Winners and losers from 'Thursday Night Football' Week 4
The Eagles traveled to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers to open the Week 4 slate.It was as much of a must win as the Eagles could have at this early point in the season. Meanwhile, Green Bay entered the game at 3-0 and playing tremendous on defense.
Write-ups for the top 10 signal-callers -- the cream of the QB Index crop -- are provided by Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr, who just so happened to handle this weekly quarterbacking rundown last season. So, while the rankings are Chris', if you've got beef with a blurb There are now two players in modern NFL history with a 100-plus passer rating and 1,150-plus passing yards in their first four games: Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. And Herbert has done it with an injury-plagued supporting cast. Now he gets a Week 6 bye before taking on the Jaguars and Broncos back-to-back.
Chris Wesseling reveals his ranking of all 32 starting quarterbacks entering Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson opens the year at No. 3, while Tom Brady doesn't crack the top 16. Once they wrested play-calling control from the likes of Unitas, NFL coaches developed a natural preference for drop-back, follow-orders, take-what-the-defense-gives-you quarterbacks , reducing the ranks of the improvisational, make-something-happen-off-script performance artists.
This past week around the NFL was interesting in that top-end quarterbacks struggled in games that seemed to be ripe for the picking. Meanwhile, another Super Bowl signal-caller continued his early-season domination. © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Two previously high-ranked quarterbacks in that of Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott continued with their recent struggles.
It’s in this that we look at the top-10 quarterbacks in the NFL heading into Week 6.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes completed 22-of-39 passes for 321 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions in last week’s 19-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It’s simply shocking that this was considered a down week for the reigning NFL MVP. It also tells us just how sky high expectations are for the third-year quarterback.
Six teams on upset alert for Week 4 in the NFL
Here we identify six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 4. Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)Falcons QB Matt Ryan has thrown six interceptions in three games. If Tennessee’s edge rushers can bring the heat Sunday in Atlanta, then the secondary should benefit from one or two more.What this game may boil down to is whether Titans QB Marcus Mariota can get on the same page with his receiving corps. He opened the season with three touchdowns against Cleveland but has just one since.
The top teams in the NFL this season all have quarterbacks who possess this ability. They might not do it in the same way—Brady moves within the pocket, while a guy like Cam Newton or Russell Wilson may take off and run—but the best signal-callers find ways to make positive They've all advanced to 4-1 and have plotted postseason courses. You're going to find them at the top of my power rankings and teams that don't have this type of franchise quarterback —like the Browns and 49ers—near the bottom. Here's how I view the league heading into Week 6 . Last week's rankings can be found here.
As we head into Week 6 of the NFL season, a few contenders look shaky while a few others teams are climbing up our power rankings. Record: 0-4. Last week: 30th. Week 5 result: Lost to the Eagles, 31-6. Week 6 opponent: vs. Dallas Cowboys. One thing to know: The Jets' high hopes for 2019 were quickly dashed with the absence of starting quarterback Sam Darnold through the first quarter of the season. He's set to return this week, but with the Jets already off to an 0-4 start, it would take a miraculous turnaround for him to make a real difference.
Mahomes now heads into a big Week 6 outing against the Houston Texans having completed nearly 66% of his passes for 1,831 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in five games. These are, quite simply, some amazing stats for the youngster. © Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson took that giant leap ahead of Tom Brady after continuing with his early-season domination in a narrow win over the Los Angeles Rams last week. It’s a game that saw him complete 17-of-23 passes for 268 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Wilson continues to make plays that we have not seen from other quarterbacks in the modern NFL. And it has him as a legit MVP candidate heading into Week 6. He’s put up 1,409 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and zero picks this season. Over the course of his past 17 regular-season starts, Wilson has accounted for 40 touchdowns compared to four interceptions for a 120.5 rating. Is that good?
Rams' Gurley once again blasts ‘Thursday Night Football’
This isn’t the first time Gurley has gone off about the mid-week game. He blasted the NFL’s scheduling of Thursday Night Football last season, too. It appears that Gurley’s stance has not changed in the year-plus since he last questioned the league’s logic.He’s also not alone in this regard. Multiple NFL players have made their opinions known. The product suffers. Injuries are more prevalent. Through a 16-game season, having that short week also takes a physical toll on players.Unfortunately for Gurley and others, this is not going to change any time soon.
© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
In American football , the starting quarterback is typically viewed as the leader of a team. The quarterback is considered the most important position on the field and among the most important
Elliot Harrison ranks the 10 best quarterbacks in the NFL heading into the 2015 season. Find out how Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo landed among the top five. When I sat down to consider my top 10 quarterbacks , I weighed a variety of factors, including age, health concerns and supporting cast (and how it was affected during the offseason), as well as career trends. Needless to say, after the video above -- in which I present my top 10 -- went live, my innocently conceived take became a target for fastballs to the head and flying crabcakes.
