Check out all the top moments that decided Sunday’s Week 5 games.
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The 40 things we learned from Week 5 of the NFL season:
1. Welp. Might as well call it for the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers. All three fell to 0-5. No team in league history has ever started 0-5 and made the playoffs.
2. But for the optimists out there, there is a little hope. The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals started 1-6 but still reached postseason. More recently, so did the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs — after a 1-5 start.
3. Sunday was just brutal day for the Giants. Their top four receivers left the game with injuries. The sight of Odell Beckham Jr. being carted off in tears with a fractured left ankle, however, was most demoralizing. Before going down, Beckham kept New York in the game with a late 48-yard touchdown.
4. More bad news on the injury front: Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture on Sunday night. The team hasn’t given a timeline for his recovery, but having the three-time defensive player of the year sidelined would be a devastating blow to the Texans as well as the league, which would sorely miss one of its most universally beloved figures.
5. Is there any way to contain the Kansas City Chiefs? On a night when Kareem Hunt was mostly contained (but still finished with 107 yards on 29 carries), the offense still put up 450 total yards in a 42-34 win over the Texans. Alex Smith turned in another MVP caliber performance (29-of-37 passing, 324 yards, three TDs), and Tyreek Hill returned a punt 82 yars for a score.
6. One sign that Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz is progressing and making efficient decisions: He now has five touchdown passes on third down this season, after he threw only three such scores in his rookie year.
7. Another Wentz stat that should have the Philly faithful excited? In first quarters last year, he threw six interceptions and just one touchdown. This year? No picks, five TDs.And one more. Wentz’s previous career high for TD throws in a game was two. He had three in the first quarter Sunday and finished with four.
8. We have no idea what the Pittsburgh Steelers were thinking. The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Sunday ranked dead last in rushing defense (165.5 yards allowed per game), and first in passing defense (147). So why on earth would Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley dial up just 15 carries for Le’Veon Bell?
9. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has played 210 career games. He had never finished one with zero touchdowns and four or more interceptions — before Sunday, when Big Ben threw five interceptions and did not toss a TD.
10. Maybe Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown, who racked up 157 receiving yards Sunday, should try calling Roethlisberger out on the radio this week.
11. However Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, who grew up playing in the same Liberty City (Miami) youth league as Brown, had the better day with 177 yards and a victory.
12. Roethlisberger and the Giants’ Eli Manning, both first-round picks in 2004, have combined to win four Lombardi Trophies. But the other Round 1 QB from 2004, Philip Rivers, was the only one to notch a victory Sunday … and is now 3-0 vs. Manning, the man he was traded for on draft day.
13. The Jaguars have forced 14 turnovers this year after generating 13 all of last season.
14. Jacksonville, by the way, is sitting atop the AFC South at 3-2. This team may have turned the corner. That hamstring injury to Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota may open the door for the Jaguars and the Houston Texans in the division.
15. The Miami Dolphins defense has more touchdowns (1) than the offense (0) in first halves this season.
16. That tells us it may be time to scrap the Jay Cutler experiment. Right before halftime, he threw an interception and fans in South Florida booed. It got worse. Chants of “WE WANT MOORE” — as in backup QB Matt Moore — rained down from the stands in the Dolphins’ home opener. By halftime, Cutler had completed just five of 11 passes for 21 yards and the pick. Oh, and this was against a Titans D that allowed 283 yards and four touchdowns to rookie passer Deshaun Watson last week.
17. By the way, as Colin Kaepernick waits for the phone to ring? The two quarterbacks in that game — Cutler and Tennessee’s Matt Cassel, who was starting in place of Mariota — combined for 17 of 28 passing for 75 yards, no touchdowns and two turnovers in the first half.
18. Jags rookie RB Leonard Fournette became the fifth player since 1970 to start his career with a touchdown from scrimmage in at least five straight games. If you didn’t know already, Jacksonville’s offense runs through Fournette. Think about it this way: Two pick-sixes definitely helped, but the Jaguars beat Pittsburgh 30-9 despite Blake Bortles completing eight passes for 95 yards. (And we can’t blame Jacksonville. When you have a player who is so physical that he asks for hits, might as well give him the rock.)
19. A day of firsts for the McCaffreys. Carolina Panthers rookie RB Christian McCaffrey scored his first career touchdown — on a shovel pass from Cam Newton — almost at the same time that brother Max, a rookie receiver for the Jaguars, recorded his first career catch.
20. Last week, we suggested Newton’s surgically repaired right shoulder seemed fully recovered. If you didn’t believe us, maybe his domination of the Detroit Lions will convince you. Newton had 26 completions, seven incompletions, 355 yards, and three touchdowns. (And if that doesn’t do the trick, this perfectly-thrown, drop-in-the-bucket dime in stride to Kelvin Benjamin might.)
