Week 9 in the NFL treated us to many stellar player performances. We could write for days if we covered everybody who turned heads on Sunday.
We pared the list down to highlight the players who stood out the most for their amazing Week 9 contributions.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown had a tremendous game, making a mockery of the Oakland Raiders defense with 284 receiving yards on 17 catches. Including rushing yards, he crossed the 300-yard mark in his Week 9 performance.
With his accomplishments, Brown has now eclipsed the 1,000-receiving yard mark for the season in just nine games. There was simply no catching the speedster, who blasted a 57-yard run in the last drive of the game to set up Chris Boswell for the the game-winning field goal.
Raiders veteran safety Charles Woodson, who had to be exhausted after trying to stop Brown, appeared to be in awe of the receiver after the game, via ESPN.
“I really don’t know what to say but ‘Wow.”‘
Brown’s magnificent performance earned him a grade of +8.8, which is the highest grade Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has ever awarded a receiver in a single game.
Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers
Newton put up his best performance of the season in a 37-29 victory over the Green Bay Packers, which keeps the Panthers undefeated through eight games.
Nothing short of dynamite on Sunday, Newton passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns. He also put pedal to the medal and tallied 57 rushing yards along with a rushing touchdown.
That rushing score for Newton was his 38th in his career, tying Kordell Stewart for second place on the all-time list for quarterbacks. Steve Young, with 43 rushing touchdowns, leads all mobile passers in this category. With already five rushing touchdowns on record so far this season, breaking Young’s record seems handily within reach by season’s end.
Newton’s performance through the air earned him a 104.4 passer rating for the day. And this win for the Panthers helps them to come that much closer to securing home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.
DeAngelo Williams, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
Williams put on a phenomenal performance in a tight game home game against the Raiders, helping Pittsburgh came out on top, 38-35.
Never mind that Le’Veon Bell is out for the rest of the season, because Williams is picking up the slack in outstanding fashion, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 55 receiving yards on two catches and converted a two-point conversion.
Williams’ 170 running yards, accomplished at a hearty pace of 6.3 yards per carry, topped the 127 he accomplished in Week 1 filling in for Bell. Prior to Sunday, Oakland’s seventh-ranked rush defense had only been yielding an average of 72.5 rushing yards per game. The 32-year old Williams certainly upset that stat in a major way in Week 9.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Mariota returned to action in a grand way. He delivered a smashing performance in a close 34-28 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints Sunday after needing a couple games off with a knee injury.
Completing 71.79 percent of his passes, the rookie threw for 371 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was a five-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Anthony Fasano in overtime that clinched the win for the Titans.
The victory marks only the second win for the season for Tennessee, although with new head coach Mike Mularkey in charge and Mariota back from his knee sprain, the atmosphere for the team after the victory felt more like a championship.
Mariota was amazing to watch in action. He made excellent decisions under pressure while avoiding any sacks or turnovers. As for his squeaky-clean four-touchdown game, he has earned bragging rights that come from matching one of the best in the business this season.
Only two QBs in the NFL have had 2 games with 4+ TD passes and 0 INT this season:
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 9, 2015
Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills
Dismissing any of the critics who have suggested that Watkins is too soft to play through his injures, the second-year receiver delivered in a big way during Sunday’s 33-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Watkins posted career-highs, gaining 168 yards and one touchdown on eight catches. He had his fans shouting “SAM-MY” upon the team’s exit from the field on Sunday.
After putting the screws to his team’s divisional competition, Watkins commented on playing through the pain.
“I just put it behind me,” Watkins said, via ESPN, “I felt like I owed it to the fans, to the team, and to the organization.”
The Dolphins’ haggard defense had no solution for stopping Watkins, who averaged 21 yards per reception. Now that both he and quarterback Tyrod Taylor are back in the mix, the Bills should improve their 4-4 record in the AFC East.
Cole Beasley, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys unfortunately lost in overtime to the Philadelphia Eagles, 33-27. The loss was certainly not the fault of wide receiver Cole Beasley, though, who put on the best performance of his career.
Beasley was quite in sync with Matt Cassel. The two connected on nine catches resulting in 112 yards and two touchdowns. With Dez Bryant drawing double and at times triple coverage, Beasley found ways to get open and score. In all he was targeted 11 times by Cassel, which was three more chances to make plays than Bryant received.
While Beasely can relish in his personal-best performance, we must all acknowledge the world of trouble the Cowboys are in this season without Tony Romo under center. The sixth straight loss for Dallas marks their worst losing streak since 1989, when the team finished 1-15.
It was surely a bittersweet night overall for Beasley and his struggling team.