Week 9 is officially in the books which means every team has played at least half of their games. My own take on week 9 is that every team that seemed favored to win, lost. The Bills a perfect 4-0 at home, not anymore. Tom Brady had won 31 straight home games, that streak's over. The Chiefs coming off a big home win over the Chargers facing the winless Dolphins, welcome back to earth. And Tebow, well...that's all I really have to say about that.
The Bills were 4-0 at home this season. The Jets were 0-3 on the road. So naturally the Bills...lost? Come on, you're killing my football pool. The "Look mom, I'm an airplane" Jets easily handled the feel good story Bills thanks to a stout Jets defense that forced 3 turnovers and stifled Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense for most of the game. Which was a good thing since Mark Sanchez, who threw for 230 yards, didn't get the Jets offense rolling until the second half where they put up 24 points. "It's totally attitude," said defensive tackle Sione Pouha who led the team with 7 tackles and one forced fumble. "Jet-i-tude is the way we look at it." Jet-i-tude? That doesn't even make sense. Sounds like pot slang for "I just threw up". What's next? Packer-i-tude? Raven-i-tude? This has got to be the dumbest thing I can think to call it-i-tude? At least "The Sanchize" rhymes with "Franchise", even if it's almost as dumb a nickname.
People seem to love watching celebrities fall apart. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and to a lesser extent, Mel Gibson with his alcohol induced anti-semitic tirade, have all fallen apart before our very eyes. Now we can add the Colts to that list. A team that just two years ago was sitting at 14-0 and decided not to chase perfection, will now have to see if they can avoid tying a different record. And they actually seem to be getting worse, having lost their last three games by a combined score of 120-24. Delone Carter fumbled, Curtis Painter threw behind Reggie Wayne for an interception, Julio Jones split two Colts defenders for a highlight reel 50-yard TD, and that was just in the first quarter. The only TD scored was by their defense and they didn't get a first down in the second half until the final minute of play. I don't think I've watched anything so painful since Jersey Shore's The Situation bombed horribly at Donald Trump's roast.
The rest of week 9 after the jump...
Dolphins 31, Chiefs 3
The Chiefs had to be feeling good about themselves. They had just beaten their division rival to move into a first place tie in the AFC West and had two easy home games set up with the Dolphins and Broncos before a tough stretch of games against the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Jets, and Packers. But in the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" Matt Moore threw for 244 yards and 3 touchdowns (he had only 1 TD pass coming into the game) while Reggie Bush had 142 yards from scrimmage and a rushing TD (his first of the season) as the Dolphins easily cruised by the Chiefs. I will say this for the Chiefs, when they lose they lose big, having lost games by 45, 34, and now 28 points. It was the 3rd largest margin of victory by a team that started 0-7 in NFL history. "I'm just happy for the guys in our locker room," head coach Tony Sparano said. "All I've wanted to do for seven weeks is see these guys smile." Well that's not hard. You could have seen them smile a long time ago if you had just hired someone to give them a massage with a happy ending.
Tony Romo heard the boos early and often in the first half. They went 3-and-out with their first possession. They drove to the Seahawks 2-yard line with their second, but had to settle for a FG. With their 3rd they drove down to the 1-yard line but once again had to settle for a FG. Then with their 4th possession Dez Bryant fumbled inches from the goal line giving the ball back to the Seahawks. It all amounted to a 6-6 tie heading into the locker room at the half. But Romo didn't let it get to him and finally got the offense into the end zone in the second half, throwing 2 touchdown passes and finishing the day with 279 passing yards and, more importantly, no turnovers. "I think he's shown us the last three weeks what kind of football player he is," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's breaking tackles." Wait, I think he's talking about DeMarco Murray who rushed for 139 yards and now had 539 rushing yards over the last three games. Not that Romo also hasn't shown us the kind of player he is, which is the Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde of NFL quarterbacks. At least he can say he dates hot women.
Before the game Saints coach Sean Peyton handed out bats to all of his players. Either it was because he wanted his players to play with a more physical presence or he was hoping they'd be asked to play extras in any movie remake of The Warriors. No? Too old of a movie reference? A week after being held to only 56 yards on the ground and being stunned by the Rams, the Saints pounded out 195 rushing yards while Drew Brees threw for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was also the 36th straight game Brees has thrown a TD pass tying him with Brett "he who shall not be named" for second all time. As for the Bucs, they've now lost 3 of their last 4 and find themselves in 3rd place in the NFC South. "You generally get what you deserve in this game," CB Ronde Barber said. "We don't deserve to be top of the division right now." Well if you get what you deserve that must be why no team gave you're brother a shot to play after he cheated on his pregnant wife.
Arian Foster ran for 124 yards and a TD while his teammate Ben Tate added 115 yards on the ground and a TD of his own as the Texans pounded the Browns for an easy win. Then again, every team with a potent running attack has not found it very hard to get past the Browns this season. On the other side of the ball the Texans defense completely shut down Colt McCoy and the Browns offense, limiting them to only 172 total yards. It was the third straight week the Wade Phillips coached defense has held the opposition to under 200 yards. Of course the real question is, what the crap happened to Peyton Hillis? He missed yet another game and has been such a distraction eight teammates actually had to pull him aside and have an intervention. No word on when that episode will air on A&E. Maybe there really is a Madden curse. I know if I were the god of football I'd curse anything to do with Madden after having to endure endless commentary on his stupid turducken every Thanksgiving.
