The fifth week of the 2017 NFL season left us wondering how many — if any — superstars will be left standing after a season that has been overloaded with gut wrenching injuries. This week, we lost Odell Beckham and JJ Watt, among others, while we saw the complete undoing of one Ben Roethlisberger, who admitted that he just might not have it anymore.
From Aaron Rodgers’ familiar comeback to the New York Giants decimated receiving corp. to Mitchell Trubisky’s debut, we’re breaking down the good and the bad from this week in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season:
When it comes to rookie play makers, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette had his breakout game against the Steelers scoring two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns — a 90 yard run — came near the end of the game as the Jags were trying to run the clock out. And the Jags rookie clocked 22 mph in the process. Fournette has successfully carried a heavy workload since Week 1, and he has scored a touchdown in his first five games. Things are certainly looking bright for the Jaguars. In more areas than one.
There’s no one I hate more than Aaron Rodgers, but damn the guy is just so damn good. I’m sorry, but when you leave a Rodgers or a Tom Brady, trailing, with a minute on the clock, most of the time they’re going to drive that ball down the field and down your throat. And that’s exactly what Rodgers did in the final minute of regulation after the Cowboys had taken the lead. It’s something that you just come to expect out of Rodgers. Well, that and the Packers being the source of heartbreak for the Cowboys.
Last season as a rookie, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz set the NFL world on the fire early on. Then things seemed to fizzle out. Well, now Wentz is back for seconds. The quarterback has been on fire leading a dominant Eagles offense to the top of the NFC East and legit contenders for the NFC. Wentz completed 21 of 30 passes for 304 yards and tossed four touchdowns in the Eagles 34-7 thrashing of the Cardinals, including three scoring passes on three consecutive attempts in the first quarter. The Eagles have soared to three straight victories en route to a 4-1 record. And now, they’ve made a usually dull Thursday Night Football showdown against the Panthers this week one of the best matchups this entire week.
Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to thrive in his young NFL career. While the Texans fell short in a 42-34 loss to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, Watson continued to air it out with his weapons Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller making this offense an exciting one to watch. Watson completed 16 of 31 passes for 261 yards and 5 touchdowns. The kid has now thrown 9 touchdowns in the last two games. Wow. See, look what happens when you surround your young quarterback with a supporting cast. Speaking of…
I don’t care what the pedestrian statistics say. I don’t care that he made a very rookie mistake in tossing his first interception deep in his own territory in a tie game with two minutes remaining. Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was impressive. He passed the eye test. He flashed more good than bad and managed to make a loss feel not as bad as it has in a long time. He brought hope to the Chicago Bears at a position that hasn’t had a Pro Bowl QB since Jim McMahon. There’s a lot to love about this kid. His athleticism, his accuracy, his leadership ability. And there’s still some growing pains he’s going to have to go through. Forcing throws. But this is only the beginning with this kid. It’s exciting. So, he’s a winner in my book.
What was more surprising? The fact that the Los Angeles Rams are the NFL’s leading offense heading into Week 5? Or that the Seahawks defense has been less than impressive? When your defense generates five takeaways and holds the league’s leading offense to 10 points, then you’ve got yourself a winner.
Maybe he really doesn’t have it anymore? Ben Roethlisberger imploded on himself in a 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars as he tossed five interceptions in the process. And not a one touchdown to go along with it. I mean, how bad is it that you admit that you just might not have it anymore? Who else thinks that Roethlisberger regrets not retiring?
You’d think the Browns would have a permanent spot on this list this season, but perhaps the worst thing that they’ve done this season is how they handled rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer’s struggles. The Browns benched Kizer in the second half after the young rookie struggled against the New York Jets. Here’s the thing, when you stick your rookie QB in there from Week 1, you have to stick with him. They’re not all going to have near instant success like Deshaun Watson, who has a supporting cast around him. But you’ve made a commitment. You have to stick with him through the highs and lows. That’s the commitment you made.
New York Giants
Can things get much worse for the New York Giants? Just when you think the answer is no, they find a way to surprise you. As a rash of insane injuries continued, the Giants lost four receivers — including their best Odell Beckham Jr. for the year with a fractured ankle. And once again, they were in that game against fellow 0-4 Los Angeles Chargers. And once again, they blew it. Welcome to 0-5.
This is more an off-the-field thing as Cam Newton proved that he’s still the ignorant, disrespectful child that we thought he was. Following the publishing of this column last week, Newton disrespected Charlotte Observer beat writer Jourdan Rodrigue when responding to her asking a question about route running: “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like that. It’s funny.” There’s nothing funny about a woman doing her job. There’s nothing funny about misogyny. He followed that up with a forced, insincere apology. But he also lost sponsors as a result, which mean there is some kind of justice in this world.
Injuries, Injuries & More Injuries
And the injuries continue to be the headline of the 2017 NFL season. Just when you think the injuries couldn’t get much worse. The Giants lost three receivers for the season in their loss to the Chargers, including Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall. The Texans lost All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt for the season, as well as pass rusher Whitney Mercilus. Those were the big-name injuries. Then you had guys like Sam Bradford and Charles Clay and Jordan Matthews suffering injuries. This is getting beyond ridiculous. We’re losing a couple NFL stars every week. What’s Week 15 going to look like if this keeps up?