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12 stats that tell us everything that happened in NFL Week 9

We promise, there’s no real math involved.

Not many words are needed to tell the story of Week 9 in the NFL — it can be summed up with some fists and a few numbers.

Fiiiiiights were the big theme this week, but there was more than that. We got to see explosive offenses, apathetic defenses, and career days from a couple of veterans.

Now that we’re past the halfway point of the 2017 season, we’re starting to get an idea — albeit, still a fuzzy one — of which teams will be playing in January. The Eagles and Rams won big with 51-point showings, and they look like contenders. The 49ers are the first team this year to 0-9 but probably because the Browns had a bye.

If you’re starting to get Algebra II-type of anxiety, don’t worry: There’s no real math involved. Here are the most interesting stats and numbers from Week 9.

1

Mike Evans was the only player suspended after there were three fights on Sunday that resulted in five ejections.

Here was Evans drilling the Saints Marshon Lattimore after Jameis Winston instigated him by poking him in the head:

Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Green sparked the first fight of the afternoon, which resulted in both players getting ejected. Later, 49ers running back Carlos Hyde, and Cardinals defenders Haason Reddick and Frostee Rucker were ejected for their own fight.

Everyone else probably faces a fine, at most. Evans, who somehow wasn’t ejected against the Saints, will now have to sit out next week.

1-2

Just over 18 months ago, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz heard their names called first, then second, in the 2016 NFL draft.

On Sunday, they made history:

For Goff, the Rams’ 51-17 win over the Giants was a career day. He had never thrown four touchdowns in a game before then.

On the other hand, it’s a little old hat for MVP candidate Wentz. Sunday’s 51-23 win for the Eagles was the third time he’s tossed four touchdowns in a game this season, all within the last five weeks. He’s coming for you, Dan Marino.

31

No team is hotter than the Eagles right now. They’re an NFL-best 8-1 and have averaged 36 points over the last five weeks.

So it shouldn’t be shocking that they blew out an opponent. But the Broncos? Fifty-one points against THAT defense?

The Eagles’ production in the first half alone was something we hadn’t seen in seven years against this D:

The Broncos gave up 59 points to the Raiders in that 2010 loss, so at least it didn’t get THAT bad for them Sunday. But it was the defense’s ugliest game so far in a season that keeps getting worse:

We don’t blame you if you think the Broncos have already thrown in the towel.

There’s good news and bad news for the Denver defense in the coming weeks. First the bad: Tom Brady and the league’s No. 1 offense come to town next Sunday. Now the good: The Bengals’ last-place offense visits the following week.

0

Has any free agent signing made a bigger impact than Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth? Goff, who already had to endure several months with Jeff Fisher as his coach, also had to weather through a tragic offensive line that let him get sacked 26 times as a rookie — and that was only in SEVEN games. This offseason, the Rams made it a priority to protect Goff. Their biggest signing was 35-year-old Whitworth, who the Bengals let walk in free agency.

On Sunday, he made sure Goff didn’t even need to wash his jersey after the game. (I mean, he SHOULD, but he didn’t HAVE to.):

Whitworth (No. 77) also laid this huge block on third-and-33 to let Robert Woods take it 52 yards to the house:

What a difference a year makes: The 6-2 Rams have scored more points in 2017 than they did in 2016, and they still have eight games remaining. And Goff? He’s has been sacked just 10 times.

33.3

Look, we all miss Deshaun Watson. Not only was he having a historic rookie season before his ACL injury, but he was arguably the most fun player to watch this season.

But no one misses him as much as DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. With Tom Savage at quarterback, the Texans receiving duo went from putting up 349 yards against the Legion of Boom last week to just 118 this week against the NFL’s second-worst passing defense.

After 6.5 games with Watson under center, Hopkins and Fuller were the NFL’s co-leaders in receiving touchdowns with seven apiece. This is what happened without him:

The Texans also went into Week 9 with the NFL’s best scoring offense, averaging 30.7 points per game. The Watson-less offense scored a grand total of one touchdown against a Colts defense that was allowing 30.8 points per game. Unsurprisingly, Houston lost. If only there was a better quarterback out there for the team to sign ...

