Sick of dull NFL games where teams plod up and down the field with all the life and verve of a kid being ordered to go clean his room? Then friend, Week 9 in the NFL was the week for you. We had three, count ’em, three big ol’ fights resulting in five ejections. How’d Week 9’s brawls shake out? Let’s rank them, going from worst to first:
Opener: Frostee Rucker vs. Carlos Hyde, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Rundown: After a late hit on 49ers quarterback CJ Beathard, Carlos Hyde got up and personal with some of the Cardinals, and Frostee Rucker slung him down like he was throwing down a sack of dog food. Not much of a fight. Plus, the players who got ejected didn’t have to watch any more of the Cardinals-49ers game, which doesn’t sound like much of a punishment.
Ejected: Hyde, Rucker, Haason Reddick
Verdict: Weak. Rucker shoves Hyde to the ground, and then a bunch of yapping ensues. Big deal. That might qualify as a “fight” in the NBA, but in the NFL, that’s how folks say hello. And then get ejected.
Undercard: Jalen Ramsey vs. A.J. Green, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Rundown: Ramsey knocked Green to the ground in the course of a play, and Green responded by choking Ramsey to the ground and then, amazingly enough, punching him in the helmet. The “J” in A.J. clearly doesn’t stand for “genius.”
Ejected: Ramsey, Green.
Verdict: Insanity! This is what you want out of a fight: shock, awe, jaw-dropping stupidity. Of course, if the NFL does go to a rule where overtimes are settled by hand-to-hand combat, a decision we wholeheartedly endorse, you clearly could do a lot worse than sending out Green as your champion.
Main Event: Jameis Winston and Mike Evans vs. Marshon Lattimore, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
Rundown: Like all of Sunday’s fights, this one was born of frustration. Tampa Bay got boat-raced by the Saints, and clearly the Bucs decided that if winning clean wasn’t possible, they’d go for losing ugly. Winston, out of the game because of a shoulder injury, helmet-tapped Lattimore, and then when the two were engaged, Evans powerbombed off the top rope with a shot to Lattimore’s blind side. And from there, it was on, son.
Ejected: Nobody! What the hell?
Verdict: The best fight of the day because of its rolling lunacy. Winston wet-willie’d Lattimore, and then Evans cheap-shotted him, then both benches cleared, then Saints coach Sean Payton ran across the field to get involved. I like my NFL fights like an oil slick: an uncontrollable nightmare that leaves everyone a mess.
There you go: three fights, three very different verdicts. (Please, no complaining about NFL fights. What is an NFL game in general but a fight with measurements involved?) The NFL will have its hands full this week trying to mete out proper punishment, and a few players’ wallets will be a little lighter by next weekend. It’s all just another chapter in this strangest of all NFL seasons.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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