Aaron Rodgers Owns the Cowboys — Things We Learned in NFL Week 5
Big wins for the Packers and Panthers; big losses for the Texans and Giants. Here’s what we learned in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season:
The Texans Lost a Game & J.J. Watt
Alex Smith passed for 324 yards and three touchdowns and the Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Houston Texans, 42-34, on Sunday night.
Kansas City (5-0) remained undefeated with the win, while Houston (2-3) lost defensive star J.J. Watt — potentially for the season — with a broken left leg. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year was injured in the first quarter. He missed the last 13 games of 2016 with back surgery.
The Chiefs never trailed Sunday, scoring the game’s first 16 points and leading 23-7 at halftime. Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson brought the Texans back, throwing for 261 yards and five touchdowns, including a 48-yard strike to Will Fuller that got Houston within six points early in the fourth quarter.
Kansas City was up to the challenge, subsequently scoring a touchdown on a six-play, 70-yard drive and getting a 82-yard Tyreek Hill punt return for a touchdown to put the game away for the Chiefs. Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt carried 29 times for 107 yards.
Sorry Jerry Jones: Aaron Rodgers Actually Owns the Cowboys
Aaron Rodgers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds to play, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys, 35-31, on Sunday in Texas. Green Bay (4-1) beat Dallas (2-3) for the seventh time in eight meetings, including the divisional round of the playoffs last January.
Dak Prescott put the Cowboys up 31-28 with an 11-yard scramble for a score with 1:13 remaining, but that was just enough time for Rodgers to get the Packers down the field to rip out the hearts of Dallas’ owner Jerry Jones one more time.
Rodgers finished 19-for-29 for 221 yards and three touchdowns, including two scores to Adams, the receiver who was carted off the field after taking a nasty hit during Green Bay’s win over Chicago in Week 4.
Aaron Jones carried 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown for the Packers.
Prescott finished with 251 yards passing with three touchdowns and a costly interception that was returned 21 yards for a score by Damarious Randall in the fourth quarter.
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 116 yards on 29 carries for the Cowboys, who fell two games behind the Eagles in the NFC East.
Mike Pence Missed a Great Colts’ Win
Adam Vinatieri kicked a 51-yard field goal in overtime, and the Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers, 26-23 on Sunday. Indy’s win was overshadowed by the pregame exit of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who tweeted that he left the game because of player protests during the national anthem.
A former governor of Indiana, Pence was at the contest for the unveiling of a Peyton Manning statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium. The former Colts’ quarterback was also inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor and had his jersey number 18 retired by the franchise.
Manning saw what Pence missed: the Colts squandering a 14-point fourth quarter lead to winless San Francisco (0-5). The team rallied, winning the game on Vinatieri’s fourth field goal of the day.
Brian Hoyer completed 26 of 49 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns for the Niners, including a seven-yarder to George Kittle that tied the score with 20 seconds to play in regulation. Marquise Goodwin had five catches for 116 yards for San Francisco.
Jacoby Brissett was 22 of 34 for 314 yards for Indianapolis (2-3). Both the Colts wins have come against winless teams.
The Panthers Might Be the NFC’s Best Team
Cam Newton threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns and the Carolina Panthers held off the Detroit Lions, 27-24, on Sunday. After trailing 10-3 early, Carolina (4-1) scored 24 straight points and then held on for the win.
Newton’s play was not hindered by the criticism he received after making sexist comments to Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue during a press conference earlier this week. His 17-yard, third-down pass to Kelvin Benjamin late in the game allowed the Panthers to run down the clock and clinch the win.
Tight end Ed Dickson caught five passes for 175 yards for Carolina, which left tied with Green Bay and Philadelphia for the best record in the NFC. The Panthers host the Eagles on Thursday night in Charlotte.
Matthew Stafford threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns for Detroit (3-2). He was sacked six times.
The Giants Lost Odell Beckham Jr. & (Another) Game
Philip Rivers threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Gordon with 2:58 left and the Los Angeles Chargers kept the New York Giants winless, 27-22, on Sunday in New Jersey. Worse than losing another game, New York (0-5) seemingly lost receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the season with a broken ankle
Rivers finished 21 of 44 for 258 yards for Los Angeles (1-4). His third touchdown toss of the game came just three plays after Kyle Emanuel’s strip-sack and recovery of an Eli Manning fumble.
Manning was 21 for 36 for 183 yards, with an interception and two touchdowns. He was sacked five times. Without Beckham or adequate protection for Manning, the Giants’ season seems all but over in 2017.
The Titans & Raiders Missed Their Starting QBs
The NFL is a quarterbacks league, just ask the Raiders and the Titans, both of whom lost to AFC also-rans on Sunday with respective starting quarterbacks Derek Carr (back) and Marcus Mariota (hamstring) sidelined with injuries.
Jay Cutler, a starting quarterback who many Dolphins fans wish were benched, threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry and Miami beat Tennessee, 16-10.
Cutler was a dismal 12 for 26 for 92 yards on Sunday, but the Dolphins were able to hold the Titans offense in check long enough for the game-winning drive. Miami (2-2) won despite gaining just 178 yards on offense.
Mariota’s replacement, Matt Cassel, never got the offense going for Tennessee (2-3). He was 21 for 32 for 141 yards, suffering six sacks — one with a fumble returned for a score.
Meanwhile, Joe Flacco threw for 222 yards and led the Ravens on several long scoring drives, and Baltimore beat the Oakland Raiders, 30-17, on Sunday. Jimmy Smith returned a Jared Cook fumble 47 yards for a score for the Ravens, who never trailed in the game.
Oakland (2-3) lost its third consecutive game, this time with E.J. Manuel playing in place of starting quarterback Derek Carr. Manuel did connect with Michael Crabtree on a 41-yard touchdown pass, but the Raiders offense sputtered often, especially after entering the fourth quarter trailing just 24-17.
Flacco found receiver Mike Wallace on two 50-yard-plus passes that allowed Baltimore (3-2) to set the tempo and leave the West Coast with a win.
The Steelers Are as Terrible as Their Towels
Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns, and the Jacksonville Jaguars crushed the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-9, on Sunday. The Jaguars’ top-ranked pass defense prevented the Steelers high-powered offense from doing much of anything.
Roethlisberger finished 33-for-55 for 312 yards with no touchdowns. Wide receiver Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards. If Pittsburgh (3-2) can’t find its offensive rhythm, it will open up the AFC North for Baltimore and Cincinnati, both of whom have also looked terrible this season.
Rookie running back Leonard Fournette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns for Jacksonville (3-2), which beat the Steelers for the first time in 10 years.
Thursday, October 5
New England 19, Tampa Bay 14
Sunday, October 8
Seattle 16, L.A. Rams 10
Philadelphia 34, Arizona 7
Cincinnati 20, Buffalo 16
N.Y. Jets 17, Cleveland 14
Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Washington