The NFL Week 9 Recap is here to break down all the news, notes, and highlights from this week’s action. We are officially at the halfway point of the NFL season, which means that we are starting to get a pretty good understanding of all of the teams. With a clearer playoff picture coming into shape, every game from here on out becomes just that much more important. In this week’s NFL Recap, we will take a look at some of the bigger NFL news, highlights, and storylines, starting with Tom Brady’s dreadful performance on Sunday Night Football, midseason awards, our Week 9 Studs ‘n’ Duds, Matt Nagy and whether he should be fired, and a play that all Seahawks fans should remember during the home stretch of the 2020 season.
[su_note note_color=”#f1f0f0″ text_color=”#000000″ radius=”3″ class=”” id=””]NFL News, Highlights, & Week 9 Recap: Should Tom Brady move to Canada after Sunday night’s loss?[/su_note]
I don’t know if you heard the NFL News, but Tom Brady just threw three interceptions [giggle], suffered three sacks [chortle], and spent the evening looking like he would be better off falling asleep in a BarcaLounger while watching Me-TV in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ utterly-humiliating 38-3 [ROTFL] loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Antonio Brown’s much-ballyhooed debut was also a bust: three measly catches for 31 yards won’t exactly sway the Comeback Player of the Year Award voters (who are totally eager to give it to him). It’s tempting to read too much into Sunday night’s choke-slam or to gloat a little unprofessionally about Brady’s mortification during a very unique weekend in America. But NFL Recap is here to do neither of those things. Seriously. We’re not. Instead, let’s take a sober look at what the Buccaneers’ Week 9 pratfall means for Brady and the team moving forward.
Tom Brady has a pressure problem
When Brady has a clean pocket, he looks like the Brady of 2015 to 2018, if not the Brady of 2007-2011. But when Brady is pressured, he’s starting to look like Joe Flacco: immobile and ready to eject the ball in any random direction at the first sign of trouble.
Entering Sunday night, Brady’s completion percentage when pressured was just 39.7%, the sixth-lowest in the NFL, and his on-target pass rate of 59.3% ranked 25th over in the league, per Sports Info Solutions. Those numbers, plus his interception rate, will only get worse after Sunday night’s off-target wobblers into the teeth of the Saints coverage are added to the tally.
The Buccaneers protect Brady from pressure by, well, protecting him from pressure: Their offensive line has played well all year. But quality defenses have been able to disrupt Brady. The Bears pressured Brady 17 times and knocked him down 11 times in their 20-19 Week 5 Thursday night win. The Saints pressured Brady 14 times in their 34-23 Week 1 upset. By contrast, the Green Bay Packers pressured Brady just four times in their 38-10 loss. Pressure data from Week 9 is not available yet, but Brady was hit nine times in Sunday night’s loss, according to the official gamebook.
The scouting report on the 2020 Buccaneers offense has become clear: drop eight defenders into coverage like Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to do, and Brady will pick you apart. But make Brady uncomfortable in the pocket, and he will gift wrap a few turnovers. The tougher opponents on the upcoming Buccaneers schedule (Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs) will find ways to bring pressure without making themselves too vulnerable to the Bucs’ deep receiving corps.
The Buccaneers have a tiebreaker problem
Don’t overreact to Sunday night’s result: The Bucs will cruise into the postseason, if for no other reason that their season ends with the Detroit Lions wrapped in an Atlanta Falcons home-and-home sandwich. But the Buccaneers are now 1-2 in the NFC South and 3-3 in the conference. A pair of losses to the Saints now blocks many of their paths to a division title, and the Bears loss will cause further headaches, whether they are jockeying for one of the top two seedings or trying to get a favorable Wild Card matchup.
The last thing the Buccaneers want is to be forced to travel to icy Lambeau in January for a Packers rematch, or even to face an Eagles team with absolutely nothing to lose in Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. The Bucs surrounded Brady with a mercenary army so he could earn a cut to the front of the playoff line. It does not look like that’s going to happen.
Brady and the Buccaneers have an image problem
Look, Antonio Brown didn’t release a canister of Joker gas on his arrival in the Buccaneers locker room and immediately turn his new teammates into cackling maniacs who don’t care if they win or lose so long as they are the center of attention. But you’re forgiven for imagining that he did.
