NFL Week 9 Takeaways: Tom Brady Rediscovers Some of His Late-Game Magic | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

NFL Week 9 Takeaways: Tom Brady Rediscovers Some of His Late-Game Magic

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    AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

    In Week 9 of the NFL season, two players with extraordinary rushing performances rewrote the record books, and a couple of in-division upsets should catch your eye. Also, we have an early winner for the most underachieving team in the league.

    What if someone told you that the Green Bay Packers are the worst team in the NFC North right now? Well, after their loss to the Detroit Lions, we can all believe it. In a downward spiral, with injuries piling up, the Packers desperately need offensive help.

    Former Packers wide receiver Davante Adams isn’t doing any better with the Las Vegas Raiders, who blew another 17-plus-point lead, this time to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Raiders look like the front-runner for the biggest disappointment in 2022.

    Following a 32-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals rode a one-man scoring machine to victory in the early kickoff window. Meanwhile, Justin Fields put on a solo offensive show against the Miami Dolphins in Chicago.

    We had to set aside a separate conversation about the arrival of the New York Jets and the fall of the Buffalo Bills Sunday because of what it means for the AFC East division. Other than that, let’s discuss the biggest takeaways from Week 9 games.

Buccaneers Get Must-Win Game, Regain NFC South Lead

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    Tom Brady

    AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

    Despite some costly drops, including wide receiver Scotty Miller’s bobble in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down the field for a game-winning drive to beat the Los Angeles Rams 16-13.

    The Rams and Bucs slogged through three quarters, but Tampa Bay found a way to score 10 points within the final eight minutes and seven seconds of regulation. Ryan Succop kicked a 50-yard field goal, and Brady completed a one-yard pass to rookie tight end Cade Otton for the go-ahead score after Rams rookie cornerback Derion Kendrick drew a flag for defensive pass interference.

    Following a Thursday game last week, Tampa Bay’s offense still seemed out of sync with extra time to prepare. The Buccaneers aren’t back in playoff form yet, but they did enough to snap a three-game losing streak against a struggling 3-5 Rams squad that also badly needed a win.

    Brady still has his clutch gene, and the Buccaneers moved back into first place in the NFC South because of their head-to-head win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5. Maybe they can build some momentum off of Sunday’s victory.

Raiders Need to Reevaluate Everything from Top to Bottom

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    Derek Carr

    AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

    When the Las Vegas Raiders acquired and extended Davante Adams, signed Chandler Jones, and handed out extensions to Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, some people thought they had a playoff-caliber roster. Well, the Silver and Black may finish the season with a top-10 draft pick.

    The Raiders have a major issue that extends beyond the talent on the roster. They’ve squandered three 17-point leads this season. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, Vegas has already tied the single-season record for such losses.

    Similar to games against the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders came out strong on both sides of the ball but fizzled out in the second half.

    On Sunday, Adams hauled in nine passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but Carr only connected with him on one attempt out of eight targets for zero yards in the second half. The Raiders defense gave up 17 unanswered points after halftime in a 27-20 loss.

    Thus far this season, Vegas has played good football for a quarter or a half, and that’s not even good enough to beat a Jacksonville Jaguars club that lost five consecutive games before Sunday’s contest.

    Going forward, the Raiders must work on adjustments on both sides of the ball and evaluate their roster with the big picture in mind.

    The coaches must look at themselves in the mirror as well. For a team with a collection of talented players, especially on offense, the Raiders should be able to put together complete games at this point in the season. Yet they’re 2-6 with more questions than answers right now.

Packers Should Make a Push for WR Odell Beckham Jr.

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    Odell Beckham Jr.

    AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman

    Clearly, the Green Bay Packers have the worst offense in the NFC North.

    On Sunday, they lost 15-9 to the Detroit Lions, who allowed the most points and yards per game through Week 8. In the first half, Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions inside the Lions’ 5-yard line. He turned the ball over for a third time in Detroit territory during the second quarter.

    Early in the contest, the Packers lost rookie wideout Romeo Doubs, who left on a cart with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, running back Aaron Jones had a “noticeable limp and grimace” in the locker room after the game; he exited the contest on his own power with an ankle injury as well.

    Rodgers deserves the blame for Green Bay’s loss to Detroit because of his inopportune turnovers, but the Packers, who came into Week 9 ranked 26th in points per game, may need to add another playmaker with Doubs and Jones dealing with ankle injuries.

