The Bengals finally bounce back, the Pats have serious problems and the 49ers are Super Bowl bound. Here’s our completely unbiased recap of Week 5 of the 2023/24 NFL season.
Bears 40 - 20 Commanders
Well, it may look like Justin Fields is turning into the precision passer Chicago needs, but let’s take this one with a pinch of salt. Not only was he facing a very average defense, but without DJ Moore, he’d have just 52 passing yards…
The Bears number one receiver hauled in 8 of 10 targets for a whopping 230 yards and 3 touchdowns and he should have had 4… (I’m not convinced he stepped out here)
40-20 may be a nice scoreline and Chicago may have their first win of the season, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Fields went 15/29, with over half his completions and 80% of his yards going to Moore alone, and that just won’t last. You can’t rely on deep shots to one guy forever, unless it’s Tyreek Hill of course. The real takeaway that nobody's talking about…? Khalil Herbert led the run game for once.
Meanwhile, Washington took a huge step back after forcing Philly to OT last week.
Commanders running back, Brian Robinson, totalled just 10 yards on 6 carries. Sure, they fell behind early and tried throwing their way out of trouble, but to not run the ball even once for the entire second half, is simply terrible coaching. Especially when your QB is throwing picks anyway.
Jaguars 25 - 20 Bills
The Jags slowed down the Bills just enough to secure the upset win of the week.
Jacksonville dominated on the ground and through the air, as Trevor Lawrence threw for 315 a score, while Travis Etienne logged 136 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. After a few lacklustre games, this offense is starting to match it's expectations.
TRAVIS ETIENNE JR. HAVE A DAY pic.twitter.com/TcWciMii5a— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) October 8, 2023
On the other hand, Diggs and Davis may have combined 221 and 2 TDs, but Buffalo's issues lie in backfield, where James Cook logged -4 yards from the Bills total 29 on the ground. It’s tough to win any game with running like that.
There’s no denying the offense didn’t look as polished as usual, but the biggest concerns are the defensive injuries. Tre’Davious White is already out for the season, while Rousseau, Lawford and Benson are battling injuries, but worst of all - Matt Milano was carted off in the first quarter of this game. The Giants won't pose the biggest challenge next week, but it might not be smooth sailing this season.
Saints 34 - 0 Patriots
Bill Belichick has now logged the two-worst losses in his coaching career, and they both fall within a month of each other.
There are too many problems to count in New England, but here are a few - they can’t run the ball, they can’t throw the ball, they can’t play defense and the roster is riddled with injuries. I’m heavily betting the Pats won’t see the playoffs. Now, if anyone can prove me wrong, it might be Belichick, but it won’t be Mac Jones…
Unfortunately, we can’t take this game at face value for New Orleans. Sure, they looked solid, but how could they not against what might be the worst team in the league? The only things worth noting are that Dereck Carr is healthy again and Kamara doesn’t look rusty at all. We’ll see what that really means over the next few weeks.
Titans 16 - 23 Colts
As sad as it is when any player gets injured, it’s no shock to see Anthony Richardson go down again. The guy could be a generational talent, but he needs to learn to protect himself.
If his reckless style of play has taught us anything, it's that having Gardner Minshew as a backup QB is a luxury that Indy shouldn’t take for granted. Plus, who needs a passing game when Zack Moss can tally 195 yards and 2 TDs against one of the top run defenses in the league…
Meanwhile, the Titans tanking for Caleb Williams is looking more likely than anything right now. There’s just nothing working for Tannehill right now. I get that he can’t rely on Derrick Henry like usual and he only has Deandre Hopkins to throw to, but a lot needs to change in Tennessee, and it starts with the quarterback.
Ravens 10 - 17 Steelers
The Ravens were easily the better team in Pittsburgh, but with mistake after mistake, this loss was self-inflicted.
From dropped passes and interceptions to fumbles and terrible coaching, they left so many points on the field. Not only did they fail to convert a 4th & 2 at the half (despite being in field goal range), but plays like this happened all game long…
Big Drop: Ravens WR Rashod Bateman dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone.— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) October 8, 2023
Baltimore forced to settle for a Justin Tucker field goal. pic.twitter.com/gJQnm7U196
It was only a matter of time before the Steelers took advantage, and it all started at the line. A blocked punt in Baltimore’s endzone put 2 points on the board, while TJ Watt dominated all of the fourth quarter.
