NFL Week 5: The Cowboys Are Struggling and 25 Things We Learned
Week 5 in the NFL is wrapping up and there's a whole lot to cover.
Why Alex Smith is still the quarterback of the 49ers, I'll never know. Donovan McNabb has a bigger day than he did last week. What happened to the Chargers and Cowboys? Detroit is finally in the win column, while Carolina and Buffalo are not.
What players impressed you on this NFL Sunday? Was it Chris Johnson against the Cowboys? How about three of the top five leading passers having their team lose? How about Michael Turner stepping up big for Atlanta?
There's all that and more that we'll cover as we go inside the NFL and cover 25 things that we learned in Week 5.
No. 25: Will the 49ers Ever Make a Change at Quarterback?
Can we finally put an end to the Alex Smith experiment or are the 49ers content with running him out there and losing games?
Smith has two of the team's four turnovers against the Eagles, one of which, a fumble, was returned for a touchdown and wound up being the difference in this game.
If Mike Singletary is OK with losing, then by all means, keep running Smith out there and see what you get.
No. 24: Philip Rivers Trying To Do It All Himself
Charger fans will look at the special teams—or lack thereof—and blame that for their loss to the Oakland Raiders—the team's first in 14 years—but what about Philip Rivers?
He threw for 431 yards on Sunday, but the last time he had a 400-plus yard game came against Seattle. The outcome? A loss. But special teams was a factor in that one as well.
I throw this question out to you? Is Philip Rivers trying to do too much? The Chargers ran 26 rushing plays to 42 pass attempts from Rivers.
No. 23: Donovan McNabb Leads the Redskins to Another Win
The Washington Redskins are thanking the Philadelphia Eagles for the trade that brought them Donovan McNabb.
He's led them to big wins in back-to-back weeks over the Eagles and Packers, respectively. He was 26-of-49 for 357 yards and a touchdown in a 16-13 overtime win over the Pack.
No. 22: Aaron Rodgers' Concussion Ill-Timed
The one thing the Packers couldn't afford was to lose their star quarterback, but that's exactly what happened after a concussion knocked out Aaron Rodgers.
We'll have to wait and see if it was a concussion bad enough to keep him out of next week's game against Miami.
No. 21: San Francisco 49ers Still a Beaten Team
A fumble returned for a touchdown ended up being the difference in a 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
That fumble came at the hands of Alex Smith, whom fans would love to see benched at this point. It was returned Quintin Mikell 52 yards to the house.
They're not losing big, but they're losing nonetheless.
No. 20: Arizona Upsets New Orleans
When you turn the ball over four times, including three on interceptions by Saints quarterback Drew Brees, you're not going to come out on top in a lot of those games.
As we talked about in the 49ers' loss to the Eagles, it was a Ladell Betts fumble that was returned 27 yards for a Kerry Rhodes touchdown that ended up being the difference in a 30-20 win by the Arizona Cardinals.
I wonder if this is a South Carolina upset of Auburn? Eh, maybe not quite.
No. 19: Chris Johnson Finds the Weakness in the Dallas Defense
The Cowboys defense faced its first dangerous running back and didn't figure out how to stop him.
Titans running back Chris Johnson finished the afternoon with 131 yards and two scores. Did they win? You'll have to wait and find out until a little bit further down the line.
No. 18: Detroit Finally Gets in the Win Column
Detroit: you can finally celebrate—at least for this week.
The Lions made this one look easy in a 44-6 rout of the St. Louis Rams. Quarterback Shaun Hill was impressive for the Lions, throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 17: Stephen Jackson Still Has It
Some thought St. Louis Rams running back Stephen Jackson might join the ranks of the retired a year ago or so, but he has come back strong this season.
He was the lone bright spot in a lopsided loss to the Lions, rushing for 114 yards on 25 carries. I'd say he still has something left in the tank.
No. 16: Cedric Benson, Terrell Owens Shine for Cincinnati
Cedric Benson had 144 yards rushing on 23 carries, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, and Terrell Owens added 102 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Unfortunately it wasn't enough for the Bengals to get a win.
No. 15: Matt Forte Impresses Against Carolina
With Chicago facing off against Carolina, you knew that Matt Forte had the ability to have a breakout game.
