NFL Notebook: Brees' Week 5 moment and a remarkable weekend for rookie QBs

A look back at the week that was in the NFL, with some playoff races beginning to take shape around the league.




Atlanta Falcons
 — The Falcons allowed 41 points to the Steelers, after surrendering a total of 80 points in their previous two games. Atlanta is in dire straits at 1-4.
 
— Calvin Ridley was named Offensive Rookie of the Month after a six-touchdown September.
 
Arizona Cardinals
 — The Cardinals became the last team to get a win, defeating the 49ers 28-18.
 
— The win marked the first of Josh Rosen's career, and it meant all four rookie starting quarterbacks won on Sunday.
 
Baltimore Ravens
 — The Ravens failed to score a touchdown against the Browns despite playing an extra 10 minutes, further muddling a surprisingly unpredictable NFC North.
 
— First-round rookie tight end Hayden Hurst made his NFL debut on Sunday, totaling seven yards on one reception. Hurst missed the first four weeks with a foot injury.
 
— Javorius Allen interestingly led Alex Collins in both snaps and carries against Cleveland. Collins entered the season with high expectations after a strong finish in 2017.


 Buffalo Bills
 — The Bills signed quarterback Derek Anderson to mentor and provide insurance for rookie Josh Allen.
 
— Allen totaled only 82 passing yards on Sunday, but the Bills were able to pull off a surprise win over the Titans. Allen did contribute a rushing touchdown.
 
— Safety Micah Hyde was inactive for Sunday's game with a groin injury.
 
Carolina Panthers
 — Graham Gano was the hero, drilling a 63-yard field goal as time expired to give the Panthers their third win.
 
— Cam Newton didn’t have his best day despite the win over the Giants, tossing two interceptions and struggling on the ground. Newton was also sacked five times.
 
— Mike Adams intercepted Eli Manning twice on Sunday, marking the ninth multi-interception season of his career.
 
Chicago Bears
 — The Bears had a quiet bye week after Mitchell Trubisky's career performance, and they now prepare to face the Dolphins in Week 6.
 
— The Packers' loss kept Chicago in sole possession of first place in the NFC North at 3-1, with no other team above .500.


Cincinnati Bengals
 — Rookie Sam Hubbard was the hero for Cincinnati, recovering a fumble for a touchdown to seal the comeback win over Miami.
 
— The Bengals lead the AFC North at 4-1, with three comeback wins in their first five games. Is Marvin Lewis earning even more time in Cincinnati?
 
— Michael Johnson intercepted Ryan Tannehill for the first touchdown of his career. It was Johnson's first interception since 2013.
 
Cleveland Browns
 — The Browns' second win marked their first multi-win season since 2015. The win was also their first on a Sunday since 2015.
 
— Baker Mayfield earned his first career win on Sunday, a technicality considering Tyrod Taylor started the win over the Jets. Mayfield passed for 342 yards against Baltimore.
 
— The Browns have forced more turnovers than any team this season, with 15 through only five games.
 
Dallas Cowboys
 — Jason Garrett was widely criticized for choosing to punt on 4th-and-1 at the Texans' 42-yard line in overtime, highlighting what was a night of questionable coaching all around.
 
— Garrett said after the game that it was "a long one [yard]." Not the best soundbite after Rams' coach Sean McVay addressed his aggressive play-calling by saying "we don’t fear failure."
 
— It's difficult to blame Dak Prescott for the Cowboys' offensive struggles considering his top targets outside of Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday were Deonte Thompson, Geoff Swain, and Tavon Austin.
 
Denver Broncos
 — The Broncos suffered an ugly loss to the Jets on Sunday, perhaps putting Vance Joseph squarely on the hot seat. John Elway admitted he considered a change after Joseph's first season, and Denver appears to be replaying the 2017 season with their failures after a hot start.
 
— Case Keenum, 2017: 481 passes, seven interceptions. Case Keenum, 2018: 192 passes, seven interceptions.


Detroit Lions
 — The Lions have been among the league's most unpredictable teams, with wins over the Patriots and Packers but losses to the Jets and 49ers. Fortunately, they have a bye week to prepare for the flailing Dolphins.
 
— Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson exited with an ankle injury against Green Bay, but it appears to be minor.
 
Green Bay Packers
 — Rookie fifth-round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who entered Sunday's game with two career receptions, caught two touchdowns against Detroit.
 
— Aaron Rodgers quietly led all quarterbacks with 452 yards this week, adding three touchdowns in what was ultimately a losing effort.
 
— Mason Crosby had a nightmarish day, missing four field goals and an extra-point. Crosby's only made field goal came with two seconds remaining.
 
Houston Texans
 — The Texans have rattled off two consecutive overtime wins, but you could say these games shouldn't have even reached overtime — Houston's red zone struggles are becoming more prolific than Atlanta's.
 
