Once again, the NFL is proving to have a very intriguing playoff race and anything can happen. This week saw 10 out of 16 games ending by a score margin of nine or less, including two overtime games. The Seattle Seahawks suffered a huge loss this week as they lost superstar quarterback Russell Wilson to a finger sprain, dropping a crucial game against NFC West opponent, The Los Angeles Rams 17-26. Seattle now falls to 2-3 and is struggling on the defensive side of the ball.
The narrative is beginning to change as we see teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, who many put as their Super Bowl favorites, are now 2-3 and appear to have serious problems on the defensive side of the ball. Other teams like the Arizona Cardinals are beginning to shock most analysts and the league as they are now 5-0 after a gut-wrenching victory over division opponent the San Francisco 49ers with a final score of 17-10. Although it’s still early for the MVP race, I think we have to have Kyler Murray as the front runner with Tom Brady and newcomer Justin Herbert close behind.
Games of the Week
Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts: Final/OT: Ravens 31, Colts 25
From the first quarter on, after Colts running back Jonathan Taylor had a touchdown reception of 76 yards, it seemed that the Ravens were in for a long night. Going into the 4th quarter the score was 22-10 with the Colts leading when Lamar Jackson led his team to a 16 point 4th quarter comeback. Two botched field goals by Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, including a blocked field goal by defensive end Calis Cambell for the Ravens, sealed the deal late in the 4th quarter. That was just enough momentum for Jackson to tie the game in the 4th and lead the team to overtime. In overtime, Jackson threw a five-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marquise Brown for the go-ahead score to win the game. Jackson ended with 400 passing yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and an 85% completion percentage.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers: Final/OT: Packers 25, Bengals 22
This may come as a shock, but the Cincinnati Bengals are finally good again and the rebuilding process seems to be paying off for the franchise. Much of the success can be credited to the former No.1 overall pick in Joe Burrow and his new target in first rounder, and former college teammate, wide receiver Ja’marr Chase. Chase was awarded rookie of the month in September and was able to rack up over 160 yards receiving yards and a receiving touchdown against the Packers. The score was close throughout the entire game and the lead never grew to more than 10 points. Unfortunately for the Bengals, the Packers have a pretty good quarterback in Aaron Rodgers who threw for over 340 and a pair of touchdowns. The game ultimately was tied in the fourth quarter with both teams having multiple times to win the game with a field goal, but both kickers had a rough outing in the last minutes of the fourth quarter by missing a combined five go-ahead field goals. After missing three go-ahead field goals, Packers kicker Mason Crsoby atoned for his sins by kicking the game-winner that sent the Packers to a 4-1 record with the Bengals falling to 3-2.
Biggest Missed Opportunity
Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Final: Chargers 47, Browns 42
The Cleveland Browns came into week five with a strong rushing attack that contributed to the franchise’s strong 3-1 record, but the story has been about former No. 1 overall pickBaker Mayfield, and how he hasn’t truly taken the next leap that most people have expected. Beating the Chargers team that sits at the top of the AFC West would have been a huge surge of confidence in the team that has received average play from QB1, especially when they are backed by a superior defense, but the Chargers had other plans. Justin Herbert has been lighting up the league since his rookie year last year. Herbert and his receiving core took advantage of a depleted secondary for the Browns, but even with that the Browns had multiple leads against the Chargers but could not finish when it counted. Herbert threw for almost 400 yards against a statistically solid Browns defense and connected with Mike Williams, a huge target standing at 6’4, who was targeted 16 times and had 165 receiving yards with 2 touchdowns. Mayfeild threw for 305 yards with two touchdown passes but was helped by running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt that combined for 222 yards rushing and three touchdowns. When running backs are competing at that high of a level, a loss seems like it’s all for nothing. With a win, The Browns could have been tied for first with the Ravens in the AFC North. For the Chargers, they are still at the top of the AFC West and are starting to look like the team to beat in the AFC as a whole.
DK Metcalf: 5 catches, 98 yards, 2 touchdowns (Seattle Seahawks 17, Los Angeles Rams 26)
Dawson Knox: 3 catches, 117 yards, 1 touchdown (Buffalo Bills 38, Kansas City Chiefs 20)
AJ Brown: 3 catches, 38 yards (Tennessee Titans 37, Jacksonville Jaguars 19)