Brady also almost certainly did not spend this week watching election coverage on his favorite news network (the one with lots of growling) and growing more and more emotional before taking the field bleary-eyed and slightly unhinged after watching celebrations in the streets of New York (the Giants beat him in two Super Bowls) Philadelphia (one Philly Special please) and Atlanta (look, we can only expect so much from the Falcons). But again, it’s soooooooooooooooooooooo easy to imagine that he did.
The real-world events of the weekend aside, Brown’s arrival makes the Buccaneers even easier for many fans to root against than when they were just the New England Patriots Retirement Home. Brady has spent decades as the guy the rest of the league wants to take down a peg, and heaven knows how Brown perceives anything, so being cast as the heel won’t bother them. But the Buccaneers’ status as the team ready to sell its soul to buy a championship could rattle around the organization like a quarter in a can and cause that oh-so-dreaded “distraction” teams selectively decide to fear.
Again, distractions are unlikely to truly hurt the Bucs unless Brown starts throwing practice tantrums at Brady or turning his private conversations with Bruce Arians into a podcast. And what are the chances of either of those things happening? Five percent? Ten percent? Anyway, the bigger issue in Tampa remains the possibility that the Bucs have done all of this so they could go 11-5 and lose in the divisional round of the playoffs. If that happens, they will become a team with no plan for the future, and a segment of the NFL world will be laughing just as hard at them as they laughed on Sunday night.
What’s next for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers?
The Bucs visit the Panthers before hosting the Rams and Chiefs.
[su_note note_color=”#f1f0f0″ text_color=”#000000″ radius=”3″ class=”” id=””]NFL News, Highlights, & Week 9 Recap | Russell Wilson, T.J. Watt headline the NFL Recap Midseason Awards[/su_note]
A funny thing happened when NFL Recap began compiling their Midseason Awards: Many of the top candidates decided it was time to have their worst week of the season! It’s as if Russell Wilson, Mike Tomlin, and others don’t care at all whether NFL Recap honors them or not! Can you imagine? Anyway, Week 9’s results forced us to challenge and (in some cases) justify our selections, and that’s a good thing.
NFL Midseason Awards
From the coveted Most Valuable Player trophy to some in-house favorites like Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else’s Highlight, here are the NFL Recap midseason awards.
Most Valuable Player: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Yes, Wilson threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles in Sunday’s 44-34 loss to the Buffalo Bills. If you plan to cross Wilson off your list forever for that, you are like those Heisman voters who choose whoever ended the season with three big-stat primetime East Coast games. Even the best candidates have off days, especially in cross-country early-kickoff road games in which the defense provides no support and forces them to play catchup. Furthermore, Patrick Mahomes is the only other serious candidate right now, and Wilson has just been flat-out better than the 2018 MVP and 2019 Super Bowl MVP all season long.
Wilson’s MVP odds at DraftKings Sportsbook were up to +125 on Monday morning after dipping into negative numbers not long ago. Hop back aboard the Wilson bandwagon while there are more seats than usual.
Offensive Player of the Year: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Mahomes would also be a worthy choice here, but once someone is a perennial MVP candidate (and has a half-billion-dollar contract), it’s a little silly to give him minor trophies to use as paperweights. Cook is the NFL’s rushing leader (858 yards) and touchdown leader (13 total) despite missing a game with a groin injury. More importantly, the Vikings are competitive when he’s healthy and productive but turn into the Jets when he’s not. Running backs really do matter when a team chooses to become completely reliant on them.