— Deshaun Watson has thrown for at least 375 yards in three consecutive games, but he's been intercepted once in each of his five games this season.
 
— J.J. Watt continues to be a monster after two lost seasons, as he recorded his sixth sack in three games on Sunday night. The Watt family comprises two of the top-three sack leaders this season; T.J. has six for the Steelers.
 
— DeAndre Hopkins leads all receivers with 594 yards, including a league-leading 151 this week.
 
Indianapolis Colts
 — Eric Ebron hauled in two touchdowns on Thursday, bringing him to five on the season to tie a career-high. Ebron only had eleven touchdowns in his four seasons with the Lions.
 
— The progress of Andrew Luck continues to amaze: the quarterback went well over a year without throwing a football, but he has now thrown a combined 121 passes in his last two games. Luck was the victim of drops in Thursday's loss, with T.Y. Hilton out due to injury.
 
— Second-round linebacker Darius Leonard was named Defensive Rookie of the Month, but he was unavailable for Thursday night's contest. Leonard is, however, expected to play in Week 6.
 
Jacksonville Jaguars
 — Blake Bortles was a major disappointment against what was a struggling Chiefs defense, throwing four interceptions in a rough offensive performance. "Garbage-time" production brought him to 430 passing yards, however.
 
— Running back Leonard Fournette is reportedly not expected to play against the Cowboys in Week 6.


Kansas City Chiefs
 — A good sign for the Chiefs: In Patrick Mahomes' worst performance of the season, Kansas City cruised to victory over Jacksonville. Both Dee Ford and Chris Jones made key defensive plays.
 
— The Chiefs are 5-0 for the second consecutive season and third time under Andy Reid.
 
— Even without a touchdown pass, Mahomes still totaled 306 yards and added a rushing touchdown. However, he did throw his first interception of the season.
 
— After a week of trash talk, Tyreek Hill beat Jaguars' cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a 36-yard reception. Hill finished with 61 yards on four receptions.
 
Los Angeles Chargers
 — Defensive end Melvin Ingram nearly scored a touchdown on Sunday, but he was ruled down short of the goal line. He did, however, record his first career interception.
 
— The Chargers signed former Eagles punter Donnie Jones early last week, releasing Drew Kaser.
 
— Caleb Sturgis' struggles continued with a missed field goal and missed extra-point on Sunday.


Los Angeles Rams
 — Todd Gurley scored three touchdowns against the Seahawks, and he's blowing away the competition with nine on the year.
 
— Anything can happen, but it could be a while before the Rams lose, as they face the struggling Broncos and 49ers in the next two weeks.
 
— LA heads into Week 6 with a three-game lead on the Seahawks and a four-game advantage over both the 49ers and Cardinals in the NFC West.
 
Miami Dolphins
 — A week after a defensive breakdown against the Patriots, the Dolphins allowed 27 unanswered points to the Bengals in the second half. Much of that, however, was related to offensive mistakes.
 
— Ryan Tannehill's final four drives against Cincinnati: pick-six, punt, fumble returned for a touchdown, interception. Tannehill's Week 4 and Week 5 passer ratings are the two worst in his last thirty games.
 
— The Dolphins have been dealing with a multitude of injuries, with Cameron Wake, Andre Branch, DeVante Parker, and Bobby McCain all inactive this past week.


Minnesota Vikings
 — Adam Thielen is the first player in NFL history to total at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team's first five games. Thielen is second among all receivers with 589 yards, trailing DeAndre Hopkins.
 
— The Vikings are fairly well-positioned after Sunday's win. They avoided falling to 1-3-1, put negative memories at Lincoln Financial Field behind them, and now prepare to face the Jets and Cardinals.
 
— Star defensive end Everson Griffen is reportedly not expected back with the team "anytime soon" as he deals with mental health issues.
 
New England Patriots
 — Tom Brady threw his 500th career touchdown pass on Thursday, becoming the third quarterback to reach the milestone. Peyton Manning holds the all-time record of 539.
 
— Josh Gordon made his presence felt with his first touchdown reception as a Patriot on Thursday - Brady's 500th.
 
— Gordon helped set another record, as Brady became the first quarterback to throw a touchdown pass to 71 different receivers.
 
— After struggling against Andrew Luck (but benefitting from drops), the Patriots' secondary has a huge test against Patrick Mahomes Sunday night.
New Orleans Saints
 — Drew Brees made history Monday night, breaking the all-time passing yards record on a touchdown pass to rookie Tre'Quan Smith. Brees had an emotional moment on the field with his teammates but was flagged for excessive celebration.
 
— Brees gets to celebrate his record with a week off; the Saints don't play again until October 21.
 
— Mark Ingram scored two touchdowns in his return from suspension.
 
— Brees is one touchdown pass away from becoming the fourth ever to reach 500 touchdowns. Tom Brady joined this club on Thursday.
 
