Is it okay for a series to skip from week one all the way to week five? Probably not, but with all due apologies, that is what has transpired here with The Fifth Down. But with the season back in my sights, we can get back to the business
But before we get down to the business of getting around the League this week, some unfortunate business must be tended to upfront. Because when Odell Beckham, Jr. joined the parade of Giants receivers who fell to injury on Sunday, it was one of the most deflating moments of the young NFL season. It means that one of the most energetic, must see mainstream performers in the game will be more visible in during commercial breaks than in the endzone. And while things were not going well for the Giants with OBJ, it’s a pretty good bet that the odds for the Giants to be favored often over at 10Bet or any other reputable sportsbook anytime soon.
But the show must go on and it shall. But before we fully turn our eyes towards week 6, let’s have a quick breeze by some of the ups and downs of NFL week 5.
WEEK 5 WINNERS
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, by association.
Despite being down his usual varied assortment of linemen and skill position players, Rodgers remained indisputably dominant. He tossed three touchdowns and led a furious fourth quarter comeback to pull the Pack to 4-1 on the year. It continued the haunting of Rodgers and the Pack against Dallas, who has now lost four of its last five to Green Bay.
All due respects to Tom Brady’s assault in New England, but nobody is playing at a high level –with a more unpredictable hand to play— than Rodgers is right now.
Cam Newton’s most recent ride on the rollercoaster
The quickest way to quiet critics to be good at what you do, and Cam cut no corners in doing so with his Sunday performance. Although last year was as inconsistent and cringe-worthy as the previous year before was brilliant, Cam looks to be getting back on track this season (on the field at least). A week after taking down Tom Brady and the Patriots, Cam again authored a victory over another marquee QB in Matt Stafford. Newton completed 26 of 33 passes for 355 yards, including three touchdowns. And with it, the Panthers are now sitting 4-1 and emerging as the class of the NFC South yet again.
The Kansas City Chiefs are fascinatingly still undefeated, and it could stay that way for a while.
The Chiefs capped the week with their fifth win in five games on Sunday, a feat that can also be defined as being undefeated. They have done so with Kareem Hunt leading the way, as the rookie running back topped 100 yards for the fourth time in five career games on Sunday. But they have also done it by seemingly perfecting the art of having an offense ran by Alex Smith. A dizzying collection of crossing routes and YAC candidates, the Chiefs have become a uniquely equipped offense that stays within itself, but is still capable of creating the big play.
October will continue to be a fascinating month for Andy Reid’s boys, as the Steelers and Broncos will pay them a visit around trips to Oakland and Dallas. But considering that except for the Broncos, none of those clubs are performing to expectations, so the Chief run has a chance to get some legs underneath it.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, for taking Leonard Fournette.
While the defense, which picked off Ben Roethlisberger five times and had 7.5 tackles for a loss was the collective star vehicle of the day, the breakout of the team’s rookie running back continues to be a remarkable one. Already the team’s best first round pick in a decade (at least), Fournette had another huge day, capping a 181 yard day on the ground with a 90-yard run dash, where he simply exploded past a beleaguered Steeler defense for his second touchdown on the day. Fournette is now second in the NFL in rushing yards and is tied for the league-lead in touchdown runs with Devonta Freeman.
WEEK 5 LOSERS
Jerry Jones changes course (of course)
Not that it should be any surprise, but Jerry Jones again proved that he is only for whatever is best for business at the moment. Just weeks after showing surprising compromise on the topic of players participating in the protests around the league, even taking a knee himself (albeit a gentrified one BEFORE the anthem played), on the heels of a conversation with POTUS #45, Jones back peddled on his stance on player protest with the type of skill that no defensive back in Dallas currently possesses.
Jones removed any notion of individuality (or constitutionally allowed action) from his employees, by stating it will be ‘intolerable’ for any Cowboy to make a stance of protest. Per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News:
“We cannot in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag.”
Jones washed it down by misquoting an NFL policy regarding player participation in the national anthem, in another conveniently spun take on letter of the NFL law and those that would dare defy it –as well as his friends in the Executive wing.
I hope the indentured servitude in Dallas at least comes with a nice post-game spread.
The Houston Texans defense
Deshaun Watson’s early performance on the year was making the Texans inspirational-favorites to be a surprisingly good all-around unit this year. However, after a brutal Sunday night affair that saw the Texans lose not only the game, but also their two defensive hallmarks in one evening. JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus both saw their season’s come to an end during the 42-34 loss, with Watt falling to a tibial plateau fracture, Mercilus tore a pectoral muscle. It is a pair of devastating, and potentially insurmountable setbacks for the team.
The Dolphins….for employing Jay Cutler
As we have chronicled regularly via The Kaepernick Rankings, there is plenty of bad quarterbacking going on around the NFL this year. However, you would be hard pressed to find a worst pairing than what took place when Matt Cassel led the Titans into battle against Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. And while Cassel’s presence is excusable, as he was subbing in for the injured Marcus Mariota, what isn’t excusable is his paltry 141 yard performance was the superior effort between the two.
Although the Dolphins emerged victorious, the decision to retrieve Cutler from the ranks of unemployment continues to be a disaster. He completed 12-of-26 passes for 92 yards on the week, completing only two of 13 passes at a point during the second half. It marked the fourth straight week that his yardage total dropped on the year. However, the good thing for him, a) is that it likely cannot go any lower than it did this week, and b) he still has rock solid support from his HC, as Adam Gase stated that Cutler is ‘way down the list of things going wrong’ following Sunday’s win.
If you say so.
Quarterbacks from the 2004 Draft
A plague swept across the likes of Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, as the potential Hall of Fame signal callers had a trio of terribly synchronized brutal performances.
Roethlisberger offset a 300-yard day with a career-worst five interceptions, which helped to propel the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 30-9 victory on the road. It was an effort bad enough to leave Roethlisberger himself questioning what’s left in the tank, while Le’Veon Bell campaigned for the rushing game (aka, himself) to be emphasized more.
Meanwhile, Manning and Rivers faced off in what was a predictably ugly affair. In one corner, there was Manning, who was sacked five times and lost his top four receivers –most dubiously Odell Beckham Jr— to injury. Meanwhile, Rivers completed less than 50% of his passes and grinded away to a 27-22 win, the first win in the Los Angeles-era of the Chargers.
- ’72 Dolphins Alert: The Kansas City Chiefs remain the last undefeated team standing.
- From the ranks of the defeated, only the Browns, Niners and Giants remain after the Chargers picked up their first win on Sunday.
- #1 overall pick Myles Garrett wasted no time in becoming the most exciting part of the Browns….with all due respect to David Njoku.
- The Mike Glennon Era ceded way to the Mitch Trubisky Era, which somehow blended with the Sam Bradford Era starting (and stopping again) in Minnesota, during an accidentally entertaining Monday Night in the Windy City. The #2 overall pick completed 12 of 25 passes, with a touchdown and an interception mixed in over a 20-17 loss for the Bears. Somehow, the Trubisky era looks startlingly similar to the Glennon era. Funny how that works.
- With the Jets win and the Bills loss, the AFC East lead is tied at three along with the Patriots, who are in an unaccustomed even playing field in the division they have won every year since 2009.
- And finally: Eric Reid 1, Mike Pence 0.
I’m a firm believer that the closest I’ve gotten to Heaven is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In the meantime til we cross paths again, I’ll pass along the gospel of the Field of Dreams here, Cheap.Seats.Please, I70 Baseball, and ‘Live From The Cheap Seats’.