Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened in the Week 5 Sunday afternoon games...
Things That Made Me Giddy
Who Needs Khalil Mack?: Everyone. The answer is: everyone. But nonetheless, the Raiders upset the Bears despite, again, making that pretty dumb trade.
Give Derek Carr a Pat on the Back: Most weeks, as I lay my head down at the end of the night, I whisper to myself, “I don’t know about that Derek Carr fella.” The stats won’t knock you on your butt, but he was great in London, including on the game-winning 97-yard touchdown drive.
Jordan Phillips Puts the U in Impr-U-vement: He had three sacks in Nashville, putting an exclamation point on an outstanding first five games of the season. Or perhaps it will turn out to be a semicolon on what will continue to be a breakout season. Whatever it is, the fifth-year defensive tackle is a stud. Just like this guy said he would be:
How Kirk Cousins Got His Groove Back (But Not Really): In part by playing the Giants, and in part because he’s always run hot and cold, and he just happened to run cold early in the year. In East Rutherford, he went 22-for-27 for 306 yards and two touchdowns, both of them to frenemy Adam Thielen. He’ll be good some weeks and he’ll stink it up in others. Because that is the essence of Kirk Cousins.
Marshon Lattimore Campaigns for Defensive Player of the Year: He put the clamps on Mike Evans on Sunday, one week after shutting down Amari Cooper. He is the difference between a good and a great defense in New Orleans.
Christian McCaffrey Is a Superhero: A fast one. Like Robin. (What? Robin might not have super powers, but he stays in really good shape, I think we can all agree on that.) This, from 84 yards out for his third TD of the day, was his second 75-plus yard run in the past three weeks.
Kyler Murray Is a Winner: It was a little bit with his arm, a lot with his legs, and a little help from a dysfunctional Bengals offense that isn’t putting up points.
What a Billsian Win: Positively McDermottish in Nashville, as Buffalo went on the road, mustered only two scoring drives, allowed only 252 yards of offense, and benefitted from four missed field goals. At this rate, Sean McDermott is going to win coach of the decade (it’s a thing, I send out a certificate every 10 years to the winner, along with a $15 gift card to Circuit City).
Von Miller and Denver’s Chubb-Less Pass Rush: They didn’t record a single sack, but Miller and the pass rush ruined Philip Rivers’s day.
Saints Can Score Points: The Bucs didn’t offer a whole lot of resistance, but Teddy Bridgewater found a couple of plays downfield as New Orleans moved to 3-0 post-Brees injury.
Wunderkind Vic Fangio Is On the Board: Really, if not for an official who was actually a child standing atop another child with a referee’s uniform draped over them throwing a phantom roughing the passer flag two weeks ago, the Broncos would have been on the board when they beat the Bears in Week 2. But the best things come to those who wait. Or, if not the best things, a victory in a soccer stadium and a 1-4 record.
They Play for Jay Gruden: Don’t let anyone tell you they do not. This Washington roster is just dreadful.
The Dolphins Don’t Lose: Because they were on a bye! Get it? Pretty . . . pretty good joke, right? But in all seriousness, you shouldn’t have ruled out the Dolphins figuring out how to lose a game during their bye week. Perhaps they were using an ineligible player last season and therefore would have to retroactively forfeit a game.
The Hit Mason Rudolph Took: It was pretty upsetting to watch. (If you want to find it the clip is out there, just Ask Jeeves). Rudolph was out cold before he hit the ground. Thankfully, he was up and alert before he was escorted off the field.
Earl Thomas Should've Been Shown the Door: Or whatever opening through which players leave Heinz Field. It’s not necessarily dirty, but this is reckless. He launched himself into the head of what is, essentially, a defenseless player.
Bears Defense Folds Late Again: They couldn’t contain Joe Flacco in Denver, and this time there was no confused, unqualified official there to bail Chicago out with a phantom flag. They had the Raiders pinned back on their own 3-yard line and a four-point lead with 7:49 left, and they allowed a 97-yard game-winning drive (special teams contributed with a running-into-the-kicker penalty and allowing four-yard fake punt run). This is a game they must close out.
