NFL Week 9 was as weird a slate of football games as we have seen in a long time. One division leader after another was knocked off, as underdogs reigned supreme. The Jaguars, Broncos, Giants, and Falcons all helped to rearrange the landscape of the league.
The AFC North got even more complicated in NFL Week 9, as the division leader changes yet again. The Browns made it clear that they were still around, impressively winning the Ohio bowl over Cincy. Meanwhile, late heroics from the Ravens put them back on top.
The Jags’ Josh Allen outperformed the Bills’ Josh Allen. Nick Chubb and Justin Herbert get back on track. Patrick Mahomes struggles yet again, this time in a win. Jeffery Simmons enjoyed a 3 sack performance on SNF. JC Jackson intercepted 2 passes, returning one for a score. Myles Garrett continues his unreal sack projection. Here’s what happened in NFL Week 9.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville JaguarsEmbed from Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills were supposed to come into this game and blow out the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe if Jax was on this afternoon, they may have been able to keep the score for 2 and a half quarters the way the Dolphins did last week. There was no way the Jaguars stood a chance, at least not according to all of the self-proclaimed experts (including myself). Here’s what really happened.
Two Josh Allens came into this game, ready to oppose each other and win it for their teams. Everyone knows one of the Josh Allens especially well, being that he has been the main reason that the Bills have emerged as one of the AFC’s top teams in the last couple of seasons. Until yesterday, the other has been routinely ignored, or even worse yet, referred to as “the other Josh Allen”. Yesterday, that narrative was changed.
Never before had a player sharing a name with an opponent, get a quarterback sack off of that opponent. Never, that is until NFL Week 9, late in the second quarter. At this point, Josh Allen from Jacksonville (referred to as Josh from this point forward) came through and took down Josh Allen from Buffalo (referred to as Allen from this point forward) for a 10-yard loss. Little did we know, this would be the beginning of the end for the Bills, as they would go to not score for the rest of the game.
Up until this point, we had seen one long drive after another trade result in the trading of field goals. Jacksonville set the tone early when on the opening drive they consumed over 6 minutes off of the clock. Trevor Lawrence got into a rhythm and highlighted this drive with a 23-yard completion to Jamal Agnew on 4-and-2. Fortunately for the Bills, a stuff from Levi Wallace forced the Jags to settle for a field goal.
It didn’t take long, however, for the Bills to re-assert themselves as the better team. Over their next two series, Buffalo consumed 11 and a half minutes off of the clock and took a 6-3 lead. These drives were highlighted by Allen ripping off one clutch run after another while spreading the ball around to his arsenal of weapons. Even being forced to settle for field goals, the Bills seemed to right the ship. Little did anyone know, this would be their high point of the game.
Short passes from Lawrence and a big run from Carlos Hyde allowed the Jags to even up the score on their next series. By taking 5 and a half minutes off of the clock, Jacksonville continued to keep the game at a slow pace that resulted in both teams only getting the ball 4 times in the first half. After that, the sack from Josh on Allen forced the punt which would close out the first half.
Buffalo couldn’t believe that one of the worst teams in the league was limiting their offense and controlling the game tempo at the half and decided they needed a big play on their opening series of the second half. They resumed play and the Bills got the ball first. They drove down to the Jacksonville 25, consuming 5 minutes off of the clock before the big play struck. The only problem was, it was an interception by Rudy Ford.
The Jaguars squandered this opportunity, however, missing the field goal which would have given them the lead. Buffalo was back in business. Or so they thought. They only managed to travel 28 yards before the Jaguar D struck again, and this time it was a much more familiar name. Josh picked up an interception off of Allen to go with the sack he had earlier. The battle for naming rights had taken an unexpected turn.
This turnover led to the Jacksonville field goal that would ultimately win the game. Punts dictated the action from here on out except for Buffalo’s final two series. The last one ended with a turnover on downs as Allen could connect on the deep ball, the play after taking his 4th sack of the game. The other series was fittingly ended with Josh completing the hat trick on Allen as he scooped up a fumble for by Taven Bryan.
The Jacksonville Jaguars controlled the Buffalo Bills in a 9-6 victory.
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore RavensEmbed from Getty Images
This game had it all! A dominant first-half performance, a huge comeback, and back-and-forth action in the 4th quarter. The stars all came out to shine, as one elite talent after another excelled in this matchup. Lamar Jackson, Hollywood Brown, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, and Josh Bynes were among those who put up strong numbers in this game.
