The Packers spent some serious time trying to add a receiver at the NFL trade deadline, but maybe they should have been looking for a new quarterback.
In what will likely be remembered as, Aaron Rodgers had a meltdown on Sunday with three interceptions during Green Bay's stunning 15-9 loss to the Lions. It wasn't necessarily shocking that the Packers lost, but it was shocking how they lost: They simply couldn't score points while going up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Going into Week 9, the Lions had given up an average of 32.1 points per game, which was the worst in the league by more than five points. If the Packers were going to fix their offensive problems against anyone, the Lions seemed like a good candidate. However, that didn't happen, and it didn't happen because of Rodgers, who made multiple mistakes that were completely uncharacteristic of him.
Rodgers threw two of his three interceptions inside the red zone, marking the first time in his career that he had thrown multiple red zone picks in the same game. Two were intercepted in the end zone, with both clearly Rodgers' fault. On the first one, which came on a first-and-goal from Detroit's 5-yard line, Rodgers threw the ball low and it bounced off a defender's helmet before being picked off by Kerby Joseph.
The next red zone pick came on the very next possession. On a fourth-and-goal from Detroit's 1, the Packers had a perfect play called: Offensive lineman David Bakhtiari was eligible to catch a pass and he was wide open, but Rodgers underthrew him and Aidan Hutchinson was able to come up with the pick.
That's normally a throw that Rodgers can make in his sleep, but the 2022 version of Rodgers just hasn't been as accurate.
Rodgers then hit the interception hat trick when he threw his third pick of the day on a second-down play in the third quarter.
There were also a few other throws where it looked like the Packers might be able to get a big play, but Rodgers just didn't put enough on it.
Rodgers did throw for 291 yards and a touchdown, but he made too many mistakes, which is something he almost never does against division rivals. This game marked the first time since 2013 that he threw multiple interceptions against a division opponent.
At 3-6, the Packers' season isn't over, but it's hard to see them bouncing back with the way their playing offense. They've now lost five games in a row and their season seems to be spiraling out of control.
Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 9. If you're looking for a deeper dive on the Eagles' win over the Texans that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
Baltimore 27-13 over New Orleans
|The Ravens offense gets all the headlines, but you might want to start playing attention to the defense. In its first game with Roquan Smith, the Ravens defense absolutely smothered the Saints. Justin Houston racked up 2.5 sacks while leading a Ravens pass-rush that tallied four on the night. The Ravens (6-3) were especially good in the red zone (the Saints managed two field goals on as many trips) and on third down, with the Saints only converting 3 of 11 attempts in the game. Offensively, the Ravens weren't flashy, but they were able to run the ball at will on a night where both Kenyan Drake (93 yards, two touchdowns) and Lamar Jackson (82 yards) both topped 80 yards rushing. The offense wasn't perfect and the Ravens still won by two touchdowns, which tells you how good this team can be going forward. They're already at the top of the AFC North, and now, this team feels like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. |
|Andy Dalton has a reputation for playing poorly in prime time, and he definitely lived up to that reputation Monday night. Not only did Dalton struggle with his accuracy, but he had several balls batted down, including one that turned into a fourth-quarter interception for the Ravens. Dalton wasn't the only reason the Saints offense struggled: Alvin Kamara couldn't get anything going on the ground, and the offensive line struggled to protect (Dalton was sacked four times). The Saints defense kept Lamar Jackson in check for awhile, but eventually Baltimore's speedy offense just wore New Orleans down. The only upside for the Saints (3-6) in all of this is that they're still just one game out of first place in the NFC South despite the loss.|
Ravens-Saints grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Detroit 15-9 over Green Bay
|The Packers (3-6) defense played well enough to win, but the offense couldn't get out of its own way. Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions and those picks were extra painful because they all came near the end zone. The Packers seemed to melt down any time they got near the red zone. They drove inside of Detroit's 20-yard line four different times in this game, but only came away with three total points. If the Packers can't score points on the NFL's worst defense, they might struggle to score points on everyone they face for the rest of the season.|
