Thursday night kicked off Week 9 in the NFL with a matchup between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts. Zach Wilson is still sidelined with a sprained PCL and while he continues to recover his knee, replacement Mike White has been making quite the name for himself as well. After a great showing against the Bengals last week, White stayed on the same impressive path until an arm collision early in the game bruised a nerve and left him unable to finish the game. White completed seven of his 11 attempts for 95 yards and scored a touchdown before handing the reins over to Josh Johnson. Johnson had a fairly successful outing as well, throwing 27 of 41 for 317 yards, threw three touchdown passes and one interception. Michael Carter led in rushing with 13 carries for 49 yards and had one reception for 37 yards. Elijah Moore had seven catches for 84 yards and scored twice for the Jets. Consistency was difficult for New York however, although Ty Johnson lost a fumble, he still made himself useful at times catching two passes for 40 yards.Ryan Griffin also scored on his four catches for 28 yards. Indianapolis, on the other hand, has just been rolling lately. Carson Wentz went 22 of 30 for 272 yards and three scores. Jonathan Taylor was also outstanding, carrying 19 times for 172 yards and two scores. Joining Taylor in the backfield was Nyheim Hines whose six carries resulted in 74 yards and a touchdown. Michael Pittman Jr. led in the air with five receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown while Danny Pinter and Jack Doyle were each able to catch a pass in the endzone with minimal touches. Although New York gave a good effort, the day would belong to Indianapolis with a final score of 30-45.
Sunday afternoon’s action came with the battle of Ohio as the Browns traveled downstate to face the Bengals. Baker Mayfield went 14 of 21 throwing 218 yards and scored two touchdowns. Nick Chubb played absolutely out of his mind and pulled in 137 yards on 14 carries including two touchdown runs. Donovan Peoples Jones caught two passes for 86 yards and a touchdown and David Njoku scored on an 18 yard reception. John Johnson III had an interception for a 31 yard return and Denzel Ward took a pick 99 yards to the house for six. Joe Burrow had a bit of a slump week, throwing 28 of 40 for 282 yards and the two aforementioned interceptions. Joe Mixon did what he could to pick up the slack. Mixon had 13 carries for 64 yards, punched two in for touchdowns on the ground and had five catches for 46 yards. Tee Higgins had six catches for 78 yards and Ja’marr Chase caught another six for 49 yards and lost one fumble. Cincinnati was just flat outplayed in this game and Cleveland would take the victory 41-16.
The day only grew stranger as it went on as the Broncos traveled to Texas to take on the Cowboys. Teddy Bridgewater went 19 of 28 for 249 yards, scored through the air and snuck in another touchdown on the ground. Javonte Williams ran for 111 yards on 17 carries and Melvin Gordon scored once on 21 carries for 80 yards. Tim Patrick was also a huge help for Denver, catching four passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Dallas struggled on several fronts in the game. Dak Prescott threw 19 of 39 for 232 yards, scored twice but also threw an interception. Ezekiel Elliott took 10 carries for 51 yards and Dalton Schultz had four receptions for 54 yards. One bright point for the Cowboys was Malik Turner, who was able to complete five catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns but it would not be enough to keep up and the Broncos would win 30-16.
The insanity continued as the Texans arrived in Miami to take on the Dolphins. Tyrod Taylor continues at the helm for Houston while the Deshawn Watson saga continues. Taylor went 24 of 43 for 240 yards and three interceptions. Houston was never really able to get things going on the ground, as Phillip Lindsay led rushers with eight carries for 28 yards. Brandin Cooks had 6 receptions for 56 yards and Danny Amendola had three catches for 49 yards. Things were not much more attractive for the home team. Miami has seen its share of injuries already in the first half of competition and Week 9 was no exception. Tua Tagovailoa was sidelined with a fracture on his middle finger so Jacobi Brissett took the role of starter once again. Brissett went 26 of 43 for 244 yards, did throw one touchdown pass but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Myles Gaskin had 20 carries for 34 yards, scored but also lost a fumble. Ball handling was a major issue for Miami as Jevon Holland lost a fumble as well. Jaylen Waddle had eight receptions for 83 yards and Mack Hollins scored on his three catches for 22 yards. Through all of their struggles, the Dolphins were able to pull enough together to beat the Texans 9-17.
