With Week 9 underway, we take a look at all that is happening around the NFL. 

From a few injury updates, the New England Patriots moving on from a key player, and the Washington Redskins possibly starting yet another quarterback — we cover it all in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Redskins' Williams reveals he had cancer

Trent Williams, who just ended his season-long holdout, revealed he was diagnosed with cancer this offseason and had a piece of a tumour removed.

Williams was diagnosed with DFSP – a rare skin cancer that develops in the middle layer of skin. The Redskins player revealed the cancer was weeks away from reaching his brain.

A seven-time Pro Bowler, Williams said the growth started nearly six years ago and he was told by the Redskins it was nothing serious. He thought he was dealing with a cyst until he received the DFSP diagnosis. Williams said he nearly lost his life and spent two weeks in a Chicago hospital without a single visit from anyone in the Redskins organisation.

"I think the diagnosis they gave me at the beginning, they underestimated it. It was far more advanced than they realised," he said.

Broncos QB Joe Flacco to miss 4-6 weeks

The Denver Broncos will be without their starting quarterback for an extended amount of time. Veteran Joe Flacco is expected to miss 4-6 weeks as he deals with a herniated disk in his neck, according to ESPN.

Denver announced earlier this week that Flacco would miss Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, with backup Brandon Allen starting in his place. The Broncos initially feared Flacco's season was in jeopardy, but that feeling seems to have shifted in wake of the recent news.

Flacco, who was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to Denver last offseason, has started eight games this season throwing for 1,822 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions while completing 65.3 per cent of his passes.

Patriots releasing Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon's time in New England has come to an end. Super Bowl champions the Patriots will release Gordon off injured reserve Thursday, according to multiple reports. Gordon, 28, will then be placed on waivers where he hopes to "land in a good and supportive situation," according to ESPN.

Gordon, who caught 20 passes for 287 yards and one touchdown in six games, was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on October 23. It was reported at the time that the injury was minor, and Gordon hoped to be released by the organisation so he could join another team.

New England recently acquired wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons on October 22, hinting that Gordon's time could be coming to an end soon.

Gordon's departure marks the third wideout to leave New England this season after the team traded Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets in August and cut Antonio Brown in September in wake of sexual misconduct allegations.

Two things that don't matter

Redskins QB Haskins "excited to put a first start on film"

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins could finally get his chance to start as veteran Case Keenum remains in the concussion protocol. Haskins took the majority of the first-team snaps on Wednesday and Thursday, putting him one step closer to making his first NFL start. 

"I get hyped every day I get to put a helmet on," Haskins said. "Even more excited to put a first start on film, even more excited about it."

Washington have struggled to find consistency with their quarterbacks this campaign since Alex Smith suffered a horrific season-ending leg injury during Week 11 last term. Keenum started the first four games of the year, but left Week 4's game against the New York Giants early with a foot issue. Haskins went in to replace Keenum, but he completed just nine of 17 passes for 107 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Redskins opted to go with Colt McCoy, who had not played since December after suffering a season-ending leg injury, in Week 5 over Haskins. Keenum returned as the starter for Weeks 6-8, but was replaced by Haskins last Thursday in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings when McCoy entered the concussion protocol at half-time.

Haskins, 22, has completed 54.5 per cent of his passes for 140 yards with four interceptions and no touchdowns in two appearances. 

Jets' Adams upset about trade talks; Bell comments

Jamal Adams was not holding back in expressing his frustration with the Jets, saying the trade talks that went on behind his back "definitely hurt." 

Adams said: "The [Los Angeles] Rams don't take calls on Aaron Donald. The Patriots don't take calls on Tom Brady. That's where I hold myself in that regard. Regardless of that I understand that you have a job to do. That's the way I took it."

Le'Veon Bell, who held out all of the 2018 season in hopes of reaching a new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers and then later signed with the Jets, says he understands Adams' frustration and that he would have reacted the same way when he was his team-mate's age.

The Dallas Cowboys reportedly offered a first-round pick for Adams, but that was not enough for New York. 

One video you have to see

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who dislocated his right kneecap in a victory against the Broncos, looks good in practice. He was taking snaps behind quarterback Matt Moore.

Thursday's tweet of the day

The Browns had high hopes this season, but are 2-5 entering Week 9. Odell Beckham Jr. admitted Thursday he and quarterback Baker Mayfield are still figuring out a learning curve.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy will make a historic first appearance in Jamaica on Saturday, November 2.

