A record-breaking Brady, a collection of comebacks and a couple of not-so-average Joes highlight Week 9 of the 2022 NFL season.
With numerous one-score wins and some surprising upsets, there's plenty to unpack from Sunday's games, so let's get into it.
Colts 3 - 26 Patriots
The state of the Colts offense is almost definitely going to get Frank Reich fired. (Edit: he was)
A game of 'quarterback musical chairs' probably isn't helping, but something has to be done if Indy want to see any more success this season.
The injury of star running back Jonathan Taylor is bad enough, so why did they trade away the next best thing in Nyheim Hines last week? If it was to give Deon Jackson a go, I'm afraid their run-game may be stuck for the foreseeable future, as Jackson exited Sunday's matchup in New England with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Mac Jones is starting to find his feet, but it's really the Bill Belichick defense that's setting the tone in New England. Jones threw for just 147 yards while Rhamondre Stevenson led the ground game which amassed just 70 yards on the day. On the other side of the ball, the Pats logged 9 sacks, 8 TFLs, 12 QB hits, 9 punts and a pick-six to top things off...
Jones can play however he likes if the defense keeps doing this.
Packers 9 - 15 Lions
It's getting hard to choose which legendary QB is going out in worse form. Is it Russ 'the Bust' Wilson, or an angry Aaron Rodgers?
The Packers faced the worst defense in the entire league (in terms of points allowed) and could even hit double digits on the scoreboard. The loss in Detroit marks Rodgers first career game with two red zone interceptions and his first 3-pick game in 5 years...
The problems in Green Bay aren't entirely his fault, but perhaps he should've called it quits after last season?
Charger 20 - 17 Falcons
Honestly, mistakes were the only thing that made this game interesting...
A Cordarrelle Patterson touchdown run was negated by a hold. Khalil Mack ripped the ball away from Drake London on the 7-yard line. Marcus Mariota overthrew a wide-open touchdown to Kyle Pitts. And Austin Ekeler lost a fumble with the game in LA's hands, which was scooped up by the Falcons and fumbled again only for the Chargers to pick it back up.
Chargers fumble— Alex 👋 (@Dubs408) November 6, 2022
Chargers ball still pic.twitter.com/hDUbMmWjwI
Besides fumbles and missed field goals, the difference maker in this matchup was Justin Herbet doubling Mariota's passing yards. Joshua Palmer led the wide-outs with 106 receiving yards while the highest yardage for a Falcon wide receiver was just 27.
It's a good job Mariota can run, but he's no Lamar Jackson.
Bills 17 - 20 Jets
I may be very late on this one - but are the Jets actually good? They're now 4-0 when playing teams with a winning record and managed to hold one of the league's most explosive defenses to just 17 points. Wow.
Sauce Gardner is a strong contender for Rookie of the Year and continued to make his case against the Bills, adding another interception to his tally which set up a touchdown for James Robinson, plus a pass break-up on Josh Allen's Hail Mary.
This is the second game this season in which Buffalo has scored less than 20 points and both have been losses. I can't decide which side of the ball has more work to do, but in fairness, the Jets are one of the harder matchups in their schedule. Who'd have thought I'd ever say that?
Vikings 20 - 17 Commanders
The Washington rollercoaster continues while the Vikings progress to 7-1.
Kirk Cousins led the offense with 265 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the ground game only accounted for 56 yards. Justin Jefferson may have balled out, but the game-changing play was an interception from veteran safety Harrison Smith. The Vikings are one of the least talked-about 7-1 teams in NFL history.
You could say the refs blew this one for Washington on a pass interference call that negated a vital pick-six, but the question still remains - is Heinicke's magic starting to run out?
Panthers 21 - 42 Bengals
Remember I mentioned a couple of not-so-average Joes? Well, here they are.
It seems Cincy have found their substitute for Ja'Marr Chase while he sits on the bench - it's running back Joe Mixon.
The star of the show this weekend found the end zone on five separate occasions, setting a new franchise record for touchdowns in a single game to amass 30 points all by himself. Crazy stuff, especially if you had him in your fantasy team (or on your betslip).
I was convinced that last week's troubles would leave Joe Burrow mourning the loss of his former LSU buddy, but with Chase likely out for just a few more games, it seems they'll be perfectly fine letting Mixon do most of the heavy lifting in Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, D'Onta Foreman's stint as a reasonable replacement for Christian McCaffrey is proving to be short-lived, as he only managed 23 yards on the ground last night.
On the other hand, Baker Mayfield made a return and did surprisingly well - throwing 14/20 for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Could he be Carolina's saving grace?
