Bye weeks started around the NFL this week, but that hasn’t stopped the NFL from giving us plenty to talk about. The Panthers look unstoppable after another big win, this time against the Lions. The Jaguars’ defense destroyed the Steelers, just as Maurice Jones-Drew predicted. The late games were highlighted by another Packers-Cowboys classic, with Aaron Rodgers delivering the last-minute winning touchdown in Dallas.
On Sunday night, the Chiefs stayed perfect with a 42-34 win over the Texans. Things were J.J. Watt injured his left knee and is now expected to miss the season, robbing us of seeing him in his prime.
Here’s all the news and highlights from around the NFL:
Vice President Mike Pence left the Colts game after some 49ers players kneeled for national anthem. San Francisco safety Eric Reid called the move by Pence “a P.R. stunt.”
Jerry Jones said if any players “disrespect the flag,” they won’t play.
Myles Garrett finally made his NFL debut, and he got a sack on his FIRST play. Garrett celebrated his second career sack by paying tribute to J.R. Smith.
The Giants scored their first first-quarter points of the season ... on a safety.
The Eagles' home run touchdown celebration is the frontrunner for best of the season.
Carson Wentz set a career high with three passing TDs ... and he did it all in the first quarter.
The Dolphins show us why you should always play until the whistle on this TD.
Christian McCaffrey’s first career touchdown was a nifty, possibly illegal, shovel pass.
Dolphins fans boo Jay Cutler, start a “We want Moore” chant.
Ryan Shazier had one of the strangest interceptions we’ve seen.
The Browns are like Sisyphus trying to get a lead this season.
Larry Fitzgerald became the third player to ever record a catch in 200 straight games.
Curt Menefee’s teleprompter is WAY TOO BIG.
The Browns benched DeShone Kizer. With Kevin Hogan under center, the Browns finally got their first lead of the season.
Browns TE David Njoku spiked the ball directly into his own butt after he scored.
Peyton Manning got to recreate a touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne during his Colts jersey retirement.
Nelson Agholor juked Budda Baker into oblivion on this 72-yard TD.
Titans’ Phillip Supernaw committed two false start penalties in a row, then scored the first touchdown of his career.
Leonard Fournette waved at a Steelers defender to come tackle him.
Odell Beckham Jr. caught a 48-yard touchdown pass, then performed CPR on the ball.
The Jaguars picked off Ben Roethlisberger FIVE TIMES.
Earl Thomas forced a fumble on Todd Gurley with a karate chop.
Adam Vinatieri kicked his 27th career game winner.
Joe Flacco made an elite play!
The Cowboys' booming kickoff was so strong it made a wonderful-sounding DOINK off the uprights.
Spero Dedes had a hilariously inappropriate new name for Robert Quinn's sack on Russell Wilson.
The refs flagged the Cowboys for unnecessary roughness for barely touching Aaron Rodgers.
The Cowboys’ desperate final play was filled with lots of laterals, but was doomed to fail.
Jared Goff led a comeback drive in the final minute for the Rams against Seattle, but his potential game-winning touchdown pass went off the hands of Cooper Kupp.
The Packers and Cowboys had to deal with blinding sunlight at AT&T Park in Dallas in the fourth quarter.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wondered if he “doesn’t have it anymore.”
Deshaun Watson saved a TD with a flawless tackle after a fumble against the Chiefs.
Charcandrick West gave us the sassiest TD celebration this season.
Deshaun Watson unloaded a beauty of a 48-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller.
Bills tight end Charles Clay, the team’s leading receiver, was carted off with a knee injury. He will not return.
Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker left the game with an ankle injury and will not return.
Odell Beckham Jr. was carted off after he injured he fractured his ankle. He is expected to have surgery. He was the fourth receiver injured in the game.
Giants receiver Brandon Marshall was carted off against the Chargers. Both Marshall and Sterling Shepard were ruled out with ankle injuries. The Giants also lost WR Dwayne Harris to a foot injury.
Bengals corners Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder) and Adam Jones (back) were both ruled out with injuries.
J.J. Watt went down with what looked like a tibial plateau fracture. He’s expected to miss the rest of the season. The Texans also lost Whitney Mercilus for the rest of the game against the Chiefs.
Travis Kelce was evaluated for a concussion, returned, left to get evaluated again, and did not return.
Complete schedule and results (all times Eastern)
Cincinnati Bengals 20, Buffalo Bills 16
New York Jets 17, Cleveland Browns 14
Carolina Panthers 27, Detroit Lions 24
Indianapolis Colts 26, San Francisco 49ers 23 (OT)
Miami Dolphins 16, Tennessee Titans 10
Los Angeles Chargers 27, New York Giants 22
Philadelphia Eagles 34, Arizona Cardinals 7
Jacksonville Jaguars 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 9
Seattle Seahawks 16, Los Angeles Rams 10
Baltimore Ravens 30, Oakland Raiders 17
Green Bay Packers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Houston Texans 34
Before the games
We are past the quarter mark and heading straight into the middle stretch of the NFL season. Week 5 marks the start of the bye weeks, and with four teams off in Week 5, there are only 12 games on the Sunday schedule.
The early slate is light on compelling matchups, unless you’re into the battle of winless teams between the Giants and Chargers. Both teams should be better than their 0-4 records indicate, but bad luck and poor play has led them to this point. At least one of them should finally have a win at the end of the day, barring the dreaded tie.
Perhaps the best game of the 1 p.m. ET schedule features the Lions taking on the Panthers, with both teams at 3-1. The Lions and Panthers both sport impressive wins, but have some notable flaws to work out. This game should be an interesting gut check as they try to figure out where they stand in the NFC playoff picture.
Eagles vs. Cardinals is a sleeper Game of the Week pick, based on the talent alone. The Cardinals’ offense has been adrift without David Johnson, but they still boast plenty of star power and no team should take them lightly. On the Eagles’ side, this is a chance for Carson Wentz to really grab the horns and assert himself as one of the league’s top young quarterbacks. It feels like the Eagles still have a lot to prove despite being 3-1 and leading the NFC East.
In the late afternoon, the Rams host the Seahawks in a huge battle for control of the NFC West. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley have turned a new leaf under new coach Sean McVay, reinventing the Rams as an exciting team with game-breaking talent on both sides of the ball. This will be the biggest test of Goff’s development as he goes up against the Legion of Boom.
At 4:25 p.m. ET, the Packers and Cowboys face each other in a rematch of their classic playoff game from last season. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott haven’t been quite as efficient as they were last year, but the Cowboys’ defense is better than advertised and will have their hands full with Aaron Rodgers.
Sunday Night Football has a fascinating matchup between the Texans and Chiefs. The Chiefs are the last unbeaten team left in the NFL, with Andy Reid pulling out all the stops to help his team get there. Meanwhile, the Texans suddenly look like a legitimate contender with Deshaun Watson playing phenomenal football as a rookie. Is he for real, or just riding a hot streak? We’re about to find out when he faces KC’s imposing defense.