Images courtesy CBS Sports
by Jack Cherico
Throughout his NFL career, Tom Brady has been New England fans’ Superman, an indestructible hero for the region that can beat any challenger. With his sojourn to Tampa Bay, Brady has looked great, throwing for 20 touchdowns and 2,400 yards, respectable numbers for a 43-year-old QB, especially one who is learning a new system for the first time in 20 years. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians has made his name around the league by calling an offense of long-developing plays, like a seven-step drop, that require a big-arm quarterback. This is not at all similar to what Brady did in New England, as most of his passes were short, and within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. Brady has adjusted well to Arians’ offense, but Superman has had one kryptonite this season.
The New Orleans Saints, led by electrifying running back Alvin Kamara, have stifled Brady and Tampa Bay’s thunder, with Brady throwing for a total of five interceptions to New Orleans, making up 71% of his INT’s for the season (7). In the Week 9 game against the Saints, Brady had a 3.8 quarterback rating, and 2.36 fantasy points, laughable for a player of his caliber. He and the Bucs look to bounce back next week against the Carolina Panthers, who almost pulled out a win against Super-Bowl candidate, the Kansas City Chiefs. With the return from injury of running back Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers only lost 33-31, off of McCaffrey’s 148-yard game and two touchdowns.
The Buffalo Bills, coming off a win against the directionless Patriots, took care of business in Seattle, with Josh Allen, an MVP candidate, outplaying Seahawks QB Russell Wilson with 415 yards and four total touchdowns. Wilson, who started off the season strong, had 390 yards and two touchdowns, but 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles sank the Seahawks, who couldn’t keep up with the Bills fast-paced offense. Seattle ended up losing 44-34 and are currently only winning the NFC West division by one game, with the Arizona Cardinals knocking at the door. The Cardinals, however, couldn’t take advantage of the Seahawks’ stumble, losing to the Miami Dolphins 34-31, off of Tua Tagovailoa’s second game in charge. Tagovailoa had two touchdowns and almost 250 yards, keeping Miami on Buffalo’s heels for the division title.
In his fourth year with the team, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn finds himself on the hot seat, after a 2-6 start. Rookie QB Justin Herbert is doing all he can to keep LA in the game, but the Chargers defense has allowed 4 30+ point games, with only 7 turnovers on the year. Letting up 31 points to their division rivals the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas raiders has put a damper on Herbert’s rookie year, where he is the 9th ranked fantasy quarterback on ESPN. LA had a big offseason, signing tackle Bryan Bulaga, cornerback Chris Harris Jr., and defensive tackle Linval Joseph, so they were expecting big things going into the season. If the Bolts can’t turn the season around, Lynn will be looking for a new job.
On Sunday night, the Patriots faced off against the Baltimore Ravens, a matchup I highlighted at the beginning of the year. I was proved right; the game was worthy of watching, but not because of the reasons I thought. The matchup between the teams’ quarterbacks, Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton, was great to watch, but Newton only had one touchdown and 118 total yards. Jackson had a better night, with two touchdowns and 249 yards, but he mishandled multiple snaps from center Matt Skura in the rainy weather. The Patriots’ run game was the real winner, with Damien Harris running for 121 yards and Newton with a rushing touchdown. Patriots cornerback JC Jackson also extended his streak of 5 games in a row with an interception, which was enough to sink the Ravens 23-17.
The Josh Allen-led Buffalo Bills went into Arizona expecting to take care of business before their bye week, but the 5’,10″ phenomenon Kyler Murray had other plans. Allen threw for 284 passing yards, two passing TD’s, and a TD reception, while Murray had two rush TD’s, one passing TD, and threw for 245 yards. The game was back and forth the entire time, but in the fourth quarter with 36 seconds left, Allen threw a touchdown pass to Stephon Diggs that they thought would ice the game. However, Murray marched Arizona down the field and threw up a prayer into the end zone with no time on the clock. Between Bills defensive backs Jordan Poyer, Tre’davious White, and Micah Hyde, Cardinals receiver Deandre Hopkins caught the rainbow from Murray, winning the game for Arizona 32-30.
For an update on the NFL coaching hot seat, Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia has joined Anthony Lynn in being scared for his job security. Detroit squeaked by Washington on a 51-game winning field goal from kicker Matt Prater, but Detroit blew a big lead to let the Football Team back into it. Detroit has started out 4-5, and last place in the division. Patricia, a former Patriots defensive coordinator, has struggled with his time in Detroit, posting a 10-25-1 record. If he doesn’t pick up some steam going into their game against the Carolina Panthers.
It was a big few weeks for the NFL, and with the playoffs around the corner, some teams are about to punch their ticket for a chance at Super Bowl glory, while others have to look to the draft board.