NFL week nine round-up
Week nine saw the NFL move into the second half of the season. This week brought us many close games with each team trying to press on and gain momentum now that the post-season is in sight.
Chicago Bears (7-1-0) 51-20 Tennessee Titans (3-6-0)
The Chicago Bears maintained control of the NFC North with a blow-out win over the Titans. The Bears were outstanding on both sides of the ball and even led their opponents 31-5 at half-time.
Chicago hasn’t lost since their week two setback in Green Bay and will hope to continue this fine run of form in order to clinch the divisional crown over the Packers.
It was a long day for Tennessee from the start, as literally the first play of the game saw them turn the football over when Bears corner-back Charles Tillman forced a fumble by hitting receiver Kenny Britt in the middle of the field.
Chicago’s defence was at it again early in the first quarter when Corey Wootton managed to score a defensive touchdown following a blocked punt to get the scoring rolling.
Overall, the Bears’ defence forced five turnovers in this huge win as they showed why they are championship calibre, especially when they possess the likes of Brian Urlacher who returned an interception for a touchdown in the win and Charles Tillman who forced an amazing four fumbles in the game.
When the season began, everyone knew that this team’s defence could and most likely would come up big, but it was on offence where questions were being asked, but thankfully for all those associated with the Bears quarter-back Jay Cutler and his offence have helped this team rally to a 7-1 record at the half-way point of their schedule.
Cutler himself was efficient on the day as he completed 19 passes out of 26 attempts for 229 yards and three touchdowns in one of his best performances of the season. His buddy Brandon Marshall was the man who hauled in all three of those touchdown passes as he managed 122 receiving yards off nine receptions.
Matt Forte also got the Bears’ run game going as he ran in for a score in the first quarter and racked up over 100 yards on the day.
As for the Titans, well, they didn’t have much to celebrate as they slumped to 3-6 meaning that their season is over in regards to the play-offs, although Chris Johnson did manage to pull off an 80-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
The defeat leaves owner Bud Adams with plenty to stew over following his team’s poor performances, with many questions now being asked about the future of many of those in Tennessee.
The Titans will now travel to Sun Life Stadium to take on the Dolphins in week ten. Meanwhile, the highflying Bears have a huge game at home against the Houston Texans who are also 7-1 on the season, as the two match up on Sunday Night football with both needing a win as they look to try and cement the first seed in their respective conferences.
Miami Dolphins (4-4-0) 20-23 Indianapolis Colts (5-3-0)
This game saw the battle of the two rookies as Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck locked horns with the two bidding to move their respective teams forward in hope of reaching the play-offs.
Come the end of this week’s games, it was revealed that the winner would currently hold the sixth seed in the AFC following the first half of the campaign and it was the Colts who managed to come out on top by three in a very close one at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Andrew Luck put in another fantastic performance in what is turning out to be an amazing rookie year for the number one overall pick. He threw for an NFL rookie-record 433 yards, as the Colts earned a 23-20 victory over the Dolphins.
Neither team was expected to be over .500 heading in to week nine of the NFL season, especially with rookie quarter-backs at the helm, but both have defied the odds. The Colts are now looking to go to 6-3 when they take on AFC South rivals the Jaguars on Thursday, as they look to keep up the pressure on the Texans as well as the other AFC play-off hopefuls.
Miami are not done and dusted as this loss snapped a three-game winning streak so Tannehill and co will look to get back to basics and, more importantly, winning ways when the Dolphins take on the Titans at home in week ten.
As for this game, well, it will go down as one of the memorable ones of the season, especially for Indianapolis if it helps give them the momentum to go on and make the post-season. Andrew Luck’s passing skills continue to improve and he completed 30 out of 48 passing attempts on the day.
Luck managed to throw a pair of touchdowns and on the day completed many crucial third downs, 204 yards overall on third down plays. Along with that he made some big plays down field to his receivers with one of his touchdown passes going to TY Hilton for 36 yards.
Reggie Wayne was the man who hauled in the young quarter-back’s other touchdown pass, as this Colts offence once again showed that they know how to get the job done. Wayne himself leads the league in receiving yards with 835 yards and Luck is in the top five quarter-backs for passing yards along with Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Drew Brees.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 290 yards and a touchdown, but Miami literally fell short in this one as they were a yard from moving the chains on fourth down, meaning that the Colts sealed the win.
It was a great day for Indianapolis who once again played with heart and determination in front of an emotional home crowd, as head coach Chuck Pagano was in attendance as he continues his treatment for leukaemia.
