Author: Dan Latto
Another exciting week of NFL has passed so it is time to take a look at some of the biggest stories from week nine of the 2021-22 season.
Lamar Does it Again
Lamar Jackson has done it once again, with an unbelievable performance and yet another comeback win for him and the Baltimore Ravens this season. In a great game between the Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings, the Ravens came back from down 14 points in the second half to hit a game-winning field goal in overtime.
Jackson had himself a great day, netting 386 total yards, with 266 through the air and another 120 on the ground running. What makes those stats so unique is that not only did Jackson throw for more yards than opposing quarterback Kirk Cousins, but he also ran for more yards than the opposing running back, Dalvin Cook. It seems like each week, Jackson adds another jaw-dropping feat to his resume.
Not only did he outperform basically the entire opposing offense just by himself, but he also led his Ravens team to their third double-digit comeback of the season. In a more historic accomplishment, Jackson has now passed Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback ever with 12. He broke that record, and countless more, in just his fourth season in the NFL.
The Ravens’ offense was essentially unstoppable in the second half, coming out and scoring three straight touchdowns to get back into the game. Jackson would end up throwing an interception in the first possession of overtime, but the defense stepped up and forced a quick three and out to get Jackson the ball back which led to the game-winning field goal. The Ravens bounced back convincingly after getting embarrassed at home by the Cincinnati Bengals the game before. The Ravens look to continue their success against the Miami Dolphins and try to hold onto their division lead in a very competitive AFC North.
Josh Allen vs. Josh Allen
In what was one of the ugliest games this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars got their second win in a huge upset victory against the Buffalo Bills. This game had a combined 20 penalties, four turnovers, only 519 total yards, and 15 points. The Bills were expecting an easy road victory against a struggling Jaguars team. However, that did not come to fruition, as the Jaguars were able to pull out an absolute nightmare of a football game.
The storyline in this game though was the matchup of Josh Allen vs. Josh Allen. The starting quarterback for the Bills, and starting defensive end of the Jaguars had the first matchup with two players who had the same name. Not only do they have the same name, but also they were drafted at the same exact spot at number seven in the first round, just a year apart. Allen of the Jaguars had an unbelievable game and was the difference-maker for the win. He had a sack, interception, and fumble recovery all on fellow Josh Allen.
The fumble by Bills quarterback Allen came at a crucial time, as the Bills were driving down the field and in Jacksonville territory looking to tie or take the lead down just three points. Allen of the Jaguars was a key contributor to the win and is a major bright spot for the Jaguars’ future. The Bills, on the other hand, need to wake up quickly as the AFC East, which many thought the Bills were going to run away with, has become a race for first with the New England Patriots moving to 5-4 after an impressive road win against the Carolina Panthers.
Baker is Back
It only took the Cleveland Browns just over two quarters to put away the Bengals in a huge inter-division game. The storyline in the first half of the game was Baker Mayfield, who had the best half a quarterback could have. He finished the half going 7-8, with 121 yards and a touchdown, which added up to a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.
An even more important point to mention was the fact that it was the first game where wide receiver Odell Beckham was officially not with the team. We now know that Odell is no longer a Brown but there was a clear difference in play in Baker this past week from the week prior. I’m not saying there is a direct correlation between the two events, but there had been some off-the-field issues in the locker room of the Browns, and many felt it stemmed from the giant personality that is Odell Beckham.
Either way, the Browns absolutely dominated the Bengals and it is a great sign for the Browns as they had lost three of their previous four games. With Beckham officially gone, it will be important for players like Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Donovan People-Jones to step up and be playmakers. The Browns are still very much in the hunt for the playoffs and look to improve those odds in a very tough matchup against a red hot Patriots team on the road.
Titans Dominate Sunday Night Football
The Sunday night football game was a highly anticipated matchup between two teams who were in the midst of four game-winning streaks. What was supposed to be a close game, ended up being a blowout, with the Tennessee Titans crushing the Los Angeles Rams 28-16.
After getting off to a slow start in the first quarter, the Titans kicked things into second gear and scored back-to-back touchdowns after Matt Stafford threw a tough interception as he tried to prevent a safety and then a pick-six on the ensuing drive. In addition to the interceptions, their defense was the story for the Titans as they held the Rams to just one touchdown which came in garbage time in the fourth quarter. Stafford was under pressure all game, getting sacked for a season-high five times, along with another season-high of 11 quarterback hits.
The Titans had their first game without the league’s leading rusher, Derrick Henry. In his place, was the future hall of famer Adrian Peterson, who scored a touchdown in his first game this season. This game was a great sign for the Titans, as they showed they can still compete with the best teams in the league even without an elite rusher like Henry.
For the Rams, this game was most likely just a misstep of a game from them, and they’ll look to bounce back on Monday Night Football against a struggling San Francisco 49ers team.
Refs Dominate Monday Night Football
The Monday night game was an absolute disaster for the NFL. The matchup was between the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers and ended up being a brutal game to watch. The Steelers defeated the Bears 29-27, but it was the referees that were the main storyline from the game.
The Bears finished the game with 12 penalties, which was the third-most in a game this season. There was a collection of debatable calls against the Bears, but the worst came at a critical time in the game. With just under four minutes left in the game, the Steelers had the ball up three points, and it looked like Cassius Marsh had just made a crucial sack to get the ball back for the Bears. However, he ended up getting called for taunting, which led to the Steelers getting another field goal to go up six points. That turned out to be the difference in the game. In my opinion, the taunting call was absolutely terrible and there is even video footage of the referee intentionally bumping into Marsh and then throwing the flag. Whether the penalty was called because of the bump, or because Marsh looked at the Steelers bench after making the play, it was despicable for the refs to take the game into their own hands, as opposed to letting the players decide the outcome.
Not only that, but there were multiple no-calls on plays where Steelers committed blatant roughing the passer penalties against Justin Fields. It really is a shame to see the referees interfere so much with the outcome of the game, and the NFL needs to step in and take accountability. Fields though had one of his better games as a pro in his young career and has another chance to compete against the best when he plays the Ravens and Lamar Jackson in two weeks.