2022 NFL Season: Week 8 winners, losers

2022 NFL Season: Week 8 winners, losers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The 2022 NFL trade deadline has yet to pass, but the 49ers already look like its biggest winners.

Christian McCaffrey proved why San Francisco unloaded four draft picks to the Carolina Panthers with a unique three-touchdown performance in a 31-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Elsewhere in the NFL, the Detroit Lions suffered another painful loss, the New York football teams returned to earth and Russell Wilson still managed to make the football world cringe, even from 5,000 miles away.

It’s time to declare winners and losers from Week 8 of the 2022 NFL season: 

Winner: Taylor Heinicke

Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke just knows how to win football games.

After pulling off an upset win over the Green Bay Packers last week, Heinicke didn’t light up the box score Sunday but conducted two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 17-16.

With 41 seconds remaining and the Commanders down six points, Heinicke rolled the dice delivered a ballsy 33-yard pass to Terry McLaurin near the goal line. McLaurin came down with it, and Heinicke punched it in from one yard out the next play.

Gamer.

Even better, Heinicke recently revealed that he uses his $125,000 incentive -- earned when playing at least 60 percent of the snaps in a Commanders win -- to buy a pair of Jordan sneakers in the color of the team that Washington just beat.

Bring out the blue-and-white Js, Heinicke.

Loser: Kyler Murray

The Arizona Cardinals have lost three of four games, dropping to the NFC West basement at 3-5.

But Arizona's 34-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings wasn't the saltiest L of quarterback Kyler Murray's afternoon.

To celebrate Vikings safety Harrison Smith's interception off Murray in the third quarter, the Vikings' defense trotted to the end zone for some well-deserved camera time.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson, who suited up for the Cardinals for a decade and was teammates with Murray for two seasons, took a not-so-subtle shot at the quarterback by pretending to play video games while the rest of his team danced.

"I think it's called Call of Duty?" Peterson said Sunday when asked which video game he was playing during the celebration. "I'm not much of a gamer. Heard it just came out."

Murray and the Cardinals were roasted after it was revealed that the quarterback had a clause in his contract extension to complete four hours of independent study per week. Many speculated that Arizona included the note due to Murray's love for streaming video games and spotty history of studying film.

Peterson has been vocal about his distaste for how his tenure in Arizona ended. Poking fun at the team's $230.5 million investment had to feel good.

Winner: XFL

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s purchase of the XFL can be vindicated with two words: PJ Walker.

Walker, who starred at quarterback for the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks in 2020 before the league shut down, has shown flashes of brilliance in his three starts with the Carolina Panthers this season.

There was no brighter flash than Walker’s 62-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to DJ Moore in the closing seconds of the Panthers’ battle against the Atlanta Falcons.

Patrick Mahomes, watching the game from his couch as the Kansas City Chiefs enjoyed their bye week, called it the best throw of the season.

The XFL, which resumes play in February, released their eight team names and logos on Monday. The Seattle Sea Dragons are back, baby.

Loser: Airlines

“Good afternoon, passengers. Welcome aboard Flight 95A. The weather looks good. In about 15 minutes, our cabin crew will make their way around for snacks and beverages.

“And please, no high knees in the aisles.”

All airlines might need to update their pre-flight safety demonstrations, because quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters that he watched film, stretched and performed high knees down the aisle for the Denver Broncos’ entire flight to London.

Once the Broncos arrived at Wembley Stadium, Wilson unveiled an odd pregame meditation on top of the Jacksonville Jaguars' logo.

But it … worked? The Broncos edged the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-17 across the pond.

Wilson threw for 252 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 18-of-30 passing, outdueling Trevor Lawrence (two picks, 52.2 passer rating), who is drifting more towards being a first-round bust than earning a Pro Football Hall of Fame bust.

The beautiful game was nowhere to be found in London on Sunday.

Winner: The city of Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles are just messing around at this point.

Rallying behind four Jalen Hurts touchdown passes, the Eagles improved to 7-0 with a 35-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field.

The game was in hand by halftime. And with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, offensive lineman Jason Kelce was shown wearing a Batman mask on the sidelines.

The Eagles are undefeated. The Phillies host the Houston Astros on Monday night in Game 3 of the World Series. The 76ers are expected to contend for a championship.

Life is good in the City of Brotherly Love.

Loser: Davante Adams

Las Vegas Raiders receiver Davante Adams didn’t leave Aaron Rodgers for this.

For the first time since 2014, the Raiders were held off the scoreboard in a 24-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr targeted Adams five times. The result? A measly one catch for three yards.

Adams has been held to 40 yards receiving or less three times in his first seven games with Las Vegas. He logged less than 40 receiving yards just three times over his final 56 games with the Green Bay Packers.

No angry Carr memes can save the Raiders now.

Winner: CMC, 49ers superhero

He can run. He can catch. And ... he can throw, too?

San Francisco was criticized by many for shipping four future draft picks to the Panthers in exchange for Christian McCaffrey, but Silicon Valley’s newest star showed why he’s worth the investment.

McCaffrey began his Sunday in Los Angeles by tossing a perfect 34-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk early in the second quarter. In the third, he skied into the air to bring down a nine-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone. And to complete the touchdown triple crown, McCaffrey plunged past the goal line from one yard out in the fourth.

In total: 94 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, 34 passing yards and three total touchdowns.

He’s the first player to throw, catch and run for a touchdown since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005.

Start building the statue at Levi’s Stadium.