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#pounditWednesday, November 25, 2020

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 5

Dak Prescott

More bad kicking, more quarterbacks with turnovers, and some very surprising results marked Week 5. Did anyone expect the Green Bay Packers to come out and obliterate the Dallas Cowboys in the first half on the road, for instance? Did anyone see Denver grabbing their first win of the season on the road against the Chargers? Did anyone see Kirk Cousins having a pretty good day passing? How about the Chiefs losing at home to the Colts? Some may have seen these results coming, but most wouldn’t have bet on it.

What were the most prominent disappointments of Week 5? Here’s a look.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

Whatever was going right for the Cowboys’ offense has started to go dreadfully wrong. Prescott ended up throwing for 463 yards in his furious bid to rally Dallas back from down 31-3, but he turned the ball over three times and the offense didn’t start clicking until it was far too late. There are definitely growing questions about the Dallas offense, though Prescott still flashed his talent in the defeat. Turnovers were still a big problem, and that must change going forward.

Kansas City Chiefs’ offense

Where was this unit all Sunday night? The typically explosive Chiefs offense was held to just 13 points at home in a stunning loss to the Colts. KC started off the game with two scoring drives but then punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt and turnover on downs before finally grabbing a late field goal. Patrick Mahomes was sacked four times and hit eight times; the Chiefs have some work to do on the offensive line.

Cairo Santos, K, Titans

The unfortunate title of Week 5’s worst kicker goes to Santos, who missed four field goals in the Titans’ 14-7 loss to Buffalo. The worst was a miss from 36 yards, though a blocked kick from 33 didn’t help matters. He also missed from 50, and after missing three times, Mike Vrabel inexplicably still let him try a 53-yarder, which yielded predictable results. In a game Tennessee lost by seven, those missed kicks mattered in a big way.

Cincinnati Bengals

If the Bengals can’t beat the Arizona Cardinals at home, it’s fair to ask the question of who they actually can beat. Yes, their late rally was exciting, but the fact that they had to do so against a team that has been repeatedly victimized on defense is a bad sign. Worse yet, Kyler Murray and company torched them for 514 total yards. At 0-5, there are few good signs for this team right now.

Atlanta Falcons’ defense

It doesn’t really seem to matter what Atlanta’s offense does these days because they’re always in a hole. The defense was thoroughly destroyed by Deshaun Watson, who threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns. Houston racked up 592 total yards and 31 first downs on 67 plays, and Atlanta had no answer. This has become a trend for the Falcons defense, and if it keeps up, it’s easy to see changes being made before the season even ends, despite the injuries they’ve had.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings

Diggs spent the week stirring up speculation about his future with Minnesota. Part of that may be due to a reduced offensive role, and that’s not entirely his fault when Kirk Cousins is throwing to him. However, the Vikings opened up the playbook a bit, but the beneficiary was mostly Adam Thielen. Diggs was only targeted four times, catching three of them for 44 yards. After the game, he muddled his future some more. It has not been his best week.

Brett Maher, K, Cowboys

Kicking problems reared their ugly head again in Week 5, and Maher was definitely hit hard. The Dallas kicker was wide right on a 54-yard attempt in the second quarter, which, while not great, is at least forgivable. Less excusable was a 33-yard miss with 1:44 left that could have brought the Cowboys within a touchdown. It’s Maher’s first real mess of the season, so he has some rope, but this was bad.

Los Angeles Chargers’ offense

Melvin Gordon is back and the Broncos were an extremely vulnerable opponent. That should have been good news for the Chargers, especially on offense, but they could only scrape together 13 points as they became the first team to lose to Denver in 2019. Philip Rivers averaged 4.4 yards per completion and was not on the same page as his receivers, while Gordon was held to 31 yards on 12 carries as Austin Ekeler was preferred on passing downs. Now under .500, it feels like the Chargers are underachieving again.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens

Jackson’s Ravens came up with an overtime win on Sunday, but the quarterback once again struggled to find his best form. He threw three more interceptions, a jarring feat after how successful he was avoiding turnovers early in the season. His legs ensure that he’s always useful — he ran for 70 yards in the game — but he’s at his best when he allows it to open up the passing game. At the very least, the turnovers need to stop.

Daniel Jones, QB, Giants

It’s starting to become apparent how much work Jones has in front of him to become a legitimately good starter. Sunday’s game against the Vikings was filled with inaccurate passes, and he was limited to just 182 yards despite 38 attempts. Jones’ decision-making needs work as well. This will come with experience, but the rookie seems to have regressed since his exciting debut against Tampa Bay.

Jameis Winston’s protection

Winston spent Sunday under pressure. He was sacked six times and pressured on numerous other occasions. That contributed to his poor numbers, as he was held to 204 yards. He needed a garbage time touchdown just to get that. Winston showed what he can do against the Rams a week ago, and was always likely to regress, but he had absolutely no help from those who were supposed to protect him on Sunday.

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