Monday, Sept. 9
Minnesota at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. EDT. Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick this year, is set to make his NFL regular-season debut when he replaces the benched Mike Glennon for the Bears (1-3). The Vikings (2-2) will be without rookie running back Dalvin Cook, who was lost for the season last week when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last week’s 14-7 loss to Detroit. Meanwhile, quarterback Sam Bradford is nearing a return after missing three straight games with a sore knee.
— Cam Newton, Panthers, went 26 of 33 for a season-high 335 yards and three touchdowns to lead Carolina to a 27-24 win at Detroit.
— Deshaun Watson, Texans, tossed five touchdown passes in a losing cause as Houston fell to Kansas City 42-34.
— Carson Wentz, Eagles, had a career-best four touchdown passes and finished 21 of 30 for 304 yards in Philadelphia’s 34-7 victory over Arizona.
— Alex Smith, Chiefs, threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns to help Kansas City remain undefeated with a 42-34 win over Houston.
— Aaron Rodgers, Packers, threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining, finishing with three TD tosses while lifting Green Bay over Dallas 35-31.
— Philip Rivers, Chargers, had three touchdown throws in leading Los Angeles past the New York Giants 27-22.
— Brian Hoyer, 49ers, threw for 353 yards and two scores in a losing cause as San Francisco fell to Indianapolis 26-23 in overtime.
— Leonard Fournette, Jaguars, ran for a career-high 181 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in Jacksonville’s 30-9 rout of Pittsburgh.
— Aaron Jones, Packers, had 19 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first start to help Green Bay top Dallas 35-31.
— Kareem Hunt, Chiefs, rushed for 107 yards on 29 carries and also caught two TD passes in Kansas City’s 42-34 win at Houston.
— Melvin Gordon, Chargers, ran for 105 yards on 20 attempts in Los Angeles’ 27-22 win over the New York Giants.
— Marlon Mack, Colts, had 91 yards and a TD on just nine carries in Indianapolis’ 26-23 overtime win over San Francisco.
— Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, rushed for 116 yards on 29 attempts in Dallas’ 35-31 loss to Green Bay.
— A.J. Green, Bengals, caught seven passes for 189 yards, the third-highest total of his career, including a 77-yard TD and bounced back from contributing to three turnovers to help set up the winning score as Cincinnati topped Buffalo 20-16.
— DeAndre Hopkins, Texans, had three touchdown catches in Houston’s 42-34 loss to Kansas City.
— T.Y. Hilton, Colts, had seven receptions for 177 yards in Indianapolis’ 26-23 overtime win over San Francisco.
— Antonio Brown, Steelers, caught 10 passes for 157 yards in Pittsburgh’s 30-9 loss to Jacksonville.
— Ed Dickson, Panthers, had five receptions for a career-high 175 yards — a total that surpassed his production from each of the previous three seasons with Carolina — in a 27-24 win at Detroit.
— Davante Adams, Packers, caught two touchdown passes in Green Bay’s 35-31 victory at Dallas, including the 12-yard winner with 11 seconds left.
— Adam Vinatieri, Colts, booted four field goals — including a 51-yarder to win it in overtime — and made two extra points in Indianapolis’ 26-23 victory over San Francisco.
— Chandler Catanzaro, Jets, kicked a franchise-record 57-yard field goal to end the first half of New York’s 17-14 win at Cleveland.
— Patrick Robinson, Eagles, deflected Phil Dawson’s 51-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half of Philadelphia’s 34-7 win over Arizona.
— Harrison Butker, Chiefs, kicked five goals — 35, 42, 41, 35 and 49 yards — in Kansas City’s 42-34 win at Houston.
— Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown to help Kansas City to a 42-34 win at Houston.
— Kenjon Barner, Eagles, had a 76-yard punt return to set up Philadelphia’s second TD in a 34-7 win over Arizona.
— Myles Garrett, Browns, had two sacks in his NFL debut — including one on the first play of his career — in Cleveland’s 17-14 loss to the New York Jets.
— Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, Chargers, each had two sacks and both also forced a fumble in Los Angeles’ 27-22 win over the New York Giants.
— Tashaun Gipson, Barry Church and Telvin Smith, Jaguars. Gipson had two interceptions in Jacksonville’s 30-9 win at Pittsburgh, while Church and Smith returned picks for touchdowns.
— Jimmy Smith, Ravens, returned a fumble 47 yards for a TD in Baltimore’s 30-17 victory at Oakland.
— Reshad Jones, Dolphins, had six tackles, a half-sack and two fumble recoveries, including one he returned 38 yards for a score in Miami’s 16-10 win over Tennessee.
— Earl Thomas, Seahawks, forced two of the Rams’ five turnovers in Seattle’s 16-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
STREAKS & STATS
Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald caught a pass for the 200th consecutive game, third-longest streak in NFL history. … Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett had two sacks against the New York Jets, becoming the first player selected No. 1 overall to have multiple sacks in his NFL debut since it became an official statistic in 1982. … With its 26-23 overtime loss at Indianapolis, San Francisco became the first team since the 1994 Houston Oilers to lose four straight games by three or fewer points. … The Jets’ 17-14 victory at Cleveland marked the first time in his 15-year career that Josh McCown has won three straight starts. … Houston’s Deshaun Watson is the first rookie with four or more touchdown passes in back-to-back games since Washington’s Robert Griffin III in 2012.
At 22 years and 263 days old, Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette is the youngest player in NFL history with a touchdown run of at least 90 yards and is the fifth rookie to score at least one TD in each of his team’s first five games of a season. … Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning 51-yard field goal in overtime in the Colts’ 26-23 victory over San Francisco. He has 24 game-winning field goals in the regular season in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime and 10 game-winners in overtime — both the most in NFL history. Vinatieri became the third player to score 2,400 points and has 2,411, behind only Morten Andersen (2,544) and Gary Anderson (2,434). Vinatieri also has one more field goal made than Anderson (538) to move into second on the all-time list. … The Colts’ Frank Gore ran for 48 yards to surpass Eric Dickerson (13,259) and give him 13,304 for his career — seventh-most in NFL history.
San Francisco, Cleveland and the New York Giants are the only winless teams remaining, with all three sitting at 0-5. The 49ers fell 26-23 to Indianapolis in overtime, the Browns were edged by the Jets 17-4 and the Giants lost 27-22 to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Carolina’s Cam Newton came under fire for making sexist comments to a female reporter during the week. He apologized after losing an endorsement deal and getting criticized by the NFL. The 2015 NFL MVP said after a 27-24 win at Detroit that he put Rosie the Riveter, flexing her right arm, on his hat after doing homework to learn her iconic impact on World War II. “I just wanted to have a little notion, a shoutout, to all the strong women,” Newton said.
Jacksonville had five interceptions in its 30-9 victory at Pittsburgh, including returns for TDs by Telvin Smith (28 yards) and Barry Church (51). It marked the first time the Jaguars had two INTs returned for scores. Ben Roethlisberger’s career-high five interceptions were the most by a Steelers quarterback since Mark Malone threw five against Cleveland in 1987.
After a shaky first half, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer at halftime of Cleveland’s 17-14 loss to the New York Jets. Kizer, who threw a costly pick as Cleveland’s offense sputtered, was replaced by Kevin Hogan, who completed 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
One day after Peyton Manning’s statue was unveiled outside Lucas Oil Stadium, the only five-time league MVP in league history finally got to thank Colts fans inside the stadium he helped build. And he did it by taking a snap from long-time center Jeff Saturday and throwing a pass that Reggie Wayne caught in the end zone. “I thank God every day that I’m an Indianapolis Colt,” Manning told the crowd at halftime of the Colts’ 26-20 overtime win over San Francisco.
Josh McCown got some revenge on his former team by throwing two touchdown passes and leading the surprising New York Jets to a 17-14 win over the winless Cleveland Browns. McCown won only one game as a starter in two seasons with Cleveland, and that came in Baltimore. He went 0-7 at home for the Browns, who released him on Feb. 7 in a cost-cutting move.
