Let’s review week 9 of the 2023 NFL season.
A Rookie Masterclass
The Texans had the opening possession of the game, but would not hold on to possession for long. For the first two plays of the game, the CJ Stroud offence could not go anywhere. Then on 3rd down, Stroud threw a 9-yard pass to Dalton Schultz. However, Schultz would then fumble the ball, which would be then scooped up by the Buccanneer’s defense.
This mistake would be costly for Houston. From the Texans’ 42-yard line, the Tampa Bay offense, led by quarterback Baker Mayfield, quickly advanced down into the Texans’ red zone, aided by a penalty against the Houston defense. The drive would stall at the 17-yard line, setting up Buccaneers kicker Chase McLaughlin with a 35-yard field goal attempt. He would be successful with this, and the Buccaneers took an early lead.
In reply to this, the Texans would take the lead from Tampa Bay. In a drive that started from the Texans’ 25-yard line, Stroud and company drove down to the Buccaneers’ 14-yard line, aided by a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty against the Tampa Bay defense. From there, Stroud would find Nico Collins for the touchdown pass.Embed from Getty Images
Tampa Bay would also find the endzone on their next drive. Like the Texans before them, the Buccaneers made it down into their opponent’s red zone aided by a large penalty against the defense. Mayfield and company made it to the Texans’ 9-yard line, before being sent back 10 yards due to an offensive penalty. This would not stop them, and the Buccaneers would make it down to the Texans’ 3-yard line. From there, Mayfield found Cade Otton for the touchdown pass to retake the lead.
Then, after a series of punts, the Buccaneers would add to this lead. From the Texans’ 40-yard line, the Mayfield lead offense made its way down to the Texans’ one-yard line. From there, Rachaad White would find the endzone for the rushing touchdown. In reply to this, the Texans offense would drive down to the Buccaneers 32-yard line, before the drive would stall in this location. This set up Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn with a 50-yard field goal attempt. The experienced kicker would be able to make the kick, closing the gap.
Tampa Bay would punt on their final drive of the half, meaning that at halftime, the Buccaneers would have a 17-10 lead.
The Buccaneers would have the opening possession of the game and would be able to get something from this drive. Tampa Bay’s drive would reach the Texans 31-yard line before stalling. This set up a 49-yard field goal attempt from Chase McLaughlin, which he would successfully make, extending the Buccaneers lead.
However, the Texans quickly and immediately struck back. It took them one play to find the endzone. CJ Stroud threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Noah Brown. However, the Texans would then have a problem. During the half, the Texans kicker was injured, and they did not have a suitable backup kicker. This meant that they would have to attempt a two-point conversion. This time they were unsuccessful.
The scoring would continue on the Buccaneers’ next drive. Like their previous drive, it would stall in the middle of the Texans’ territory, forcing another field goal attempt. This time it was from 55 yards out, which McLaughlin would be able to make.
Just like earlier in the half, the Texans would reply to the Buccaneers field goal with a touchdown. The Texans would make it down to the Tampa Bay 29-yard line. From here, Stroud would throw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tank Dell. They would fail the two-point conversion attempt after. But the Texans would now only trail by one point.
After their next drive, the Texans would have the lead. C.J. Stroud and company moved his offense down into the Buccaneers’ red zone and to the Tampa Bay 9-yard line. From there, Stroud would find Schultz for the touchdown pass to take the lead back from the Buccaneers. As they have done for the majority of the second half, the Texans would attempt a two-point conversion. This time they were successful.Embed from Getty Images
However, the Texans did not have the lead for long. In their next drive, the Buccaneers made their way down to their 46-yard line. From there, Mayfield would find Mike Evans for a 54-yard touchdown pass. Or did he? The play was reviewed and it was ruled that Evans was down at the one-yard line, removing the touchdown from the board. This would not stop the Buccaneers, as they would soon find the endzone through a one-yard rushing touchdown from Rachaad White to tie the game at 30-30.
