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NFL Week 9: Sunday’s Big Winners

Tom Brady

Written off for dead after an ugly Monday night loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, Tom Brady and his New England Patriots have risen from the ashes like a Phoenix. At least that’s the case for anyone stupid enough to have dismissed the most consistently successful franchise of the last 15 years after just for games.

To the rest of us, Brady’s win over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday was just Brady being Brady.

The game truly told the tale of this so-called rivalry, which Brady has dominated so thoroughly that it’s almost embarrassing to classify it as such. Peyton Manning attempted more throws, completed more passes and passed for over 100 more yards. Tom Brady easily won the game.

A game which, incidentally, was completely out of hand by the second quarter, 43-21. The Patriots are now first in the AFC and the Broncos, once again, are suddenly looking all too fallible.

Ben Roethlisberger/Pittsburgh Steelers 

There may be no team in the NFL that remains more of a mystery after nine games than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Going into the season the Steelers were expected to be competitive, but not seriously content for a championship. Three weeks ago, that seemed about right. After six games Pittsburgh was 3-3, with their only impressive win coming against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.

Suddenly at 6-3, the Steelers have blown out the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, the best teams they’ve faced all year, in successive weeks, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing a total of 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions in two record-setting performances. With two winnable games against the Jets and Titans up next, Pittsburgh find themselves in a very good position entreating the second half the season.

Sleep on these Steelers at your own risk.

Jeremy Maclin 

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has been long on promise and short on success since being drafted out of Missouri in 2009. That’s not to say he hasn’t performed in Philadelphia, but his production was hampered both by injury and having played next to DeSean Jackson most of his career—Jackson was released during the offseason and signed with the Washington Redskins.

In Chip Kelly’s second season at the helm, Maclin has flourished and is on pace for by far the best season of his career. If he continues at the rate he’s been going, he’ll reach his high mark from 2010 by the Eagles 10th game—not hard to imagine, considering he’s combined for about 350 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games alone.

Against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Maclin averaged over 26 yards on six receptions, making Mark Sanchez’s transition, after coming in for an injured Nick Foles, that much easier.


Jeff Fisher 

It was another crazy finish for the St. Louis Rams—the second time in three weeks they’ve clawed out a late game victory against a tough NFC West opponent. Two weeks ago they stunned the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks at home, yesterday they did the same on the road at the San Francisco 49ers.

There have been a lot of contributing members to the success of the Rams, who at 3-5 are going to have to be content just to play spoiler this season, but the real winner is third year coach Jeff Fisher. With nothing but question marks at quarterback, Fisher’s defense is finally coming into place—the eight sacks on the Niners’ Colin Kaepernick were the most of his career.

Though the call was not without controversy, the St. Louis ultimately won the game on a goal line stand in which they forced a Kaepernick fumble on a QB sneak that would’ve won the game for San Francisco. The Rams played the Cowboys and Eagles very close earlier this season, but couldn’t close the deal.

This is a promising team that is learning to finish games—just wait till they find their long-term answer behind center.

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