By: ZACHARY JONES / STAFF REPORTER
Thursday Night Football
This past Thursday’s headline game was a matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos. This game featured some controversial calls, scary injuries, and not a lot of scoring.
This game sadly continued a stale streak of games for Amazon’s first season hosting TNF. The ending score of 9-12 in the Colts favor left many fans unsatisfied.
The battle between two quarterbacks in new scenes definitely wasn’t as exciting as a former MVP quarterback (Colts’ Matt Ryan) vs a Super Bowl winning quarterback (Broncos’ Russell Wilson) should be. However, these quarterbacks both have looked like shells of their former selves to start this season, and they both entered the game without their starting running backs, Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor and Denver’s Javonte Williams.
The injuries for running backs didn’t end there, as the Colts’ Nyheim Heins left the game with a concussion, showcasing similar symptoms to Tua Tagovailoa’s Week 4 hit.
Many fans are looking to bla
me Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett for the loss, and even are wanting him fired after some questionable calls in high pressure situations, which didn’t result in the Broncos favor. Neither team leads their division while each of them have 2 wins.
Each team will need to play better than their Thursday performance showed if they wish to make the playoffs in a rejuvenated AFC.
Sunday in London
London once again got one of the NFLs best games of the weekend, and their first game between 2 teams with winning records, as the New York Giants played the Green Bay Packers.
This game also finished in a questionable manner, as the Packers threw the ball back to back plays on 3rd and 2 and 4th and 2 to no avail, losing them the game 27-22.
The Giants won the game on the back of an injured Daniel Jones and the league's leading rusher Saquon Barkley. Jones, with his starting 3 receivers all out with injuries, threw for over 200 yards and even ran for multiple crucial first downs, even after suffering an ankle injury last week.
The Packers didn’t seem to perform badly, especially on the ground where they averaged 4.7 yards per carry. But, they just couldn’t make the passes fall as Aaron Rodgers struggled with accuracy due to the pressure.
Rodgers got hit 6 times and had his throws batted multiple times at the line of scrimmage, including back to back times on the final Packers drive before the Giants safety.
The Giants are a strong 4-1 and look to be the real deal with Coach Brian Daboll already getting Coach of the Year attention. The Packers drop to 3-2 and are second in their division behind the Vikings.
Early Afternoon Games
The Buffalo Bills defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-3 in a game that looked decided on the first drive, where the Bills scored on a 98 yard pass to Gabe Davis.
Pittsburgh’s rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett, was forced to throw the ball 52 times in the near shutout game, struggling to find the endzone. Second-year running back Najee Harris’ struggles continued into this week where he averaged a mere 1.8 yards per carry and only caught the ball 3 times from the backfield.
The Bills and quarterback Josh Allen played great. Allen threw 4 touchdown passes in the first half in the blowout victory, and even was able to find his way to the bench once the game seemed out of reach for Pittsburgh.
The Bills are 4-1 at the top of their division and Pittsburgh is 1-4 at the bottom of theirs.
The Los Angeles Chargers against the Cleveland Browns was an exciting bout, and another one that had fans calling for a coach's job due to questionable decisions.
This run-heavy game featured two of the league's best running backs with the Browns’ Nick Chubb and the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler, who combined for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns rushing the ball.
The questionable call of this thriller came via Chargers coach Brandon Staley, who decided to go for it on 4th and 1 at their own 46. The failure to convert on this 4th down gave the Browns great field possession and enough time to get into field goal range easily, where Rookie kicker Cade York missed the potential game winning 54 yard field goal, giving the Chargers the win. Each team holds 2nd place in their division.
A division thriller between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings ended with a Minnesota victory after a late game go ahead touchdown from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins opened the game a perfect 17-17 and the Vikings and their stars looked unstoppable on offense.
Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson ended the game with over 150 receiving yards and star running back Dalvin Cook rushed for just under 100 yards with two touchdown carries.
The Bears played solid, but undisciplined, having a game-ending strip fumble and a costly penalty that removed a 52 yard Justin Fields touchdown run.