The Washington Nationals are the newly crowned world champions in baseball, the NFL's trade deadline is boring and an injury to Stephen Curry has left Golden State in a hole

A lot has certainly happened this week - learn more below.

 

1. Washington Nationals come from behind to win World Series

This was not supposed to happen. The Nationals started the year 19-31 but made the playoffs in the National League on a wildcard berth. But still, they had to face an Astros team with home-field advantage that won 107 games and 61 at home in 2019. Washington were not supposed to win a title.

But, after falling behind 3-2 in the series, the Nationals won two straight games over the Astros at Minute Maid Park coming from behind in both games to take the first championship in the history of the organisation.

The Astros won 117 games in total in 2019 but it just was not quite enough. Stephen Strasburg was named the World Series MVP after winning two games while Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto were huge contributors as well. Now the eyes of MLB turn to the postseason where Strasburg has a chance to be a free agent while Astros ace Gerrit Cole absolutely will be.

 

2. What a boring deadline

The NFL is not the NBA or MLB. The league does not have a crazy eventful trade deadline, but after a 2018 year full of moves we thought we were going to have some drama on Tuesday. Instead, when it was all said and done, there was just one trade made before things wrapped up.

There were plenty of trades that happened leading up to the deadline, as Jalen Ramsey went to the Rams and Marcus Peters went to the Ravens, but all in all, this one was kind of boring. Teams appear happy to stand pat and hope their rosters are good enough to win titles already.

 

3. Stephen Curry breaks hand

For the Golden State Warriors, this season just went from bad to worse. After starting out 1-2, Golden State were simply trying to get a win against a surprisingly competitive Phoenix Suns team in the early going. But what they actually got was a loss and an injury to their star player.

Stephen Curry broke his hand on a bad fall on Wednesday and he may be out for an extended period of time because of the injury. The Warriors were already going to be without Klay Thompsonfor the majority of the year, but now they will also be without the two-time MVP for an extended period of time.

D'Angelo Russell will likely have to lead a team of rookies and youngsters for the next few months, which is not the news the Golden State fans thought they were going to get before the year started.

 

4. UFC 244 already full of drama

While UFC 244 was actually pretty tame in the weeks leading up to it, with main event competitors Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal very respectful to each another, the drama really kicked up a notch in the last week.

First, Diaz announced he would not be fighting after he was told he tested for elevated levels of a banned substance. He said he would not compete if his name was not immediately cleared. Then, in the last couple of days, Liverpool's Darren Till ran into visa issues which put his fight with Kelvin Gastelum at risk as well.

But, it appears things have calmed down as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the UFC almost instantly cleared Diaz and Till has reportedly overcome his visa issues while landing in New York on Thursday.

It's been a very dramatic week ahead of what promises to be an awesome fight weekend.

The midway point of the NFL season means the competition is heating up. Here we dive into the details of several notable injury updates and roster moves around the league.

 

Three things that matter

Trent Williams does not pass physical with Redskins

Trent Williams' return to the Redskins has hit a snag. One day after ESPN reported the offensive tackle would be ending his holdout that lasted to this year's trade deadline, Williams apparently had an issue with his helmet and failed his physical as a result.

Williams has had his issues with the Redskins this season already, as he was dissatisfied with how the team's medical staff handled a growth found on his head earlier in the offseason. That led to an eight-game holdout that ended on Tuesday. The Redskins then thought they would have their best tackle back, but apparently they will have to wait even longer. 

After missing the first eight games of the season, it seems unlikely he will make his 2019 debut on Sunday against the Bills.

 

Christian McCaffrey limited at practice with knee injury

The Panthers' star running back has appeared on the team's injury report but coach Ron Rivera has clarified that the move is merely precautionary and that there is no concern that McCaffrey will miss Sunday's game against the Titans.

McCaffrey is coming off a big Week 8 performance, despite the loss to the 49ers, after carrying the ball 14 times for 117 yards and a touchdown while logging four catches for 38 yards.

 

Seahawks place Tedric Thompson on IR

It was was reported that the 24-year-old starting safety will undergo surgery on a torn labrum, which is shocking considering he played every snap in the Seahawks' win over the Falcons on Sunday. Still, the team could get a boost elsewhere.

Coach Pete Carroll has noted veteran tight end Ed Dickson has a chance to play on Sunday against the Buccaneers after spending the first eight weeks of the season on injured reserve with a knee injury.

