NFL Week 5 Scores: 10 Biggest Surprises To Unfold
That's a wrap. Sunday is now dead and buried, and it seems that the weeks have flown by this regular season, as Week 5 is now close to over.
Heading into the weeks affairs, numerous blockbuster games occupied the schedule. Washington vs. Green Bay, Tennessee vs. Dallas and Indianapolis vs. Kansas City were all noteworthy dates, which offered fans many storylines to talk about throughout the upcoming week.
However, as classic as some of these games may have been, each match up of course had it's own talking points.
Whether or not it was Carson Palmer's lack of performance in the Bengals loss to the Buccaneers or Aaron Rodgers' concussion at the hands of the Washington Redskins, surprises seemed to ooze out of Week 5 like it was nobodies business.
So what did we learn heading into Week 6?
Well before we go ahead and focus on the midway point in the season, let's take a moment to reflect on Sunday's action, and see what surprises will go down as memorable in 2010, and whether or not these storylines will affect said team one way or another.
10. Detroit’s Determination Finally Pays Off Over the St. Louis Rams
Do you think the San Francisco 49ers are regretting allowing Shaun Hill to sign with the Detroit Lions? It certainly is possible.
When Detroit originally kicked off their 2010 campaign against the Chicago Bears, things looked extremely promising. Although Jim Schwartz's men were ultimately robbed the opportunity at a big time win, some obvious signs were pointing upward, for a team that had struggled so much in the past five years.
As the weeks drew on, so did the losses. However, at the same time the Lions continued show an abundance of team chemistry, motivation, and more importantly skill, as they rallied against some of the leagues best and brightest.
In Week 5, finally the Lions chose the right wave of momentum to ride. As much as most people had selected Detroit to defeat the St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday afternoon, the Rams were sitting at a very surprising 2-2 on the year, following big time wins over the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks.
Better yet for the Lions, they didn't just win, they won in the best possible way imaginable. At the end of the day the scoreline read 44-6, and funnily enough any lingering memory of the injured Matt Stafford, was quickly canceled out by Shaun Hill's 227 yard and 3 touchdown performance.
Other noteworthy mentions include the likes of Jahvid Best who rushed for 67 yards, Calvin Johnson who caught for 54 yards and 1 touchdown, and last but not least Ndamukong Suh, who recorded a highlight reel pick and an extremely athletic return for a big man.
The Lions may be a season away from top spot in the NFC North, but that's not bother. This team means business, and it's plainly obvious that the next ten years spells trouble for any NFC opponent.
9. Two Blocked Punts Hand the Oakland Raiders a Win Over the San Diego Chargers
Similar to the Detroit Lions, the Oakland Raiders have slowly but surely been showing a bundle of confidence recently in the early goings of the 2010 season.
Prior to the Raiders affair with the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Oakland were perhaps not the solid favorite. For the most part, although the Raiders have showed promise, the San Diego Chargers have often had the upper hand in the AFC West rivalry, and were more than likely man people's pick to take home the victory.
But boy did that go haywire fast.
To be fair to the Chargers, they hung in there with the Raiders extremely well. An up and down tennis match was seen on the field, and it wasn't until the dying moments of the forth quarter that The Black Hole finally pulled off the big time win they deserved.
And what about statistics?
To be perfectly honest, the stats weren't overly flattering for the Raiders. Bruce Gradkowski was pulled from the game and replaced by Jason Campbell, and this factor alone made for a topsey turvey day on paper.
With this in mind though, Oakland did manage to record two impressive punt blocks to set themselves up with great field position, an issue that cost the Chargers a must needed win at the end of the day, along with some serious real estate.
It may not have been the prettiest win for Oakland, but hey, they'll take it. 2-3 is a favorable record for a team that has looked mildly decent lately, and you only had to take one look at the County Coliseum to realize how much their fans appreciated it.
8. The AFC South's Week 5 Four-Way Tie
With Tennessee, Indianapolis and Jacksonville all winning, the AFC South is now all tied up at 3-2 from every angle.
To say that this scenario is a surprise, would be a lie. Just about everybody expected the Houston Texans to be a strong contender in the division this season, and as much as the Colts have always been a dominant force, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars can never be taken lightly on a weekly basis.
From a fan perspective, this deadlock is a great storyline to watch unfold. If you are a fan of one of the four teams, it may be a little stressful, but for those that sit in a neutral perspective, witnessing these four battle it out may be similar to watching a classic episode of The Three Stooges - plus one.
In past years, the AFC South hasn't been as exciting as this. The Colts have recently maintained a stranglehold on this division, and seeing as though this is one of the few years that sees the team start out a little wobbly, it only further makes this storyline that much more interesting.