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
We have to preface this by indicating that we’re now comparing Brady to himself. The six-time Super Bowl champion has thrown an interception in the red zone in each of his past two starts. That’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing from Mr. Brady. After all, the veteran had accounted for seven scores and zero picks in three games to open the season.
The good news? Brady has a plus-level matchup against a Giants team Thursday night that ranks 28th in the NFL stopping the pass and has yielded a 106.7 quarterback rating on the season. This should be a get-right game for Brady. © Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
After struggling to an extent in his first three games under rookie head coach Matt LaFleur, Rodgers has picked it up big time recently. He’s averaging 335 passing yards over the past two outings and is coming off a solid overall performance in a road win over the Dallas Cowboys last week.
Watch: Russell Wilson emotional in postgame interview on Paul Allen night
Wilson was tearful as he was interviewed. He was moved because the night was a tribute to late Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Russell Wilson gets emotional after winning close game vs Rams on Paul Allen night pic.twitter.com/W4RgAcZzYB— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 4, 2019Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, bought the Seahawks in 1996. He died last year at 65 due to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.Wilson also posted a video on social media after the game and gave tribute to Allen and said this win was for the late owner.For you Paul!!! #GoHawkspic.twitter.
But you love quarterbacks . So on the weekend that the 2018 Alabama Duck Calling Champion won the Sunday The brains of deceased former football players used to trickle into the CTE Center at Boston University. Coach of the Week . Bill O’Brien, head coach, Houston. I thought he coached a brilliant game in the This team is rounding into a top 10 defense and eventually people are going to notice.
The Steelers are back in the top 10 after snapping a three-game skid, while the Patriots sink to their lowest ranking in years. Dan Hanzus evaluates his NFL Power Rankings heading into the final week of the 2020 regular season. NFL Power Rankings, Week 11: Raiders, Cardinals rise; Seahawks, Titans exit top 10 . Following another wild week of NFL action -- one which included the craziest finish of the season -- Dan Hanzus updates his Power Rankings. How high do the Cardinals fly after the Hail Murray?
Rodgers will be marked down some given that he’s thrown just six touchdowns in five games. However, Aaron Jones has vultured eight touchdowns from his quarterback. It’s hard to blame Rodgers for that, especially given the fact that Green Bay’s new offense calls for more balance. As it is, Rodgers has turned the corner in his first season under LaFleur. It’s only going to get better from here on out. © Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
5. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
What an absolutely amazing performance from Watson in last week’s 53-32 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The third-year quarterback completed 28-of-33 passes for 426 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Statistically speaking, it was one of the best outings we’ve seen from a quarterback over the past decade. That’s not hyperbole. It also enables Watson to ascend the rankings heading into Week 6.
Through the first five games of the season, Watson has accounted for 1,486 total yards with 14 touchdowns and one interception. He’s turned the corner in a big way as a third-year player. It’s going to be fun to watch moving forward on the season.
Bills’ Jordan Phillips responds to trash talk from ‘bum’ Taylor Lewan
Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Taylor Lewan is known for being quite outspoken and riling up opponents, and he’s made some angry enemies on the Buffalo Bills’ defensive line. © Jim Brown-USA TODAY SportsThings started after Sunday’s 14-7 Bills win, Lewan’s first game of the season after a four-game suspension for a violation of the league’s drug policy. The biggest shot was fired by Bills defensive lineman Shaq Lawson, who was not impressed when asked about Lewan and the Tennessee offensive line after the game.
© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
6. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Primarily because of a banged-up wide receiver group and all-around team struggles this season, Wentz is flying under the radar. It’s somewhat surprising given that he entered the season as an MVP candidate. What we do know is that Wentz has upped his game in recent weeks for an Eagles team that now heads into Week 6 at 3-2 and in a first-place tie in the NFC East.
The former No. 2 pick has thrown six touchdowns with zero picks in three games since a two-interception performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2. He’s now accounted for 10 touchdowns compared to two interceptions through five games. That’s not too shabby, at all. © Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
A lot was made of Prescott improving his game big time under first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore over the first two games of the season. That span saw him put up north of 750 total yards with seven touchdowns and one interception. It’s been completely down hill since.
Prescott was picked off three times in a brutal all-around performance against the Packers last week. Sure, he went for a career-high 463 yards, but those turnovers hurt big time. With four touchdowns and five picks over the past three games, things are not looking great for the suddenly mistake-prone Prescott in a contract year.
