Week 5 NFL Recap
The Cardinals scraped out a win in the Golden State, Denver was handed their first loss of the year, Tom Brady is back and taking no prisoners, and more analysis
Cardinals Strike Gold in San Francisco
Had you predicted that five weeks into the season, the leader for all QBs in rushing attempts was none other than Blaine Gabbert, you likely were one of a (very) few. Gabbert has 39 rush attempts through five weeks, more than Gio Bernard, Alfred Morris, Jeremy Langford, Derrick Henry, Rashad Jennings, and ten attempts more than the next closest QB (Cam Newton). Gabbert, as a whole, played an okay game, especially by Blaine Gabbert standards. With a line of 18/31 with 162 yards 1TD and 2 INTs (plus 10/70 on the ground), Gabbert led the 49ers on several solid drives down the field, some looking better than others.
Although the 49ers played a solid game as a whole, they were no match for David Johnson and the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson toted the ball 27 times for 157 yards (the most in the league so far) with 2 TDs to go with 3 catches for 28 yards as the Cardinals won 33-21. Despite the overall ineptitude of backup QB Drew Stanton (11/28, 124 yards 2 TDs), the ground and pound offense of Arizona was able to milk the clock and defeat a normally stingy San Francisco run defense.
The game began with no points in the first quarter, something Arizona has grown accustomed to this season. Once the second quarter began, there was some offensive firepower. The 49ers got on the board first, with a nine-yard TD pass to Jeremy Kerley (8/102/1) to put San Francisco up 7-0. Not to be outdone, the Cardinals would tie the game up not much later, with a 21-yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald that would send the game to halftime tied at 7 apiece.
Once the second half came, the game belonged to the Cardinals. Gabbert began to unravel, Carlos Hyde (22/78/1) began to lose his footing, and David Johnson began to pick up more steam. The Cardinals scored twice in the third quarter, and then scored 12 more points in the fourth; salting the game away with David Johnson carries that milked the clock until the 49ers were dead in the water.
Going into the season, much of the hype was on the defense of the Arizona Cardinals, a billing that the unit had not lived up to for much of the season. In this game however, the Cardinals forced two fumbles, recorded a safety, two interceptions and seven sacks, along with nine tackles for a loss. The defense was swarming, with the lone bad play being blown coverage on Jeremy Kerley for his 7-yard TD pass.
Moving forward, the San Francisco 49ers (1-4) head to Buffalo to take on the 3-2 Bills, while the Arizona Cardinals (2-3) head back home to take on the NY Jets.
Falcons Soar at Mile High
The hallmark of the Denver Broncos is their physical and vaunting defense, with a secondary that has allowed a shade over 185 yards per contest to opposing QBs. The Broncos defense has seen subpar efforts from the likes of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Jameis Winston. However, when the Atlanta Falcons visited the state of Colorado, it was QB Matt Ryan that had the last laugh. Ryan threw for 267 yards to go with 1 TD while orchestrating multiple TD drives to defeat the Broncos 23-16. Because of his superhuman effort last week, the Broncos went full on attack mode when defending Julio Jones, limiting him to a mere two catches for 29 yards. Because of the constant double teams that Jones was facing, it was left up to the other Falcon receivers to pick up the slack. Ex-IU standout Tevin Coleman rushed for 31 yards on six carries, and chipped in an astounding four carries for 132 yards and one TD to lead the Falcons in receiving.
As for the Broncos, they sorely missed the presence of Trevor Siemian, who was out with a shoulder injury, leaving first round rookie Paxton Lynch as the man under center for Denver. Lynch was adequate during his time as the captain of the offense, passing for 223 yards while completing 23 of 35 passes for 1 TD and 1 INT. When called upon to move the ball during crucial parts of the game, however, Lynch was unable to do so. Despite the absence of Siemian, the Broncos did not lean towards running the football more often, as evidenced by the only 24 total carries, only 11 of which were taken by CJ Anderson, while six were taken by Lynch.
