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Monday, January 27, 2020

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 9

Baker Mayfield

We’re officially more than halfway through the NFL season, and it’s becoming quite clear who has a chance to compete in the playoffs and who doesn’t. As the stakes get higher, the disappointments get more extreme, and there was no shortage of letdowns on Sunday, including quarterbacks playing for their jobs and a high-flying offense finding itself completely grounded.

Here are ten big disappointments from NFL Week 9.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns were gifted a matchup with untested quarterback Brandon Allen, who took the reins of an offense that had struggled all season. Cleveland still couldn’t win. They outgained the Broncos, didn’t turn the ball over, and still lost thanks to, once again, some brutal red zone offense. This has been an issue for a while now and is still not fixed. Every week, the Browns seem to find a different way to lose despite all their talent. It’s the mark of a bad football team.

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears

Trubisky’s hold on the starting job has to be tenuous at best by now. He completed just 10-of-21 passes on Sunday, and failed to complete anything beyond the line of scrimmage in the first half. That half was historically bad, in part due to scheme but mostly because of Trubisky’s limitations as a quarterback. It’s not clear how much better Chase Daniel would be for this offense, but he couldn’t possibly be any worse than what Trubisky is doing for the Bears right now.

Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts

Vinatieri looked to have recovered from a major early-season swoon that sparked retirement consideration. The warning signs resurfaced a week ago, when he missed a field goal and an extra point. That was generally forgiven when he made two field goals from over 50 yards, including a game-winner. No such luck Sunday. The laces were in when Vinatieri badly hooked a 43-yard try that would have put Indianapolis ahead with 1:11 left, and he missed an extra point as well. It’s hard to see the Colts running a legend like Vinatieri out of town, but one has to wonder if they’ll ask him to consider his future this week.

Detroit Lions’ defense

Neither the Lions nor the Raiders played a very good defensive game on Sunday. That wasn’t a shock — both teams were regarded as vulnerable defensively. The Lions, however, were just a bit worse. Oakland gave up 23 more yards, but the Lions still conceded 450, including 171 on the ground. More importantly, they failed to force a turnover, while the Raiders nabbed two. Being gashed repeatedly and unable to force turnovers is a recipe for a loss.

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars

If this was Minshew’s audition for the Jaguars’ starting job once Nick Foles returns, he did not pass it. In one fourth quarter stretch, he turned the ball over four times in 11 plays, twice on interceptions and once on a fumble. The Texans overwhelmed him repeatedly. It’s not the sort of performance you’d want to turn in if you’re potentially playing for your job. The Jaguars have a bye week, and then Foles is expected to be ready for Week 11. On the basis of Sunday, it would be surprising if the veteran didn’t regain his starting job.

Green Bay Packers’ offense

No offense in the NFL has been hotter of late than the Green Bay Packers, making Sunday’s performance all the more disappointing. They were held to 184 yards of total offense, and Rodgers’ 161 yards of passing was his worst tally in a full game since 2015. He was also sacked three times, with the Joey Bosa-Melvin Ingram combination providing constant stress. This is probably a one-off loss for the Packers, but it’s a surprising defeat all the same.

Jason Myers, K, Seahawks

No Seahawk player was more relieved when the team won in overtime than Myers, who had a day to forget. The Seattle kicker missed a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter, but the worst was yet to come. Russell Wilson led a fantastic drive that set Myers up for a 40-yard game-winner as regulation expired, but the kicker missed to the right. Seattle won in overtime, and that must have had Myers breathing a huge sigh of relief after his missed kicks.

New York Jets

The Jets are not the worst team in the league record-wise — the Bengals are still winless, after all. On Sunday, though, the Jets proved they have as good a claim to the title as anyone else. They lost to the previously winless Dolphins, and what’s more, they deserved it. Miami had more first downs and didn’t turn the ball over once as the Jets flailed about all day, with Sam Darnold taking three more sacks and throwing a maddening pick in the end zone. Adam Gase said after the game that he wasn’t embarrassed by the loss or his team’s 1-7 record. He should be.

New England Patriots’ defense

The Patriots’ defense entered Sunday night as the top unit in the league in key measurements — yards allowed per game, points allowed per game, and takeaways. As a unit, the Patriots’ defense hadn’t allowed more than 13 points in a game this season (the Jets and Giants scored 14 but not on the defense). But then they went to Baltimore and allowed 31 points. The Ravens rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns, including two scores by Lamar Jackson, who also passed for another. Mark Ingram had 115 yards on 15 carries, including a season-long 53-yard attempt that set up a touchdown. The Patriots should be more prepared if they face Baltimore in the future. For now, Baltimore got the big leg up.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans

The Panthers knew they’d have to make Tannehill throw to win. They did, and they won. Tannehill threw two interceptions, one particularly bad, and underthrew multiple receivers all day. In short, he looked like the same Tannehill who was booted out of Miami. He’s not the answer for the Titans and may keep this talented defense out of the playoffs. It looks certain that Tennessee will be in the quarterback market at the end of the season.



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