NFL Nation: 2010 Week 5 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Eagles 27, 49ers 24

October, 11, 2010
Philadelphia Eagles safety Quintin Mikell had a 52-yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter that gave his team a 24-10 lead. It looked like the 49ers were dead at that point, but they made it interesting before losing 27-24.

What it means: The Eagles, Redskins and Giants have identical 3-2 records, although the Skins are 2-0 against divisional opponents. Quarterback Kevin Kolb was sharp from the start, showing the Eagles could perhaps survive an extended absence from Michael Vick. Kolb was 21-of-31 for 253 yards and one touchdown in the win. He didn't take many shots downfield last week against the Skins, but he was getting big chunks of yards from the start Sunday night. Kolb also showed he could scramble by taking off on a 19-yard run on a third-and-18 play. He's obviously not as exciting on the run as Vick, but he's definitely a mobile quarterback. This was a really important game for him no matter when Vick returns to the lineup.

Takeaways: It was a mixed bag for a defense that gave up 309 yards passing and three touchdowns to Alex Smith. The Eagles had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries. On the play where Mikell scored a touchdown, rookie defensive end Brandon Graham was closing in on Smith. But it looked like the quarterback just let the ball pop out before Graham even made contact. Mikell scooped up the ball in stride and headed for the end zone.

Most interesting postgame quote from Andy Reid: "Michael is still the starting quarterback so we won’t get that controversy going there," Reid said of Michael Vick, who is recovering from a rib cartilage injury.

By the numbers: The Eagles are 26-5 under Andy Reid when scoring a defensive touchdown. It's something they've accomplished three consecutive times at Candlestick Park.

McCoy's a dual threat: LeSean McCoy had another big week with 92 yards rushing on 18 carries and a touchdown. He also caught five balls for 46 yards. His 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter was pretty remarkable. He's running with more power this season and he's really shifty once he gets in the open field. That's supposed to be a fairly tough defense that he shredded.

What's next: The Eagles will host the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons won a sloppy game over the Browns on Sunday. Matt Ryan's an excellent young quarterback, so the Eagles need to get Asante Samuel back in the lineup. Philadelphia gave up way too many yards in the middle of the field to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. A win at home over the Falcons would give the Eagles a 4-2 record heading to Tennessee, a team that has owned the Beast so far this season.

Wrap-up: Eagles 27, 49ers 24

October, 10, 2010
Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers following their 27-24 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles at Candlestick Park on Sunday night:

What it means: The 49ers are going to have a hard time holding things together after their fifth consecutive defeat to open the season. They appear doomed and it's tough finding likely victories on their upcoming schedule based on how the season has played out so far. The 49ers are suffering breakdowns almost across the board -- even Frank Gore and Joe Nedney proved unreliable Sunday night -- and quarterback Alex Smith isn't good enough to transcend the mistakes. We've gone from wondering whether the 49ers would win the NFC West to wondering how much longer the organization will stick with Mike Singletary as head coach.

Tomorrow's Talker: Cameras showed Singletary ripping into Smith following the quarterback's costly lost fumble. Singletary appeared on the verge of making a quarterback change. Cameras showed backup David Carr speaking on the sideline phone linking to the coaches' booth. Did Smith talk his coach out of making a change? Former 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill made such a successful plea previously. Did Singletary nearly bench Smith? Is a quarterback change coming soon?

Goat(s): There were several from which to choose. Call it a herd. Gore lost two fumbles. Nedney missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt as the first half ended. Smith threw interceptions and lost that fumble after rolling awkwardly to his left against pressure.

Identity crisis: Who are the 49ers? What do they do well? They couldn't run the ball or stop the run well enough Sunday night. They couldn't pass efficiently or stop the Eagles from passing efficiently. It's tough to find one area the 49ers can rally around.

What's next: The 49ers face the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park in Week 6.

Wrap-up: Titans 34, Cowboys 27

October, 10, 2010
Wrapping up the Titans' 34-27 win against the Cowboys.

What it means: The Titans are right there at the top of the AFC South with a 3-2 record, same as the Texans, Jaguars and Colts. Tennessee’s the only team not yet to play a division game.

For comparison purposes: Vince Young’s passing yardage was far more modest, but so were his killer plays. I’ll take his line over Tony Romo’s for sure. Young: two touchdowns, no picks, 173 yards, three sacks. Romo: three touchdowns, three picks, 406 yards, six sacks (by four different players).

