What a wild, wacky weekend of football. The action we witnessed in NFL Week 5 produced some unpredictable outcomes, much of which hinged on quarterback play.
The best performances in Week 5 featured a few of the league’s top young stars. Meanwhile, one of the best veterans in the NFL stunk up the joint in a losing cause.
These quarterbacks represent the best and worst from NFL Week 5.
Best: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Coming off a rough game last weekend in a losing cause against the Carolina Panhters, Deshaun Watson responded in the best possible way. Watson shredded the Atlanta Falcons secondary from the start of the game until it was over, going for 426 yards and five touchdowns.
His main weapon was speedster Will Fuller, who had a monster day with 14 catches for 217 yards and three of the five touchdowns Watson threw.
Worst: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
We get it. The Buffalo Bills are really good on defense. Tom Brady was victimized by this unit last weekend, and it’s becoming a theme.
On Sunday Marcus Mariota was a miserable wreck, too. He was under pressure most of the game, taking five sacks. Mariota also completed just 13-of-22 passes for 183 yards, and 57 of those yards came on a screen pass to tight end Jonnu Smith.
The team’s two top receivers, Corey Davis and rookie A.J Brown, combined to catch just four passes for 55 yards. Time and time again, when the Titans needed a big play from the offense, Mariota was unable to deliver.
Best: Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints
What the Saints have done since Drew Brees injured his thumb is nothing short of incredible. Teddy Bridgewater has stepped into the starting role and the offense hasn’t missed a beat. Better yet, the Saints are 3-0 since he took over as the starter after laying waste to their division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5.
Bridgewater was superb Sunday. He completed 26-of-34 attempts for 314 yards with four touchdowns and one interception — Brees-esque numbers, to be sure.
Given how well Teddy is playing, the Saints must feel no pressure to get Brees back. And every game he plays is only raising his value for next spring’s free-agency frenzy.
Worst: Chase Daniel, Chicago Bears
The Oakland Raiders stunned the Bears in London Sunday, thanks in part to a couple of timely turnovers generated on Chase Daniel interceptions. Daniel tossed his first of the game in the second quarter, throwing it right to linebacker Nicholas Morrow.
Then, late in the fourth quarter as Chicago attempted to come back from a three-point deficit, Daniel threw his second interception of the game, sealing the loss.
Overall, Daniel completed a high percentage of his passes and connected beautifully with Allen Robinson, who caught both of his touchdowns. But those mistakes were killers.
Best: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Highly criticized for his awful Week 4 performance, Cousins responded with a tremendous game against the New York Giants. In particular, Adam Thielen benefited from Cousins’ aggressive approach, catching seven passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Cousins finished the game with 306 yards on 22-of-27 passing as the Vikings cruised to victory, 28-10. The one caveat here as it concerns any notion that Cousins is ready to break out of a funk long term is that the Giants came into Week 5 with one of the league’s worst pass defenses, allowing nearly 280 yards per game through the air.
Worst: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers lost at home to the previously winless Denver Broncos on Sunday, despite allowing just 20 points. The biggest reason for the loss was that Philip Rivers had one of the worst games we’ve seen from him in a while.
Completing 32-of-48 passes, Rivers averaged a stunningly low 4.4 yards per attempt totaling just 211 yards through the air. Keenan Allen, who’s been on fire lately, caught just four passes for 18 yards. Even worse, Rivers threw two interceptions, the second of which occurred in the red zone.
In a one-score game that was there for the taking, these mistakes were damning. Now the Chargers are 2-3, and in third place in the AFC West.
Best: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Before Sunday’s wild action, the Seahawks won a thriller over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, and Russell Wilson had everything to do with the victory.
Playing the best game of his career, in the words of head coach Pete Carroll, Wilson was surgical. He passed for 268 yards on just 23 attempts, adding 32 yards on the ground. Wilson also tossed four touchdown passes, and the miraculous score he threw to Tyler Lockett at the end of the first quarter may have been the pass of the decade.
Worst: Luke Falk, New York Jets
Leading up to Week 5, no defense in the NFL was allowing more yardage through the air than the Philadelphia Eagles, who were yielding nearly 324 yards per game. We mention this because Luke Falk managed just 120 yards. When you account for the nine sacks he took, Falk finished with an incredible 61 net passing yards on 15-of-26 attempts, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sure, the Jets did Falk dirty by having Sam Darnold practice with the first team all week before finally admitting he would not be ready to play. But by any measure, Falk’s Week 5 performance was as bad as they come.
Best: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Rookie Kyler Murray didn’t throw a single touchdown pass Sunday on the road against Cincinnati. So why is he one of our best quarterbacks from Week 5? A couple of reasons stand out.
First of all, Murray got his first NFL win. He didn’t turn the ball over once, took just a single sack, and managed the game beautifully while making plenty of big plays in the passing game — going for 253 yards on 20-of-32 attempts. He also showed incredible poise engineering the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
Secondly, Murray finally wowed with his legs. Roasting the Bengals, he rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries.
It was a big win for Murray and the Cards, who buried the Bengals in their own building.
Worst: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
For the second week in a row, Dak Prescott struggled as the Cowboys lost to a team that features a dominant defense. Playing without his star left tackle, Tyron Smith (knee injury), Prescott was under pressure all game. Even when he did have time to throw, however, he made poor decisions and tossed three costly interceptions.
It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance, to be sure. Prescott also made some tremendous passes and finished with 490 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage. Unfortunately, the damage done by his turnovers doomed the Cowboys to their second straight loss.
Best: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Fans started freaking out after Tom Brady threw a bad interception in the red zone for the second weekend in a row. He’s finally getting old and washed-up, many opined. Then, Brady rebounded and had a fabulous overall game.
The 42-year-old living legend sliced up Washington’s defense in a big way. He completed 28-of-42 passes for 348 yards with three touchdowns, leading the Patriots to a 33-7 blowout win.
Along the way, Brady also moved past Brett Favre to No. 3 on the all-time passing yards list. Not too shabby.
Worst: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson has been featured more than once on this list in the “best” column this year. On Sunday against Pittsburgh, he was awful.
He was under pressure throughout but too often lingered too long in the pocket and took five sacks. Jackson also threw three interceptions, though one of them was simply an amazing defensive play by Devin Bush. Unfortunately for the Ravens, the Steelers scored after each of them, gaining 13 points off of the turnovers.
All told, Jackson netted just 139 yards passing as the Ravens beat the Steelers by a narrow margin to improve to 3-2 on the season.