I have no idea how many Chargers fans read this newsletter, but for the ones who do, I have a question: HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF BED ON MONDAYS?
If I were to sit here and rank the most depressing teams in sports history, the Chargers would definitely be near the top. In the unpredictable NFL, the only predictable thing about every week is that the Chargers are going to find a new and fantastic way to lose. I’m getting depressed just thinking about it and I’m not even a Chargers fan.
Last week, they lost because the Broncos threw a one-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game. This week, they lost 32-26 against the Raiders because they threw a one-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game that got overturned after a booth review and you know what, I’m not sure if that’s more or less depressing than the time they blew a 17-point lead to the Buccaneers or the time they blew a 17-point lead to the Saints.
The Chargers are 3-15 in one-score games since the start of last season and I have to stop writing about them or I’m going to be too depressed to continue. Let’s get to the newsletter and agree to never speak of the Chargers agin.
As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. We’ll gladly accept all new sign-ups, even ones that come from Chargers fans.
Alright, we’ve got a lot to get to because Week 9 was crazy, so let’s get this thing off the ground.
1. Today’s Show: Week 9 winners and losers plus full recap
It’s Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 9. Don’t worry about me staying up so late, I live with a six-month old baby, so I’m until 3 a.m. pretty much every night.
Anyway, one thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday’s action. For our winners this week, I picked a team that didn’t even play on Sunday while Wilson and Brinson both went to the AFC East.
- Winner: Dolphins. The Dolphins took a risk by starting Tua Tagovailoa and that gamble has paid off big time. Tua didn’t put up monstrous numbers in Arizona, but he did lead several impressive drives in the second half. The Dolphins might secretly be the best team in the AFC East.
- Loser: Colts. The Colts had a chance to beat the Ravens, but instead, their offense had a meltdown. Thanks to the loss, Indy now has an uphill climb to win the division. Not only did they fall out of first place, but they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
- Winner: Josh Allen. If the Bills were lacking one thing in 2020, it was a signature win, but they picked that up on Sunday and it was all thanks to Allen, who threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills have now taken total control of the division and it was a bounce-back game for Allen, who had struggled a little bit over the past few weeks.
- Loser: Tom Brady. It’s not often that Brady embarrasses himself on national television, but he managed to do that on Sunday. With all of America watching, Brady played one of the worst games of his career.
- Winner: Rams. The Rams didn’t even play in Week 9, but they still won. While they were drinking Pina Coladas in their backyard, the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers all lost, which means the Rams picked up a half game on everyone without moving a finger.
- Loser: Bears fans. Bears fans have to watch the team’s offense play every week, which automatically makes them a loser, but in a “I feel sorry for you” type of way. Also, Bears fans probably got their hopes up after the team’s 5-1 start, but that was all a mirage and now everything is crashing back down to earth.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. If you want to listen — and you definitely should — you can click here.
2. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers get embarrassed
It’s not often we get to pile on Tom Brady for a bad performance, so I obviously I have to take advantage of that in today’s newsletter by pointing out just how bad things went for Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday night.
It was a historic night for Tampa Bay, but not in a good way.
- Biggest loss of Brady’s career. Brady has been playing football for more than two decades and the 35-point margin of defeat was the most he’s ever lost by in either a professional of college game. Before Sunday, Brady’s biggest loss came in 2003 when the Bills beat the Patriots 31-0. Of course, that 2003 blowout didn’t seem to have a negative impact on Brady, who led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win that year.
- Saints end crazy 19-year streak by Brady. For the first time in his career, Brady got swept by a divisional opponent. During his time with the Patriots, Brady spent 19 years as the starter and somehow, he never got swept by the Jets, Bills or Dolphins. He then moved to the NFC South where it took the Saints nine weeks to end the streak. It’s hard to put into perspective how impressive this streak was, so just consider this: Brady’s 19-year streak was the record by six years. Joe Montana went 13 years without getting swept by a divisional opponent and he’s number two in the record book.
- Buccaneers set NFL record for fewest rushing attempts. The Buccaneers didn’t just give up on the run, I think they actually forgot that it existed. Tampa Bay finished with just five carries, which set the NFL record for fewest rushes in a game. The previous record for fewest carries was six, a mark that was originally set in 1933, and the Buccaneers somehow managed to do worse. This is actually the second time a team led by Brady has had the record. Brady’s Patriots tied the record in 2004 when they had six carries in a loss to the Steelers.
This will probably be the only time you’ll be able to genuinely laugh at how badly Brady played, so be sure to get it all out now.
3. Monday preview: Prepping you for Patriots-Jets
I should probably preview other things that are on TV tonight since I’m pretty sure no one really wants to watch this game, but that’s not what they pay me for. They pay me to tell you why you should watch and all I can come up with is that I need Cam Newton to score 25 points in fantasy tonight so that I can pull out a win. If you watch, you can also cheer on my team by cheering for Newton.
Anyway, if the Patriots (-7.5) want to keep their very faint playoff hopes alive, they’re going to need to beat the Jets. To get you ready for tonight’s game, my good buddy Jared Dubin put a preview together and I’m going to give you a preview of that preview.
