What We Learned in N.F.L. Week 9: ‘Half a Hundred’ Is Back


■ Sometimes a call just truly gets blown. At the end of a skirmish in which A. J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals repeatedly shoved and punched Jalen Ramsey of the Jacksonville Jaguars, both players were ejected. Replays showed that Ramsey had not punched back at Green, and the N.F.L. is in a difficult situation in which a player seems to be owed an apology even though his team held on to win.

Here’s a look at what happened in N.F.L. Week 9:

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Ezekiel Elliott powered the Cowboys’ running game against the Chiefs on Sunday.

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Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

With Elliott and Prescott in action, Cowboys roll.

The Dallas Cowboys showed just how good the team can be with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott at full-strength, as the duo led the team to a hard-fought 28-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Now they have to wait and see if their partnership will be broken up for the next several weeks.

Elliott was on the field thanks to an appeals court briefly delaying his six-game suspension with an administrative stay, but it is expected that his fate for the next six games will be decided this week. The second-year running back took advantage of the unexpected start by rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown, helping complement a fine performance by Prescott, who threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns while running for another score, in the come-from-behind win.

Prescott’s success came thanks to a pair of passing touchdowns to Cole Beasley, and a 141-yard day by Terrance Williams, as the team survived Dez Bryant leaving the game in the second half with an ankle injury.

It looked for much of the first half like it would be a boring matchup between teams trying too hard to be careful, but things picked up dramatically in the last two minutes before halftime. Both teams scored in the final 13 seconds of the half, with Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs scoring an unbelievable 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown as time expired. Hill had at least five defenders between him and the end zone when he caught the ball, but he used his patience and game-changing speed to weave through the crowd, nearly untouched, for the score.

Kansas City then opened the second half with another touchdown drive, which briefly gave them a 17-14 lead. From that point on, though, the game was all Dallas, as both the offense and defense found a higher gear. Their much-maligned secondary even managed to end Alex Smith’s season-long streak of passes without an interception when Jeff Heath stepped in front of a pass intended for Charcandrick West in the fourth quarter.

Going forward, things could be truly complicated for Dallas. Elliott could be out for up to six weeks, the severity of Bryant’s injury is not known, and the Cowboys may be facing an extended stretch in which Prescott will be trying to keep the team’s playoff hopes alive with his primary offensive support coming from players like Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Beasley.

With or without Elliott, Dallas will travel to Atlanta to face the struggling Falcons next week and then will host the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.

Redskins shock Seahawks with late drive.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to have secured his second consecutive comeback win with a dramatic touchdown pass in the game’s final minutes. Not to be outdone, Kirk Cousins put together one of the most impressive drives of his career, going 70 yards on just four plays to secure a 17-14 victory.

Cousins did not throw a touchdown pass in the game, but his bold passes into Seattle’s secondary in the game’s final minutes were key to the shocking victory. The second long pass, a 38-yarder to Josh Doctson, set up Rob Kelley for a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run.

Kelley’s two touchdowns accounted for most of the scoring for Washington, and the team survived the late surge by Wilson, who threw for 297 yards and rushed for 77.

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton dove for a touchdown in the first half.

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Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America

The Falcons’ Super Bowl hangover isn’t going away.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to struggle to hold onto leads. In what has become a dramatic Super Bowl hangover, the Falcons’ record dropped to 4-4 after a 20-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers in which they had a 10-0 lead until late in the second quarter.

The Panthers worked their way back into the game with the team’s running game, and eventually rushed for a combined 201 yards on 38 carries, with Cam Newton leading the team with 86 yards, while he and Christian McCaffrey each scored on a rushing touchdown.

Atlanta continued to fight even after falling behind 20-10. They got the ball back one last time with just over two minutes remaining and a deficit of three points, but the offense mustered minus-three yards while turning the ball over on downs when Matt Ryan’s fourth down pass failed to connect with Taylor Gabriel. But the day was symbolized by a play earlier in the fourth quarter where Ryan threw what appeared to be a perfect 39-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones that the sure-handed receiver simply dropped, resulting in a turnover on downs.

It was the type of mistake Atlanta never made during the team’s run to the Super Bowl last season.

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The Broncos’ A.J. Derby couldn’t make a catch in the end zone against the Eagles in the first half.

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Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The already-good Eagles just got a lot better.

The Philadelphia Eagles already had the N.F.L.’s best record, a quarterback leading the league in touchdown passes and a defense that makes life miserable for opponents each and every week. The addition of Jay Ajayi to the running game made them seem like something out of a video game in a 51-23 demolishing of the Denver Broncos.

There were no weaknesses on display for the Eagles. Carson Wentz, who came into the game tied for the N.F.L. lead with 19 touchdown passes, threw four more, while completing 15 of 27 passes for 199 yards before being taken out in the fourth quarter with the score well out of hand.