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt, Edge Rusher, Pittsburgh Steelers
Aaron Donald, Myles Garrett, and others can certainly lay claims to this award. But Watt pulled away from the pack when the Steelers needed him in Sunday’s near-catastrophe against the Cowboys: half a sack, three quarterback hits, three tipped passes, and non-stop disruption in a 24-19 victory over the Dallas Cowboys and their rando quarterback of the week. Watt makes an impact on nearly every defensive snap. The Steelers would still be a playoff team without him, but they would be nowhere close to undefeated.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Any veteran would be happy to have Herbert’s statistics: 306.6 yards per game, 17 touchdowns, just five interceptions, and a 104.7 efficiency rating. As for the wins, they will start to come in bunches once the Chargers upgrade their defense and figure out how to hold on to leads. Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals is the obvious runner up, but statistically, the two rookie quarterbacks aren’t really all that close.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Queen, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Queen has been a dangerous pass rusher and a solid pursue-and-tackle defender against the run for the Ravens, and he has recorded a few difference-making splash plays (including a scoop-and-score touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals). Queen still has a lot to learn in pass coverage, but Herbert has a lot to learn about reading defenses, too. Queen has shown enough in his first half-season to suggest that he could become the next great Ravens inside linebacker.
Comeback Player of the Year: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers
Bridgewater looks like his old self in 2020: distributing short passes, mixing in some feisty scrambles and throws on the run, delivering a mix of high energy and (mostly) sound ball management. Lots of teams are wishing that they invested in Bridgewater instead of going in some other direction at quarterback this year, and most of those teams are the New England Patriots.
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, Sunday’s game against the Cowboys was a dud. Now, will all the other undefeated coaches raise their hands, please? Thought so.
Compare what Tomlin did last year to what Bill Belichick is doing with the New England Patriots this year. Tomlin responded to Ben Roethlisberger’s injury by finding ways to keep the team competitive while developing young talent on both sides of the ball, positioning the Steelers for a quick rebound once they got some competent quarterback play. Belichick — one of the greatest coaches in American professional sports history — has responded to Tom Brady’s departure by flailing for solutions and publicly whining about the salary cap. If Tomlin had done that, he would have: a) been vehemently criticized; b) been fired; and c) set the Steelers on a course toward a long, painful rebuilding phase.
So Tomlin is the top candidate for Coach of the Year this year, thanks in part to the groundwork he laid last year. But he has also kept a steady hand through rescheduled games and close wins against tough opponents. And he has done it all despite capable-but-not-stellar play from Roethlisberger.
Assistant Coach of the Year: Todd Bowles, Defensive Coordinator, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Again, take Sunday night’s drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints with a grain of salt, especially since the turnover-happy Buccaneers offense was a big part of the problem. Bowles’ defense ranked first in the NFL in defense according to DVOA entering Sunday night, and Bowles is doing it with a mix of established veterans (Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul) and up-and-comers (Devin White, Vita Vea, Antoine Winfield Jr.), with only one free agent merc (Ndamukong Suh) in a minor role.
Bowles was stuck in a no-win situation when he was the head coach of the New York Jets: Former general manager Mike Maccagnan drafted like someone who watches PBS cooking shows instead of college football on autumn Saturdays. (The tell was when he tried to draft Lidia Bastianich in the second round in 2016). Bowles’ defenses have always been nasty when he has had adequate manpower. He deserves a second look as a head coach.
Fantasy Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
Kamara leads the NFL with 1,036 scrimmage yards and averages 7.5 receptions per game for lots of yummy PPR production. Throw in eight touchdowns, and folks with Kamara on their fantasy rosters didn’t really care whether or not Michael Thomas ever returned to the Saints offense.
Special Teamer of the Year: Andre Roberts, return man, Buffalo Bills
Roberts is averaging 12.9 yards per punt return and 29.9 yards per kickoff return this season, and he got the ball rolling on Sunday’s blowout of the Seahawks by returning the opening kickoff for 60 yards. Roberts, who has quietly assembled an outstanding 11-year career as a return ace, is a difference-maker on a team looking for every available edge as it strives to prove itself as a Super Bowl contender.
Offensive Line of the Year: Los Angeles Rams
Andrew Whitworth, David Edwards, Austin Blythe, Austin Corbett, and Rob Havenstein have allowed just 10 sacks and helped a committee of discount-rack running backs average 4.4 yards per rush and 137.8 yards per game. The Rams ranked first in the NFL in Football Outsiders Adjusted Sack Rate and second in Adjusted Line Yards entering Week 9’s action. Whitworth and friends are one of the main reasons why the Rams are still in the thick of the NFC playoff chase.
Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else’s NFL Highlight of the Year: Budda Baker, defensive back, Arizona Cardinals
Baker’s would-be epic pick-6 before halftime of the Cardinals upset of the Seattle Seahawks became a meme for our times when DK Metcalf chased him down from behind. Baker ended up the comic foil on that play, but he helped to deliver an important message: don’t despair when someone mounts a convincing lead and appears to be running to daylight because with enough dedication and perseverance, it’s still possible to catch up and save the day.
[su_note note_color=”#f1f0f0″ text_color=”#000000″ radius=”3″ class=”” id=””]NFL Recap, News, & Highlights, Week 9: Tua Tagovailoa, Christian McCaffrey headline Week 9’s Studs ‘n’ Duds[/su_note]
Dalvin Cook went ham on the Detroit Lions with a little help from his friends. Christian McCaffrey made an impact in his return to the Carolina Panthers. And Tua Tagovailoa’s emergence for the Miami Dolphins may be the biggest news story in all of America this weekend. NFL Recap’s Week 9 Studs ‘n’ Duds is here to offer a level-headed perspective like that on all of Sunday’s action.
Stud: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins
Is Tua the greatest quarterback in NFL history, or merely of the 21st century? Or are the Dolphins fans on the NFL Recap team getting just a teensy bit ahead of themselves after Tua’s second-straight victory, a 34-31 thriller over the Arizona Cardinals? That last choice is probably the correct one. Still, it’s easy to be excited about the Dolphins’ four-game winning streak and Tua’s 248-yard, two TD effort, which was much more illuminating than last week’s defense-and-training-wheels victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Tua delivered several sharp throws to DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, demonstrated some swivel-hipped scrambling ability, and consistently moved the ball despite little support from his running game. Tua even found Mack Hollins in the Himalayan temple, where he has been hiding out since Super Bowl LII, and connected with him for a game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown. If Tua can coax the reluctant Hollins into doing more than blocking for kickoffs, he’s destined to be special.
Dud: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Vander Esch swatted the helmet of Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. well after the whistle, earning a 15-yard penalty that moved the Steelers into scoring position in the fourth quarter and contributed to their 24-19 comeback victory.
Yes, McFarland was giving Vander Esch the business after the tackle. And yes, the refs were calling things a little close on the Cowboys, particularly in the second half. But a defender is always going to get flagged when taking a shot at an opponent who is on the ground, and it’s not like the Cowboys have done anything this year to earn any benefit of the doubt from the refs: Sloppy teams are going to get caught when they do sloppy things.
Vander Esch’s foul kept the Cowboys from enjoying the upset of the season. They need their leaders to step up and play smarter.
Stud: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey rushed 18 times for 69 yards and one touchdown while catching 10 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown in a narrow Panthers 33-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Panthers offense was more dynamic and unpredictable with McCaffrey back from the ankle injury, which had sidelined him since Week 2, and head coach Matt Rhule appeared more willing to take risks (including a fourth-down conversion in the red zone early in the game) with McCaffrey on the field.
The Running Backs Don’t Matter crowd can stand down for the week: Running backs often don’t matter, but it’s a heck of a lot better to have McCaffrey available than not. That said, McCaffrey suffered a rib injury in the game, so we’ll have to wait to see if the Panthers will find themselves without him again.
Dud: Ron Rivera, head coach, Washington Football Team
It’s bad enough to lose to the New York Giants twice to become the NFC Eastiest team in the NFC East. But with Kyle Allen out with a nasty-looking leg injury, Rivera once again tempted fate by tossing Alex Smith onto the field to throw three interceptions and take three sacks. We’re well past the inspirational part of Smith’s comeback and smack dab in the middle of the reality that he is not helping Washington at all and is risking further injury by playing behind such a weak line.
The entire Washington organization may be eager to give up on Dwayne Haskins, but he’s the only quarterback on the roster worth playing right now. If he fails, Rivera won’t have to hear questions about why he wasn’t given another chance. If Haskins enjoys modest success, but Rivera still wants to move on, he will at least accrue a little trade value. And if anyone stands a chance of getting out of the season in one piece, it’s the young, sturdy Haskins.
