2009 NFL Football Season: Week 9

Week 9 turned into a disaster for three teams while other teams keep rolling along.

How did Green Bay manage to lose to Tampa Bay, who got their first win on Sunday? The Packer defense has just collapsed and the offensive line simply can’t protect Aaron Rodgers. Maybe the emotional letdown of losing to the Vikings twice and being three games back in the division with no realistic shot at the division title did them in?  Or maybe their defense just blows? But even at 4-4 a Wild Card spot is still a realistic goal.

Congratulations to Tampa Bay and rookie quarterback Josh Freeman on the Bucs’ first win of the season. Freeman may not have looked like the next coming of Tom Brady but he has to get Rookie of the Week honors for leading his team to a win in his first start.

After a big win against Denver last week the Baltimore Ravens have lost to Cincinnati for the second time this year. While stranger things have happened, their shot at the division title is greatly diminished. They are now a struggling team that needs to string some wins together to stay in the hunt.

The New York Giants after a 5-0 start have lost 4 straight. I’ve been saying all along they are an average team and they now look like it. After losing in the last seconds to the Chargers this is a team that needs to find itself.

The Tennessee Titans have won two in a row on the back of running back Chris Johnson. What happened to the 49′ers and their fine start to the season?

New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith has had two big games in a row. He might be making a run for my end of season All Pro Team. I’m sure he’s motivated by being left off my Midseason All Pro Team.

I’ve heard talk that the Patriots might be interested in signing Larry Johnson. I hope we don’t get that desperate. This guy is a punk.

GAMES I WATCHED

New England Patriots over Miami Dolphins, 27-17 (NFL Replay)

This was a critically important win for the New England Patriots who face the Colts, Jets, and Saints the next three weeks, a real murderers’ row. They handed Miami their first division loss and are now two games up on the Jets. The next few weeks are critical for the Patriots as they face two of the best teams in the league, and their archrival New York Jets, who shut Brady and his bunch down in their first meeting this season.

The Patriots defense bent a bit but did just enough to keep Miami from rolling all over them and really held them in check in the fourth quarter.

Randy Moss’s two huge plays, a one handed grab at the one yard line and 71 yard catch and run for a touchdown shows he’s still got it.

MVP: Randy Moss, WR

Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens, 17-7

In many ways this game was not as close as the score might indicate. Cincinnati dominated both lines of scrimmage throughout the game and Baltimore never really threatened them. This is the second time I have seen the Bengals offensive line absolutely dominate an opponent.

For the Ravens they clearly missed Haloti Ngata who sat out with an ankle injury, as their defensive line was constantly knocked off the ball, rendering Ray Lewis and the rest of the linebackers less effective. These two teams played a few weeks ago with a similar result, although Cincinnati had to pull it out at the very end, so maybe he would not have made that much of a difference.

I hear a lot of people questioning whether Cincinnati is for real. They lost on a fluke play to Denver or they would be 6-1, after a mediocre outing against Houston. Seeing how well their offensive line has been playing and their consistency on defense, I think Cincinnati is definitely an upper echelon team. They will have a big test next week against division foe Pittsburgh.

Cedric Benson should thank his offensive line for another fine outing, rushing for 117 tough yards.

MVP: Cedric Benson, RB

San Diego Chargers over New York Giants, 21-20

The Giants really let one slip away here, allowing the Chargers to put together an 80 yard last minute drive to win the game. They have now lost four games in a row and don’t look very good on offense or defense.

Eli Manning is struggling, but frankly I don’t think it’s entirely his fault. After a good start to the season, Steve Smith nor Mario Manningham are doing much to help him out. Even the offensive line, one of the best in the league, struggled against the Chargers. They allowed Shawn Merriman to look like he was back on steroids and actually a good football player.

The Giants secondary has always been a weak spot but they were often protected by the ferocious pass rush of the Giants’ front seven. But against the Chargers they just simply were not getting it done for the most part.

The Giants are a mediocre team and they lost to another mediocre team. While neither team are bottom feeders, they don’t look like they are going anywhere in this season either.

The star of the day was wider receiver Vincent Jackson and his two touchdown grabs. He is starting to emerge as one of the elite receivers in the league. Now that the Chargers have cut Chris Chambers, Malcolm Floyd needs to step up. He did nothing this game. Meanwhile, Chris Chambers had a good day with his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs.

