NFL Week 9 Recap: 5 Things I Think
1- RIP Marshall Newhouse’s running back career
NFL Week 9 brought us some amazing video. There were some cool choreographed TD celebrations, some hilarious wide receiver meltdowns, and some other strange moments. ICYMI, here are a few to check out. 1-You have to see the Jameis Winston pregame pep talk about “eating a W.” It’s super awkward in its execution and a peculiar choice for trying to fire up the troops. Famous Jameis had some more lapses in judgement as part of what may go down as the worst Sunday of his life, but we’ll get into that later. 2-You have to see Julio dropping an easy TD. That video will be running on repeat everywhere except the Jones household. More wonky plays that clearly prove the dreaded “Super Bowl hangover” is a real thing. 3- You have to see my personal favorite clip this week: Marshall Newhouse picking up a fumble and trying to run. I love when the big fellas get a chance to run with the ball, but this was a terrible idea for Mr. Newhouse. He was not injured on the play so check it out and have a good laugh. As a side note, this game was actually way better than I expected.
2- Wide receiver fights are hilarious
So there are a couple more clips from this week that are must views. The AJ Green-Jalen Ramsey melee was pretty awesome. You can see the frustration boiling over for the woeful Bengals, but these WR-DB scraps happen just about every season. Remember Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan? What about Josh Norman and OBJ having a fight that essentially lasted the entire game because the officials just kinda let it happen? Now we get to add Green and Ramsey to the list. The other fight involving a wideout went down a little differently and has resulted in a one game suspension for Tampa Bay Pro-Bowl WR Mike Evans who hit rookie CB Marshon Lattimore with a nasty cheap shot. I think you’d have to say that frustration fueled the fire in this one too as the Buccaneers have seriously underachieved. They got crushed by a division opponent and that probably wasn’t even the worst thing that happened for them on Sunday, because . . .
3- Tampa has decided to shut down its starting QB “for a few weeks”
If you watched the video of the brouhaha in New Orleans, you probably noticed that Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing QB and usual-starter Jameis Winston was on the sideline instigating. Jameis further injured his already-ailing shoulder and, at 2-6, Tampa doesn’t have much to play for. They’re saying that he will play again this season, but it’s hard to imagine you bring him back when you’re sitting at 2-10 or 3-9 heading into December. My guess is that we’ve seen the last of him in 2017. I don’t want to spoil my mid-season awards (column coming this week!), but the Bucs are definitely in the conversation for Most Disappointing Squad. I watched a panel of ESPN analyst talking about how the team is clearly checked out and not playing hard. You have to wonder if Dirk Koetter is the right man for the job. Make no mistake, the problems are about more than just the play of their QBs. In fact . . .
4- Backup QB play continues to suck around the league
I know Tom Savage was technically the starter for the Texans when the season started which means that there has been one backup who came in and played well. But that was a long time ago, so we’re back to considering Savage the backup. And he sure played like a backup on Sunday as Houston lost at home to Indy (also using a backup QB). Deshaun Watson’s injury is the absolute worst thing about this NFL season. (Of course as I type this I am watching Aaron Rodgers try to coach up Brett Hundley on the Green Bay sideline and I bet he doesn’t agree with me about the Watson injury being the worst thing.) In another backup QB battle Drew Stanton led the Cardinals to victory over CJ Beathard and the 49ers by handing the ball to a resurgent Adrian Peterson. Of course I am being sarcastic when I saw that he led them to victory because he was pretty pedestrian against a 49ers defense that has been coughing up lots of points every week. I know you’re already sick of hearing about backups, but we have to mention that Denver handed the ball to Brock Osweiler and it pretty much crushed the soul of every player on the roster. The normally-stout Denver defense was gashed for 51 points so I guess we probably can’t blame everything on Osweiler. The Philly offense is really good, but Zach Ertz didn’t even play. Denver is a mess, so let’s focus on a the good team from this matchup . . .
5- The NFC is really starting to take shape
Philly and LA both scored 51 points in decisive wins that help us to understand who is who in a topsy turvy NFC. Other results of note include Carolina squeaking by a cursed Atlanta team, Dallas getting a statement win against KC, New Orleans winning its 6th straight game, and Seattle losing a head-scratcher at home to the Mash Unit Redskins. The Seahawks have inexplicably dropped five straight regular season home games against the Redskins and, by virtue of losing to a conference foe, fall down the tiebreaker ladder and out of the current playoff picture. The headline in all this really is the dominance of the Rams and Eagles though. It’s hard to imagine two teams that went 4-12 and 7-9 in 2016 being the clear frontrunners for a first round bye, but here we are. In the coming weeks we will see both teams tested. Philly has road trips to Dallas and Seattle on the schedule while LA will play fellow division leaders in the Vikings and Saints. Check back later in the week to see if any of the SportsIntel editors pick the Rams or Eagles to make the Super Bowl as part of our mid-season prognostications and awards.