He did just that, rushing for 166 yards and two scores in a 23-6 win over the still-winless Panthers.
No. 14: What Is Happening With Houston?
After winning their first two games and averaging 32 points per game, the Texans have dropped two of their last three, including a lopsided 34-10 loss to the Giants on Sunday.
The Texans are 1-2 in three games at home. In those two losses, the Texans were outscored 61-23.
No. 13: Ray Rice Steals the Show
Ray Rice, the former Rutgers standout, came up big for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. He rushed for 133 yards and two scores in a 31-17 win over the Denver Broncos.
No. 12: Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd Are Bright Spots in a Loss
While the Broncos didn't quite get it done in the win column, they did have two bright spots on Sunday.
Quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 314 yards on 23-of-38 passing (60.5 percent) and two touchdowns, both of which landed in the arms of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (five catches, 135 yards).
No. 11: David Garrard Leads Jacksonville Past Buffalo
Facing the Buffalo Bills, you know you have some room for error. Apparently the Jacksonville Jaguars got the same memo.
Despite three turnovers, the Jags still came out with a 36-26 win in Buffalo over the still-winless Bills.
David Garrard completed 16 of his 20 pass attempts for 178 yards and three scores. An efficient day to be sure.
No. 10: Peyton Manning Without a Touchdown Pass?
I'm not sure when the last time I saw Peyton Manning end a game without a single touchdown pass. I'm not saying he didn't have a solid game as usual, but I'm just not used to seeing a zero in the touchdown column.
The Colts might want to think about thanking Adam Vinatieri for his service in a 19-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Vinatieri kicked three field goals, two of which were longer than 40 yards (42, 47).
No. 9: Felix Jones Proving to Be the Featured Back in Dallas?
The Dallas Cowboys have been looking for a guy who can handle the workload out of the backfield. They may have found that guy in running back Felix Jones.
On Sunday against the Titans, Jones had 109 yards rushing on 19 carries and two scores. Maybe it's time to start trusting him a little more as the weeks go on?
No. 8: Vince Young Is Impressive to a Point
It's not a game you would call very impressive but Vince Young gave the Titans exactly what they needed, not to mention he did it in his home state.
Young had 173 yards and two scores against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and didn't throw a single interceptions. Efficient is the word you might be looking for to describe it.
No. 7: Chargers Couldn't Get Their 14th Straight Win Over the Raiders
The San Diego Chargers thought they could waltz into Oakland Coliseum and come out with a win without putting up much of an effort.
That failed. The Raiders ended their 13-game skid against the Chargers with a 35-27 win.
No. 6: Michael Turner Earns His Nickname
As a San Diego Charger, Michael Turner was given the nickname, "The Burner."
On Sunday against the Browns, he showed a little bit of why he earned that nickname. While he didn't find the end zone, Turner had 140 yards rushing on 19 carries, averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
No. 5: Falcons Defense Shut the Door on the Browns
It's not often that a guy like Kroy Biermann gets to shut the door on anyone.
But on Sunday, he did just that, returning a Jake Delhomme interception for a touchdown that iced a 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.
No. 4: Dallas Cowboys Winless at Home
Who saw this one coming? Two games at home, two losses.
That describes the Dallas Cowboys, who not only dropped to 1-3 with the loss to the Titans on Sunday.
So much for home-field advantage.
No. 3: Kansas City Unbeaten No More
It was just a matter of time before that undefeated streak came to an end for the Kansas City Chiefs. That streak did in fact come to an end at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.
They finally faced a formidable foe...and lost. So much for the "Chiefs to the Super Bowl" talk.
No. 2: Biggest Loser
It's one thing to remain winless, it's quite another to not put up much of a fight.
The Carolina Panthers scored just six points at home against the Chicago Bears in a 23-6 loss.
No. 1: Biggest Winner
I could go with the Detroit Lions as the biggest winner especially after getting into the win column in blowout fashion, throwing a 44-6 beatdown on St. Louis.
However, I'm going to go with the Arizona Cardinals. When you get beat like the Cardinals did at the hands of the Chargers a week ago, then come out and knock off New Orleans, that impresses me enough to give them the "biggest winner" award.