Big Blue is lumped in with kickers, and that can’t be good
There were some points put on the board in Week 5. Four teams went over 40 points, three winning. The Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Chargers all scored more than 40 points and won, while the Browns did the same, but unfortunately played the Chargers a d lost. The Titans scored 37, and probably could have produced more if it were necessary against the Jaguars.
There were several close games to close the 1 p.m. slate. The Packers and Bengals went to overtime in a game with several missed field goal attempts and extra points, something that was very frequent in week five. Detroit had their hearts ripped out by the Vikings as second ticked off. New England was able to hold off a hungry Texans team led by Davis Mills. Both the Steelers and the Eagles sealed their victories with interceptions in one score games.
One of the biggest winners of the week were the Buffalo Bills who went into Arrowhead Stadium and sent the Chiefs to a 2-3 record. The Bills delivered retribution to the Chiefs by defeating them 38-20. Kansas City defeated the Chiefs 38-24 in the AFC Championship game last year. That’s a huge win for Sean McDermott and his staff. Losers from Sunday Night Football would easily be the refs, as Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth made abundantly clear. Week 5 was fulled with excitement, devastating injuries, and competitive football. Let’s get into this week’s winners and losers.
Beast. Derrick Henry could be on the winners list every week. I wanted to acknowledge this specific performance for two reasons: one, he had 29 rushes for 129 yards and three touchdowns. And secondly, Henry’s breakout introduction to stardom within the NFL was against the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football.
Henry rushed for 239 yards, breaking the Titans single game rushing record. He also had three touchdowns on that day, including a 99-yard run where he stiff armed a defender into the next week. He had a 2,000-yard rushing season last year – the first since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
Derrick Henry is Top 2 and he’s actually both pic.twitter.com/2bUg7d8Y17
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 28, 2021
Derrick Henry: 4,994 yards AFTER CONTACT since ’16
Only Ezekiel Elliott & Todd Gurley II have more TOTAL rush yards during that span pic.twitter.com/icUetHV62j
— PFF (@PFF) January 29, 2021
Henry is no joke, that is obvious. At 27 years old, on his second contract, Henry is still well in his prime which is a problem for the AFC South.
The “Over” in the Browns at Chargers game
The real winners happen to be the ones who viewed this offensive output. The over/under heading into this game was 47 points with the Chargers favored by 2.5 at home. Eighty-nine (89) total points were scored as the Chargers defeated the Browns 47-42. There were six fourth quarter touchdowns in the game before Brandon Staley’s defense finally stepped up and forced a turnover on downs.
If you had fantasy players in this game, then you were probably happy. Browns’ running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt had great games. Chubb had 21 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown, and Hunt added 12 carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Chargers running back Austin Ekeler also had two touchdowns on the ground, while receiver Mike Williams had eight catches for 165-yards and two touchdowns as well. It was one of the more exciting games of the season so far. The Browns’ David Njoku and Rashard Higgins also had receiving touchdowns. Backup tight end Donald Parham Jr. and Ekeler had receiving touchdowns for the Chargers.
Wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Antonio Brown
This is a bit unconventional because Chase and Brown are only linked for being good in Week 5. However, there were several really good wide receivers this week. I just love seeing Chase grow into a professional receiver. He opted out of the 2020 season at LSU because of COVID-19, and his start in the NFL was mocked by some. He dropped several passes in preseason, and he reportedly couldn’t catch in practice, either.
The expectations for Chase were diminished a bit because of the preseason struggles. Second-year wide receiver for the Bengals Tee Higgins has missed a couple games this year and Chase established himself as the alpha wide receiver.
Ja’Marr Chase is RIDICULOUS
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 10, 2021
Joe Burrow continued his connection with Chase. He hit the wide receiver six times on 10 targets for 159-yards and a touchdown. Ja’Marr Chase is a star in the making. The Bengals lost in overtime 25-22 after several missed field goals. I have Antonio Brown in this category because he found a way to score twice against his hometown team. Brown had seven catches on eight targets for 124 yards and the two scores.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 10, 2021
Can you believe that Brown is 33 years old? He certainly doesn’t look like it above.
