The ninth week of the 2023 NFL season brought us exciting matchups and impressive performances.
Close Games Continue to Thrill
As the NFL season progresses, close games have become a common occurrence. In Week 9, eight out of 12 games (75 percent) were within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter, with seven of those games being decided by just one score. Throughout the season, an impressive 69.4 percent of all games (93 out of 134 games) have remained within one score in the fourth quarter.
Week 9 saw two teams, the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings, record game-winning scores in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime. In particular, Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs shone, totaling three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing), including the game-winning touchdown pass with only 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Remarkably, Dobbs achieved this feat after having three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in Week 8 with the Arizona Cardinals. He became the first player in NFL history to score three or more combined passing and rushing touchdowns in consecutive weeks with two different teams.
A Rookie Quarterback Showcase
Week 9 showcased the talents of seven rookie quarterbacks, marking the first time since Week 17 of the 2019 season that seven rookie quarterbacks started in the same week. This season has seen a total of nine rookie quarterbacks start games, tying the record set in the 2019 season for the most rookie quarterbacks to start in a season since 1950 (excluding 1987).
International Success for the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs made history by winning the first-ever regular-season NFL game played in Frankfurt, Germany. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes played a significant role in this victory, throwing two touchdown passes as the Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 21-14. This win also marked Kansas City’s fourth regular-season game victory in different countries, including England (2015), Mexico (2019), and the United States.
Patrick Mahomes, already a star in his young career, continued to impress. With two touchdown passes in Week 9, Mahomes reached 64 career games with at least two touchdown passes. This tied him with Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning for the second-most such games by a player in his first seven seasons in NFL history. Only Dan Marino has more, with 65 such games.
Historic Performance by Houston’s Rookie Quarterback
Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans had a game for the ages in Week 9. He completed an impressive 71.4 percent of his passes, going 30 for 42, for a staggering 470 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions, earning him a rating of 147.8. Stroud’s performance marked the most passing yards by a rookie in a single game in NFL history. In addition, he achieved the highest single-game passer rating by a rookie quarterback (minimum 30 attempts), surpassing Marcus Mariota’s previous record.
Record-Breaking Day for Stroud
Stroud’s remarkable game also saw him become the second rookie in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards and five touchdown passes in a single game, joining Matthew Stafford’s achievement in 2009. At just 22 years and 33 days old, Stroud became the youngest player ever to pass for over 450 yards in a game, surpassing a record held since 1961. Furthermore, Stroud joined an elite group of six players in NFL history to record at least 450 passing yards and five touchdown passes with no interceptions in a game.
Texans’ Trio Shines
In the Texans’ Week 9 victory, several offensive players had outstanding performances. Wide receiver Noah Brown registered six catches for 153 yards and one touchdown, while tight end Dalton Schultz recorded 10 catches for 130 yards and one touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Tank Dell contributed with six catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. This marked the fourth time in the Super Bowl era that three players on a team each recorded at least five receptions, 100 receiving yards, and a touchdown in a single game.
Eagles’ Strong Start
Quarterback Jalen Hurts had a stellar game in Week 9, throwing three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) with no interceptions and a rating of 130.2 in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 28-23 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles’ impressive start to the season, with an 8-1 record, marked the first time a team began consecutive seasons with such a record since the 2005-06 Indianapolis Colts.
Historic Defensive Dominance
The Cleveland Browns made a statement in Week 9, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-0 while holding them to just 58 total net yards. This achievement, along with their previous game where they allowed only 98 total net yards to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, made them the first team in 41 years and the fifth team in the Super Bowl era to allow 100 or fewer yards in two of their first eight games of a season.
Garrett’s Sack Streak
Cleveland’s defensive end Myles Garrett continued his impressive career by recording one sack and a fumble recovery in Week 9. Garrett has now recorded at least one sack in 57 career games, tying him with Aaron Donald for the fourth-most career games with at least one sack in a player’s first seven NFL seasons since 1982.
Puka Nacua’s Rookie Record
Los Angeles Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua had another solid outing in Week 9, with three receptions for 32 yards. Nacua leads all rookies with 64 receptions and has surpassed Saquon Barkley’s previous record for the most receptions by a player in their first nine career games in NFL history. Additionally, Nacua leads all rookies with 827 receiving yards and is the fourth rookie in the Super Bowl era with at least 800 receiving yards in his first nine career games.
Other notable performances from Week 9 included New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, who registered a touchdown pass and a touchdown reception in the Saints’ 24-17 win over the Chicago Bears. Hill’s versatility has made him the second player in NFL history to achieve at least 25 rushing touchdowns, 10 touchdown passes, and 10 touchdown receptions.
Finally, Texans running back Dare Ogunbowale made history by converting a 29-yard field goal in Week 9. He became the first non-kicker or punter to make a field goal since wide receiver Wes Welker in 2004. Ogunbowale is also the first running back with a successful field goal since Toby Galbreath in 1979.