Week eight has been a very special week for NFL in the UK as once again it was time for the international series at Wembley stadium. For those who are new to the sport, for the last five years Wembley has paid host to a regular season NFL match.
During the past five years we have played host to teams such as the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and the great Eli Manning and his New York Giants.
The festivities started for the fans on Saturday with the now annual fan rally held in Trafalgar square, London. Originally I wasn't going to attend the event this year but late on Friday night I learned that three Buffalo Bills players would be there courtesy of New Era. The Bills players in attendance were Stevie Johnson, Kelvin Sheppard and Marcell Dareus.
Before I continue I would like to offer my sincere apologies to Mickey 'Big Dog' Hogg as due to the late notice of my attendance I forgot to invite my NFL wing man. As always with the NFL events I met some great people including Lee Marshall and a Scottish Eli Manning. There was also lots of little games for everyone around the peripherals along with the main stage, shop and autograph tent.
Lee and I arrived just in time to hear a massive bang which later transpired to be Rob Gronkowski spiking the microphone after a big chant from the fans asking him too!
The event was filled with many stars of the game past and present appearing on the stage including Isaac Bruce, Tory Holt and Bruce Smith. During the day I was lucky enough to get autographs from Isaac Bruce, Tory Holt, the Patriots cheerleaders and the aforementioned Bills Players. To their credit they are all very down to earth and easy to talk too which showed me their true class!
Okay so that's enough about the rally, this years game involved the New England Patriots and St Louis Rams. Both teams have been playing very well recently and I expected this to be a closely fought game between a solid Rams defence and the high scoring Patriots offence. It started well for the Rams who received the ball from the opening kick off. On their opening drive the Rams managed to get a quick score thanks to a 50 yard pass from Sam Bradford to Chris Givens.
Unfortunately for the Rams fans in attendance the Joy stopped there as the Patriots went on to score 45 unanswered points taking the game 45 - 7. I will let Marcus discuss more about the game and tailgate party for you during this weeks podcast available at www.ballhawksnest.weebly.com
I'm sure the Rams fans out there are pleased to know that I am now moving swiftly on to the other games around the league that caught my eye this week. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts where involved in a tight, tense game against the Tennessee Titans. The teams were so closely matched that this one ended up in overtime and was settled on the first Colts drive thanks to this 'trout out of the water' like dive by Vick Ballard on his way into the endzone. Thanks to this remarkable play the Colts won 19 – 13.
Another really close game this week was the Detroit Lions and the Seattle Seahawks. This game swung back and forth all day with Detroit taking the early lead only for Seattle to go into halftime with it
In the end this game was settled by a one yard touchdown pass to Titus Young who is starting to make a habit of coming up with the clutch catches when the games are on the line. I hope you all haven’t forgotten his tipped pass catch on the Hail Mary at the end of the week three game versus the Titans!
Before I move into the awards section which has now been trimmed back to just the original two, here is all the scores from this weeks action:
Tampa Bay 36 vs 17 Minnesota
San Diego 6 vs 7 Cleveland
Carolina 22 vs 23 Chicago
Seattle 24 vs 28 Detroit
Jacksonville 15 vs 24 Green Bay
Indianapolis 19 vs 13 Tennessee
Miami 30 vs 9 New York Jets
New England 45 vs 7 St Louis
Washington 12 vs 27 Pittsburgh
Atlanta 30 vs 17 Philadelphia
Oakland 26 vs 16 Kansas City
New York Giants 29 vs 24 Dallas
New Orleans 14 vs 34 Denver
San Francisco 24 vs 3 Arizona
Okay so onto my awards for week eight. Let's start with the Ray Lewis award for the 'Defensive Impact Player'. This week there was one player who stood out for me and showed us why there was so much hype about him last season. He had a total of four combined tackles including one sack and most importantly he also had an interception which he returned for a touchdown.
If you know who this is already then say it with me, congratulations to Jason Pierre Paul of the New York Giants. He had a great game and the interception really helped swing the game in his teams favour.
Now lets move onto the Megatron award for 'Offensive Impact Player'. The more I think about this weeks winner, the more I think this guy should get the award every time he plays. Opposing teams just don't know how to cover him and he always produces when given the opportunity.
This week the award goes to Rob Gronkowski who had yet another outstanding performance with 146 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also pulled out a great celebration after his first touchdown by pretending to march like one the queens guards. Congratulations Mr Gronkowski and don't forget that you owe Mr Neil Reynolds a new microphone!
Finally this week I would just to like to offer my thoughts and prayers to Marcus Lattimore, running back for South Carolina who suffered a horrendous knee injury this week following a direct hit by an opposing defenders helmet. I hope he is able to recover fully and continue playing at the high level he deserves. (Please be warned that if any of you google his injury it is very graphic and discretion is advised).
Until next week football fans, take care and stay safe.