Studs: Olamide Zaccheaus and Brandon Powell, wide receivers, Atlanta Falcons
It was a good day for two young receivers in Zaccheaus and Powell each caught their first touchdown pass of the year in Sunday’s 34-27 victory over the Denver Broncos. For Powell the moment was especially sweet, as it was his first NFL career touchdown, having entered the league in 2018 as an undrafted free agent. The Falcons led 27-6 but narrowly avoided a Broncos comeback with the help of two onside kick recoveries, one of which was deflected by a teammate into the hands of Deion Jones.
In other words, the Falcons remain deeply committed to a) forcing their fans to experience an emotional swan dive in every fourth quarter and b) diminishing Julio Jones’ fantasy value in every possible way, including touchdown passes to people you have never heard of.
That brings us to our NFL Recap awards for Week 9
NFL News & Highlights | Offensive Line of the Week
The Minnesota Vikings offensive line of Riley Reiff, Dakota Dozier, Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland, and Brian O’Neill helped Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison carve out 275 rushing yards and 8.1 yards per carry against the Detroit Lions, who are playing without Trey Flowers on defense and Kenny Golladay on offense. The Lions look like they are ready to surrender and take the next two months off.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported before Week 9’s games that the Vikings explored the possibility of trading Reiff to the Tennessee Titans, who need a left tackle with Taylor Lewan on injured reserve. In general, it’s a terrible idea to trade your veteran left tackle when you have about $63-million in future money invested in your running back and $76-million in future money sunk into your veteran game-manager quarterback. If the Vikings didn’t realize that before they considered trading Reiff, maybe they realize that now.
NFL News & Highlights | Special teamers of the Week
Cedrick Wilson and C.J. Goodwin collaborated on the “Home Run Throwback” punt return (that’s what’s the Music City Miracle was called before it became the stuff of legend) that gave the Cowboys the ball deep in Steelers’ territory before halftime. Rico Dowdle, an undrafted rookie running back from South Carolina, delivered a 64-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter to help the Cowboys try to answer a Steelers touchdown.
Two thoughts before we move on:
- The Music City Miracle took place on January 8th, 2000. The Cowboys nearly scored a touchdown with a similar play on Sunday. NFL Recap does not remember seeing a single “throwback” type punt return in the two decades in between. If a play results in 50-plus yards every time it’s run, mayhaps NFL teams should dial it up more often than once every 20 years.
- NFL Recap cannot wait until Jerry Jones’ midweek radio appearances when he will explain how he personally suggested the throwback play and scouted Rico Dowdle.
NFL News & Highlights | Defensive Player of the Week
Those Cowboys special teams heroics actually did not hurt the Steelers because Minkah Fitzpatrick recovered a CeeDee Lamb fumble which was poked loose by teammate Cameron Sutton after the punt return and intercepted a pass in the end zone after a Cameron Heyward hit on Garrett Gilbert after the kickoff return. When an entire game is a complete mess, it helps to have someone like Minkah around to clean up the spills.
NFL News & Highlights | Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else’s Highlight
The NFL Recap loves each and every one of you and is also staffed with lots of masochists. Try not to think too hard about the implications of that last sentence as we go the extra mile to award every single player who touched the ball in the Giants-Washington Yakkety Sax fumble rumble play, something that you won’t find in any NFL highlight reel.
Antonio Gibson: Everything was going just peachy on his 21-yard catch-and-run until …
Logan Ryan hit Gibson squarely in the football with his helmet, jarring the ball loose so it could bounce toward …
David Mayo, who dove for the loose ball but could not quite catch up to it, so it kept rolling forward until …
Logan Thomas tried to scoop it but only flung it out of the way of teammate Cam Sims, sending it rolling toward …
David Mayo again, who tried to pounce on the ball and failed again, making him the first player even nominated for a BSAISEH twice for the same highlight. But not the last, because Mayo’s second dive caused a multi-car pileup of:
Gibson, Sims, Isaac Yiadom, and Jabrill Peppers, with the ball squirting free of the tangled heap of humans. A merry chase ensued, involving:
Trent Harris, Blake Martinez (who was about to tackle Gibson when Ryan forced the fumble in the first place), Terry McLaurin, and at least one Giants player whose identity won’t be known until the coach’s film is released on Tuesday but could well have been Harry Carson at that point. Finally…
Jabrill Peppers was rewarded for his effort with a fumble recovery.