This tie would not last long. On their next drive, the Texans found their way to the Buccaneers’ 11-yard line, before the drive stalled there. This set up Dare Ogunbowale, a running back, with a 29-yard field goal attempt. He would be successful with this, and the Texans would retake the lead.
There would be a pause in the scoring soon after, but this would not last long. With time running out, the Buccaneers had possession and were able to drive down to the Texans 14-yard line. They were lucky to do this, as they had fumbled the ball on the play before, but had recovered it. From the 14-yard line, Mayfield found Otton for the touchdown pass. This gave the Buccaneers a 4-point lead with less than a minute on the clock. What could CJ Stroud do?
The Texans drive started at their 25-yard line. Stroud and company quickly drove down to the Tampa Bay 15-yard line. From there, Stroud passed to Dell for the game-winning touchdown. There was a penalty on the play, but this was against the Buccaneers, so the touchdown stood. Tampa Bay did try to score with a load of lateral passes, but this went nowhere.
The Houston Texans had defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 39-37.
This was an amazing performance from C.J. Stroud. He threw for 5 touchdowns and for 470 yards, which is a rookie quarterback record. This victory puts the Texans at 4-4 for the season, while the defeat puts the Buccaneers at 3-5. Next week, the Buccaneers face the Tennessee Titans, while the Texans face the Cincinnati Bengals.
Burrow Beats the Bills
The Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills have been the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the AFC for the last few seasons. It does not look like this would change. The last time these two teams met in Cincinnati, the game became unimportant, as Damar Hamlin had a cardiac incident, causing the on-field action to be rightfully abandoned. Luckily, Hamilin survived this, and life won. But 11 months later, a game would be played, and a team would win. Who would that be?
The Bengals had the opening possession of the game and would be able to start the game strongly. The Cincinnati offense, led by quarterback Joe Burrow, started their drive from the Bengals’ 24-yard line. They were able to make it down into the Bills’ red zone and down to the 7-yard line. From there, Burrow would find Irv Smith Jr for the touchdown pass to give Cincinnati the early lead.
In reply to this, the Bills’ offense, led by another strong quarterback in Josh Allen, would also start the game well. From their 15-yard line, the Bills quickly made it down to the Bengals’ 2-yard line. From here, Allen would scramble for a 2-yard rushing touchdown. However, there would be a penalty against Allen on the play, but this was applied on the field goal attempt. This would not phase Buffalo kicker Trevor Bass, who would make the PAT to tie the game.
The scoring would not stop there. On the Bengals’ next drive, the endzone would be found again. Like their previous drive, the Burrow lead offense found their way into the Bills’ red zone and made it down to the 2-yard line. From there, the Bengals had 2 attempts to find the endzone from a Burrow pass. Both those attempts failed. However, it would be third time lucky for the Bengals, as Joe Mixon would run into the endzone, scoring a 2-yard rushing touchdown, retaking the lead for the Bengals.Embed from Getty Images
The luck would continue for the Bengals soon after the score. The Bills would start their drive at their 12-yard line. But this drive would not last long. On 2nd down from the 12-yard line, Allen attempted to throw a deep pass to Gabe Davis. However, the pass was intercepted by the Bengals’ defense at the 32-yard line. This gave the Bengals a good field position to score and increase their lead. Unfortunately, that did not happen as the Bengals actually went backwards on the drive.
But this would not happen on the following drive from the Bengals. Burrows and company would find themselves just outside the Bills’ red zone at the 22-yard line. Then, Burrow would find Drew Sample for the 22-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead for Cincinnati. This meant that at halftime, the Bengals had a 21-7 lead over the Bills.
The Bills would have the opening possession of the second half and would be able to get some points from it. The Allen-led offense crossed into the Bengals’ red zone and found themselves at the 16-yard line. This is where the drive would stall, setting up a 34-yard field goal attempt, which Bass would make.