|The Lions (2-6) didn't come close to playing perfect football -- they had two failed fourth downs and Jared Goff threw two interceptions -- but they probably felt pretty perfect after pulling off this upset. The reason the Lions were able to walk away with a win is because the much-maligned defense kept coming up with big plays. Kerby Joseph was arguably the hero of the game: The rookie safety came up with two interceptions and batted a ball down that likely would have been a TD. The Lions also stopped the Packers on three different fourth-down conversions. This is a feisty Lions team that will probably win a few more games this season.|
Packers at Lions grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Chargers 20-17 over Atlanta
|With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both sidelined, Justin Herbert went out and found a new favorite target: Joshua Palmer. The Chargers receiver came up huge for his team, catching eight passes for 106 yards, including a 22-yard reception with 30 seconds left that set up Cameron Dicker's game-winning field goal. Austin Ekeler also came up big with both touchdowns for L.A., but on the flip side, he almost gave the game away with a lost fumble on a wild play in the final minute (The Chargers ended up with the ball after the Falcons player who recovered it also fumbled). This win wasn't pretty, but the Chargers (5-3) are banged up right now and they'll take their wins any way they can get them.|
|The Falcons (4-5) have a long history of finding new and improbable ways to lose, and you can now go ahead and add this game to that list. The Falcons probably could have beaten the Chargers if not for two second-half gaffes. The biggest one came from Ta'Quon Graham, who appeared to save the game with a fumble recovery in the final minute, but then he fumbled the ball back to the Chargers, who would kick a field goal three plays later to pull off the win. The Falcons rushing attack continues to look unstoppable (they had 201 yards in this game), but Marcus Mariota struggled with his accuracy and even Younghoe Koo missed a kick. The Falcons jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, but then let this game slip away.|
Chargers at Falcons grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Jacksonville 27-20 over Las Vegas
|The Raiders (2-6) might officially be the NFL's worse second-half team. Seven weeks after blowing a 20-0 halftime lead to the Cardinals, the Raiders blew another double-digit halftime lead in this game (20-10). The offense disappeared in the second half, and a big reason for that is because Derek Carr couldn't connect with Davante Adams. The Raiders receiver had 146 yards at HALFTIME, but added ZERO yards to that total in the second half. The Raiders offense has looked mostly broken over the past two weeks and the defense hasn't looked much better. If Josh McDaniels wasn't on the hot seat before this week, he definitely should be after watching his team blow a 17-point lead for the third time in eight games.|
|It's starting to look like the Jaguars' (3-6) best pick in the first round of the 2021 draft might have been Travis Etienne. The second-year running back totaled 126 yards (109 rushing), marking the fifth straight game that he's finished with 100 scrimmage yards or more. The Jags' offense now revolves around Etienne, and he's played so well that it's opening things up for the passing game. Defensively, the Jags clamped down in the second half, surrendering less than 100 yards of offense to a Raiders team that had piled up yardage in the second half.|
Raiders at Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cincinnati 42-21 over Carolina
|It's not even worth talking about how bad the Panthers (2-7) were, but trust us, they were bad. The offense was bad (they didn't record a first down until just before halftime), the defense was bad (they surrendered 35 points in the first half) and somehow, the only bright spot for Carolina was Baker Mayfield, who threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns after P.J. Walker was benched at halftime.|
|Less than a week after getting embarrassed in a Monday night loss, the Bengals (5-4) looked like a completely different team. With Ja'Marr Chase still out, the Bengals decided to rely a little bit more on their ground game and Joe Mixon came through with a monster performance. Not only did the Bengals running back rush for 153 yards and FOUR touchdowns, but he also had 58 receiving yards and one touchdown. Overall, the Bengals rushed for 241 yards, which was the team's third-highest total since 2005. This game felt like a statement by the Bengals offense that it can still be explosive without Chase. |
Panthers at Bengals grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
N.Y. Jets 20-17 over Buffalo
|For most of the season, the Bills (6-2) have been able to overcome their penchant for turnovers. That wasn't the case on Sunday, as the Bills could not overcome Josh Allen's two picks. Allen's first interception, which occurred on the game's first drive after the Bills had reached the Jets' 13-yard-line, came on an under throw to Dawson Knox that was corralled by Jordan Whitehead. Allen's second pick came moments after his defense forced what appeared to be a momentum-changing turnover (more on that later). Playing without Jordan Poyer and Matt Milano, Buffalo's defense was unable to stop the Jets' running game late in the game. Conversely, the Bills' offense struggled to run the ball. Take away Allen's 86 yards (and two touchdowns) on nine carries and Buffalo picked up just 48 yards on 13 carries. Newly acquired running back Nyheim Hines, who was used on special teams and in the passing game, did not receive a carry.|
