Broncos Outlast Cowboys, Colts Make Statement, and All of NFL Week 5—The Monday Morning Realist


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the weekend’s NFL action in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @Li495Akiem.

Statement Received

Oct 6, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) celebrates kicking a field goal during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

If it’s one thing the Indianapolis Colts have been criticized for, constantly by media members, it has been the idea that most of their victories have simply been “lucky wins”. That meme is part criticism of the Colts given how young a team they are, and it is also somewhat of a pun on the name of Indy’s quarterback Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks looked like one of the premier teams in the NFC with many already penciling them into the Super Bowl.

Seattle came back last week on the road to defeat the Houston Texans while the Colts blew out the Jaguars. Earlier this year, the Colts made their first statement victory of the season by prevailing in a tough matchup on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. Defeating the Seahawks would be another bold statement.

For Sunday’s 1:00 games, Seattle vs. Indy was definitely the game to watch. It was all Seahawks early as they jumped out to an early 12-0 lead which included a 10-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate. It also saw a blocked punt by Jermaine Kearse that went out of the end zone for a safety.

The Colts came back. After a touchdown throw to T.Y Hilton, the home team made a clutch special teams play as well when Delano Howell blocked a Steven Hauschka field goal attempt for a 61 yard touchdown return. Indianapolis led 14-12.

Seattle assumed the lead again by halftime as Wilson connected with Kearse on a 28 yard touchdown throw. At the half it was 19-17 after the Colts attempted to answer, but settled for an Adam Vinatieri field goal.

The Hawks wouldn’t score a touchdown for the rest of the game as their last three scores came in the form of third quarter field goals. As the Colts’ defense did its job to contain the Seahawks’ offense, Luck did his as well. Hilton caught his second touchdown pass in the third quarter.

 In the fourth, Donald Brown also ran for six as well that resulted in the Colts successfully converting a two point attempt. They could have put the game away with another late TD, but only got a field goal late. Wilson attempted another late game-winning drive as he did in Carolina and Houston earlier this year, but it was not to be in Indy as the defense held Seattle one more time. Colts win 34-28.

This game can be characterized by great offensive play, clutch special teams plays, and the Colts holding the Seahawks to nine points in the second half. Wilson was 15/31 for 210 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also rushed for 102 yards—so did Marshawn Lynch who did so on 17 carries.

Luck was 16/29 for 229 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Trent Richardson was the team’s leading rusher with 18 carries and 56 yards. T.Y. Hilton had a banner game with 140 yards receiving, 2 touchdowns on 5 receptions.

Seattle returns home in Week 6 to take on the Tennessee Titans while the Colts will be on Monday Night Football next week against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.

Brady Bunched

Oct 6, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Geno Atkins (97) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in teh first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated New England 13-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks were not the only undefeated team to taste the agony of defeat for the first team this NFL season in Week 5. Despite having to throw passes to receivers with names that make you think these guys were picked up off of the street, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have still found a way to remain undefeated at 4-0 in 2013-2014. They were coming off an impressive victory on Sunday Night Football on the road in Atlanta last week.

Meanwhile, the Bengals were looking to recover on their home field after the Cleveland Browns (who are now 3-2 ?!?!) proved to be the superior team from the Buckeye State when they won 17-6.

It is very rare to see Tom Brady struggle the way he did in Cincinnati, but it’s something that many fans who aren’t the biggest fans of the Patriots live to witness. This game was clearly all about both defenses for New England and Cincinnati as not a touchdown would be scored until midway through the fourth quarter on a one yard touchdown run from Benjarvus Green-Ellis—ironically, a former Patriot.

Each team had four sacks on the opponent’s quarterback. Chris Jones was credited with 1.5 of the Patriots’ while Wallace Gilberry penetrated New England’s offensive line twice and found Brady.

The game sealer would be a late interception from Cincinnati’s Adam “Pacman” Jones (of all people) as Cincy defeated the Pats 13-6.

Insert Reds vs. Red Sox reference here (at least the Sox are still playing baseball now).

Andy Dalton was 20/27 for 212 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. Green-Ellis had 19 carries for 67 yards while A.J. Green caught five passes for 67 yards.

For the Patriots, Danny Amendola had four receptions for 55 yards. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries while Brady was 18/38 for 197 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. His 52 consecutive games with a touchdown streak is also history.

If there’s a such thing as a trap game, Sunday’s tilt between the Patriots and Bengals could have been it for New England. They now go back home to play—the New Orleans Saints who are 5-0 after defeating the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Cincy hits the road to face the Buffalo Bills in Week 6.

