Week Five of the NFL season had some amazing personal performances and a couple of very entertaining games. As I still try and recover from the Ravens devastating loss to Cincinnati I found five things that caught my attention.
1. The Ravens looked like an all around average team on Sunday. The defense is not getting any pressure on the quarterback and the secondary couldn’t cover a $3 check. On offense we look like a team with a serious identity crisis; we are struggling to find a happy medium between the air and ground attack. This week the Ravens go to Minnesota and face the most electrifying player in all of football, Adrian Peterson. The Ravens are going to have to keep AD in check and protect Joe Flacco because these are two teams with very similar profiles and this should be a very physical, competitive game.
2. Denver’s rookie head coach Josh McDaniel’s is without a doubt the front runner for coach of the year early in 2009. I thought the Broncos would struggle to win five games all year much less start the season 5-0. Also former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan should be a lock for coordinator of the year; in one off season he has turned a terrible Denver defense into the best unit in football.
3. It is hard to imagine but Peyton Manning is off to the best start of his Hall of Fame career. Manning has thrown for 300 or more in each of his first five starts this season and is on pace for 5.264 yards which would break Dan Marino’s 25 year old record of 5,084.
4. Two receivers racked up 200 yards or more yards receiving in Week 5. Roddy White and Matt Ryan looked like the elite connection many expected as the Falcons dismantled the 49ers 45-10. Meanwhile Miles Austin had 250 yards including a game winning 60 yard touchdown in overtime for the Cowboys as they squeaked by the Chiefs. It was only one game but Austin showed the kind of burst and big play ability that it seems Roy Williams doesn’t have anymore.
5. JaMarcus Russell continues his assault on Ryan Leaf as the biggest bust in the history of the NFL Draft. Through five games Russell is completing just 42.1% of his passes and has thrown for only one touchdown. The futility doesn’t stop there as last years first round pick Darren McFadden is going to miss a large chunk of the season for the second year in a row and had only 146 on the ground in the four games he was on the field. The icing on this crap cake is this year top draft choice and Maryland product Darrius Heyward-Bey. The lightening fast wide receiver has only two catches this season and has had three games in which he didn’t accumulate a stat. Memo to Al Davis, maybe you should stop draft guys because of their amazing forty yard times and start drafting some guys who can actually play football. When you combine this type of drafting with a mentally unstable head coach who throws his assistants into lamps and threatens to “bleeping” kill them, the Black Hole could be a very unsafe place when the Ravens wrap up their season in Oakland in January.
Week 6 doesn’t have a lot of attention grabbing matchups and will be headlined by the Ravens at Minnesota and the Giants at New Orleans. Even without a ton of marquee matchups I am sure we will get all of the fun and excitement we’ve come to expect from the NFL.