15 key questions for NFL Week 6
Week 6 of the NFL has an exciting matchup between winless teams along with several divisional battles for who gets a division title and a more favorable playoff setting. © Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Here are 15 key questions for NFL Week 6.1. Can the Buccaneers halt Christian McCaffrey again?Only one team has managed to come close to stopping Christian McCaffrey this season, and surprisingly, it’s the Buccaneers. In their Week 2 matchup, McCaffrey was held to just 37 yards on 16 carries in Tampa Bay’s 20-14 victory.
© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
8. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Brutal. That’s the best way to describe Jackson’s performance in an overtime win against an injury-plagued Pittsburgh Steelers squad last week. The second-year quarterback threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball in the most mistake-filled start of his young career.
It’s just the continuation of some growing pains for the sophomore signal caller. In fact, he’s accounted for five interceptions and has been sacked nine times over the past two games after throwing seven touchdowns with zero picks and being sacked six times over the course of the first three games. Ouch! © Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
9. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Much like his Lions team, Stafford is flying under the radar big time. The former No. 1 overall pick comes out of Detroit’s bye on pace for nearly 4,500 passing yards with 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. It would be the Pro Bowler’s best season to date.
It must, however, be noted that Stafford’s level of competition has not been great this season. The Chargers and Cardinals have each yielded a 108-plus quarterback rating on the season. Kansas City and Philadelphia have also struggled from a coverage standpoint. Stafford will now have his chance to prove the first four games weren’t a fluke against one of the best defenses in the NFL in the form of the Green Bay Packers on Monday night. © Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
10. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
All he does is win. Following Monday night’s blowout victory over the Cleveland Browns, Garoppolo is now 10-2 as the 49ers’ starter since joining them midway through the 2017 season. That record is hard to ignore when comparing to other quarterbacks around the league.
Seahawks celebrate TD with NSYNC's 'Bye Bye Bye' dance
The Seattle Seahawks are starting to feel it after Jaron Brown caught a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson late in the second quarter, he and a few teammates celebrated.After Jaron Brown caught a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson late in the second quarter, he and a few teammates celebrated by doing NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” dance.
There’s still some issues here. Garoppolo is on pace to throw 28 touchdowns compared to 20 interceptions on the season. That’s the bad news. The good news? He still boasts a near 100 quarterback rating and has the quickest release of any quarterback west of New England. Oh, and Garoppolo has his 49ers at a perfect 4-0 on the season.
Related slideshow: Yardbarker's NFL Week 5 game-by-game analysis, grades (Provided by Yardbarker)
SAN FRANCISCO 31, CLEVELAND 3
BROWNS (2-3): The pressure is starting to mount on BAKER MAYFIELD, who had the worst game of his career. He posted career lows in passing yards (100), completions (eight), passer rating (13.4), completion percentage (36.3) and yards per attempt (4.5). Playing on the road against San Francisco's elite defense, Mayfield's accuracy was unusually poor and his struggles with turnovers continued. He leads the NFL with eight interceptions in 2019 and 22 interceptions since 2018. Dating to last season, his stretch of six consecutive games with an interception is the longest active streak in the league. Getting a connection going with Odell Beckham will be essential -- the star receiver has gone back-to-back games with fewer than three receptions for the first time in his career. GAME GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Seattle (Sun.)-- Michael Nania49ERS (4-0): Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's unit continues to dominate, as his 49ers absolutely clobbered a Browns offense that was coming off of a 40-point performance at Baltimore in Week 4. San Francisco held Cleveland to three points and 180 yards. Forcing turnovers is a hallmark of the 49ers' defensive success. They forced four turnovers, their fourth straight game with at least one takeaway. The 49ers lead the league in forced turnovers per game (2.8). Nick Bosa's ascension has helped the defense tap into its full potential, as the No. 2 overall pick broke out with two sacks and five quarterback hits on Mayfield. GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: at Los Angeles Rams (Sun.)-- Michael Nania Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS 19, KANSAS CITY 13
