There have been many ups and downs for nearly every team in the NFL already this season and Week 5 could be seen as a microcosm of that turbulence. There were quite a few player injuries, some scandals and a few unexpected exits but also some renewed hope, second chances and breathtaking comebacks.
The first of these games took place on Thursday, when the Rams traveled to Mile-High Stadium to take on the Seahawks and that raucous 12th Man crowd. Russell Wilson took the field with the intention of turning Seattle’s season around after a disappointing start. Wilson looked solid in the start of the game until coming out of the game with an injured finger after a collision with Aaron Donald. He would end his day throwing 11 of 16 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. After an MRI, it was determined that Wilson had suffered a compound injury on his finger, including a break, a dislocation and tendon rupture and has already gone under the knife to repair the damage done. While the diagnosis may sound grim, team doctors seem optimistic that not only will Wilson return this season but that the timeline for a return could be relatively short. This upcoming week will be his first missed start in his entire 10 year career. Geno Smith took over the offense in Wilson’s absence and did a good job of shaking off the rust to do what he could to keep Seattle in the game. Smith would record 131 yards a touchdown and an interception completing 10 of his 17 passes. While the ground game was somewhat stagnant, DK Metcalf got his in by catching five passes for 98 yards and scoring twice. Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford was on a mission of his own, airing out 25 of 37 passes for 365 yards and one touchdown. The ground attack was led primarily by Darrell Henderson who had 17 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michel also scored on 11 carries for 37 yards but the passing game really kept Seattle out of this game. Robert Woods had 12 receptions for 150 yards, Cooper Kupp had seven receptions for 92 yards and Tyler Higbee got in on the action scoring once on his pair of receptions for 14 yards. The Rams just had too many weapons and the Seahawks too many things to figure out on the fly so Los Angeles took this one 26-17.
Sunday morning started early in the NFL this weekend bringing us another incarnation of the International Games held in London between the Jets and the Falcons.. Zach Wilson was 19 of 32 pasing for 192 yards failing to score through the air and allowing an interception. His Jets continued to struggle and their leading receiver, Corey Davis, only registered four receptions for 45 yards. New York was able to score twice on the ground, splitting those between Michael Carter and Ty Johnson. Matt Ryan and the Falcons had a more successful outing and the signal caller threw 33 of 45 for 342 yards and two touchdowns. The rushes split pretty evenly between Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson with Davis coming away with the score. Ryan had his eye on his tight ends in this game making use of his star rookie Kyle Pitts, who snagged nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Although he fumbled twice and lost one, Hayden Hurst also scored on his four catches for 40 yards. New York made a valiant effort to stay in the game but Atlanta would go on to sip tea in this matchup winning 20-27.
The normal slate of Sunday early afternoon games brought us Green Bay at Cincinnati and one of the weirdest conclusions I have ever seen. Aaron Rodgers tossed 27 of 39 for 344 yards, two touchdowns and allowing a pick. Aaron Jones led the rushers with 14 carries for 103 yards and AJ Dillon pulled double duty getting the hand on eight carries for 30 yards but also receiving four catches for 49 yards and a score. Davante Adams led the Packers’ receiving corps wrestling down 11 receptions and eating up 206 yards on two touchdowns. The Green Bay defense was effective even without ballhawk Jaire Alexander, who is still sidelined with a shoulder injury. In his stead, Adrian Amos and De’Vondre Campbell each managed to intercept a pass each and keep the Bengals offense off the field. The story of the day, of course, was with Mason Crosby and the horrendous field goals attempts made by both teams. Crosby missed an extra point earlier in the game which would have been noteworthy on its own a few years ago but recently has been taken with a grain of salt due to his age. After missing two field goals at the end of regulation and another in the first two minutes of overtime, Crosby would finally put one through to end the game hitting four of his seven field goals and one of his two extra point attempts. Joe Burrow had similar success as his counterpart going 26 of 38 on 281 yards, two touchdowns but allowing two interceptions. Joe Mixon highlighted the running game with 10 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown and Ja’Marr Chase continued to impress with six receptions for 159 yards and one score. Samaje Perine had 11 carries for 59 yards and four receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown. Once again, the offense was limited by a rough day for special teams units. Evan McPherson came up empty on both of his field goal attempts but knocked in two extra points. This game could have easily swung either way or even ended in a tie but Crosby’s ability to finally center the ball through the uprights gave Green Bay the edge in this wild game 25-22.