MVP: Vincent Jackson, WR

Dallas Cowboys over Philadelphia Eagles, 20-16

This game actually turned out more less the way I expected it, the Cowboys winning a close game. Neither team looked like world beaters but the Dallas offensive line, other than Flozell Adams, played a very solid game. They were able to move the ball enough to eek out a win. Leonard Davis played particularly well at left guard, where most of the running attack seemed to be focused.

Donovan McNabb loves to throw the ball in the ground. What is up with that? He seems to be getting less and less accurate with his passes every time I see him play. But of course the Dallas defense mugged him all night long. The entire Dallas defense played well, but my hats are off to SS Gerald Sensabaugh, who was a disruptive force in the game and had an interception. Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff
also had an excellent game with two sacks.

The Eagles were not able to generate many big plays and the offensive line wasn’t much help to Donovan and the backs. One always wonders about how valuable a single player is to a team, but the Eagles certainly do look a lot different without Brian Westbrook in the lineup. Even when he doesn’t get as many touches in a game the team seems to play better with him in there.

Dallas now has a solid grip on the top spot in the NFC East title race. While it’s not a death grip, this win leaves them sitting pretty.

MVP: Gerald Sensabaugh, SS

New Orleans Saints over Carolina Panthers, 30-20 (DVR)

I’m not sure why everyone is making a big deal out of the Saints’ “comeback” against the Panthers. They were never down by more than 14 points. For an offense this explosive that is nothing. The bottom line is the Saints have proven to be a winning team and winning teams find a way to win. The Panthers have proven to be a losing team, and losing teams find a way to lose.

The Panthers got their 14 point lead aided by a couple of turnovers (and a big play). The Saints were down 17-6 in after the first half as a result. But the telling part of the game and the difference between the two teams can be seen in the first two possessions of the second half.

The Saints get the ball in the second half and march to a touchdown to bring the game to 17-13. Carolina gets the ball and marches down to within the five yard line. They should score a touchdown, right? Instead they have confusion at the line of scrimmage and call a timeout. AFTER the time out, they run a horrible play that results in an easy sack for the Saints. Within the five yard line: a sack, results in a field goal instead of touchdown, 20-13, game over as the Saints go on with a few big plays to spank the lesser team.

Saints winners. Carolina losers.

Despite the big three plays by Brees to three different receivers, he had some turnovers so my MVP is DE Will Smith.

MVP: Will Smith, DE

Pittsburgh Steelers over Denver Broncos, 28-10

Is that crash I’m hearing the Denver Broncos coming back down to earth? After a 6-0 start they have back to back losses.

Well, let’s not beat up on Denver too bad. This game, like Denver’s loss last week, was a pretty hard struggle until the fourth quarter. The Denver defense played well, but they, not the Steelers playing in altitude in an away game, are the unit that seemed to fold a bit in the fourth quarter. Of course the Steelers kept pounding the rock at them. And Rashard Mendenhall seems to have established himself as the starting running back in Pittsburgh. With Willie Parker dinged up, Mendenhall ground out 155 yards to win the game.

And okay, Big Ben had a nice game, but I’m sick of hearing “elite” and “Hall of Fame” next to his name. Yes, he’s having a great year and had two Super Bowl wins. Did you know that Big Ben has the lowest QB rating of any Super Bowl winning QB ever? And that the Steelers won their first Super Bowl despite his poor play (and Seattle fans would say plenty of help from the atrocious referees). And that he wasn’t the best player on the field in their second Super Bowl win?

Okay, I really do love Big Ben, but he is no Dan Marino. Or is he?

MVP: Rashard Mendenhall, RB


PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive Player: Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Defensive Player: Gerald Sensabaugh, SS, Dallas Cowboys

Offensive Lineman: Leonard Davis, G, Dallas Cowboys

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt, P, Kansas City Chiefs

Rookie of the Week: Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “2009 NFL Football Season: Week 9

  1. Pats-Dolphins was a good game and a solid win, though the ‘Fins certainly caused some chaos on at least one drive when they mixed up the offense and tore down the field. Didn’t take long for Big Bill to get a handle on that, though. I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about the Pats-Colts game, and it’s always a big one. A number of commentators have said it’s the first real test for New England (I disagree, we beat solid Atlanta and Baltimore teams). I’ll submit the same should be said for the Colts, who have had a much softer schedule and barely beat Houston last week. Look for Brady and company to put their A-Game on and come out on top on this one, knocking the Colts from the undefeated category.

  2. I certainly hope you are right. I look forward to the Colts game. I am worried about our defense though. They are young and often seem to be out of place.

