There were plenty of surprises as the season reached the halfway mark. And there were plenty of changes atop the NFL Power Rankings.
Take a deep breath. All told, Week 9 featured a 14-game slate in which more than half of the contests were of the interconference variety. That includes Monday night’s clash between the Bears and Steelers at Pittsburgh.
There was no Aaron Rodgers or Kyler Murray on Sunday even though the Packers and Cardinals, respectively, were in action. Finally, there were some stunning results that had a huge effect on this week’s rankings.
Detroit Lions 0-8
Dating back to last season, the franchise has dropped 12 consecutive games. This season, the team had allowed the most points per game in the NFL entering Week 9. And that’s really concerning considering the Lions were torched for 519 points in 2020 – the second-most in one season in league history.
A change of scenery has not been good for former Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff, who has thrown 8 TD passes and committed 10 turnovers.
Houston Texans 1-8
Make it eight consecutive for a team that opened the year with a win over Jacksonville. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor returned to the starting lineup for the first time since injuring his hamstring back in Week 2.
He threw for 240 yards but was sacked five times and served up three interceptions as the Texans settled for three field goals. David Culley’s squad turned over the ball four times but managed to come up with five takeaways in the losing effort.
New York Jets 2-6
The club fell to 2-6 thanks to a 45-30 victory loss at Indianapolis on Thursday night. Surprise star Mike White was injured early and third-stringer Josh Johnson wound up throwing for 317 yards and three touchdowns.
But much of that came after Robert Saleh’s team fell behind 42-16 in the third quarter. The Jets’ defense was singed for 532 total yards – including a whopping 260 yards rushing. Indianapolis’ offensive unit scored a half-dozen touchdowns.
Washington Football Team 2-6
While some may point to a shaky quarterback situation, Washington’s defense has been a big factor in the team’s disappointing 2-6 start. A year ago, the club ranked second in fewest total yards and fewest passing yards.
It’s been a much different story as Ron Rivera’s club ranked 27th in total defense while only two teams in the league were giving up more passing yardage per contest entering Week 9. Washington defender have allowed 20 TD passes.
It was a battle of 1-7 teams at South Florida and it proved to be a contest in which neither team was efficient when it came to taking care of the football. Jacoby Brissett got the start for the Dolphins and had three of the club’s five turnovers (2 interceptions, 1 lost fumble).
He threw for 244 yards and one score while Brian Flores’ team managed only 47 yards rushing on 25 attempts. But the ‘Fins came up with five sacks and four takeaways of their own.
After dropping 20 straight games dating back to Week 2 of the 2020 season, the team has suddenly won two of its last three contests. Urban Meyer’s defensive unit was stifling in a stunning upset of the AFC East leaders.
The Bills entered the clash averaging the most points per game in the NFL and Jacksonville limited them to pair of field goals. And edge rusher Josh Allen had a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery at the expense of…Josh Allen.
Matt Rhule’s club snapped a four-game winning streak last week by prevailing at Atlanta. And the Panthers would have running back Chris McCaffrey at their disposal. But the problems continued for quarterback Sam Darnold.
He hit on less than 50 percent of his passes (16-of-33), threw for just 172 yards and was picked off three times. One of those interceptions was returned 88 yards for a score. Carolina lost for the fifth time in their last six contests.
oe Judge’s club rose to the occasion just six days after a tough Monday night loss to the Chiefs at Kansas City. One of the catalyst of the team’s surprising win over the visiting Raiders was running back Devontae Booker, who spent 2020 with Las Vegas.
He totaled 99 yards rushing on 21 carries and added 23 yards on three receptions. New York’s defense harassed Derek Carr into three turnovers and Xavier McKinney returned one of his two picks for a score.