Week 9 of the NFL served as a week to remember. Albeit not for the play on the field, rather the colliding of personalities which resulted in five player ejections on Sunday.
Tempers began to flare in a chippy matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars. Wide receiver A.J. Green has been known as a calm and collected character. Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars, however, is known for his constant trash talking. Ramsey refuses to wear a protective mouth guard in games. He does that hoping that opposing players can hear every word of his bad-mouthing.
On Sunday, After being shoved to the ground after the whistle, Green retaliated in a malicious manner. He grabbed Ramsey by the neck, pulling him to the ground and throwing fists at his helmet. The altercation resulted in the ejection of both Green and Ramsey. Oh yeah, the Jaguars won 23-7. The fight provided the only entertainment of that game.
In a 30-10 blowout loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans carried out the theme of letting in Week 9. In an attempt to defend his quarterback, Evans engaged in a full sprint toward Saints’ cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Evans threw his body through the air and connected with the back of Lattimore, knocking him to the ground and engaging a team-wide brawl on the Tampa Bay sideline.
In the ruckus, Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker shoved 49ers running back Carlos Hyde to the ground, increasing the hostility of the situation. The incident resulted in the ejections of Rucker, Hyde and Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick.
As for the football played in Week 9, there was one memorable finish, between the Redskins and Seahawks. The other games provided less entertainment than the three previously mentioned brawls. The Eagles hung 51 points on the Broncos in a 51-23 victory and the Los Angeles Rams blew out the uninspired New York football Giants 51-17.
So, what did fans learn in a Week 9 of NFL football that looked more like UFC than the NFL?
1. Coaching matters, especially in developing a young quarterback
The Los Angeles Rams have ridden a three-game win streak to the top of the NFC West. In large part, thanks to their second-year quarterback Jared Goff.
Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, struggled as a rookie under the defensive-oriented Jeff Fisher. In seven starts in 2016, Goff and seven interceptions, posting a quarterback rating of just 63.6.
In the offseason, the Rams parted ways with Jeff Fisher. They decided to bring in the former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay. McVay, the youngest NFL head coach at age 31, has been known for his offensive genius and talent in developing quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins.
In eight starts under McVay in 2017, Goff has thrown 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions, posting a quarterback rating of 97.9.
On Sunday afternoon, Goff threw for four touchdowns, with zero turnovers, posting a career-high quarterback rating of 146.8. Remember Goff threw only five touchdowns last year and nearly totaled that number in one game against a horrid Giants team.
It’s safe to say that coaching matters and if you can find the right coach to develop a quarterback, then the game of football seems a lot easier.
2. The Redskins need to pay Kirk Cousins
Another year under the franchise tag and another strong showing from Kirk Cousins.
With 1:34 left in the game, the Redskins were staring defeat right in the eyes. Instead, a series of impressive Kirk Cousins passes ignited a scoring a drive, capped off by a Robert Kelley score with 25 seconds left, as the Redskins took a 17-14 lead over Seattle.
The Redskins would hold onto the lead and win the game by the score of 17-14. The win moved the Redskins to 4-4 on the year and kept its playoff hopes alive.
For two years, the debate in Washington has been whether or not to give Cousins a max deal and make him their franchise quarterback. There are not many quarterbacks capable of winning a game in the fashion that cousins did on Sunday.
Take the Browns for example, they spend every year trying out quarterback after quarterback, in hopes of finding one that can lead the franchise into relevancy. The hardest thing in the NFL is finding a franchise quarterback, one fell into the lap of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, yet he can’t pull the trigger on a long-term deal.
The debate is over, Kirk Cousins is the real deal — pay the man.
Correction: A previous version of this report misspelled Robert Kelley's name. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.