The fifth Sunday of the 2019 NFL season is in the books so here are the different thoughts and opinions I have on various things I witnessed this past weekend. One big upset this week and some big individual performances. Also more awful officiating. I'm starting to think they should limit how many flags an official can throw in a game. Maybe they would use better judgement. But I doubt it.
Just remember I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and I'm extremely biased. Feel free to agree or disagree about anything mentioned here. All comments are welcome.
Let me begin by saying I hate Aaron Rodgers. I think he's a great quarterback and I respect the hell out of his talent, but I hate him. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because he is 7-2 versus the Cowboys in his career. Who knows. I do know I'm ready to chuck my TV out the window if I see another State Farm commercial.
Last week in New Orleans the Cowboys defense played great but the offense forgot to show up. This week the defense stayed home while the offense repeatedly shot themselves in the foot as the Cowboys fell to the Packers 34-24.
This game was just one big giant disaster for Dallas. The offense drove the ball down the field all game racking up yards, but they forgot to score any points. Drives were repeatedly killed by interceptions, penalties, missed field goals, or sacks on third down. The Cowboys finally got on the scoreboard via a field goal with 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. It was the sixth time they crossed midfield during the game. Six trips in Packers territory, 3 points. Good grief.
QB Dak Prescott had only been sacked three times in the first four games. The Packers got to him three times on Sunday. LT Tyron Smith was out due to injury and the pass protection suffered for it. Maybe he should have held out for more money in the preseason, he seems to be a more important part of the offense than Zeke.
Prescott had also tossed only 3 INTs in the first four games. The Packers picked him off 3 times. Two were bad throws, one bounced off Amari Cooper's hands right into the arms of a Packer. He ended up with 463 passing yards and 2 TD passes, but those turnovers hurt bad. Amari Cooper (11 catches 226 yards 1TD) and Michael Gallup (7 catches 113 yards 1TD) were his favorite targets.
The Packers came into this game without top WR Davante Adams, but Aaron Rodgers turned to a different weapon: RB Aaron Jones. Jones chewed up the Cowboys defense on the ground (19 carries for 107 yards) and through the air (7 catches for 75 yards). He also found a home in the Cowboys endzone with 4 TDs. He did it all.
The Cowboys defense gave up 34 points without Rodgers throwing a single TD pass. Jones just jammed the ball up their ass and they had no answers.
Well the Cowboys get the Jets next week so if that doesn't snap them out of their funk I'll just give up on this season.
It took waiting for more than a year and traveling to England, but Khalil Mack finally got a chance to have his revenge game against the Raiders. Unfortunately for him Jon Gruden got the last laugh as Oakland defeated the Bears 24-21. Mack's contribution? 3 tackles and zero sacks. Ouch. He did recover a fumble but it didn't help.
Talk about a back and forth affair. After a scoreless 1st quarter the Raiders scored three times in the second for a 17-0 halftime lead. The Bears repaid Oakland by scoring 3 unanswered TDs in the 3rd quarter to take a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth.
You think Gruden wanted to win this one real bad? The Raiders faked a punt from their own 28 yard line on a 4th and 1 halfway through the 4th quarter. They converted and went on to score the game-winning TD. The Raiders did most of their damage on the ground as rookie running back Joshua Jacobs had a big day: 26 carries, 123 yards, 2 TDs. Ironically he was picked up by the Raiders with one of the draft picks they acquired in the Mack trade.
The Bears running game was practically nonexistent so they had to put the ball into backup QB Chase Daniel's hands. That isn't a recipe for winning, although his numbers weren't that bad: 22/30, 231 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
Are the Raiders a good team? I don't know. They're now 3-2 after beating the Bears and Colts in back-to-back weeks on the road. They have improved after last season's debacle. And Gruden is getting giddy. If you have the stomach for it you can watch him dance in the locker room.
I enjoy a good rivalry game. You can normally toss out the team's records because a grudge match trumps all. And their has been no more bitter rivalry in the NFL the past few seasons than the Steelers and the Ravens.
These teams hate each other and even though the Steelers are without QB Ben Roethlisberger I expected a close, hard fought affair. I got one. The Ravens prevailed 26-23 in overtime.
Really the Ravens should have won handily. However Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson was feeling generous. His three INTs kept Pittsburgh in the game. His passing line was ugly: 19/28, 161 yards 1 TD 3 INTs.
The story of the game was the massive knockout shot Ravens safety Earl Thomas laid on Steelers QB Mason Rudolph. And I mean knockout shot, Rudolph was knocked cold onto the grass.
It was scary watching the way Rudolph fell to the ground. Fortunately the Steelers training staff was able to revive him and he wobbly walked off the field with help. He had to, the Steelers medical transport cart broke down. It was funny watching the staff trying to push the cart across the field. At the same time it was also sad. Luckily it wasn't a spinal injury or they would have had to take an ambulance out on the field.
Rudolph went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion. Of course I could have made the same diagnoses just by watching the play. He was able to go home and I wish him a speedy recovery.
