What We Learned: NFL Week 9
As a Giants fan, I was obviously elated when my G-Men went into Foxboro and took down the mighty Patriots. Eli Manning outplayed Tom Brady and justified his pre-season elite quarterback status claims as he led the offense on an 8 play 80 yard game winning drive with only 1:30 left on the clock. The drive culminated in a Jake Ballard touchdown, and the Giants won 24-20.
If you just looked at the stats then you would think Jay Cutler had a mediocre game and the Bears probably lost the game. But if you watched the game then you definitely noticed a different Jay Cutler. Cutler evaded sacks and found receivers all over the field. He even threw in a few pitches and laterals here and there. Now don’t get confused, I’m not saying he’s “turned a corner” or anything like that. I’m just recognizing the Favre-esque, exciting, playmaking style of play Cutler brings to the table. Sometimes it works out and sometimes he leaves you scratching your head. On Monday night, Cutler dazzled.
New England Patriots
I, like many, blamed the Patriots defense for their recent shortcomings but the loss against the Giants showed that the offense is lacking as well. Brady struggled to find his check down receivers amidst the Giants pass rush. Wide-receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch are possession guys who are great at sitting in holes or creating space on crossing routes, but they lack the downfield threat needed to make opposing defenses cringe. While tight-ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are touchdown machines but again don’t pose the deep threat.
The Ravens were very impressive Sunday night against their bitter rival Steelers. The defense held a hot Ben Roethlisberger in check while Joe Flacco found rookie Torrey Smith in the back of the endzone with 8 seconds left for the game winning score. With the win, the Ravens swept the season series and have shown that their the class of the AFC.