Week 9 was scheduled as arguably the best plethora of fixtures we’ll witness all season, and it sure lived up to its reputation. Despite advancing past the half way point in the season, the NFL continues to excite. This week was topped off by the incredible matchup that featured Tom Brady facing Aaron Rodgers for potentially the last time in their careers. It sure doesn’t get much better than that!
Steelers rule the North
The Steelers produced a defensive masterclass against divisional rivals the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday, which led to a 23-16 victory.
James Conner was once again impressive, contributing 163 all purpose yards and a touchdown. Likewise, Ben Roethlisberger successfully pulled the Steelers ahead with two touchdown passes and 270 passing yards on the day.
The defence, however, were exceptional in preventing third down completions, as well as providing excellent coverage. The ability to stop the Ravens’ run game was ultimately the sealing factor in the game.
The Steelers improve their stronghold in the AFC North. On the other hand, the Ravens appear to be out of contention with a 4-5 record.
Kamara shines again
Alvin Kamara was the standout player this week with his exquisite performance in the Saints’ win over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams.
Kamara was absolutely unplayable in the best game of the week. He produced 82 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, as well as providing a useful outlet in the pass game for Drew Brees with four receptions for 34 yards and another touchdown.
The win for the Saints improves their record to 7-1 and snaps the Rams’ unbeaten streak in the process.
Monday Night Football
The conclusion of week 9 featured the Tennessee Titans travelling to Dallas to face the Cowboys. Both teams were in desperate need of a victory but the Titans got the last laugh, emerging victorious 14-28.
Marcus Mariota was almost flawless in the pocket, throwing the ball for 240 yards and three touchdowns whilst producing a pass completion percentage of 72.9%. Additionally, the defence were also superb as Jayon Brown forced a fumble and Kevin Byard intercepted Dak Prescott.
Speaking of Prescott, he did produce two touchdowns and 243 yards, however, the turnovers destroyed any chances the Cowboys had of winning the game. They are now 3-5 for the season and look like a team in turmoil.
Chargers see off Seahawks
The Los Angeles Chargers improved their chances of being a contender in the AFC, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 17-25 at Century Link Field.
Melvin Gordon accepted the majority of the workload on his return to football as he amassed 113 rushing yards on 16 carries including a touchdown. In addition, Keenan Allen had another 100+ yard game connecting well with Philip Rivers who threw two touchdowns in the game.
Falcons flock in Washington
The Atlanta Falcons led by Matt Ryan destroyed the Washington Redskins 14-38 at FedEx Field, which sees them improve to 4-4.
Matt Ryan was by far the MVP of the game with four touchdowns and 350 passing yards. Not to be outdone, Julio Jones caught his first touchdown pass to the season and was the leading receiver with 121 yards. Tevin Coleman had a fantastic game also, catching two touchdowns as well as accumulating 156 total yards.
Redskins’ flaws were on full display, with Alex Smith proving once again that he is not an elite quarterback.
Brady vs. Rodgers
The battle of the 12s stole the headlines of week 9, what with it being potentially the last game between the two unless they meet at the Super Bowl. This time, Tom Brady brought home the bragging rights.
He completed 22 of 35 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown. Ironically, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was the leading rusher on the team with 61 yards and one touchdown, proving Belichick’s “next man up” method is still well and truly alive.
Aaron Rodgers was certainly determined in his efforts, throwing for two touchdowns and 259 yards. However, his poor completion percentage led to one too many failed third downs.
The Packers are now 3-5-1 for the season as their chances of capturing the NFC North title slowly disappear.