Congratulations, everyone. Now let’s relegate the NFC East to the America East Conference, so we never have to witness anything like this on an NFL Sunday again.
[su_note note_color=”#f1f0f0″ text_color=”#000000″ radius=”3″ class=”” id=””]NFL News, Highlights, & Recap Week 9: Bears may be reaching the end of the Matt Nagy era[/su_note]
The Chicago Bears have lost three straight games, and their offense flatlined for three-and-a-half-quarters in a 24-17 Week 9 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Miserable quarterback play by Nick Foles (and Mitch Trubisky earlier in the year) has only been part of the problem: The Bears are a team without a running game and without any options to upgrade the passing game.
Sunday’s loss looked like the beginning of the end of Matt Nagy’s tenure as the Bears head coach, and general manager Ryan Pace could be in trouble as well. NFL Recap watched that game, so you didn’t have to, and now that we have been roused from the boredom coma it briefly caused, we have opinions.
Week 9 NFL Recap, News, Notes, & Highlights | Titans 24, Bears 17
Watching the Bears offense was like watching an adult take their first swimming lesson: There was lots of helpless flailing, and at times it was hard not to feel embarrassed for them.
The Bears ran the ball so poorly that their first-half rushing leader was defender Barkevious Mingo, who gained 11 yards on a fake punt (which was, for the record, a gorgeous play). Cordarrelle Patterson and David Montgomery (who left the game with a possible concussion in the second half) finished with 41 yards on 15 carries.
When the Bears did move the ball, their drives stalled because Nagy tried to get too cute. The Bears needed to convert a 4th-and-1 in the first quarter; Foles pivoted and faked handoffs like a 1950s T-formation quarterback before giving the ball to Montgomery, who was easily stuffed.
The Bears later jumped offsides on back-to-back plays and were forced to punt when facing 4th-and-1 in Titans territory in the third quarter. They reached the Titans four-yard line early in the fourth quarter, only to settle for a field goal after Foles took a sack because Allen Robinson was blown up in the backfield before he could receive a shovel pass.
Meanwhile, the Bears defense played very well through three quarters. Ryan Tannehill was 5-of-13 for 110 yards, three sacks, and one laser-precision sideline bomb to A.J. Brown at halftime that may end up on NFL highlight reels. But a Montgomery fumble on a 3rd-and-12 screen pass resulted in a touchdown by Desmond King (whom the Titans acquired in a deadline trade from the Los Angeles Chargers), and the Bears defense buckled on a fourth-quarter drive which ended with a Jonnu Smith touchdown.
You’ll notice that Week 9 NFL Recap hasn’t said much about Foles’ passing. If you guessed, “I bet he took a bunch of sacks, uncorked a few wild ones, threw some screens on 3rd-and-12, maybe got flagged for intentional grounding once, and then made the final stats and highlights look good against a prevent defense at the end of the game,” NFL Recap isn’t here to tell you that you were wrong.
What the Bears loss means, and could Matt Nagy be fired?
When the Bears opened the season 5-1 with lots of close wins against a mostly-mushy schedule, many of us assumed that their bubble would burst against tougher opponents. The rest of us thought something less charitable like the Bears are the most fraudulent frauds in Fraud County, Nevada (83% of whose ballots have not yet been counted). Sure enough, the Bears have settled into a predictable pattern of being so terrible on offense that their defense cannot save them (see: most of Bears history since after the 1985 season).
In his third year as the Bears head coach, Matt Nagy’s job was to either fix Mitch Trubisky or use his cabal of high-profile offensive assistants (Bill Lazor, John DeFilippo, Dave Ragone, The Ghost of George Halas) to conjure forth Super Bowl Foles. Instead, Nagy gave up on Trubisky quickly, doesn’t appear to have a plan for Foles besides “manage the game,” has no idea how to establish any sort of running game despite some capable weapons, and often makes things worse when trying to add some clever wrinkle to the game plan.