COLTS: (3-2): Indianapolis’ defense turned in a heroic performance against PATRICK MAHOMES and the Chiefs. The D-line played the biggest part. Indy was without Malik Hooker, Darius Leonard and Clayton Geathers, but Justin Houston, Grover Stewart and the rest of Indy’s front-seven owned the line of scrimmage. The Colts harassed Mahomes and, in particular, suffocated Kansas City’s running game. It was an impressive and surprising effort; Indianapolis allowed three of its first four opponents to rush for at least 100 yards, and Oakland dominated them on the ground in Week 4. The Colts now get a much-needed bye week to get healthy, before they host Houston in a game that could shape the AFC South race. If the Colts win that one, they could easily be 7-2 by the time a mid-November divisional crucible begins. GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: Week 6 bye, vs. Texans (Sun., Oct. 20)-- Chris MuellerCHIEFS: (4-1): The first of many national showcases for this Chiefs team illuminated an uncomfortable reality. They may not be sufficiently improved defensively to capitalize on Patrick Mahomes’ brilliance. When the reigning MVP is compromised or is missing enough key players, the Chiefs’ foundation becomes shaky. The Chiefs entered Sunday night’s game 31st in run defense, and the Colts turned the clock back to expose it. Kansas City used considerable capital on defensive augmentations this offseason but had no answer for Indianapolis’ rushing onslaught. The Chiefs, who did lose key defensive tackle Chris Jones, gave up 180 rushing yards – the third straight game in which they have allowed at least 180. Considering the Chiefs are also below average on pass defense and rush offense, they are again asking Mahomes to walk a tightrope. For a team carrying the NFL’s best contract, its defense still being one of the league’s worst is troubling. GAME GRADE: D + | NEXT: vs. Texans (Sun.)-- Sam Robinson Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
GREEN BAY 34, DALLAS 24
PACKERS (4-1): It's about time the coaching staff trusted AARON JONES enough to feed him touches. It took Jamaal Williams (concussion) going down, but hey, maybe everyone can now see he is far and away the best running back option. After the Packers took a big early lead, Jones got a little breather here and there in the second half, but still finished with 182 total yards against an excellent defense. He has natural running skills and is developing as a pass-catcher. This game also showcased Jones' improvement as a route runner, and he's getting better in pass protection. Without Devante Adams (turf toe), Aaron Rodgers spread the ball around, with nine Packers catching at least one pass. It's telling that Jones not only led the Packers in rushing but also was Green Bay’s leading receiver (seven catches for 75 yards) by a significant margin. GAME GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: vs. Lions-- Matt WilliamsonCOWBOYS (3-2): With Dak Prescott's contract looming, it’s impossible for his performance not to be the focus. Although he made this game interesting down the stretch, he finished with three interceptions, the 10th multi-interception game of his career, now early in his fourth season. Prescott threw for 463 yards, 226 to Amari Cooper. But much of that yardage came in the second half, when the Packers' defense seemed to let up. Green Bay's defense was especially impressive in blanking the Cowboys in the first half. Cooper, the former Raiders receiver, has been a wise investment for Dallas, but whether he's enough to help turn Dak into a top-line starter remains to be seen. Two weeks in a row against considerable competition, Dallas was found lacking. Are the Cowboys willing to settle for "just OK"? GAME GRADE: C | NEXT: at Jets-- Mike Tunison Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
CAROLINA 34, JACKSONVILLE 27
JAGUARS (2-3): Jacksonville’s run defense had been trending in the right direction the past two weeks, holding the Titans and Broncos to a combined 159 yards in two wins. But the Jags' run D was a no-show against Carolina. CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY gouged Jacksonville, especially on an 84-yard gallop that saw more than half the defense over-commit to a fake. Even McCaffrey’s backup, Reggie Bonnafon, hit for a 59-yard TD. Jacksonville’s aggressiveness was its problem on that play, too. Multiple members of the front-seven over-pursued because of an end-around fake; the Jaguars’ secondary had no chance to catch him because all the players took a bad angle. Gardner Minshew (374 yards passing) played well enough, but if the Jaguars are going to win the AFC South, they must get more from the defense. GAME GRADE: C-minus | NEXT: vs. Saints (Sun.)-- Chris MuellerPANTHERS (3-2): Christian McCaffrey continues to add reasons why he’s an elite back and in the discussion for the best in the game. Sunday’s performance was historic in many ways. The third of his three touchdowns was an 84-yard run, the longest in franchise history. (According to NextGen Stats, he reached a max speed of 21.95 mph on the TD run, his fastest touch since 2018.) McCaffrey’s performance was one of only 18 since 2000 by a running back that resulted in at least 237 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns. That means you’re talking about a roughly once-a-year type of outing, usually done by only the best of the best. The only downside was a sequence in the red zone in the fourth quarter when the Panthers tried to get him a passing touchdown (he had one in his career before Sunday) on third down and it didn’t work out. Then McCaffrey was stuffed on a fourth-down attempt. Carolina held on, but it slightly marred an otherwise excellent game. GAME GRADE: B+ | NEXT: at Bucs (Sun.)-- Mike Tunison Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