|After a slow start, the Jets (6-3) dominated the Bills' offense, as Gang Green allowed just three points in Buffalo's final five possessions. Along with providing constant pressure on Allen, the Jets' defense shut out Stefon Diggs in the second half after Buffalo's All-Pro wideout caught five passes for 93 yards in the first half. He didn't light up the stat sheet, but Zach Wilson mostly took care of the ball while engineering several lengthy drives after falling behind early. Wilson was aided by running backs James Robinson and Michael Carter, who gained a combined 71 yards on eight carries on the drive to set up Greg Zuerlein's game-winning field goal. Wilson did his part on the drive, as his 12-yard strike to Denzel Mims on a third-and-5 play allowed the Jets to chew more off the clock. Per usual, the Jets received big plays from their rookies. Sauce Gardner's pick late in the third quarter set up Wilson's touchdown pass to Robinson. Jermaine Johnson's sack of Allen midway through the fourth quarter helped force a Buffalo punt that ultimately set up the Jets' game-winning drive. Garrett Wilson continued his big rookie season, as he caught eight passes for 92 yards that included a 24-yard grab on the Jets' first touchdown drive. The Jets might now be a serious threat to win the AFC East. |
Bills-Jets grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New England 26-3 over Indianapolis
|Starting a second-year QB against a Bill Belichick defense is basically asking for failure, and that's exactly what the Colts (3-5-1) got from their offense in this game. Sam Ehlinger didn't even have time to think as he got sacked nine times. With Jonathan Taylor out due to injury, the Colts offense was essentially unwatchable on a day where it totaled just 121 yards, which is the fewest yards the Colts have totaled in a game since 1997.|
|Bill Belichick is probably going to want to give a game ball to every single player on his defense after this win. The Patriots (5-4) absolutely suffocated the Colts offense on a day where New England recorded nine sacks and a pick-six by Jonathan Jones. Matthew Judon and Josh Uche both came up with three sacks apiece to lead the team. Even more impressively, the Patriots didn't let the Colts convert on a single third down as Indy went 0 for 14. The Patriots only surrendered 121 yards of offense, which is the third-lowest total of the Belichick era. Offensively, the Patriots weren't great, but the defense was so dominant that it didn't matter.|
Colts-Patriots grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Minnesota 20-17 over Washington
|Kirk Cousins said after the game that his team needs to win more convincingly, and he's right. Still, a win is a win. The Vikings (7-1) scored on their opening drive, and then didn't score any more points until the fourth quarter. Down double digits in the final quarter, it looked like Minnesota was dead in the water. However, the Vikings reeled off 13 unanswered points in the final 10:46 to win. Greg Joseph put the final nail in the coffin with his 28-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.|
|The Vikings weren't consistent on Sunday, but neither were the Commanders (4-5). Taylor Heinicke had an impressive second half, although he did make a costly mistake with a late interception, which set up Minnesota's game-tying score. It would have been fun to see him get a chance to lead a game-winning drive, but we didn't get that, as John Ridgeway was called for unnecessary roughness on a Vikings field goal with just under two minutes remaining. The penalty gave Minnesota a fresh set of downs, and allowed the Vikings to run out the clock.|
Vikings-Commanders grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Miami 35-32 over Chicago
|If this were an offensive-only grade, it would be an A. Tua Tagovailoa became the first quarterback in Dolphins history with over 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and no interceptions in consecutive games, thanks to his 302 passing yards and three scores. Both Tyreek Hill (seven catches for 143 receiving yards and a TD) and Jaylen Waddle (85 receiving yards and a TD on five catches) had nice games, and newly acquired running back Jeff Wilson Jr. led Miami (6-3) with 51 rushing yards, including a game-sealing 10-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter. However, this Dolphins defense is going to have an uncomfortable film session this week. They allowed Justin Fields to become the first player in NFL history with three passing touchdowns and over 150 rushing yards in the same game. He has also broke the NFL's single-game QB rushing record for a regular-season game with 178 on the ground against Miami. |