Cowboys Offense Is All Out of Sorts: There were still moments of brilliance, but Dak Prescott was off-target on a couple crucial throws and seemed to be bothered by pressure off the left side (where Tyron Smith would normally be). A crushing fourth-quarter interception was part sloppily run route and part mugging of Michael Gallup. It’s nothing to panic about, but there’s work to do.
Patriots Front Five Suddenly Struggling: What in the name of Scarnecchia is going on here? The offense eventually clicked a little in the second half (playing in Washington helps), but this was the second straight week New England’s offensive line looked downright ordinary.
The Wildcat Runs Its Course. Again:
Cairo Santos Is All Over the Place: My favorite kicker had four misses in a seven-point loss to the Bills (though two of them were from 50-plus).
This 178-MPH Derek Carr Pitch: It seemed to be a miscommunication between Carr and Josh Jacobs are really what led to the disastrous play (it looked like Jacobs was expecting a stretch handoff, not a toss).
Lamar Jackson Hits a Rough Patch: The Ravens were lucky to get out of Pittsburgh with a win over the Delvin Hodges-led Steelers. The performance was every bit as ugly as the 5.8 yards per attempt and three interceptions would suggest. It’s all right though, he has a chance to respond and build from here.
Bears O-Line Can’t Block the . . . Raiders?: Yikes. It’s not often you say the Raiders defense won in the trenches, but this was a decisive victory.
David Montgomery Loooooooks Slowwwwwwww: I love the contact balance too, but it doesn’t matter of you break the first tackle if you don’t go anywhere after you do. We’ll see if the rookie starts playing faster as he gets more reps, but this is a guy, at a non-premium position that the draft cash-strapped Bears traded up to get last spring.
That Dan Quinn Defense: It was going to get worse for the Falcons with Keanu Neal out, but this is one where the pass rush should have been able make some noise. Deshaun Watson was not sacked in a game for the second time in his career, and the Texans receivers ran wild and free downfield all game, en route to 53 points.
Richie Incognito Has Issues: Any dead-ball personal foul that is any kind of blow to the head should trigger an automatic ejection. Buster Skrine will be fine, but this is absurd. It’s fair to question whether Incognito should be playing organized football right now.
Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About
Josh Jacobs as Chavo Guerrero: Landing with Jon Gruden’s pride firmly intact.
Mason Crosby Is Going as a Speedbump for Halloween:
What We’ll Be Talking About This Week
Jon Gruden’s Gonna Win the Dang Coach of the Year: That is one monster upset, the biggest one they’ve seen in London since The Young Ones went off the air. Playing in what could hardly be considered a neutral field for Oakland, let alone a “home game,” it was another week in which the Raiders got the jump with their early script (they would have scored on another opening dive if not for typical Richie Incognito dopiness). The Raiders suddenly sitting at 3-2 with two of those wins coming thousands of miles from Oakland.
It’s Time to Talk About This Bears Offense: Because they hired Matt Nagy to make it presentable. And they added more than enough talent to make it work. But, first with Mitchell Trubisky and now with Chase Daniel, it’s bad. They haven’t had 300 yards of offense in any of their five games this season. With a defense that’s still operating at a historically great level, the Bears are a phantom roughing the passer call away from being 2-3 despite an exceptionally soft pre-bye schedule (and Sunday was their bonus game, the NFL subtracting a road game and allowing Chicago to play on a neutral field in front of a Bears-friendly crowd). They have a two-game homestand (Saints and Chargers) coming up after the bye, and Nagy needs to find some answers.
Relax With the Jets Stuff: Of course they weren’t gonna be competitive riding Luke Falk into the Linc.
Kyle Allen Is Good . . . But Still Not Better Than a Healthy Cam Newton: It was a whole lot of Christian McCaffrey on Sunday, but Allen made a couple of big-time throws along the way and, after last week’s struggle, protected the ball. He’s 4-0 as a starter, but they were four games that Newton probably wins too.
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