These are our five takeaways from a crazy, wacky Week 5 of the NFL season. The first quarter of the NFL season has come and gone and lo and behold, the only remaining undefeated team in the AFC is the New England Patriots after the Kansas City Chiefs were upset by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. Would the San Francisco 49ers join them as the NFC’s only undefeated team, as well?
While over in the NFC, we had another instant classic between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys at JerryWorld. Seriously, can these two teams play each other every season? The Seattle Seahawks look more and more like the team that went to two Super Bowls not that long ago … which can be very scary for the rest of the NFC.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals finally get in the win column this season at the hands of another winless team in the Cincinnati Bengals — who have now fallen to 0-5. If Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen keeps winning football games, head coach Ron Rivera is going to have a hard time if and when Cam Newton finally returns — but regardless of who’s slinging it, they have the undefendable Christian McCaffrey.
Week 5 NFL Takeaways
5. What is Happening in Pittsburgh?
Can the Pittsburgh Steelers catch a break with its quarterbacks? First Ben Roethlisberger and now Mason Rudolph gets sandwiched between two defenders and was removed from the game inserting third-stringer quarterback Devlin Hodges. The crazy thing about all of this is that Pittsburgh was very much alive in this game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers had the Ravens on the ropes for a huge divisional upset at home before the hex that is currently over Pittsburgh saw Justin Tucker kick it through the uprights to survive.
Hodges came in and gave them a shot which is all you can ask for in a dire situation. Perhaps, Mike Tomlin has his backups ready to go and all will be well moving forward. But should Rudolph miss major time and another costly injury strikes this team … it’s probably over. It was over going into this game but with a lot of football left to be played … you never know.
4. Oakland Gets the Last Laugh After All
We all remember when the trade to send Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears happened and how confused we felt for them to send a prized defender — really, their best player on the team. It’s been two seasons since the trade and finally, the two teams played one another — in London! — in a game, you know both teams had circled on their calendar.
Mack did assert his dominance on the Raiders’ offensive line, but it was Derek Carr and Co. who got the last laugh in the end. The Raiders offense — which has been OK at best — put up 24 points on a vaunted Chicago defense that did at least keep them in it until the end. But in the end, it was Oakland’s defense that came up with the game-sealing interception of Chase Daniel. He who laughs last laughs loudest.
3. Battle of the Backups
Once the Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars lost their starting quarterbacks, it was a fair question to ask how these teams would respond going from Nick Foles to Gardner Minshew and Newton to Allen. The answer? Both would do surprisingly well and both teams went to battle on Sunday.
But while Minshew does have Leonard Fournette to rely on, the Panthers have McCaffrey — and that makes a huge difference. The all-purpose back could not be stopped as he totaled 238 yards and three touchdowns. He is quite literally a “human cheat code” as he’s been often described. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked that both starting quarterbacks played well and despite the loss. The legend of Minshew still continues.
Both quarterbacks will learn from this game and it won’t derail them moving forward. It’s crazy how well backup quarterbacks have played this season, isn’t it?
2. The Colts Lay Down the Blueprint
When you look at the Chiefs you know where their greatest weak link is and it’s their defense. They don’t get to the quarterback nor do they generate a ton of takeaways but despite this, their offense led by MVP Patrick Mahomes masks a lot of these defensive shortcomings. However, what happens when you shut down Mahomes?
Then you leave Arrowhead Stadium with a win.
The Colts showed the world on Sunday night that when you control the line of scrimmage with consistent power running and shove it down your opponent’s throat, then good things tend to happen. The Chiefs had no answer for Marlon Mack and while the Colts didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, they were in full control. They contained Mahomes and his many weapons for most of the night and they kept him on the sideline.
The Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season and looked very beatable for the first time with Mahomes under center. Not to mention Mahomes hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in two games now, which is unheard of. If the Colts paved the way for other teams moving forward, then the Chiefs are facing adversity for the first time. Even though they’re not the Super Bowl champs, they still have a huge target on their backs.
1. Aaron Rodgers and the Offense Continue to Improve
This may be a bit misleading to people who watched and did not watch this game, but the Green Bay offense has put up more points with each passing week: 10 points, 21 points, 27 points, 27 points, and 34 points. It was no secret that the offense was going to take time with a new head coach and offensive scheme in place, but it steadily improved from week to week. Not to mention, the Packers were without top wideout Davante Adams on Sunday on the road in Dallas.
But where Adams was missing, Aaron Jones stepped up in a huge way rushing into the end zone four times with 182 total yards of offense on a day he’ll never forget. Aaron Rodgers said after the game that this was the most he felt comfortable on the field and in a groove. If that’s how Rodgers is going to perform moving forward, then maybe the gunslinger of old is on the cusp of lighting the league on fire.
What’s also worth mentioning is how Green Bay’s defense responded after getting shredded against the Philadelphia Eagles a week prior. They knew that they had to contain the big plays of Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, and for the most part, they did with three Dak Prescott interceptions and allowing 24 points.
Embed from Getty Images