Wentz now has sole possession of the passing touchdown lead with 23, but he was focused on other things.

”Touchdowns are great, but being 8-1 is what it’s all about,” he told reporters after the game.

Wentz had plenty of help, as the team’s running game, powered by LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement and the newly-acquired Ajayi combined to carry the ball 37 times for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Coming into the game, Philadelphia had just four rushing touchdowns all season.

That the Eagles had so much success running the ball against the second-rated rushing defense in the N.F.L. was a testament to Ajayi. The pro bowl running back was traded from the Dolphins this week and went from an underperforming malcontent in Miami to energizing Philadelphia with a 46-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. He finished with a team-leading 77 yards.

The Broncos, meanwhile, tried to shake things up by switching from Trevor Siemian to Brock Osweiler at quarterback, but any improvement was hard to see in a game in which Osweiler completed just 19 of 38 passes for 208 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was repeatedly harassed by Philadelphia’s front-seven and made several mistakes, including the two turnovers, both of which led to Eagles touchdowns.

The highlights were few and far between for Denver, but they included Osweiler hitting Demaryius Thomas for a 1-yard touchdown pass, Brandon McManus connecting on two field goals from 50-plus yards, and Brandon Marshall, Denver’s standout linebacker, getting his first career fumble recovery for a touchdown after a strip-sack of Nick Foles by Von Miller.

Philadelphia now heads into its bye-week as the N.F.L.’s only eight-win team. Their next challenge will be a road game against Dallas on Nov. 19.

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The Saints’ Marshon Lattimore knocked away a pass intended for Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans in the second half.

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Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Saints win sixth-straight game; Winston hurt.

The Saints extended their winning streak to six when Drew Brees completed 81.2 percent of his passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-10 victory over reeling Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers came in hoping to stem a four-game skid, but instead were not just beaten, but beaten up. Quarterback Jameis Winston left with shoulder soreness after the first half. Starting defensive end William Gholston was carted off the field with a neck injury. And tensions boiled over when Winston, after he had left the game, appeared to instigate a scuffle along the sideline.

Brees’ touchdowns went for 33 yards to Alvin Kamara and 36 yards to Ted Ginn. Kamara, who also scored on a 6-yard run, did most of the work on his TD reception, thrilling the Superdome crowd with a waving, tackle-slipping run after his short catch.

The Saints also scored on Justin Hardee’s blocked punt, which Hardee recovered in stride and returned for a touchdown.

Kamara finished with 172 yards from scrimmage, including six catches for 84 yards. — Associated Press

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A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey were ejected for fighting in the first half.

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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Fight mars Jaguars’ win over Bengals.

With A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey ejected for fighting, Jaydon Mickens delivered the knockout blow by returning a punt 63 yards for a touchdown, helping the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-7.

The Jaguars (5-3) won consecutive games for the first time in 13 months and were victorious at EverBank Field for the first time since last December.

Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards and a touchdown in another efficient performance. Marqise Lee had his first TD reception of the season and responded by punting the ball into the stands. And Jacksonville’s defense handled Cincinnati’s woeful offense for most of the afternoon.

But most of the talk will center on Green and Ramsey.

The perennial Pro Bowl receiver retaliated against the trash-talking cornerback in a violent way late in the first half. After Ramsey knocked Green to the ground at the end of a running play, Green grabbed Ramsey around the neck and slammed him to the ground. Green then delivered numerous punches to Ramsey’s helmet — never the smartest idea — and put another M.M.A.-style choke hold on Ramsey. It was the kind of aggressive attack that could lead to a suspension.

Players from both sidelines rushed the field, pushing, pulling, shoving, screaming and looking like they would brawl.

Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette was inactive for violating a team rule. Jacksonville made the surprise announcement 90 minutes before kickoff. It’s unclear what Fournette did to draw coach Doug Marrone’s punishment.

“This has been addressed internally and further details will not be made public,” Marrone said.

Associated Press

Rams crush Giants behind Goff and Gurley.

Jared Goff set career highs with four touchdown throws and 311 yards passing, Todd Gurley ran for two more scores and the surprising Los Angeles Rams made one big play after another in beating the defenseless New York Giants 51-17.

The win was the fifth in six games for the Rams, whose 6-2 start is the franchise’s best since 2001, when the club went 14-2 in the regular season and eventually lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles did everything right in remaining unbeaten in four road games, five if a “home” win in London is included.

The Rams’ high-powered offense showed no rust coming off the bye, scoring on eight of their first nine possessions. The defense force three turnovers that the offense turned into 17 points and the special teams blocked a third-quarter punt that Gurley converted into his second touchdown.

Greg Zuerlein added three field goals as Rams had the biggest offense performance against the Giants in a home game since Cleveland beat them 52-21 in the regular-season finale in 1964. — Associated Press

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