Here are five things to love about the NFL from Week 9 of the regular season:
One. Not just touchdowns, but 11 of them in one game. After watching the Seahawks and their past three opponents combine for eight TDs, watching highlights of the Packers’ 45-38 victory over the Chargers was like tuning in to an old AFL game. Except that the opposing QBs – the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and the Chargers’ Philip Rivers – weren’t born until the early 80s. But this game had that feel. Rodgers threw four TD passes. Rivers threw six passes that produced six points, but two of them were interceptions that the Packers returned for TDs.
Two. Rodgers. We haven’t given him any love this season, because the Packers’ purebred passer has been so ridiculously consistent for the unbeaten boys from Green Bay. But his numbers in the above mentioned shootout were staggering: 21 of 26 for 247 yards, and those four TDs, for a passer rating of 145.8. Peter King of SI.com crunched some numbers and came up with these on-a-pace-for 16-game projections for Rodgers: .725 completion percentage, 5,238 passing yards and a 129.1 rating, which would be league records; plus 48 TD passes compared to six interceptions. Amazing stuff, and on a weekly basis.
Three. Patrick Peterson. The first-round draft choice of the Cardinals already has returned three punts for TDs, including six-pointers in each of the past two games. But Sunday, it was a 99-yarder in overtime to give Arizona a 19-13 victory over the Rams. The rookie was pretty good in his other role, as well, with an interception, three passes defensed and three solo tackles.
Four. Sunday Night Lights. After a three-week run of snoozers – Bears 39, Vikings 10; Saints 62, Colts 7; Eagles 34, Cowboys 7 – NBC got a dandy last night. When the Steelers took their first lead of the game, 20-16, with roughly five minutes to play on Ben Roethlisberger’s 25-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace, you had to figure this one was over. Someone forgot to tell Joe Flacco. All the Ravens’ QB did was direct a 13-play, 92-yard drive that ended with his 26-yard TD pass to Troy Smith with eight seconds left. Talk about “must-see TV.”
Five. The Seahawks’ Week 5 upset of the Giants at MetLife Stadium. This isn’t a flashback; it’s an ode to what the Giants have done since letting the Seahawks steal that 36-25 victory. They rallied to beat the then 4-1 Bills 27-24 on a late field goal and the Dolphins 20-17 on a late TD pass; and, on Sunday, beat the Patriots in New England 24-20 as Eli Manning out-Brady-ed Tom Brady by throwing a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Jake Ballard with 15 seconds to play. In those three games, Peyton’s kid brother is 72 of 116 for 890 yards with four TDs and one interception for a 93.7 rating.