It all began when the Vikings asserted themselves early. After the Ravens put up a field goal on the opening drive, Minnesota answered the call, showing they were prepared to play. They drove to midfield before Kirk Cousins dialed up the launch codes to Jefferson, connecting with him for a 50-yard score.
Baltimore tried to answer back. Before they could mount a serious threat, however, a Sheldon Richardson sack and a penalty stalled their drive right outside of field goal range. They punted and pinned the Vikings back on their own 7-yard line. Apparently, this made no difference to Minnesota.
The Vikings took over from their own 7-yard line and proceeded to go on a 6 and a half minute, 13-play, 93-yard drive. The drive was highlighted by a 66-yard run by Dalvin Cook that set them up deep in Ravens’ territory. All total, Cook ran for 76 yards on the drive before surrendering the ball to Cousins for a 1-yard touchdown run. Minnesota was threatening to put this game out of reach early.
The Ravens did themselves no favors in that department either, as a pair of punts and Camryn Bynum interception continued to keep them down. Fortunately for them, however, their defense stepped up and limited the damage to a field goal against them. Bynes, Chuck Clark, and Marlon Humphrey were among the Ravens’ defenders who stepped it up on these drives.
After Minnesota had kicked the field goal, they sent the ball back to Baltimore a minute and a half before halftime. Then, finally, something clicked for the Ravens.
The limited amount of time was more than enough as Jackson immediately went to work. Several runs from Lamar quickly put the Ravens at mid-field before a 42-yard pass interference call set up Baltimore in the red zone. One play later, Lamar throws a 5-yard touchdown pass to Devonta Freeman. The Ravens stopped the bleeding before halftime. Or so they thought.
Minnesota took the kick out of the half and immediately re-established their 2-score lead. Kene Nwangwu returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, and a 24-10 Viking lead.
The two-score deficit did not phase the Ravens, however, as they had overcome it before, and planned on doing it again. After the kickoff return, they embarked on a 13-play, 67-yard drive that lasted over 6 minutes. Fullback Patrick Ricard was the star of this drive. Picard caught 3 passes for 35 yards and the all-important touchdown on this drive, helping the Ravens to trim the lead back to one score. Both Picard and Freeman had 22 and 23-yard plays on this drive.
A little over 4 minutes later, the Ravens could smell the blood in the water. Minnesota had wasted that time to travel 41 yards before being forced to punt. Now was the time for Baltimore to seize their opportunity. And that they did.
In a drive that finished the 3rd and consumed over half of the 4th, the Ravens were able to knot up the score. This 10-minute and 17-second monster started back on the Baltimore 18 and traveled 82 yards over 19 plays. The drive featured a little bit of everyone, including a 4th down conversion for Jackson, and was satisfied with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Devin Duvernay. Kendricks was especially busy on this drive, collecting 5 of his 17 tackles on the game.
The score was tied and the time was dwindling for these two teams that had already endured far too many decisions in the final minutes this season. They both knew where this was headed, and both gave their final shot to prevent/force the overtime.
After a Viking punt, the Ravens went back into action with a much quicker drive than the one before. A little more running from Freeman and Jackson and a large dose of Le’Veon Bell led to Baltimore’s first lead since the opening minutes. This drive and lead were capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run from Bell.
Minnesota got the ball back with 3 and a half minutes left in the game, realizing they had squandered their two-score lead and were now trailing by a touchdown. However, Cousins and the Vikings had been in this spot several times before this season and they were planning to do it again. And that they did.
Cousins got everyone involved as he drove the team 75 yards in 12 plays. Cook and Ham had the big plays for the sequence before Adam Thielen finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown reception. The game was tied with a hair over a minute to play.
Baltimore received the ball back with a chance to win in regulation but did not manage to really threaten a score. Another sack from Richardson and a holding penalty forced the Ravens to play for overtime.
The Ravens led off the extra period with the ball and drove into Viking territory while taking almost 3 and a half minutes off of the clock. And then, it happened. Minnesota came up with its most clutch moment of the game, as Barr intercepted Jackson, setting up the Vikes on their own 38-yard line. The tide had changed, and the Vikings in fact would have the last laugh. Or so SKOL nation thought.
The truth of the matter was that the Vikings would put the ball after gaining a single yard, and the Ravens would secure the game-winning field goal on the next drive. Clutch receptions from Hollywood and strong running from Freeman ultimately closed out the contest.
The Baltimore Ravens win a back-and-forth, overtime thriller over the Minnesota Vikings, 34-31
Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia EaglesEmbed from Getty Images
Both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles needed this win to stay relevant in their divisional and playoff races respectively. And they came out ready to play as if they needed the win. All but one second-half drive ended in a score, ultimately deciding who the victor would be.
