- In Week 5, the stars were not aligned early as the Jaguars ruined Roethlisberger and Odell Beckham Jr. went down with another big injury. However, Cam Newton, Carson Wentz and Jalen Ramsey were just fine, then Aaron Rodgers and the Seahawks defensive stars stole the show late
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Things That Made Me Giddy
Green Bay Packers Named Aaron: Aaron Rodgers is unstoppable. Aaron Jones crossed the 100-yard rushing mark in the third quarter as the Packers suddenly have a wealth of backs once Ty Montgomery is healthy. And Aaron Hart of the Milwaukee office tops my ranking of NFL franchise corporate sales managers (I rank them alphabetically by first name).
Earl Thomas is the Hero Seattle Needs: He saved six with the desperation strip of Todd Gurley in the first quarter, then (sort-of almost) sealed the game with a pick (and decent run back) of Jared Goff in the fourth quarter.
The Entire Seahawks Defense: They had the Rams playing behind schedule for the entire second half. Don't be fooled by the numbers (375 yards allowed, a couple fluky turnovers), this was an impressive performance, especially in the second half, and they did it without Cliff Avril.
It’s Suddenly Looking Like 2015 Again for Carolina: The offensive line got it done, and Cam, while he still throws the occasional head-scratcher, was sharp for a second straight week. I believe!
Jalen Ramsey Ball Skills: As the old saying goes: He has the skills to pay off any outstanding debts he might have. Ramsey was essentially responsible for 14 points in Pittsburgh. He made a ridiculous diving interception in the first half to set up Jacksonville’s first touchdown, and later he knocked a ball out of Antonio Brown’s hands and into Barry Church’s for a pick six. Ramsey and Xavier Rhodes are putting themselves in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
Leonard Fournette: That 90-yard TD to end it was cruel to any bettors who had Pittsburgh +20.
The Zeke Reach: To keep the Cowboys alive on what looked like a hopeless fourth-and-short play. Nice, Zeke. Nice.
A Touchdown for a Jets Tight End: Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ third-quarter touchdown grab was the first by a Jets tight end since Hawaii was granted statehood. (Scratch that, it was Kellen Davis in Week 8 of the 2015 season.)
Carson Wentz: He still plays with fire and misses some throws he shouldn't, but the Eagles can give so many looks with Wentz under center. In this one they put their collective foot on the throat of the Cardinals early.
In Detroit, Local Boy Does Good!: Devin Funchess, picking up where he left off last week. A big receiver finally playing big.
Seahawks O-Line: They weren’t good, but they were, let’s say “less bad,” and that’s a start. Especially against a Rams pass rush that usually takes their lunch money.
Ryan Shazier INT: He’s a force of nature, and the way he ripped an INT out of James O’Shaughnessy’s hands is the kind of thing that will land you in detention if you do it at recess.
Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins: It seemed like the Packers were doomed in the secondary again once Kevin King went down, but Randall and Rollins (while not starring) weren’t disasters. Randall took advantage on the pick-six and made a nice play on the ball down the left sideline on the ensuing drive. Rollins was serviceable; on the Cole Beasley touchdown he was clearly expecting help in the middle of the field but Jake Ryan got sucked in by the play-action. Again, in wasn’t exceptional play, but it was serviceable, and that’s encouraging because serviceable defense can be enough when Aaron Rodgers is on your team.
Jimmy Graham on the Fade Remember when they traded for Jimmy Graham, and it was supposed to make them unstoppable in the red zone in the wake of the Super Bowl XLIX ending? Well, they finally did it! They threw a ball up to Graham in the end zone and let him make a play.
Julius Peppers: In a five-minute span in the third quarter he ended one Lions drive with a sack and then snuffed out a fourth-and-1 about three yards deep in the backfield. And he’s 73! Wait, no, he’s 37. Still, that’s not young.
J.D. McKissic: In Seattle, he’s become the chess piece C.J. Prosise was supposed to be.
Big Ben: A career-high five interceptions (as many as he threw at home all of last regular season), and the Steelers score fewer than 10 points at home for the first time since the 2013 opener.
Goff-to-Kupp Almost Wins It: Kupp destroyed Justin Coleman on the play, and Goff’s throw grazed off his finger tips. It’s not a drop, but man . . .
Dallas’s Second-and-Short Fade Try to Dez Bryant: Yup, I wasn’t crazy about it. If you run and are stopped, you make the Packers burn their last timeout or take 40 seconds off the clock.
Those Handsy Colts DBs, and the Officials Who Love Them: A couple of brutal missed calls in this one.
The Generosity of Tavon Austin: He gave back a punt inside the Rams 30 for the third time this season. Stop that!