Up by 2 with less a minute on the clock, John Harbaugh decided to play man coverage on George Pickens and paid the ultimate price…
Panthers 24 - 42 Lions
Are the Lions the real deal…?
Well, the Panthers aren’t the most challenging team in the league, but that doesn’t hide the fact that Detroit look good on both sides of the ball and should easily win a very weak NFC North.
Montgomery continues to dominate - with 109 yards and a score - while Goff continues to spread the offense for 3 touchdown throws on the day. But let’s talk about Aiden Hutchinson. The second-year talent logged a sack, 2 TFLs, a pass deflection, a QB hit and most impressively, a one handed interception at the line… This guy is something special.
Meanwhile, Bryce Young is still struggling to connect with anyone other than Adam Thielen. The veteran wideout caught 11 of 13 targets for 107 yards and touchdown, but if the ball isn’t heading his way, it’s heading straight into the hands of the defense.
Texans 19 - 21 Falcons
Houston may have held the Falcons double-headed backfield to 2.7 yards per carry, but their game plan to force the pass didn’t quite work out. With his job on the line, Desmond Ridder showed up and mounted a last-minute comeback drive for the win. His starting spot should be safe for now, but Taylor Heinicke is lurking in his shadow.
In any case, if Atlanta can continue finding success through the air while Bijan and Allgeier lead the ground game, they could have a real shot at topping the NFC South.
DESMOND RIDDER TODAY 😤— Kevin Keneely (@KevinKeneely1) October 8, 2023
329 passing yards
1 passing touchdown
10 rushing yards
1 rushing touchdown
1 4th-quarter comeback
1 game-winning drive pic.twitter.com/0KKLrLmqXP
Despite the loss, C.J. Stroud still looks like the franchise QB that Houston are banking on. With more weapons and a better run-game, the offense could be seriously competitive in a few years.
Giants 16 - 31 Dolphins
Well, the Dolphins are at it again.
Tua and Hill connected for 181 yards and a score, while De’Von Achane tacked on another 150 rushing yards. All credit to Mike McDaniels, but things are much easier when the 3 fastest players in the league are on your roster.
As for the Giants, Dan Jones has zero time to throw, zero players to throw to and there’s zero run game, even with Barkley in the backfield. The only upside is that the secondary is capable of picking off one of the best passing teams in the league. But even the best defense in history couldn't take this team to a winning season.
Bengals 34 - 20 Cardinals
Could the Bengals be back? Maybe, but let’s not jump the gun.
Ja’Marr Chase may have caught 15 passes for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he was up against the Cardinals secondary. It’s a nice confidence boost for Joe Burrow & Co, but we’ll see what they’re really made of when they play the ‘9ers in two weeks.
In the meantime, enjoy this while you can Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ Week 3 defeat over Dallas certainly raised some eyebrows, but it looks like an anomaly in what will be a losing season for Arizona.
Joshua Dobbs was bordering on a mistake-free season until this week, where he thre two interceptions - one of them being a pick six - and coughed up the ball for another turnover. With the Rams next week, it’s looking like a 1-5 start for Jonathan Gannon.
Eagles 23 - 14 Rams
The Eagles are now 5-0 for the second year in a row, with a D-line that continues to shut down the run, and a QB that is truly proving to be the dual-threat talent we all hoped for.
Jalen Hurts led the rush with 72 yards on the day, alongside 303 through the air as A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert combined for 244 receiving yards. It’s looking very good for Philly.
A.J. Brown is not human. pic.twitter.com/4IZDWfMCgu— Word On The Birds (@WordOnTheBirds) October 8, 2023
Surprisingly, the Rams kept this one fairly close. If Stafford keeps the interceptions down and Kyren Williams remains solid, McVay has a chance at a winning season, but chasing Seattle and the ‘9ers will be tough.
On the bright side, Cooper Kupp is back and it’s like he never left. 8 catches for 118 yards puts him right back into the spotlight, but that didn’t stop Puka Nacua from having his moment.