Ball control was the theme of this game, as the two teams only saw 7 full possessions each (not counting the 21-second and 2-second drives which ended the halves. The Eagles enjoyed an average drive of just under 3 minutes and 50 seconds, as the Chargers clocked in just under 5 minutes a drive. Here’s how these series resulted for those teams.
The action began on just the second drive of the game, as the Eagles pinned the Chargers back on their own 1-yard line with a punt on the opening drive. Justin Herbert took the field and began to work his magic. Herbert methodically executed a 15-play drive that took nearly 7 minutes off of the clock by spreading the ball around amongst all of his weapons. Sadly, this 98-yard drive remained unsatisfied as Edwards, Chachere, and the rest of the Eagles’ D came up with a brilliant goalline stand on 4th and goal.
Unfortunately for Philly, the pressure of starting on their own one led to a punt after a 3-and-out. This set LA up with an amazing field position. Seven short plays later, the Chargers capitalized as Herbert connected with Stephen Anderson on a 2-yard, touchdown pass.
The next Eagle drive would begin with a much better field position as it was now Philly’s turn to answer the call. And they did exactly that. Jalen Hurts led the Eagles 75 yards over the next 4 and a half minutes, and they finished it off with a 4-yard touchdown run from Jordan Howard. This drive came mostly courtesy of strong running from Howard, minus a huge completion from Hurts to DeVonta Smith.
In the next series, the Philly D made a huge statement, turning the Chargers over on downs on a very promising drive. Once again, TJ Edwards was right in the thick of the action as both Marcus Epps and Alex Singleton contributed towards the stop.
The Philly offense took advantage of this opportunity and went on a long, 7 plus minute drive to run out the clock before halftime. Strong running from Hurts and Boston Scott helped them travel 68 yards on their way to a field goal and lead at the half.
As exciting as the first half was, the second half was non-stop action, or at least it was after the first two series were finished. The Chargers took the ball out of the half, took 4 and a half minutes off of the clock, and evened the score. After that, Philly punted the ball after a short drive, and neither team relented the rest of the way.
Herbert wasted no time on the very next series, connecting on a 49-yard pass with Mike Williams. This set LA up for a score just 4 plays later, as Justin slung it 8 yards into the end zone for TE Donald Parham. Unfortunately for them, they missed the extra point.
It was Philly’s time to answer back, and that they did. A couple of huge passes from Hurts to Smith put the Eagles immediately into action. A play later, Hurts had another huge connection to Dallas Goedert. Some timely running, and before you knew it, Kenneth Gainwell punched the ball into the endzone from 1 yard out of it. With the extra point, Philly found itself back on top.
The Chargers saw the ease at which the Eagles righted the ship and decided to slow things down on the next series. Over the next 6 minutes and 38 seconds, the Chargers traveled 16 yards over 15 plays. This drive featured heavy doses of both Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler. It was ultimately satisfied by Herbert himself, running it in for an 8-yard touchdown. The 2pc was completed to Jared Cook, and LA once again had control with a little more than 11 minutes left in the game.
Philly saw that the Chargers had just eaten a ton of the clock and took it upon themselves to respond to the challenge. Over the next 5 and a half minutes, the Eagles blended the run and the pass perfectly while driving down to the Los Angeles 28 yard line. Then, Hurts to Smith struck again, but this time it was for the score. Once the extra point was secured, the Eagles had tied up the game yet again.
With a hair over 6 minutes left on the clock, the Chargers knew what they had to do. They had been on one time-consuming drive after another this half and now they needed one more. Philly saw these next 6 minutes slip away before their own eyes. 17 plays, 69 yards, LA methodically drove their way up the field. Ekeler had a few big runs, Herbert converted on a 4th-and-1. Ultimately, with 5 seconds left in the game, Hopkins drilled a 29-yard field goal for the Chargers.
The Los Angeles Chargers consume the clock on their way to a 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
NFL Week 9 SNF: Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles RamsEmbed from Getty Images
The narrative going into Sunday Night Football was clear: the Titans were without Derrick Henry, the heart-and-soul of their offense and best RB in football. No one gave them a chance against the Rams. Maybe they would find a way to right the ship, but it definitely would not be against one of the NFL’s top teams. What everyone seemed to be forgetting in this narrative was that the Titans were also one of the NFL’s top teams, apparently, with or without Henry.