— The Saints had a tough first two games, but they’ve now improved to 4-1 and enter their bye looking like a championship contender once again.
 
New York Giants
 — Odell Beckham Jr. threw his first career touchdown pass on Sunday, a 57-yard completion to Saquon Barkley.
 
— Beckham was in the news shortly before the game, responding "I don't know" when asked in an ESPN interview if Eli Manning was the Giants' problem, and saying "that's a tough question" when asked whether he's happy in New York."
 
— Though Manning helped lead an impressive comeback, his back-to-back interceptions played a key role in the Giants' tough loss.
 
— The Giants have now lost on a game-winning field goal from at least 60 yards out in consecutive seasons. Before Graham Gano on Sunday, it was Philadelphia's Jake Elliott early in 2017.
 
— The Giants are reportedly set to release or trade failed former top-10 pick Ereck Flowers today.
 
New York Jets
 — Isaiah Crowell shredded the Broncos for 219 rushing yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run. It was the most in a game in Jets history, as well as the most by any player since December of 2016.
 
— Safety Marcus Maye returned a Case Keenum interception 104 yards as time expired, but he was tripped up one yard short of the end zone - the longest interception return without a touchdown in NFL history.
 
— Despite completing only 10-of-22 passes, Sam Darnold connected with Robby Anderson for two long touchdowns, the latter of which was a spectacular pass.
 
— Sam Darnold has one of his most favorable matchups next week, as he faces the Colts with a chance to get back to .500.
 
Oakland Raiders
 — Amari Cooper was held to just 10 yards on one reception on Sunday. Cooper has been the epitome of inconsistency this season, as his yardage in each game is as follows: 9, 116, 17, 126, 10.
 
— Jon Gruden is one of four new head coaches to start 1-4, joining Steve Wilks, Pat Shurmur, and Frank Reich. Gruden's contract, as you might know, is on a different planet than the other three.
 
— Marshawn Lynch again did not get the ball at the one-yard line, and it resulted in a Derek Carr interception. Carr joked in 2017 that he would never pass up the opportunity to give Lynch the ball in a Super Bowl XLIX scenario.
 
Philadelphia Eagles
 — The Eagles became the seventh defending champion to start the following season 2-3, and only one rallied to reach the playoffs.
 
— The Eagles received a brutal surprise on Monday, learning running back Jay Ajayi suffered a torn ACL. Ajayi was acquired last October and played a key role in Philadelphia's championship run.
 
— Jay Ajayi said the Eagles' decision to abandon the run game, for the most part, "doesn’t make sense." His public call for more carries is another indication of how surprising it was to hear the news of a season-ending injury.
 
— The Eagles have the opportinity to get back to .500 quickly, with a Thursday night matchup against the Giants looming. Philadelphia has won its last three meetings with the Giants.


Pittsburgh Steelers
 — James Conner made his fantasy owners happy, totaling 110 rushing yards, 75 receiving yards, and two touchdowns against the Falcons.
 
— The Steelers remain tied for last in the AFC North after the Browns' win, but they can make progress with a win over the 4-1 Bengals this coming Sunday.
 
San Francisco 49ers
 — The 49ers' injury bug persists, with running back Matt Breida suffering a sprained ankle on Sunday. Breida is doubtful for Week 6.
 
— Four of the 49ers' next five games are in prime-time, an unwelcomed sight for a team without its quarterback along with other injury concerns.
 
Seattle Seahawks
 — The Seahawks impressed despite a loss to the undefeated Rams, even after losing star safety Earl Thomas.
 
— Chris Carson could be emerging as a breakout player after another strong performance: 116 rushng yards on 19 carries.
 
— First-round rookie running back Rashaad Penny has fallen behind both Carson and Mike Davis on the depth chart. Penny did not touch the ball in Week 5.
 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 — Jameis Winston's Week 6 start will be his first this season, essentially marking the start of a pivotal stretch for his future.
 
— Winston faces the Falcons' defense in Week 6, a great opportunity considering Atlanta's historic struggles amid key injuries.
 
Tennessee Titans
 — Ryan Succop was the Titans' offense against Buffalo, drilling four field goals including two from at least 50 yards out.
 
— Nick Williams dropped what would have been a touchdown in the second half on Sunday, the likely difference in a close loss.
 
— The Titans have another tough test against a top-tier Ravens defense in Week 6.
 
Washington Redskins
 — Despite the loss, the Redskins benefitted greatly from the NFC East action this week, as the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants all lost and are now under .500.
 
— Washington's run game was limited to just 39 yards on 18 carries, and Adrian Peterson's shoulder injury added another question going forward.
 
— Alex Smith now has two games without a touchdown pass this season, after only two all of last season.

Dan Treacy covers the NFL and all professional and college sports for the Instagram account @AllSportsNews and Fancred. You can follow him on Fancred at ASN Now and via the AllSportsNews feed.

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