The Vikings are now in sole possession of the lead for the NFC North at 4-1 and the Bears are 3rd, just ahead of the 1-4 Detroit Lions.
The New England Patriots won 29-0 in a shutout over the Detroit Lions, who were the highest scoring team in the league up to this game.
The run game thrived for the Patriots in this game, where they averaged five yards per carry even with an injury to starting running back Damien Harris.
Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe got his 1st NFL win as a starter and played a good conservative game, besides the single interception in the first quarter. Both teams are at the bottom of their division and have an uphill battle to compete for a playoff spot this year.
Geno Smith has been electric this season and despite the loss, his stellar play continued in this weekend's game between his Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. Smith threw for 3 touchdowns in the 39-32 shootout, and rookie running back Kenneth Walker III ran for 88 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Rashaad Penny.
However, both of these good performances were not enough to beat the New Orleans Saints, led by a masterful Taysom Hill 4 touchdown performance.
Saints superstar running back Alvin Kamara appeared to be back to his former form with nearly 200 yards from scrimmage and almost 30 opportunities. Both teams are 2-3 and only a game behind their respective division leaders.
The Miami Dolphins dropped another game without Tagovailoa, this time in a 40-17 loss to division rival New York Jets.
This game was all Jets, and the rookie class excelled again.
Rookie running back Breece Hall had just under 200 yards from scrimmage and added a rushing touchdown. However, he was a yard away from scoring a receiving touchdown twice in the game.
Rookie corner Sauce Gardner was the highlight of the defense, forcing a safety and getting an interception.
The Dolphins found themselves in a hole early with the starting quarterback for the day, Teddy Bridgewater, leaving the game due to injury, leading to rookie 7th round draft pick, Skylar Thompson, having to close out the rest of the game for the ‘Phins. Ultimately the offense couldn’t recover, only scoring 17 points while the defense couldn’t stop the bleeding in this game where they allowed 5 touchdowns including three in the 4th quarter alone.
Both teams are now 3-2 in a loaded AFC East where they sit behind the Buffalo Bills.
The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that made fans everywhere question the roughing the passer rules.
Tom Brady threw the ball 52 times in the six point victory, and he threw well with his freshly returned WR core.
The Bucs took a 21-0 lead in the 3rd quarter, but the Falcons sparked a late comeback in the 4th quarter scoring 15 quick points leaving them down 6 with 4:38 remaining in the game. However, this lead came in vain, due to a questionable roughing the passer call on what would have been a punt forcing sack from the Falcons Grady Jarrett.
This call was blasted on social media from fans, and ultimately decided the divisional affair. The Buccaneers now lead the NFC South with the Falcons tied with the Saints for 2nd.
A game between the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Commanders led to a Titans 21-17 win, but also a lot to talk about.
The amazing story of Commanders running back Brian Robinson, who played in this game despite being shot twice in the leg six weeks prior to the game. Robinson not only played, he led the team in carries as well.
Both teams relied on defense to compete in this game with a total of 8 sacks combined in this game. The Titans boast the number one 3rd down defense in the NFL, but are also a team that consistently lets up the big play so far this year.
This defense has allowed over 400 yards of offense per game, and in this game alone let up two touchdowns of over 30 yards. This tendency to get beat by the deep ball must stop if they wish to be competitive this year, as they face multiple pass heavy teams including the Chargers, Cowboys, and Chiefs.
The Titans now lead their division at 3-2 while Washington falls to the bottom of their division at 1-4.
The AFC South continues its unpredictability in a game between division rivals in which the Houston Texans edged out victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars defense held firm for most of the game, but couldn’t seem to stop Dameon Pierce on the ground late, which is what resulted in the lone touchdown of the game.
Trevor Lawrence played sloppily for Jacksonville, throwing 2 interceptions and completing barely over 50% of his 47 passes. However, Jaguars second year running back, Travis Etienne Jr., seems to be starting to take touches from James Robinson as he led the backfield in opportunities for the second consecutive week.