- On the Patriots’ end, New England is at its best when it can run the ball, which isn’t ideal, because stopping the run is about the only thing the Jets do well. If the Patriots decided to go run-heavy, that should be a lot of touches for their multiple running backs, including Rex Burkhead, James White, and Damien Harris
- The Jets offense is bad and it’s likely going to be even worse on Monday due to the fact that Sam Darnold (shoulder) isn’t expected to play. That means we’re going to get Joe Flacco going up against the Patriots defense, which means the Patriots defense might be the top fantasy scorer of the night.
Dubin’s prediction: Patriots 23-6 over Jets.
To check out Dubin’s full preview, be sure to click here.
4. Week 9 grades: Seahawks get a ‘D’ for loss to Bills
Every week, I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Seattle Seahawks nearly failed out of our imaginary football school. The Seahawks got blown out by the Bills in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score might have suggested.
Here’s a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Bills 44, Seahawks 34 (Click here for full recap)
Bills takeaway: Since the Seahawks can’t stop the pass, the Bills decided to abandon the run almost immediately and throw on every down and that brilliant plan worked thanks to Josh Allen, who had one his best games of the season. The Seahawks had no answer for Allen, who threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns. Grade: A+
Seahawks takeaway: For the ninth straight week, the Seahawks happily “Let Russ Cook,” but the problem for Seattle is that while Wilson is busy in the kitchen, the rest of the house is burning down. The Seahawks defense somehow seems to be getting worse every week. Since the Seahawks have no D, we decided to give them one to help fill in the gap. Grade: D+
Steelers takeaway: The Steelers were kind enough to spot the Cowboys a 13-0 lead before they decided to show up in this game. Although Ben Roethlisberger got banged up in the first half, he returned just in time to throw two fourth quarter touchdown passes that allowed Pittsburgh to escape with the win. Grade: B
Cowboys takeaway: Garrett Gilbert almost single-handedly led his team to what would have been the biggest upset of the 2020 season, but at some point in the second half, the Cowboys realized they were the Cowboys and they let a 19-9 fourth quarter lead melt away. The silver lining for the Cowboys is that they covered the spread for the first time this season and avoided setting an NFL record. Grade: B
As for the other 20 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here.
5. NFL playoff picture heading into Monday night
Now that we’re nine weeks through the season, I’ve decided that now is a good time to see how the playoff picture is shaking out, so let’s check out how the race is looking in each conference, starting with the AFC. Two key things to remember this year is that SEVEN teams will be getting in and that only the top seed will be getting a bye. Also, the “First team out” is being listed because that team could be the last one in if the NFL decides to expand the playoffs to 16 teams. The league’s 32 owners are expected to vote on that proposal Tuesday.
The most notable part of the AFC playoff picture is that the MIAMI DOLPHINS are officially in the playoff race. I thought we would see actual Dolphins fly before that happened, but here we are. The Dolphins haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2000. Also, the Colts are nowhere to be found after sitting in the sixth spot last week, which tells you how much things can change each week in the playoff picture.
The Saints’ win over the Buccaneers caused total chaos in the NFC playoff picture. Thanks to New Orleans, five of the seven teams had their seeding changed compared to last week. For the Saints, they’re now the top seed in the NFC after being the third seed last week. For the Buccaneers, their loss actually came with a small consolation prize and that’s the fact that they’re currently slotted into the fifth seed, which might be the most coveted wild-card spot in the NFL and that’s because the NFC’s fifth seed will likely get to play an NFC East team in the opening round of the playoffs.
6. J.J. Watt to be traded after the season?
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora dropped a bomb on Sunday and that’s the fact that it’s starting to look like J.J. Watt’s career in Houston is almost certainly over.
Watt wants to play for a contender and team owner Cal McNair has such respect for his star pass-rusher that he’ll likely make a move this offseason that will end with Watt playing for a team that has a chance to win the Super Bowl in the next year or two.
“It’s a wrap,” one source told La Canfora about a potential trade. “He knows he only has so many games left and he is ready to go and try to win. The guys in that locker room are bracing for it.”
Although Watt won’t come cheap, any contending team could basically view him as a one-year rental. The pass-rusher only has one year left on a deal that will pay him $17.5 million in 2021. With the trade deadline already over, NFL teams can’t officially pull off any deals until free agency starts in March. Teams can unofficially make trades after the season ends, but they won’t be processed until the start of free agency.
7. The Kicker!
Panthers coach Matt Rhule might be my new favorite coach in the NFL and that’s mostly because I’m 99% sure he only took the Carolina coaching job so he could have his kicker attempt ridiculously long field goals. Back in Week 7, Rhule sent Panthers kicker Joey Slye out for a 65-yard field goal attempt against the Saints that ended up falling just short. This week, Rhule one-upped himself by sending Slye out for a 67-YARD ATTEMPT.
In Rhule’s defense, the field goal attempt came on the final play of a game where his team was trailing 33-31, so he really only had two options: Try the kick or throw a Hail Mary, so I didn’t hate his choice.
If you want to see what happened on Slye’s 67-yard kick, be sure to click here. Spoiler alert: He did not make it, although in a twist, it wasn’t because the kick fell short. It had the distance, but went waaaay right. As for me, I’m going right to my bed. After staying up until 3 a.m. to podcast, it’s now time for a nap. See you guys Tuesday!