Matt Canada (Steelers’ offensive coordinator)
Pittsburgh promoted Canada to offensive coordinator last season after not resigning Randy Fichtner’s contract. Canada has been around the college football ranks; he has spent time at LSU, North Carolina State, Pitt, Indiana, Northern Illinois, and Wisconsin. He has a reputation of being disagreeable, which results in a lot of turnover. Canada and the Steelers’ offense has been stagnant in 2021. There wasn’t much change from Fichtner’s unit and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s arm hasn’t looked great.
Canada has been the subject of a lot of criticism. However, his offensive unit was able to find a groove against a good defense in Denver. The Steelers defeated the Broncos 27-19. Roethlisberger found Diontae Johnson for a 50-yard touchdown to open the game and set the precedent. That was encouraging, as was Chase Claypool’s five catches for 130 yards and a score. The most encouraging part of this offense was a rushing attack that has been invisible for years. Najee Harris is exceptional at football, but Pittsburgh couldn’t run the football during the first four games.
Against the Broncos’ defense, he rushed for 122 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown. If this Steeler’s offense can consistently run the football, then the pressure on Roethlisberger and the quick passing attack that Canada employs will alleviate some.
Najee Harris is the 2nd Steelers player in the Super Bowl Era to have 100 rushing yards and a Rush TD in one of his first 5 games of his career. The other was Franco Harris in 1972. pic.twitter.com/ZMKMKk0nlz
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2021
The Steelers have Seattle on Sunday Night Football next week before traveling to Cleveland for what could be a pivotal game for the Steelers’ season.
Why do I have a quarterback who lost on this list? Well, because Mills was able to punch the Patriots in the mouth and almost steal a victory against Bill Belichick’s defense – a defense that was 21-6 against rookie quarterbacks. Mills was 21 of 29 for 312 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Texans were the strong favorite to finish this season with the number one overall selection. They were able to steal a win in Week 1 against Jacksonville because, well, they’re Jacksonville. But that was with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Mills was a disaster last week up in Buffalo, but he rebounded well in a tough spot. Unfortunately, the Texans’ defense allowed the Patriots to drive down the field and kick a field goal at the end of the fourth quarter. A fumble by Texans’ wide receiver Chris Conley was the expired cherry on top of the loss for Mills and the Texans. Mills may have earned his first career win in an upset if it weren’t for a trick punt play that resulted in no yards because the punter Cameron Johnston punted it into the back of his teammates head.
The 1 p.m. ET games were filled with inconsistent kicking that resulted in some odd scores. At one point, there were five missed field goals in the Packers/Bengals matchup. Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby missed three field goals and an extra point, and the Bengals’ Evan McPhearson missed two field goals – one in overtime to win the game.
FIVE straight missed field goals
Three straight misses from Mason Crosby and a miss from Evan McPherson to give the ball back to Green Bay. pic.twitter.com/GsFEwV9Nlj
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 10, 2021
The kicking issues forced the game into overtime where Mason Crosby performed his best Lawrence Tynes impression and drilled the overtime field goal, albeit was the second field goal in overtime – not the first like Tynes in the freezing weather during the 2007 NFC Championship game. Three of the missed field goals happened in the final 2:12 of the fourth quarter.
There were also several missed extra points throughout the game. Texans’ Ka’imi Fairbairn missed two extra points and a field goal. Patriots kicker Nick Folk also missed a field goal. Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright also missed a field goal and an extra point. Wright’s adversary Randy Bullock of the Titans also missed an extra point. Chargers’ Tristan Viscaino missed an extra point in the 4 p.m. window.
The kickers struggled to say the least in Week 5, but Greg Joseph – someone who was a loser on this list in Week 2 – nailed a field goal against the Lions as time expired to help the Vikings win. Detroit scored with just over a minute in the game, and Lions’ coach Dan Campbell went for two to take the lead instead of going for the tie. Unfortunately for Campbell, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings put Joseph into a position to kick the 54-yard field goal. However, I do respect Campbell’s decision.