Both Detroit and Minnesota were desperate for a win going into Week 5. Going in, the Vikings had only won a single game and the Lions had yet to celebrate a victory. Kirk Cousins went 21 of 34 on 264 yards, cashing in on a scoring pass to Alexander Mattison. In addition to the touchdown, Mattison also carried the ball 25 times for 113 yards. Justin Jefferson failed to find the end zone but complimented the run game with seven receptions for 124 yards. Nothing seemed to go well for the Lions on the day and unfortunately for head coach Dan Campbell, Detroit never quite got their legs under them. Jared Goff went a respectable 21 completions of 35 attempts for 203 yards but had trouble targeting anyone for significant gains. D’Andre Swift was probably the most productive asset for the Lions producing 11 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown in the air while also putting up 53 yards on six receptions. Jamaal Williams also helped out on the ground with 13 carries for 57 yards but would ultimately fall short remaining winless and losing this one 19-17.
The Broncos traveled to Pennsylvania to take on the Steelers in Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger showed flashes of his old self going 15 of 25 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Najee Harris was able to open up that passing game by taking 23 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. Chase Claypool was able to get open for five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown and Diontae Johnson was also able to score and his pair of receptions for a total 72 yards. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers defense caused a lot of problems for the Denver offense. Teddy Bridgewater went 24 of 38 on 288 yards passing and scored twice but was hampered by an errant throw that was picked off at the end of the game. The Broncos did not manage to produce much in the offense outside of Courtland Sutton, who had seven receptions for 120 yards. He and Kendall Hinton would be the only players to score and Pittsburgh would take this home win 27-19.
After a mediocre game from Tom Brady in Foxborough last week, the Buccaneers needed a big win at home against Miami. Brady was happy to comply, throwing for 411 yards on 30 of his 41 passes scoring five times. Antonio Brown had seven receptions for 124 yards and Mike Evans caught six passes for 113 yards, both finding the end zone twice. Giovanni Bernard caught two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown and Leonard Fournette carried in a score on his 12 rushes for 67 yards. Miami’s few successes came mostly from Myles Gaskin, who carried five times for 25 yards and received 10 catches for 74 yards, resulting in two touchdowns. Jacoby Brissett completed 27 of his 39 passes for 275 yards but were not enough to stand up against the sitting champion Tampa Bay who won this one 45-17.
Washington hosted New Orleans in a game of ups and downs for both teams. Taylor Heinicke went 20 of 41 on 248 yards, failed to throw a passing touchdown and gave up an interception. The Football Team did find some success on the ground with Antonio Gibson, who had 20 carries for 60 yards and scored twice. Adam Humphries also contributed 73 yards on a trio of carries. On the Saints’ side, Jameis Winston completed half of his passes going 15 of 30 on 279 yards and four touchdowns. Alvin Kamara had 16 carries for 71 yards and five receptions for 51 yards combining for two touchdowns. Marquez Callaway caught four passes for 85 yards and scored twice while Deonte Harris would take his only reception to the house for a 72-yard touchdown. While neither team played especially well, the Saints were able to get more done and took this battle 33-22.
Philadelphia faced off against Carolina this weekend and Sam Darnold took a step back on this game. Darnold went 21 of 37 on 177 passing yards, scored once but gave up three interceptions. With star running back Christian McCaffrey still rehabilitating his hamstring injury, Chuba Hubbard got the bulk of the handoffs, taking 24 carries for 101 yards and catching five passes for 33 yards. DJ Moore had five receptions for 42 yards and rookie Tommy Tremble scored on a pair of catches for 12 yards. Jalen Hurts had his Eagles on his shoulders as he recorded 198 yards on 22 completions, threw an interception but scored twice on the ground with nine carries for 30 yards. Miles Sanders led the rushing game with 11 carries for 45 yards and Devonta Smith caught 7 passes for 77 yards. The offense was completely reliant on Hurts but it paid off this time giving Philadelphia the victory 21-18.
