John Woz, Jr. | October 7th, 2019
Week five of the NFL season did not disappoint, it had everything we come to expect in pro football. This Sunday’s notebook features a London game, a big performance by a Carolina Panthers’ running back, Steelers injury worries and another lively performance by Gardner Minshew. The New York Jets had another week to forget.
Oakland Raiders tame Bears defense
Bears 21-24 Raiders
The Raiders scored 17 unanswered points in North London. The Bears, reeling from a first-half shutout returned for the second half to put up 21 unanswered points, but the Raiders scored a late touchdown to seal the victory. Matt Nagy has not rekindled Chicago’s 2018 form. Nagy watched his defense recover a fumble return on their own one-yard line. Nagy had problems on the other side of the football, as Chase Daniel threw two interceptions, the second of which secured the win for Oakland.
Oakland had a pick-six pulled back for roughing the passer. The officials didn’t like the hit on Daniel. The Bears drop to 3-2, the same record as do the Raiders. It’s the first time the Raiders have won two games in a row since 2017. Chicago must find the defensive form that took them to playoffs last season. Jon Gruden can take lots of positives from the London win. Have the Raiders turned a corner?
Pittsburgh Steelers another QB to injury
Ravens 26-23 Steelers
An overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens adds salt to the wounds. The Steelers have already lost veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season. To make matters worse, the backup quarterback Mason Rudolph took a huge hit from Earl Thomas III in the third quarter. The helmet-to-helmet hit meant that Rudolph had to leave the game. Devlin Hodges is the next man up for the Steelers.
Mike Tomlin is under pressure to win football games, but his team showed mettle in a tightly contested game. The Steelers find themselves at the wrong end of the AFC North, how will their season end? A losing record looks the most likely outcome. Lamar Jackson had a tough time against the Steelers defense. Jackson threw for 161 yards with a touchdown and three picks, and the Steelers defense sacked him five times. Baltimore leads the AFC North.
Bills mean business
Bills 14-7 Titans
Mediocrity is a synonym no longer applicable in western New York State. The Buffalo Bills moved to 4-1 after a narrow 14-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Josh Allen threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns. The AFC East has turned into a two-horse race between the Bills and the New England Patriots. Bills pass rusher Trent Murphy and offensive lineman Cody Ford both left the game early with head injuries. The Titans allowed five sacks on Marcus Mariota.
The Bills defense held the Titans to 252 net yards. It’s three victories on the spin away from home, an achievement the Bills last recorded in 2014. Can the Bills hang in there and make a serious challenge for the postseason? Sean McDermott’s team has a bye in week six. I expect the Bills to move to 5-1 after the bye, as their next game is against the Miami Dolphins. Duke Williams deserves a mention. The former Auburn wide receiver had a seven-yard touchdown reception. McDermott promoted Williams from the practice squad on Friday.
Saint Teddy Bridgewater
Buccaneers 24-31 Saints
Sean Payton may have lost his veteran quarterback, but his backup is on a hot streak. Bridgewater is 3-0 since taking over from Drew Brees. The New Orleans Saints moved to 4-1 after a 31-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bridgewater was 26-32 with 314 yards and four touchdowns. The former Minnesota Vikings starter is on pace to beat a career-high of 14 touchdowns. The victory keeps the Saints in the driver’s seat of the NFC South.
Kliff Kingsbury will enjoy victory Monday
Cardinals 26-23 Bengals
The battle of the basement teams, they scored 27 points in the fourth quarter. The Arizona Cardinals moved to 1-3-1 after picking up their first win under rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Cardinals held the Cincinnati Bengals to a field goal in each of the first three quarters, eventually winning 26-23. The game had the blueprint of two football teams with issues in all three phases of the game.
It was the first win for rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. The 2019 first overall pick ran six yards into the end zone for the first score of the game. Murray, a dual-threat quarterback, led the Cardinals in rushing yards. The Bengals found some juice in the fourth quarter, but their defense finished the game with one sack and two quarterback hits on Murray. Zac Taylor faces an uphill battle. At 0-5, the Bengals are arguably the most dreadful team in the league, or are they?
Eagles sweep lackluster Jets
Jets 6-31 Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles feasted on a brittle New York Jets offensive line. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold wasn’t healthy, so Luke Falk got the start. The 199th pick of the 2018 Draft won’t forget this game in a hurry, the Eagles sacked him 10 times for a loss of 59 yards. Falk also threw two interceptions. The Jets slide to 0-4 and sit rooted to the bottom of the AFC East with the same record as the Dolphins. Next up for the Jets is the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots, oh boy!
Christian McCaffrey keeps pounding
Jaguars 27-34 Panthers
Neither team had their starting quarterback on the field. McCaffrey had a huge performance in the Panthers 34-27 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. McCaffery had a career-high 237 yards from scrimmage, and three touchdowns. The Jaguars were competitive, and rookie Minshew was 26-44 with 374 yards and two touchdowns. Carolina moves to 3-2, while Jacksonville falls to 2-3 to stay third in a tightly contested AFC South.
The Raiders have found purpose, The Bills look hungry and the Saints have a capable deputy signal-caller. Injuries continue to plague the Steelers. Elsewhere, there’s a race for the first overall pick in 2020, it involves the Dolphins, Jets, and the Bengals. That’s it for this week’s roundup of the early games, see you next week.
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