NFL Analysis: Wrapping Up Week 5
Denver and Kansas City stay unbeaten at the top of the AFC West, while New Orleans does the same in running away from the NFC South early. Atlanta and Houston look finished, while Green Bay and Indianapolis look impressive. TheSportsNotebook’s NFL analysis closes out Week 5 with a run through all 14 games…
Denver 51 Dallas 48: Peyton and Romo were both brilliant, throwing for over 400 yards each, and even their two interceptions can be overlooked on this kind of passing volume. The difference is that Denver has a running game, with Knowshon Moreno, while Dallas does not. And Denver got a pass rush, with four sacks, while Dallas did not.
Kansas City 26 Tennessee 17: There was no first-game magic for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went 21/41 for 247 yards and threw two interceptions. Kansas City stays undefeated, and shows some gumption in doing it, dominating the fourth quarter with 13 unanswered points.
New Orleans 26 Chicago 18: Even though you can never be happy with a home loss, even against an undefeated team, the Bears can take away some positives out of this. Jay Cutler played a great game, at 24/33 for 358 yards against a defense playing very well. And getting Alshon Jeffrey going with 10 catches for 218 yards could pay off big down the line.
San Francisco 34 Houston 3: The Texans are still 2-3, but I think they’re done. Matt Schaub seems to get worse with each passing week, throwing three interceptions in this game. Colin Kaepernick only went 6/15 though, and he has still not played a really good game since Week 1 against Green Bay. San Francisco’s win, coupled with Seattle’s loss, buys the Niners time to figure it out, but this trend is becoming alarming.
NY Jets 30 Atlanta 28: Geno Smith leads the second drive for a last-play game-winning field goal in his young career and we can bury the Falcons, who are now 1-4. What bothers me most about Atlanta is that until they got a fourth-quarter lead of 28-27, they were the team trailing the entire way. This, in spite of the fact it was a must-win game at home against a mediocre team in prime-time. That tells me they either lack the focus or simply aren’t good enough in 2013.
Green Bay 22 Detroit 9: This has the potential to a big turning point game for the Packers. Detroit played a good defensive game and kept Aaron Rodgers underneath most of the way. But Eddie Lacy led the way for a running attack that produced 180 yards, and Rodgers eventually hit some big plays down the field, most notably an 83-yard touchdown pass to James Jones that broke the game open late in the third quarter.
Indianapolis 34 Seattle 28: This was a great game, as the Colts rally from an early 12-0 deficit and a 28-23 deficit after three quarters. Andrew Luck played a no-mistake game to lead the way. Still, if you’re Seattle, you can’t be too down. They ran the ball well and it took a playoff team on its homefield to give the Seahawks their first loss.
Cleveland 37 Buffalo 24: The injuries to both young quarterbacks, Brian Hoyer for Cleveland and E.J. Manuel in Buffalo are the big takeaway here. When you’ve got a team that finally starts to turn things around and wins three in a row, but the biggest takeaway is that your new quarterback was lost for the year, you must live in Cleveland. Only this town could get keep beating on sports-wise this way.
Cincinnati 13 New England 6: Tom Brady played about as a bad a game as I can recall, going 18/38 for 197 yards. The Bengals were able to win the game by controlling it on the ground, rushing for 162 yards, with old Patriot back BenJarvus Green-Ellis pairing up with Giovanni Bernard for the carries.
Baltimore 26 Miami 23: The Ravens got the running game juiced up, with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce accounting for 174 yards. They got the pass rush going, getting six sacks, half of them from Terrell Suggs. But Joe Flacco continues to make mistakes. He might have only thrown one interception, after his five-pick atrocity in Buffalo last week, but the one miscue was a pick-6 deep in his own end that tied the game with eight minutes left.
Philadelphia 36 NY Giants 21: The Giants still can’t run the ball, Eli Manning is still a turnover machine and Big Blue is still winless. Nice showing for the Eagles, especially Nick Foles ,who went 16/25 for 197 yards after coming in for the injured Michael Vick. But until we see otherwise, we just have to assume this was a battle of incompetents.
St. Louis 34 Jacksonville 20: If Jacksonville doesn’t lose the turnover battle 3-0, this could have gotten embarrassing for the Rams, who led the worst team in the league just 27-20 deep into the fourth quarter.
Arizona 22 Carolina 6: Exactly how bad is Carolina’s pass protection that you can allow seven sacks with one of the most mobile and physically strong quarterbacks in the league behind you? Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington and Calais Campbell took their turns sacking Cam Newton, who also threw three interceptions.
Oakland 27 San Diego 17: Is Terrelle Pryor for real? He came back from a concussion to go a ruthlessly efficient 18/23 for 221 yards on the road. Most importantly, he didn’t make mistakes, while San Diego turned it over five times. This game underscores the fact that while Oakland isn’t very good, they aren’t bottom-of-the-barrel awful. And that while San Diego is improved and competitive, they aren’t playoff-caliber.