Can you believe we’re halfway through the 2014 NFL season? We can’t.
Some things were surprising this week, like the goose egg put up by San Diego against Miami and how boring the New England-Denver game became after the first quarter.
Other things came as less of a shock, such as the Jets continuing their losing streak and Taylor Swift’s recently released 1989 album being absolutely phenomenal.
Once again, Val wrote most of these game recaps because she’s a boss. Seriously, someone should hire this girl to do this kind of stuff. I just add the occasional sass.
This is what we thought about a shocking and not-so-shocking week 9 in the NFL…
New Orleans (28), Carolina (10) – The Saints broke their seven game road losing streak. New Orleans has looked like a different team than they were the first seven weeks of the season. The Saints are lucky they play in the weak NFC South, where at 4-4 they are in first place. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had another rough game. The Carolina defense is struggling and their offense isn’t powerful enough to carry the team. However, the Panthers do face the easiest remaining schedule in the league based on their opponents’ winning percentages.
Cincinnati (31), Jacksonville (23) – The Bengals were happy to have wide receiver AJ Green return to the line-up from injury. Bengals RB Giovanni Bernard was out for this game, but second stringer Jeremy Hill played well in his absence with two touchdowns. Former college quarterback and current Jax running back Dennard Robinson is trying to prove he is legit – he had over 100 yards for the third game in a row. Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles looked like he has the past few weeks – really good at times, and really bad at others.
Cleveland (22), Tampa Bay (17) – The Browns have now surpassed their win total from last year (4 games). It wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done. Brian Hoyer (Browns QB) had his ups and downs, and the Browns run game is struggling after the loss of center Alex Mack with a season ending injury. The poor Buccaneers – coach Lovie Smith admitted in his post-game press conference they are not a very good football team right now. Bucs QB Mike Glennon is trying his best but the offense (except for rookie WR Mike Evans) is not helping him out.
Arizona (28), Dallas (17) – Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo usually gets blamed when anything goes wrong with the Cowboys, but they can’t deny they need him. Back-up Brandon Weeden is not the answer. Dallas owner Jerry Jones expects Tony Romo to play next week, despite the back injuries he continues to accumulate. Dallas also suffered more injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which is bad for a unit that is already depleted. Their offensive line, which is the strongest part of their team, had their worst game of the season, which limited running back DeMarco Murray (he had been the first player in NFL history to rush for over 100 yards in eight consecutive games to start the season). Cardinals’ cornerback Patrick Peterson held Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant without a catch until garbage time (FYI – garbage time is when the game is essentially already decided – it’s clear which team is going to win and the losing team has no chance of coming back in the remaining time). Arizona’s defense dominated this game. Arizona is sitting at 7-1 and first in the NFC.
Philadelphia (31), Houston (21) – Injuries were the name of this game. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles broke his collarbone and will miss at least 6 to 8 weeks. Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans was carted off the field with a rumoured Achilles injury and will miss the rest of the season. Texans running back Arian Foster suffered a serious groin injury on a non-contact play. Another Eagles guard, Todd Herman, reinjured his elbow. QB Mark Sanchez came into the game when Nick Foles was knocked out and did a respectable job – this speaks to Coach Chip Kelly’s ability as a coach, as well as the fact that Sanchez wasn’t given the best opportunities his last two years with the Jets. On a positive note for the Eagles, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin became the first player since 2009 to post more than 150 yards receiving and multiple touchdowns in consecutive games. The man is going to get paid as a free agent this off-season. For the Texans, there are rumblings they should consider a quarterback change to backup Ryan Mallet, whom they traded from the Patriots. The Texans’ defense is too good to be held back by their quarterback play.
Kansas City (24), New York Jets (10) – A good word to describe Kansas City QB Alex Smith is “consistent.” However, consistency is the last word that describes the Jets’ quarterback situation. They benched Geno Smith this week in favor of back-up Michael Vick, who did not commit any turnovers, but sustained a head injury during the game. Coach Rex Ryan says Vick will still start next week if he is healthy. The Jets are benefitting from their trade to acquire wide receiver Percy Harvin from the Seahawks – a small consolation since their season is basically over at 1-8.