The Texans still find themselves last in the division despite the win, but they narrow the gap between them and other teams in one of the lower performing divisions.
Late Window Games
The San Francisco 49ers took the Carolina Panthers down 37-15 behind a nearly perfect game from the offense.
The 49ers only miscues on offense were a George Kittle fumble and allowing two sacks. They were successful in the run game, with Jeff Wilson Jr leading the rushing attack having 17 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Recent signing and former 49er Tevin Coleman also ran for a touchdown, but his contribution didn’t stop there, as he caught a touchdown pass as well.
Panthers quarterbacks had a rough day as they were sacked a combined 6 times and threw 1 interception via Baker Mayfield. Mayfield seems to have suffered a high-ankle sprain in the game, he is expected to miss around 4 weeks. A bad sign for an already struggling Panthers team.
San Francisco finds themselves atop the NFC West while the Panthers are at the bottom of the NFC South.
The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Los Angeles Rams due largely to a great defensive performance.
Dan Quinn’s Dallas defense performed exceptionally well, forcing 3 Matthew Stafford turnovers and sacking Stafford 5 times in the game.
This defense also shut down the run game entirely for LA, allowing only 2.5 yards per carry on the day. However, where Dallas’ defense succeeded, the offense struggled, amounting to under 250 yards of offense and looked stagnant the entire game outside of a 57-yard touchdown run from Tony Pollard.
The Cowboys are now 4-1 and should see a return from starting quarterback Dak Prescott, while the Rams fall to 2-3 behind a fourth game where Stafford has had 2 or more turnovers.
The Philadelphia Eagles continue their unbeaten streak after edging out the Arizona Cardinals 20-17.
This result was up in the air, with a missed 43 field goal from Arizona kicker Matt Ammendola being the deciding factor.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts rewrites history as the quarterback with the most rushing touchdowns in their first 25 career starts, of 19. Hurts got this record after running for 2 touchdowns in this victory.
Kyler Murray had to throw the ball a lot again with 42 passes in the game for only 250 passing yards, but these numbers should get better soon with the return of DeAndre Hopkins in week 7.
The Eagles lead their division, but have the task of playing a hot Dallas team next week, and the Cardinals are a game behind in the NFC West.
Sunday Night Football
The Cincinnati Bengals faced off against the Baltimore Ravens in a division matchup where the winner took the lead of the AFC North. The Ravens won on a near perfect 43-yard field goal kick from Baltimore’s Justin Tucker.
This game was odd for viewers, with slow performances from 2 of the league's best quarterbacks in Cincinnati's Joe Burrow and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson.
It was also concerning for fans to not see Bengals star wide receiver Tee Higgins, who was expected to be playing after being on the injury report for an ankle injury throughout the week.
Bengals off-season signing, Hayden Hurst, played well in this game leading the Bengals in receiving yards and having the sole receiving touchdown for the team.
This game could be a big factor in determining who makes the playoffs, and the Bengals will need to pick up the pace if they wish for another shot at the Lombardi Trophy this winter.
Monday Night Football
The Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beat the Las Vegas Raiders in the 30-29 game.
Las Vegas has a lot of answering to do from coaches and players alike. One player has already responded to the questions that loomed around him, as Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams apologized for pushing a cameraman on his way to the locker room.
Many unanswered questions reside on the staff who decided to go for a late 2 point conversion rather than kick the PAT to tie the game.
The final questions revolve around the refereeing in this game as fans and players alike express their disliking for a roughing the passer call on what seemed to be a clean strip sack from the Chiefs’ Chris Jones.
Regardless of the call, the Chiefs gathered and came back to win the game, in large part due to the connection of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce who hooked up for 4 touchdowns on the day.
Vegas saw great action from their stars as well with Josh Jacobs rushing for over 150 yards and a touchdown, and Davante Adams catching 3 passes for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Vegas, this was not enough as they dropped to 1-4 and the Chiefs became sole leaders of the AFC West.