Texas Shootout

Oct 6, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws in the pocket against the Dallas Cowboys at AT

When it comes to undefeated teams in the NFL this year, the conversation typically starts and ends with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. As we speak, everyone is already putting them in the Super Bowl as the AFC’s representative when the Lombardi Trophy is fought for his February in East Rutherford, New Jersey. They are coming off (what else, another victory) defeating the Eagles in convincing fashion at home 52-20 Week 4.

The Cowboys, though, were hoping to regroup after they were defeated by the San Diego Chargers 30-21 at Qualcomm. They lost to a team with a quarterback in Philip Rivers who, prior to Week 5, is being considered comeback player of the year for 2013-2014.

More on that campaign a little bit later.

The “Game of the Week” title was eventually ripped from Seahawks and Colts and plastered onto this one from AT&T Stadium (?!?!). The Boys even started out with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with two early touchdowns. Dez Bryant caught a touchdown pass from Tony Romo while DeMarco Murray ran for one as well.

They also did it early by making sure that Manning’s cleats did not touch the field of play as America’s Team dominated the early time of possession.

Of course, though, one can only keep Manning off the field for so long before he does what he does best—get touchdowns. Julius Thomas (2) and Eric Decker (1) each caught touchdown passes from Manning as the Broncos went in front 21-17. Manning later, even ran for six himself which is something we also most never see. When did he become a running QB?

The other scores for Dallas were courtesy of Dan Bailey field goals which made it 28-20 Denver at the half.

Denver extended their lead in the second half to 35-20 on a Wes Welker touchdown reception. It was starting to look like an admirable effort from Dallas would come up short.

This wasn’t the case as Romo threw touchdown passes to Terrence Williams and Dez Bryant to bring the game within 38-33 by the end of the third quarter. Just like Brady’s consecutive games with a touchdown streak had to end, so did Manning’s streak of games where he did not throw an interception. He was picked off by Morris Claiborne at a huge spot in the game. Dallas capitalized and went ahead 41-38. It would be tied once again after Matt Prater kicked his second field goal of the game.

Midway through the fourth, Romo’s fourth TD pass gave the Cowboys a 48-41 lead. Could another of the unbeaten fall in Week 5?

Not so fast, said the Broncos. It was tied once again at 48-48 after Knowshon Moreno, had came up with big plays throughout this game, had another with a one yard TD run with less than three minutes to play.

Romo, once again, had a chance to come through in the clutch. But just when it looked like Romo was beginning to break through, once again, he makes a mistake. This time, he was picked off by Danny Trevathan which allowed the Broncos to win it on a Matt Prater chip shot field goal attempt from only 28 yards out. The Broncos win 51-48 and remain among the ranks of the undefeated along with the Kansas City Chiefs (who defeated the Tennessee Titans 26-17) and the New Orleans Saints (victorious over the Chicago Bears 26-18). The combined 99 points is also the fifth highest in NFL history.

It’s only fitting that a quarterback nicknamed “The Sheriff” would be victorious in what turned to be a Wild West shootout “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. He was 33/42 for 414 yards, 4 (more) touchdown passes, 1 TD run and 1 interception. Moreno had nineteen carries for 93 yards and a score while Julius Thomas caught nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

But, Manning was picked, so maybe teams are making progress on how to finally beat him and his team.

The offensive statistics for the Cowboys look like a game in which they won by 30 points. Romo was 25/36 with 506 yards, 5 TDs, and 1 pick. Williams (1, 151), Bryant (2, 141), and Jason Witten (1, 121) all caught at least one touchdown pass and had at least 120 yards receiving. But of course, the talk throughout North Texas will be all about Romo and another interception late. There’s no doubt he’s a talented quarterback, but he’s not exactly the most reliable when it matters most as most have observed throughout his career. It’s games like this for Dallas that can deflate a team’s confidence heading forward.

They do get to remain at home, though, as they get their division rival Washington Redskins at home in Week 6 on Sunday Night Football. As for the Broncos, they go home as well to play the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, who are reportedly 28 point underdogs to Denver.

All I have to say to Jacksonville is good luck. That’s it.

Houston Has a QB Problem

Oct 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite (57) sacks Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (13) during the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Houston Texans 34-3. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of Texas QBs, even though Tony Romo is not perfect, Houston Texans fans will probably take Romo nine times out of ten right now over Matt Schaub. Schaub’s struggles dating back to the latter portions of 2012-2013 are well documented and have been written about plenty of times. Throwing late game-changing interceptions to the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman last week is not a way to help his credibility with Texans fans.