 

Two things that don't matter

Andy Dalton "disagrees" with Bengals benching

Veteran quarterback Dalton was not happy with the team's decision to bench him for rookie Ryan Finley and voiced his frustrations after his agent was unable to find him a trade partner before Tuesday's deadline.

"I don’t agree with the decision but I’m going do everything I can to help the team,” Dalton told reporters. "It happened three hours before the trade deadline. I wish they would have ... at least if he was thinking about it, at least try to let me see if I could end up somewhere or at least see if there was interest in possibly getting traded.

"At that point, the way it was all handled, there wasn't enough time to even have that happen."

Considering Dalton had previously started every Bengals game for which he was healthy since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011, it could be argued he deserved better.

 

Deshaun Watson will miss World Series pregame festivities

The Texans quarterback will not participate in the ceremonial "Play Ball" call before Game 7 of the World Series in Houston because of a "minor setback" with his injured left eye.

Watson has been dealing with swelling and redness after getting kicked in the eye on Sunday against the Raiders. He was at practice on Wednesday as the team prepared for their Week 9 matchup with the Jaguars in London, but reports have suggested "it was thought best he rest up rather than expose it to bright lights at game."

  One video you have to see

Baker Mayfield just couldn't stand hearing "the dumbest question you could ask" and exited his media availability on Wednesday.

  Wednesday's tweet of the day

NFL numbers appear to be thriving, despite questionable officiating and teams tanking.

New York Jets star Jamal Adams said he never asked to leave but the NFL franchise "went behind my back and shopped me around to teams".

The Dallas Cowboys were reportedly in discussions with the Jets about trading for Adams on deadline day, but a move did not materialise on Tuesday.

Amid speculation Adams sought an exit from New York, the 2018 Pro Bowler responded via Twitter as he hit out at Jets general manager Joe Douglas.

"Any reports of me asking to be traded from the New York Jets are completely false," Adams wrote.

"At the end of the week last week, I sat down with the GM and coach [Adam] Gase and told them I want to be here in New York.

"I was told yesterday [Monday] by my agent that the GM then went behind my back and shopped me around to teams, even after I asked him to keep me here! Crazy business."

Adams was a first-round pick by the Jets in 2017. He has been one of the team's best defensive players since, but the 24-year-old has expressed some frustration after New York's 1-6 start to the season.

"I mean, anytime I step on the field, man, I expect to win. We all do. But it didn't happen," Adams told reporters in early October after a loss to the Eagles. "We lost. It doesn't matter. So I'm frustrated, I'm upset. It is what it is." 

In response to Adams' tweets, Douglas told ESPN's The Michael Kay Show: "Simple miscommunication. We did not call anyone. We were not shopping Jamal, I can promise you that."

Douglas, who referred to Adams deleted the Jets from his social media bio, added: "Teams have been calling us ever since there was a social media issue a few weeks back.

"My message was clear, that Jamal was an absolute stud and we're not interested in moving him. Teams continued to call. I was always taught where I'm from, if a team calls, you listen to what they have to say."

Tuesday's NFL trade deadline brought little action.

We dive into the details of the deals that did go down as well as several notable roster moves around the league in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Williams reports to Redskins

The Washington Redskins were reportedly open to trading disgruntled offensive tackle Trent Williams ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline, but the team's high asking price left few suitors and he opted to end his holdout instead.

Williams was dissatisfied with how the Redskins' medical staff handled a growth found on his head earlier in the offseason, though he appears to be ready to make amends so he can get back on the football field.

The 31-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021 after he finishes out the final frame of his five-year contract worth $68million.

Rams deal Talib, draft pick to Dolphins

The Los Angeles Rams are sending veteran cornerback Aqib Talib and a draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for a future pick. The Rams will save about $4.2m by moving him.

Talib is the second big-name cornerback to be dealt by the Rams this season after Marcus Peters was sent to the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month.

Talib has been dealing with a rib injury and was recently placed on injured reserve, though he will be eligible to return Week 15. He initially suffered the injury during an October 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Conner likely to be limited by shoulder injury

Star running back James Conner was injured late in Monday's win over the Dolphins and left Heinz Field with his right arm in a sling. The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to announce an update on his status or his availability for Week 9 against the Indianapolis Colts.

"It's in the process of being evaluated right now as we speak, so I don't have a lot of information," head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "One thing's for sure, it's going to limit him, surely at the early portions of the week.

"James has played enough ball, started to get comfortable with him. [It] doesn't require a complete week of work and effort for him to play like it does some younger players. So we'll play it by ear. We'll check his availability on a day-to-day basis and let that be our guide in terms of his availability."

