32 things we learned from all the games
The 32 issues we discovered from Week 9 of the 2020 NFL season:
1. The U.S. presidential election is over – presumably – however there’s nonetheless half a season earlier than ballots are due for the NFL’s 2020 MVP … and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson could have opened up the race after turning the ball over 4 occasions in Sunday’s loss at Buffalo, the place he was completely outplayed by Payments QB Josh Allen. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, Saints RB Alvin Kamara and maybe even Allen, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, Titans RB Derrick Henry and Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger are all poised to start out stealing electoral votes from Wilson.
2. Suppose the NFL quarterbacking paradigm is not altering? Wilson’s brilliance apart, Murray and Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa engaged in Sunday’s greatest contest – a 34-31 thriller within the desert gained by the Dolphins. Murray bested Wilson and the Seahawks 37-34 in time beyond regulation two weeks in the past, arguably the sport of the yr thus far. Certain looks like vertically challenged, cellular passers have gotten de rigueur in a league lengthy dominated by 6-4 guys who may sling it whereas by no means leaving the pocket.
3. Hopefully CBS discovered a lesson right here. It may have despatched its broadcast A-Crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo to cowl Murray and Tua. As a substitute, they have been watching … sure, the Cowboys. Why? As a result of who does not need extra of Dallas … and Garrett Gilbert. Sigh.
4. The Payments’ 44-34 defeat of Seattle serves as essentially the most spectacular exhibiting of the season for the AFC East leaders – Allen taking part in his greatest recreation in a month, and the protection accumulating 4 turnovers and 5 sacks whereas turning Seattle away on 9 of 12 of third downs.
4a. Nonetheless Buffalo’s extremely suspect run recreation resurfaced Sunday, averaging simply 1.8 yards on 19 makes an attempt … and in opposition to the protection that enables extra yards than another (although Seattle is mostly higher in opposition to the run). Nonetheless, it continues to loom as a significant concern for a Payments crew that struggles to shut out opponents however should enhance on that entrance it it hopes to be a couple of and performed within the playoffs but once more.
5. Mahomes now has 25 TD passes in opposition to one interception, which might be the most effective ratio in historical past, besting Brady’s 28-to-2 commonplace from 4 years in the past.
5a. Mahomes additionally threw his a centesimal profession TD go Sunday in his fortieth NFL recreation, a brand new league document. Corridor of Famer Dan Marino wanted 44 video games to hit triple digits.
6. Talking of keepin’ it 100, Texans DE J.J. Watt notched his a centesimal profession sack in his one hundred and twentieth profession recreation – making him the fourth-fastest participant ever to succeed in the century mark within the sack division. (Solely Reggie White, DeMarcus Ware, and Bruce Smith wanted fewer video games … fairly choose firm there.)
7. The AFC playoff race may very well be wild. The Raiders and Dolphins moved into wild-card spots with victories Sunday, whereas the Colts and idle Browns have been bounced out.
8. The Steelers are 8-0 for the primary time in franchise historical past – despite the fact that they struggled to beat a vastly outgunned group of Cowboys – and have a superb probability to considerably lengthen their unbeaten begin.
9. Getting into Week 9, the Dolphins have been permitting the fewest factors per recreation (18.6) within the league … but the Cardinals turned the third crew to hold 31 on Miami.
10. What are you able to do whereas carrying the cleat model of the Air Jordan X? Simply ask Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater and Las Vegas’ Derek Carr …
11. Pittsburgh has a sack in 65 consecutive video games, closing in on Tampa Bay’s league document (69).
12. Murray and Corridor of Famer Charley Trippi are the one Cardinals passers previously 70 years to hurry for at the very least 100 yards in a recreation.
12a. Murray’s eighth dashing TD is a single-season document amongst Arizona quarterbacks.
13. Dolphins Okay Jason Sanders has transformed all 38 of his kicks (17 area objectives, 21 further factors), together with a game-winning 50-yard FG in Arizona.
14. I did a radio present in Washington this week with my buddies Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, and so they requested me to preview the Giants-Washington recreation. After realizing they have been critical, it occurred to me they’re additionally proper – each NFC East matchup nonetheless on the calendar, irrespective of how dangerous it seems on paper, may have vital playoff ramifications.
15. The Giants prevailed 23-20, bettering to 2-7 and ending off a season sweep of Washington. Do not depend New York out of this division, ludicrous a notion as which may appear, now that the scrappy Giants have been in six consecutive video games determined by one rating (2-4 in these contests).
