NFL Week 9 Takeaways

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"Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans" by AJ Guel Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

With the completion of the Week 9 slate, half of the NFL season has officially been played. Even though there were six teams on bye, the teams that did suit up provided some intriguing storylines to round out the first 50% of the campaign.

Here are three notable takeaways from Week 9’s games.

Derrick Henry Deserves MVP Consideration

Coming into the 2022 season, it felt like there were a bunch of reasons to write off Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry. He was coming off of an average playoff performance last year in a season which he missed considerable time due to a foot injury. Henry’s substantial workload over the last few years was impressive, but would ultimately lead him to wear down. Tennessee seemed to jettison all of their offensive weapons around Henry, which would allow defenses to key in on him even more.

None of it has seemed to matter, as the mountain-of-a-man ballcarrier continues to dominate games. What he’s been able to accomplish the last couple of weeks is nothing short of incredible. Henry has been taking handoffs from rookie quarterback Malik Willis, who opponents are not afraid from a passing standpoint. Despite the lack of variation in the Titans’ offensive attack, Henry continues to rumble for big games.

Even though Tennessee was not able to hold on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, he steamrolled his way to another 115 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Considering the level of team success Tennessee has had, Henry warrants consideration for league MVP.

Justin Fields May Meet Expectations After All

The jury is still out on which quarterback selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft will have the best career, but it is hard to ignore the type of impact Chicago Bears signal caller Justin Fields has had in his last few games.

The franchise traded up to acquire him, and are starting to reap the benefits of having such a talented player under center. Fields was magnificent on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, as he set an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 178. He was also stellar in the passing game in a contest that people knew would be a high scoring affair. The former Ohio State star tossed three touchdowns to go along with his banner day on the ground.

It feels like the Bears, and Fields himself, have realized just how much of a bind the versatile player can put defenses in.

The Defending Champs May Be In Serious Trouble

It was the featured contest in Sunday’s slate of games, but the Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup proved to be an ugly one. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers ended up scoring a late touchdown to end up with a 16-13 victory.

Both teams will not be sending the film of this game to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Los Angeles should be very worried coming out of this game. Besides the electric playmaking of wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the Rams have astonishingly little to fall back on. Free agent acquisition Allen Robinson has not been the difference maker many thought he would be, and their backfield is devoid of competence right now.

It’s possible that things will turn around as their offensive line gets healthy, but the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers don’t appear to be going away in the division. Los Angeles will need to figure something out quickly.