    If the play calling is good our offense should be just fine. We should have beat the Colts last year but we uncharacteristically beat ourselves with dropped passes and bad play calling, and of course the stupid penalty at in the fourth quarter that kept the game alive for the Colts.

    It is going to be a real showdown though.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I’d be interested in your take on the wildcat offense. The Dolphins do it better than anyone. In fact, they have two guys – Ronnie Brown and Pat White – who seem to be born to it. My question is, can a team that features the wildcat offense expect to make the playoffs or go very far, or is it a way to make an otherwise bad team mediocre?

  4. That is a very good question and I am torn on it. I think my bottom line is that yes, a team could make the playoffs and go very far with the Wildcat if they run it like the Dolphins, but I also think it’s fad and will not work in the long run.

    To me it seems the Dolphins run the Wildcat because they don’t have a great QB and they don’t have very good receivers. Their defense isn’t very good either. They are basically a poor team made mediocre by the Wildcat. That was an excellent way to put it.

    Without the Wildcat and the extra blocker at the point of attack and at least the semblance of a passing threat, teams would just stack the line of scrimmage against the Dolphins and dare them to throw the ball. For the Dolphins, that would not be a winning formula. You have to give them credit for taking the personnel they have and coming up with a scheme that gives them a chance to control the ball, put points on the board, and win.

    What they do have is a very good offensive line, two very good running backs, and Pat White. They have run this offense very effectively, and they even put wrinkles in it to make it a little different to make it hard for defenses to scheme against it from week to week. I thought their plan of attack against the Patriots was excellent. It’s just that New England adjusted to it by the end of the game. But it worked well for a while.

    But the bottom line is I think it’s still too one dimensional and defenses will catch up with it. Let’s face it, granted they have a poor defense, how many games has Miami won this year?

    And no team has even come close to running it as well as the Dolphins. Of course no team has committed to it like the Dolphins either.

    But unless you truly have a phenomenal QB, and I don’t think his name is Pat White, then eventually teams can just play the run and slow it down. Which is basically what the Patriots more or less did.

    Now it would seem that Michael Vick would be the prototype for the Wildcat. I just don’t think he’d be smart enough to run it at the pro level, frankly. Pat White did an outstanding job at it, I just don’t think he is big enough or has a strong enough arm to make it work at a championship level.

    And no, I don’t think Tim Tebow can do it either. He’d be on a gurney by the end of the year.

  5. Ha. Tebow on a gurney..dare to dream. Sorry, I am evil. Anyway, great post, as always. Thanks for the ups to the Bucs and Freeman. I am pleasantly surprised, though I picked against them again. hehe I’m not delusional!

    Truer words were never spoken on Big Ben. I don’t think he’s all that. Never have. He has a hell of a team around him and he gets it done, oftentimes barely. And reminding me of the horror that was the Super Bowl is just wrong. I am still not over how craptacular that game really was. It took me a couple of years to forgive both teams for inflicting that upon me.

    Denver did come down to earth, some, and I still don’t trust Kyle Orton at all. They’re fortunate to be in a rather bad division (still think SD is soft) but I bet they’re one and done in the playoffs.

    Cincy is a huge surprise, to me, but they are legit. I guess even doormats rise up now and then!

    • Ha ha, thanks nolebucgrl. Yeah, that Pittsburgh v Seattle SB may be the worst two teams I’ve ever seen in a SB. It looked more like an opening day game, for the Refs too. I hope Pittsburgh doesn’t win another SB because I can’t stomach the thought of Big Ben having three SB rings like Brady. That would not seem right.

      I am pumped already for the Sunday Night Showdown between the PATS and COLTS!

  6. Don’t sign Larry Johnson. He is indeed a punk. My friends who are Chiefs fans are jumping for joy that they got rid of him.

    I think the Bengals are very legit. They have several impressive wins on their resume and would have another one if not for Stokley’s miracle catch in week one. I also think the Ravens still can be a playoff team but their defense certainly isn’t what it once was.

    I think the Broncos’ defense was simply on the field too long in the second half Monday night. You’re not going to win often when your offense is going three and out every time. I do think the Steelers are very good and speaking as a Broncos fan, 6-2 is still pretty darn good at the break for a team that was picked by most to be 5-11 or worse.

    • Thanks for the comment Reid. I totally agree with you on the Broncos. I am totally impressed with McDaniel’s and the entire team. After last night’s game, are you feeling glad getting rid of Cutler? Even though the 5 ints weren’t all his fault, he isn’t the second coming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s