Week 9 saw the Steelers continue to roll towards the top of the AFC North, even without Le’Veon Bell. In addition, the Falcons keep showing they’re better than what their record shows, Demaryius Thomas got revenge on his former team, the Saints knocked the Rams off their undefeated pedestal and Tom Brady settled the argument over who is the GOAT…..for now.
Let’s get started!
Pittsburgh 23-16 Baltimore
A divisional matchup between AFC North rivals kicked off the early set of games in Week 9. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens both sat locked at the top of the division with four wins each and the winner of this taking that top spot with the Bengals. The Ravens have been slumping as of late while the Steelers have won two straight.
Baltimore got on the board first with a 10-play 66-yard drive capping it all off with a 23-yard Justin Tucker field goal and the 3-0 lead. The Steelers matched that and more marching down the field for 61 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for 11 yards then JuJu Smith-Schuster for 18. They capped the drive off with a 7-yard dump pass from Roethlisberger to James Conner for the TD and 7-3 lead.
The Steelers took the ball back to start the second quarter and went 75 yards to the end zone for the 11-point lead. The drive lead by James Conner who collected 41 yards on the drive before Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown on a 6-yard screen pass to the end zone for the 14-3 lead.
The Ravens would add another field goal for the 14-6 lead at halftime. The Steelers took the ball to open the second half and turned it into points. They ran 15 plays while driving 75 yards to the end zone. Big Ben was methodical while picking apart the Raven’s secondary. He took the offence down to the 1-yard line before he took it the rest of the way for the score and 21-6 lead.
However, Baltimore would answer back with a scoring drive of their own. Joe Flacco hit Hayden Hurst with a 21-yard pass on way to the end zone before handing off to Alex Collins who bounced it to the outside for the 1-yard TD run cutting the lead down to 21-13.
Both teams would add field goals late in the second half setting up Pittsburgh with a 23-16 lead with 44 seconds left in the game. The Steelers defence stood tall forcing a turnover on downs with eight seconds left sealing the win for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh held control over this one from start to finish. They outgained the Ravens 395 yards to 268. They held Baltimore to just 61 yards on the ground while holding them to 33% on third downs. The Steelers are now looking to separate themselves from the rest of the AFC North while in a fight with Cincinnati.
John Harbaugh was already rumoured to be on the hot seat going into this game; now, things could get much worse for the Ravens who have now lost three in a row and sit at 4-5.
PIT: B.Roethlisberger: 28/47 270YDs 2TDs J.Conner: 24CAR 107YDs J.Smith-Schuster: 7CAT 78YDs
BAL: J.Flacco: 23/37 209YDs W.Snead: 7CAT 58YDs M.Andrews: 3CAT 50YDs
Atlanta 38-14 Washington
Washington has had a solid start to the year with a 5-2 record and sitting atop the NFC East. They took on the Atlanta Falcons who despite playing well this year have plummeted towards the bottom of the NFC South with a 3-4 record. This game quickly became a must win if they wanted any chance to fight back into playoff contention. The win was just as important for Washington as the Eagles were right behind them in the division and finding their stride.
The Falcons took their first drive of the game 81 yards on seven plays to get into the end zone for the early lead. After a 23-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Austin Hooper, Ryan hit Tevin Coleman for the 39-yard TD pass and the 7-0 lead.
Atlanta drove back down the field on their drive ending up on the Washington 28-yard line. Washington took the ball back however with a Quinton Dunbar interception. Fortunately for Ryan and the Falcons, the turnover only resulted in a punt.
Later into the second quarter Ryan drove back down the field and after hitting Julio Jones for 26 yards and Austin Hooper for another 20, Ito Smith ran the ball into the end zone from 12 yards out for the 14-0 lead.
Washington would finally get something going on their next drive. Alex Smith took the team on an efficient march for 80 yards and getting into the end zone. Smith would find Josh Doctson for a 2-yard TD trimming the lead down to 14-7.