Week 6 presents an enormous amount of opportunity for either team, with the schedule providing key match ups.
The Jaguars will take on the Titans at home on Monday Night, the Colts will take on the Redskins away in a tough FedEx Field environment, and the Texans will meet up with the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs at home in Reliant Stadium.
Exciting enough for you?
I sure hope so. Next week we should have a clear number one in the AFC South division.
7. Tony Romo and The Cowboys Look Overrated In Third Loss of the Season
The Cowboys showed glimpses of their Week 3 win over the Houston Texans a fortnight ago. Unfortunately, a win at home over the Tennessee Titans wasn't to be, and as a result Jerry Jones sees his team slip to 1-3, and last place in the NFC East division.
When it comes to disappointments, the Cowboys lack of progression ranks second behind the San Francisco 49ers right now. Here was a team that was expected to reach the playoffs, if not the Super Bowl this season, and strive in a division that had significantly weakened from a year ago.
I guess, the Cowboys just can't catch a break though.
Against Tennessee on Sunday, Dallas struggled to keep the Titans offensive weapons contained. At one stage the Cowboys did manage to pull the game back to a respectable and desirable margin, only to see it slip in the forth quarter due to poor quarterback play and an overall lack of defensive discipline.
Titans quarterback Vince Young wound up with 173 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day, a stat that basically paints the entire picture in black and white for the Boys in blue.
Serious issues now surround the Cowboys from every aspect. Not only is Wade Phillips on the hot seat, Tony Romo's lack of protection and accuracy throughout the game is certainly concerning at this point in time.
Three weeks ago, this wasn't a major concern, now it becomes a must fix problem. No more fooling around in practice, Dallas obviously has the talent to do well, but right now the team looks overrated, and downright dismal heading into Week 6 against the problem plagued Minnesota Vikings.
6. New York, New York, Its a Heck Of a Defensive Town
No one expected the Giants to have the number one ranked defense in all of football right now, yet here we stand five weeks into the season, and Big Blue have been more dominant than their state rivals the Jets, and the Green Bay Packers combined.
Realistically, much of the Giants top positioning is due to last week's play, that saw the likes of Osi Umienyiora and Justin Tuck drag Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to the ground 9 times overall.
However, the dominance continued in Week 5 against the Houston Texans, in the Giants 34-10 rout over the impressive AFC South team.
To be perfectly honest, the Giants defense has been a team effort. Just about everybody has stepped up, and although the defensive line has been the standout, other names including Antrel Rolle and Terrell Thomas have contributed immensely to New York's top spot.
More importantly though, the Giants now gain a tremendous amount of confidence from this positioning. New York have always been a very defensively driven team, and with the top spot in hand, they now feel they can knock off some of the league's top dogs.
Big Blue in full force is always a sight to behold, and opposing quarterbacks are now aware of who to watch out for. The Giants take on the Lions next week at New Meadowlands Stadium, a game that could spell trouble for Shaun Hill.
5. Kevin Kolb Looks Surprisingly Steady, Almost Michael Vick Like
Despite the San Francisco 49ers 0-4 record, Kevin Kolb stepped into Candlestick Park on Sunday night with the weight of Philadelphia on his shoulders.
Following on from Michael Vick's Week 4 rib injury that saw him unfit to play against San Francisco, Kevin Kolb was inevitably awarded the starting job by head coach Andy Reid, and more or less given a chance to prove himself one last time.
So how did Kolb perform?
Surprisingly enough, Kevin Kolb looked almost Michael Vick like on Sunday night, as he managed to accumulate 253 yards and 1 touchdown in the Eagles nail biting 27-24 win.
What was more impressive though, was Kevin Kolb's confidence. Finally he was passing the ball well, and when he hit tight end Brent Celek early in the first quarter, it appeared that Sunday night was going to be a great day for number 4.
Going forward, it looks like Kevin Kolb can build off of this win. Now Kolb has endured a serious morale booster, and as much as the Eagles looked to be Michael Vick's team a week ago, there is the off chance that Kolb can regain control, and step back into the starting role.
A quarterback carousel is still underway in Philadelphia, no matter how much Andy Reid tries to dismiss it. Still, you can't envy the Eagles for having two great quarterbacks to play with, right?
4. The Green Bay Packers Suffer Two Potentially Fatal Injury Blows
Like the Dallas Cowboys, the Green Bay Packers felt the lure of FedEx Field on Sunday, as Mike McCarthy's team stormed into Washington as favorites, only to leave with an overtime loss and a barrage of injured players for the future.