What I liked, Part I: Play-making from all three phases. Chris Johnson was back to himself, with 19 carries for 131 yards and two scores. Kenny Britt made some big catches, including a score that was probably intended for Bo Scaife in front of him and a very nice stretching grab for a key 52-yard gain on an excellent throw from Young. There were picks by Alterraun Verner, Stephen Tulloch and Michael Griffin to go with two sacks each for Jason Babin and Jason Jones. Marc Mariani kicked in with a big return again, taking a late kickoff 73 yards to set up good things.

What I liked, Part II: A reduced penalty day with just four for 40 yards compared to the Cowboys (12 for 133) was a good sign that Jeff Fisher and his staff preached about how flags were slowing the team down and players responded.

What I didn’t like: There are a lot of big plays in 406 passing yards, including nine catches for 166 yards and a touchdown for Miles Austin. But giving up big yards is a lot less of a concern in a win.

What’s next: The Titans finally get an AFC South game with a trip to Jacksonville for "Monday Night Football."

Wrap-up: Cardinals 30, Saints 20

October, 10, 2010
Wrapping up the New Orleans Saints' 30-20 loss against the Arizona Cardinals.

What it means: There are holes in the machine that rolled to a Super Bowl title last season. We had seen some cracks in the first four games, but now a lot of problems have been exposed. Yes, the Saints have some injuries, but that’s no excuse. When you go up against a mediocre Arizona team that’s starting undrafted rookie Max Hall at quarterback and you’ve got Drew Brees, you’ve got some pretty big problems.

What’s next: The Saints have to go on the road again next Sunday for a game that probably looked like a piece of cake when the schedule first came out. But they’re traveling to Tampa Bay and the Buccaneers are suddenly 3-1, which puts them a game ahead of the Saints in the loss column. For those watching the standings, the Falcons lead the division at 4-1, followed by the Buccaneers and the Saints are 3-2.

Bizarre stat of the day: The Cardinals really didn’t do much offensively. In fact, they didn’t score an offensive touchdown, which should have been a good sign for the Saints. But the Cardinals returned an interception for a touchdown, two fumbles for touchdowns and Jay Feely booted three field goals.

Wrap-up: Falcons 20, Browns 10

October, 10, 2010
Wrapping up the Atlanta Falcons' 20-10 win against the Cleveland Browns.

What it means: The Falcons are the hottest team in the NFC South. They’ve won four games in a row. They had to fight pretty hard for this win against a Cleveland team that’s not all that great and was forced to play injured quarterback Jake Delhomme after starter Seneca Wallace got hurt. It wasn’t perfect, by any means. But the Falcons played a pretty strong game and got strong production from Michael Turner, Roddy White and the defense on the road. This team is playing better than anybody in the NFC South right now.

What’s next: The Falcons travel to Philadelphia next Sunday for a game that might or might not have a huge subplot. If Michael Vick’s ribs are healthy enough, he could be starting at quarterback for Philadelphia. We all know Vick’s history in Atlanta, and there are a few folks within the Falcons’ organization who were a little miffed when Philadelphia coach Andy Reid rubbed Vick under Atlanta’s nose at a time when the Falcons were banged up when the teams met last year. Memories like that stick in the NFL, and that could provide some extra motivation for an Atlanta team that’s on top of its game right now. Even if Vick doesn’t play, last year’s episode is still going to be on the minds of the Falcons.

Hero: Kroy Biermann. The defensive end made a play that you’ll see on the highlight shows. He jumped to tip a pass, then dove to intercept it. He hadn’t been touched, so Biermann got up and ran for a touchdown.

MVP Watch: I said several times this week that I think receiver Roddy White was the NFC South’s Most Valuable Player through the first four weeks. Now, we’re through five weeks and I’m sticking with White and probably feel even more strongly about that now. White had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Maybe it’s time to start looking at White as more than the NFC South MVP. Maybe he belongs in the conversation for NFL MVP.

Unsung heroes: John Abraham and Jamaal Anderson. A lot of people thought Abraham was done after a 2009 season in which he had only 5.5 sacks. But Abraham produced two sacks against the Browns. A lot of people thought Anderson had been done basically the whole time he’s been in the NFL. He’s now splitting time between defensive end and defensive tackle and he’s part of the reason the Falcons suddenly have developed a pass rush.