Jacksonville was another team that was looking for their first win this season when they hosted Tennessee. Trevor Lawrence inched closer to that win as he possibly had his best game yet as a pro. Lawrence did turn the ball over once but had 273 yards on 23 of 33 passing and scored both through the air and once on the ground taking seven rushes for 28 yards. James Robinson carried 18 balls for 149 yards and scored a touchdown. Laviska Shenault and Dan Arnold combined for seven receptions for 122 yards but it was Jacob Hollister who caught the team’s only touchdown pass. The Titans seemed more composed and Ryan Tannehill completed 14 of 22 passes for 197 yards and connected with MyCole Pruitt for a score. Marcus Johnson led receivers with three receptions for 52 yards but once again, it was the ground game keeping Tennessee relevant. Derrick Henry carried the ball 29 times for 130 yards and scored three touchdowns. The legs of Henry proved to be too much for the Jaguars and the Titans won the game 37-19.
A battle of rookie quarterbacks took place at NRG Stadium as Mac Jones attempted to bounce back from last week’s home loss against Tampa Bay. Jones did better in this game as he completed 23 of his 30 passes for 231 yards, scored a touchdown but gave up one turnover. Hunter Henry caught six of those passes and gained 75 yards and scored one touchdown. Also scoring was Damien Harris whose 14 carries for 58 yards led the team’s ground game. Houston’s Davis Mills continued to put up big boy numbers, scoring three touchdowns on 312 yards with a 21 of 29 completion record. Leading the receivers was Chris Moore, who had five receptions for 109 yards and scoring once. Chris Conley and Anthony Auclair accounted for the other two touchdown receptions, combining for four catches for 95 yards. However, the lack of a solid ground game kept this one out of reach for the Texans and gave the edge to the Patriots in a huge comeback win with the final score of 25-22.
Chicago visited Sin City and flexed their own rookie play-caller who showed marked improvement especially in the passing game. Justin Fields went 12 of 20 for 111 yards and a touchdown. Fields shared the ball pretty evenly around but it was Jesper Holsted who would find the lone scoring pass on a two-yard punch-in. Not showing favorites in the run game either, Khalil Herbert took 18 carries for 75 yards and Damien Williams would score on his 16 carries for 64 yards. Derrick Carr could not score through the air for his Raiders on his 22 of 35 completed throws for 206 yards and gave up one interception. The passing game was fairly laxed with Hunter Renfrow and Henry Ruggs combining for nine catches for 107 yards total. Josh Jacobs scored once on 15 carries for 48 yards but would drop this game to the Bears 20-9. The hits kept coming even after the game was over and the field cleared. As the teams made it back to their practice facilities on Monday, more was revealed about a 2011 email from John Gruden containing some controversial language that many found disturbing. The NFL also disclosed other emails discovered during their investigation into the Washington Football Team that contained unsavory language by the Raiders head coach. As the evidence began mounting up, owner Mark Davis met with Gruden and it was mutually decided that they would part ways. By the end of the day, he officially resigned and assistant coach Rich Bisaccia was named interim head coach until a replacement can be found.
Sunday’s late afternoon games kicked off with a high scoring shoot-out between Cleveland and the Los Angeles Chargers. Justin Herbert built on his already boisterous resume by going 26 of 43 on 398 yards for four touchdown passes and complemented with four carries for 29 yards and a touchdown run. Austin Ekeler led rushers with 17 carries for 66 yards scoring twice on the ground and again through the air with 53 yards on five receptions. Mike Williams took control of the passing game, scoring twice on eight catches for 165 yards while Donald Parham scored once on two passes for 29 yards. Baker Mayfield was also lights out registering 305 yards on 23 of 32 passing for two touchdowns. Nick Chubb ran for 161 yards on 21 carries and scoring once. While he may not have been the yards leader, Kareem Hunt had a very efficient day with 12 carries for 61 yards and scored twice. David Njoku caught seven passes for 149 yards and a score, Donovan Peoples-Jones had five receptions for 70 yards and Rashard Higgins also scored on his three catches for 29 yards. Both offenses and defenses were on point but some errant throws and miscommunications from the Browns would give this game to the Chargers 47-42.
