Week 5 continued the theme of a somewhat wacky year in the NFL. If you had simply bet against logic in the last few weeks, you’d have won enough to quit your day job already. Peyton Manning looks like Josh McCown and Josh McCown looks like Peyton Manning (well, almost). You get the picture. Things are weird. But fear not, things (usually) turn around as we move towards mid-season and players round into form. Until then, let’s recap what happened this weekend.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
Maybe the least exciting matchup of the year so far, but it actually provided a decent game to watch. We saw the resurgence of Andre Johnson as he returned to Houston and Brian Hoyer put on a terrific aerial performance until lobbing a deep fly ball down the middle of the field to anyone but a Texans’ receiver. Colts fall into another AFC South victory, 27-20.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins
The undefeated Falcons looked like they would demolish the Redskins this weekend, so naturally it came down to the wire and was decided in overtime. The Atlanta passing game was held in check somehow and the Redskins sent the game to overtime as time expired on a 52 yard field goal. But then Kirk Cousins happened. Cousins threw a pick 6 in overtime and the Falcons remain undefeated, winning 25-19.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Speaking of games no one wants to watch… Neither team has been pretty this year nor was Sunday an no exception — unless you count Gary Barnidge’s ridiculous catch with his feet. YouTube it. Josh McCown threw for 457 yards in this one as the Browns forced overtime and eventually won on a 32-yard Travis Coons field goal. 33-30, Browns.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Seattle Seahawks
This was the best game on Sunday, by far. Down 17 points at one time, the Bengals came storming back in the second half, led by Andy, the Red Rifle, Dalton to tie the game at 24 and send it to overtime. Yes, another overtime game! After more than 11 minutes of scoreless football in OT, Mike Nugent sealed it for Cincy with a 42 yarder. Bengals win, 27-24.
Green Bay Packers vs St. Louis Rams
Aaron Rodgers threw his first interception at home since 2012 in this one as there were 6 total interceptions on the day! Defense led the way here as the Packers picked off Nick Foles 4 times and brought 1 back to the house. Todd Gurley was great again in this one, racking up over 150 rushing yards, but Green Bay wins easy, 24-10.
Chicago Bears vs Kansas City Chiefs
When the final score is 18-17, you know it wasn’t a pretty game. Both teams are going the wrong direction this year but someone had to win. The biggest news out of this one is that Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles tore his ACL on a non-contact play and will miss the rest of the season – as if KC fans weren’t already down enough. That took the wind out of the Chiefs’ sails and allowed Jay Cutler to engineer a 4th quarter comeback with the game-winning touchdown coming with only 18 seconds left. Bears top the Chiefs, 18-17.
New Orleans Saints vs Philadelphia Eagles
Another pair of disappointing teams matching up here. It’s hard to say who has looked worse so far this season. This Sunday though, it was clearly the Saints. The Chip Kelly offense was able to score and score often against New Orleans and post 500 yards of offense on the awful Saints defense. Bradford is looking a little better each week and led the Eagles to a 39-17 victory.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This pair of perennial poor performers actually put on a decent show this weekend. It was a high scoring affair that saw Doug Martin score 3, yes 3, touchdowns! On the Jacksonville side, Blake Bortles tossed 4 touchdowns on 303 yards and really torched the Buccaneer secondary all day long. But Martin’s 123 rushing yards and a few turnovers let Famous Jameis and the Bucs get a win here, 38-31.
Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee Titans
Alliteration all around! Naturally, these teams are led by Tyrod Taylor and Marcus Mariota. This was a gritty battle between the two scramblers. Both defenses came to play and kept the game under 28 total points. The veteran was able to outlast the rookie though as Taylor ran for 77 yards and accounted for both Bills touchdowns. The game was sealed when Mariota threw an INT with 90 seconds left in the game, Bills win 14-13.
Arizona Cardinals vs Detroit Lions
Things are not looking good for the Detroit Lions – and they could have done without facing the Cardinals this weekend. Carson Palmer and company opened up on the Lions right away and were up 28-7 at the half. Detroit only got worse in the second half, leading to Matthew Stafford getting benched and Detroit falling to 0-5… Cardinals cruise, 42-17.
Dallas Cowboys vs New England Patriots
Fresh off a bye and on a mission to stick it to everyone in the NFL this year, you knew the Patriots weren’t going to take it easy on the injured Cowboys. And they didn’t. That being said, Dallas held their own for a while and sacked Tom Brady 5 times before half time while keeping the game in reach. But Tom was angry and put the Cowboys away in the second half after leading a couple of long touchdown drives. Patriots roll to 5-0, 30-6.
Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders
This one is sure to be a blowout, right? It’s Peyton Manning against the Raiders! See, opening paragraph. Manning was not strong in this one and the Bronco offense struggled all game long. Oakland held the Denver running backs in check as well, holding the Denver offense to just 9 points on the day. And since the Raiders offense put up 10, they must have won, right? Well, they’re still the Raiders. Derek Carr threw a pick-six in the 4th quarter to let Denver escape with a win, 16-10.
New York Giants vs San Francisco 49ers
Another game that should have been a blowout been came down to the final seconds. The good Colin Kaepernick showed up in this one and threw for 262 and 2 scores while Carlos Hyde had over 90 yards on the ground. But the 49er D couldn’t hold a 4 point lead late in the 4th quarter. Captain Clutch Eli Manning drove the Giants down the field and threw an incredible touchdown to Larry Donnell with just 21 seconds left to seal the win for New York, 30-27.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Diego Chargers
It was only fitting that this game came down to the final play after the crazy slate of games on Sunday. Cameron Heyward and the Pittsburgh defensive line terrorized Phil Rivers all night, but he was still able throw for over 350 yards and connect on 2 touchdowns to Antonio Gates in his return. It wasn’t enough though as Mike Vick led the Steelers down the field with his arm and his feet on the final drive. Le’Veon Bell stretched into the endzone on the game’s final play to give Pittsburgh the win, 24-20 in an absolute nail-biter.
And there you have it. Another wild week in the National Football League. The standings are starting to take shape as teams heat up and it will be exciting to see what unfolds over the next few weeks – who is a real contender and who is a pretender? There’s only one way to find out! See ya next week.