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BALTIMORE 26, PITTSBURGH 23 (OT)
RAVENS (3-2): In an overtime game, the Ravens had the ball 13 minutes, 26 seconds longer and ran the ball 40 times. Despite being the much fresher unit, Baltimore’s defense was far from impressive. This is more than just an isolated incident for the once-exceptional unit, as it has been abused four weeks in a row. Pittsburgh’s offensive box score isn’t telling (269 yards), because the unit still seeks an identity. It lost MASON RUDOLPH (concussion) to a vicious hit by Earl Thomas, which put third-stringer Devlin Hodges at the offense's controls. Yet the Steelers still averaged 5.3 yards per play, a yard and a half more than Baltimore. The run defense is a problem without question, but the area of most concern is Baltimore’s pass rush. This is a blitz-heavy scheme, but the Ravens' secondary is uncharacteristically poor, and the lack of pure pass-rushers hurts. Terrell Suggs, where are you? GAME GRADE: C+ | NEXT: vs., Bengals (Sun.)-- Matt WilliamsonSTEELERS (1-4): Going back to 2017, Pittsburgh has rushed the passer as well as or better than almost every defense. The Steelers had 52 sacks last season, 56 in 2017. It's what Pittsburgh (19 sacks) does best this season, too. The Steelers' rush (five sacks) on Lamar Jackson was superb. But what stood out in Week 5 was their pass-rushing plan. Not only did the Steelers push the pocket really well, but for the most part, they kept Jackson bottled up by staying in their rush lanes. We didn’t see a lot of games or stunting. Jackson (14 carries for 70 yards) got loose here and there. The execution of a pass-rush plan, an underrated important aspect of playing great defense, was impressive. GAME GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: at Chargers (Sun.)-- Matt Williamson Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
NEW ENGLAND 33, WASHINGTON 7
PATRIOTS (5-0): Jamie Collins went from athletic Patriots linebacker to a freelancing player deemed unnecessary during the team’s Super Bowl LII run; the Pats traded him to the Browns in 2016. Cleveland soon gave the outside linebacker a position-record $12.5 million-per-year contract that he did not live up to. Now back in New England on an incentive-laden deal and counting only $3 million against the cap, he has become a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Against Washington, Collins continued his resurgence by recovering a second-quarter fumble and forcing another on an impressive inside rush that resulted in a fourth-quarter sack of Colt McCoy. A player the Browns cut has been one of the NFL’s best this season, finishing Week 5 with 4.5 sacks (an NFL-high for off-ball ‘backers) and a career-high three interceptions. For a Patriots team coming off perhaps the Super Bowl’s greatest defensive showing, Collins looks like a frightening luxury. GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: vs. Giants (Thurs.)-- Sam RobinsonREDSKINS (0-5): In a game the Patriots were bound to win in a laugher, especially amid the swirling rumors of JAY GRUDEN'S impending dismissal, the Washington defense put on a better performance than anyone had a right to expect, even if the final score doesn’t indicate as much. Washington limited Tom Brady to completing three of his first seven attempts en route to taking an early lead, the Pats’ first deficit of the season. A fourth-down stop and a red-zone interception by Montae Nicholson, after the Washington offense had just turned the ball over on its own side of the field, kept the game competitive longer than perhaps it should have been. Think Washington fans are disenchanted? Asked by the Washington Post what he thought about the predominately New England crowd at FedEx Field, Brady said, "I thought it was pretty amazing. That felt like a home game." Gruden, as expected, was canned early Monday morning. GAME GRADE: C | NEXT: at Dolphins (Sun.)-- Mike Tunison Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
BUFFALO 14, TENNESSEE 7
BILLS (4-1): With Miami on tap after a Week 6 bye, Buffalo is firmly in contention. The Bills again received spotty offense but have become a matchup nightmare for opposing aerial attacks. After stifling Tom Brady in one of the worst games of his career, Buffalo smothered Marcus Mariota. The Bills’ front seven did not sack Brady but dropped Mariota five times, four by inside rushers. Defensive tackle JORDAN PHILLIPS had a three-sack first half. Buffalo recently lost promising D-tackle Harrison Phillips (torn ACL) for the season. On Sunday, defensive end Trent Murphy (head) and linebacker Matt Milano (hamstring) left with injuries in the second half. Yet Buffalo still held the Titans to 4-for-14 on third downs. The Bills are headed in the right direction in Sean McDermott’s third season. This is a better team than their fluky 2017 playoff squad. GAME GRADE: B + | NEXT: Week 6 bye, vs. Dolphins (Sun., Oct. 20)-- Sam