnati's win over the New York Jets Sunday. He threw for 325 yards and career-high five touchdowns in the 49-9 win.
The Bengals looked like a true Super Bowl contender on both sides of the ball, dominating the Jets in every way.
While the Broncos, Chiefs, and Colts are getting most of the attention in the AFC, with Dalton at the helm, the Bengals look to be very much deserving of discussion with the rest of the dominant teams.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Washington Redskins led the Denver Broncos 21-14, and it seemed as though the Redskins had a solid chance at pulling off the upset.
The Broncos, however, scored 31 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to post the 45-21 win.
Redskins' quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins as well as Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning had their fair share of mistakes in combining for seven interceptions. In the end, it was Manning's ability to score that made the difference. For the game, Manning threw for four touchdowns, while Cousins and Griffin III only had one combined.
The sloppy play and blown lead are not a good signs for the Redskins, who stand had third in the division behind the Cowboys and Eagles. In order to turn their season around, the Redskins need Griffin III to be the same dual-threat that he was in his rookie year.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick recorded a near-perfect game as the Niners' 42-10 win over Jacksonville.
Kaepernick threw for 164 yards and a touchdown and ran for two additional touchdowns. He ended the game with a 99.8 total quarterback rating, the highest posted by any player since Vick in 2010.
He also became the first quarterback to post at least a 99 total quarterback rating since the NFL started tracking the stat.
The 49ers scored four rushing touchdowns and one through the air, which correctly displays the team's run-first mentality. If Kaepernick can continue to play near perfect, and the run game continues to succeed, then San Francisco has a very good chance of winning the Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers were desperately in need of their first win, and hoped that they could accomplish that goal last Thursday against the Carolina Panthers.
Tampa's hopes would be smashed, however, as the Panthers defeated the Buccaneers 31-13. Tampa Bay had no answer for Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 50 yards and another touchdown.
The Buccaneers couldn't get their run game going at all. They ended with 48 rushing yards total.
With the loss, they now fall to 0-7, and dating back to last year they have ost seven straight home games, their worst streak since 1977.
Many fans have voiced that they want head coach Greg Schiano to be fired.
Whether it is their coach being fired or new roster additions, something needs to change in Tampa Bay, and preferably before they head to Seattle to face the Seahawks.
Unless a big change is made, expect Tampa Bay to fall to 0-8.
In any NFL season, fans can expect many pleasant surprises and disappointing results. The inconsistency is what makes the sport great, both the ups and the downs. With developing stories going on all over the NFL, this season continues to play out in spectacular fashion. While Week 8 had some very compelling moments, Week 9 looks to deliver much of the same.