Miami (37), San Diego (0) – San Diego has lost three games in a row, and this was the first game Philip Rivers was shut-out in his career. He did suffer a hand injury, but would have continued to play to the end if the game was not out of reach. The Chargers’ offensive line injuries are taking their toll on this offense. Both teams are having running back issues – Miami keeps losing theirs to injuries, and San Diego is still waiting for their starting running back Ryan Mathews to come back from injury. Miami’s defense is legit – they have held four of their last five opponents to 14 points or less.
Minnesota (29), Washington, (26) – Washington QB RG3 returned from injury – he started hot, but then flamed out. His mobility on his hurt ankle wasn’t the issue – it was more that he held the ball too long and his passes were off-target. His return did help running back Alfred Morris have one of his better games this season since the Vikings had to account for both players taking off to run. Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater has a long way to go, but didn’t make any big mistakes.
St. Louis (13), San Francisco (10) – The Rams won this game with nine seconds to go – up 13 to 10, the 49ers tried a quarterback sneak at the goal line. The snap to QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t clean – he dove into the pile of bodies, fumbled the ball, and the Rams recovered. Rams third string QB Austin Davis (playing because their first two quarterbacks are injured) has regressed since he took over starting duties. It’s fortunate for him the Rams defense has stepped up their game. They had six sacks coming into today’s game but sacked 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick eight times in this game. Ouch. The 49ers are now 2-2 in their brand new stadium since the season started. Even though they were a favorite, things are not looking good for them in the playoff race.
New England (43), Denver (21) – Brady vs Manning – round 16 between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. They threw for 110 passes combined, which is the most in a non-OT game in NFL history, and surprising, considering the windy weather in Foxborough. (Michelle can attest to the fact that it snowed earlier in the day and was freakishly cold.) This was Peyton Manning’s worst regular season loss as a Bronco (22 points) – in his post-game press conference he said, “I stunk today.” The Patriots have averaged over 40 points a game since they were blown out in week 4 in Kansas City. New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is a one-man wrecking crew. He became the fifth player in NFL history with 50 touchdown passes in his first five seasons. This game will have play-off implications in terms of home field advantage. However, the Broncos have already passed the toughest portion of their schedule, while the Patriots are just beginning theirs.
Seattle (30), Oakland (24) – Oakland’s three turnovers handed the game to Seattle, otherwise it would have been a lot closer. Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns – the Seahawks always play better when they lean on the man whose nickname is “Skittles” (for his love of the candy, of course). Seattle has injuries along its offensive line, and Oakland’s pass rush (the guys going after the other team’s quarterback) applied pressure to Russell Wilson all day. Oakland remains the last winless team in the NFL. So sad.
Pittsburgh (43), Baltimore (23) – Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw six touchdown passes in back-to-back games. He’s helped by wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is on fi-yah. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin compared his wide receivers group to Kool and the Gang, with Antonio Brown being Kool and the rest of the wide receivers making up the gang. Seems accurate to me. On Pittsburgh’s defensive side, lineback James Harrison has added the spunk they were missing since he unretired in September to help the Steelers overcome injuries. The Ravens had looked good as of late, but this loss dropped them to last place in the AFC North division. It’s crazy how competitive the AFC North is.
Indianapolis (40), New York Giants (24) – Colts quarterback Andrew Luck passed for over 300 yards for his seventh consecutive game. His numbers are gaudy – he has a career high 26 touchdowns as he enters the team’s bye week and is the fourth quarterback in history with 3,000 passing yards over the first nine games of the season. If he keeps this up, he will break Peyton Manning’s single season record for passing yards. The Giants resembled the team that started the season – couldn’t get much going on offense, plus they suffered more injuries on the defensive side of the ball.
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– Val and Michelle