RobinsonTITANS (2-3): It was reasonable to assume that a matchup of two of the league’s top-five scoring defenses would produce a low-scoring game. But the Titans must be kicking themselves because of their kicker. Cairo Santos missed all four of his field goals — 50- and 53-yarders, a 36-yarder, and a 33-yarder that was blocked — and those misses were the difference. Santos came into the game 41-for-44 from 30-39 yards and 8-for-15 from 50-plus yards for his career. Titans coach Mike Vrabel says he still has confidence in him. Santos' difficulties obscured the fact that Marcus Mariota and the offense were sloppy, had touchdowns nullified by penalties and several drives stifled by sacks. The Titans were penalized eight times for 60 yards and allowed five sacks, despite left tackle Taylor Lewan’s return from a four-game PED suspension. GAME GRADE: D | NEXT: at Broncos (Sun.)-- Chris Mueller Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
DENVER 20, LA CHARGERS 13
BRONCOS (1-4): Denver could not curtail the Jaguars’ momentum in Week 4 but managed to stop the Chargers from stealing the win. Los Angeles, however, would have operated differently in the second half had cornerback Kareem Jackson, a former Texan, not provided Denver’s defensive play of the year. Jackson derailed the Bolts’ fourth-and-goal play by forcing an Austin Ekeler fumble near the pylon in the second quarter. This ensured the Broncos carried a 17-0 lead into halftime. Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 cornerback entering Sunday, Jackson made a Broncos-high 10 tackles and helped a Bradley Chubb-less defense hold PHILIP RIVERS to 4.4 yards per attempt. GAME GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: vs. Titans (Sun.)-- Sam RobinsonCHARGERS (2-3): Despite having Mike Williams and Melvin Gordon back in the lineup, the Bolts could not produce enough against a Broncos team down Bradley Chubb, starting linebacker Josey Jewell and would-be starting cornerback Bryce Callahan. Los Angeles totaled 246 yards – 120 fewer than any output of their previous 2019 outings – and were outrushed 191-35. A week after the Jaguars erased a 14-point Broncos lead largely with Leonard Fournette’s 225-yard day, the Chargers were not patient enough with the run. Philip Rivers threw two interceptions. Keenan Allen, the NFL’s receiving leader after Week 4, caught four passes for 18 yards. This profiled as a non-threatening spot for the injury-plagued team, but the Chargers are plagued by inconsistency. LA, which played at home before a big Denver contingent, is in trouble amid a crowded AFC middle tier. GAME GRADE: D + | NEXT: vs. Steelers (Sun.)-- Sam Robinson Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
ARIZONA 26, CINCINNATI 23
CARDINALS: (1-3-1): KYLER MURRAY and Kliff Kingsbury each got their first win in the NFL, and it isn’t hard to pinpoint why. Arizona’s offensive line kept Murray upright almost the entire game. The Cardinals allowed only one sack despite coming in having surrendered 20, most in the league through four games. Murray did his part, too, managing to get rid of the football under pressure. The lack of negative plays was a major factor in helping the Cardinals establish rhythm and consistency. He was also more decisive as a playmaker, and he led a 266-yard team rushing effort with 93 on his own. Arizona piled up 514 yards, and while Cincinnati is one of the league’s worst defenses, it was still a big step forward for Murray and Kingsbury. Notable: Arizona prevented a score by a tight end for the first time this season. GAME GRADE: B + | NEXT: vs. Falcons (Sun.)-- Chris MuellerBENGALS (0-5): It's clear the Cardinals are the better of these two poor teams. Here's the deal with Cincinnati: Its offense has only two players! Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd; that's it. Andy Dalton is a professional quarterback, and tight end Tyler Eifert can occasionally make plays, but this team has a putrid offensive line, and every defense the Bengals face (at least until injured A.J.Green returns) is going to make life extremely difficult on Mixon and Boyd. These two touched the ball 30 times, accounting for 232 of Cincinnati’s 370 yards. The offense is far too dependent on them. Hey, I thought head coach Zac Taylor's forte was offense. GAME GRADE: D+ | NEXT: at Ravens (Sun.)-- Matt Williamson Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
HOUSTON 53, ATLANTA 32
FALCONS (1-4): Atlanta’s secondary will be having nightmares about Will Fuller for weeks to come. Part of the Texans receiver’s monster day had to do with several miscommunications in coverage by the Falcons, including both of his first-half touchdowns. Fuller didn’t just reap the benefit of broken plays, he also just straight-up smoked an overmatched Atlanta secondary when defenders had the right idea about where they needed to be. Fuller had 14 catches on 16 targets for 217 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a day that looks almost effortlessly easy; Atlanta’s listless coverage helped make it that way. GAME GRADE: D-minus | NEXT: at Cardinals (Sun.)