NFL week 9 report card
Jacksonville 9-6 over Buffalo
This game was an offensive disaster for the Bills, who simply couldn’t do anything right on that side of the ball on Sunday. Josh Allen looked like he time-traveled and let the 2018 version of himself play in Jacksonville. Allen was a turnover machine in 2018 and that version of the QB returned in a game where he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. The Bills only had one drive in the entire game that made it inside of Jacksonville’s 20-yard line and that came on their first possession. After that, the highest-scoring offense in the NFL had no answers for the Jaguars’ defense. This might go down as the most embarrassing loss by any team in 2021.
Josh Allen might have been the star of the show for Jacksonville, but the Jags were able to win because they got a little bit of help from everyone. The Jags scored on two of their first three possessions and that was mostly because Trevor Lawrence started off pretty hot, going 8 of 11 for 67 yards on those two scoring drives. Carlos Hyde also gave the Jags an impressive performance as he rushed for 67 yards while filling in for an injured James Robinson. Of course, the Jags wouldn’t have won this game without kicker Matthew Wright, who scored all of Jacksonville’s points with field goals from 21, 39 and 55 yards.
Atlanta 27-25 over New Orleans
If you’ve seen one Falcons collapse, you’ve seen them all, but one thing most Falcons fans haven’t seen is a collapse that ends with a win. Despite blowing an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Falcons still managed to pull off the upset thanks to a 64-yard catch from Cordarrelle Patterson that set up Younghoe Koo’s game-winning field goal as time expired. It was fitting that Patterson came up with the big play because he made plenty of them on a day where he caught six passes for 126 yards. Matt Ryan crossed the 300-yard mark for the third time in four weeks, throwing for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Falcons limited the Saints to just three points through the first three quarters. This was the Falcons’ first game since the Braves won the World Series and if we learned one thing here, it’s that everything seems to be coming up Atlanta this year.
In this game, Trevor Siemian made his first start in more than two years and the problem for the Saints is that he looked like a quarterback who was making his first start in more than two years. During a disastrous first half, the Saints only crossed Atlanta’s 45-yard line one time and they never came close to scoring. A big reason the Saints struggled early is because they simply couldn’t convert on third down (3 of 10). Although the offense bounced back in the fourth quarter to give the Saints the lead, the defense went into meltdown mode by giving up a 64-yard pass to Patterson.
Denver 30-16 over Dallas
Things felt like they’d get out of hand early, and they did, but not for Denver. After seeing the Cowboys easily make their way into the Broncos’ backfield to pressure Teddy Bridgewater in the first quarter, credit the Denver coaching staff for making adjustments that
Dallas couldn’t adapt to. And the dominance didn’t stop at the offense, because the Broncos’ defense looked as if it had four Von Millers on its defensive front — having its way with a Cowboys offensive line that lacked the presence of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. It wasn’t a perfect game by the Broncos, but it was damn good, and it wasn’t anything the Cowboys were ready for.
If there was a such thing as an “F-“, the Cowboys would’ve earned it here. Offensively, the return of Dak Prescott meant nothing, because he had arguably the worst game of his career. Defensively, after a strong start, the Cowboys quickly devolved into Swiss cheese that allowed Bridgewater to take advantage of every hole he could find. Things were equally bad on special teams, because outside of the first return of the game by Tony Pollard going for more than 50 yards, the only notable item was a negative one — when Malik Turner blocked a punt that was awarded to the Broncos because of a rare NFL rule. This game served as a reminder that even the mighty can be toppled.
Tennessee 28-16 over L.A. Rams
Tennessee’s defense stepped up in a big way and changed the game with back-to-back interceptions in the second quarter, including a pick-six from Kevin Byard. Jeffery Simmons basically took the whole game over by himself with three sacks. The offense did enough with the opportunities it was given, and managed to pull off an upset without Derrick Henry. One of the best wins any team has had this season
If it weren’t for similarly inexplicable losses by the Bills and Cowboys, this would have been the most disappointing performance of the day. The Rams needed a win to keep pace with the Cardinals, and they laid an egg at home in prime time against an opponent they should have dominated.