What we learned from Week 5 of the NFL season

Ashley Anderson

October 8th, 2019

1. Defenses are figuring out Patrick Mahomes

The reigning MVP barely got by Detroit in Week 4, when the Lions ended Patrick Mahomes' streak of 14 straight games with a touchdown pass.

But there was no salvaging Kansas City’s hopes against Indianapolis on Sunday. Mahomes struggled once again, and also aggravated his ankle. He completed just 56.4% of his passes for 321 yards and a touchdown. He also got sacked four times by the Colts.
Defenses are getting better against Mahomes each week, and it could get worse from here. The Chiefs next host the Texans, who are tied for ninth in sacks (15), then visit the No. 5 pass defense in Denver before they host Green Bay and Minnesota at Arrowhead.

2. The 49ers are that good

The San Francisco 49ers welcomed the Cleveland Browns to Levi’s Stadium and crushed the over-hyped Browns, 31-3, on Monday Night Football. The only remaining undefeated team other than the New England Patriots, the 49ers showed in prime time they are a force to be reckoned with and not just the product of a weak early schedule.

San Francisco previously defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, the woeful Bengals and the Steelers, who had just lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season.

The Browns were considered a step up in competition (that’s debatable), but the 49ers had no trouble stopping Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and company.

Mayfield went 8-of-22 for 100 yards, with two interceptions and without a score, for a QBR of 1.4 (!). Beckham caught just two of six targets for 27 yards and ran the ball twice for 15 yards. Nick Chubb had a few big rushes and ended the night with 87 yards.

San Francisco, on the other hand, ran for 275 yards, with Matt Breida accounting for 114. Tevin Coleman added another 97 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Raheem Mostert ran for 34 on seven carries.

Through Week 5 the 49ers boast the No. 1 rushing offense (200 yards per game) and the No. 2 overall defense (257.5 YPG), behind the Patriots. San Francisco's odds of winning the Super Bowl have since moved to +1800.

3. Jay Gruden is the first to go, but expect more soon

Following the Washington Redskins’ fifth loss of the season, head coach Jay Gruden got the axe, which leaves Bill Callahan in charge in the interim. It became fairly obvious Gruden’s position was on the line, but he won’t be the last to go in the middle of the season.

The Atlanta Falcons suffered their fourth loss of the season at Houston in a 53-32 thumping. Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn, who also assumed defensive coordinator duties in 2019, is likely the next to find himself on the chopping block, as the Falcons have fallen drastically short of expectations.

Many believed Atlanta would be a playoff team, but it’s a near guarantee the Falcons won’t be seeing the postseason, especially when you look at the remainder of the schedule. The 1-4 Falcons visit Arizona next weekend, then host the Rams and Seahawks before they travel to New Orleans and Carolina. It’s unlikely the Falcons get more than one win out of that stretch of the schedule.

The clock is ticking on Quinn, and time is just about up.

4. The Dolphins aren’t the only dumpster fire

While everyone focused on the Miami Dolphins and how horrible they were supposed to be in 2019, three other teams are giving the Dolphins a run for the worst team in the league (see the Redskins item above).

The New York Jets dropped another game in Week 5, a 31-6 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, and get the Cowboys and Patriots in their next two games. Injuries and Sam Darnold’s bout with mononucleosis have ravaged the team, and now the Jets are still searching for win No. 1.

The Bengals faced the 0-3-1 Arizona Cardinals in Cincinnati this week and managed to lose 26-23. The Bengals probably won’t improve their record anytime soon, with games against the Ravens on Sunday, then the Jaguars and Rams at home.

One thing is for sureone of the four winless teams will finally experience victory Sunday, when the Redskins play the Dolphins in Miami. Washington is favored by 3.5 points, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Miami get a win and maybe earn another against the Jets at home in November. What a strange season it’s turned out to be.

5. The New Orleans Saints survived the QB crisis of 2019, so far

In a year marred by season-altering quarterback injuries, one team was able to remain upright despite the loss of a future Hall of Famer in Week 2. The New Orleans Saints own just one loss to the Los Angeles Rams, who beat New Orleans, 31-24, after Drew Brees exited the game with a thumb injury.

The Saints later learned Brees had torn a ligament in his hand and would require surgery. He’s expected to return in November, but in the meantime, Teddy Bridgewater has filled in nicely.

It hasn’t been the smoothest transition, but Bridgewater has led New Orleans to a three-game win streak as a starter and enjoyed his best performance against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Bridgewater completed 26 of his 34 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns, and the Saints defeated the Bucs 31-24.

Bridgewater has already beaten Seattle on the road and the Cowboys at home. He’ll go up against the Jaguars in Jacksonville on October 13, before a road trip to the Chicago Bears and a home game against the Cardinals.

With the way he played against Tampa Bay, the Saints might be just fine against their next three foes and survive their stint without Brees. In a season that looked like it might be lost after the veteran was sidelined, the Saints lead the NFC South and are the current favorite (+850) from their conference to win Super Bowl LIV.

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