-- Mike TunisonTEXANS (3-2): If this is what life is like for DESHAUN WATSON with a clean pocket, his offensive line should be the most motivated group on the planet. After an opening three and out, the Texans piled up six touchdowns and two field goals, with only the end of the first half stopping another drive. Watson finished with five touchdowns and a perfect passer rating, consistently shredding the Falcons’ defense with deep shots downfield. This came one week after the Texans didn’t complete a pass longer than 14 yards in a loss to Carolina. Watson’s performance and the line's protection were by far the most encouraging aspects of the game for Houston, but Will Fuller’s career day was close behind. If he can function as a truly dangerous second option behind DeAndre Hopkins, Houston will be the team to beat in the AFC South. GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: at Chiefs (Sun.)-- Chris Mueller Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW ORLEANS 31, TAMPA BAY 24
BUCS (2-3): Coming off a 55-point outing in a win over the Rams, the Buccaneers must have figured they wouldn’t need quite that many offensive fireworks to top a Brees-less Saints team, although obviously one would like to keep the offense humming regardless. It can be hard to be effective to that degree when your top receiver, Mike Evans, finishes the game with no catches on three targets. Perhaps that's a credit to Marshon Lattimore, but wideouts considered among the game’s best don’t usually pull disappearing acts such as that. GAME GRADE: D + | NEXT: vs. Panthers (Sun.)-- Mike TunisonSAINTS (4-1): The idea during Drew Brees’ absence is that the Saints were hoping for just good enough quarterback play to tread water and eke out a few wins. That has been the case for the most part. New Orleans got good QB play and then some against the Buccaneers, as Teddy Bridgewater threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns. One of the knocks against Bridgewater is that he tends to play the short game and not get a lot of air under the ball. Against the Bucs, he had an impressive strike for 33 yards to Ted Ginn for a score and another to Josh Hill on a 26-yard play. GAME GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: at Jaguars (Sun.)-- Mike Tunison Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
MINNESOTA 28, NY GIANTS 10
VIKINGS (3-2): The Vikings have one of the league's best running games, making play-action rollouts a highly effective tactic by KIRK COUSINS. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison combined for 184 rushing yards on 28 attempts against New York. Cousins isn’t a great athlete, but he does move well and certainly can throw effectively on the run. Designed quarterback movement off play action played to Cousins’ strengths and put the Giants' suspect linebackers in compromised positions. This game plan had assistant coach Gary Kubiak written all over it -- keep an eye on this the rest of the season. GAME GRADE: B | NEXT: vs. Eagles (Sun.)-- Matt WilliamsonGIANTS (2-3): There are plenty of takes to be had about Daniel Jones coming back to earth following his excellent first outing two weeks ago in Tampa. Sunday’s loss makes it clear there are plenty of issues with the roster even if the Giants get a serviceable performance from their starting quarterback. Before Week 5, Kirk Cousins hadn’t thrown for more than 233 yards in a game. He had that before the end of the first half against the Giants. New York’s secondary was ripe for the picking all game, and it shows in the nearly flawless performances that Cousins (306 yards passing) and Adam Thielen (seven catches and 130 yards) put up in a one-sided game. GAME GRADE: D | NEXT: at Patriots (Thur.)-- Mike Tunison Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
OAKLAND 24, CHICAGO 21 (LONDON)
BEARS (3-2): Allen Robinson, who had seven catches on eight targets for 97 yards and two touchdowns, is easily Chicago’s best offensive player. That showed in a big way in Week 5. For the better part of this game, the Bears surprisingly lost the battle at the line of scrimmage. Chicago was also hampered by penalties, poor blocking, a lackluster running game and less-than-stellar defense. But Robinson was spectacular. Rarely is he mentioned as an upper-echelon wide receiver, but he excels at all levels of the field, is good after the catch and often dominant at the catch point. He has bailed out Chicago QBs all season. GAME GRADE: C | NEXT: Week 6 bye, vs. Saints (Sun, Oct. 20)-- Matt WilliamsonRAIDERS (3-2): With the Raiders producing one winning season since 2003, the bulk of their drives in this era have not been particularly consequential. A drive in London may go down as a season-changing march. Jon Gruden pulling the trigger on a fake punt on a fourth-and-1 from his own 27-yard line ignited a Raiders team on the verge of blowing a 17-point lead. The direct snap to safety Erik Harris doubled as a turning point, with the Raiders then piecing together a 13-play, 97-yard, go-ahead drive against the Bears’ top-tier defense. DEREK CARR, No. 22 in QBR through four games, led the drive without hitting Tyrell Williams or Darren Waller. Oakland rookie tight end Foster Moreau contributed 41 yards on the possession, including a diving grab to set up Josh Jacobs’ game-winner. GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: Week 6 bye, at Packers (Sun., Oct. 20)-- Sam Robinson Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA 31, NY JETS 6