On the night that Tennessee needed them the most, the D showed up both early and often. Back-to-back sacks from Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons set the tone on the very first drive as the Rams punted after gaining only 18 yards.
Unfortunately for the Titans, the Rams’ defense also showed up early. Four plays into their first drive, Jalen Ramsey intercepted a pass to set the Rams up with great field position. Fortunately for the Titans, Autry came up huge again. He had a clutch defended pass on 3rd down, forcing the Rams to settle for a field goal. From that point forward it would be all Titans D.
A strong punt from Tennesse soon pinned the Rams back on their own 4-yard line. The following sequence was disastrous for LA. A short run followed up with a penalty pinned them back on the 3-yard line. A play later, Simmons comes rushing through, leaving Stafford to make an ill-advised throw. Interception! David Long Jr. The Titans offense set up with a goal-to-go from the 4-yard line. One play later, Ryan Tannehill throws a touchdown pass to Geoff Swain.
Tennesse never looked back from here. On the Rams’ very next play, Kevin Byard intercepted a second pass off of Stafford and returned it 24 yards for the touchdown. A series after that? Simmons’s 2nd sack forced LA to punt having only gained 6 yards.
The defense was winning the game on its own, buying the offense time to try to click without Henry. Eventually, the Titans’ offense had found their way and added to the game they were running away with. After the aforementioned punt, Tannehill marched the Tennesse offense down the field. Timely passes to AJ Brown and Julio Jones, and a strong rushing attack allowed them to march their way down the field. The drive was ultimately satisfied by Tannehill himself, with a 1-yard touchdown run.
In the end, the Titans’ defense recorded 5 sacks and 2 turnovers, while limiting the Rams to a 26% efficiency on 3rd down. Most of the yards that the Tennessee D gave up were garbage time yards, but when the game was on the line they clamped down and forced field goals instead of touchdowns. The Titans surrendered only 94 yards of offense to the Rams in the first half.
The Tennessee Titans blitzed the Los Angeles Rams, 28-16
NFL Week 9 MNF: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
In Other Action
Atlanta Falcons 27, New Orleans Saints 25Embed from Getty Images
Cordarrelle Patterson came up with 136 yards of total offense, including a huge reception to set up the game-winning field goal from Younghoe Koo. Matt Ryan launched 343 yards through the air on 23 of 30 passing. His 2 touchdown passes were both hookups with Olamide Zaccheaus.
As always, both of the tackling machines of the Falcons’ D were on full display. Deion Jones recorded 10 stops, while Foyesade Oluokun recorded 9, with 1 being for a loss.
The Flacons led this game most of the way, before squandering a 24-6 lead in the 4th quarter. New Orleans would rattle off 19 straight thanks to some late heroics from Alvin Kamara and a pair of touchdown passes from Trevor Siemian. In the end, however, Atlanta finished what they started.
Denver Broncos 30, Dallas Cowboys 16Embed from Getty Images
Start-to-finish, the Denver D dominated Dallas. The Broncos’ defense limited the Cowboys’ offense to just 145 yards before garbage time. They came up with 2 timely turnovers as Caden Sterns had an interception and Jonas Griffith recovered a fumble. Jonathon Cooper also excelled for the defense, collecting 4 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles for a loss.
For the offense, Javonte Williams ran for 111 yards, as Melvin Gordon added 80 and a touchdown. Teddy Bridgewater picked on Diggs all day as he connected with Tim Patrick 4 times for 85 yards and a score.
Denver thoroughly humiliated Dallas in Dak’s return to action.
New England Patriots 24, Carolina Panthers 6
The New England defense held Carolina to 240 yards on the game, and just 162 yards through the air. Despite the new uniform, their defense continued to comprise Darnold’s nightmares, intercepting him 3 times. JC Jackson had 2 of those picks, including one of which he returned for a touchdown. Matthew Judon added a sack to go with 4 tackles, including 1 for loss, as the Pats’ D dominated the game.
The Panthers’ D also enjoyed much success, limiting the New England offense to just 273 yards, holding Mac Jones to just 122 net passing yards. Brian Burns and Haason Reddick tagged on their usual sacks, while Stephon Gilmore enjoyed sweet vengeance for a moment, intercepting Jones in the 1st quarter.
Despite the strong defense, Carolina could not prevent rookie RB Rhamondre Stevenson from exposing them, as he piled up 106 yards of total offense. Damien Harris added 43 yards and a score.
Cleveland Browns 41, Cincinnati Bengals 16Embed from Getty Images
The AFC North continues to take on a new form every week. In this installment, it was the Browns’ turn to play the victor and the Bengals to play the victim. Having freshly released the toxic OBJ, Cleveland seemed to enjoy a celebratory win.
