We are now five weeks into this marathon of an NFL season. As the league passed through the one-quarter mark, there were plenty of storylines to keep up with. The week started with a game that fans found hard to stay interested in. The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Denver Broncos with a hideous score of 12-9. The two teams brought in new quarterbacks in the offseason, both with Super Bowl experience (Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson respectively). They both have been massive disappointments to their clubs who hoped they were just a quarterback away from being legitimate contenders. In Thursday’s game, they combined for four interceptions.
Late in the fourth quarter, Denver threw away a golden opportunity to win the game. With just over two minutes left, the Colts called their final timeout with the Broncos preparing for a third and goal at the 14 yardline. When Wilson tried to force it to Tyrie Cleveland, the former Defensive Player of the Year cornerback Stephon Gilmore snatched it out of the air for a pick. The Colts and Ryan went on a proficient two-minute drill where they tied the game and sent it to overtime. In overtime, kicker Chase McLaughlin hit another kick, this time from 48 yards away. Broncos fans were expecting Russ to cook this season, but so far it looks like the only thing he can cook is a bowl of cereal.
All of the New England region has caught a case of Zappe fever. Injuries have thrown third-string rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe into the QB1 role. In his first NFL start, the Western Kentucky alum shined in a 29-0 beatdown of the Detroit Lions. Zappe only had four incompletions, going 17/21 for a modest 188 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception, but the blame solely fell on the hands of his intended target Nelson Agholor.
Second–year running back Rhamondre Stevenson had 168 yards on the ground, to go along with 2 catches and 14 yards. Jakobi Meyers also had a sensational day with 7 catches, 114 yards and the lone offensive touchdown. One point to improve on for Zappe is red zone efficiency, going 0-3. The Patriots defense was superb in the shutout effort. Matthew Judon had two sacks, with one of them being a fumble that Kyle Dugger took back 59 yards for a score. Rookie corner Jack Jones had an interception as well and looks to be a budding star on the team.
The shock around the league this week and this season has been the New York Giants. They upset the Green Bay Packers 27-22 in London. At one point they were down by 14 points but multiple heavy time-consuming drives were able to keep Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense off the field and decrease the deficit. With just over 10 minutes of possession in the second half, the only points Green Bay scored was an intentional safety that the Giants took at the end of the game. Saquon Barkley had 106 total yards on just 16 touches for the Giants. He was consistently picking up clutch first downs in the fourth quarter despite briefly leaving due to a shoulder injury. Rodgers had a subpar performance for his normally exceptional standards, posting 222 yards and two touchdowns.
The best game of the week was the last one when the Kansas City Chiefs came back to win against the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders started out hot, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter and were up 20-10 at halftime. Then the Chiefs did what they do best: get Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce on the same page. The future hall-of-fame tight end was limited to only 25 yards, but he caught seven passes and four of them for touchdowns. Vegas scored with just under five minutes to make it 30-29 and decided to go for two instead of the extra point and came up inches short. After a Chiefs punt, the Raiders got the ball back and faced a fourth-and-1 near midfield when Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow ran into each other and the ball fell incomplete. Adams and running back Josh Jacobs had monster performances for the silver in black, combining for 317 yards in the loss. The biggest story came after the game when Adams shoved a cameraman and is now facing misdemeanor assault charges.