Raiders 20 - 27 Jaguars
After an embarrassing shut out in New Orleans last week, the Raiders decided to continue their disappointing streak by blowing a 17-point lead in Jacksonville. Vegas failed to put up a single point in the second half after going into the break 13 points ahead.
Davante Adams is the only player to be getting the attention he deserves, with 10 catches for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, being any other player on the Raiders roster is a boring and bleak affair. Josh McDaniels could be facing some tough questions as he takes a very talented team to 2-6.
Travis Etienne is still the Jaguars shining light in an equally miserable season for Trevor Lawrence & Co, as he rushed for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns in the comeback win.
So long as Jacksonville give him 28 carries a game, they may actually have a shot at a winning record.
TOUCHDOWN TRAVIS!!!! First career multi-TD game for Travis Etienne!— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) November 6, 2022
Dolphins 35 - 32 Bears
I said it before, and I'll say it again. Put Justin Fields in at running back.
Tua may have had the better passing game, but Fields logged the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game since 1950, with 178. He found the end zone with a 61-yard rush and threw for 3 touchdowns on the night, but it still wasn't enough to beat Miami's air raid.
Now, this may be fun to watch, but it doesn't win games... (unless you're Lamar Jackson)
Recently traded Jeff Wilson starred in the Fins run game, but they were absolutely dominated on the ground. So, Miami had just one option left - to almost triple the Bears passing yards.
As a result, Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle were at it again. The two speedsters tore apart Chicago's defense for a combined 228 yards and two touchdowns.
TYREEK HILL TOUCHDOWN AND BACKFLIP pic.twitter.com/PXIb6wLD0n— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) November 6, 2022
Matt Eberflus may have added Chase Claypool to the depleted Bears roster, but if Fields can't get the ball out of his hands, what was the point?
Seahawks 31 - 21 Cardinals
Geno Smith does it again. The Seahawks are now the most surprising 6-3 team in history.
Not only is Smith leading a successful passing game with 275 yards and 2 touchdowns, but Kenneth Walker continues to shine after replacing the injured Rashaad Penny. Walker clocked 109 yards and 2 touchdowns to add to his streak of scoring games.
Pete Carrol has to be laughing as he watches Russell Wilson drag the Broncos to the bottom of the league.
SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS in Kenneth Walker’s last five games 👑 pic.twitter.com/i9QeeKfWY9— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) November 7, 2022
Kyler Murray will certainly be happy to have Deandre Hopkins back, but he still only managed 175 passing yards. As usual, he did most of the hard work with his feet, leading the Cardinals ground game with 60 yards. It's not like they played awfully, they're just quite average.
Rams 13 - 16 Buccaneers
Brady may have led one of his classic game-winning drives in just 35 seconds with no timeouts, but there are still plenty of holes in the Tampa Bay offense.
Either way, we're all glad to see he's still got some vintage moments left in the tank.
The fourth quarter touchdown to Cade Otton gave Brady an NFL-record 55 game-winning touchdown drives and a truly ridiculous 100,000 passing yards. Brady will be the undisputed GOAT for decades to come.
In other news, Cooper Kupp continues to be the only source of offense for the Rams. I can't see the Super Bowl MVP leaving any time soon, but I'm convinced LA would be nothing without him.
In any case, McVay will be kicking himself after this loss. I don't care how old he is, you NEVER give Tom Brady the ball when he's a score down with less than 2 minutes left.
Titans 17 - 20 Chiefs
After a rough start, Mahomes put his golden arm on the backburner and showed his speed to take the game to overtime.
A punt-fest of a second half was turned on its head as Mahomes came alive in the fourth quarter. The game-tying drive included a 20-yard scramble on 3rd & 17, a 14-yard scramble for a touchdown 3rd and 9, and yet another scramble for the two-point conversion.
You can lock down the coverage all you like, but Mahomes will still find a way to get it done.
Malik Willis was in for the Titans on Sunday and failed to gain any momentum in the passing game, throwing for just 80 yards.
Luckily, it's not too much of an issue when you have Derrick Henry in the backfield, who rushed for 115 yards and 2 scores.
Despite King Henry's reliability, the Titans couldn't quite follow through in overtime, as they were stopped on their opening set of downs to give Kansas City the win.
So, the Colts continue to disappoint, the Seahawks continue to surprise, and Tom Brady is still the comeback king.
Join me tomorrow as I unpack the Ravens-Saints matchup and see how long Andy Dalton can stay on the field this week.