Giants’ injury issues
To say the Giants were hit with the injury bug would be a huge understatement. The Giants entered their 44-20 loss against the Cowboys without wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. Jabrill Peppers also couldn’t play because of a hamstring injury They also lost star linebacker Blake Martinez two weeks ago to a torn ACL. Left tackle Andrew Thomas was able to be active, but he didn’t play in the game forcing Nate Solder to slide to the left side as Matt Peart manned the right tackle position.
Sounds bad, right? Well, that was just pregame. The Giants lost star running back Saquon Barkley to a rolled ankle that swelled up significantly in the first quarter. It is diagnosed as a low-ankle game. Kenny Golladay hyper-extended his knee in the first quarter and attempted to play through the injury, but pulled himself out of the game in the third quarter. Then starting left guard Matt Skura left the game with an apparent injury. The Giants struggled early to establish any offense, but they assembled a touchdown drive that was very costly.
On the third attempt at the goal line on that drive before the end of the first half, the Giants went with a fake run rollout with Daniel Jones who took a bad shot to the head which led to Jones struggling to maintain his balance. Jones was immediately pulled from the game and Mike Glennon was forced into action. Saquon Barkley can’t catch a break, and the Giants could do little with the amount of injuries that happened in this game. Both Jones and Barkley had to be carted off the field. The offense struggled early on, but the score was 10-10 near the end of the half before the Giants’ defense allowed yet another opposing scoring drive to close the first half. Rodarius Williams also injured his knee and had to be carted off the field.
Week 5 Sam Darnold regressed to New York Jets’ Darnold as the Eagles were able to defeat Carolina, 21-18. Darnold, who led the league in rushing touchdowns heading into the week, struggled against this Philadelphia defense. He threw three interceptions – two to Darius Slay. He finished the game 21 of 37 for 177 yards and one touchdown along with the three picks.
Christian McCaffrey’s backup Chuba Hubbard had over 100-yards on the ground in a very close game, but Darnold threw a late interception that ended the game. Many were dubious about Carolina’s early season success because they defeated the Jets, Saints without several coaches, and the Texans on Thursday Night Football. They have lost two straight and will now host the Vikings before traveling to New York to play the Giants.
Jack Del Rio
The defensive coordinator of the Washington Football Team has really struggled to live up to his unit’s expectations. The defense is filled with young potential stars like EDGEs Chase Young and Montez Sweat, defensive tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, and linebacker Jamin Davis. Their secondary is solid as well, but they just allowed Jameis Winston to throw for 279 yards and four touchdowns.
The defense has been a disappointment. They rank 29th in the NFL in yards allowed with 417.5 per game heading into week five, and they were 30th in points allowed with an average of 30.5 points per game. They have an issue with explosive plays. Winston hit Deonte Harris for a 72-yard touchdown and Marquez Callaway with a 49-yard touchdown as time expired in the first half.
— Overtime (@overtime) October 10, 2021
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 10, 2021
Washington controlled time of possession by more than 12:30 minutes, yet they still lose because Winston, and the Saints typical conservative approach, was able to generate long scoring plays. Washington falls to 2-3, and Del Rio continues to feel the heat as his talented defense isn’t ;living up to their potential.
Damien Harris’ fumble
Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick is notorious for sending running backs to the doghouse after fumbling the football. Harris is a talented third-round running back out of Alabama who was drafted in 2019. Harris was doing very well; he had 14 carries for 58-yards and a touchdown, but he put the ball on the turf on about the half yard line and the Texans recovered.
What a brutal fumble by Damien Harris. Inexcusable. Wow. (Video via @BenBrownPL)
— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) October 10, 2021
Harris ended up seeing the bench for a while with rookie Rhamondre Stevenson taking his snaps. Harris eventually came back into the game but had to exit with a rib injury. The fumble is obviously something that displeased Belichick, and the extent of Harris’ injury isn’t serious.
Harris could be in trouble of Stevenson, who didn’t exactly light the scoreboard up, can have a strong game in the next two weeks against the Cowboys and Jets. Patriots running back J.J. Taylor fumbled last week and was a healthy scratch against the Texans. Brandon Bolden seems to be the most reliable running back with James White out for the season. This Harris situation is worth monitoring next week. Let’s not forget how Belichick treated Jonas Gray.