NFL Monday Memo: Week 5
An emotion-packed comeback in honor of the head coach now stricken with cancer. More AFC East domination by the 49ers. A hideous display by Chiefs fans. And a record-setting moment for Drew Brees that even the Bounty-gate suspensions couldn’t ruin.
That and more as we await Jets-Texans tonight and look back on a Week 5 filled with the usual assortment of surprises, upsets and drama-filled storylines that make the NFL the best thing going in pro sports:
Chuckstrong: We start off with an emotion-packed game in Indy, where the Colts started off the week by finding out that head coach Chuck Pagano was undergoing treatment for leukemia. Things didn’t look too encouraging on the field with Green Bay ahead 21-3, but Andrew Luck came storming back to beat the Packers, 30-27, capping a dramatic second-half comeback with a four-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 35 seconds left. Tremendous.
Brady’s Bunch now at nine. Tom Brady got the better of Peyton Manning yet again, winning for the ninth time in 13 showdowns against his fellow quarterback. Brady threw for 223 yards and a touchdown and ran for another in New England’s 31-21 win over Denver.
Remembering Johnny U: Drew Brees broke a passing record that Johnny Unitas held for more than 50 years, as the Saints’ quarterback threw a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game. Unitas set the record of 47 in a remarkable streak from 1956-60. On hand for the event: suspended coaches Sean Peyton and Joe Vitt, as well as suspended GM Mickey Loomis.
Feasting: The 49ers have beaten the Jets and Bills in consecutive weeks, outscoring their two AFC East opponents by a combined 79-3. After a 34-0 shellacking of the Jets on the road, the Niners return home to clobber the Bills 45-3. After beating the Jets, 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers said the losers quit by the end. No need against the Bills. Buffalo Coach Chan Gailey himself intimated that was the case.
Over .500 never felt this good. In most cases, a 3-2 record after five games is nothing to brag about. Not in St. Louis, though. Their 17-3 win on Thursday night against the Cardinals put them over .500 for the first time since – get this – Nov. 4, 2006!
Never apologize for winning. That’s the them for the Ravens this week, who won ugly – really, really ugly – in a 9-6 decision over the Chiefs. The Ravens forced four turnovers and held starter Matt Cassel to just 92 passing yards before he exited with a concussion.
Classless moment of the week: After Cassel was injured, many fans who had been frustrated by his play actually cheered. Awful. Afterward, Chiefs offensive linemen appropriately ripped those who booed.
Back down to earth. So much for that three-game winning streak by the Bengals. Cincy had a chance to keep pace with the Ravens atop the AFC North by beating the Dolphins at home. Not to be, as Miami wins, 17-13, as Cincy’s offense looks listless.
Giant of the week: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB. The 26-year-old running back, described by head coach Tom Coughlin as one of the toughest players he’s ever been around, had a breakout day with a career high 200 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Pennsylvania State Champs: The Stillers beat the Iggles in dramatic fashion, as Shaun Suisham hit a 34-yard field goal as time expired in a 16-14 win at Heinz Field. The Iggles had taken the lead on a Michael Vick-to-Brent Celek TD with 6:33 left, but Ben Roethlisberger converted two key third downs on the game-winning drive to get Pittsburgh back to .500.
Breath-holding time in DC: Robert Griffin III went out with a head injury against the Falcons, leaving rookie backup Kirk Cousins to handle the passing duties. Not enough in a 24-17 loss to the Falcons.
Comeback Kid: Matt Ryan now has 18 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most of any NFL quarterback in his first five seasons in the Super Bowl era.
Sophomore slumping: Cam Newton thought he wouldn’t suffer a dropoff in his second year, but that’s exactly what’s happening. The Panthers are 1-4, and Newton is coming off another mediocre performance, going 12-of-29 for 141 yards in a 16-12 loss to the Seahawks.
Shades of ’85? Sure feels that way with the Bears’ defense these days. They mauled the Jaguars, 41-3, as Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs became the first defensive players to return interceptions for touchdowns in consecutive weeks. With Green Bay and Detroit struggling out of the gate, it’s now Chicago and Minny atop the NFC North at 4-1.
Percy Percy Percy: It was the Percy Harvin show yesterday against the Titans, as the Vikings’ receiver caught one touchdown, ran for another and finished with eight catches for 108 yards in Minny’s 30-7 romp over the awful Titans.
Record-setters: The offensive explosion by San Francisco was historic; the 49ers amassed a franchise-record 621 yards in their blowout of Buffalo, as Alex Smith threw for a season-high 303 yards and Frank Gore ran for 106 yards.