21. The Panthers led the Lions 27-10 after three quarters. Some deficits are too much even for Detroit QB Matthew Stafford.
22. Ugh, Browns. It took 19 quarters, but they finally took their first lead of the season Sunday. Still, though Cleveland moves the ball at times, it tends to self-destruct inside opponents’ 20-yard line. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer gave away the ball on a botched toss and an awfully thrown interception against the Jets. That marked Cleveland’s fifth red zone turnover this season, which leads the league.
23. Not incidentally, the Browns’ breakthrough touchdown came after coach Hue Jackson benched Kizer for Kevin Hogan at the start of the third quarter. Flashing big plays occasionally won’t be enough for Kizer, who has to show he can eliminate the back-breaking mistakes. Hogan played well enough (16-for-19, 194 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) to entertain the possibility of his being the starter for the foreseeable future.
24. Colts RB Frank Gore keeps moving up the NFL’s career rushing list. With his first carry Sunday, he passed Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson. Gore is now seventh on the all-time list with 13,304 after a 48-yard showing. As long as he stays healthy this year, he’s likely to finish the season in fifth place. Jerome Bettis (13,662) and LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) are in the way … though so might be Colts rookie Marlon Mack, who rushed for 91 yards against the 49ers.
25. Still, Gore had a happier reunion with the 49ers than San Francisco WR Pierre Garcon did with the Colts.
26. The Buffalo Bills registered their first turnover since the first quarter of Week 1. It was only their second giveaway of the year, but it came at an awful time — a fourth-quarter INT from Tyrod Taylor that sunk his team in Cincinnati.
27. The Bills entered Sunday having sole possession of first place in the AFC East, which marked just the 11th week the team has been in that position since 2000. After their loss to the Bengals, it stays at 11.
28. The 2017 Jets, whom some picked to go 0-16, have a three-game winning streak and are in a three-way, first-place tie with the Bills and New England Patriots, all of them 3-2. Huge credit goes to coach Todd Bowles for getting a young and relatively unknown roster to play competitively. (And if you had Week 6’s showdown between the Jets and Patriots as a compelling matchup, we’d like to talk to you about buying our Powerball ticket.)
29. With the Dolphins at 2-2, just a half game separates the entire division. However even though the Pats had a sloppy victory Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s hard not to think they’ll eventually figure things out — especially after their defense showed signs of life against Jameis Winston and Co.
30. The Arizona Cardinals entered Week 5 averaging a league-worst 57 rushing yards per game. They managed just 31 at Philadelphia. Where have you gone, David Johnson?
31. The Oakland Raiders are in a precarious spot. They’ve lost three in a row, with the offense averaging just 12.3 points and 209 yards in that span. Derek Carr needs to come back — invigorated — soon.
32. Maybe Sunday’s victory will finally convince offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and the Baltimore Ravens to stick to the rushing game. In its two losses this year, Baltimore averaged just 108 rushing yards. In its three victories? How about 145.3.
33. For the second week in a row, the NFL will serve up a prime matchup in the Thursday night prime-time slot: Philadelphia (4-1) at Carolina (4-1).
34. The game between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks was a good barometer of where L.A. ranks in the NFC West landscape. The Rams are a solid team that is unquestionably ascending, but they’re not quite on the level of a perennial power like Seattle, as Sunday’s 16-loss showed. That gap, though, appears to be closing.
35. It was impressive for the Rams to march out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. What wasn’t impressive? How they squandered the lead via self-inflicted errors. Los Angeles committed five turnovers in its first four games. On Sunday alone, the Seahawks doubled them up and forced them into five more.
36. With that said, should the Seahawks be worried that they won the turnover battle 5-2 but needed to fend off a late rally to win? Their offensive line woes won’t go away, and they still can’t find anyone to run the ball consistently.
37. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s fourth interception of the season was returned for a TD by the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Prescott, last season’s offensive rookie of the year, was picked off four times in the entire 2016 regular season.
38. Kudos to Prescott for bringing the Cowboys back and scoring what appeared to be the game-winning TD. But leaving Aaron Rodgers 73 seconds to win the game? We had a feeling that wouldn’t go well. With all due respect to Tom Brady, feels like there’s just no one better in the NFL right now at game-winning drives.
39. Aside from Rodgers’ heroics, the coaching job Mike McCarthy has done in Green Bay this year is what has re-established the Packers as one of the NFC’s most dangerous teams. Perhaps no other team has overcome as many injuries and relied on so much capable depth.
40. Look no further than the emergence of running back Aaron Jones, who two weeks ago was third on the Pack depth chart. Injuries to Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams thrust Jones into the starter’s role. All the rookie did was respond with 19 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown vs. the Cowboys. It wouldn’t surprise us if Jones continues to have a prominent role, even when Montgomery returns from his broken ribs.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes
PHOTOS: Week 5 NFL action