NFL Week 5 Recap — The Vikings Stand Alone & Other Things We Learned
Only one unbeaten team remains after five Sundays of the 2016 NFL season. Here’s what we learned this week:
Tom Brady Is Still Awesome
Tom Brady threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns to Martellus Bennett, and the New England Patriots squashed the Cleveland Browns, 33-13, on Sunday. Fresh off serving his four-game "Deflategate" suspension, Brady was 28-of-40 on the game, throwing for 271 yards in the first half as New England (4-1) rolled to a 23-7 halftime lead.
Predictably, Cleveland (0-5) did not rally, losing rookie quarterback Cody Kessler to injury in the first half and veteran Charlie Whitehurst — the Browns’ fifth quarterback this season — late in the game.
Pats’ coach Bill Belichick pulled Brady with 6:02 to play, allowing him to receive a warm ovation from the many New England fans in attendance. It won’t be the last one he gets this season.
The Vikings Are Still Perfect
Sam Bradford committed zero turnovers while completing 22 of 30 passes to seven different receivers, and the Minnesota Vikings crushed the Houston Texans, 31-13, on Sunday. The win left Minnesota (5-0) as the NFL’s last unbeaten team, and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Adam Thielen had a career-high 127 receiving yards and a touchdown for the Vikings, who won with defense. Brock Osweiler had just 184 yards passing, with one interception, a touchdown and four sacks taken for Houston (3-2).
Minnesota will be challenged over the next two-plus months, but no team has looked better while missing several key players to injury.
The Broncos Lost For The First Time Since 2015
Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 286 total yards and two touchdowns, and the Atlanta Falcons gave the Denver Broncos their first loss since last December, 23-16, on Sunday.
Rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch, who started because of Trevor Siemian's bruised left shoulder, completed 23 of 35 passes for 223 yards, with two turnovers, a touchdown and six sacks taken for Denver (4-1). Lynch often looked overmatched, and he was incapable of leading the Broncos to a rally in the second half.
Matt Ryan threw for 267 yards for Atlanta (4-1), which looks like a legitimate NFC playoff team.
The Lions Proved The Eagles Aren’t That Good. Yet.
Matt Prater kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:28 to play, and the Detroit Lions beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-23, on Sunday. Darius Slay preserved the win for Detroit (2-3) with an interception of Carson Wentz — the first he’s thrown in 134 career pass attempts - on the game’s final drive.
Philadelphia (3-1) was behind 21-10 at the half, but rallied to take a 23-21 lead with 6:45 left. The Lions roared back, as Matthew Stafford set up the game-winning kick with a third down-conversion to Golden Tate.
The Eagles may still be a playoff contender, but their previously ferocious defense seemed anything but in the first half against Detroit, which saw Stafford throw two touchdown passes to Theo Riddick in the first quarter.
The Cowboys Are For Real
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 28-14, in Arlington, Tex. on Sunday. Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott completed 18 of 24 passes for 227 yards, throwing for one touchdown, running for another and extending his NFL rookie record to 155 passes without an interception to start his career.
Elliott recorded his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game for the Cowboys (4-1), who are undoubtedly a playoff threat, even without injured stars Tony Romo (back) and Dez Bryant (knee).
Quarterback Andy Dalton completed 29 of 41 passes for 269 yards and two meaningless late touchdowns to Brandon LaFell for Cincinnati (2-3), but he was sacked four times. The Bengals fell into danger of falling out of playoff contention by the season’s halfway point. They’ll face the Pats next week.
Aaron Rodgers Was Ok; The Giants Were Just Not Good
Aaron Rodgers overcame two first-half interceptions and threw two touchdown passes, and the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants, 23-16, on Sunday night. Rodgers finished 23-for-45 for 259 yards for Green Bay (3-1), which handed New York (2-3) its third consecutive loss.
Eli Manning threw for just 199 yards and one touchdown for the Giants, despite the Packers being without starting cornerback Damarious Randall. New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. had just five catches for 56 yards and a score, but he was a non-factor for most of the game.
Both of these teams would normally receive consideration as contenders, but the sloppy play on Sunday — and in previous weeks — underlines that they’ll need to improve to compete with the Vikings, Falcons and Seahawks for the NFC title.
Thursday, Oct. 6
Arizona 33, San Francisco 21
Sunday, Oct. 9
Indianapolis 29, Chicago 23
Tennessee 30, Miami 17
Washington 16, Baltimore 10
Pittsburgh 31, N.Y. Jets 13
Buffalo 30, Los Angeles 19
Oakland 34, San Diego 31
Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle, Jacksonville