37

Adrian Peterson, who keeps fluctuating from “he’s back!” to “he’s washed!” on a weekly basis, was definitely BACK Sunday against the 49ers.

With Drew Stanton at quarterback, the Cardinals decided their best chance of winning was by giving their 32-year-old running back more carries than he’s ever had in his MVP-winning career.

And it worked. Peterson ran the ball a career-high 37 times for 159 yards, his best rushing total in two years. The Cardinals got back to .500 with a 20-10 win.

After the game, Peterson said that he felt “fresh,” despite having more carries in a game than any other running back over 30 has ever had:

One stat noticeably missing from his line, however: a touchdown. Peterson, who is sitting at 99 career rushing touchdowns, is still waiting to get that elusive 100 emoji.

+53

That’s Seattle’s net point differential for the second half of games this season. Most of that comes in the fourth quarter where they’ve outscored opponents 79-30. The hurry-up offense Russell Wilson and Co. used to such dramatic effect in last week’s win over the Texans works. Sometimes it’s not enough, like in this week’s last-minute loss to Washington.

Here’s my question: If it works so well in the second half, why not give it a try in the first half and stay out of the dicey situations all together. Just a thought!

9

The 1-7 Giants are setting records, but not in a good way:

They let tight end Tyler Higbee in the end zone for an 8-yard score in Sunday’s demoralizing loss to the Rams. It was Seattle’s Jimmy Graham in Week 7 and the Broncos Jeff Heuerman in Week 6. The only week in recent memory that the Giants haven’t allowed a touchdown pass to a tight end was in Week 8, which was the team’s bye.

The Giants take on the winless 49ers next week, and they’ll have George Kittle, Garrett Celek, and Cole Hikutini to contend with. Kittle and Celek have one score each this season. It’s a chance for the Giants to snap this streak — or an opportunity for the 49ers to take advantage of one of the Giants’ weaknesses and maybe finally get a win.

4

The Sean Payton and Drew Brees era of Saints football has been known for high-flying offense — an offense so good that it’s largely been able to overcome a defense that’s been, at best for the majority of the tenure, mediocre.

That’s starting to turn in 2017. First, there’s the rapidly improving secondary, boosted by a couple of rookies. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore, drafted No. 11 overall out of Ohio State, and second-round safety Marcus Williams have helped turned the pass defense from the worst in the league last season to No. 12 this season.

It would be irresponsible to mention any type of success on the Saints defense without bringing up Cam Jordan, who has been the best player on that side of the ball. The defensive end is on pace for a career year, with seven sacks, 14 QB hits, two forced fumbles, and a pick-six so far.

These improvements have paid off on the scoreboard too:

If the Saints can keep this up while the offense continues to cook, they’re going to be a tough out for anybody the rest of the season.

81

Jay Cutler, in his first game back from cracking a few ribs, had his best game by far this season on Sunday against the Raiders. Cutler completed 34 of 42 passes — or a smokin’ 81 percent completion rate, the highest number in any complete game of his career.

Cutler, who threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns, couldn’t lead the Dolphins to a win. They lost, 27-24, on Sunday night. But it wasn’t because of their 34-year-old quarterback, sore ribs and all.

82

For all the talk about how bad the Seahawks offensive line is, they can’t stop committing penalties.

They lead the NFL with 82, with the second-most in the league not even all that close to them:

The worst part? They’re on pace to set a new record for most penalties in a season.

13

The Lions traveled to Lambeau Field and got a 30-17 victory over the Packers. It probably could’ve/should’ve been worse, but the 13-point win was the first victory for the Lions at Lambeau Field of more than 10 points in 35 years.

It was also just the second time Detroit has beat the Packers on the road since 1991. Even though Green Bay was without Aaron Rodgers, the Lions will take it.


The top stories from Sunday’s NFL action