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NFL Week 5 Recap

Trenton Szeto

Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants

The Minnesota Vikings moved to 3-2 with a 28-10 win over the struggling New York Giants, who fell to 2-3.

Daniel Jones Still Struggling Deep

The Giants’ rookie quarterback was coming off a shaky performance against the winless Washington Redskins where he took very few shots past five yards of the line of scrimmage and still somehow threw two interceptions. Facing a fierce Vikings defense did nothing to help him as he took four sacks and eight hits. He attempted more passes of 10 yards or deeper but found little success as only four out of his 15 deep passes were completed. The Giants run game could not find any traction and ended with 64 total rushing yards on the day.

Vikings Solid Showing In All Three Phases

One week after Dalvin Cook was held to 35 yards rushing by the Chicago Bears, the Giants had no answers for the running back. With 132 yards on the ground and 86 yards through the air, he carried the Vikings offense with a strong bounce-back performance. Running backs Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah added 52 and 24 yards respectively. Kirk Cousins played a safe game with 306 yards and two touchdowns, demonstrating that the offense can click if the running game is established early.

Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs

One of the league’s undefeated teams falls to 4-1 as the Indianapolis Colts rode running back Marlon Mack and a tough defense to a 19-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts are now 3-2 and on top of the AFC South.

Offense Struggles With Patrick Mahomes Injury

The Colts defense made the Chiefs offense one-dimensional as they held running back Damien Williams to 23 yards. As a result, Patrick Mahomes was under constant duress from a swarming defense that harassed the Chiefs’ offensive line for the entire game. Mahomes led two strong early drives that put 10 points on the board but a reaggravated ankle injury in the first half quickly brought the offense to a sputter as his subsequent passes lost accuracy. In the third quarter, the pass rush of the Colts pushed one of the Chiefs’ linemen onto the quarterback’s ankle, which clearly left him hobbled for the rest of the game. Still, Mahomes continued to throw deeper passes with an average completed air pass of 9.6 yards and an average intended air pass of 11.4 yards.

Jacoby Brissett Cool Under Pressure, Rides Run Game

Marlon Mack and the Colts’ offensive line paved the way for an old-school game won by possessing the football almost 15 minutes longer than the Chiefs. His 29 carries amounted to 132 yards on the ground, 100 of which were gained between his offensive tackles. The entire team totaled 45 carries and 180 yards rushing. Supported by a strong run game, Jacoby Brissett stood in the pocket and take care of the ball by throwing 17 of his 18 completed passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He ended with an average of 2.2 air yards per completed pass, one of the lowest in Week 5. The Colts offensive line gave up no sacks and allowed Brissett an average 3.32 seconds to throw, third longest in Week 5.

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys

The Green Bay Packers rode a dominant defense to a 34-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers moved up to 4-1 as the Cowboys dropped to 3-2.

Aaron Jones Carries Packers Offense

Running back Aaron Jones notched his second 100-yard game this season with a 19 carry, 107 yard performance that included four touchdowns. He also added in the passing game with seven receptions for 75 yards. With such a dominant performance, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t asked to do much as he went 22 of 34 for 238 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions, and 18 of his 22 completed passes being thrown within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The conservative offensive strategy paid off with a time of possession almost 13 minutes longer than the Cowboys.

Slow Start Dooms Cowboys Offense

Somehow the Cowboys made it past mid-field five times in the first half and came away with zero points. Both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott played good football for half the field but found some way to turn the ball over or get pushed back out of field goal range each time. The Packers were already up 24-0 by the time the Cowboys scored their first points on a field goal in the middle of the third quarter. The Packers’ pass rush, which was kept quiet against the Eagles in Week 4 with no sacks, recorded three on Prescott with eight hits. Both Prescott and Elliott made remarkable plays but the Cowboys need to find ways to finish their drives.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Carolina Panthers

Two backup quarterbacks faced off as the Jacksonville Jaguars dropped to 2-3 with a loss to the Carolina Panthers, who moved to 3-2 after the 34-27 win.

The Thesaurus Is Running Out of Words To Describe Christian McCaffrey

Panthers coach Ron Rivera joked that writers keep pulling out the thesaurus to describe all-purpose running back Christian McCaffrey, who continues to be the focal point of the Panthers offense with Cam Newton out because of a foot injury. He had 19 carries for 176 yards, two touchdowns, and was rated the most north-south runner of Week 5. Adding to that were his six receptions for 61 yards and another touchdown. He now has 866 yards from scrimmage, which is 50 more yards than the combined totals of contemporaries Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. The hype around backup quarterback Kyle Allen seems to have cooled since his hot start. Ball security continues to be an issue as he had his sixth fumble in only three games and his passing yardage (181 yards) were bolstered primarily by yards after catch by his receivers as he only hit one pass over 10 yards.

Minshew Mania Falls Just Short of a Miracle

Gardner Minshew struggled against the Panthers defense and lost three fumbles while trying to work miracles and keep the Jaguars in the game. Even after his third fumble, the Jaguars had another opportunity to possibly tie the game. Forced to scramble on the final play, Minshew found himself unable to put his entire body into one last hail mary that fell short of the end zone. He ended the day going 26 of 44 for 374 yards, two touchdowns, and adding 42 yards rushing.

Cleveland Browns @ San Francisco 49ers

Even after an oddly-timed bye week, the San Francisco 49ers stayed undefeated at 4-0 with a 31-3 win and dropped the Cleveland Browns to 2-3.

Baker Mayfield, Browns Offense and Defense With No Answers

Baker Mayfield had arguably the worst game of his young career against a suffocating 49ers defense led by rookie Nick Bosa. Mayfield completed only eight of his 22 passes (36.36%) for 100 yards and two interceptions. Of his eight completions, four of them were behind the line of scrimmage. The 49ers’ pass rush chased him in and out of the pocket, often rushing only four players, and recorded four sacks, eight hits, and two forced fumbles. Overall the Browns played sloppy football, with Mayfield throwing an interception to 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, losing another interception to Antonio Callaway bobbling a red zone pass, fumbling after scrambling to avoid pass rushers, and Odell Beckham Jr. losing a fumble trying to spark a big play.

49ers Offense Clicking

There was no slow start coming off of a bye-week as running back Matt Breida ran for an 83 yard touchdown on the first San Francisco play of the game. He finished the day with 11 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown on the ground and another through the air. The rest of the running back depth filled in with Tevin Coleman rushing for 97 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown, and Raheem Mostert adding 34 yards on 7 carries. The Browns’ defense had no answers for the 49ers running backs and blocking schemes. Jimmy Garoppolo looked fresh with 20 completions out of 29 attempts, 181 yards, two touchdowns, and a league-fastest average time to throw of 2.23 for Week 5.

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