The Bears are by no means terrible, but they just lost three games that they both could have won and needed to win to be taken seriously as NFC contenders. Much of the fault lies with general manager Ryan Pace, but when an offense doesn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter two times in three weeks, that’s on the coaching staff. It’s hard to argue that the Bears are headed in the right direction or that Nagy has earned another chance.
Anything short of a playoff appearance this season should prompt the Bears to move on from Nagy, and probably Pace as well. And even reaching the playoffs as the bottom Wild Card seed and getting hammered in the first round should not be enough. The Bears need to get serious about fixing their offense before they dawdle for so long that it’s time to rebuild their defense as well.
What’s next for the Chicago Bears
The Minnesota Vikings are no longer pushovers now that they have stopped trying to do anything else except run Dalvin Cook off tackle. The Bears host them next week before their bye in Week 11.
[su_note note_color=”#f1f0f0″ text_color=”#000000″ radius=”3″ class=”” id=””]NFL News & Recap Week 9: The play that should keep Seahawks fans up at night[/su_note]
You may have thought you knew how bad the Seahawks defense looks after watching them on many bleary Sunday nights. But you probably were not ready for how awful they looked in broad daylight. Despite the return of Jamal Adams and the arrival of Carlos Dunlap, the Seahawks allowed Josh Allen to throw for 410 yards and three touchdowns in their 44-34 Week 9 loss to the Buffalo Bills. In particular, one play illustrated a huge problem that could cost the Seahawks a shot at the Super Bowl, and NFL Recap is here to break it down for you.
The play that should make Seahawks fans shudder
The Bills faced 3rd-and-16 at the Seahawks 35-yard line early in the fourth quarter after the Seahawks had cut the Bills lead to 27-20. Anyone who has ever watched a Seahawks game knew that it was time for the THC candies to kick in so things could get surreal. Anyone who has watched a 2020 Bills game knew it was time for them to get the yips and wilt against a quality opponent. All the Seahawks defense needed to do to make both things happen was get off the field.
The Seahawks defense could not get off the field. Allen tossed a wide receiver screen to John Brown, who had three blockers and just two defenders in front of him because the Seahawks tried to blitz Allen up the middle. Brown weaved so easily through the defense for 33 yards and a first down that offensive lineman Ike Boettger was looking around for someone to block and had nothing to do except pat Brown on the shoulder as he raced by.
That play, one of several short tosses or screens that the Bills turned into huge gains, put the game out of the reach of Russell Wilson’s magic.
Week 9 NFL Recap, News, Notes, & Highlights | What’s wrong with the Seahawks defense?
Adams delivered two sacks and at least as many pep talks in his first action since Week 3. Dunlap, who was acquired before the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Bengals, added another sack. And the Seahawks allowed just 34 rushing yards. Throw in a Bills touchdown on a one-play drive after a Wilson interception, and the Seahawks defense played about as well as a team that gives up 44 points can play, which of course, is not very well at all.
The Seahawks simply lack pure talent on defense. They are forced to constantly use Adams as a pass rusher, which takes away the best player in their secondary and leaves them susceptible to screens and other plays designed to attack the blitz. Once a ball-carrier reaches the open field against the Seahawks, it’s showtime because the Seahawks lack speedsters or hard-hitting enforcers on the back end of their defense when Adams is busy elsewhere.
Their defensive woes won’t keep the Seahawks out of the playoffs, especially with an upcoming schedule that features the New York Jets and three-fourths of the NFC East. But it’s imperative that the Seahawks find ways to generate a pass rush without blitzing Adams or other defenders so frequently because too many losses in the second half of the season could force them to hit the road in the postseason and trying to beat Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers in a playoff game by selling out on the blitz will result in lots of three-yard tosses to holes in the secondary that turn into 30-yard gains.
What’s next for the Seattle Seahawks?
The Seahawks visit the Los Angeles Rams, host the Arizona Cardinals on a Thursday night and travel east again to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football over the next three games. By the time December arrives, we’ll have a better sense of where they rank among the NFC contenders, but we also might have a lot more NFL highlights demonstrating how bad their defense has looked.
For more from Tanier and other NFL news, notes, and highlights, follow him on Twitter: @MikeTanier.