NFL Week 9 Takeaways

NFL Week 9 Takeaways

The NFL had many entertaining games this weekend that saw big performances, talented newcomers, and outcomes that could greatly affect the playoff chase moving forward.

Beginning with Thursday Night Football,  the Packers (5-2) faced off with the 49ers (4-4) in San Francisco, a rematch from last season, San Francisco beat Green Bay twice in 2019. Aaron Rodgers and company had their way with the 49er defense, racking up yards through the air. Rodgers would finish with 305 yards and four touchdowns while completing nearly 81% of his passes. Young 49er wide receiver Richie James had a big day, catching nine passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough to take down the Cheese Heads. Green Bay took the win 34-17. The Packers move to 6-2 and lead the NFC North and the 49ers fall to 4-5 and sit in last place in the NFC West.

Buffalo Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, leaps into the endzone against the Seattle Seahawks. Photo taken by Jeffrey T. Barns of the Associated Press.

The Seattle Seahawks (6-1) traveled to Buffalo to take on the Bills (6-2). MVP candidates Russell Wilson and Josh Allen each had big days. Wilson went 28/41 with 390 yards passing with two touchdowns, but had two big interceptions. Allen had nearly a perfect day, going 31/38 with 415 yards and three touchdowns, leading Buffalo to an impressive 44-34 win. The Seahawk defense continues to be underwhelming and will be a major question mark for Seattle if Head Coach Pete Carroll cannot find an answer. Seattle falls to 6-2 but remains in first place in the NFC West and Buffalo improves to 7-2 and is sitting pretty atop the AFC East.

Christian McCaffrey made his return to the NFL after his six game hiatus due to a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 2, as the Carolina Panthers (3-5) took on the Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) at Arrowhead Stadium. McCaffrey resumed his role as the Panthers’ workhorse, totaling 151 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Although his return brought a spark to the Carolina offense that had been missed in his absence, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes continued to make big plays seem routine. Kansas City takes it 33-31 as they improve to 8-1 and lead the AFC West. Carolina falls to 3-6 and are last in the NFC South, but with the return of McCaffrey, the Panthers may throw a kink into the mix in the Wild Card race.

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, escapes the pocket against the Arizona Cardinals. Photo taken by Matt Kartozian of USA Today Sports.

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made his second career start as the Miami Dolphins (4-3) traveled to Arizona to face the red-hot Cardinals (5-2). Tagovailoa had a rough first start in a win against the Rams in Week 8, finishing with just 93 yards, but the highly regarded rookie from Alabama showed how good he can be in Week 9. He finished with 248 yards and two touchdowns through the air while completing 71% of his passes and even added 35 yards on the ground. Cardinals quarterback and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Kyler Murray was sensational as well, going for 283 yards and three touchdowns passing while completing nearly 81% of his throws and added 106 yards rushing and another touchdown. Though both quarterbacks were exceptional, it was Tagovailoa and the Dolphins who squeaked out a 34-31 win at State Farm Stadium. The Dolphins improve to 5-3 and are in the mix in the AFC East, sitting just behind Buffalo, and the Cardinals fall to 5-3 and are in second in the NFC West behind Seattle.

In the game of the week, the New Orleans Saints (5-2) traveled to take on their division rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) in a game that had major playoff and divisional implications. This game was also another matchup between two first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Brees and the Saints had seemed to under-perform and crawl their way to a 5-2 record, while Brady and Tampa Bay had gained some traction since their Week 1 loss on the road in New Orleans, leading them to a 6-2 record. This made Tampa the clear favorite amongst many experts and analysts going into the game, and the result just proved to be another example that the experts are not always right. The Saints outmatched Brady and his Buccaneers from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Brees arguably had his best game of the season thus far, going 26/32 passing with 222 yards and four touchdowns. The New Orleans defense dominated the Brady-led offense, forcing 3 interceptions from the 43 year old veteran. The Buccaneers could muster just 194 total yards, including a mere eight on the ground. New Orleans gets the blowout win, 38-3, giving them a sweep over the Buccaneers in 2020. This is the first time Brady has ever been swept by a divisional opponent and is the worst loss of his career. New Orleans improved to 6-2 and now has a stronghold on the NFC South, and Tampa Bay falls to 6-3 and sits behind New Orleans in the division but holds a Wild Card spot as of now. Tampa has a lot of work left to do if they want to earn a first round bye come playoff time.

 

Here are the division standings after week 9:

 

AFC East

Buffalo Bills (7-2, 4-0)

Miami Dolphins (5-3, 1-2)

New England Patriots (3-5, 2-1)

New York Jets (0-9, 0-4)

 

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0, 2-0)

Baltimore Ravens (6-2, 2-1)

Cleveland Browns (5-3, 2-2)

Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1, 0-3)

 

AFC South

Tennessee Titans (6-2, 2-0)

Indianapolis Colts (5-2, 0-1)

Houston Texans (2-6, 2-1)

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7, 1-3)

 

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (8-1, 2-1)

Las Vegas Raiders ( 5-3, 2-0)

Denver Broncos (3-5, 1-1)

Los Angeles Chargers (2-6, 0-3)

 

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1, 2-1)

Washington Football Team (2-6, 2-2)

Dallas Cowboys (2-7, 1-2)

New York Giants (2-7, 1-2)

 

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (6-2, 2-1)

Chicago Bears (5-4, 1-0)

Minnesota Vikings (3-5, 2-1)

Detroit Lions (3-5, 0-3)

 

NFC South

New Orleans Saints (6-2, 3-0)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3, 1-2)

Atlanta Falcons (3-6, 1-1)

Carolina Panthers (3-6, 1-3)

 

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (6-2, 1-1)

Arizona Cardinals (5-3, 2-0)

Los Angeles Rams (5-3, 0-1)

San Francisco 49ers (4-5, 1-2)

 

(All stats and figures courtesy of ESPN.com)