National Football League

Perfection And Pain In Week 5

October 12, 2020

By Charlotte Wilder

For all the feel-good moments in Week 5, the dominant storyline was the horrific injury to Dak Prescott, who suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in the Cowboys' victory over the Giants. 

The Dallas quarterback was off to a record-setting start to the season, having thrown for at least 450 yards in three consecutive games. His 69 consecutive starts represent the sixth-longest streak from the start of a rookie season since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. This has already been a tough year for him, and he was brave and honest about his struggles with mental health. 

As I’ve written before, 2020 has been hard on a lot of people, and when athletes are honest about their own issues, it can help make a lot of others out there feel less alone. 

There’s reason to be optimistic about Prescott's recovery, however. Earlier Sunday Alex Smith came back and played in his first NFL game for Washington after a two-years recovery from a badly broken leg. 

The game didn’t go so well for Washington, and it was nerve-wracking watching Smith get sacked six times against the Rams, but his return was a reminder of how human these amazing athletes are, how hard they work, and is all the more reason to extend compassion. I’m lookin’ at you, tough guys in my Twitter mentions who said things like, “C’mon, injuries happen. It’s next man up.” 

Like ... get a grip. These players are so much more than spots on your fantasy roster or the numbers attached to their contracts. It’s all more fragile than you might think, and it’s important to remember that the next time you complain about a player holding out for a contract. 

OK, now onto football stuff. 

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1. Do the Browns have ... (checks notes) ... four wins in a row?

They do. They’re 4-1 for the first time since 1994 (when Bill Belichick was their head coach). Can you believe it? This is the magic number Cleveland has been waiting for: The Browns have now, in five weeks, won as many games as they won in the entirety of 2015-17. Their record over those two years? A dismal 4-44. 

2. Did the Falcons do something about being 0-5?

They did. Atlanta owner Arthur Blank fired coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff on Sunday night. Quinn leaves with a very average record of 43 wins and 42 losses, but the Falcons are just 14-23 since the beginning of the 2018 season. So it looks like he even blew a lead with his own record! 

Here’s hoping the future is brighter, Falcons fans. You have been through a lot.

3. Did Tom Brady remember what down it was?

No. On Thursday night, Brady thought it was third down when it was actually fourth down with a minute and a half left against the Bears. Brady’s two-minute drill magic was nowhere to be found, and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles beat him again 20-19. 

4. So is Foles the GOAT by transitive property? 

I mean, I’m not a doctor, but the science is compelling. 

5. Are the Chiefs still undefeated?

No. The Raiders beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead for the first time since 2012. Yes, the Raiders. Before Sunday, Derek Carr had lost all six of his career games at Kansas City by an average of 17 points, so please don’t yell at me for telling you to take the Chiefs at minus-11. It seemed like a lock.

It’s time for me to eat a slice of humble pie, because I said the Chiefs would go 16-0 and now that is ... not going to be the case. And it’s Jon Gruden’s fault. 

6. How about the Steelers, then? Are they still undefeated?

Yes. After not playing last week because the Titans kept having positive COVID-19 cases pop up, the Steelers beat the Eagles 38-29. They’re 4-0 for the first time since 1979, when you might remember, they went to the Super Bowl. 

Chase Claypool was incredible for the Steelers: The rookie had seven receptions, 110 yards and four overall touchdowns. But Philly kept it close! Listen, the Eagles have started to somewhat pull it together the last two weeks. This team is confusing, so I guess my key takeaway is that I guess they’re not quite as bad as I originally thought. 

Camera cuts to everyone in Philly, cursing their team from their cars in the Wawa parking lot with their consolation hoagies.

7. OK, and the Seahawks?

Also undefeated! Russell Wilson, the nation’s perhaps most under-respected quarterback put together a game-winning drive against the Vikings to move to 5-0. Wilson marched the length of the field to find DK Metcalf in the end zone on fourth-and-goal in the final seconds. 

Now, let’s remember, folks, Wilson has not received a single MVP vote in his career. LET ALONE THE AWARD ITSELF. It’s insane. So, hey, voters, maybe it’s time to reconsider Mr. Unlimited. 

8. Was Bengals-Ravens a “matchup of Heisman winners?” 

Yes, technically it was ... but ... Lamar Jackson actually has a team around him, including an offensive line that isn’t a colander. Honesly, there should’ve been a mercy rule for the Bengals-Ravens game before it started, which is that they just didn’t have to play. 

The Bengals were scoreless heading into the fourth and eventually managed to get three points to Baltimore’s 27, but everyone and their mother was scared for our large adult son, Joe Burrow. He just kept getting absolutely rocked on every single snap. Don’t get me started.

9. How are the Jets ... uh ...  doing….?

Look, they’re struggling. Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals beat them 30-10. 

Murray could have built an Ikea dresser in the amount of time the Jets gave him in the pocket. He could’ve solved an entire Sudoku. He could’ve made a sourdough starter, mixed the dough, let it rise, and put it in the oven in the amount of time they let him have. 

As for the Jets QB situation, well, Joe Flacco doesn’t seem to be any better than the injured Sam Darnold as New York only had three points halfway through the third. But you know what, we sure love seeing America’s most elite QB back in a game. 

Also, LOL, this week I got tested for COVID-19 just to be safe (I don’t have it), and the doctor told me her sister paid $40,000 for season tickets. But last season, she couldn’t even give them away, so shoutout to the doctor’s family from the minute clinic in Brooklyn stuck with Jets tickets. 

To be fair, the Giants haven’t won yet, either. Let’s see who comes out victorious in the New York Bowl, which is just ... which team that plays at MetLife Stadium can win a game first. 

10. How’s Jimmy Garoppolo, haven’t heard about him in a minute?

He returned to the field ... only to get benched for CJ Beathard after the 49ers fell behind 30-7 to the Dolphins. Hard to tell whether it was Miami’s Fitzmagic or a curse on Garoppolo after losing to Mahomes in the Super Bowl. 

Afterwards, Jimmy G was asked about whether he’d start next week, and like all of us in 2020, he said, "I really haven't thought that far ahead.” 

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