Atlanta took on New Orleans with another unexpected outcome. Matt Ryan went 23 of 30 for 343 yards, scored twice in the air, carried five balls for eight yards and punched in a touchdown rush. Cordelle Patterson had nine carries for 10 yards and six receptions for 126 yards. Mike Davis had nine carries for 13 yards and Russell Gage had seven catches for 64 yards. Even Kyle Pitts got into the fun with 12 yards but Olamide Zaccheus stole the show with 58 yards and two touchdowns in just three receptions. Younghoe Koo was spot on, going perfect on two field goals and three extra point attempts. After a season ending ACL injury to Jameis Winston, Trevor Siemian took the helm for the Saints. Siemian went 25 of 41 for 249 yards, threw two touchdown passes but also lost a fumble. Alvin Kamara led both the rushing and air attacks with 13 carries for 50 yards, rushed for a touchdown and caught four passes for 54 yards. Mark Ingrahm had nine carries for 43 yards and five receptions for 21 yards. Tre’quan Smith and Deonte Harris each had over 50 receiving yards while Kenny Stills and Marquez Callaway each scored on a combined 55 yards in the air. Though both teams fought hard, the game was decided by a field goal by Younghoe Koo as time expired, giving Atlanta the victory 27-25.
The Raiders traveled to the Big Apple to face the Giants in yet another bizarre matchup. Derek Carr threw 30 of 46 for 296 yards, a touchdown pass, two interceptions and lost a fumble. Josh Jacobs led rushers with 13 carries for 76 yards. Darren Waller caught seven receptions for 92 yards, Kenyan Drake had six receptions for 70 yards and Hunter Renfroe scored once on seven catches for 49 yards. For the Giants, Daniel Jones went 15 of 20 throwing 110 yards, scored a touchdown but lost a fumble. Devonte Booker led the ground game with 21 carries for 99 yards. Evan Engram had three catches for 38 yards and a score and Xavier Mckinney had a pick six giving the Giants the edge they needed to win the game 16-23.
Carolina hosted New England on Sunday. Mac Jones threw a conservative 12 of 18 for 139 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Rhamondre Stevenson led in both offensive categories with 10 carries for 62 yards and two receptions for 54 yards. Damien Harris scored on the ground on his 15 carries for 30 yards and Hunter Henry had a touchdown catch on his two catches for 19 yards. The Panthers struggled quite a bit in this game. Sam Darnold only completed 16 of 33 passes for 172 yards and threw three interceptions. Christian McCaffrey led rushing with 14 carries and receiving with four receptions for 54 yards. Outside of McCaffrey and Chubba Hubbard, who recorded three yards from as many carries and a 33-yard catch, the Panthers were mostly stagnant and gave the Patriots a 24-6 win.
The weirdness really hit a fever pitch when the Bills traveled south to take on the Jaguars. Josh Allen had mixed results in almost unrecognizable fashion at times. Allen went 31 of 47 on 264 yards and threw two interceptions. He also led rushers with 5 carries for 50 yards but lost a fumble. Stefon Diggs caught six passes for 85 yards and Emmanuel Sanders received four balls for 65 yards. Things were not much prettier for Jacksonville. Trevor Lawrence went 15 of 26 for 118 yards. Carlos Hyde led on the ground with 21 carries for 67 yards and lost a fumble. Dan Arnold notably had four receptions for 60 yards but the most entertaining part of this competition was Josh Allen of the Jaguars intercepting a pass from Josh Allen of the Bills. After a back and forth duel of kickers, Jacksonville would come up with their first victory on American soil this season beating Buffalo 6-9.
The Baltimore Ravens hosted the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon with a slight sense of normality. Kirk Cousins went 17 of 28 for 187 yards, scored twice on the ground and carried in a touchdown as well. Dalvin Cook carried the ball 17 times for 110 yards. Adam Thielan scored once along with Justin Jefferson who led in receptions with 69 yards on three catches. Kene Nwangwu had two kick returns for 121 total yards, one of which he took 98 yards to the house. The Ravens looked very much on brand. Whenever something was shut down on offense, Baltimore shifted in a different direction. Lamar Jackson threw 27 of 41 for 266 yards, three touchdowns, led on the ground with 21 carries for 120 yards but did lose two interceptions. Devonta Freeman had 13 carries for 79 yards and scored on two receptions for four yards. Le’veon Bell carried 11 times for 48 yards and a touchdown. Marquise Brown led in the air with nine catches for 116 yards. Patrick Ricard had three catches for 35 yards and Devin Duvernay had eight yards on a few carries, each player scoring. Justin Tucker was his automatic self and was able to put the game away for the Ravens 31-34.