Davante Adams had been in the concussion protocol but was active for Green Bay just 10 days after leaving the field on a stretcher on a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a suspension for Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan. He had seven catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns — including the winning 12-yard score with 11 seconds left in the Packers’ 35-31 victory at Dallas.
Miami’s Reshad Jones kept playing after everyone else stopped to give the Dolphins their first touchdown in a 16-10 win over Tennessee. Titans quarterback Matt Cassel fumbled with his arm cocked when hit by Kiko Alonso, and the ball squirted forward 14 yards. Jones scooped up the ball and ran uncontested to the end zone. Referee Bill Vinovich eventually announced that the loose ball was a fumble and Miami had scored. Following a replay review, the call was upheld, giving the Dolphins a 10-0 lead.
Houston star J.J. Watt broke his left leg Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team announced that he sustained a tibial plateau fracture. The defensive end was injured while being blocked midway through the first quarter of the Texans’ 42-34 loss. … New York Giants wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall left on the same second-quarter series with sprained left ankles in a 27-22 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Dwayne Harris broke a foot on a kickoff return in the third quarter. Odell Beckham Jr. was the final one to go down, breaking his left ankle in the fourth quarter. … Oakland also lost four players to injuries, with Marquel Lee (ankle), fullback Jamize Olawale (concussion), linebacker Corey James (knee) and cornerback Antonio Hamilton (knee) leaving their 30-17 defeat against Baltimore. … Ravens running back Terrance West departed on the opening drive with a left calf injury following a 13-yard run and did not return. … Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson, who scored his sixth touchdown early in the fourth quarter, wasn’t on the field during the Packers’ final drive. Coach Mike McCarthy said he was being evaluated for an undisclosed injury.
“It was a (butt) whooping, plain and simple.” — Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant after Pittsburgh was routed at home by Jacksonville, 30-9 on Sunday.
“I did a great job watching the Bruce Lee movies, and it kind of carried over to the football field.” — Seattle’s Earl Thomas on his martial arts-style chop to the arm of Rams running back Todd Gurley, knocking the ball out for a touchback in the Seahawks’ 16-10 win.
“It took me three years and two teams, but dang gummit, I got me a win at FirstEnergy Stadium.” — Jets quarterback Josh McCown, who was released by the Browns in February after two seasons and led New York to a 17-14 win at Cleveland on Sunday.
1. Welp. Might as well call it for the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers. All three fell to 0-5. No team in league history has ever started 0-5 and made the playoffs.
2. But for the optimists out there, there is a little hope. The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals started 1-6 but still reached postseason. More recently, so did the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs — after a 1-5 start.
3. Sunday was just brutal day for the Giants. Their top four receivers left the game with injuries. The sight of Odell Beckham Jr. being carted off in tears with a fractured left ankle, however, was most demoralizing. Before going down, Beckham kept New York in the game with a late 48-yard touchdown.
4. More bad news on the injury front: Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture on Sunday night. The team hasn’t given a timeline for his recovery, but having the three-time defensive player of the year sidelined would be a devastating blow to the Texans as well as the league, which would sorely miss one of its most universally beloved figures.
5. Is there any way to contain the Kansas City Chiefs? On a night when Kareem Hunt was mostly contained (but still finished with 107 yards on 29 carries), the offense still put up 450 total yards in a 42-34 win over the Texans. Alex Smith turned in another MVP caliber performance (29-of-37 passing, 324 yards, three TDs), and Tyreek Hill returned a punt 82 yars for a score.
6. One sign that Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz is progressing and making efficient decisions: He now has five touchdown passes on third down this season, after he threw only three such scores in his rookie year.
7. Another Wentz stat that should have the Philly faithful excited? In first quarters last year, he threw six interceptions and just one touchdown. This year? No picks, five TDs.And one more. Wentz’s previous career high for TD throws in a game was two. He had three in the first quarter Sunday and finished with four.
