By Josh Hatt
Buffalo bests Seattle
We have reached the second half of the NFL season, and it is now mostly clear who the contenders for the Superbowl will be. Buffalo and Seattle met on Sunday in a matchup of two teams leading their respective divisions, and it was Buffalo that came out on top with their most impressive performance of the year. Josh Allen completed 31 of his 38 passes for 415 yards and 3 touchdowns as Buffalo put up 44 points on a Seahawks defence that is becoming an issue. The Seahawks pass defence is on pace to be the worst in NFL history, and its an issue they have to try and solve if they are to make a Superbowl run. Buffalo meanwhile is very much in the mix, and this was a statement to the rest of the NFL that they are a legitimate contender.
Tua and Kyler duel it out in the Desert
Perhaps the most entertaining game of the weekend was the matchup between Miami and Arizona. Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa was impressive in his second NFL start, completing 20 of 28 passes and throwing 2 touchdowns. He was matched most of the way by second year man Murray, who threw for 3 TD’s and ran for another, showcasing his talent as one of the best duel threat quarterbacks in the league. But it was Miami who ultimately came out on top, with Tua leading a game winning drive that ended in the go-ahead field goal. Tua then secured the win with a QB sneak to run down the clock. These two teams were two of the worst in the league not long ago, and it is a credit to their coaches how quickly they have turned it around. They may not be quite ready for the playoffs yet, but these teams will be fun to watch for the rest of they year, and in the future.
Saints Sizzle on Sunday Night
The New Orleans Saints put up an all-round excellent display in primetime, as they dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa. Drew Brees threw for 4 touchdowns, and easily beat fellow veteran Tom Brady, who had no answer for a Saints defence that constantly pressured him. Brady has never been the most mobile of QB’s, and he was forced into 3 interceptions due to constant Saints pressure. Antonio Brown returned to the league but was unable to make an impact on his Bucs debut, as Tampa was limited to just 3 points. New Orleans takes the lead in the NFC South with this win, and now holds the tiebreaker over Tampa, having beaten them twice this season.
Other talking points from week 9:
The Pittsburgh Steelers survived a scare, as they came from behind to beat the Cowboys in Dallas. Dallas raced out to an early 10-0 lead, but the Steelers recovered from a sluggish start to ultimately prevail 24-19 after a touchdown catch by Eric Ebron late on. Pittsburgh remains the only undefeated team in the league, but this was a reminder that they must not underestimate their opponents.
Kansas City were pushed all the way by Carolina, as the returning Christian McCaffery made a big impact on his Panthers return, catching a touchdown on the opening drive and gaining 151 total yards. Patrick Mahomes threw for 4 touchdowns to win the game for Kansas City, who were unable to get anything going on the ground. Kansas City showed that as long as they have Mahomes they are always a threat, even when they are not at their best.
New England came from behind to beat the New York Jets on Monday. The Patriots were trailing by 10 going into the 4th quarter, but Cam Newton threw for a touchdown with 1:57 left, and after a Joe Flacco interception, the Patriots drove down the field and won the game with a field goal as time expired. The Jets are still the only team in the league without a win, and New England keeps its slim playoff hopes alive.
The Chargers suffered yet another heart-breaking loss on Sunday, as Donald Parham Jr was unable to hold on to what would have been the game winning touchdown on the final play of the game against the Raiders. LA has now lost 9 straight games to AFC West rivals, and have lost 72 one score games since 2006.