On Sunday night, Oct. 11, 2015, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning led his team on an eight play 82-yard drive with less than two minutes to play, to give his team a 30-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The win gave the Giants sole possession of first place in the NFC East division, and capped off the fifth Sunday of NFL football.
It was a day which saw three earlier contests go into overtime, and also saw the injury bug bite hard; this time it was the Kansas City Chiefs who lost a key player. There are now six undefeated teams remaining. Those teams are Green Bay, Cincinnati, New England, Denver, Atlanta and Carolina. Here is a look at the other games of the day.
Bengals (5-0) 27, Seahawks (2-3) 24 (OT): @ Cincinnati – It may be time to put the Bengals in the Super Bowl conversation. In what could very well have been a Super Bowl preview, the Cincinnati squad earned a spirited comeback win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals opened scoring, with a seven-play 86 yard drive which culminated in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Tyler Eifert. The early 7-0 lead did not hold up. Despite being without the services of their star running back Marshawn Lynch, Seattle scored 24 straight points and held a 24-7 lead after three quarters. In the fourth quarter the home team came alive and outscored Seattle 17-0 to push the game into overtime. This rollercoaster ride of a game came to an end 3:42 into the extra session, when Mike Nugent kicked a 42-yard field goal which sent the home crowd into a state of delirium.
Falcons (5-0) 25, Redskins (2-3) 19 (OT): @ Atlanta – This game was highlighted by sub-par play at the quarterback position. Both Matt Ryan of the hometown Falcons and Kirk Cousins of the visiting Washington Redskins threw two interceptions. Ryan was also sacked three times and Cousins was sacked once. Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman continued his strong play, with 153 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries. The Washington defense really kept their team in the game. Though the devastating running attack of Atlanta chewed them up for 176 yards, they were able to come up with key plays to keep the game close. In the end, it was the Atlanta defense which made the biggest play of the game. In the overtime period, Falcons defensive back Robert Alford intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass and rambled 59 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Atlanta wound up with 418 yards of total offense, while Washington only had 270.
Browns (2-3) 33, Ravens (1-4) 30 (OT): @ Baltimore – In the third overtime game of the day, the Cleveland Browns fell behind 14-3 in the first quarter, but steadily worked their way back into the game. The Ohio-based team kept their season alive while plunging the Baltimore Ravens to the bottom of the AFC North division. Browns Quarterback Josh McCown absorbed four sacks, but wound up throwing for 457 yards and two touchdowns while leading his team to 504 yards of total offense. The Ravens sorely missed energetic wide receiver Steve Smith who sat out due to a back injury. Baltimore mainly kept the ball on the ground and rolled up 181 rushing yards, but were only able to convert five of 14 times on third down.
Packers (5-0) 24, Rams (2-3) 10: @ Green Bay – Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a rather forgettable day, as he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. This would have been a golden opportunity for the St Louis Rams to steal a road victory, had their quarterback Nick Foles not played so horribly. In the end, the Rams defense both played well, but Foles threw four interceptions to nullify his team’s great defensive play and also negate the 159 rushing yards of Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley. St Louis did best the Packers 334-322 in total offense, but three of Foles’ interceptions happened on third down and turned out to be momentum killers.
Bills (3-2) 14, Titans (1-3) 13: @ Tennessee – For much of the day, it looked like rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his Tennessee Titans would come away with a victory. The Titans led 3-0 at the half and then scored the first touchdown of the game in the second half. Ahead 10-0 midway through the third quarter, things began to unravel for the home team. The wounded Buffalo Bills team were rallied by their quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor scored on a 22-yard run with 1:29 left in the third quarter and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Chris Hogan with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter. The Bills will face a tough test next week when the Cincinnati Bengals come to town.
Bears (2-3) 18, Chiefs (1-4) 17: @ Kansas City – Trying to stay in the AFC West division hunt, the Kansas City Chiefs lost more than just the game. In front of the home fans, Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles fell awkwardly to the turf in the third quarter. Charles was helped off the field, and early diagnosis is that he has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Charles is scheduled for an MRI; if the diagnosis is correct, then his season is over and likely too are any Chiefs playoff hopes, no matter how slim. This was the Chiefs fourth straight loss.
Cardinals (4-1) 42, Lions (0-5) 17: @ Detroit – It is safe to say the Detroit lions season is over. Playing in front of their home fans, in the first quarter, the Lions scored the first touchdown of the game but that was the end of any jubilation the team or the crowd may have felt. In all, the home team went on to commit four turnovers in the first half and trailed 28-7 at the half after giving up four touchdowns in the second quarter. The Lions committed two more turnovers in the second half and trailed 35-7 entering the fourth quarter. In the final quarter, starting Lions quarterback Matt Stafford was benched after having thrown a third interception. Arizona running back Chris Johnson led all rushers, with 103 yards on 11 carries.
Patriots (4-0) 30, Cowboys (2-3) 6: @ Dallas – Cowboys defensive lineman Greg Hardy made his long-awaited debut since joining the team in the offseason. In front of the home crowd, the Cowboys defense sacked New England quarterback Tom Brady five times in the first half. The Cowboys’ problems were on the offensive side of the ball. By halftime, despite the spirited play of their defense, the Cowboys offense had only converted on third down three times and had produced a paltry 60 yards of total offense. The Patriots led 13-3 at halftime and the game was never in doubt. Dallas quarterback Brandon Weeden finished the game, but there is speculation he may be pulled in favor of Matt Cassel for the next game on Oct. 25 against the New York Giants. With Weeden at the helm, the Cowboys have now lost three straight games.
Buccaneers (2-3) 38, Jaguars (1-4) 31: @ Tampa Bay – Playing at home, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston had his first turnover-free game. Combined with a strong performance from pint-sized running back Doug Martin, Winston was able to lead his team to victory. With the win, the Bucs snapped an 11-game home losing streak. Martin led all rushers, with 123 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles did throw four touchdown passes, but was also sacked six times and threw one interception. The dominant Bucs run game was the difference as they outgained Jacksonville 183-55 in total rushing yardage.
Broncos (5-0) 16, Raiders (2-3) 10: @ Oakland – It wasn’t easy, but the Denver Broncos managed to remain undefeated. The hometown Raiders were unable to capitalize on a great defensive performance. Future-hall-of-fame defensive back Charles Woodson intercepted Broncos future-hall-of-fame quarterback Peyton Manning, twice. Manning was also sacked twice, limited to just 266 passing yards and did not throw a touchdown pass. The game-breaking play came from the Broncos defense. Leading 9-7 in the fourth quarter, Denver defensive back Chris Harris, Jr intercepted a Derek Carr pass and returned it 74 yards to stretch the lead to 16-7 and thus put the game out of reach.
Eagles (2-3) 39, Saints (1-4) 17: @ Philadelphia – Eagles running back DeMarco Murray finally had a big day and it was in front of the Philadelphia faithful. Murray had 83 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown. This offset an uneven performance by Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford who threw two interceptions in the red zone. The active Philly defense did their part as they sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees five times. The win kept the Eagles in the thick of the NFC East division race, and likely spelled the end of any playoff hopes the Saints may have had.