16. The victory was particularly significant for Giants DB Logan Ryan, who clinched the win with an interception simply days after he almost misplaced his spouse to an surprising ectopic being pregnant. “Nobody actually is aware of what I went by way of all week emotionally,” he stated, “however the crew supported me nice and I positively wished to do one thing for my spouse and youngsters in that scenario.”
16a. Ryan credited Giants coach Justin Maher for diagnosing his spouse’s problems final week, believing it helped save her life.
17. What’s it about NFC East quarterbacks and horrible lower-leg accidents? Washington’s Kyle Allen was the most recent to undergo one Sunday, subsequently changed by Alex Smith – and everyone knows about his difficult comeback. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was felled by a equally grotesque mishap earlier this season.
18. You actually should really feel for the Chargers, who had near-miss TDs on the ultimate two performs of a 31-26 loss to the Raiders – the second play initially dominated a scoring catch to TE Donald Parham earlier than being (appropriately) overturned.
18a. All six of the Bolts’ losses in 2020 have been inside one rating, the common margin of defeat 4 factors. They’re a league-worst 3-15 in one-score video games for the reason that begin of final season.
19. However at the very least the Chargers regarded dope. I do know everybody goes nuts for his or her powder blue, however I will at all times love them in navy.
20. Baltimore posted at the very least 20 factors for the thirty first consecutive regular-season recreation, establishing a brand new NFL document.
21. Previous to Sunday’s 24-10 triumph, the Ravens have been 0-6 at Indianapolis – house of Baltimore’s earlier NFL franchise, the Colts.
22. Colts QB Philip Rivers is not an excellent final line of protection …
23. Have a look at the Falcons … (barely) closing out a recreation they led by 21 factors.
24. Acquired earlier than the commerce deadline from the Chargers, CB Desmond King II returned a fumble for a landing in his Titans debut, a victory over the Bears that restored sole possession of the AFC South result in Tennessee.
24a. DE Carlos Dunlap had a sack in his Seahawks debut.
24b. DE Everson Griffen had three tackles in his Lions debut.
25. Good keepaway technique by the Panthers in Kansas Metropolis. Carolina ran 18 extra performs than the Chiefs, holding the ball for greater than 38 minutes. Did not fairly work in a slim 33-31 loss to the defending champs, however coach Matt Rhule continues to impress in his first yr operating an NFL squad.
25a. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey scored two extra TDs in his first motion since Week 2, when he suffered a excessive ankle sprain. But Carolina is 0-3 when he performs, 3-3 when he does not.
26. Previous to Sunday’s beatdown from the Saints, Brady had by no means been swept by a divisional opponent in his profession.
26a. Previous to Sunday’s beatdown from the Saints, Brady had by no means suffered a 35-point defeat.
26b. Previous to Sunday’s beatdown from the Saints, Brady was the NFL’s all-time chief in TD passes with 561 … however he now trails New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who’s out of the blue as much as 564.
26c. If not for Ronald Jones’ 7-yard run, the Buccaneers would have 1 yard dashing Sunday evening.
27. Panthers Okay Joey Slye almost hit a 65-yard area objective in New Orleans two weeks in the past. His 67-yard try to beat the Chiefs wasn’t as shut.
27a. The NFL document size for a area objective is 64 yards.
28. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook dinner deserves the love he is getting after surpassing 200 yards from scrimmage in successive video games as Minnesota has strung collectively its first profitable streak of 2020.
28a. However, man, is Vikes QB Kirk Cousins lethal when working in a balanced offense. He has a 146.7 passer ranking whereas principally serving as a sidekick to Cook dinner the previous two weeks.
29. Merely wonderful how Packers WR Davante Adams – he has 10+ catches and 150+ yards in three of his six appearances this season – continues to run it up on opponents who in all probability know Rodgers does not have a dynamic second choice within the passing recreation. Adams is projected to get one in every of my wideout All-pro votes, although polls will stay open for some time.
30. But nonetheless, Houston WR Will Fuller V caught a TD go for the sixth consecutive recreation Sunday. The pending free agent certain would have regarded good in inexperienced and gold down the stretch …
31. Does anybody within the NFL have a greater title than 49ers WR River Cracraft? Mail-in ballots should be postmarked by Tuesday …
32. A loyal reader from Pac-12 nation recommended Sunday that (Jake) “Luton Lunacy” will exchange (Gardner) “Minshew Mania” in Jacksonville. Luton, a rookie drafted out of Oregon State this spring, made a robust debut (304 go yards, TD, rush TD) in a defeat to the Texans as Washington State product Minshew sat with a lingering thumb harm.
Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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