Not a lot more would happen in the second half when compared to the first half action. The Bills would continue to try to find the endzone to cut the Bengal’s lead but would be unsuccessful in these attempts. There was one drive in which the Bills were looking like they would be able to score. Allen and company had reached the Bengals’ 22-yard line before Buffalo would make a costly mistake. Allen would throw an 11-yard pass to Dalton Kincade. However, Kincade would then fumble the ball in the red zone, which would be scooped up by the Bengals’ defense, ending another drive without any points gained for Buffalo.
The fumble would be costly for the Bills, and on the next drive, Joe Burrow and his Bengals offense would be able to move the ball down the length of the field and down to the Bills’ 2-yard line. Luckily for Buffalo, the Bengals drive would stall here. Unluckily for Buffalo, this allows Chase McLaughlin to kick an easy 20-yard field goal to all but seal the game for the Bengals.
The Bills did have some success near the end of the game. Starting from their 25-yard line, the Bills were able to drive down to the Bengals’ 17-yard line. From there, Allen found reliable target Steffon Diggs for the touchdown pass. In an attempt to get back into the game as there were 3 minutes left on the clock, the Bills would then attempt a two-point conversion. They were successful with this, and it became a 6-point game.Embed from Getty Images
This would all be academic though. On the final drive of the game, the Bengals sat on the ball until the time expired. This meant that the Cincinnati Bengals had defeated the Buffalo Bills 24-18.
While the scoreline may say it was close, in reality, the Bengals dominated this game. The victory improves the Bengals record for the season to 5-3, while the Bills fall to 5-4. Next week, the Bengals face the Houston Texans, while the Bills face the Denver Broncos.
A NFC East Thriller
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the best teams in football this season. On current form, it looks almost certain that they will return to the NFC Championship game at least, maybe even the Super Bowl. This week, they faced fellow NFC East side and potential NFC Championship opponents, the Dallas Cowboys. How would this game unfold?
The Cowboys had the opening drive of the game, but the offense was unable to move the ball at all and had to quickly punt the ball away to the Eagles. In reply to this, the Eagles were more than able to move the ball. Led by quarterback Jalen Hurts led his offense down to the Cowboys’ 39-yard line. However, Philadelphia would then make a mistake that could have been costly. Hurts was sacked and fumbled the ball. Luckily, he recovered the ball and the drive continued. The Eagles then made it down to the Cowboys’ 12-yard line. From here, Kenneth Gainwell would find the endzone for the 12-yard rushing touchdown, giving the Eagles an early lead.
This would not last long. Aided by a strong punt return which allowed the drive to start near the 50-yard line, the Cowboys shook off their poor performance in the previous drive to do well on this drive. The Dallas offense, led by quarterback Dak Prescott made their way down to the Eagles’ 4-yard line. From there, Prescott found Jake Fergurson for the touchdown pass.
The Cowboys would take the lead soon after. But they nearly lost the ball early in the drive, as Prescott fumbled the ball but recovered and the Cowboys gained yardage. From here, aided by a penalty against the Eagles defense, which took them to the Eagles’ 5-yard line. There, Cowboys running back KaVontae Turpin would score the touchdown to give Dallas the lead.Embed from Getty Images
However, Philadelphia would immediately reply to this touchdown with one of their own. The Hurts lead offense would make it down to the Cowboys’ 10-yard line. Then, like the Dallas drive before them, the offense would fumble the ball only to recover it themselves. The Eagles would then make it down to the one-yard line before Hurts would score the touchdown.
The Cowboys would have the final score before halftime. Their drive stalled at the Eagles’ 33-yard line. This set up Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey with a 51-yard field goal attempt. He would be successful with this, meaning at halftime, the Cowboys had a 17-14 lead over the Eagles.
Philadelphia would have the opening possession of the second half and would be able to open the half well. Hurts and the company moved the offense down to the Cowboys’ 29-yard line. From here, Hurts threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith to retake the lead.
This lead would be increased a few drives later. Aided by 3 penalties against the Cowboys’ defense, the Eagles were able to make it down to Dallas’ 4-yard line. From here, Hurts would find Antonio Brown for the touchdown pass.