8. We have no idea what the Pittsburgh Steelers were thinking. The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Sunday ranked dead last in rushing defense (165.5 yards allowed per game), and first in passing defense (147). So why on earth would Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley dial up just 15 carries for Le’Veon Bell?
9. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has played 210 career games. He had never finished one with zero touchdowns and four or more interceptions — before Sunday, when Big Ben threw five interceptions and did not toss a TD.
10. Maybe Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown, who racked up 157 receiving yards Sunday, should try calling Roethlisberger out on the radio this week.
11. However Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, who grew up playing in the same Liberty City (Miami) youth league as Brown, had the better day with 177 yards and a victory.
12. Roethlisberger and the Giants’ Eli Manning, both first-round picks in 2004, have combined to win four Lombardi Trophies. But the other Round 1 QB from 2004, Philip Rivers, was the only one to notch a victory Sunday … and is now 3-0 vs. Manning, the man he was traded for on draft day.
13. The Jaguars have forced 14 turnovers this year after generating 13 all of last season.
14. Jacksonville, by the way, is sitting atop the AFC South at 3-2. This team may have turned the corner. That hamstring injury to Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota may open the door for the Jaguars and the Houston Texans in the division.
15. The Miami Dolphins defense has more touchdowns (1) than the offense (0) in first halves this season.
16. That tells us it may be time to scrap the Jay Cutler experiment. Right before halftime, he threw an interception and fans in South Florida booed. It got worse. Chants of “WE WANT MOORE” — as in backup QB Matt Moore — rained down from the stands in the Dolphins’ home opener. By halftime, Cutler had completed just five of 11 passes for 21 yards and the pick. Oh, and this was against a Titans D that allowed 283 yards and four touchdowns to rookie passer Deshaun Watson last week.
17. By the way, as Colin Kaepernick waits for the phone to ring? The two quarterbacks in that game — Cutler and Tennessee’s Matt Cassel, who was starting in place of Mariota — combined for 17 of 28 passing for 75 yards, no touchdowns and two turnovers in the first half.
18. Jags rookie RB Leonard Fournette became the fifth player since 1970 to start his career with a touchdown from scrimmage in at least five straight games. If you didn’t know already, Jacksonville’s offense runs through Fournette. Think about it this way: Two pick-sixes definitely helped, but the Jaguars beat Pittsburgh 30-9 despite Blake Bortles completing eight passes for 95 yards. (And we can’t blame Jacksonville. When you have a player who is so physical that he asks for hits, might as well give him the rock.)
19. A day of firsts for the McCaffreys. Carolina Panthers rookie RB Christian McCaffrey scored his first career touchdown — on a shovel pass from Cam Newton — almost at the same time that brother Max, a rookie receiver for the Jaguars, recorded his first career catch.
20. Last week, we suggested Newton’s surgically repaired right shoulder seemed fully recovered. If you didn’t believe us, maybe his domination of the Detroit Lions will convince you. Newton had 26 completions, seven incompletions, 355 yards, and three touchdowns. (And if that doesn’t do the trick, this perfectly-thrown, drop-in-the-bucket dime in stride to Kelvin Benjamin might.)
21. The Panthers led the Lions 27-10 after three quarters. Some deficits are too much even for Detroit QB Matthew Stafford.
22. Ugh, Browns. It took 19 quarters, but they finally took their first lead of the season Sunday. Still, though Cleveland moves the ball at times, it tends to self-destruct inside opponents’ 20-yard line. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer gave away the ball on a botched toss and an awfully thrown interception against the Jets. That marked Cleveland’s fifth red zone turnover this season, which leads the league.
23. Not incidentally, the Browns’ breakthrough touchdown came after coach Hue Jackson benched Kizer for Kevin Hogan at the start of the third quarter. Flashing big plays occasionally won’t be enough for Kizer, who has to show he can eliminate the back-breaking mistakes. Hogan played well enough (16-for-19, 194 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) to entertain the possibility of his being the starter for the foreseeable future.
