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Comebacks for Aldon Smith and Blaine Gabbert lead #MizzouMade in Week 8

Elsewhere, Marcus Murphy's return helps seal a win for New Orleans, Justin Britt and Tim Barnes draw cautious praise, and the Tennessee Tigers face a regime change.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In September of 2009, Mizzou took to the road to face the Nevada Wolf Pack. Future first-round pick Blaine Gabbert threw for 414 yards and 3 scores for the Tigers. Future second-round pick Colin Kaepernick threw for 156 yards (or 14 fewer than Danario Alexander had by himself) and 1 TD, and rushed for 59 and another TD.

Of course, their respective fortunes were flipped a bit once reaching the NFL, with Kaepernick supplanting Alex Smith and starting in a Super Bowl, and Gabbert floundering in the hellish landscape of Jacksonville before being relegated to a clipboard role.

But now, with Kapernick struggling and the 49ers reeling, Blaine Gabbert is getting his comeback shot.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation writes:

I'd imagine Gabbert remains the starter past the bye week, but I suppose a train wreck performance on Sunday could change that decision. Until we see what Gabbert does on Sunday, I'll stick with the belief that Kaepernick does not get back onto the field with the 49ers this season.

This is huge for Blaine, as it may well be his last solid opportunity to audition for a bigger role in the NFL. Best of luck to the former Tiger signal caller.

Injuries redux

Shane Ray remains sidelined for the undefeated Broncos, whose defense is so good they can afford to let him get 100% before getting him back on the field.

William Moore's week 7 groin injury seems to be lingering, as he missed practice this Wednesday and is looking unlikely to suit up for a second straight week.

Early season marvel Jacquies Smith has cooled down some, and left Tampa Bay's victory over Atlanta in the 4th quarter due to a sprained ankle. ESPN's Bucs beat writer Matt Winklejohn noted some less-than-impressive play for Smith prior to the injury:

It hurt when the defensive end jumped offside on the Falcons' first possession to wipe out Alexander's end-zone interception and 93-yard return. Smith made up for it -- kind of -- by scooping up a botched Atlanta shotgun snap by Mike Person to squash a red-zone possession by the Falcons. After Smith's 9-yard return, Tampa Bay drove 73 yards in 10 plays to take a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter. Smith did not return after suffering an ankle injury in the second half.

Working his way back from injury, Sean Weatherspoon got back on the field in week 8, albeit for only 4 snaps.

Tennessee Tigers

Tennessee fired their head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, who had a record of notmanywins-lotsoflosses in his time in Nashville. Three former Mizzou players are on the Tennessee roster, but none in very significant roles.

TE Chase Coffman remains a regular game day inactive for the Titans, and his status is unlikely to change without injuries to his position.

Long snapper Beau Brinkley is still the long snapper - but also managed a special teams tackle this week! His role is likely to remain as is.

Then there's Dorial Green-Beckham. He was targeted twice on Sunday, catching 1 ball for 12 yards. But speculation around Music City Miracles is that interim coach Mike Mularkey may look to give DGB the extra opportunities many fans have been calling for. It will be interesting to see if his usage goes up with the new boss in town.

Bits and Pieces

Chase Daniel saw action in the Chiefs' blowout victory, completing some routine handoffs and 2 passes out of 2 tries with a 2 yard/attempt average. Turns out a 2-2, 4 yards line nets you a 98.5 QBR. Alex Smith's game-winning performance, meanwhile, netted him only a 97.9. Statistics, amirite?

Andrew Gachkar logged a tackle in the Cowboys' loss to Seattle. Blogging The Boys did a little writeup of their defensive players' "Sturm splash plays" (which appears to be related to what we call havoc), and by their measure Gachkar rates as above average, and the 2nd highest of Dallas' linebacking corps.

C.J. Mosley also had a single tackle. Miami did not defeat the New England Patriots.

After getting much praise over the last few weeks, Markus Golden was quiet in week 7, getting only a single tackle (but it was for a loss...). His playing time is expected to decrease some with the return of Alex Okafor to the Cardinals' lineup.

Also slowing down a bit this week was Sheldon Richardson, who managed only 2 tackles and a pass defensed, as the Jets struggled to contain the suddenly vibrant Raiders' offense.

The Many Varieties of Speed

If you don't follow NFL football, you might have missed that the New Orleans Saints defeated the New York Giants 52-49, in the 3rd highest scoring game in NFL history. Missouri's own Marcus Murphy is the return man for the Saints, and it was his 24 yard punt return with 20 seconds left in the game that led to Murphy's fumble, which led to Willie Snead's fumble recovery during which the Giants committed a face mask penalty, which allowed the Saints' to score a game winning FG as time expired. Way to contribute, Marcus! See a gif of his return by visiting this webpage.

Jeremy Maclin returned from his concussion issues to catch 3 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.

Kony Ealy continued his impressive sophomore campaign with the undefeated Panthers, notching a sack and 5 tackles while playing 70% of the snaps.

Improving OL play

Chiefs' center Mitch Morse helped pave the way for Charcandrick West and Alex Smith to gain 6.4 yards/carry against the Lions.

Tim Barnes drew...measured praise from one fanpost at Turf Show Times that looked at future roster needs. Still calls for a new center, though. However, his line kept Nick Foles upright, allowing zero sacks and benefiting from blocking for Todd Gurley in the run game.

Much-maligned Seahawk Justin Britt is drawing attention for all the right reasons all of a sudden. Field Gulls' author Danny Kelly notes that Britt is the 3rd highest rated run-blocking LG in the league over the last three weeks:

Justin Britt! This nice grade by PFF jibes with things I've heard from a few other people this week that have watched the offensive line closely. If Britt can pick up his game in the second half that would be a huge boon to the Seattle line and offense in general, obviously.

For those who enjoy nuts and bolts, Field Gulls also ran some film breakdown that included some of Britt's play.

Another Comeback?

Many were surprised to see Aldon Smith sign with the Raiders, and even more surprised to see him playing rather than serving a suspension. But play he has, and played quite well for the Riaders. In fact, Raiders' GM Reggie McKenzie wants Smith in the team's long term plans. After his 4 tackle (1 TFL) performance in week 8, he received honorable mention "Baller" status from Silver and Black Pride. Here's to Aldon staying on the right path.

That does it for this edition of the #MizzouMade wrapup. Next week, we will surely have reviews of Blaine's performance, and hopefully no additional injury news (odds bolstered by the 6 Mizzou players who will be on bye).