Hey everyone, Tyler Arthur here, welcome to my weekly NFL column.
I am going to be using this space to keep all of you guys up to date with what you may have missed in the NFL, the biggest takeaways and stats, and then preview the upcoming week and what I think you need to be watching next.
Thanks for reading, now let’s get into this week’s column.
Week 9 is in the books and oh boy, what a weird and wonderful week it was. We had as many upsets in one week as I can remember, with multiple huge favourites falling and some teams who have really been struggling to bounce back.
There have been some big off-the-field stories too, but we are going to focus on the on-field stuff.
Without any further delay, let’s get started.
What happened This Week in the NFL?
Upset of the Week!
As we mourn the death of Cardinals Watch, Week 9 provided clear inspiration for our new opening segment for the column. Here we have to give some love to the underdogs who provide the upset of the week. What better week than this to start off with…
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The 1-6 Jaguars pulled off by far the biggest upset of the entire season so far, in my opinion, when they defeated the AFC-favourite Bills (5-2) at home this week. They managed to contain a high-flying offense and grind out a win in one of the lowest-scoring games you will ever see, winning 9-6 in a match that contained 0 touchdowns. Epic!!!
Winners and Losers
Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
Cleveland Browns (5-4)
Denver Broncos (5-4)
Miami Dolphins (2-7)
Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
New York Giants (3-6)
New England Patriots (5-4)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)
Arizona Cardinals (8-1)
Tennessee Titans (7-2)
New York Jets (2-6)
Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
Houston Texans (1-8)
New Orleans Saints (5-3)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
Carolina Panthers (4-5)
Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)
Green Bay Packers (7-2)
San Francisco 49ers (3-5)
Los Angeles Rams (7-2)
Detroit Lions (0-8)
Seattle Seahawks (3-5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
Washington Football Team (2-6)
Standout Individual Performers
Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars
No, not that Josh Allen…
A sack and an Interception of Josh Allen, by Josh Allen.
For the first time in the history of the National Football League, in Week 9 2021, a player of identical name sacked, and intercepted, his opposing counterpart. Josh Allen sacked Josh Allen, before later intercepting Josh Allen. I’m not surprised it hadn’t happened before, but I am very excited that I got to see it happen. What an epic moment in NFL history. Naturally, I have to give [the Jags’] Josh Allen the player of the week title here. He got 8 solo tackles, including 2 Tackles for Loss and had a sack and an interception. Absolutely epic.
Justin Herbert, LA Chargers
84% completion rate, 356 passing yards, 2 passing TD’s and a rushing TD.
After a difficult couple of weeks, throwing three interceptions to his three TD’s and only 400-odd yards across two losses, Justin Herbert really had to wake up in Week 9. He did just that and got locked back in again for a date with the Philadelphia Eagles. The second-year quarterback jumped from accuracy in the 50’s to a career-high 84% completion rate and threw 356 yards and two scores, while also rushing for a TD. The Eagles put up a fight, but Herbert and the Chargers held on for a win that puts them atop the very competitive AFC West.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
77% completion rate, 343 passing yards, 2 passing TD’s and a rushing.
Atlanta sports had a pretty damn good week this week. They won the world series and now they defeat the New Orleans Saints? What a week. The latter victory came on the back of a great performance from Matt Ryan, who was really on form, in a division rivalry game. He completed 23 of his 30 pass attempts (77%) and put up 343 passing yards. He threw 2 touchdowns and managed to put his team in a position to walk it off with a game-winning FG as time expired in the Super Dome. A statement win for Atlanta and a big effort from Matty Ice.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
66% completion rate, 266 passing yards, 3 passing TD’s and 120 rushing yards.
What a great way to transition from QB’s to RB’s, with a QB who put up an RB stat line on the side. Lamar Jackson put up a very reasonable 266 passing yards, completing 27 of 41 pass attempts (66%). He threw 3 touchdowns in the tense overtime win over the Vikings. The Ravens QB also casually rushed for 120 yards on 21 rushing attempts. It might be more the norm than it used to be, and he did have a couple of turnovers, but to be the third-best rusher on the week while also throwing 3 TD’s still qualifies as a big day in my book.
James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
21 rush attempts, 96 rushing yards and 2 rushing TD’s. plus 77 receiving yards and a TD.
The Arizona Cardinals may not be undefeated anymore, but they are still very much riding the wave of a fantastic start. This week they didn’t have their starting quarterback or their superstar wide receiver, who were both banged up after a tough loss to Green Bay last week. Without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, you might worry that they’d fall flat. Nope. James Conner stepped right up and had one of the best games of his career. He totalled a season-high 96 yards on 21 carries, while scoring 2 rushing TD’s. He also casually caught 5 balls for 77 receiving yards and another touchdown through the air. Chase Edmonds looks likely to miss some time so it could be Conner SZN.
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
19 rush attempts, 172 yards and 2 TD’s.