24. Colts RB Frank Gore keeps moving up the NFL’s career rushing list. With his first carry Sunday, he passed Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson. Gore is now seventh on the all-time list with 13,304 after a 48-yard showing. As long as he stays healthy this year, he’s likely to finish the season in fifth place. Jerome Bettis (13,662) and LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) are in the way … though so might be Colts rookie Marlon Mack, who rushed for 91 yards against the 49ers.
25. Still, Gore had a happier reunion with the 49ers than San Francisco WR Pierre Garcon did with the Colts.
26. The Buffalo Bills registered their first turnover since the first quarter of Week 1. It was only their second giveaway of the year, but it came at an awful time — a fourth-quarter INT from Tyrod Taylor that sunk his team in Cincinnati.
27. The Bills entered Sunday having sole possession of first place in the AFC East, which marked just the 11th week the team has been in that position since 2000. After their loss to the Bengals, it stays at 11.
28. The 2017 Jets, whom some picked to go 0-16, have a three-game winning streak and are in a three-way, first-place tie with the Bills and New England Patriots, all of them 3-2. Huge credit goes to coach Todd Bowles for getting a young and relatively unknown roster to play competitively. (And if you had Week 6’s showdown between the Jets and Patriots as a compelling matchup, we’d like to talk to you about buying our Powerball ticket.)
29. With the Dolphins at 2-2, just a half game separates the entire division. However even though the Pats had a sloppy victory Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s hard not to think they’ll eventually figure things out — especially after their defense showed signs of life against Jameis Winston and Co.
30. The Arizona Cardinals entered Week 5 averaging a league-worst 57 rushing yards per game. They managed just 31 at Philadelphia. Where have you gone, David Johnson?
31. The Oakland Raiders are in a precarious spot. They’ve lost three in a row, with the offense averaging just 12.3 points and 209 yards in that span. Derek Carr needs to come back — invigorated — soon.
32. Maybe Sunday’s victory will finally convince offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and the Baltimore Ravens to stick to the rushing game. In its two losses this year, Baltimore averaged just 108 rushing yards. In its three victories? How about 145.3.
33. For the second week in a row, the NFL will serve up a prime matchup in the Thursday night prime-time slot: Philadelphia (4-1) at Carolina (4-1).
34. The game between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks was a good barometer of where L.A. ranks in the NFC West landscape. The Rams are a solid team that is unquestionably ascending, but they’re not quite on the level of a perennial power like Seattle, as Sunday’s 16-loss showed. That gap, though, appears to be closing.
35. It was impressive for the Rams to march out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. What wasn’t impressive? How they squandered the lead via self-inflicted errors. Los Angeles committed five turnovers in its first four games. On Sunday alone, the Seahawks doubled them up and forced them into five more.
36. With that said, should the Seahawks be worried that they won the turnover battle 5-2 but needed to fend off a late rally to win? Their offensive line woes won’t go away, and they still can’t find anyone to run the ball consistently.
37. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s fourth interception of the season was returned for a TD by the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Prescott, last season’s offensive rookie of the year, was picked off four times in the entire 2016 regular season.
38. Kudos to Prescott for bringing the Cowboys back and scoring what appeared to be the game-winning TD. But leaving Aaron Rodgers 73 seconds to win the game? We had a feeling that wouldn’t go well. With all due respect to Tom Brady, feels like there’s just no one better in the NFL right now at game-winning drives.
39. Aside from Rodgers’ heroics, the coaching job Mike McCarthy has done in Green Bay this year is what has re-established the Packers as one of the NFC’s most dangerous teams. Perhaps no other team has overcome as many injuries and relied on so much capable depth.
40. Look no further than the emergence of running back Aaron Jones, who two weeks ago was third on the Pack depth chart. Injuries to Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams thrust Jones into the starter’s role. All the rookie did was respond with 19 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown vs. the Cowboys. It wouldn’t surprise us if Jones continues to have a prominent role, even when Montgomery returns from his broken ribs.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes