NFL Week 9 Recap: Brees beats Brady and Tua wins again
A great Sunday slate of games left me feeling all kinds of ways last night. The NFC is WIIIIIIIIIDE open. The AFC is… The Chiefs and The Steelers (maybe) and… everyone else squabbling for the 3-7 seeds!? Kind of… but also there’s a couple of surprise teams putting some nice runs together. It’s an unpredictable season. What else would you expect from 2020? Let’s take a look back on an interesting week in the NFL with our Week 9 recap.
Brees gets the better of Brady... Again
Well, I guess we all know now that Drew Brees heard your slander. The Saints’ old man decided to put a statement performance on tape for us all last night. The veteran was picking apart Bruce Arians’ defense to the point where some Buccaneers fans were apparently heard screaming “STOP THE COUNT!” at the end of the first quarter.
However, the other QB’s performance was just as notable. TB12 looked like a shadow of his former self last night. His QBR was the LOWEST in his career, since they started tracking the metric in 2006. Tough. Coming into the game, all my thoughts were about whether or not Drew Brees could stand up to the fearsome Bucs defense that shut down Aaron Rodgers just a couple of weeks ago.
In actual fact, it was the complete opposite. Marshon Lattimore stepped up to entirely contain Mike Evans (until Lattimore left the game), and the rest of the Saints defense, most notably Malcolm Jenkins and, my new favourite player, “Mr No Gloves”” Trey Hendrickson who clattered Brady on back to back plays in the second half.
The Saints seem to have found their mojo following a sloppy 1-2 start to the year. They’ve won five straight, and face the (injured) 49ers next week, the (weird) Falcons, the (not good) Broncos, and then the (weird) Falcons again to follow. There’s a very realistic chance a month from now that the Saints are 10-2 and riding a hot streak towards the playoffs.
It was great to see Michael Thomas back looking like his true self, and Antonio Brown made his Buccaneers debut. He was (surprisingly) largely kept quiet, except for one exceptional grab in the third quarter… and causing a late second quarter interception by running the wrong way at the top of a route. I think Brown will have a fairly solid role in this offense once it settles down – facing the Panthers next week should help – and Brady seems committed to Brown’s success.
Sidenote – I’m also really enjoying Brees and Brady “hot-potato-ing” the all-time passing touchdowns record back and forth each week. I guess the winner will just be who can avoid Father Time throwing injuries at them the longest. On last night’s evidence, Drew Brees is gonna be rolling for a little while longer.
Allen Outduels Russ in Battle of MVP Candidates
The Josh Allen Hype Train had slowed down a bit the past month or so, but it’s building back up to speed now as Buffalo moved to 7-2 and continued their charge towards a first AFC East crown since 1995 (!!). They did it in style, beating the Super Bowl contending Seahawks without too much drama.
Despite giving up 34 points, the Bills defense stepped up, managing to get pressure on Russell Wilson in ways that most teams have failed to do this year. Yes, this was an off day for Russ and the Seahawks – they never look the same without Chris Carson to do their bully work at the line of scrimmage. DK Metcalf continued his breakout season, but the Seahawks were hampered by their defense’s inability to get stops when needed. 44 points given up… not great. And this was WITH Jamal Adams back in the team! Strange. I still think the Seahawks are a legit NFC Championship contender, alongside the Packers, Saints, Buccaneers etc, but this performance adds some questions to their resume. I really hope they’re able to get back to normal next week vs the Rams.
Russ deserves an MVP. Mahomes is starting to make his push (25TD-1INT is outrageous) but I think Russ could still pip him to it. Josh Allen probably won’t be in the conversation at the end of the year, but the Bills looked a bit more like themselves. Largely due to Allen, whose 415 passing yards, three passing TDs and a rushing TD, provided fantasy players everywhere with a great day. Sean McDermott drew up a great game plan, and the Bills executed it to perfection. I just wish Bills Mafia could have been there in person to witness it.
Kyler vs Tua: The Future is Now
The future of the NFL was on show Sunday evening, and perhaps was seen only by those people in Arizona and Florida (plus GamePass users I guess…). The point is – Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa dueled in a shootout that sparkled throughout. A great game: missed field goals, big hits, QB scrambles, defensive score, 50-yd bombs… it had almost everything. And yet SOMEHOW we came out of the game with THE MIAMI DOLPHINS STANDING AT 5-3. Huuuuuuuuuuuuuh?! How did that happen?! Well, a little bit of Fitz-magic, a healthy helping of solid defense and good special teams play, incredible field goal kicking (shout out Jason Sanders for real) and a LOT of Brian Flores being an exceptional football coach.
