NFL Recap: Week 9
By: Don Stuart
Another crazy week comes to a close in the NFL this season.
This season has been one of the hardest to figure out which teams are good and which teams are not. For example, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got throttled 56-14, losing to the Atlanta Falcons in week three. The very next week, the Bucs beat the Pittsburgh Steelers giving them their only win of the season. Pittsburgh is playing like they’re not going to lose another game for the rest of the season.
Ben Roethlisberger has been busy setting records, putting up 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games. Everybody should take a second and reread that last sentence to really understand how amazing those numbers are. Big Ben is playing in a contract year, meaning that after this season he will be a free agent. His looming free agency may have something to do with him playing at this unreal level.
Another team that we thought was a lock to make the playoffs, and is now coming off back-to-back losses, is the Dallas Cowboys. It seems like “America’s team” has found a way to finish 8-8 for the last 10 years. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but this was finally looking like the year that all the talent they have was going to come together and lead this team on a deep postseason run. With the way Demarco Murray and Dez Bryant were playing during Dallas’ six game winning streak, people thought of them as Super Bowl contenders. This could be in jeopardy now that Brandon Weeden is the starting quarterback. Tony Romo’s injury status is still unclear as to when he will return, but even if he returns in the next couple weeks there will surely be rust to shake off. Dallas will probably still make the playoffs, but they will need to be at full health if they want to make any noise once they get there.
Sticking with the NFC East, another team thought of as a potential contender this season has lost their starting quarterback for an undetermined amount of time, the Philadelphia Eagles. Nick Foles got hurt this weekend against the Houston Texans, which meant it was time for Mark Sanchez to make his return to the field. He actually played like a competent starting quarterback throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions as well, but he led the Eagles to the victory. This is another team that will probably be all right in the short term, but will need its starter back as soon as possible, otherwise things could get ugly. The Cowboys and Eagles have two big games against each other later this season, which will probably decide the winner of the division.
Probably the biggest game this week was Manning vs. Brady: Part 16. Going into this game, these two quarterbacks and their teams were the hottest in the NFL. It really was not a very good game. It never really felt like Denver was in it. New England swarmed Denver’s talented receiving core from the beginning with their impressive secondary. Manning still threw for over 400 yards, but the Patriots were playing solid defense throughout. Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski looked like he is back to the being one of the most dominant players in the league. It’s hard to argue that a healthy Gronk is not the best TE in the game and just impossible to stop at times. A healthy Gronk bodes well for this Patriots team, and after the way they manhandled Denver in Foxboro, they look like the best team in the NFL right now. This team will always be pretty efficient on offense, but what they did on the defensive end this offseason is bolster their weak secondary by adding Browner and Revis, two great cornerbacks. This team will be hard to beat.
Overall, Week 9 was an interesting week, as every week is in football, but there were a few blowout games that were never even close.
The surprising Miami Dolphins shutout Phillip Rivers and the Chargers 37-0 at home. The Kansas City Chiefs not surprisingly beat the embarrassing New York Jets by a couple of touchdowns 24-10. This brought the Jets to 1-8 on the season. Jets wide receiver Eric Decker was quoted saying via NJ.com, “We’re not a bad football team, we just do stupid stuff.” As hilarious as this quote is, coach Rex Ryan’s job is in serious trouble right now and could be fired by the time you are reading this.
This week closed with another blowout on Monday night as the other New York team got slaughtered again by Andrew Luck and the Colts. The Colts bounced back after getting dominated at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh last weekend and looked like the Colts from their five game winning streak. The Giants looked like the team that started the season 0-3 and has been hurt by injuries to two key players in Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz.
Maybe by next week we will have a better idea which teams are real contenders and which teams are just pretenders.