JETS (0-4): Their offensive line struggles in recent years having bled into 2019, the Jets made changes before Week 5. Despite the two new starters – left guard Alex Lewis and right tackle Chuma Edoga – the Jets gave up 10 sacks to the Eagles. For a team that has seen two quarterbacks go down, this made a third consecutive Jets game nearly unwatchable. One of those sacks resulted in a touchdown, with Eagles in-seasoncornerback acquisition Orlando Scandrick ripping the ball from Luke Falk and sprinting for a touchdown. The Jets last allowed 10-plus sacks in a 2012 game against the Chargers, when another backup quarterback – Greg McElroy – was concussed. Falk made it through this game but again finished with a dreadful stat line – 15-for-26, 120 yards, two interceptions. The Jets cannot be properly evaluated until Sam Darnold returns, but their stretch without him exposed plenty of flaws that stand to hinder the starter’s development when he comes back. GAME GRADE: F | NEXT: vs. Cowboys (Sun.)-- Sam RobinsonEAGLES (3-2): Philly was more or less on autopilot in what was always an expected win. The offense (446 yards) plowed through New York with a run-heavy opening drive to take a touchdown lead. From there, the Eagles' defense forced the turnovers, including a 52-yard pick-six by linebacker NATE GERRY on the ensuing Jets possession, that have been missing in their early season struggles. Still, a big part of being a playoff team is taking care of business when you have the opportunity, so that’s an encouraging sign for an Eagles team that has been erratic and faces a difficult six-week stretch ahead (at Vikings, at Cowboys, at Bills, vs. Bears, vs. Patriots, vs. Seahawks). GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: at Vikings (Sun.)-- Mike Tunison Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
THURSDAY: SEATTLE 30, LA RAMS 29
RAMS (3-2): Jared Goff and Sean McVay seem to be following the Ben Roethlisberger 2018 plan, and they are getting similarly negative results. Goff leads the league in pass attempts (222) and completions (140), but the Rams haven’t reaped the benefits from his heavy workload. After starting 3-0, with Goff not attempting more than 39 passes in a game, they have lost two straight while he has attempted 68 and 49 passes, respectively. The magic number for Goff and the Rams seems to be 40. When he attempts fewer than 40 passes in a game, the Rams are 25-9, but they are only 2-7 when he airs it out 40 or more times. GAME GRADE: B-minus | NEXT: vs. 49ers-- Chris MuellerSEAHAWKS (4-1): If it hasn’t already happened, it’s time to formally elevate RUSSELL WILSON to the league’s truly elite quarterback tier — the domain of Brady, Mahomes, Rodgers and Brees. Wilson’s lowest passer rating for a game this season is 102.6, and his 126.3 rating leads the league, six points ahead of Patrick Mahomes. Wilson still hasn’t thrown an interception and has been the picture of efficiency while still being aggressive down the field. He is second to Mahomes in adjusted yards per pass attempt and adjusted net yards per pass attempt, and leads the league in completion percentage, at 73.1. Jared Goff got more headlines last season, but in what is shaping up to be a close race in the NFC West, Seattle appears to have the best player at the most important position. GAME GRADE: A | NEXT: at Browns (Sun.)-- Chris Mueller Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
BYES: DETROIT | MIAMI
LIONS (2-1-1): Although they are in the more difficult conference and in a highly competitive division, the Lions are in a good place as they enter their bye week. This team is patterned after New England, and some Patriots-like traits are starting to take shape. For example, the Lions' defense did an about as good of a job as anyone has to date against Patrick Mahomes and the great Chiefs offense in Week 4. A key to their success was a high percentage of man coverage, something we see a lot in New England. Are the Lions turning a corner? NEXT: at Packers (Mon.)-- Matt WilliamsonDOLPHINS (0-4): An issue the Dolphins will run into come 2020: assembling a starting lineup. Miami’s draft capital and cap space become less valuable with so many needs. The No. 1 goal in what could be a historically bad season should be spotting talent that can start when the rebuild’s next phase begins. The Dolphins are mostly failing on that front, but one role player stands out. Pro Football Focus ranks linebacker RAEKWON McMILLAN first among 74 off-ball ‘backers who qualify for full-time grades. PFF slots no other Dolphin in the top 20 at any position. The 2017 second-round pick out of Ohio State is two years removed from the ACL tear that wiped out his rookie season. The Dolphins have used Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen as their full-time linebackers, with McMillan playing just 121 snaps as primarily a run stopper. They need to give more time to this potential in-house asset for evaluation purposes. NEXT: vs. Redskins (Sun.)-- Sam Robinson Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 7 .
Week 7 offers plenty of intriguing matchups, and these six teams are on upset watch.We’re putting six teams on upset alert heading into Sunday’s NFL Week 7 action, and chances are at least a few of them will succumb.