Dak Prescott showed out when his Cowboys defended the home turf against the New York Giants. Prescott looked brilliant throwing 22 of 32 passes for 302 yards scoring three touchdowns but allowed Lorenzo Carter to pick one pass off. Ezekiel Elliott led in carries with 21 takes for 110 yards, scored on the ground and then again through the air on a pair of short passes. Tony Pollard also had a multi-use day taking 14 carries for 75 yards and also catching four passes for 28 yards. Prescott was also able to keep New York on their heels by using his full arsenal of weaponry throughout the game which includes a very deep receiving corps. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper each scored on a combined 144 yards while Dalton Shultz also recorded six receptions for 84 yards. Daniel Jones got rocked in the first half and was stumbling as he was assisted into the locker room for concussion protocols. He would end his day throwing 5 of 13 for 98 yards. Mike Glennon took over play calling duties and went 16 of 25 on 196 yards, scoring one touchdown but throwing two interceptions. The hits kept coming for New York as Saquon Barkley also was also sidelined early in the game with a sprained ankle. Devontae Booker took the lead on rushing yards with 16 carries for 42 yards and punched in a short touchdown run. He also caught a three-yard pass for a score at the end of the game. Kadarius Toney led in receptions with 10 for 189 yards and Evan Engram contributed another 55 yards on four catches but it would not be enough. Dallas easily won this game 44-20.
San Francisco faced off against Arizona in a NFC matchup that could have implications throughout the remainder of the season. Kyler Murray built on what many have considered a MVP contender season going 22 of 31 on 239 yards scoring once through the air. Rondale Moore had three carries for 38 yards and five receptions for 59 yards. James Conner assisted on the ground with 29 yards on 10 carries and found the end zone once while Deandre Hopkins led receivers with six catches, scoring on one, but totaling only 87 yards. Trey Lance took the reins for the 49ers on his first professional start. Lance showed that he can be a dual threat and went 15 of 29 on 192 yards adding another 89 yards on 16 carries. Deebo Samuel was quiet through most of the contest but did score on his only carry and caught three passes for 58 yards. Lance led all rushers but Elijah Mitchell was notable with nine carries for 43 yards. Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be sidelined until at least Week 7 with a knee sprain. In the meantime it will be interesting to see Lance develop but for this game the Cardinals defense was just too much to contend with and time expired with Arizona scraping this one out 17-10.
Kansas City returned home to face Buffalo after a questionable win in Philadelphia and an even more disturbing start to this young season. Patrick Mahomes went 15 of 26 for 272 yards, scored twice but also threw two interceptions. Mahomes also led the rushing game with eight carries for 61 yards with Darrel Williams helping on the ground with five carries for 27 yards. Tyreek Hill had only one carry for 15 yards but caught seven passes for 63 yards and Travis Kelce scored with his six receptions for 57 yards. Byron Pringle also got in on the action with a touchdown on two catches but everything the Chiefs did, the Bills did better. Josh Allen looked electric going 15 of 26 on 315 yards and found his receivers in the end zone three times. Allen also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Again, it was the quarterback taking most of the rushing attempts with Zack Moss and Devin Singletary assisting with 37 and 25 yards, respectively. Dawson Knox scored on a trio of catches totaling 117 yards and Emmanuel Sanders scored twice on his three receptions for 54 yards. With guys like Stephon Diggs pitching in his own 69 yards, the Bills were just too much to overcome even with marked improvement from the Chiefs’ defense. Buffalo would go on to win Sunday night’s primetime game 38-20.
Now, it is time for a slight disclosure. I am a University of Louisville fan and have been a Lamar Jackson cheerleader since he first stepped on campus. While at times it is hard to separate my analytical side from my fandom, Monday night’s matchup between the Ravens and Colts was one of the most exciting and mouth dropping spectacles I have seen in recent years. Baltimore started the game out slowly and only managed a field goal in the first half. It would strangely be the last field goal attempted by the Ravens in the game as Jackson exploded the offense by game’s end with 442 yards on 37 of his 43 passes, scoring four times and leading rushers with 14 carries for 62 yards. Jackson was able to find Mark Andrews on 11 receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns. With a pair of touchdown catches of his own, Marquise Brown caught nine passes for 125 yards. Had it been any other game on any other day, Carson Wentz probably would have had this game settled after the first half. Wentz threw for 402 yards going 25/35 with two touchdowns. Jonathan Taylor was on fire as well, gaining 53 yards on 15 carries scoring once on the ground and again in the air on three catches for 116 yards. Marlon Mack was efficient on his five carries for 47 yards and Michael Pittman Jr. scored on six receptions for 89 yards. Although down 22-3 late in the third quarter, Baltimore was able to rally scoring 28 points. John Harbaugh put his full faith in his offense allowing them to go for it on every remaining chance and it paid off big. Baltimore stole this game with a final score of 31-25.
Jimmy Jones is a Contributor for Unwrapped Sports Network. Follow him on on Twitter @JimmyUnwrapped.