Jets 31 - 21 Broncos
Nathanial Hackett finally gets his revenge on Sean Peyton for all of his trash talk this offseason. The Jets have now looked vaguely okay for two weeks in a row. So, with Aaron Rodgers planning a hopeful return for the playoffs, could Wilson really get them there?
Well, I’m holding onto my money for now, but we could actually get some good football in New York this season, and it’ll probably come from Breece Hall. The Jets RB adds another great performance to his Comeback Player of the Year campaign with 194 yards and a score on the day. But let's be honest, no one stands a chance against Damar Hamlin.
At this point, even I’m getting bored of seeing the Broncos lose. For all the times I’ve called Wilson ‘Russ the Bust’, I’m somehow starting to feel sorry for him. Sadly, that doesn’t change their schedule for the next 6 weeks, which reads: Chiefs, Packers, Chiefs, Bills, Vikings, Browns. 1-10 is very much on the cards for Denver.
Chiefs 27 - 20 Vikings
It may be another win for KC, but I’m not completely convinced by the Chiefs this year.
Other than Kelce, Mahomes has so few weapons to really get the passing game going. He threw 41 times for only 281 yards, and that’s a clear sign of a QB that’s short of options beyond check-downs and dump offs. But that still won’t stop Kelce finding the endzone, even after getting injured.
The Swifties can now celebrate 🥳— betway (@betwayusa) October 8, 2023
Travis Kelce finally gets a touchdown ✅pic.twitter.com/VkQNbnjkOp
As for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins proved he can move the ball even when Jefferson gets injured. No.18 caught just three passes before leaving the game, so Cousins looked to K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson to move the chains.
They kept things close against a good-looking Chiefs secondary, but they’ll need to establish a better run-game if they really want to compete with the best of the best.
Cowboys 10 - 42 49ers
Speaking of the best... Ladies and gentlemen, I present the best team in the NFL - The San Francisco 49ers.
I know it’s only week 5, but I’m calling it now. In a few months, Brock Purdy will have his first ring, Christian McCaffrey will be your league and Super Bowl MVP, and Nick Bosa will win DPOY.
Don’t get me wrong, Micah Parsons will give Bosa a good run for his money. But if Dak Prescott keeps putting Dallas in a hole that’s 3 interceptions deep, No.11 really has his work cut out.
The Cowboys were forced to throw as the ‘9ers took an early lead and completely shut down Pollard in the run game, but with overthrows like this, there's zero chance of a comeback.
Packers 13 - 17 Raiders
Well, it's now glaringly obvious that Matt LaFleur does not trust his quarterback, and for good reason.
Sin City became Turnover Town on Monday night, as Jordan Love did his best Dak Prescott impression - throwing 3 picks to seal the loss. Understandably, LeFleur kept the ball on the ground for the most part, with A.J. Dillon leading the charge. He may have scored a touchdown, but without the explosivity of Aaron Jones, the Packers were taking a lifetime to move the ball.
There's no denying they threw this game away (literally), but with that being said, there's one play that really stood out. An intentional horse collar tackle kept Christian Watson short of the endzone on an 80 yard catch and run, and the Raiders then forced a field goal. Josh McDaniels can call it "smart". I call it terrible sportsmanship. When you're beat, you're beat. You shouldn't want to win like this.
#Raiders HC Josh McDaniels said Marcus Peters committing a horse-collar penalty on this Christian Watson play was “the right penalty” and the “smart” thing to do.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 10, 2023
The #Packers ended up settling for a FG.
The Packers weren't alone in their struggles though. Jimmy Garoppolo now leads the league in interceptions after throwing another one this week. Last year's leading rusher, Josh Jacobs, was held to just 3.5 yards per carry. And Carlson missed 2 field goals to make this game much closer than it should have been.
Both teams are playing very average football and are now 2-3 as a result. Don't expect anything exciting out of Vegas or Green Bay this year.
So, there you have. Week 5 in the books.
Are the Patriots down and out? Are the 49ers headed for a Super Bowl win? And is Zach Wilson capable of reaching the playoffs?
(Header Image Credit: Darren Yamashita - USA TODAY Sports)