Fellow rusher Benny Snell was also injured Monday and is in jeopardy of missing time with a knee injury.

Two things that don't matter

Bengals bench Dalton amid 0-8 season

The winless Cincinnati Bengals will have a new starting quarterback coming out of their bye week, as first-year coach Zac Taylor has decided to pull veteran Andy Dalton for rookie Ryan Finley. Dalton had previously started every Bengals game for which he has been healthy since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011.

The 24-year-old Finley was a fourth-round pick out of NC State in April and completed 73.4 per cent of his passes in three games during the preseason with three touchdowns and an interception. He has yet to see action in the regular season.

Falcons release Bryant... again

The veteran kicker missed two field goals beyond the 50-yard line during Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. The Atlanta Falcons announced they have agreed to terms with Younghoe Koo in a corresponding move.

Matt Bryant previously had a stint with the Falcons from 2009 to 2018 before being released in February, though the team re-signed him in August. The 44-year-old sits 13th on the NFL's all-time scoring list with 1,758 points and was 9 of 14 on field-goal attempts this season.

One video you have to see

DeAndre Hopkins is an early contender for best costume in the league.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Le'Veon Bell kept things light ahead of the NFL trade deadline despite reports suggesting the New York Jets were open to offers for the running back.

The Miami Dolphins have acquired veteran cornerback Aqib Talib and an undisclosed draft pick from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for another unspecified draft pick.

The Rams had reportedly been open to trading Talib, who has been dealing with a rib injury and was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago, though he will be eligible to return Week 15. 

He initially suffered the injury during an October 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

In moving him to Miami, the Rams will save about $4.2 million. The Dolphins will reportedly receive a fifth-round selection in the deal. 

Talib is the second big-name cornerback to be dealt by the Rams this season after Marcus Peters was sent to the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month.

The 33-year-old Talib is in the final season of a six-year deal worth $57m and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

The winless Cincinnati Bengals will have a new starting quarterback coming out of their bye week, with Ryan Finley replacing the benched Andy Dalton.

Dalton has started every Bengals game for which he has been healthy since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011.

But with the Bengals off to an 0-8 start heading into a bye this weekend, coach Zac Taylor confirmed on Dalton's 32nd birthday that he has decided to make a change.

Taylor said on Tuesday: "I just know that we need to see what Ryan Finley can do and what he can provide for us.

"Since we drafted him, he's shown well in training camp, his opportunities in the preseason games were very impressive. And, so we've felt like there's a talent there and you don't know what you've got until you see it live.

"And so, that's where we're at right now and we'll give him an opportunity to showcase what he can do."

Finley, 24, was a fourth-round draft pick out of N.C. State this spring. He played well in the preseason, completing 73.4 per cent of his passes in three games with three touchdowns and an interception, but has not seen action in the regular season.

Dalton has completed 204 of 338 passes for 2,252 yards with nine TDs and eight interceptions through the first half of the season.

He is set to make $16.2million this season and is under contract for $17.7m in 2020, the final year of his current deal.

Finley will make his debut on November 10 at home against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Pittsburgh Steelers scored 27 unanswered points as they recorded a come-from-behind 27-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday.

The Dolphins entered the matchup without a win to their name against one of the best prime-time teams in the NFL and their luck would not change.

The Steelers, who have the second most Monday night wins of all time (47) behind only the 49ers (49), came into the game not much better. They had two wins through Week 7 and were looking to inch closer to the AFC North-leading Ravens.

After a strong start by Miami, the Dolphins combusted while Mason Rudolph in his fourth career start helped the Steelers find their composure.

Pittsburgh moved to 3-4 for the season while Miami dropped to a dreadful 0-7.

Three takeaways from Steelers' win over the Dolphins Mason Rudolph needed to shake off the rust

It was Rudolph's first game back since suffering a concussion from the scary hit that knocked him unconscious against the Ravens on October 6.

"I’m not going to be gun shy at all," he said days before the Steelers hosted the Dolphins. 

"If anything, I’ll be seeking it out, contact, earlier in the game to get the rust [off] and know what it feels like to get hit."

He was rusty. Rudolph threw two early interceptions, one which was ultimately called back, and at one point in the first half he had a 0.0 passer rating. Pittsburgh entered half time trailing lowly Miami 14-10, but Rudolph settled down and turned the tide with a big defensive (see below) and offensive play.