Wrap-up: Redskins 16, Packers 13 (OT)

October, 10, 2010
Wrapping up the Washington Redskins' 16-13 overtime win against the Green Bay Packers

What it means: The Redskins hung around all afternoon and then used a huge touchdown pass to Anthony Armstrong to trim the Packers' lead to 13-10 in the fourth quarter. On a day when the Skins didn't have any running game and yielded more than 400 yards of total offense to the Packers, they found a way to win. That's becoming a recurring theme for Mike Shanahan's team. At 3-2, we have to take this team seriously.

The hero: LaRon Landry continues to be a tackling machine (13 against the Packers) and his diving interception put the Skins in position to win the game in overtime. I know Santana Moss had a big day, but it was Landry who forced a fumble and had that interception. He's having a Pro Bowl season through five games.

The goal-line stand: The Packers had second-and-goal at the Skins' 1-yard line and came away with nothing early in the second quarter. On fourth down, Aaron Rodgers rolled right and tried to toss the ball to tight end Andrew Quarless. Skins outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander had perfect coverage on the play and knocked the ball away. The Packers will likely say they beat themselves in this game, but they'll only be partially correct. Washington's defense stiffened in some big-time situations. I've watched that goal-line play several times and Alexander showed a lot of discipline not going for the fake to the left side that Rodgers tried to sell.

What's next: The Redskins will host a Colts team that struggled to beat the Chiefs on Sunday. This looked like a brutal part of the schedule a couple weeks ago, but the Skins now have some momentum. I think a win against the Colts could happen.

Wrap-up: Buccaneers 24, Bengals 21

October, 10, 2010
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-21 on Sunday.

What it means: The Bucs are for real. We’re not talking dynasty just yet and they might not even be a playoff contender. But the Bucs are 3-1 and this was their biggest win of the year. Unlike the first two, it didn’t come against Jake Delhomme or the guy who replaced him (Matt Moore) in Carolina. It came against Carson Palmer, generally considered a good quarterback. The Bucs went on the road, fell behind a decent team and had enough talent to come back and win. This one was a major sign of progress.

Injury of note: Center Jeff Faine suffered a quadriceps injury. He’ll be examined and tested more thoroughly back in Tampa, but this one sounds fairly serious. The Bucs likely would slide backup guard Jeremy Zuttah over to center if Faine is going to miss time.

Heroes: Take your pick because there were a number of candidates. Connor Barth kicked the game-winning field goal. Josh Freeman set him up to do it. Much-maligned safety Sabby Piscitelli made a key interception to allow Freeman to set up Barth.

Hindsight: Remember when everybody was freaking out because rookie safety Cody Grimm gave up a big play against Pittsburgh in his first NFL start? A lot of knee jerkers wanted Grimm run out of town. That wasn’t realistic because seventh-round picks aren’t supposed to be immediate starters. But Grimm used the bye week and some coaching and came up with an interception that he returned for a touchdown. There still will be ups and downs for Grimm, but this guy might have a future.

What’s next: If you truly want to measure progress and find out if the Bucs just might be a legitimate playoff contender, start looking to next week. The Bucs host the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Yeah, the Saints haven’t exactly been lighting it up like they did last season, but they’re still the champions and that will provide an excellent test for Tampa Bay.

Wrap-up: Giants 34, Texans 10

October, 10, 2010
The New York Giants topped the Houston Texans 34-10 on Sunday.

What it means: Houston’s one-game lead on the division is gone and the Texans stand even at 3-2 with the Colts and Jaguars. The Titans could be there too if they hold on in their late Sunday afternoon game against Dallas.

What I didn’t like, offense: A rushing average of 1.6 yards. Eleven first downs. Eighteen percent on third down. Just 21:09 of possession. One drive all game over six plays, and it covered only 35 yards.

What I didn’t like, defense: No sacks of and just four hits on Eli Manning on 42 attempts. A dozen receptions by Hakeem Nicks for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Goat: Matt Schaub protection let him down and he faced a lot of pressure, struggling as he was sacked three times. He didn’t throw a touchdown, he tossed a pick and lost a fumble and he posted a passer rating of 53.1.

What’s next: Houston hosts Kansas City following the Chiefs first loss of the season, to the Colts, who the Texans beat on opening day.

Wrap-up: Falcons 20, Browns 10

October, 10, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' victory over the Cleveland Browns:

What it means: The Browns cannot string together two straight wins, which likely will be a challenge for this team all season. Cleveland failed to build off the momentum of beating the Cincinnati Bengals at home with its fourth loss of the season on Sunday. In what's been a common theme, Cleveland was outplayed in the second half in a game that was closer than the final score.