|The Bears didn't win, but Justin Fields did things on an NFL football field that had never been done before, becoming the first player in NFL history with three passing TDs and over 150 rushing yards in the same game. He also broke the NFL's single-game rushing record for a QB in a regular-season game with 178 yards -- 61 of which came on his only rushing score of the day. Fields' lone rushing touchdown marked the longest run overall in his entire career. The second-year quarterback putting on this type of historic performance while getting barely any help from his supporting cast is jaw-droppingly magical. Defensively, the fact that Chicago only surrendered 28 offensive points is arguably impressive by Bears' standards, especially considering they were going up against the NFL's top receiving duo in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.|
Dolphins-Bears grades by Garrett Podell (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tampa Bay 16-13 over L.A. Rams
|Yep. We're going there. Pin it on whomever you please: Les Snead, for "F--- them picks," all the way to a turnstile offensive line; Matthew Stafford, for winging it all over the yard in hopes Cooper Kupp will save him; Sean McVay, for calling another sheepish game. Raheem Morris' defense certainly doesn't deserve this, but if Mike Evans' and Scotty Miller's hands were functional for half of Sunday's game, Brady might've made easier work of them. All in all, this was a make-or-break type of matchup for a team on life support, and in crunch time, it was wholly listless, unable to seal the ugliest of leads even as the Buccaneers repeatedly insisted it do so.|
|The only reason they don't get an "F" is because Tom Brady and their defensive front showed up down the home stretch. Almost everyone else did their best to drag TB12 down with them. Yes, they deserve credit for fighting until the finish line and stealing a game the Rams desperately wanted to lose, but if not for Brady standing tall amid waves of dropped passes and Rookie Mode "Madden" play calls from Byron Leftwich, or Vita Vea crunching Matthew Stafford every couple of drives, we might all be talking this week about whether Todd Bowles is even confident he'll make it through his first year running the ship. Even with injuries, they have the personnel to make a bit of noise; they just seem totally clueless as to how to actually do that.|
Rams-Buccaneers grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Seattle 31-21 over Arizona
|Geno Smith deserves a ton of credit for how he responded to adversity. After throwing a pick six to Zaven Collins that gave the Cardinals a 14-10 lead in the third quarter, Smith went 10 of 12 for 123 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions the rest of the way as Seattle scored touchdowns on its next three possessions to take over the game. Smith made the throws he needed to make, and Kenneth Walker III had 17 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns in the second half as Seattle (6-3) pounded the ball through the Cardinals defense. This team is the best in the NFC West right now, and it proved it again Sunday.|
|Kyler Murray had a solid day, yet it's another week of empty calories. The Cardinals offense sputtered again -- this time in the second half. Arizona (3-6) had three offensive possessions after halftime and gained just five yards. The Cardinals scored seven points during that stretch, because of the pick-six by Zaven Collins to give them an early second half lead. The offensive struggles fall on Kliff Kingsbury and his play calling. The Cardinals didn't even attempt to stretch the field -- with Murray going 7 of 9 for 21 yards. DeAndre Hopkins also went invisible after an early touchdown. The Cardinals are supposed to be an offensive team, yet their offense is offensive.|
Seahawks grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 20-17 over Tennessee (OT)
|Almost everyone has been sleeping on the Titans this season, but it might finally be time to wake up. This team proved that not only is it for real, but it can compete with anyone in the AFC. Even with Ryan Tannehill out, the Titans still were able to take the Chiefs to the wire thanks to a defense that had Patrick Mahomes on the run the entire night. The Titans sacked Mahomes four times and even intercepted him once, but in the end, they appeared to run out of gas. Derrick Henry rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns to keep the Titans in this game, but the Titans did almost nothing else on offense with backup QB Malik Willis running the show. |
|The Chiefs were able to avoid an upset on Sunday night, but It took a career day from Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes turned up his magic in the fourth quarter and it's a good thing he did, because he provided nearly every yard of offense for the Chiefs in this game (Only 14 of Kansas City's 499 total yards didn't involve Mahomes). Mahomes threw a career-high 68 passes, which was just two off the NFL single-game record. He also threw for 446 yards, which was the third-highest total of his career. Mahomes added a career-high 63 yards on the ground, including 14 that came on a TD with just 2:56 left (He also scored the game-tying two-point conversion). Mahomes didn't have his best night, but he was at his best when he had to be and that's why Kansas City won. Mahomes completed passes to 11 different receivers, including Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who both caught 10 passes. It was a huge win for a Chiefs team that's now tied with the Bills for the best record in the AFC. |
Titans-Chiefs grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)