But just before the end of the half Matt Ryan would take those points right back. With the help of a 15-yard PI penalty, the Falcons ended up on the Washington 40-yard line. Ryan then hit Calvin Ridley for the 40-yard TD and the 21-7 halftime lead.
Atlanta kept pouring it on. They took the ball to open the second half and drove right into the end zone. It only took eight plays, but they moved 75 yards with Matt Ryan moving the ball efficiently chewing up five minutes off the clock. The drive ended with a 10-yard swing pass to Coleman for the score and 28-7 lead.
Washington tried to make it close; both 33 and 15-yard passes from Smith to Maurice Harris and a 17-yarder to Vernon Davis led to points. Two plays after the Davis gain Kapri Bibbs bounced one to the outside for the 3-yard TD and the 28-14 score.
But it wasn’t enough as Atlanta added a field goal, then after an interception thrown by Alex Smith to Damontae Kazee, Ryan would hit Julio Jones for a 35-yard TD sealing the 38-14 Atlanta win.
The Falcons came up with the impressive win they needed it, while they continue to show they are much better than what their record shows. They now move to 4-4 trying to stay in reach of Carolina and New Orleans.
Washington was looking impressive as they moved their way up to the top of the NFC East with a 5-2 record. They still look good at 5-3 but after a one-sided loss like this they have some work to do.
ATL: M.Ryan: 26/38 350YDs 4TD 1INT T.Coleman: 13CAR 88YDs J.Jones: 7CAT 121YDs 1TD C.Ridley: 6CAT 71YDs 1TD
WSH: A.Smith: 30/46 306YDs 1TD 1INT M.Harris: 10CAT 124YDs
Houston 19-17 Denver
The Houston Texans have been on fire winning four in a row with an offence that’s been rolling. They lost Will Fuller in their Week 8 win but made a trade at the deadline for Demaryius Thomas. That was the key to this matchup. Thomas would quickly be facing his former team in the Denver Broncos who needed a win to keep their Wild Card hopes alive.
The Texans jumped out to the early start on the opening drive getting into the end zone and using his new weapon to do it. Deshaun Watson hit Demaryius Thomas for a 31-yard gain then again for 18 yards before finding Jordan Thomas for the 7-yard TD and 7-0 lead.
After Denver added a field goal the Texans drove down to the Denver 19-yard line but would give the ball back rather than get points. On a 4th and 1 Watson would hand off to Alfred Blue who would be stuffed on a -1-yard gain. BUT! Denver gave the ball right back!
On their second play after the turnover on downs, Case Keenum dumped a pass off to Devontae Booker who fumbled on the tackle with it being recovered by Houston. Three plays later Watson found DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone for the 16-yard TD and after a missed PAT the 13-3 lead.
The Broncos jumped back into the game later in the second quarter. They drove down the field for 82 yards on just four plays as Keenum threw a 44-yard bomb to Matt LaCosse setting them up at the Houston 43. Four plays later Booker took it off the edge for the 14-yard TD trimming the lead down to 13-10.
Houston added a field goal for the 16-10 halftime lead. After both teams exchanged drives in the second quarter Denver found a rhythm and put together a solid drive halfway through the quarter. Keenum took the offence 86 yards in just under six minutes.
Keenum picked the secondary apart before squeezing one into Jeff Heuerman for the 12-yard TD and taking the 17-16 lead. Houston took the lead back on the next drive. Watson took his team 51 yards down the field setting up a 37-yard Kai Fairbairn field goal and a 19-17 lead.
The entire fourth quarter was a flurry of punts until the last drive of the game. Denver moved 68 yards on 14 plays setting up a 51-yard field goal attempt for Brandon McManus with three seconds left but he pushed it wide right resulting in the 19-17 Texans win.
Demaryius Thomas got the best of his former team less than a week after being traded. The star receiver had just 61 yards through the air, but his team was able to come out with the victory. The Broncos crushed Houston in yards outgaining them 348-290 and a better 3rd down %.
But the Texans defence came up big when they needed to and kept the Broncos quiet through the first half. Denver almost completed the comeback but instead now sit in a hole at 3-6 while the Texans are safe atop the AFC South at 6-3.