After the go-ahead touchdown, Rudolph was full steam ahead as the Steelers scored 27 unanswered points. 

He finished 20-of-36 passing for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Minkah Fitzpatrick got his revenge

The 22-year-old safety changed teams just after the start of the season. The Dolphins dealt Fitzpatrick to the Steelers in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick after just one full season with the team.

He recorded nine pass breakups and two interceptions in 18 career games before joining Pittsburgh. In his first four games, he recorded one interception and one pass defended. He was poised for a breakout game and what better opponent than the team that traded him.

Fitzpatrick had two interceptions and each was better than the last.

It was the first time a player has picked off a quarterback with the same last name twice in a game since Levi Johnson intercepted Charley Johnson as many times in Week 2 of the 1974 season.

The Dolphins looked good until they didn't

Miami has been improving. None of that has shown in its record but the bar is pretty low for the Dolphins, so when they bolted out to a two-touchdown lead on Monday it was a surprise.

There were quite a few highlights, such as Xavien Howard's interception.

Ryan Fitzpatrick showed off his arm.

Fitzpatrick also quickly found the end zone. 

But after the Dolphins' two scores in the first quarter, they were held scoreless due to a slew of mistakes and a tough defense in Pittsburgh. It was another Miami breakdown and the hopes of this team earning a win sometime this season seems more and more grim.

Fitzpatrick finished the affair 21-of-34 passing for 190 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also sacked four times, including a strip sack in the fourth quarter that gutted any chance at a Dolphins comeback.

The Seahawks have been dealt a huge blow to their offensive line with Justin Britt feared to have a season-ending knee injury.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll confirmed on Monday that the center will undergo surgery to repair an ACL injury suffered during the win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Britt was quickly ruled out after leaving the first half of Sunday's 27-20 win in Atlanta, but he was able to walk to the locker room on his own after being evaluated in the blue tent.

Quarterback Russell Wilson quickly felt Britt's absence. He was sacked in the third quarter which was Atlanta's third sack of the season.

Britt, who was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, has spent all six seasons with the Seahawks.

Joe Flacco will not feature for the Denver Broncos in their Week 9 encounter with the Cleveland Browns due to a neck injury, with Brandon Allen set to start.

Broncos quarterback Flacco reportedly suffered from a herniated disk and, in the 15-13 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the 34-year-old was treated by trainers on the sideline late on.

Coach Vic Fangio confirmed on Monday that Flacco will miss out against the Browns, with Allen – a third-year pro out of Arkansas – to come in for what will be his NFL regular-season debut.

The Broncos will decide later this week whether practice-squad quarterback Brett Rypien will receive a promotion to the active roster, or if they will instead activate rookie first-round pick Drew Lock off the injured reserve to act as back-up.

According to NFL Media, Flacco could miss "significant time" because of the neck injury.

Asked if Flacco could land on injured reserve, Fangio said: "Not today. But possibly."

Flacco's setback may well fuel the doubts over his status with the Broncos, however, with the quarterback having openly questioned the team's play calling in the closing minutes of their defeat to the Indianapolis Colts, which left Denver 2-6.

"I just look at it like, we are now a 2-6 football team and we're afraid to go for it in a two-minute drill," Flacco told reporters on Sunday.

"Who cares if you give the ball back to the guys with a minute and 40 seconds left. They obviously got the field goal anyway. Once again, we're a 2-6 football team and it just feels like we're kind of afraid to lose a game."

In a bumpy first season with the Broncos, Flacco has completed 171 of 262 passes for 1,822 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions.

The Broncos' offense under first-year head coach Fangio, previously a defensive coordinator, ranks 26th in the NFL in yards per game and 27th in scoring.

The New York Jets are set to be without C.J. Mosley until December after the linebacker was ruled out for between five and six weeks with a groin injury.

Mosley was injured during the second half of the team's NFL season opener against the Buffalo Bills and briefly returned in a 33-0 defeat to the New England Patriots on October 21.

However, the 27-year-old was ruled out again on Friday, with Jets coach Adam Gase confirming Monday that Mosley needs more time to recover.

Gase also noted Mosley saw a specialist in a bid to avoid surgery, with the linebacker to be re-evaluated at a later date.

That timeline will potentially put Mosley back on the roster as early as Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins if he's 100 per cent.

However, the Jets could also opt to give him the rest of the year to recover by placing him on injured reserve, with Gase having stated on Friday that "all options" were under consideration.