Desmond King on the Blitz: This was almost a backbreaker for the Chargers (and probably would have been if not for the Odell Beckham Jr. injury). King comes off the edge and feebly leaps toward a spot behind Eli Manning. Casey Hayward, expecting the blitzer to actually try to hit the quarterback, was sitting on the quick out and ends up looking foolish when the not-particularly-elusive Eli Manning buys extra time and Beckham takes off downfield for a walk-in. That one was on the rookie King, and it was the kind of play you see from an 0-4 team.
Chargers 12 Men on Defense Immediately After Change of Possession: Actually, this was a quintessential 0-4 play.
Jared Goff Drifting Back: Still! He’s gotta start stepping up in the pocket. He nearly threw a pick-six on the first play of the second half.
Big Plays Against the Bills: I wrote this morning about those oh-so-efficient Bills and their slim margin of error on defense. The early 77-yarder from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green was a bad omen. And it was also worth six points.
E.J. Manuel: Unfortunately, as expected. As soon as the Ravens went up 14 in Oakland, this one was over.
DeShone Kizer : That should do it for now. There’s no shame in not getting it done as a rookie QB on this Browns team. Kizer is regressing rapidly. Time to sit and watch for awhile.
Long Snappers: Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone: With Brett Goode out, the Packers have turned the role over to Taybor Pepper. Things were going fine until a couple of shaky snaps on PATs cost the Packers two points early in Dallas. And now I bet every Packers player is regretting not telling Brett Goode that they loved him when they had the chance.
A Gase-Cutler Breakup?: It’s like a Taylor Swift song. A Matt Moore reunification ceremony can’t be far away. If Marcus Mariota was healthy the Dolphins might have lost their true home opener by two touchdowns.
Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About
Aaron Rodgers’ Game-Winning Drive: I dunno, it’s like playing Madden on the easy setting for him. No Jordy Nelson on the final drive. The scramble on third-and-8 with less than 30 seconds and no timeouts—if he’s tackled, best they can do is a rushed field-goal try to tie it with a struggling unit—and Rodgers slips a tackle, gets 18 yards and gets out of bounds. Then this throw.
Myles Garrett: A sack on his first play! And from that point on, nothing ever went wrong for the Cleveland Browns again.
Aaron Rodgers-to-Martellus Bennett: Man, that throw. And that catch. But also, that throw!
Melvin Gordon Stiff Arm on Janoris Jenkins: Not nice!
Disrespectful stiff arm by Melvin Gordon! pic.twitter.com/ew198rEYtL— '03 Kliff Kingsbury (@fearthe_beard11) October 8, 2017
George Kittle: I should start off by explaining: He is a professional football player currently employed by the San Francisco 49ers. The rookie was a monster on the game-tying, OT-forcing drive for San Francisco, with five catches including two to convert fourth downs. They threw to him short of the sticks on fourth-and-goal, and Kittle carried Maik Hooker to the goal line for a grown man’s touchdown.
Nelson Agholor Making A Play: I remember when Agholor couldn’t play. That was a long time ago. 2016.
Carson Wentz 72 yard TD to Nelson Agholor!— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 8, 2017
Wentz: 16-25 for 269 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT.pic.twitter.com/DdsliSiDym
A Very Sad Political Stunt: Because it made total sense for someone to travel 600 miles to see the one-win Colts host the winless 49ers in an early-October game.
What We’ll Be Talking About This Week
The Rams Won’t Sleep Tonight: And it’s not just because they watched that library scene from the first Ghostbusters (that was some scary s---!). Three points in three red-zone trips (excluding the last-second one when they needed the six) ain’t gonna do it if you want to win the NFC West. Todd Gurley fumbled onto the pylon reaching for a TD on the opening drive, and the third quarter featured a Greg Zuerlein 36-yard miss, and later they had a first-and-10 at the 15, managed to go back 10 yards and then Todd Gurley tipped Jared Goff’s high throw on a screen into Sheldon Richardson’s hands. Three additional turnovers didn’t help matters. Though I suppose the Rams can take some solace in the fact that they turned it over five times, missed a short field goal and were still very much in this game.
Bench Roethlisberger. Or Something: I know, Ben himself is freaking out too. But nah. No doubt that it was a dud of a performance, especially worrisome since it came at home where Roethlisberger is usually sharp. But two picks were exceptional plays by Jalen Ramsey, one was tipped at the line of scrimmage, one the receiver fell down on and the fifth was a forced throw in desperation time. Also, the Jaguars are good defensively. Wow, that’s a lot of excuses! Still, there’s no need to panic. The Steelers will be fine.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s Raw Deal: Another fluke ankle injury, this one at least looking worse than the one he suffered in the preseason. The Giants are done; they can’t win games without him. And the front office now has one more reason not to extend him before next season. And whether you're a Giants fan or not, whether you like Beckham or not, any game is more interesting with him in it. He and Antonio Brown are the most electrifying playmakers in the NFL.
Jets!: They couldn't lose even if they tried.
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