The insanity that is the 2017 NFL season continued in Week 6 as more star players were injured, including Aaron Rodgers, who is likely done for the year, and teams that weren’t supposed to win pulled out not just wins, but impressive wins.
From Adrian Peterson’s rebirth to an old school Bears defense to Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending blow to that blown call in the Jets/Patriots game, 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:
New York Giants
If there was ever an upset to happen, it was the winless, mess of a football team the New York Giants walking into Denver and upsetting the Broncos 23-10. The Giants have been battered with injuries, losing Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, and had to turn to their practice squad for receivers. They’ve struggled on offense, both on the ground and in the air prompting people to suggest the Giants put Eli Manning on the trading block. But, they still walked into Denver and beat the Broncos. And it wasn’t a lucky win. It was an all-around effort from offense, defense, and special teams. Perhaps this is a win that’ll help — not cure — them get over this uncharacteristic hump.
Well, guess Adrian Peterson just needed to go further west to rediscover himself and his running prowess. Less than a week after being traded from New Orleans to Arizona, Peterson proved his worth in his Cardinals debut. The running back, who seemed to get lost in his move to New Orleans, rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns, while averaging over 5 yards per carry. You could call that a solid debut. And things are looking up as he prepares to face one of the league’s worst run defenses in the Rams next week.
It’s been awhile since I could use the words “great” and “dominant” when it comes to describing the Chicago Bears defense. But the Bears’ defense showed up to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Maybe it was because they knew they had to help their young quarterback out, maybe it’s because they’re tired of being embarrassed on the road, but the Bears defense looked like the Bears of old. After going five games without an interception this season, the Bears nabbed two Joe Flacco interceptions, including an Adrian Amos touchdown return. They also recovered a fumble and held the Ravens offense without a touchdown. The special teams almost spoiled the Bears defensive showing, but their offense helped them out a bit in overtime.
If I were someone that would mention something about some undefeated team cracking champagne, this would be where I would say it. The Kansas City Chiefs are perfect no more. And, my oh my, did the Pittsburgh Steelers need this win. A week after Ben Roethlisberger thought he “lost it” as he had one of his worst offensive showings, the Steelers rolled into Kansas City and took down the AFC-leading Chiefs and a potent offensive attack that was limited to just 13 points. Le’Veon Bell finally rejoined the NFL with 179 rushing yards and a score as Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown reconnected once again.
This was a week of redemption for a lot of teams. Team that were winless. Teams with veteran quarterbacks that have been struggling immensely. Teams that upset easy favorites. Enter, the Miami Dolphins, who walked into Atlanta and dethroned the reigning NFC Champions. The Dolphins defense contained Matt Ryan and this Falcons offense and the Dolphins offense got some great plays from quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Jay Ajayi in the 20-17 victory.
My, oh my. Has hell frozen over or have the Bears made the “Winners” list not once but twice this week. While their dominant defense was the deciding factor in the Bears 27-24 overtime win over the Ravens, it was running back Jordan Howard that anchored a struggling Bears offense. With the Bears lacking talent at the receiver position and trying to protect rookie QB Mitch Trubisky, they relied on their most valuable offensive weapon in Howard to pave the way on offense. Howard racked up 167 yards on 36 carries, including a 53-yard dash to help set up the Bears’ game-winning field goal in overtime.
The Green Packers live and die by Aaron Rodgers. They live when Rodgers plays. They die when he doesn’t. So Packers fans aren’t going to be too happy this fall and into winter after the quarterback broken his collarbone — on his right throwing shoulder — in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers had surgery on his collarbone on Monday and could miss the rest of the season. Now, the NFC North is wide open for which ever team is willing to take it.
Browns and 49ers
And then there were two. Two teams fighting for a No. 1 draft pick as they eye the 2008 Detroit Lions perfect 0-16 season. While things look bleak and should get bleaker as the season progresses for these teams, it’s unlikely that they don’t manage to win at least one or two games this season. That’s just how the NFL works. Look at the Giants, who beat the Broncos. The Broncos. Still, right now things don’t look so good when you’re staring down a 0-6 hole.
Just when you wonder, how could the Baltimore Ravens offense get any worse? Sunday happened. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has struggled mightily this season, and with his team playing a rookie quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, Flacco was the one that resembled the rookie making costly mistakes and failing to lead his team to any offensive points in a 24-20 overtime loss to the Bears. Though Flacco’s special teams almost managed to pull it out for him, things worked out in the end. Because the Ravens didn’t deserve to win this game.
Just when the NFC North was blown wide open following Aaron Rodgers’ likely season-ending fractured collarbone. Early this season, the Detroit Lions looked poised to give even a Rodgers-led Packers a run for the NFC North. But in these past couple of games, the Lions are struggling both offensively and defensively. Matthew Stafford, who was a strong force earlier this season, is dealing with injury and he accounted for three interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and fumbled for another Saints touchdown. But despite all of that, the Lions were still in the game until the end. Insane.
Refs in Jets/Patriots Game
Perhaps the most controversial moment of the weekend came with 8:31 remaining in the New York Jets and New England Patriots game when Austin Seferian-Jenkins ran into the endzone for a four-yard touchdown. The score was reviewed and then overturned as it appeared that Seferian-Jenkins momentarily bobbled the football on his way to the ground. He was said to have fumbled out of bounds in the endzone, which resulted in a touchback. It’s a call that everyone is questioning, including analysts and former heads of officiating. It’s a call that the refs done screwed up. Welcome to the Losers list, refs.