The Jets have struggled in Mosley's absence, having won just one of their opening seven matches.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has confirmed the team will be considering Dan Quinn's position as head coach after a poor start to the NFL season.

The Falcons are 1-7 in 2019 after a 27-20 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Quinn's side were tipped to be playoff contenders this season, though Atlanta have failed to live up to the billing.

It has left Quinn under pressure, with Blank – who did confirm there were no plans for making an immediate change – revealing there will be a full evaluation during their Week 9 bye.

"I would say, much like the coaches said, I'm extraordinarily disappointed in the season, nobody would have considered 1-7," Blank told reporters.

"So we'll take the next couple of weeks during this bye period of time and evaluate where we are.

"Whatever decision we have to make will be made for the right reasons for the long term.

"We are going to do something. We're going to continue to think really hard and evaluate everything that we can do, as an owner and as a senior management team, and figure out if there's anything we can do to make some decisions any earlier or any later that would help the process.

"But we have no plans of making any change right now. I understand I have a responsibility to the fans."

Blank is reportedly close with Quinn, while the Falcons' players have openly backed their coach.

The New Orleans Saints await the Falcons in their next outing on November 10.

The Green Bay Packers were too good for the Kansas City Chiefs as they prevailed 31-24 in Sunday's NFL showdown.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the way for Green Bay, who improved to 7-1 for the season.

The Chiefs – playing without reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes – dropped to 5-3 following the loss in Kansas City.

 

Three takeaways from the Packers' win over the Chiefs

Packers must take better advantage of Aaron Jones

The Chiefs entered Sunday night's game ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game allowed (148.9) and yards per carry allowed (5.0). Not to mention Kansas City were playing without two starting defensive linemen.

So Green Bay came out with a heavy dose of running back Aaron Jones and backup Jamaal Williams, right?

Wrong. The Packers ran the ball only eight times for 27 yards in the first half and were unable to establish the ground attack until later in the game. That put Rodgers in some obvious passing situations, allowing Kansas City to bring extreme pressure.

Green Bay have sometimes seemed reluctant this season to establish the running game. For example, in the Packers' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, Jones ran 13 times for 21 yards.

Green Bay have two solid running backs in Jones and Williams, who combined for four touchdowns against the Chiefs. Jones showed again that he has star potential — if given enough touches — racking up 226 yards from scrimmage and scoring two touchdowns, including a 67-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter.

Jones' performance demands more touches in the running and passing game.

Rodgers battled through a tough night to put up huge numbers

What more can be said that has not already been said about this quarterback who is bound for Canton? 

But in watching Rodgers struggle to avoid a fierce Chiefs pass rush, we once again witnessed his greatness.

The Chiefs frustrated Rodgers much of the game, pressuring him on more than half his passes. They sacked the veteran QB five times, a remarkable feat considering he had been sacked only six times in seven games entering the night. And when he was not sacked, Rodgers often had to scramble to avoid pressure. 

Yet Rodgers did what Rodgers always does — he finds a way to put up big numbers and excel in key situations. He finished with 305 yards, three touchdowns and one incredible play on a fourth-quarter TD pass to Williams.

It first appeared Rodgers was throwing the ball away. He said after the game he was throwing it up for tight end Jimmy Graham, but he thought Williams might grab it if Graham did not.

"That was one of the best, if not the best pass I've ever seen live and in person," Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said. "That was incredible. I couldn't believe it ... It's just one of those plays that kinda leaves you speechless."

It was the type of pass that might be in the highlight tape when Rodgers in enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Short-handed Chiefs exemplified 'next man up' mentality

The Chiefs entered the game seriously outmanned, missing six starters. Quarterback Mahomes was the highest-profile injury, but Kansas City were also missing left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Andrew Wylie, defensive lineman Chris Jones, defensive end Frank Clark and cornerback Kendall Fuller. And right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and defensive end Alex Okafor left the game with ankle injuries.

Yet the Chiefs hung with the Packers to the very end, exemplifying the "next man up" mentality.

Matt Moore had a solid game in place of Mahomes, hitting on 24-of-36 passes for 267 yards and two scores. While everyone talks about the big weapons in the Chiefs' offense, like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, there is a solid supporting cast of skill players behind them, including rookie wideout Mecole Hardman. The rookie speedster out of Georgia caught two passes for 55 yards.

It would have been fun to see both teams at full strength in this game (the Packers were notably missing star receiver Davante Adams). Still, the Chiefs have nothing to be ashamed about after this effort on a night when almost a third of their starters were sidelined.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.