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What We Learned in N.F.L. Week 5


It was not a week to showcase the best the N.F.L. has to offer. There were fumbles galore, a particularly ugly injury in Pittsburgh, multiple blowouts and a sense that we already know who the real contenders are, which would make the bulk of the regular season a formality.

But for an extreme optimist, there was some excitement buried beneath that baggage — if one was willing to look for it — and there is still plenty of season left for a surprising contender or two to emerge. Here’s what we learned in Week 5:

  • The Packers are not what we expected — but they are doing just fine. Aaron Rodgers was supposed to open things up in Coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. That has yet to materialize, but Green Bay is 4-1 after rebounding from last week’s disappointing loss to Philadelphia with a 34-24 victory in Dallas. Aaron Jones tied a Green Bay record with four rushing touchdowns — he has eight for the season, matching his total from last year — and the Packers’ defense, while allowing an ugly 563 yards, contributed to the win with three interceptions and three sacks.

Watson worked for the Falcons as a ball boy in high school, but he showed no sentimentality as he destroyed his hometown team.

The Panthers running back had 176 rushing yards, 61 receiving yards and three total touchdowns as Carolina held off Jacksonville for a 34-27 win at home.

McCaffrey now has 866 yards from scrimmage for the season — the second-most in N.F.L. history through five weeks to Jim Brown’s 988 in 1963, according to Pro Football Reference — and is on pace to easily break Chris Johnson’s single-season record of 2,509, which the Titans’ running back achieved in 2009. But McCaffrey shouldn’t let his head get too big: His only pass attempt of the day fell incomplete.

After a comically outrageous performance in Houston’s win, Fuller showed some serious modesty when talking about the impact his fellow wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, has on coverages during Texans games.

“Playing with Hop, like I always say, is easy,” Fuller told reporters. “He gets a lot of coverages thrown his way, and I feel like that’s why they brought me here, to help him out. It took me a while, but I finally had this big game, so I’m just trying to help out.”

*Except when it takes two.

Patriots 33, Redskins 7 Tom Brady’s 348 passing yards gave him 71,923 for his career, pushing him past Brett Favre into third place on the N.F.L.’s all-time list.

Colts 19, Chiefs 13 Marlon Mack ran for 132 yards, giving Indianapolis just enough offense to pull off an enormous upset in Kansas City.

Panthers 34, Jaguars 27 Kyle Allen is 3-0 since taking over for the injured Cam Newton at quarterback, but Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew made Allen work for this one in a game that came down to the final seconds.

Packers 34, Cowboys 24 Dak Prescott set a career high in passing yards and Amari Cooper set a career high in receiving yards and Dallas lost anyway.

Saints 31, Buccaneers 24 It took 1,387 days, but Teddy Bridgewater got the second four-touchdown performance of his career.

Eagles 31, Jets 6 Philadelphia’s offense barely showed up and the Eagles still won by 25 points — the Jets, at least without Sam Darnold, really are that bad.

Texans 53, Falcons 32 Houston got away with fumbling the ball five times thanks to the Texans offense making the Falcons defense look like, well, the Falcons defense.

Bills 14, Titans 7 Buffalo’s defense continues to be extraordinary and thanks to Josh Allen returning from the league’s concussion protocol, its offense was good enough to win.

Ravens 26, Steelers 23 Baltimore won this game, but the Ravens should be extremely concerned about Lamar Jackson’s rapidly deteriorating passing: He has five interceptions over his last two games after throwing none in his first three.

Vikings 28, Giants 10 If not for Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook might be the talk of the N.F.L.: Minnesota’s running back had 218 yards from scrimmage on Sunday, and is up to 742 for the season.

Cardinals 26, Bengals 23 Kyler Murray did not throw a touchdown pass, but he ran for 93 yards and a touchdown and, much more important, he got his first career win. “We needed to win this game just for the morale of the team,” Murray told reporters.

Raiders 24, Bears 21 Josh Jacobs, a first-round pick out of Alabama, did not seem intimidated by Chicago’s defense, running for 123 yards and two touchdowns. “We were up for the challenge,” Jacobs told reporters.

Broncos 20, Chargers 13 Coach Vic Fangio finally got a win thanks to a big day from his defense and a solid effort from Phillip Lindsay, the team’s second-year running back.


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