After a crazy week in the NFL that saw more players testing positive for COVID-19, a mass reshuffling of games, and coaches getting the boot, here we are again with our weekly NFL takeaways.
First and foremost, we are wishing Dak Prescott the best in his recovery from a compound fracture and ankle dislocation.
The Falcons finally fired Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after Atlanta’s first 0-5 start since 1997. This comes nearly a week after the Texans got rid of head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien for being just as terrible in Houston.
There are still a few games left to play in Week 5, and likely a whole lot more news about COVID, and other jobs, but let’s dive into some of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend in the NFL.
Giants vs Cowboys
The Dallas defense proved once again that they are as ineffective at stopping opposing offenses as the Trump administration is at stopping COVID. The Cowboys defense plays with the level of awareness synonymous to a Vice President who doesn’t realize there is a fly on his head on national television. They gave up 27 points to Daniel Jones and one of the worst offensive teams in the entire league yesterday.
The baby-faced reincarnation of Eli Manning played OK yesterday in a game that was highly entertaining, despite the gruesome injury to Prescott. Jones had 211 yards passing and a passer rating over 80, and while those numbers may seem pedestrian to most, Giants fans know they can only ask for so much from Jones on this team. The Cowboys, on the other hand, were able to generate a very balanced attack, CeeDee Lamb was huge with 8 catches for 124 yards, Ezekiel Elliot nearly totaled 100 rushing yards and Andy Dalton came in to propel the Cowboys to victory late completing 9 of 11 passes in the second half and leading Dallas down the field to a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Dolphins vs 49ers
The Dolphins smacked the 49ers harder than a Colorado edible on Sunday afternoon. The complete domination from “Fitzmagic” propelled Miami to a 43-17 demolition of the reigning NFC champions. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 154.5 in the win. Wide receiver Preston Williams pulled in four of Fitzpatrick’s passes for 106 yards.
For the 49ers, there weren’t many people to highlight. The play of wannabe IG model Jimmy Garoppolo raised more questions about his capabilities to be a true star quarterback in this league. Garoppolo was benched at halftime for C.J. Beathard after throwing two picks and producing a passer rating of 15.7. In all fairness to Garoppolo, he is coming off a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss a couple of games and it was obvious that he came back too early. However, allowing your team to get 26-pieced by the Dolphins is unacceptable in any circumstance.
Colts vs Browns
This one was arguably the most intriguing matchup of the day. Two 3-1 teams predicated on the run game and controlling the clock matched up in Cleveland. The Browns controlled most of the game and even led by 17 points at one time. The Colts fought back to make it a one-possession game late but a Browns field goal put the game out of reach. Both Baker Mayfield and Philip Rivers played like they needed some Campbell’s chunky soup yesterday, combining for four interceptions, and neither had a passer rating over 73. The difference in the game was Cleveland’s defense that was able to thwart the Colts’ run and forced an aging Rivers to beat them over the top. The Colts had only 68 rushing yards on Sunday, and the Browns were able to force a safety and pick-six.
Raiders vs Chiefs
The Raiders had an impressive showing in Kansas City on Sunday as they gave the reigning Super Bowl Champions their first loss of the season. Derek Carr and the Raiders were able to mix in a steady ground game with Josh Jacobs while incorporating deep shots to playmakers like rookie Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor over the top.
The defense frustrated Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Kansas City offense by pressuring with four down lineman and having the other seven play solid coverage on the back end. Mahomes still threw for 340 yards but had a completion percentage of only 51 percent and threw a costly interception in the fourth quarter. It’s the third time in four weeks that the Chiefs have shown some cracks in their armor offensively. This could be a significant factor down the line if teams can execute the strategy that the Raiders implemented yesterday. This win could end up being huge for Las Vegas as they battle for a playoff spot late in the season.
Vikings vs Seahawks
The Sunday night thriller was another example of the greatness of youth pastor Russell Wilson. Despite the Vikings having over 200 yards rushing on Sunday and completely gashing the Seattle defense at will, Wilson still found a way to pull out a victory in a game in which he didn’t get his usual prolific numbers due to the pressure of Minnesota’s defense. Wilson was sacked four times and only threw for 217 yards on the day. Yet, on Seattle’s last drive, he connected with Optimus Prime’s long lost offspring otherwise known as D.K. Metcalf for the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds left on the clock. Kirk Cousins was slightly better than his usual Kellogg’s Raisin Bran performances on his Sunday throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns, but the story for the Vikings was how dominant their offensive line was in creating a running game for the Vikings rushers.
Even when star tailback Dalvin Cook left the game early, Alexander Mattison was able to carry the load for Minnesota giving them 112 yards on the ground. The Vikings played far better than a team that is now 1-4 on the season, but when you go into Seattle to take on Wilson and the crew, you have to do more than just jab, you have to throw knockout punches. Seattle remains undefeated this season and looks on pace to capture a top-two seed in the NFC playoff race