(Photo By: AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
LinkedIn: Matt Di Domenico | LinkedIn
It was the NFL week that was full of upsets all over the league and it had us floored by late Sunday afternoon. It was a week that proved that in any given game, any NFL team can lose. These are professional players that treat every week with a team record of 0-0. NFL teams that have been struggling were able to prove that they can play football at the same level as the early successors in 2021. Below are the 3 winners and 3 losers for week #9 in the NFL.
1. Buffalo Bills
Going into Sunday's early window games, it was clear to most of us that the Buffalo Bills, who have been pretty hot in 2021, would find a way to this game. However, that prediction was truly wrong when the Bills lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the final score of 9-6. Quarterback Josh Allen had a bad day, but certainly not his entire fault because the offensive line did not hold up in pass protection. The other Josh Allen on the Jaguars was able to have a huge day against the Bills and pressure Josh Allen throughout. The Bills Josh Allen finished with a stat line of 31 for 47 with 264 passing yards and 2 INTs. It was the type of numbers that Bills fans did not want to see. The Bills are now 5-3 and still sit atop the AFC East. What does make matters better in the Bills situation is they will be taking on the New York Jets next Sunday. A huge bounce back is present here in week 10 for the defending AFC East champions.
2. QB Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold finds himself on my losers list again in 2021 with his poor quarterback performance against the New England Patriots. Many are wondering if Darnold is seeing ghosts again because he clearly has been struggling. Darnold finished with going 16 for 33 with 172 passing yards and had 3 INTs. One of the INTs was a huge misread that the Patriots took back for 6. It makes you wonder if the Panthers now will be looking in a different direction at the QB position if Darnold does not improve his play. On the sideline, Panthers WR Robbie Anderson showed his frustration by throwing his helmet in Darnold's direction after one of the INTs. There is a clear problem in Carolina and the Panthers are now 5-4 heading into Arizona next week.
3. Dallas Cowboys
After a huge win against the Minnesota Vikings in week #9 with their backup QB, many people thought the Dallas Cowboys would blow up the Denver Broncos in this game. How could you not think the Cowboys would win this game when getting star QB Dak Prescott back from injury. It turned out to be a very slow game for the Cowboys with a ton of mental mistakes like catching the football. Prescott went 19 for 39 with 232 passing yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. It makes you wonder if Prescott's calf is not completely healed yet or if he just had too much rust after being away for two weeks. The Cowboys are sitting at 6-2 and will be taking on the Atlanta Falcons next week.
1. RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
It was like watching a track meet Thursday night when the Indianapolis Colts star RB in the making was able to carry this Colts team to victory against the New York Jets. Jonathan Taylor is proving that he is one of the best RBs in the league and certainly needs to be the bell cow for this offense. Taylor had 19 carries for 172 rushing yards and 1 TD. That TD was a 78-yard run in which Taylor just outran the entire Jets defense once he hit the open hole. Going into week #10, Taylor has amounted for 140 carries for 821 rushing yards and has 8 TDs. If the Colts continue to have their offense running through Taylor and Wentz gets to utilize play-action more, then the Colts will be a huge sleeper team down the stretch.
2. RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
With all the drama that was unfolding with Odell Beckham Jr. departing from Cleveland, most of us thought the Cleveland Browns would be dropping this game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The man that carried the Browns to victory was RB Nick Chubb. Chubb only had 14 carry attempts and was still able to be super effective. Chubb had 137 rushing yards and had 2 TDs. One of those TDs was a 70-yarder where Chubb made the Bengals defense look very slow. There is no doubt that this Browns offense goes as far as the run game goes. Chubb seems to be healthy again and will have to be super effective down the stretch to get the Browns into the playoffs. The Browns will be taking on the red-hot New England Patriots next week so Chub will have to be the bell cow again.
3. New England Patriots Defense
Having the New England Patriots defense on this list was a must after their performance in week #9 against the Carolina Panthers. This Patriots defense single-handedly won them the game because they shut down the Panthers offense all together. New England picked off Sam Darnold 3 times including 1 for an 88-yard pick 6 by J.C. Jackson. Jackson had 2 INTs on the day and is proving that he is a top-tier CB in this league. The Patriots certainly have been hot and are currently sitting at 2nd place in the AFC East. The Patriots will take on the run-heavy Cleveland Browns next week so that run defense for the Patriots must play or else it will be very unlikely that they will win the game.