2018 NFL Week 5
We’ve been given a gift. The gift of interesting quarterbacks.
It started in 2016 when Dak Prescott came out of nowhere and not only ended the Tony Romo era, he almost took the Cowboys to the NFC Championship game.
2017 was no different as Carson Wentz went from promising prospect to MVP candidate and Jared Goff went from dumpster fire to burgeoning stud. Even Deshaun Watson got in a few licks before his knee failed him.
Then 2018 happened. Goff has gone from studly to godly and even Mitch Trubisky (yes, that guy) is fresh off of a game where he threw 6 touchdown passes. However, one other man has reached the apotheosis of quarterbacking: Patrick Mahomes.
Sorry, guys. I’m going to become the 10,535th person this week to gush about the Chiefs’ new gunslinger. Allow me a few minutes. He has moves like Jagger (sorry), the vision of Tom Brady, the cockiness of Brett Favre and the accuracy of Aaron Rodgers.
The stats are already legendary: 14 touchdown passes with zero interceptions. And as you might have seen on the internet, he can apparently throw 90 yards in Denver with ease. And who saw this coming?
I watch a lot of college football, and while I did recognize his talent at Texas Tech, I brushed it off. Anyone can throw for a ton of yards at Texas Tech, where all they do is throw. And in the Big 12, which doesn’t believe in defense.
However, there’s no doubting he’s been a revelation. I looked forward to seeing him on this past Monday night and he didn’t disappoint in a tough road game in an environment where it seems nobody plays to their capacity. And hardly anyone could have pulled off that left-handed pass he threw to get a crucial first down.
Most NFL quarterbacks would have thrown that ball right into their own crotch. I know I would have.
Will there be regression to the mean? Absolutely, there’s no way anyone can continue to put up stats this ridiculous. But it won’t be a collapse. He’s far too talented. So, instead of trying to poke holes in his game, why don’t we just put our feet up and feel thankful that we have another quarterback who can actually make games exciting?
Hope it lasts a long time.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
NFL’s TOP 10
1) Rams – I had a sinking feeling before their Week 4 game. I got over it. Enough has been said about how well this team’s offense has performed. What really encouraged me about their impressive win over the Vikings was when the chips were down, it was Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh coming through with critical sacks to prop up a struggling secondary. It’s the defense that keeps this team atop my rankings.
2) Chiefs – Jared Goff stole the attention with his 5 TDs on Thursday night. Just a few days later, Pat Mahomes took it back. The reason Kansas City is not on top is its defense, which still hasn’t figured things out. They’re weak in many places and are dead last in total yards allowed and near the bottom in every other major statistical category. Good news is, there’s still time to get it together. But the time is now.
3) Ravens – Maybe it was because I was coming back from the Pacific Northwest and I was able to watch the entire game in the airport and on the plane. But I couldn’t have been more impressed with this team’s win over Pittsburgh. Flacco was slinging it and the defense is coming together faster than many predicted. There’s no reason to believe they won’t get better.
4) Jaguars – Leonard Fournette left just plays into his first game back from injury. That’s not good. Here’s what is: Blake Bortles doesn’t stink anymore. The Jags have the most delicious matchup of the week on Sunday. What goes down will say a lot about this team.
5) Eagles – They’re 2-2, but the sky isn’t falling. They’ll be fine going forward. There’s too much talent on this roster.
6) Patriots – Boy, who could have predicted that win over the Dolphins? Only everyone in the country who doesn’t live in South Florida. Actually, check that, I’ve lived down there for a few years and that fanbase knew what was coming. Tom Brady did what he always does to the fishies in Foxborough: He smacked them around. And now New England has Julian Edelman back in the fold after his four-game suspension.
7) Packers — Aaron Rodgers was disgusted after a 22-0 win over the Bills. And yes, he might be frustrated at his struggling offense and he’s definitely put up better stats before, but he should take his own advice and R-E-L-A-X. Everything will be fine as long as he stays healthy.
8) Panthers — They should be higher on this list, but they just had a bye week. I downgrade teams coming off byes. Don’t @ me.
9) Bengals – Is this the year they finally win a playoff game? Hey, anything is possible. But Cincy has a realistic shot at a playoff spot and maybe even a division title. They’ve already beaten the Ravens once …
10) Bears – I should put the Saints here. Or maybe even the 1-2-1 Vikings, who are better than their record. But I can’t. Chicago’s defense is absolutely vicious. And I still can’t get over Mitch Trubisky throwing 6 TDs. How in the hell did that ever happen? How? It keeps me up at night.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Horror at home: The poor Chargers. The players really don’t deserve this. The team is practicing with piped-in crowd noise because they’re getting ready for a home game against the Raiders. And it’s almost guaranteed that 90 percent of the fans will be wearing Silver and Black.
They should have found a way to make things work in San Diego. No matter what it took. Eventually they would have got a new stadium down there. It might have taken a few more years, but it would have got done somehow. What they’re doing now is just a disgrace.
Just don’t talk: Brown safety Jahlil Peppers seems like a nice kid. Had a solid career at Michigan and is finding his way in the pros. But … get a load of his take on Cleveland fans (via the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio):
“So that’s one thing I notice about Cleveland sports, you guys are very, very wishy-washy. If it ain’t going right immediately, calling for heads, calling for jobs.”
I get it, maybe you’re not familiar with history. But if there’s one thing Browns fans have been since they came back to the NFL in 1999 has been patient. Patient with the revolving door of quarterbacks and head coaches. Patient through crappy season after crappy season. They’ve even somewhat patient after sitting through an 0-16 season.
In fairness, he walked back his comments the next day, so all is forgiven. But let’s think before we speak in the future.
Ring the bell: Le’Veon Bell hinted he might rejoin the team during the bye week. And his offensive line, who threw him right under the bus before Week 1, suddenly would love to see the star running back in the fold. A few weeks of having to rely solely on James Conner will do that to you.
Kanye and Kaepernick: The rapper and certified crazy person wants to set up a meeting between Colin Kaepernick and President Trump. Can that be broadcast on pay-per-view? Lord, would that make a fortune.
Young buck: Josh Rosen got his chance to start and if his receivers didn’t have stone hands, he might have led the Cardinals to a win. Regardless, he looked completely comfortable out there running with the veterans. I imagine he was the least surprised person by his own performance.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 5
Ravens at Browns: This isn’t just a division matchup. This is a chance to see Baker Mayfield face off against a quality defense. And Baltimore defensive coordinator Don Martindale is taking this one seriously, telling his players that Mayfield is this generation’s Brett Favre of John Elway. A stretch? Maybe, but he wants his men prepared. Good move.
Jaguars at Chiefs: This is my game of the week. If the Jags defense can’t slow down Mr. Mahomes, there might not be a team out there that will. Can’t wait to watch this one.
Falcons at Steelers: Either team will be in deep trouble if they lose this one. We know who Baltimore fans are rooting for.
Raiders at Chargers: I really want to see how bad the split is between Raiders and Chargers fans.
Vikings at Eagles: NFC championship game rematch. But things have changed since January as both starting quarterbacks from that game won’t be under center on Sunday. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer isn’t worried about his team’s 1-2-1 record, but he will be if they lose this one.
Rams at Seahawks: This is the first time the Rams have left California this season. And this is quite the first out-of-state test and Seattle fans will be aching for revenge after the Rams thumped the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field last season. Expect noise.