10 worst players from Sunday’s Week 8 NFL action

Four Buccaneers defenders make our list of the worst performances from this Sunday's games.

| 8 months ago
(Brian Blanco, Getty Images)

(Brian Blanco, Getty Images)

10 worst players from Sunday’s Week 8 NFL action

Every Tuesday, PFF will be releasing its Team of the Week, representing the highest-graded players at each NFL position for that week. But Senior Analyst Sam Monson gets a jump on that by picking out the 10 most impressive individual performances from Sunday’s games.

Here are the 10 worst players from Sunday’s Week 8 action:

[Check out the 10 best performances from Sunday of Week 8 right here, or access our Player Grades tool to see how every NFL player measures up through three weeks of the season.]

1. Eric Rowe, CB, New England Patriots

Sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story of a player’s performance. In the win over Buffalo, Rowe gave up three catches for 54 yards on six targets, which is far from terrible. But he was flagged three times for defensive pass interference, with each one coming on a go route. Those are catastrophic plays that essentially hide yardage and would lie about his performance if you were using coverage stats alone. Rowe was beaten badly and repeatedly by the Bills.

2. Doug Free, T, Dallas Cowboys

Eagles edge rusher Brandon Graham had one of the standout performances of the week, and the player whose lunch money he stole was Dallas tackle Doug Free. Over the course of the game, Free managed to avoid giving up a sack, but he surrendered a hit and 10 total pressures –most of them to Graham — over the course of 46 pass-blocking snaps. That’s almost 25 percent of the snaps he was pass-blocking for resulting in pressure on the QB. As a pass-protector, that’s going to land you on this list.

3. Stephon Gilmore, CB, Buffalo Bills

Gilmore hasn’t been anything like the player we saw over the past couple of seasons this year. In the Bills loss to the Patriots he had one of his worst games of a bad season, coughing up 105 yards and a touchdown on just four catches. Tom Brady’s passer rating when throwing at Gilmore was a perfect 158.3, and Gilmore was left trailing in the wake of players who are athletically inferior to him.

4. Joe Barksdale, T, San Diego Chargers

Any time you face Von Miller, it’s going to be a tough day at the office for an offensive tackle, and Barksdale didn’t exactly rise to the challenge in the loss to Denver. In 47 pass-blocking snaps, he surrendered a sack, two hits, two hurries and was flagged four times. No one player was more responsible for putting the San Diego offense behind the 8-ball all game long than Barksdale, who had a performance he will want to forget as soon as humanly possible.

5. Mike Iupati, G, Arizona Cardinals

Iupati has actually been unusually good this season in pass protection – usually his weak area. Coming into the game against Carolina he had allowed just one sack across six games, no hits and seven total pressures. Against the Panthers, however, and versus Kawann Short in particular, he surrendered two sacks an six total pressures while being flagged three times (he had just two penalties heading into the game). Effectively he was worse in this loss than he had been in all of his gross negative play in the six games before it.

6. William Gholston, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Now we begin the parade of Bucs defenders. For an edge rusher to generate no pressure at all is far from good. Gholston rushed the passer 37 times in the loss to the Raiders, and had nothing at all to show for it. He did notch three defensive stops over the course of the game, but it wasn’t enough for him to come out on the winning side of any encounter he had in it. The Bucs defense was a disaster, and Gholston was one of the poorer performers.

7. Akeem Spence, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The only statistical proof that Spence was even on the field in this game was a missed tackle. That is the only thing that keeps him from being completely blanked on the stat sheet over his 57 defensive snaps. Spence generated no pressure on 38 snaps, and was controlled in the run game on the 17 run plays he was on the field for.

8. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hargreaves was covering Amari Cooper for most of the game against Oakland, and it did not go too well for him. Overall he surrendered 10 catches for 173 yards, with Cooper accounting for eight of those catches and 123 of the yards. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Hargreaves missed three tackles that turned modest gains into far bigger ones, and was a big reason the Raiders offense kept putting points on the board.

9. Chris Conte, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another member of the Bucs defense (and by no means the last who could have wound up on this list), Chris Conte allowed a catch every time he was targeted in the game and gave up a perfect passer rating of 158.3 on those targets. He coughed up two touchdowns and missed three tackles. The Bucs could have lost this game three times over, and the defense eventually conspired to lose it for good in overtime.

10. Josh McCown, QB, Cleveland Browns

The Browns probably would have earned their first win of the season this week if they had better QB play. McCown was supposed to provide a stabilizing influence as a veteran QB, but he just isn’t that kind of player. While he passed for 341 yards, he also threw two interceptions and completed just 27.8 percent of his passes when pressured. McCown suffered from an unusually high six drops, but even with those factored in, his decision-making was poor.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • JustinC83

    If i’m reading that correctly Rowe was graded the worst player because of 3 penalties? 2 of which were ticky tack and the other that was 100% a terrible call.

    PI on Hunter was a call that could have gone either way.Nolan Carroll did something similair on Bryant last night in the end zone and it wasn’t flagged. Which is what tells me that call could have gone either way.

    Illegal contact the negated McCourty’s pick was as ticky tack as it gets. He put his hands on the WR for a second and then released.

    PI at the end of the game replays show that it was 100% not PI at all. If anything Woods committed PI grabbing Rowe’s hands

    • rogue

      Agreed. Rowe got shafted on those calls. It was an over-officiated game at best. There were questionable calls on both sides.

    • Nelson Cobb

      “Rowe was beaten badly and repeatedly by the Bills.”

      Did you miss that last sentence???