Entering Week 5, Green Bay already had enough injuries to deal with. Ryan Grant is still absent, and Atari Bigby and Al Harris are still questionable prior to Week 6.
But unfortunately for the Packers, the bad news didn't stop there, as extremely promising tight end Jermichael Finley went down with a hamstring injury during an attempted tackle, and trusty old number 12 Aaron Rodgers was rattled on a key Packer drive that resulted in an interception.
Now, some may say that these injuries spell the end for Green Bay. Although it does seem that way, Jermichael Finley himself as expressed that the injury is nothing to worry about just yet, and perhaps only a week off at the maximum is necessary.
As for Aaron Rodgers, it is only a concussion. We have seen these injuries have lingering affects, but if we learned anything from Jay Cutler last week, it's that a small head knock is recoverable in the span of a week.
With Aaron Rodgers the Packers will struggle immensely, without Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee is still a suitable replacement. Let's hope both are back in action next week, as this duo is only just kicking off a very memorable career together.
3. Arizona Cardinals QB Max Hall Stuns New Orleans In Rookie Debut
It was always questionable, but the Arizona Cardinals went ahead and started rookie quarterback Max Hall over Derek Anderson, in attempt to sort out who is really right for the starting job.
Let's face it, a game against the world champions is always tough. With the odds stacked against Arizona, not many people expected to see Max Hall smiling as he exited the field in Arizona this Sunday, but luckily for Cardinal fans, this was the exact scenario that played out.
In Max Hall's official debut, his stats at the end of the day read 168 yards and 1 interception. Sure, they are no Matt Ryan statistics, but they did however hand the Cardinals first place in the NFC West, and a big time win over the Saints.
It remains to be seen whether or not Hall will be the remaining starter for the season. After all, in Week 7 he may collapse in a fiery heap at the hands of division rivals the Seattle Seahawks, but we'll have to wait and see.
Fortunately for Hall and the Cardinals, the team has a bye week to look forward to. Now is the chance for Arizona to regroup from a big time win, and hopefully push forward toward the playoffs under a very promising rookie quarterback.
We should all give credit where credit is due, Max Hall looked promising under center against the New Orleans Saints.
2. The 1979 Season Repeats Itself As San Francisco Falls to 0-5
Boos reigned down on Alex Smith and Mike Singletary, in an almost sad game to watch at Candelstick Park on Sunday night.
For all of the 49ers offseason promise, the 2010 season has been a huge letdown. No win as of yet, and more importantly serious coaching and quarterback issues to face going forward in one of the league's toughest schedules.
When the Philadelphia Eagles came to town, most people thought San Francisco could finally kick off their winning campaign. That dream was short lived though, as Alex Smith went 25 for 39, and had 309 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the day.
Statistically speaking, these numbers aren't all that bad, and seeing as though Smith was able to respond to the chorus of boos and lead the 49ers back into the game, number 11 can be commended on that.
However, the 49ers are now in serious panic mode, and the chant of "We Want Carr" doesn't help the situation.
For the record, the 49ers haven't felt an 0-5 start since the 1979 season. Over 30 years ago the 49ers started off this poorly, and in 2010 San Francisco's record is just as disappointing.
Somehow we all get the feeling that this story has a number of twists and turns ahead, so clip your seat belt in. Mike Singletary is still being backed by the 49ers, but as for Alex Smith, he may be as good as gone by Week 6.
1. The Cincinnati Bengals Slip To 2-3 On The Season
Cincinnati were poised for a break out year. With Terrell Owens in hand, Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley acquired in the Draft, big things were coming for the orange and black, only to be derailed by a number of uncharacteristic losses to begin the season.
If you'd told most fans during the offseason that the Bengals would be 2-3 to begin the year, they probably would have laughed at you. Given the serious amount of talent on offense, Cincinnati looked destined for another AFC playoff spot this time six weeks ago.
While that dream isn't totally buried, the Bengals now find themselves in a spot of bother, following a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday.
To make matters worse though, quarterback Carson Palmer looked reasonably flat once again in the loss. Throwing for only 209 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, Carson Palmer simply didn't do enough to close the game out for the Bengals, something that Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman was successful in doing.
The Bengals now have a bye week to really reflect on where their season is headed. Following that, Cincinnati takes on the ever hot Atlanta Falcons, in a must win game to keep their season alive.
On paper Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco have been fantastic, Carson Palmer just needs to step it up. If Marvin Lewis can ignore criticism over the next fortnight and place his players on the same page, perhaps we will see a different Bengals side walk out of the tunnel against Atlanta in two weeks time.