On Thursday night, one of the best young running backs in the league got matched up with one of the worst run-defenses in the league. It went how you’d expect. Jonathan Taylor and the Colts ran all over the Jets, in a fairly comfortable win. The second-year RB rushed 19 times and produced 172 yards and a pair of rushing TD’s. There are multiple talented RB’s getting touches in Indy and fighting for reps, but every single week, Taylor seems to prove that he’s the guy.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
14 rushes, 137 yards and 2 TD’s.
You don’t always need 20+ carries to have a big day, as Nick Chubb also proved. The Browns had a big game against their divisional rivals from Cincinnati this week and they were ruthlessly efficient. The Bengals had over 10 minutes more time in possession, but they didn’t have Chubb. Who rushed just 14 times for 137 yards and 2 TD’s. One of his scoring runs was a gorgeous 70-yard breakaway run, carving through the defense like a knife through butter.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
6 receptions for 126 yards, including clutch play.
We can’t talk about Matt Ryan and the Falcons without talking about this guy, too. Running back/wide receiver hybrid Cordarrelle Patterson once again filled out an impressive receiving stat line with 6 receptions, catching all of his targets, and making the huge (both in yardage and importance) play that set up the Falcons final drive field goal to win the game. With the trading away of Julio Jones and now the choice from Calvin Ridley to step away from the game, Patterson’s phenomenal production has been very necessary for the team, and this week it was cool to see it turn into a big win.
J.C. Jackson, New England Patriots
2 interceptions, including a pick-six.
This was a seriously big week for defensive performances, but few could outdo the performance of the Patriots’ cornerback J.C. Jackson. He had two interceptions on the day, against Carolina, his fourth and fifth of the year. One of them was an epic 88-yard pick-six on a pressured Sam Darnold.
Xavier McKinney, New York Giants
2 interceptions including a pick-six.
It would be rude to shout out Jackson without also highlighting Xavier McKinney’s awesome performance for the Giants. Derek Carr has been playing great football this season, but this week, the Giants free safety got the best of him. He had a pick-six in the first half that seemingly deflated the Vegas offense and gave a big boost to the Giants. Then, later in the game, he read Carr’s shoulders and made an impressive sideline interception, breaking from center field and making a tough play.
Markus Golden, Arizona Cardinals
5 combined tackles including 3 sacks.
As I already mentioned, the Cardinals were far from at full strength, but it literally didn’t matter. They still dominated the Niners, and Markus Golden had himself a day. He managed 3 sacks and helped to keep San Fran quiet in their statement NFC West victory. With his 9.0 sacks, only two players in the league have more.
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
7 combined tackles, including 3 sacks.
Speak of the devil! I did tell you it was a big defensive week, after all. The Steelers superstar edge rusher, T.J Watt, did what Watt’s do best, this week. In a matchup against rookie QB Justin Fields, he introduced himself, to say the least. Three times in fact. He had 3 sacks on the night and 7 combined tackles in the last-minute Pittsburgh win. These sacks put him on 11.5 for the year, just 0.5 behind Myles Garrett. Oh and just a pre-warning. Next week, the Steelers are hosting the 0-8 Lions. I suspect Watt has his eyes on that top spot.
Games to watch back
Minnesota Vikings @ Baltimore Ravens
Los Angeles Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Tennessee Titans @ Los Angeles Rams
Stat Leaders Through Week 9
Passing Yards – Matthew Stafford, 2771
Passing TD’s – Tom Brady, 25
Rushing Yards – Derrick Henry, 937
Rushing TD’s – James Conner and Derrick Henry, 10
Receiving Yards – Cooper Kupp, 1019
Receiving TD’s – Cooper Kupp, 10
Total TD’s – James Conner, 11
Tackles (combined) – Roquan Smith and Bobby Wagner, 93
Sacks – Myles Garrett, 12.0
Interceptions – Trevon Diggs, 7
Week 10 Preview – What to watch
Week 10 Best Games
Vikings @ Chargers, 9:05pm
Seahawks @ Packers, 9:25pm
Chiefs @ Raiders, SNF
Rams @ Niners, MNF
Week 10 – Storylines and who to watch
Can Dallas right themselves after a surprise loss? Falcons @ Cowboys, 6pm
Was Jacksonville’s heroic Week 9 defensive effort a one-off? Jaguars @ Colts, 6pm
Do Buffalo fancy trying to make it two awful losses in a row? Bills @ Jets, 6pm
TJ Watt’s attempt to take the sack lead, Lions @ Steelers, 6pm
The long-awaited return of Russell Wilson… and the short-awaited return of Aaron Rodgers? Seahawks @ Packers, 9:25pm
The struggling Chiefs head to visit the unstable Raiders for a big AFC West battle, Chiefs @ Raiders, SNF
Can San Francisco survive yet another terrifying NFC West rival, Rams @ Niners, MNF