The Los Angeles Chargers took to the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Justin Herbert looked absolutely amazing, going 32 of 38 for 356 yards, scoring twice through the air and again on the ground via five carries for 14 yards. The ground game for the Chargers was split up between Austin Ekeler with 17 carries for 59 yards and Keenan Allen with 12 receptions for 104 yards. Mike Williams had two catches for 58 yards. Donald Parham had three catches for 39 yards and scored along with Stephen Anderson who had four catches for 39 yards himself. Philadelphia put on a good show as well with one of their best games this season. Jalen Hurts was efficient with 11 of 17 for 162 yards, threw a touchdown pass and had 10 carries for 62 yards. Jordan Howard led on the ground with 17 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Kenneth Gainwell also scored on his pair of carries. Devonta Smith led in the air with five catches for 116 yards and a score and Dallas Goedart had three receptions for 43 yards. Although Philadelphia was able to hang around until the end, Los Angeles took this game by a field goal 27-24.
The Green Bay Packers traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined with COVID, Jordan Love took his shot at the helm. Love went 19 of 34 for 190 yards and threw a touchdown and an interception. Aaron Jones had 12 carries for 53 and with a wounded Davante Adams, A.J. Dillon pulled double duty with eight carries for 46 yards and caught four passes for 44 yards. Randall Cobb had three catches for 50 yards and Allen Lazard scored on a 20 yard catch. Patrick Mahomes went 20 of 37 for 166 yards and a touchdown pass. Darrell Williams led the Chiefs in rushing with 19 carries for 70 yards. Travis Kelce had five receptions for 68 yards and a score. Neither team looked like themselves for one reason or another. For the Packers you can lend it to Love’s first game jitters and working through an entire game. Kansas City seems to be still trying to find their identity after a miserable start but was able to pull it together enough for this game and the Chiefs win this one 7-13.
In an NFC West matchup, Arizona faced off against San Francisco. Kyler Murray was sidelined in the game for an ankle injury sustained against the Packers last week. Taking the place of Murray was Colt McCoy who went 22 of 26 for 249 yards and a touchdown. James Connor had 21 carries for 96 yards, scored twice on the ground and caught another from his five catches for 77 yards. Eno Benjamin had nine carries for 39 yards and a score. Christian Kirk caught six passes for 91 yards and Antoine Wesley had three catches for 62 yards. On the San Francisco side, Jimmy Garroppolo went 28 of40 for 326 yards, scored twice but threw an interception as well. Ball handling was a major issue in this game for the Niners. Elijah Mitchel was able to get eight carries for 36 yards and five catches for 43 yards. George Kittle had six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown but lost a fumble. Brandon Aiyuk also had six catches for 89 yards, also scored on one and also lost a fumble. Deebo Samuel also contributed 63 yards on five receptions but the Cardinals had all the momentum and won the game 31-17.
Sunday night brought back a sense of normality when the Tennessee Titans traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. Ryan Tannehill went 19 of 27 throwing 143 yards, threw a touchdown pass, an interception and punched in another score on the ground. Adrian Peterson had 10 carries for 21 yards and a touchdown in his debut game with the Titans. D’Onta Foreman had five carries for 29 yards. A.J. Brown had five catches for 42 yards, Julio Jones had four catches for 35 yards and Geoff Swaim scored once on his four catches for 29 yards. The Titans’ defense was also tight with Kevin Byard catching a 24 yard pick six. For the Rams, Matthew Stafford went 31of 48 for 294 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Darnell Henderson rushed 11 times for 55 yards. Sony Michel had seven carries for 20 yards and scored on a pair of catches. Robert Woods had seven catches for 98 yards and Cooper Kupp caught 11 passes for 95 yards. While the Rams put up a valiant effort, the Titans continued to roll and won this game 28-16.
Finally, on Monday, Chicago visited Pittsburgh to round out the week’s games. Justin Fields went 17 of 29 on 291 yards, threw a touchdown pass, an interception and rushed 45 yards on five carries. David Montgomery had 13 carries for 63 yards and Darnell Mooney scored once on a 15 yard carry and again through the air with 41 yards on three receptions. Cole Kmet caught six catches for 87 yards, Allen Robinson caught four passes for 68 yards and Marquise Goodwin had a 50 yard catch. Pittsburgh proved they would not be outdone. Ben Roethlisburger went 21 of 30 for 205 yards and threw two touchdown passes. Najee Harris had 22 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. Diontae Johnson had five catches for 56 yards, James Washington had a 42 yard catch but the rookie Pat Feiermuth stole the show with two touchdown catches on five receptions for 43 yards. Although Chicago came close to pulling off the upset, a 65-yard field goal attempt was unsuccessful and time expired with the slight advantage going to the Steelers 27-29.
Jimmy Jones is a Contributor for Unwrapped Sports Network. Follow him on on Twitter @JimmyUnwrapped.