One Thing Every NFL Team Should Celebrate After Week 5
Now that we're almost through five weeks of the NFL season, we've got a pretty good sense of what teams are going to bring to the field. However, there will always be surprises (Indianapolis Colts), disappointments (Jacksonville Jaguars) and jaw-dropping performances (San Francisco 49ers).
This week was no different, and even though teams like the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans turned in truly uninspiring performances, we still found reason for them to celebrate. Take a look at the one reason that each NFL team is celebrating following Week 5.
Note: The Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have byes this week. They will be celebrating that their combined record of 5-11 could be much worse.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The 16-0 Monkey Is off Their Back
Not that anyone really expected the Arizona Cardinals to go undefeated this season, but just the thought of a perfect season was obviously weighing heavily on their shoulders.
That is really the only sound explanation for the extremely poor performance the Cardinals put on against the St. Louis Rams. It was either that or the fact Arizona was the worst 4-0 team in the history of the NFL.
St. Louis Rams
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Robert Quinn Is Living Up to Expectations
After being selected 14th overall in last year's NFL draft, Quinn had a difficult time during his rookie season.
However, through the first five games of the 2012 season, it appears as if he's finally living up to expectations of being such a high pick. His three sacks on Thursday already give him six on the season, one more than he had all of last year.
If Quinn keeps playing at this pace, it won't be long until he is considered one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The Defense Is Bordering on Elite
If the Miami Dolphins' offense could get on the same level as their defense, this would be one of the more frightening teams in the NFL.
For the second straight week, the Dolphins' defense looked fantastic with solid coverage down the field and a brutal pass rush. With the continuing development of Ryan Tannehill and the offense, this could be one of the more surprising teams as the season moves forward.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Vontaze Burfict Continues to Be Impressive
Few people expected Burfict to make a roster this year, and even fewer were expecting him to make any type of impact in 2012.
However, Burfict continues to be extremely impressive during his rookie season. Even though the Cincinnati Bengals lost, Burfict had seven total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Things are looking good for Bufict, and if he continues to play at this level, he'll end up being the steal of the 2012 NFL draft.
One Thing They Should Celebrate: Josh Gordon's Big-Play Potential
Yes, Gordon only had two receptions in a blowout loss to the New York Giants, but those two receptions went for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
This was the big-play potential that everyone was excited about when the Cleveland Browns took Gordon in the supplemental draft. Hopefully, he can keep this type of play up because Cleveland could really use another weapon on offense.
New York Giants
One Thing They Should Celebrate: 41 Points and No Hakeem Nicks
Everyone was expecting the New York Giants to have a potent passing attack this year, but I don't think anyone expected it to be this good, especially without Nicks in the lineup.
Over the past three weeks, the Giants have had three different receivers step up in a huge way. First, it was Ramses Barden, followed by Domenik Hixon last week and Rueben Randle this week.
It is scary to think how dynamic this offense is going to be once Nicks is healthy.
Green Bay Packers
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: They're Part of a Great Story
By now, we are all familiar with Chuck Pagano and his diagnosis of leukemia.
Had the Green Bay Packers beaten the Indianapolis Colts in their first game without their head coach, there certainly wouldn't have been a shock wave sent through the football community. However, since the Colts came back in dramatic fashion to pull off a huge upset, we now have one of the most touching stories of this young NFL season.
While the Packers certainly can't be happy with their second-half performance, at least they can celebrate that they were part of such a great story.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The Legend of Andrew Luck Is Growing
Rookie quarterbacks simply shouldn't be as good as Luck was on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Any other rookie quarterback—and even some experienced quarterbacks—would have packed it in, down, 21-3, at the half against one of the better teams in the NFL.
However, Luck led the Colts to 19 straight points to give his team the lead in the fourth quarter. If that wasn't enough, Luck orchestrated the game-winning drive with a touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with only 35 seconds remaining in the game.
