- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

All those things we thought we knew about various NFL teams, coaches or players? That the Colts’ defense is not so bad, for example. Or that Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger can’t coexist. Or that Tom Brady is washed up. Or that the Seahawks are in trouble.

Face it: They’re not who we thought they were.

Week to week, it’s pretty close to impossible to figure out where things stand in the NFL this season.

Well, except for the Oakland Raiders, at 0-7 the only team without a victory. Everyone’s got them pegged - and 0-16 would surprise no one.

Otherwise, though, Indianapolis was coming off a shutout and a five-game winning streak before allowing more than 500 yards passing and six touchdown tosses to Pittsburgh’s Roethlisberger, who seems to be doing just fine, thank you, with offensive coordinator Haley at the moment. The Steelers won 51-34.

Another 51-spot came from Brady’s Patriots, who improved to 6-2 heading into next Sunday’s matchup against Peyton Manning’s Broncos. Apparently, Brady - who had as many incompletions as TD passes (five) in a victory against the Bears - is still capable of being the guy who played well enough to win Super Bowls.

Reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle, meanwhile, lost two games in a row, traded away Percy Harvin, and has been surrounded by stories of locker-room turmoil. So all Russell Wilson did was lead an 80-yard drive that ended with his 23-yard TD throw to Luke Willson with 47 seconds left for a 13-9 victory at Carolina.

In case you missed it, here are the other top topics after the NFL season’s eighth Sunday:

SAY WATT?!: Perhaps Texans defensive end J.J. Watt spent some time checking Twitter before playing the Titans. After sacking Tennessee quarterback Zach Mettenberger in Houston’s 30-16 victory, Watt pantomimed taking a selfie. After the game, Watt took this swipe: “Their quarterback had posted a few selfies this week, including one before the game, and it’s just kind of a reminder - this is the National Football League, not high school, so welcome to the show.”

GRONK’S BACK: Look out, defenders. Rob Gronkowski had nine catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns in New England’s 51-23 victory over Chicago. There was surgery on his torn-up right knee in January. Before that came a series of operations on his forearm. And back surgery, too. The man known simply as “Gronk” seems to finally be healthy now.

NOT BAD, ROOK: While first-year QBs such as Mettenberger, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater have struggled - and the most famous of ‘em all, Johnny Manziel, still spends time on the sideline - rookies at other positions are flourishing, particular receivers. Brandin Cooks produced a 50-yard touchdown catch and a 4-yard scoring run for the Saints; Sammy Watkins wound up with three catches for 157 yards and a TD for the Bills (and he should have accounted for a second TD, but was tackled from behind when he started celebrating too early); Kelvin Benjamin somehow pulled down a catch for the Panthers between two of the league’s best defensive backs, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas of the Seahawks (but he also was benched to start the game). Linebacker Anthony Barr’s 27-yard fumble return for a touchdown gave Minnesota a victory over Tampa Bay in overtime, linebacker Khalil Mack is one of the few bright spots for Oakland, and Arizona kicker Chandler Catanzaro set an NFL rookie record by beginning his career with 16 consecutive successful field-goal attempts.


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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