HOU: D.Watson: 17/24 213YDs 2TDs D.Hopkins: 10CAT 105YDs 1TD D.Thomas: 3CAT 61YDs
DEN: C.Keenum: 26/42 290YDs 1TD P.Lindsay: 17CAR 60YDs J.Heuerman: 10CAT 83YDs 1TD
LA Rams 35-45 New Orleans
The game of the week and possibly the year up to this point saw the LA Rams take on the New Orleans Saints. Both teams’ offence’s have been lighting it up all year with the Rams looking like they might be the best team in football. LA looked to stay undefeated, while Drew Brees and company were looking to be the first to hand them a loss. Let the fireworks begin!!
The Saints were the first to put up points on their opening drive. Drew Brees took the offence 75 yards down the field helped with a 4th and 1 trick play where Taysom Hill looked for a pass but decided to take off for the first down run instead. Three plays later Alvin Kamara took it 11 yards for the TD and 7-0 lead.
LA answered back with a scoring drive of their own. After Jared Goff found Tyler Higbee for a 33-yard gain before Todd Gurley took it in for an 8-yard TD tying the game at 7-7. But as if Drew Brees wouldn’t have something to say about that!
Brees took his team on an 8-play drive leading to a 16-yard TD pass to Kamara and the 14-7 lead. But just before the end of the first quarter Goff threw a 48-yard bomb to Brandin Cooks setting up another pass to Cooks. This time it was a 4-yard pass into the back of the end zone for the score and 14-14 tie early in the second quarter.
The Rams looked to add to that score with a field goal, but they faked the kick and Johnny Hekker took off towards the sideline stretching out for the first down. He was ruled short and even after review the play stood as called, despite it looking like he stretched out for the first.
The Saints took over at their own 13-yard line and took it 87 yards to the end zone. The drive was highlighted by a beautiful leaping catch by Benjamin Watson where he fought the defender for possession resulting in a 32-yard gain. Three plays later Brees threw a dart to Tre’Quan Smith at the goal line for the score and 21-14 lead.
More scoring before the half! First, the Rams missed a 51-yard field goal. Then Brees took the offence back down the field with 3:30 left. After eating up 46 yards, Brees threw a beautiful floater off his back foot to Benjamin Watson for the 13-yard TD and 28-14 lead.
Goff was then picked off leading to even more Saints’ points. Brees took off for 11 yards while also hitting Michael Thomas for a 19-yard gain before Kamara took it in from a yard out for the 35-14 lead. But with 26 seconds left Jared Goff worked some magic setting up a 34-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal and the 35-17 half-time score.
You’d be crazy to count the Rams out. LA took their first drive of the second half 77 yards down the field when Goff found Robert Woods for 29 yards on two passes and Brandin Cooks on one for 15 before he dumped one off to Malcolm Brown. Brown tip-toed the sideline just sneaking the ball over the cone for the 18-yard TD cutting the lead down to 35-24.
Greg Zuerlein made it an eight-point game with a 34-yard field goal after Brandin Cooks made a miraculous catch, scooping the ball just inches off the turf. Then after forcing another Saints punt, the Rams jumped right back in the game. It took just six plays with the last being a 41-yard pass to Cooper Kupp who took it down the sideline for the score and after a two-point convert the 35-35 tie.
Drew Brees and the Saints would have the last laugh, however. Wil Lutz kicked a 54-yard field goal for the three-point lead with six minutes left. Then after a Rams punt, Brees threw a 72-yard strike to Michael Thomas over a stretched-out Marcus Peters. Thomas took it into the end zone for the 45-35 lead and celebrated by pulling an old flip-phone out from under the upright ala Joe Horn in 2003.
The Saints defence stood tall the rest of the way sealing the victory and handing the Rams their first loss of the season. This matchup was everything everyone had hoped it would be. Explosive and exciting from start to finish.
The Rams fought back after finding themselves down early, but Drew Brees continues to have a masterful season but showing no one can keep up with him. Here’s hoping this was an NFC Championship preview.
