We are now at the halfway point of the NFL season as we are in Week 9. It was a busy day for all the Pro Dawgs, but especially the ones on the defensive side of the ball. Let’s get right to it, with an early morning game!
The Chiefs and the Dolphins kicked off early Sunday morning in Frankfurt, Germany. This game took place in the home stadium of the former Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe. The Galaxy previously had its own fair share of Pro Dawgs, including quarterback Damon Huard, linebacker Hillary Butler and Mario Bailey, who was NFL Europe’s all time reception leader. Today Frankfurt welcomed more contemporary pro Dawgs. Trent McDuffie turned in an absolutely stellar performance, recording 10 tackles, 8 solo and forcing a fumble for the Chiefs. Salvon Ahmed had 3 carries for 4 yards, and 2 catches for 8 yards on 3 targets, as the Chiefs hung on to beat the Dolphins 21-14.
The Browns took on the Cardinals in Cleveland. Despite Budda Baker’s 10 tackles, 4 of them solo, and Ezekiel Turner chipping in 1 tackle, the Cardinals offense was woeful, and they were shut out by Cleveland, 27-0.
Kyler Gordon and the Bears took on the Saints in New Orleans. Despite Gordon’s 5 tackles, 3 of them solo, the Bears offense was unable to beat the Saints, and they fell, 24-17. Going to Lambeau, the Rams met the Packers and Puka Nacua just couldn’t get going. You can attribute it to a number of things, a backup QB, poor weather, a reduced share of targets, but 3 catches for 32 yards is a far cry from the numbers he put up to begin the year. The Rams lost 20-3 and are currently on a 3 game skid.
The Seahawks took on the Ravens in Baltimore. Will Dissly recorded 0 catches on 1 target as the Seahawks lost 37-3. The Commanders traveled to Foxborough to take on the Patriots. Defensive back Myles Bryant turned in a fantastic performance with 7 tackles, 6 of them solo as the Patriots lost 20-17.
But the story of the early game window was Houston and Tampa Bay getting in a shootout. For their part, Tampa’s defense did good individually. Vita Vea recorded 4 tackles and a sack in his return from injury, while Greg Gaines and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka each added one tackle for the defense. The story of Tampa’s afternoon was a breakout performance from Cade Otton who has previously been flying under the radar in Tampa’s offense. Otton hauled in 6 catches for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. It wasn’t enough to overcome a stellar performance from Texans rookie CJ Stroud, as he threw for 5 touchdowns, as the Texans won 39-37.
The lone afternoon game featuring pro Dawgs was the Raiders and Giants game in Vegas. It’s been a very interesting week for the Raiders, who come into this game featuring an interim coach (former ASU co DC and Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce) after the firing of Josh McDaniels. This seemed to have galvanized the Silver and Black, as they beat the Giants 30-6. Marcus Peters chipped in 2 tackles, 1 of them solo and 1 pass deflection.
On Sunday Night football, Taylor Rapp and the Buffalo Bills took on Drew Sample and the Cincinnati Bengals. In a game in which Cincinnati won 24-18, Drew Sample had 3 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals, while Taylor Rapp had one tackle for the Bills. At the halfway point in the season, I would give my “Pro Dawg MVP” (something I just made up now) to Puka Nacua. I know I was just chiding him for his drop off in performance, but he can’t control that. What he can control is the amount of passes he brings in and he has done an exceptional job of that. To date he has 64 catches for 827 yards and 3 touchdowns. The receiving yards are good for fourth in the NFL. Congrats on the great start Puka, and here’s hoping you can keep it up!