The Cowboys would be able to close the gap on their next drive. Dak Prescott would lead his offense down to the Eagles’ 2-yard line. From there, Tony Pollard would run into the endzone to score the touchdown. But, there was a penalty on this play against the Dallas offense. This not only removed the touchdown from the board but also forced the Cowboys to move back 5 yards to the 7-yard line. However, this did not stop the Cowboys, and on their next play, Prescott threw the touchdown pass to Jalen Tolbert. The Cowboys would then attempt a two-point conversion in order to make the difference a field goal. The Cowboys would be unsuccessful with this attempt, and the gap remained 5 points.Embed from Getty Images
The Cowboys had the final drive of the game with the hope of scoring the winning touchdown. From their 15-yard line, Dallas made it down to the Eagles’ 27-yard line, aided by a range of penalties. But then, Prescott threw a deep pass to CeeDee Lamb. It was close to the endzone. But Lamb would fumble the ball, which was scooped up by the Eagles. The game literally fell out of the Cowboys’ hands. The Philadelphia Eagles had defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-23
This victory keeps the Eagles as the number one team in the NFC, improving to an 8-1 record. The defeat puts the Cowboys at 5-3. Next week, the Eagles are on a bye week, while the Cowboys face the New York Giants. So, they’ll probably be by 6-3 next week.
Die Chiefs und die Dolphins in Deutschland
This season, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins have been two of the best teams in football this season so far. What hasn’t been good has been the international games this year. All three of the London games were in my eyes poor. But, this game was not in London but in Germany. Last year, Munich hosted the first NFL regular season game in Germany. This year, it would be the turn of Frankfurt. So, would an international game featuring two of the best teams actually be an entertaining affair?
The Chiefs would have the opening possession of the game and would be able to make the most of this possession. Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs” offense started the drive from their 25-yard line. They would then quickly make their way down to the Dolphins 11-yard line. From there, Mahomes found Rashee Rice for the 11-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Could this continue, or will the international game curse of poor performance raise its head?
Unfortunately for all of those in attendance at Deutsche Bank Park, the latter would occur. Normally, this stadium hosts the local Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. This next period of the game felt like a soccer game, and unlike German football, it was not entertaining.
Both the Dolphins and the Chiefs combined for 7 consecutive drives that ended in punts. But, unlike the punt fest between the Giants and Jets last weekend, it soon ended and we got some action.
The Chiefs would have the ball and would go on a long, slow-moving drive. Starting from their 5-yard line, the Kansas City offense slowly made it down into the Dolphins’ red zone. Then, from the Dolphins’ 17-yard line, Mahomes found Jerick McKinnon for the touchdown to double the Chiefs lead.
The luck would continue for the Chiefs on the next drive. The Dolphins were in possession and led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, made it down to the Chiefs’ 30-yard line. There, it all would go wrong for the Dolphins. Tua would pass to Tyreek Hill who would in turn fumble the ball. The ball would then be scooped up by the Chiefs’ defense, who would return it into the endzone for a touchdown to add to the Dolphins’ misery.
This all meant that at halftime, the Chiefs would have a 21-0 lead over the Dolphins.
The second half would open with two punts. But then, the Dolphins were finally able to get some offense together. From their 20-yard line, Tagovailoa and company would able to drive down to the Chiefs’ 31-yard line. From there, Tua would find Cedrick Wilson for the touchdown pass to give the German Dolphin fans something to smile about.
But, the smiles would continue after the next drive. The Chiefs had possession but struggled to move the ball. Then, on their 32-yard line, Mahomes would be sacked and would fumble the ball, which was then scooped up by the Dolphins. This meant that Miami had a good field position to find the endzone and make it a one-possession game.
Which is was they did. Aided by a large penalty against the Kansas City defense, the Dolphins made it down to the Chiefs’ 17-yard line. From there, Raheem Mostert would score the 17-yard rushing touchdown to make it a one-possession game. We were actually having an entertaining international game. Who would win?