His performance in Week 5 was one of the gutsiest performances we've seen this season, and Indianapolis will be celebrating its young quarterback for a long, long time.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: No Interceptions from Michael Vick
This is the second straight week that Vick hasn't thrown an interception. After the start of the season, when it appeared every one of his throws landed in a defensive back's arms, this has to be quite exciting for the Philadelphia Eagles.
He did, however, cough up two fumbles, but let's just work on one cause of turnovers at a time. Maybe next week, the Eagles will be able to celebrate no fumbles and no interceptions.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Rashard Mendenhall Is Back
After missing the first four games of the 2012 season, Mendenhall made his extremely early return from a knee injury suffered last year.
Not only was he back, but he looked like his old self and actually led the Pittsburgh Steelers in carries and yards. He had 14 carries for 81 yards and a crucial touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.
This is great news for the Steelers, and Mendenhall should add a new dimension to the Steelers' offense moving forward.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: 5-0
As the only 5-0 team in the NFL (the Houston Texans don't play until Monday), the Atlanta Falcons have many reasons to celebrate.
While Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins was one of their poorer performances of the season, undefeated is still undefeated.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The Existence of Alfred Morris
As impressive as Robert Griffin III has been this year, he may no longer be the most impressive rookie on his own roster,
With Morris' 115 yards on Sunday, he now has 491 yards on the season and back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Not only that, but Morris has become a workhorse running back in Mike Shanahan's offense.
That in and of itself should be enough to make Morris the top rookie running back this season.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: They Can Win Ugly Games
The Baltimore Ravens' victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was the definition of an ugly win. In fact, "ugly" might not be a strong enough word to describe the atrociousness on the field in Kansas City.
However, you have to give the Ravens props for coming away with such an ugly win. It is often these types of wins that make a big difference late in the year when fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Brady Quinn
Let's all just take a moment to soak in the excellence that is Mr. Quinn. While filling in for an injured Matt Cassel, Quinn went off for a 111.1 quarterback rating against the Baltimore Ravens.
Of course, he only threw three passes, but he completed all three of those passes for 32 yards. Can we say impressive?
I believe the Kansas City Chiefs have found their long-term answer at quarterback.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: 38 Points in the Second Half
For the first half, it looked like the Chicago Bears-Jacksonville Jaguars game was going to be the worst of the weekend.
Then all of a sudden, the Bears started putting it together in the third quarter with 10 points and absolutely exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter. The defense really was the star of this game with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, but even Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall all looked good.
If this is how the Bears plan on playing for the rest of the season, they'll have no difficulties absolutely dismantling teams week after week.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Whatever Blaine Gabbert Is Smiling About
After getting drubbed, 41-3, there is literally nothing that the Jacksonville Jaguars should be celebrating. However, Gabbert found something exciting enough to smile about after barely completing 50 percent of his passes for two interceptions and a 37.7 quarterback rating.
The rest of the Jaguars need to talk to Gabbert, figure out why he was so happy after such a terrible performance and celebrate that. It's the only way they'll stay sane in the upcoming week.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Russell Wilson Continues to Find a Way to Win
The statistics may not always be pretty for Wilson, but you certainly can't discount the fact that the Seattle Seahawks are 3-2 this year. A big reason for that has been the play of Wilson during clutch moments.
This week, it was a 13-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate late in the third quarter that gave the Seahawks the lead. He'll ultimately need to perform at a more consistent level, but for now, he is doing enough to keep the Seahawks in the early playoff race.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The Defense Finally Looked Good
It has been a long season for the Carolina Panthers, especially as far as their defense is concerned.
However, this loss doesn't belong on the shoulders of the defense at all. In fact, the defense recorded eight of the 12 points that the Panthers scored on Sunday.
I'm not exactly sure what is going on with Cam Newton, but now that the defense has worked out some issues, he needs to start playing like the 2011 version of himself.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: ...I Honestly Have No Idea
What can a team celebrate when they've been outscored, 97-31, over the past two games? This week was the ultimate low point for the Buffalo Bills, as the San Francisco 49ers dropped 45 points and over 600 yards on them.