Despite head coach Gary Kubiak trying to stick up for his QB, this is the primary weakness on a team with such talented players including Arian Foster and J.J. Watt.

As for the San Francisco 49ers, this is the first football they have seen in a while after last playing on Thursday night in Week 4 when they clobbered the St. Louis Rams on the road 35-11.

After being helped out earlier in the day by his former Stanford quarterback, Jim Harbaugh and the Niners took full advantage. The theme of this one started early with an 18 yard interception return of Schaub by Tramaine Brock to put the 49ers ahead 7-0. Said lead ballooned to 14-0 on a Frank Gore touchdown run. Anthony Dixon later chimed in with a run for six of his own to have the Niners ahead by a score of 21-0.

By the fourth quarter, San Francisco had this one wrapped up. Vernon Davis’ 64 yard touchdown reception from Colin Kaepernick made this one academic. It was 31-3 at that point and the 49ers would be victorious 34-3.

This, of course means, that the Texans only score came courtesy of a Randy Bullock field goal. That is a porous offensive performance to say the least. And at one point later in the game, Schaub was benched for backup T.J. Yates. An internal controversy regarding Schaub’s confidence seems to have spiraled into a quarterback controversy in Space City USA involving the Texans. Schaub was 19/35 for 173 yards, zero touchdowns, and 3 more interceptions. Arian Foster did rush for almost 100 yards on 21 carries.

By the way, Yates was 3/5 for 15 yards with nary a TD or pick.

It was a much rosier picture on the 49er side of things, of course, as they received huge performances from Frank Gore (17 carries for 81 yards and one touchdown) and Vernon Davis (3 receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown). Colin Kaepernick’s line was 6/15 with 113 yards and one touchdown pass.

Houston does get to return home to play the St. Louis Rams in Week 6 while the 49ers remain at home for a divisional matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

More Sunday Night Football?!

Oct 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) looks for an open receiver against the San Diego Chargers during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It may not have been the NBC variety, but this week saw two games played on Sunday Night. Sunday’s scheduled Chargers/Raiders game had to be moved to Sunday night because of scheduling conflicts that arose when the Oakland Athletics (whom the Silver and Black share the Coliseum with) made the MLB playoffs.

Couldn’t it be more clear that both the Raiders and the A’s need new stadia?

One thing that seemingly is also clear is the possible shark jumping from the football press when it comes to Philip Rivers being comeback player of the year. There’s still plenty of season to go before he simply assumes that crown.

San Diego came off a Week 5 30-21 victory over the Cowboys while the Oakland Raiders were coming off the heels of a 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins, who themselves, picked up their first victory on the season.

If it has been one thing that has impressed Raider Nation, it has been the play of Terrelle Pryor. Earlier in the year, his Raiders nearly defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Indy.

Early on in this one, Philip Rivers made a throw reminiscent of Philip Rivers circa the last couple of years when he was intercepted by Usama Young in Oakland territory. Then, Pryor made a kind of throw reminiscent of Pryor the last few games when he connected with Rod Streater for 44 yards to put Oakland on top 7-0. The Raiders extended their lead to 14-0 with their second TD pass of the game—this time, to Denarius Moore. It was 17-0 in the second quarter after a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.

In the third, Nick Novak’s 35 yard field goal did give San Diego its first points of the game at 17-3, but Charles Woodson recovered one of the Chargers’ two fumbles of the game and ran 25 yards the other way. 24-3 Raiders. This one started to look like it was out of reach as well.

But, the Chargers did show signs of life and began to mount a comeback. Touchdown passes to Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen did cut the Raider advantage from 21 all the way down to seven. Another late Janikowski field goal would have the Raiders ahead by ten at 27-17. The Silver and Black would be victorious at home by the same score.

If Philip Rivers is mounting a campaign to become comeback player of the year this year in the NFL, that campaign took a major hit on Sunday night. He went 36/49 with 411 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen each came up with 100 yard receiving games.

For the Raiders, Pryor—18/23, 221, 2 touchdowns. Five receptions, 84 yards, and 1 touchdown sums up the day that Denarius Moore had.

Next up for the Raiders is a road matchup at the undefeated Chiefs while the Chargers return home as they await the Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 6.

Other Games

Packers defeat Lions 22-9

Saints defeat Bears 26-18

Chiefs defeat Titans 26-17

Rams defeat Jaguars 34-20

Ravens defeat Dolphins 26-23

Eagles defeat Giants 36-21

Cardinals defeat Panthers 22-6

Browns defeat Bills 37-24

Jets vs. Falcons (8:30 Monday Night Football)