NFL Week 9 Monday Aftermath
November 3, 2014
This weekend marked the halfway point of the NFL season, a point of the year where teams begin to gain their identity on how the remainder of the season will play out for them. The games early in the day served as an appetizer for the highly anticipated matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
The Dallas Cowboys hosted the Arizona Cardinals for the best record in the NFC. America’s team faced a tough challenge without their captain, Tony Romo. Dallas jumped out to an early 10-point lead but without Romo the offense was unable to generate enough firepower to outscore the Cardinals. A stingy Arizona defense was able to capitalize on the Dallas turnovers that led to the Cardinals receiving the win with a score of 28-17. With the victory the Cardinals now sit a top the NFC West and posses the best record in football.
Riding a three game hot streak, the Miami Dolphins faced off against the west coast San Diego Chargers who made the trip to South Beach. Once regarded as one of the top teams in the league after defeating the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, San Diego has taken steps back dropping their last three including Sundays loss to the Dolphins. The Dolphins took the electricity out of the Chargers with a 37-0 victory and are now in third in the AFC East as the Buffalo Bills currently own the tiebreaker in the division for second place.
In other early games, the Eagles were able to pick up a road victory against the Houston Texans despite losing their starting quarterback, Nick Foles, who suffered a broken collarbone in the first half. The Cincinnati Bengals had their hands full with a lackluster Jaguars team, but a late interception thrown by Blake Bortles secured the victory for the Bengals. The Jets continued to struggle even with Michael Vick taking over for Geno Smith. Vick suffered a minor injury but later returned to the game. However, Kansas City and the Arrowhead crowd were too much for the Jets to handle as they were grounded in the 24-10 loss. The Browns were able to hold off a feisty Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that kept the game close throughout the entire game. Cleveland won 22-17. An anticipated return for Robert Griffin III, better known as RG3, was spoiled as Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings came out on top 29-26.
The highlight of the weekend was the anticipated matchup of Brady vs. Manning. Sunday afternoon marked the 16th time the two future hall of famers faced off against each other. Before Sunday’s matchup, Brady has been the better of the two in the history of the matchup winning 10 of those games. When the clock ran out on Sunday, the results were the same. Brady picked up another win relying heavily on his receiving core, mainly Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Peyton was Peyton as he threw for 438 yards, which set another Manning record for the most career 400-yard passing games in a career. The loss marked the 14th time Manning had thrown for 400 yards, an accomplishment that he has conquered more times than anyone else.
In other late action, the Seahawks played the Oakland Raiders in a game that most figured would be a one sided bloodbath. The Raiders who were 1-7 came in to one of the most hostile environments in the NFL, Century Link Field. Oakland put up a tougher fight than anyone could have imagined keeping the game within one score despite being a 15-point underdog. The final score was 30-24 in favor of Seattle. In of the more bizarre finishes that the NFL has ever seen the Rams were able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers on a last second gaffe Colin Kaepernick. The explosive quarterback was harassed throughout the entire game by the Rams defense getting sacked eight times. The final play of the game was the most costly for the 49ers. Down by three points with the ball lying two yards from a touchdown, with two seconds left on the clock, the 49ers went for the win. Kaepernick took the snap and attempted the quarterback sneak but was met at the line of scrimmage and fumbled the ball, which gave St. Louis the victory.
An AFC North rivalry was the game that got showcased on Sunday Night Football. A showcase it certainly was as Ben Roethlisberger threw for six touchdowns in the victory against Baltimore. Big Ben’s performances in the past two weeks has resulted in 12 touchdown passes the past two games and he has the Steelers clicking on all cylinders at one of the most important times of the year.