Big Performances, Big Wins
To win in the NFL somebody has to step up and make big plays. Several players had monster performances this week, leading their teams to victory.
Despite the presence of All-Pro WR Deandre Hopkins, Texans QB Deshaun Watson normally has his best games when the often injured WR Will Fuller is on the field. Well Fuller has been healthy so far this season, but the two hadn't connected to do much damage. That is, until the Falcons came into town this Sunday.
The Watson/Fuller tandem lit the Falcons up. I mean like Sherman marching through Atlanta.
Watson: 28/33 426 yards 5TDs, 4 carries for 47 yards
Fuller: 14 catches 217 yards 3 TDs
The Texans beat the Falcons 53-32. Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn might as well start packing up his office now after being scorched like that. The Falcons are now 1-4 and a huge disappointment.
The Panthers looked like toast after an 0-2 start and losing QB Cam Newton to injury. Turns out Newton was holding them back. The Panthers have unleashed RB Christian McCaffrey and he is tearing up the league. On Sunday he tore up Jacksonville.
McCaffrey: 19 carries 176 yards 2 TD, 6 catches 61 yards 1 TD
The Panthers held on to beat Jacksonville 34-27. Only Jim Brown in 1963 has had more yards from scrimmage in the first five games of a season than McCaffrey has this year. The Jags wasted a 374 yard, 2TD performance from QB Gardner Minshew. I wonder where Nick Foles will end up next year?
The Saints were thought to be headed for trouble when QB Drew Brees injured his thumb. Backup QB Teddy Bridgewater had other ideas. The Saints defense and special teams carried them in wins over Seattle and Dallas. Against the Buccaneers this week Bridgewater carried the load.
Bridgewater: 26/34 314 yards 4 TDs 1 INT
Not as monster of a game as the other guys, but still a damn good performance from the backup QB. New Orleans took down Tampa Bay 31-24. The Saints are now 3-0 when Bridgewater starts. Hmm, Brees was only 1-1. Maybe he should call Nick Foles. Just kidding.
Around the League
There was only one big upset this week. That was the 10.5 point underdog Colts traveling to Kansas City to beat the Chiefs 19-13. Man Indianapolis just beat the Chiefs up.
The Colts used RB Marlon Mack (29 carries 132 yards) to pound the KC defense and control the clock. The Chiefs on the other hand couldn't run the ball at all. Patrick Mahomes had good game for mere mortals but not up to his usual lofty standards: 22/39 321 yards 1 TD.
The Chiefs had never scored less than 26 points in any of the 21 games Mahomes has started before this week. Well all good things must come to an end. Kudos to the Indy defense for halting the streak, on the road no less.
Last week Vikings WR Adam Thielen wasn't very happy with the play of his QB Kirk Cousins and let it be known publicly. I'm sure he's a bit happier this week after a big game against the Giants: 7 catches 130 yards 2 TDs. You know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Then again it was against the Giants. The real star of the Vikings offense, RB Dalvin Cook, had his usual top notch outing: 21 carries 132 yards, 6 catches 86 yards.
I've always enjoyed the broadcasting of Hall of Fame QB Dan Fouts. He got me to laugh this week during the Steelers/Ravens game. The play-by-play guy said he asked Ravens rookie WR Marquise Brown (cousin of the infamous former Steeler Antonio Brown) if he ever rooted for the Steelers. He said Brown's response was no, he only rooted for his cousin. Fouts replied "Must be a family trait." Classic.
In this week's battle for the #1 2020 draft pick, the Cardinals beat the Bengals 26-23. Sorry Arizona, you lose. I mean if the Bengals can't beat the Cards at home who will they beat? Then again who are the Dolphins going to beat? Hmm. They play the winless Redskins this week. Could they do it? Both teams are awful.
The Broncos traveled to LA and got off the schneid by beating the Chargers 20-13. Chargers are now 2-3 and lucky to have that record. If Adam Vinatieri wouldn't have melted down in Week 1 they easily would be 1-4. With that one win coming against the Dolphins. What the hell happened to this team that looked like a Super Bowl contender last year?
The Bills defeated the Titans 14-7 and since I didn't see the game I don't know if it was a defensive struggle or simply a case of offensive ineptitude. I just know the stats aren't pretty. The Bills are now 4-1 and get to enjoy a bye week before they play the Dolphins. In other words they have two bye weeks coming up. The Bills win ugly, but they keep winning. They still have a lot of winnable games on the schedule. I will not be surprised if they are in the hunt for a wild card spot when December rolls around. I won't be surprised if they aren't either, because winning ugly can turn on you real quick.
The Redskins finally fired head coach Jay Gruden Monday morning. During a 5 AM meeting. They couldn't have told him Sunday night and let the poor guy sleep in? Actually they could have spared him some more misery by doing it before the Patriots came to town. Bill Callahan will be the interim head coach and he will lead the team to battle Miami this week. Oh boy, first week on the job and he has to face the only team the Skins are supposed to beat. And I'm not sure they will.
Let me know your thoughts on Week 5. Even if you just want to make fun of the Cowboys because they deserve abuse after this week.