After a few more drives that ended in punts, the Dolphins would have the ball with around a minute left on the clock. Tagovailoa and the Miami offense were able to make it down to the Chiefs’ 31-yard line before the drive stalled. However, the Dolphins decided to go for a make-or-break 4th down attempt. Tua would fumble this ball it would just fly out of his hands. Gone was also the Dolphins’ chance of winning.
In the end, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 21-14.
In terms of international games, the game was decent. But this was to be expected as both teams are strong. The victory puts Kansas City at 7-2 for the season, while the Dolphins fall to a still respectable 6-3. Next week, both teams are on the bye week. But, we’ll have one more game from Germany next weekend, as the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots face off in Frankfurt.
What happened in the other games?
Last week, quarterback Will Levis led the Tennessee Titans to victory. He could not do it this week when the Titans faced the Pittsburgh Steelers. A late touchdown from Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett gave Pittsburgh a 20-16 victory
Kirk Cousins has been ruled out for the rest of the season. This left the Minnesota Vikings with a bit of a quarterback problem before their game against the Atlanta Falcons. Backup quarterback Jaren Hall started the game, but he left early on with a concussion. This meant that the Vikings had Joshua Dobbs, the former Arizona Cardinals quarterback who had signed for the Vikings that week in at center. Dobbs performed extremely well, scoring 2 touchdowns, including the last-minute winner as the Vikings defeated the Falcons 31-28
The now Dobbs-less Arizona Cardinals faced the Cleveland Browns. With Dobbs gone Clayton Tune was the quarterback in for the Cardinals. He would struggle, and the Browns would dominate, recording a 27-0 victory
Another team playing a backup quarterback was the Los Angeles Rams in their game against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers would dominate this game on all fronts, winning 20-6. During the week, the Rams signed another quarterback to backup the injured Mathew Stafford in former Eagle/Colt/Commander Carson Wentz. It makes you think, that if he didn’t get injured that one year, his career would be so different now.Embed from Getty Images
The Washington Commanders faced the struggling New England Patriots, and it does feel weird to say that. Commanders quarterback Sam Howell would throw for over 300 yards in their 20-17 victory.
The New Orleans Saints faced the Chicago Bears, still with their Division II quarterback, Tyson Bagent. A late touchdown from the Saints gave them a 24-17 victory to continue the poor season for Da Bears
In one of the NFL’s numerous “Battle of the Birds” games, the Baltimore Ravens faced the Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens would dominate this game, with running back Gus Edwards scoring 2 touchdowns and even Odell Beckham Jr finding the endzone, which ever since he left the Giants is rare. The Ravens would win this game 37-3
Before their trip to Germany next weekend, the Indianapolis Colts played the Carolina Panthers. The Colts had a dominant 2nd quarter, which helped them seal a 27-13 win over the Panthers
The Los Angeles Chargers faced the New York Jets, and exactly what you would think would happen did happen. The Chargers ran rings over the Jets on both sides of the ball, with Jets quarterback Zack Wilson being sacked 8 times. The final score would be 27-6.
And finally, my weekly rant about my own team. After whatever you could call last week, the New York Giants faced the Las Vegas Raiders, who had a new coach and had changed their quarterback in the week. That’s normally a recipe for disaster. To make things better for the Giants, Daniel Jones returned from injury and played. He wouldn’t play for long, as he suffered a knee injury on a non-contact play and was ruled out for the game. Upon further inspection, Jones’s ACL was torn, and he is out for the season. Further questions will soon be asked about Jones’s future with the Giants and the NFL. That means Tommy DeVito is the quarterback for now. At least he threw the ball this time. The Raiders would destroy the Giants 30-6.Embed from Getty Images
So that was week 9 in the NFL. Next week, the standout fixture is the Jaguars game against the 49ers. We also have our second game in Frankfurt. Wunderbar!