    The Packers should be on the phone with Odell Beckham Jr.’s agent, asking about his recovery from a torn ACL. If he isn’t far from a return, the big-play wideout can help an offense that’s struggling mightily.

    Keep in mind that Green Bay made calls for wideout Chase Claypool, whom the Pittsburgh Steelers sent to the Chicago Bears before the November 1 trade deadline, Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

    Beckham wouldn’t cure all of the Packers’ ills, but he’s a veteran playmaker who can bring an immediate spark (if healthy) to a bottom-tier offense. According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, Beckham will be fully cleared by the end of this week.

    If Beckham isn’t a fit, Green Bay should monitor disgruntled wide receiver Brandin Cooks’ situation with the Houston Texans.

Without Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon Should Be Featured Playmaker in Bengals Offense

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    Joe Mixon

    AP Photo/Emilee Chinn

    The Cincinnati Bengals had a simple offensive game plan to beat the Carolina Panthers 42-21 on Sunday: Feed running back Joe Mixon early and often. He scored a franchise-record five touchdowns, racking 211 yards along the way.

    Before Week 9, Mixon had been somewhat of a forgettable part of the Bengals offense. Through the first eight weeks of the season, he averaged 54 rushing yards per game and ran the ball at an underwhelming 3.3 yards per carry. Also, through October, Cincinnati ranked 28th in total carries and registered the third-fewest rushing yards per game.

    For comparison, Mixon rushed for 153 yards, averaging seven yards per carry against the Panthers, getting off to a running start in November.

    The Bengals haven’t placed wideout Ja’Marr Chase on injured reserve (hip), and they have a Week 10 bye, which will allow him time to recover. Regardless, Cincinnati should keep its Pro Bowl running back involved in the offense.

    As illustrated Sunday, the Bengals can play a physical style with Joe Burrow in game-manager mode. Mixon has reintroduced himself as an offensive playmaker who can take over contests.

Bears Lose, But Justin Fields Continues to Make Strides in Career Day

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    Justin Fields

    AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

    In a fast-paced high-scoring battle between the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins, Justin Fields broke Michael Vick’s single-game rushing record (173 yards) in a 35-32 loss, per NFL Research, running for 178 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He only threw for 123 yards but had an efficient outing as a passer, registering three scores through the air with a 106.7 passer rating.

    Of course, Fields would prefer a win over a record-setting rushing total and passing efficiency. Nonetheless, the Bears have scored 29-plus points in three consecutive contests, and their offensive production has coincided with Fields’ progression as a dual-threat under center.

    Fields hasn’t thrown for more than 190 yards in any of his last four outings, but he’s rushed for 408 yards and three touchdowns in that span. As he builds a stronger rapport with newly acquired wideout Chase Claypool, the Bears may eventually have a dynamic offense that reaches top 10 in yards and scoring.

    The Bears must address the offensive line in the offseason, though. Fields took the most sacks (31) through the first eight weeks of the season.

    Even though Chicago’s defense has regressed without edge-rusher Robert Quinn and linebacker Roquan Smith, whom the team traded over the last two weeks, the Bears’ offensive outlook seems bright with Fields under center.

DeAndre Hopkins Won’t Save the Cardinals Season

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    DeAndre Hopkins

    AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

    A few weeks ago, we thought DeAndre Hopkins could turn around the Arizona Cardinals’ 2022 season. That’s not going to happen.

    Since his return, Hopkins has hauled in 26 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns, but the Cardinals have gone 1-2 and allowed an average of 33 points per game in that span. Quarterback Kyler Murray has taken 11 sacks since Week 7.

    Hopkins brought a jolt to the Cardinals’ passing game, but the team’s generous defense has put the offense in a bind. At times, Murray seems pressed to do too much, which results in sacks and turnovers. On Sunday, he lost a fumble in Seattle Seahawks territory and took five sacks.

    Following a 31-21 Week 9 loss to the Seahawks, the Cardinals dropped to 3-6 and remain last in the NFC West. They’re 0-3 within the division.

    Even though the Cardinals handed out extensions to Murray, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim this past offseason, the organization may consider changes to the leadership core.

    If the Cardinals cut ties with one of the three, Kingsbury looks like the odd man because of a defense that allowed the third-most points through Week 8 and a disjointed offense, which is his background expertise.

    Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.

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