What I liked: Cleveland's defense gave up a decent amount of yards, but not a lot of points. The Browns held Atlanta's talented offense to just 13 points, which could be enough to win for most teams. The Browns also stuffed Atlanta on all three trips to the red zone.

What I didn't like: The Browns couldn't run the football, and that put too much pressure on the passing game. Peyton Hillis, who has a thigh injury, didn't look himself and registered just 28 yards on 10 carries. That forced the Browns to throw the football 39 times and it caught up to them when quarterback Jake Delhomme threw a costly pick-six that put the game away. Delhomme entered the game after Seneca Wallace injured his ankle.

What's next: The Browns travel to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first game for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Injuries are mounting for the Browns, and now they have even more questions at quarterback.

Wrap-up: Jaguars 36, Bills 26

October, 10, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the Jaguars 36-26 win over the Bills.

What it means: The Jaguars moved to 3-2, as good as anybody else in the division and they also have a division win in hand. They didn’t get down on themselves early when they trailed and followed up their upset of the Colts with a solid win that sets them up nicely for the national spotlight heading their way.

Hero: David Garrard put together another very solid game without looking for the long stuff. With no pass more than 27 yards, he completed 16-of-20 for 178 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, a lost fumble, two sacks and a 122.5 passer rating.

What I liked: In his first NFL game, running back and return man Deji Karim made a significant contribution. He carried 15 times for 70 yards and returned four kickoffs for 145 yards including a 51 yarder. The Jaguars average start after a kickoff was the 39-yard line.

What I liked, Part II: A week after his 59-yard game winner, Josh Scobee kept up a perfect season. He nailed field goals of 49, 49, 34, 40 and 46 yards.

What’s next: The Jaguars get their biggest national moment of the regular season when they host the Titans on "Monday Night Football."

Wrap-up: Ravens 31, Broncos 17

October, 10, 2010
The Baltimore Ravens dominated the Denver Broncos in a 31-17 victory Sunday.

What it means: Denver didn’t compete for the first time this season. It trailed Baltimore 17-0 and 31-10. The Broncos are now 2-3. It was much more competitive its two previous games.

What I didn’t like: The Broncos were beaten down on the ground. Denver was playing the run pretty well going into the game. But the Ravens ran the ball down the Broncos’ throats. The Ravens had 233 rushing yards on 47 carries, which was a 5.0 per carry average

What I liked: Denver quarterback Kyle Orton continues to perform at a high level. He threw for 314 yards and he wasn’t intercepted. He is having a terrific season. Making it even more impressive is Denver continues to get nothing from its run game. The Broncos, who entered the game ranked dead last in the NFL on the ground, had 39 yards on 13 carries. Denver just can’t run the ball, yet, Orton is finding a way to perform despite getting no help.

What’s next: The Broncos exit a tough stretch with a tough game against the Jets. The Broncos will hope to even their record to 3-3 by hosting the Jets on a short week. New York hosts the Vikings on Monday night.

Wrap-up: Buccaneers 24, Bengals 21

October, 10, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: The reigning AFC North champions look more like pretenders than contenders. The Bengals are in a funk, losing two in a row and falling to 2-3 on the season. Cincinnati entered the year with high expectations. But with the Baltimore Ravens (4-1) and Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) both playing well, Cincinnati is quickly falling behind in the division race.

What I liked: Bengals running back Cedric Benson finally got it going against a Bucs defense which has struggled against the rush. Benson rushed for 144 yards on 23 carries and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Cincinnati's offensive line is built to run the football and this was the best running performance of the season.

What I didn't like: The Bengals let a fourth-quarter lead slip away at home, as Tampa pulled off 10 straight points with less than two minutes left in the win. Also, in what's becoming a weekly occurrence, the Bengals were too sloppy and inconsistent. Cincinnati had nine penalties and four turnovers, including a pick six thrown by Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer, who had three interceptions total.

What's next: Cincinnati enters the bye week sputtering and with plenty of problems to fix. The Bengals' season now reaches a critical stage. They have a tough upcoming schedule that likely will make or break this year, starting with an Oct. 24 road game against the Atlanta Falcons (4-1).

Wrap-up: Redskins 16, Packers 13

October, 10, 2010
Graham Gano kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime Sunday to give the Washington Redskins a 16-13 win over the Green Bay Packers.

