With game week five in the bag, we look at the highlights and talking points from this weekend’s action.
Tottenham chief executive Daniel Levy will be delighted. It may have been a year late, given its issues with construction, but the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium finally hosted its first NFL game, and will do two a year for the next decade. He has publicly said it would be a chance to put the impressive stadium in the shop window for naming rights, and the Raiders and Bears served up the best kind of advert.
The first London game of the season was brilliant, with the Raiders managing to hold on to a 24-21 win after being pegged back from a quick lead. Raiders running-back Josh Jacobs scored his second touchdown of the game with a leap from the two-yard line to finish off a 97-yard drive that helped the Raiders finally make it after frittering away an initial 17-point lead. Roll on the next London game – let’s hope they’re all like this.
More than a quarter of the way through the season and Christian McCaffrey has been the standout player. At times he’s dissected teams, even with an injured Cam Newton and bigger onus on him to deliver. This weekend was no different, as he ripped the Jags to pieces in the Panthers 34-27 win.
He tied a career high with 237 yards from scrimmage, as well as setting a franchise record with an incredible 84-yard TD run. And then just when the Jags thought it would let up with his replacement Reggie Bonnafon in the game, Bonnafon delivered a 59-yard touchdown run of his own.
The Colts can play
Andrew Luck’s retirement did not make the Colts a bad team overnight – Jacoby Brissett may not have the star power, but he’s an excellent player. The defeat to the Raiders wasn’t great, but five games in and they have a winning record and settled team, with perhaps the best offensive line in football.
The AFC South will be a close run thing, but on keeping the gunslinging Chiefs to just 13 points on Sunday shows how capable that defence is. With Brissett at QB, Marlon Muck delivering the the run game and T.Y Hilton out wide they cause a lot of teams problems this season.
Pay your backups
Brissett is a good example of why you pay your backup quarterback, but he only really got his money after Luck got injured. A better example is Teddy Bridgewater in New Orleans. There was every chance they’d be paying him his $7.25 million without him starting a game but the Drew Brees injury has changed that and proved what a shrewd move it was to acquire him in the first place.
Bridgewater threw four touchdowns in the Saints 31-24 divisional win over the Bucs, with the home crowd chanting his name in the process. Brees is an absolute legend round those parts and yet they haven’t missed him once. They now sit 4-1 atop their conference and know they won’t need to rush Brees back. Things look good for Teddy’s Saints.
Game week 5 results:
Seattle Seahawks 30-29 Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints 31-24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carolina Panthers 34-27 Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans 7-14 Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers 23-26 Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals 23-26 Arizona Cardinals
Houston Texans 53-32 Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins 7-33 New England Patriots
New York Giants 10-28 Minnesota Vikings
Oakland Raiders 24-21 Chicago Bears
Philadelphia Eagles 31-6 New York Jets
LA Chargers 13-20 Denver Broncos
Dallas Cowboys 24-34 Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs 19-13 Indianapolis Colts
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