Everyone knows about all the rookie passing records Cam Newton has been setting. Pundits have been going off over his potential. Well don't look now but Andy Dalton has just set the record for most TD passes in a rookie quarterbacks first 8 games with 12, one more than Newton. In the game he threw for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns leading the Bengals back in the second half after trailing 7-17 at halftime. Even more shocking, if the playoffs were to start today the Bengals would be the #1 seed in the AFC. No, that's not a typo. "We're at where we want to be now, and that's in the thick of things in our division," rookie receiver A.J. Green said who caught all 7 balls thrown his way for 83 yards. Now if they could just do something about those god-awful striped uniforms they could really start looking good.
Broncos 38, Raiders 24
Broncos fans must be feeling a little like Michael Corleone in The Godfather III, "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in." After being completely dismantled by the Lions last week, the Tim Tebow bandwagon was empting fast. Then he throws 2 touchdown passes and rushes for 118 yards while leading the Broncos to a road win over the hated Raiders and suddenly that bandwagon is filling up again. He's already led the Broncos to more wins in three starts than Kyle Orton managed in five. Sure it's not pretty. Sure every time he throws it they're hoping it just goes somewhere in the area he meant it to go. Carson Palmer was a lot easier to watch. His throws were tighter and he was a lot more accurate while throwing for almost 3 times as many yards. But he also threw 3 interceptions and lost. "As long as it worked, that's all I care about," said Willis McGahee who ran for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. I can just hear the Raiders saying now in the voice of Droopy the dog, "Tebow".
Giants 24, Patriots 20
Eli Manning did his best Tom Brady impersonation leading the Giants on a late 4th quarter drive finding Jake Ballard in the end zone with 15 seconds remaining for the win. Tom Brady did his best Rex Grossman impersonation looking sometimes good and sometimes erratic, throwing for 342 yards and 2 touchdowns but also throwing 2 interceptions, losing a fumble, and looking completely inept through the first 3 quarters. With the loss the Patriots have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2003 and Brady ended his streak of 31 straight home wins. And this coming from a Giants team that struggled to beat the Dolphins at home last week and who's two losses came at the hands of the Redskins and Seahawks. I hope the Giants team that lost to the Seahawks is the one that shows up to Candlestick this Sunday.
Rams 13, Cardinals 19
The Rams dominated the first half but had to settle for three field goals and a 9-3 halftime lead. They then became the first team in NFL history to score 4 points in a quarter when they got two safeties against John Skelton on back-to-back series. But Skelton, who threw for 222 yards, finally got the Cardinals moving late in the 4th to tie the game that eventually went to OT when Josh Brown's 42-yard FG was blocked at the end of regulation. In OT rookie Patrick Peterson did what they tell you never to do, he fielded a punt at the 1-yard line, and returned it 99 yards for the win. In other words, two bad teams played a really ugly game that was ultimately won by the efforts of maybe the most dynamic player to come out of last year's draft, and no one outside of Arizona or St Louis even saw it or cared. It reminded me a little of TO's recent workout only without the dynamic player part.
Packers 45, Chargers 38
Let me see, Aaron Rodgers threw laser passes into incredibly tight windows where only his receivers could catch the ball, completing 21 of 26 throws for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Phillip Rivers looked great at times but also committed several bonehead plays, including two pick-6 interceptions in the span of six plays and another interception that finished off his team's last drive ending all hopes of getting the win. It seems like I've read this storyline before. "We're fighting through a rough time right now," Rivers said. "These tough times, you find out a lot about guys, a lot about yourself." True, I learned a lot during a rough time I went through recently. I learned tough times blow giant chunks and I'd rather have the good times back. Do you think the Chargers are wondering if it would be too late to have a do over on letting Drew Brees leave for the Saints?
Ravens 23, Steelers 20
Just as Joe Flacco was about to be put in the same group as Phillip "how come I can't hold the ball with the back of my hand" Rivers and Tony "how big of a lead can I blow" Romo, he comes up big and finds Torrey Smith (who was looking for some redemption of his own) for a 26-yard go ahead TD with only 8 seconds remaining to complete the season sweep of the Steelers. It was sweet redemption for Flacco who lost a fumble that helped the Steelers go on top in the 4th quarter and had been criticized for his accuracy issues all year. It was also redemption for Smith who had several drops including a sure TD five plays earlier. "For him to keep coming back to me, that meant a lot," Smith said. Now the Steelers find themselves essentially 2 games behind the Ravens since they'll lose the tie-breaker, but even worse, they're behind the Bengals. It would be like suddenly having your marriage end and then finding out it didn't even last as long as Kim Kardashians.
Bears 30, Eagles 24
That gagging sound you hear is the Eagles chocking away another 4th quarter lead. For the 4th time this season the Eagles blew a 4th quarter lead on their way to a loss. In fact, they've been outscored by more points in the 4th quarter (-36) than any other team in the NFL and that includes the Colts (-33). Jay Cutler threw for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns while Matt Forte fumbled twice but also ran for 133 yards on 24 carries. Like their season, the Eagles keep finding ways to come up short. Trailing by 3 in the 4th the Eagles faked a punt but kicker Chas Henry, who was a star QB in High School, bounced the pass a couple yards short of a wide open Colt Anderson. Then with the game on the line, Michael Vick found Jeremy Maclin on a 4th-and-10 but Maclin couldn't keep his balance and fell one yard short of a first down. "We need to keep getting better," coach Andy Reid said. "We have to continue to work hard and learn from our mistakes." Maybe he can record that and just play it for reporters next time the Eagles collapse in the 4th quarter so he doesn't have to keep repeating himself.
49ers 19, Redskins 11
I don't really know what to say about this game. Their defense dominated, Frank Gore is a stud, Alex Smith did just enough through the air to keep the other team honest while not trying to force anything or making any mistakes, they won the turnover battle, and their special teams play was as solid as ever. Sounds about like every other win they've had this year.