Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mere days after having been declared an AFC overdog, Cincinnati (6-3) suffered a catastrophic 22-20 loss at Miami (4-4) on Thursday night.
Cincy came back from a 17-3 third quarter deficit - with Giovani Bernard delivering a spectacular 35-yard touchdown run for the ages - and even took a 20-17 lead inside the two-minute warning.
But Ryan Tannehill led the Dolphins on a last-minute 50-yard drive, and Caleb Sturgis tied the game with a 44-yarder.
In overtime, Wake notched his third sack of the night, on 3rd-and-10 from the eight-yard line, for the third overtime safety in NFL history.
For Miami, the win snapped a four-game losing streak and moved them into wild card position.
But for Cincinnati, the dramatic ending was nothing compared to the loss of their best player, DT Geno Atkins, who suffered what is believed to be a season-ending torn ACL. The Bengals had already lost top cover man Leon Hall for the year, but the injury to Atkins may doom Cincy's SB hopes.
Prior to the game, Cincinnati activated WR Andrew Hawkins from short-term IR; it's being reported that Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the team earlier in the week, is dealing with emotional issues and has been a bullying target of his teammates'.
At 7-1, the bye week is a fine time for John Elway to pat himself on the back a bit for the way he's constructed Denver's roster. But someone needs to tell him that minus-1 and plus-11 are not ratios, but differentials.
As noted by Andrew Mason, the Broncos offense is indeed playing a bit faster than it did last year.
Benjamin Hochman discusses PFF's grades for Denver's offensive linemen; we'll attribute Zane Beadles' poor ranking to him playing between two backups.
Chris Tripodi thinks Montee Ball will see 5-10 carries per game the rest of the way.
BTV counts down the Broncos' top ten defensive plays of the first eight games.
Mostly Chiefs-centric News and Analysis
Former Cowboys DT Jay Ratliff met with the Chiefs and Bears, and will likely visit at least one other suitor.
San Francisco activated LB Aldon Smith, who is out of substance abuse rehab.
Andrew Carroll provides a terrific analysis of where the 2013 Chiefs rank among teams to have started 8-0. They've faced (by far) the easiest schedule of them all, but then again, they've beaten everyone they've played; we'll learn a lot more about good they really are against Denver and Indy.
But whatever happens to the Chiefs for the balance of their season, Clark Hunt, like Elway, deserves to take a mini victory lap for how well his turnaround plan has already fared.
Coaches and Players Going Off
Not sure if this leads back to noted dickhead Greg Schiano, but the Bucs' coaches apparently had a problem with Gerald McCoy helping an opponent off the ground between plays. Acts of humanity are not befitting a Schiano Man...
After Albert Haynesworth called Mike Shanahan "conniving" and self-centered, Shanny responded by saying Haynesworth is "lazy," and lacks in "passion" and "character."
Old friend Hamza Abdullah went on a seemingly depressive rant about how the NFL uses and abuses its players and fails to take care of the families who lose ex-players to suicide.
The Shutdown Corner guys include Peyton Manning and Louis Vasquez among their midseason All-Pros, unanimously pick Manning as their MVP and split their votes on top offensive player between Manning and Aaron Rodgers (three to one).
Robert Mays ranks the first-round rookies at the halfway point in the season, and obviously, Sly Williams doesn't appear very high on the list.
Mike Tanier profiles Arian Foster, the NFL's most interesting man (by far).
Jim Trotter expects the 2014 offseason to feature lots of quarterback movement.
The ANS data suggests the Broncos have a 70% to win the AFCW, 100% to make the playoffs, 41% to nab the top seed, and 65% for a first-round bye.
In Jason Lisk's interesting QB comparison method, Aaron Rodgers is currently tops in the league, with Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers up next.
Oddly, the average lengths of rushing touchdown by Terrell Davis and Floyd Little are exactly the same, with Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, and Mike Anderson right below them.
Brian Burke thinks the lack of parity in MLB is what's dropped it so far behind the NFL in terms of wide-ranging popularity.