The typically hungry Denver defense also only managed only 2 sacks with 4.5 TFL while recovering one fumble. Atlanta, on the other hand, (much to the delight of Dan Quinn) forced three fumbles (recovering one), had one interception, registering six sacks and six TFLs in the process. In a game where the Broncos number one ranked defense was supposed to beat the Falcons number one offense, the Falcons proved that, even if defense wins championships, you need a little bit of offense to win too.
Next week, the Denver Broncos (4-1) will head to San Diego to take on the Chargers on Thursday Night Football, while the Atlanta Falcons (4-1), will face another stern defense, this time in Seattle where they will play the Seahawks.
Brady is Back for Revenge
With four weeks in the books, there was only one thing that was happening for sure in Week 5. That occurrence was the return of Tom Brady. Regardless of how one feels about Brady and the Patriots, his return had New England firing on all cylinders in their 33-13 drubbing of the Cleveland Browns. Brady had a stat line of 28/40 with 406/3/0, with all three TDs going to Martellus Bennett. Brady was sure to get his other weapons plenty of usage as well, finding Rob Gronkowski for 5/109 and Chris Hogan for 4/114.
As for the Browns of Cleveland, they are the only winless team remaining in the NFL. With Cody Kessler going down with a rib injury in the second quarter, it was up to Charlie “Clipboard Jesus” Whitehurst to captain the Browns to their fifth consecutive loss. Whitehurst went 14/24 with 182/1/1, and managed to exit the game (relatively) unscathed. The Browns were even less effective on the ground, with 22 total carries going for a meager 27 yards, led by Isaiah Crowell going 13/22.
From the opening Patriots, possession, the Browns looked overwhelmed. From the injury to Kessler, to Tom Brady going scorched Earth on the Browns throughout the whole game, Cleveland and their vaunted Dawg Pound were overmatched. It appears at this point, despite the massive haul they got for the second overall pick (Carson Wentz), they could greatly use a franchise QB, where they will turn to the 2017 draft with hopes of (finally) not striking out.
Next week, the New England Patriots (4-1) head back home to take on the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Cleveland Browns (0-5) will go to Tennessee to take on the Titans.
Indianapolis 29, Chicago 23
Detroit 24, Philadelphia 23
Tennessee 30, Miami 17
Washington 16, Baltimore 10
Minnesota 31, Houston 13
Pittsburgh 31, NY Jets 13
Le’Veon Bell set his career high in catches (9) while Sammie Coats had 172 yards and 2 TDs; no INTs for Ryan Fitzpatrick!
Dallas 28, Cincinnati 14
Ezekiel Elliot ran for 134 yards, and Dak Prescott led the Cowboys to a dominant win
Buffalo 30, Los Angeles 19
Oakland 34, San Diego 31
The Chargers – despite having a lead in the fourth quarter in each game so far – are 1-4 on the year
Green Bay 23, NY Giants 16
Green Bay continues their strong play at home while Odell Beckham Jr. made up with the kicking post
Carolina, Tampa Bay
Week 6 Picks
Home team in CAPS (Lines as of 10/11)
Denver (-2.5) over SAN DIEGO
BUFFALO (-7.5) over San Francisco
Philadelphia (+1) over WASHINGTON
TENNESSEE (-6.5) over Cleveland
NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) over Cincinnati
NY GIANTS (-3) over Baltimore
Carolina (Even) over NEW ORLEANS
Pittsburgh (-7) over MIAMI
Jacksonville (+2) over CHICAGO
Los Angeles (+3.5) over DETROIT
OAKLAND (-1) over Kansas City
Atlanta (+7) over SEATTLE
Dallas (+4.5) over GREEN BAY
Indianapolis (+3) over HOUSTON
ARIZONA (Even) over NY Jets
Byes: Minnesota, Tampa Bay
Last Week: 8-5-1
Week 4 NFL Recap: http://wiux.org/2016/10/05/nfl-week-4-recap/
Luke Hallett is a sophomore at Indiana University, and his radio show Gerky Gerk and The Funky Bunch, is on WIUX 99.1 FM on Fridays from 6-7PM EST.