Here are 10 thoughts after watching the Week 9 games from Sunday.
1– The ending to the 49ers-Rams game can be summed up in two words: bad playcalling. The problem with that final drive for the 49ers was their inability to stick with the running game. Of course, the entire offense looked terrible and it was their last drive that had a chance to redeem it. After getting the ball to the 1-yard line, on second down the team opted to run a roll out. With one timeout, the team could afford to run the ball and call the timeout if they were stopped. However, with the team so close, they ran a roll out instead of pounding the ball. Was this a sign of the coaches not believing in the struggling offensive line?
Of course, the quarterback sneak that followed was a whole mess. I think the ball crossed the goal line before it came out, but it’s too hard to tell. It was just poorly executed and the offensive line did not get the push they needed. The 49ers are 4-4 and it appears the Cardinals are on their way to an easy division win. It’s looking like maybe the 49ers have to go on a massive winning streak to possibly just make the playoffs.
2– The Cowboys are in bad shape. Tony Romo didn’t play and Brandon Weeden was not impressive. Romo might try to play next week but his health is still up in the air.
On the other hand, Arizona looks like the best team in the league. The defense is looking extremely tough and the offense is well-balanced. I wouldn’t think that the Cardinals are going to slow down anytime soon.
3– Watch out for the Browns. I was still on the fence as to whether or not they are a legit team. And even after playing the Buccaneers, it’s still hard to think they are the real deal. But they are winning games and are creeping up the division. Tampa Bay has started to find some kind of identity but is still a long way. Cleveland got the much needed win thanks to their defense and I expect to see them remain this competitive down the stretch.
The Browns are a winning team!
4– I have always been a guy who thinks Tom Brady is always overshadowed by Peyton Manning’s records. Even though he has more rings, I feel that the media loves Manning so much. Brady has much less talent on his team and still finds a way to put together a winning team. Case in point last night as the Patriots juts looked like a well-oiled machine. Brady was the Brady we all know he can be and the Patriots are red hot right now.
I don’t expect the Broncos to be in a funk and they should bounce back easily. Their offense is still strong but they have to be careful about the health of the team going forward. Montee Ball’s injury opened up the way for Ronnie Hillman and that has worked out. Let’s hope Wes Welker doesn’t suffer any scary hits like this.
There was this concern that the Seahawks had lost their mojo. They weren’t playing well at all. But you know what remedies a cold streak? The Oakland Raiders.
6– I have no explanation for this. I thought that the Chargers were a good team but this game in Miami had trap written all over it. The Chargers have not won a game in Miami since the 1981 playoff epic. That’s a long time. Philip Rivers did not look like he had full control of the offense and Ryan Tannehill played like the quarterback we all thought he could be. He was precise, his running was on point and everything worked out for the Dolphins. So much, they decided a Gatorade shower was necessary. The official melted.
7– There is this talk about how the locker room doesn’t like RG3. Then there are reports refuting it. With that, RG3 returned to the field on Sunday and played OK. The Redskins are a team that has been shuffling their quarterbacks all season long and their identity is lost. They show moments of hope but break down so easily. It will be a long season and the whole staff has to figure out if Griffin is the guy to quarterback the team.
As for Minnesota, what we saw was a team that has moved on from Adrian Peterson. Matt Asiata has fit in nicely for the team and Teddy Bridgewater, still young in the game, is taking his bumps but learning it well. The Vikings are in the right direction.
8– I mentioned this last week and I’ll mention it again. Ben Roethlisberger is elite. This is the second game in a row that he’s thrown six touchdowns in a game. The 12 in two games is a record. The Steelers offense has finally come full circle. Todd Haley has taken the young receivers and molded them into key contributors. Le’Veon Bell has become the workhorse the team needs. Roesthlisberger is looking like a true MVP candidate right now. And James Harrison last night looked like his old self again. Watch out for the Steelers.
9– This concerns me.
Nick Foles is on my fantasy team. But more importantly, the Eagles’ high-flying offense is now in the hands of Mark Sanchez. And somehow, Chip Kelly made it work. Maybe Sanchez just needed the right offense to really shine. The Eagles are a team that could seriously make a big splash in the playoffs and they could make a big run towards the division with Sanchez leading them. I expect Foles to be back in about a month or so but if Sanchez plays well, do you make the quarterback switch?
10– The Jets are bad. This seems to be my statement every week. But allowing this to happen just proves that this team has a lot of problems.
We’re halfway through the season and I don’t know if I have a favorite for the Super Bowl. I had picked the Packers to beat the Broncos and it still could happen. However, there are a good handful of teams that have a chance of disrupting that prediction. This is why I love the NFL.