Adam Vinatieri’s 43-yard game-winning field goal means that Andrew Luck has now led five fourth quarter, or overtime game-winning drives in his first eight games as an NFL quarter-back, and this win means the Colts have now won three in a row.
Minnesota Vikings (5-4-0) 20-30 Seattle Seahawks (5-4-0)
This week nine match-up also paired two young quarter-backs against each other, as rookie Russell Wilson took on sophomore Christian Ponder with them battling it out in a close one at CenturyLink Field.
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks have performed well this season, but with a top quality defence it isn’t as surprising as Minnesota’s success as they are also 5-4 after nine games. Both teams are competing in tough NFC divisions and both will look to push on in their next seven games, as they try and reach the post-season.
As for this game, well, it was Seattle who came out on top as Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, 173 yards, to lead them to a 30-20 win at home. The Seahawks are unbeaten at home and have another game at CenturyLink Field to look forward to when they host the Jets in week ten.
This game also saw two of the best running-backs in the NFL go head to head. Adrian Peterson is back to his old self for the Vikings this year and racked up 182 yards on the day, as well as two touchdowns. It was AP who got the scoring going in this one by giving Minnesota a 7-0 lead early in the first.
His second touchdown came early in the second quarter and tied the game at 14-14 following two Seattle passing touchdowns. Wilson connected with Golden Tate on a six-yard pass and former Viking Sidney Rice on an 11-yard play.
A Blair Walsh field goal appeared to give the road team a three-point lead at the half, but with 44 seconds to go in the first half, Russell Wilson connected with Tate again to give the Seahawks a 21-17 lead at the break.
On this day, Marshawn Lynch may not have rushed for as many yards as Adrian Peterson, but Lynch was the one on the winning team as he rushed for 124 yards and a score. His touchdown came with just over four minutes to go in the third and put Seattle up by ten.
A deep 55-yard field goal by Vikings rookie kicker Walsh put them within seven, but Seattle scored a field goal mid-way through the fourth and ended up winning this one by ten. Vikings quarter-back Ponder had a disappointing day as he completed just 50% of his passes for only 63 yards and also threw a pick.
Minnesota now have a huge match-up in week ten ahead of them, as they look to bounce back from this loss when they take on the resurgent Detroit Lions in a clash between third and fourth in the NFC North. Despite their standings within a very competitive division, both teams have a shot at the play-offs if they can put a run together, so Sunday’s match-up could be crucial come the end of the season.
Round-up of other week nine games
Kansas City Chiefs (1-7-0) 13-31 San Diego Chargers (4-4-0) – Somehow Nov Turner’s team are in play-off contention, but then again, the Chiefs have only won once this season.
Denver Broncos (5-3-0) 31-23 Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-0) – Peyton Manning and the Broncos went on the road and racked up another win. With each passing week, Denver are starting to look more like a contender in the AFC.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2-0) 25-15 Cleveland Browns (2-7-0) – Despite the Ravens’ defence seemingly getting more depleted week by week, they managed to get another win under their belt and maintain control of the AFC North.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5-0) 17-31 Green Bay Packers (6-3-0) – The Green Bay Packers managed to keep some pressure on the Chicago Bears in the NFC North with this win, whilst the Cardinals’ early season form has now gone out the window.
Buffalo Bills (3-5-0) 9-21 Houston Texans (7-1-0) – The Texans moved to 7-1 with another win under their belts ahead of a big game on Sunday night against the 7-1 Chicago Bears.
Detroit Lions (4-4-0) 31-14 Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7-0) – This young Detroit Lions team have turned a corner and with two wins in a row they’ve given themselves something to play for in the second half of the season.
Carolina Panthers (2-6-0) 21-13 Washington Redskins (3-6-0) – Cam Newton topped RGIII in a close one as Carolina managed to win just their second game of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4-0) 42-32 Oakland Raiders (3-5-0) – In this high-scoring contest, the Bucs killed off the Raiders late in the fourth to win the game and move to an equal 4-4 record.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-0) 24-20 New York Giants (6-3-0) – The Steelers rallied back from ten points in the fourth quarter to win by four, leaving them just a game behind the Ravens in the AFC North. As for the Giants, well, despite the loss they are still in control at the top of the NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys (3-5-0) 13-19 Atlanta Falcons (8-0-0) – The Falcons went on the road and beat the Cowboys. Despite the score being close, Atlanta were always in control as Matt Ryan and co won this one by six.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-0) 13-28 New Orleans Saints (3-5-0) – Drew Brees continued his record of at least one touchdown pass per game to 43 games, as New Orleans got another much-needed win over the disappointing Eagles.
Skye Pank, NFL correspondent