Flores, along with Mike Vrabel, looks like one of the strongest branches in the Bill Belichick coaching tree. And, after an inauspicious debut win last week, Tua Tagovailoa showed up ready to prove himself. You could tell Kyler had that little bit more “Sophomore Quarterback” poise than Tua, but Tagovailoa acquitted himself fantastically well and led his team back from a scoreless third quarter to win the fourth 10-0 and complete the comeback win on the road.
The Dolphins are second in the AFC East and a definite contender for a wildcard playoff spot. The Dolphins next 4 games? Chargers, Broncos, Jets, Bengals. Is it so ridiculous to say the Fins could be 9-3?! Not at all. Wow.
The Cardinals, on the flip side, will have gone home bemused that they failed to win this game. DeAndre Hopkins was surprisingly held in check, and Chase Edmonds didn’t set the world on fire in the absence of Kenyan Drake. That said, Murray is just so fun to watch. This team has enough pieces to make the playoff, and is just searching for a little more consistency on defense. I have the Cardinals as the second best team in the NFC West and think they get into the playoffs as a wildcard. That said, in future this matchup will be must see tv. The primetime matchups for Tua and Kyler will come with more and more regularity if they keep playing – and, in Tua’s case, winning – like this.
Monday Night Football Prediction: (Season Record: 10-2)
Errrrr…. The New England Patriots all day long. What more is there to say??
Alright fine, I’ll say a bit more. I was pleasantly surprised that the New York Giants decided to make a game of it last week against the Buccaneers, but I can’t say I’m expecting that out of their city compatriots this week. I don’t know what we did to deserve Adam Gase’s offense on primetime TV, but I’m really sorry and if we promise not to do it again can we please never watch the Jets again?! Thanks…
To be honest, this game is must must must win for New England. Cam Newton started the season looking great, but had his COVID struggles and now the Patriots are 2-5 and looking UP at both the Dolphins and the Bills. 2020 is weird indeed. Despite their recent struggles, the Pats are 8.5 point favourites – and I think that’s very generous to the Jets. Let’s hope for a Joe Flacco renaissance game to entertain us all, but no way Bill Belichick is going to see his team drop to 2-6 and give the Jets their first win of the year. Patriots to win.
- Thursday Night Recap: Packers good. Niners bad. Rodgers great. Adams amazing. Aaron Jones still underrated.
- Garrett Gilbert deserves a lot of credit. Whisper it… because it sounds crazy… but the Cowboys COULD still win the NFC East. I’m convinced the NFC East winners will have 6 wins MAXIMUM. Shocking.
- The Cowboys kick return play with the throw back across the field… superb.
- Speaking of the NFC East, Daniel Jones is 4-0 against the Washington Football Team, and 1-16 against the rest of the league. Wow.
- Get well soon Kyle Allen.
- Nice to see you back Christian McCaffrey. You’re still amazing.
- The Chiefs’ offense just isn’t fair. It’s not. I feel like every week they have a play where I either say “I have never seen that before,” OR “I didn’t even know you were allowed to do that in this sport.” Quarterback motion before the pass? Casual, Andy Reid.
- Remember when I said the Bears were frauds every week, for like the last month? Yep. The Bears were and are frauds. Matt Nagy? No thanks.
- The Ravens will keep grinding out unspectacular but impressive wins. Somehow they are “quietly” 6-2. Nice to have Dez back in the league.
- Dalvin Cook. What more can I say? Incredible.
- I cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak of being a Chargers fan. Absolutely gutting. Just keep the faith that brighter days are coming with Justin Herbert at the controls.
Week 10 Look Ahead
Titans vs Colts on Thursday night is a nice way to get things going, but the Sunday early slate is fairly uninspiring. The best game is maybe Panthers vs Buccaneers?! Browns vs Texans?! It wiill be good to see Nick Chubb back. Six games in the late window will be enjoyable though, with Cardinals vs Bills and Seahawks vs Rams the standouts for me. I really hope Patriots vs Ravens on Sunday Night Football can be the exciting matchup it has the potential to be. Let’s hope Cam is rolling into the game on the back of a win. As always, I’m @callumjdsquires on Twitter and Instagram. Have a great week gang.
Callum is from London but played college soccer at University in San Antonio, Texas, where he learned never to cheer for the Cowboys. Callum is a long-suffering Dolphins fan who believes the Tua hype.