Six Things We Learned From Week 5 of the 2020 NFL Season
What a weird but brilliant week in the National Football League.
History was certainly made as the Titans and Bills battled it out in the first Tuesday night game in roughly 10 years, allowing us to focus all of our attention on Tennessee dominance.
We also witnessed several turning points in NFL teams’ seasons in Week 5, as late wins, devastating losses and catastrophic injuries paved the way for a dramatic year of football.
Now that we’re past the quarter mark of the season, we surely know everything we should about every single NFL team, right?
Well, maybe not.
For the fifth straight week, here’s a touchdowns worth of things we learned about the NFL season.
Remember these Titans
The first Tuesday night game in 10 years showed us all something that we never knew, and frankly, never believed until now.
These Tennessee Titans are legit.
Tannehill was firing on all cylinders, Derrick Henry was sending guys into oblivion, and the defense was making Josh Allen see ghosts. All of that combined allowed for them to absolutely dominate the Buffalo Bills.
Up until this point, the consensus was that the Titans were fake contenders.
Yes, we saw them reach the AFC title game last season, but wasn’t that just a fluke?
We thought the AFC South was wide open this year with the Colts stocking up and the Texans having elite talent on both sides of the ball, but there looks to be only one contender in that division… and it’s the Titans.
After the Covid fiasco that went on with Tennessee over the past two weeks, it would have been excusable for them to take a loss to the Bills on Tuesday, they could have blamed it on a lack of practice, or the coronavirus distraction, and honestly that would have been fine.
But they looked better than ever in Week 5.
They look rejuvenated and energized for the game at hand, with zero thought in their minds about their past drama, and complete focus on their opponent.
The Tennessee Titans look like a force to be reckoned with.
And while they may not be in the elite tier of the AFC with the Chiefs and Ravens yet, look out for them to make some noise heading into the playoffs this year.
The Super Bowl hangover prevails
Sunday bared witness to the San Francisco 49ers funeral for this season.
Maybe a bit of an over exaggeration, but to be honest, I can’t see a way for them to get back into this.
Jimmy G doesn’t look like the player he was a year ago. Yes, he may still be injured from an incident a few weeks back. But an injured ankle doesn’t justify throwing a pair of interceptions to the Miami Dolphins.
This offense just isn’t very good right now, especially with a carousel of quarterbacks headlining it. One week its Mullens, the next its Beathard, then Garoppolo, then another in, then another it. It’s just very confusing for spectators.
And the defense isn’t helping much either.
This was one of the best defensive units in the entire NFL last year, and now they’re giving up 40+ points to the below-500 Miami Dolphins.
While it isn’t all over for them just yet, it’s hard to see a scenario in which the Niners even manage to come close to the playoff picture in 2020.
The NFC West is just too good with the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals all looking like legit teams. And even though there’s an extra wild card spot up for grabs this year, there looks to be many better teams to bet on for that slot.
The worst part for them is that their opening few games this year were the easiest of their schedule.
With the likes of the Rams, Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Bills coming up in the next several weeks, expect the Niners season to be over before its even really started.
Curse strikes again, but future looks bright
The LA Chargers done everything they could on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints.
Rookie QB Justin Herbert had the best game of his young career so far throwing for four touchdowns and 264 yards. Two of those TD passes went to the fabulous Mike Williams, who also led the team with 109 receiving yards.
Their defense also showed out. Picking off Drew Brees and limiting Alvin Kamara to 45 rushing yards helped them tremendously during the game.
And they even led by 10 points at the half after getting off to a hot start, showing the Saints that they deserved the respect of their opponents.
But none of that mattered by the time the game was over.
Drew Brees and co. made a big comeback, sent the game to overtime, and the same ole’ Chargers done what they always do. Lose games they could’ve easily won.
Little mistakes were the Chargers downfall in this game.
The likes of pointless run plays, blown coverages, and the more obvious mistake of a missed game-winning field goal were all things that led the LA’s demise.
Although the Chargers blew it, they still had positives to take from this game. The most obvious being that Herbert looks like a star in the making. The golden-haired QB looked confident and comfortable under center against a legit team and continues to show improvement through every single game.