What it means: Now 3-2, the Packers are once again a game behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. The Packers have to be sick after not only losing a game they controlled for most of the afternoon, but also after seeing another injury to a significant player. The Packers led for the first 58 minutes, 39 seconds of the game. I didn't see every snap while in transit, but watching Mason Crosby's 53-yard field goal attempt bounce off the left upright near the end of regulation must have been painful.

Injury of note: Tight end Jermichael Finley didn't return after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter and was later seen standing on the sidelines with crutches. The Packers already were playing Sunday without tailback Ryan Grant, right tackle Mark Tauscher, linebacker Nick Barnett, linebacker Brandon Chillar and safety Morgan Burnett. Losing Finley for any amount of time would represent the biggest blow by far. We'll keep you updated on any details that arise, but for now Packers fans everywhere are holding their breath. Making matters worse, the Packers also played much of the game without veteran backup tight end Donald Lee, who didn't return after suffering a shoulder injury. That left rookie Andrew Quarless playing key minutes in a close game.

Think about it: The Packers' two losses have both come with less than five seconds remaining in the respective games. Chicago Bears place-kicker Robbie Gould booted a 19-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in Week 3. Sunday, Gano's 33-yard field goal came on the final play.

Flags fly: The Packers added another nine penalties to their season total, including two that helped the Redskins get Gano in position for an easier field goal attempt in overtime. Linebacker Brady Poppinga's holding penalty gave the Redskins another set of downs after failing to convert third-and-1 from the Packers' 30-yard line, and a pass interference call three plays on cornerback Charles Woodson got the Redskins out of a third-and-15 at the 30.

What's next: The Packers hope to rebound next Sunday at Lambeau Field against the Miami Dolphins.

Wrap-up: Lions 44, Rams 6

October, 10, 2010
Wrapping up the Detroit Lions' 44-6 victory against the St. Louis Rams.

What it means: The Detroit Lions entered this game believing their organizational improvement had been belied by an 0-4 start. Fair enough. If that's the case, then you have to beat the St. Louis Rams at home. And that's exactly what the Lions did, putting together their biggest victory in 15 years. That's right. The last time the Lions won a game by 38 or more points was on Dec. 17, 2005 -- a 44-0 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Via

Game-breaker: Kick returner Stefan Logan, claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers, returned a second-quarter kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions the lead for good. It was the first time that a Lions kickoff returner had brought one back for a touchdown in six years. (We're not counting Casey FitzSimmons' 41-yard return in 2007). The Lions have had some trouble scoring touchdowns this season, but Logan's return opened the floodgates Sunday.

By the numbers: The Lions entered this game with 11 turnovers in their first four games. They had none Sunday. Enough said.

Interesting call: For what it's worth, I had no problem with coach Jim Schwartz's decision to call a halfback option pass with the Lions comfortably ahead midway through the fourth quarter. You can squawk about "sportsmanship" if you want, and then go back to Pop Warner, where it matters. There are no mercy calls in pro football, at least there shouldn't be. Especially not in Detroit. This is an organization that has been beat down in as many ways as you can imagine. Sunday was the Lions' fourth victory in their past 45 games. This group needs to learn how to aggressively pursue victories instead of trying to stave off losses. I'm all for the mentality that led to that call.

What's next: The Lions will try for the first winning streak in three years next Sunday at the New York Giants.

Wrap-up: Colts 19, Chiefs 9

October, 10, 2010
Wrapping up the Colts' 19-9 defeat of the Chiefs in Week 5:

What it means: There are no longer any unbeaten teams in the NFL. While Kansas City cannot feel great about losing, this team showed Sunday it is not a fraud. The Colts played the Colts hard, especially on defense. Many people believe that the Colts would knock Kansas City around. It didn’t happen. The young Chiefs can build on this game.

Tomorrow’s talker: The Kansas City defense is terrific. It confused Indianapolis star quarterback Peyton Manning and made him hesitate. Kansas City defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel had success against Manning with New England and his young Chiefs had a similar look for much of Sunday’s game.

What I didn’t like: I love the way Kansas City coach Todd Haley is handling this team. But I think he got a little too jumpy early against the Colts. He tried an onside kick to start the game and went for it on fourth and 2 from the Colts’ 10 on the Chief’s first possession with his team down 3-0. Those were two unnecessary gambles that didn’t work.

What’s next: The Chiefs play at Houston on Sunday. The Texans are wounded after taking a beating from the Giants. If the Chiefs can play this well on defense and make a few offensive adjustments, they can pull off the win.