NO: D.Brees: 25/36 346YDs 4TDs A.Kamara: 19CAR 82YDs 2TDs 4CAT 34YDs 1TD M.Thomas: 12CAT 211YDs 1TD B.Watson: 3CAT 62YDs 1TD
LA: J.Goff: 28/40 391YDs 3TDs 1INT T.Gurley: 13CAR 68YDs 1TD B.Cooks: 6CAT 114YDs 1TD C.Kupp: 5CAT 89YDs 1TD R.Woods: 5CAT 71YDs
Green Bay 17-31 New England
The battle of the GOATs! Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers took on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. This was only the second time these two legendary quarterbacks faced off with one another, and they were sure not to disappoint.
The Pats took their opening drive 59 yards down the field on 10 plays highlighted by Brady picking the secondary apart with 10 and 14-yard passes to James White before Brady pitched it out to White for the 8-yard TD run aa nd 7-0 lead.
Both teams added field goals towards the end of the first half before the Packers got back into the end zone. Rodgers took the team on a 13-play 74-yard drive. He found Davante Adams for a 10-yard gain before setting up at the 2-yard line. Rodgers then scrambled around before hitting Adams again this time in the end zone for the TD and the 10-10 tie.
The Pats took those points right back with the lead just before the half. James White would be hurt on the drive so Cordarrelle Patterson took over with 25, 17, and 8-yard runs leading to a 5-yard TD run by Patterson and the 17-10 lead.
Packers Safety Jermaine Whitehead was ejected during the drive for connecting on an open-hand slap to the head of Pats O-lineman David Andrews. It was an offense deserving of a flag, but the ejection seemed to be overdone. The 17-10 New England lead would carry into halftime.
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers put their foot down to start the second half. On a 3rd and 6, Rodgers threw a 51-yard bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling to the New England 21-yard line. Four plays later Rodgers threw one to Jimmy Graham into the corner of the end zone for the 17-17 tie.
Let the battle of the GOATs continue! Brady took his team down the field to match Rodgers. Or did he? They ran 12 plays moving 66 yards. After a pass-interference penalty put the Pats at the 1-yard line it looked like Cordarrelle Patterson got into the end zone but after review, it was determined he was down at the 1.
After a Brady incompletion set up a 4th and 1, Bill Belichick opted to go for it. Brady threw one up to Josh Gordon, but it bounced off the defenders’ helmet for an incompletion and turnover on downs.
New England would push for some momentum to open the fourth quarter by forcing the first turnover of the game. Aaron Jones took a handoff from Rodgers and on the tackle, he fumbled the ball which was recovered by Stephon Gilmore giving the Pats possession at their own 24-yard line.
They took that turnover and turned it into points. A trick play where Brady threw it out to Julian Edelman who then threw it back to James White, where White took it 37 yards down to the 1-yard line. Three plays later White took it the rest of the way for the score and 24-17 lead.
After the New England defence forced a three-and-out Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does. He looked the depleted Green Bay secondary off on a fake to the screen leaving Josh Gordon open down the seam where Brady hit the former Browns’ receiver for a 55-yard TD and 31-17 lead.
On Green Bays next drive Aaron Rodgers ran out of magic throwing an incompletion on 4th and 4 allowing the Patriots to kill the clock and seal the 31-17 victory. Tom Brady won this battle of the GOATs, but you know Aaron Rodgers will bounce back.
It was a very even game throughout and without the costly fumble the Packers very well could have found their way back into this one. They couldn’t capitalize enough in the middle portion of the game as well and when you’re playing Tom Brady you can’t make mistakes and need to capitalize on every opportunity.
NE: T.Brady: 22/35 294YDs 1TD C.Patterson: 11CAR 61YDs 1TD J.White: 12CAR 31YDs 2TDs 6CAT 72YDs J.Gordon: 5CAT 130YDs 1TD J.Edelman: 6CAT 71YDs
GB: A.Rodgers: 24/43 259YDs 2TDs A.Jones: 14CAR 76YDs M.Valdes-Scantling: 3CAT 101YDs J.Graham: 4CAT 55YDs 1TD
Oakland 3-34 San Francisco
N.Mullens: 16/22 262YDs 3TDs R.Mostert: 7CAR 86YDs 1TD G.Kittle: 4CAT 108YDs 1TD/D.Carr: 16/21 171YDs D.Martin: 11CAR 49YDs J.Richard: 4CAT 45YDs
Chicago 41-9 Buffalo
M.Trubisky: 12/20 135YDs 1TD 1INT J.Howard: 14CAR 47YDs 2TDs A.Miller: 5CAT 49/N.Peterman: 31/49 189YDs 3INTs 8CAR 46YDs 1TD L.Thomas: 7CAT 40YDs
**CHI two defensive touchdowns
Tampa Bay 28-42 Carolina
C.Newton: 19/25 247YDs 2TDs C.McCaffrey: 17CAR 79YDs 2TDs 5CAT 78YDs G.Olsen: 6CAT 76YDs 1TD/R.Fitzpatrick: 24/40 243YDs 4TDs 2INTs A.Humphries: 8CAT 82YDs 2TDs
Kansas City 37-21 Cleveland
P.Mahomes: 23/32 375YDs 3TDs 1INT K.Hunt: 17CAR 91YDs 2TDs T.Kelce: 7CAT 99YDs 2TDs/B.Mayfield: 29/42 297YDs 2TDs 1INT N.Chubb: 22CAR 85YDs 1TD D.Johnson: 9CAT 78YDs 2TDs
NY Jets 6-13 Miami
B.Osweiler: 15/24 139YDs F.Gore: 20CAR 53YDs D.Amendola: 5CAT 47YDs/S.Darnold: 21/39 229YDs 4INTs I.Crowell: 13CAR 49YDs C.Herndon: 4CAT 62YDs
Detroit 9-24 Minnesota
K.Cousins: 18/22 164YDs 1TD 1INT D.Cook: 10CAR 89YDs L.Murray: 10CAR 31YDs 1TD/M.Stafford: 25/36 199YDs K.Johnson: 12CAR 37YDs M.Jones: 6CAT 66YDs
**DET fired Special Teams Coordinator Joe Marciano after loss
LA Chargers 25-17 Seattle
P.Rivers: 13/26 228YDs 2TDs M.Gordon: 16CAR 113YDs 1TD K.Allen: 6CAT 124YDs/R.Wilson: 26/39 235YDs 2TDs 1INT M.Davis: 15CAR 62YDs D.Baldwin: 4CAT 77YDs
**C.Carson left with hip injury
Tennessee 28-14 Dallas
M.Mariota: 21/29 240YDs 2TDs D.Lewis: 19CAR 62YDs 4CAT 60YDs 1TD C.Davis: 6CAT 56YDs/D.Prescott: 21/31 243YDs 2TDs 1INT E.Elliott: 17CAR 61YDs 4CAT 51YDs A.Cooper: 5CAT 58YDs 1TD
BYE: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, NY Giants, Philadelphia
1.Chiefs (8-1) 2.Chargers (6-2) 3.Broncos (3-6) 4.Raiders (1-7)
1.Patriots (7-2) 2. Dolphins (5-4) 3.Jets (3-6) 4.Bills (2-7)
1. Texans (6-3) 2.Titans (4-4) 3.Jaguars (3-5) 4.Colts (3-5)
1.Steelers (5-2-1) 2.Bengals (5-3) 3.Ravens (4-5) 4.Browns (2-6-1)
1.Rams (8-1) 2.Seahawks (4-4) 3.Cardinals (2-6) 4.49ers (2-7)
1.Washington (5-3) 2.Eagles (4-4) 3.Cowboys (3-5) 4.Giants (1-7)
1.Saints (7-1) 2.Panthers (6-2) 3.Falcons (4-4) 4.Buccaneers (3-5)
1.Bears (5-3) 2.Vikings (5-3-1) 3.Packers (3-4-1) 4.Lions (3-5)