They may not be a contender this year, but the season isn’t lost. Developing Herbert should be at the top of their priority list for the remaining game weeks. Once the team reloads and revamps for next year, this Chargers squad could be a dangerous one.
Seahawks send a message
Russell Wilson is just different.
DK Metcalf is just different.
The Seattle Seahawks are just different.
This team is building a habit for executing the impossible. And we saw the impossible come to fruition when they faced up against the Vikings on Sunday night.
The Seahawks excellence was on full display on their final drive of the game. Wilson and co. drove 94 yards to score the game-winning touchdown and bury the Vikings’ season.
While a controversial 4th down call from Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer assisted Seattle’s chances to win the game, I give all the credit to the Seattle team who stopped them on defense and then drove the whole field to seal the deal.
The Seahawks now sit at 5-0 atop the NFC West and have continued week-by-week to put themselves in the best position going forward.
Remember, there’s only one bye in each conference this year, and whoever gets the number one seed in the NFC, likely the Seahawks or Packers, is going to have a big advantage over their competitors in the playoffs.
Pete Carroll’s men look determined. And his star QB Russell Wilson looks like the MVP of the season so far, putting up big numbers when it matters the most.
If the Seahawks can maintain their winning streak, improve on defense and keep making magic happen on offense, I bet they’ll be right in the mix come the end of the season.
The West opens up
Now I’m not going to sit here and say that the Las Vegas Raiders are going to win the AFC West. I am definitely not going to say that.
But I also don’t think we should go and crown the Chiefs as the division champs just yet.
As we saw on Sunday, the Raiders look different this year. Similar to their 2016 run in fact.
Derek Carr looks like a confident QB for the first time in years, hitting deep passes and taking risks when dropping back into the pocket. It certainly looks like he has reinvented himself with Gruden.
The fact he outplayed Patrick Mahomes on Sunday was a complete surprise to everyone.
Not only did Carr show up to play against the Chiefs, but so did his supporting cast.
Henry Ruggs III had a breakout game as he teared up the Chiefs secondary with his blistering speed, accounting for two deep balls that blew the game wide open. Josh Jacobs and Dallen Waller also feasted on the Chiefs, while the Raiders O-line held strong against a ferocious pass rush.
The defense, which has taken a lot of stick this year, also hung in there. Jeff Heath’s late interception on Pat Mahomes allowed the Raiders to go up two scores on their opponents, and ultimately was the reason they beat their rivals.
While this could be seen as a fluke, I’m sure the Chiefs are now fully aware of the threat the Raiders pose to them.
It might not be this year. It might not even be next year. But at some point, these Raiders are going to catch up to Kansas City.
Dak injury leads to Dallas confusion
By far the worst moment of NFL football in Week 5 was the horrific injury Dak Prescott suffered against the Giants.
Unfortunately, as a result of a Logan Ryan tackle on a QB draw play, Dak went down hard on his right ankle resulting in a compound fracture and dislocation.
The injury will put Prescott out for the season, which severely hurts his team’s chances of making any noise in the league.
Yes, former Bengal Andy Dalton came in at QB after Dak went down and looked respectable. But there’s no chance in the world that the ‘Red Rocket’ will put up the numbers that Dak was putting up in the first four weeks of the season.
That means the Cowboys season looks like its over. Not completely done because they still have a chance in the NFC East, but any idea of them going deep into the playoffs shattered when Dak went down.
The questions on Monday morning mostly focused on what will happen when Prescott comes back.
The QB was offered a five-year deal before the season started but turned it down hoping for a shorter contract. Now with his injury, it leaves things up in the air.
Will Jerry Jones be willing to make Dak the league’s highest-paid QB coming off of a career-threatening injury?
We’ll have to wait and see.
One thing is for sure. If Dallas don’t pay him, then someone else definitely will.
And although he went down on Sunday, Dak’s future still looks bright.
It’ll be a long road to recovery for Prescott, as months of rehab await him.
So for the sake of Dak, let’s hope this minor setback paves the way for a major comeback.