Hey, at least they didn't overpay for Mario Williams. Oh, wait. Yes, they did.
Let's just move on.
San Francisco 49ers
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The History Books
The San Francisco 49ers became the first team in NFL history to throw and run for over 300 yards in the same game.
And the offense was supposed to be the weakest link in San Francisco this year.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Peyton Manning Played Better Than Tom Brady
While it doesn't show according to the final score, Manning was the better quarterback on Sunday. He had 345 passing yards to Brady's 223, three touchdowns to Brady's one and a 12-point-higher quarterback rating.
I can guarantee that Manning and the Denver Broncos would much rather have a win this week, but you take what you can get in this league.
New England Patriots
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: The Run Game Is Picking Up Steam
No one doubted that the New England Patriots would have one of the best aerial attacks in the 2012 season. However, no one would have predicted that their run game is looking just as good, if not better, than their passing game.
Last week, we saw Brandon Bolden have a huge game against the Buffalo Bills, and this week, it was Stevan Ridley rumbling along for 151 yards and a touchdown. If these running backs can keep up their current pace, I can't see the Patriots scoring less than 30 points in a game for the rest of the season.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: They Aren't the Worst Team in the AFC South
There is little to celebrate in Tennessee this week, as their faults in the ground game and getting pressure on the quarterback are as evident as ever. This is the Titans' second straight pitiful loss, and it honestly doesn't look like it'll get better anytime soon.
The good news for the Tennessee Titans is that they aren't even the worst team in their division. No, that honor goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Titans can at least celebrate that truth for another week.
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Percy Harvin Is a Legitimate MVP Candidate
With two touchdowns on Sunday, his first two offensive touchdowns of the season, Harvin is proving that he is a legitimate MVP candidate.
He's always been one of the best special-teams players in the league, and now that the Minnesota Vikings are looking for him more on offense, Harvin will take the league by storm. He already has 407 receiving yards to go along with 38 receptions.
The Vikings are a dangerous team this year, and the stellar play of Harvin is a huge reason why.
San Diego Chargers
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: No Fumbles from Ryan Mathews
We all know how the San Diego Chargers feel about Mathews being unable to hold on to the football. While there is loads of talent in Mathews' body, fumbles have certainly cast a dark shadow over him.
In fact, it has gotten so bad for Mathews that he has lost a chunk of his carries to his backups, Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle. Well, the fumble problem wasn't an issue on Sunday night, and San Diego rewarded Mathews with 12 of the team's 18 carries.
If this trend continues, we may actually see Mathews reach his potential that we've been talking about for the past two seasons.
New Orleans Saints
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: They Have a Better Record Than the Cleveland Browns
Congratulations, New Orleans. You now have a better record than the Browns.
It's already been a long, long season for New Orleans, but does anyone else feel that this team could easily rattle off 11 straight victories and make the playoffs this year?
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Arian Foster is an Absolute Stud
Sure, Foster may end up getting 900 carries this year (he already has 132), but what does it matter when he is able to completely take over a game like he did on Monday night?
On the Houston Texans second-quarter touchdown drive, Foster touched the ball three times, gained over 50 yards and added a touchdown. It is sequences like this that puts Foster head-and-shoulders above any other running back in the league.
There is little doubt that Houston is one of the best teams in the league, and Foster is a huge reason why.
New York Jets
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One Thing They Should Celebrate: Jon Gruden Thinks They're Awesome
Anyone who listened to Gruden during the broadcast of Monday Night Football would have thought that Joe Namath was back on the field playing for the New York Jets.
Gruden constantly talked about how impressed he was with Mark Sanchez and the rest of the Jets, yet the actual performance on the field was simply horrid. I guess if you're going to have one person thinking you're awesome, the old football coach is a good one to have.