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#pounditTuesday, August 4, 2020

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 9

Jonathan Stewart

Week 9 of the NFL season got started on Thursday with a surprisingly easy win for the Jets over the Bills. On Sunday, there were far fewer upsets, as Seattle losing at home to Washington was probably the only surprise. But there were a ton of blowouts rather than close games, which means many players and teams disappointed.

Here are the 15 biggest disappointments of Week 9 of the NFL season.

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

We have no real way of knowing what, exactly, caused Green to so quickly lose his cool with Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The young defensive back has certainly shown an ability to get under the skin of opponents, but the normally mild-mannered Green’s outburst was quite unexpected. Green put a choke hold on Ramsey and threw several punches during a fight with the cornerback, leading to the ejection of both players. Green’s disappointing day finished with one catch for six yards on two targets. The only consolation for him was that he at least managed to get Ramsey ejected too. Still, one of the league’s finest receivers must keep his composure better than that.

Blair Walsh, K, Seahawks

Walsh became the first kicker in three years to miss three first half field goal attempts, offering no relief for the sputtering Seahawks offense. They weren’t particularly difficult field goals, either, as they came from 39, 44, and 49. It was so bad that the kicker elected to stay out on the field during halftime to try to get a feel for things.

Walsh had previously missed only one of his 13 field goal tries, so he had a bit of rope, but this really wasn’t an acceptable performance from a guy who’s had serious issues before — ironically enough, against Seattle. Poor weather conditions or not, Walsh needs to perform better. Those points are extremely meaningful especially in a game determined by three points (Washington won 17-14).

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

If you’re wondering why Christian McCaffrey ended up with a career-high in carries, one need to look no further than what happened with Jonathan Stewart. Stewart, who entered the game with only one fumble in 110 carries on the season, lost two fumbles in the first quarter. In fact, he lost them on consecutive possessions, including one just outside the red zone that cost Carolina the opportunity to score some points.

Stewart has been in the league for 10 seasons and had lost just 13 fumbles his entire career — an average of a little more than one per season. This was the first time he’d ever lost two fumbles in the same game. He’s lucky the offense was able to pick him up and prevail against Atlanta.

Mike Evans and Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

Evans and Winston are key parts of Tampa Bay’s offense, and both were poor on Sunday. Winston left at halftime with a shoulder injury after going 7 of 13 for 67 yards. Evans managed just one catch for 13 yards.

They were even bigger disappointments in another way.

Winston needlessly instigated a conflict with New Orleans’s Marshon Lattimore, and Evans burst in to crush the cornerback with a cheap shot. The fact that Evans wasn’t ejected is a black eye for the referees working the game, but the incident is emblematic of Tampa Bay’s disappointing season — needless stupidity and a lack of maturity.

C.J. Beathard and the San Francisco 49ers offense

Expectations for the San Francisco offense are zero at this point. We know they’re bad, we know the team is bad, and we know they’ll probably be lucky to win a game this season at this rate. Still, the Arizona Cardinals, without Carson Palmer, presented a pretty solid opportunity for San Francisco to at least come up with something. They didn’t.

Rookie C.J. Beathard threw for 276 yards but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. The Niners turned the ball over twice. Carlos Hyde offered little relief in the running game. Maybe Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t your long-term solution, but he’s no worse than the disaster that’s being put on display each week as it is. Get him into practice and give him a shot.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos had better hope this represents the low point in their season. The defense was shredded by Carson Wentz and the high-powered Philadelphia offense in a 51-23 drubbing. The Denver offense was no better under Brock Osweiler than they were under Trevor Siemian. Osweiler turned the ball over twice, there was no running game to speak of, and the Broncos offense managed a fairly meager 226 yards of total offense. Osweiler’s final stat line had him going 19 of 38 for 208 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He did lead multiple field goal drives though, so if you need to win a 9-6 game, he’s your man.

Vance Joseph must be at a loss for answers — he simply doesn’t have a good enough quarterback, and now his defense is suffering in a big way. He may end up turning to Paxton Lynch to see if the second-year QB can bring anything to the team.

Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs

Here’s a shocker for you: Kareem Hunt is human, and he actually can be stopped from time to time. The rookie from Toledo tied a career-low with just nine carries in the Chiefs’ loss to the Cowboys. His 37 rushing yards were the second-lowest of his career, while his 61 total yards in the game represented the lowest of his season. Outside of a wild play just before halftime, the Chiefs could not hit the home run ball against Dallas. That was pretty evident when you look at Hunt’s statistical line for the game.

Miami Dolphins’ late-game offense

Miami was very much in their game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night. They put together a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter to make it 20-16. Things looked promising for them at that point, but then their offense sputtered. They ran seven 10 plays for a total of 0 yards over their next three drives, failing to get a first down, while punting each time. Their defense was getting stops, but the offense offered nothing. Then after the defense finally let up a score to make it 27-16, the offense barely moved the ball before turning it over on downs.

By the time the Dolphins’ offense offered anything late and scored and added a two-point conversion to make it 27-24, it was too late.

Jay Cutler had his best numbers of the season at 34 of 42 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Yet when he and the offense needed to deliver, they couldn’t get it done.

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