Nick Chubb ran wild, piling up 163 yards of total offense with 137 of them coming on the ground. Chubb also punched in 2 touchdowns to go with several highlight-reel runs. Baker Mayfield flashed deep-ball accuracy (that he supposedly doesn’t have) with a 60-yard touchdown strike to Donovon Peoples-Jones.
For their defense, the Browns’ stars were out that afternoon. Myles Garrett added another 1.5 sacks to his blinding sack rate, to go with 2 tackles and additional stuff. John Johnson and Denzel Ward each came up with an interception. Anthony Walker crushed 14 tackles, with a sack, and tackle for loss. Troy Hill contributed 2 sacks and 7 tackles of his own.
Start-to-finish, the Browns ransacked the Bengals with both the atmosphere and on the scoreboard. This complicated a loaded AFC North yet again.
Miami Dolphins 17, Houston Texans 9Embed from Getty Images
Ho Hum. Two of the four worst teams in the league battled it out to see who was just a little bit worse. That terrible tag taunts the Texans.
Justin Coleman, Jerome Baker Jevon Holland, and Brandon Jones all came up with turnovers for a Miami defense that held the Texans to just 272 yards.
Jaylen Waddle was the only bright spot for either offense, hauling in 8 passes for 80 yards. Myles Gaskin and Mack Hollins scored the game’s only two touchdowns to secure Dolphin victory.
New York Giants 23, Las Vegas Raiders 16Embed from Getty Images
The Giants continue their roll to relevance, taking out the top team in the AFC West. Their defense allowed the Raiders to march up and down the field between the 20s, but Leonard Williams and the Giants’ D really clamped down whenever Vegas entered the red zone. Five such of these trips resulted in only 1 touchdown to go with 2 field goals, 1 missed field goal, and 1 fumble, accounting for the difference in the final score.
Xavier McKinney did more than his part for the defense, intercepting 2 Derek Carr passes and returning one of them for a touchdown.
For the offense, Devontae Booker continued to excel in the absence of Saquon, tallying 122 yards of total offense. Evan Engram added 3 receptions for 38 yards and a score.
Kansas City Chiefs 13, Green Bay Packers 7Embed from Getty Images
No Aaron Rodgers, no Packers offense. This is one the experts surely got right. Or did they? Patrick Mahomes endured another horrific game, this time being out-dueled by backup QB Jordan Love. Mahomes only managed 160 net passing yards and watched his defense bail him out yet again.
A timely turnover from L’Jarius Sneed ended a 69-yard Packer drive that seemed to be headed for a score. And a blocked field goal from Alec Okafor also helped to keep points off of the board.
Travis Kelce was the lone bright spot for the KC offense, hauling in 5 receptions for 68 yards and their lone touchdown.
In the end, the Cheifs did barely enough to beat a Rodgers-less Pack.
Arizona Cardinals 31, San Francisco 49ers 17Embed from Getty Images
No Murray, no D-Hop, no Watt, no problem. The Cardinals showed elite dominance yet again, without 3 of their top 5 players.
This time, it was James Conner’s turn to dominate the game. Conner had a monster putting, tearing up 173 yards of total offense and scoring 3 touchdowns. Each score was a unique dagger as they ranged from a 1-yard run to a 45-yard reception. The 49ers had no answer for him.
Colt McCoy was efficient filling in for Murray, connecting on 22 of 26 passes for 249 yards and the Conner touchdown. With D-Hop out, there was no surprise that Christian Kirk was his favorite target. The two of them hooked up 6 times for 91 yards. Interesting side note, AJ Green did not receive a target a week after he mailed it in and cost the Cards their undefeated season.
For the defense, Budda Baker secured the victory late by intercepting Garoppolo on a late, promising drive. In the absence of Watt, Marcus Golden displayed both leadership and fire-power, recording 3 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, and 5 tackles. Chandler Jones and Jordan Phillips also added sacks.
In defeat, George Kittle came back from injury strong, nailing 6 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Aiyuk also continued to re-emerge as a strong weapon, hauling in 6 receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.
In the end, the Cardinals sent a clear message to the NFL: loss of a player or a game is not going to hold them back. Arizona is still the NFL’s top team.
A Few More Highlights
Top TDs of NFL Week 9
Every touchdown from every Sunday afternoon and evening game
NFL’s Salute to Service
Mike Tomlin joins elite company
History through NFL Week 9
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