In week 5 of the NFL, two unbeaten teams went down and two winless teams remained empty in the win column. Let’s try to make sense of everything with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Drew Brees – Talk about efficient, Brees connected on 29 of his 35 passes with two more touchdown passes to give him 12 for the season. Brees was smart and didn’t force things, doing a lot of damage with running back Pierre Thomas and tight end Jimmy Graham. His overall numbers weren’t as flashy as the numbers his counterpart Jay Cutler put up, but Brees was more efficient and didn’t turn the ball over, which is why the Saints were able to move to 5-0.
Indianapolis in the 4th quarter – The Colts pulled off the most impressive win of the weekend, and they did so by dominating the Seahawks in the 4th quarter. Andrew Luck was brilliant throughout the final quarter, leading the Colts to the go-ahead score and then helping Indianapolis kill a lot of time, putting the Seahawks in a tough spot when they finally got the ball back. The rest was the Indianapolis defense being able to close out the game once they got the lead.
Green Bay’s defense – Holding the Detroit Lions to just nine points and fewer than 300 yards of offense is impressive and deserves recognition. Calvin Johnson being absent helped, but the Lions were averaging over 30 points per game over the first four weeks of the season, and even Johnson isn’t worth 21 points per game. Green Bay sacked Matthew Stafford four times and held Reggie Bush to just 69 total yards, which took a lot of pressure off Aaron Rodgers and the Packer’s offense, which was a welcome change from the first month of the season.
The Peyton Manning/Tony Romo shootout – It was a lot like we expected, only better. Manning and Romo went back and forth all game, especially in the second half, ultimately combining for over 900 yards passing and nine touchdowns. It was one of the most entertaining games of the season and displayed what both teams are capable of doing offensively, and had both head coaches smiling after the game. Of course, the same can’t be said for the defensive coordinators.
E.J. Manuel’s injury – The Bills caught a tough break when Manuel went down with an injury Thursday night. Not only did it ruin any chance of coming back to beat the Browns, but he’s supposed to out a few weeks, which is going to make things very difficult for them with Cincinnati, Miami, and New Orleans on the schedule the next three Sundays. As long as Manuel is out, Buffalo’s options are either undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel or someone they pull in off the street, which doesn’t bode well for a team that has been competitive, despite being just 2-3 this season.
Tom Brady’s streak ends at 52 – Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown was quite impressive, but it’s no more after the Patriots managed just two field goals in Cincinnati on Sunday. Even with Danny Amendola back, Brady continued to struggle with the lackluster group of receivers around him, as he completed only 18 of his 38 passes for fewer than 200 yards. The Bengal’s pass rush didn’t help Brady either, as he was under a lot of pressure and had one of his worst performances in a long time.
Luke Joeckel’s injury – Jacksonville’s top draft pick wasn’t exactly having a good rookie season, but he’s a talented player and it’s a shame to see his first year in the NFL end so quickly. The Jaguars aren’t going to win many games this year, if any, but there’s a lot that Joeckel could have learned from playing out the season, which is something he won’t be able to do after breaking his ankle.
Tom Coughlin wasting 2 timeouts on one challenge – It may not have changed the outcome of the game, but Coughlin threw away two timeouts on a challenge that he lost on a play that wasn’t exactly game changing. It was a move that reeked of desperation by a coach searching for answers, but in the end trying to win that challenge did more harm than good
Michael Vick’s passing skills – Vick is a good fit for Chip Kelly’s offense because of his legs, but his arm still leaves a lot to be desired. He didn’t complete a pass the entire 1st quarter against the Giants and was just 6-14 for the game. Vick, as always, relied on his legs too much, and that may have been a factor in the hamstring injury that sent him to the sidelines and forced Nick Foles to finish the game for Philadelphia. With his inaccuracy throwing the ball combined with the efficiency of Foles, Vick may have to worry about his job, even if he’s healthy enough to play.
The New York Giants – It’s not just one thing or another, the entire Giant’s team is playing ugly football, and a team that actually has a lot of talent can’t seem to find any answers. Against the Eagles, they couldn’t run the ball, they couldn’t stop Vick from running the ball, they couldn’t stop Foles throwing the ball, they committed 12 penalties for over 100 yards, and they turned the ball over four times. It seems to get more ugly every week, as the Giants have now fallen to an unthinkable 0-5 on the season.
Miami’s dropped passes – In a close game, the Dolphins hurt themselves by dropping too many passes. Mike Wallace caught seven passes for over 105 yards, but he also dropped a few passes, as he’s been known to do throughout his career. Wallace wasn’t the only offender, but if you’re going to gripe about how often the ball gets thrown your way, you have to haul it in when the ball does come to you, which Wallace and the Dolphins didn’t do, and in a three-point game, it made a difference in the outcome of the game.
Cam Newton – Yes, the 308 yards passing looks impressive, but not the three interceptions, seven sacks, or the fact that his team failed to score a touchdown. It was a typical game from Newton, as he put up some good numbers, but didn’t do a whole lot to actually help his team win. Going on the road is tough, but Newton needs to find a way to put more than six points on the board, as now the Panthers are 1-3 with their only win coming against the winless Giants.