The Kansas City Chiefs maintained their perfect start to the season with their most impressive win to date as they moved to 5-0 with a convincing 30-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kansas City put their top-ranked offence against Jacksonville’s top-ranked defence at a soggy Arrowhead Stadium, but it was the much-maligned home defensive unit that proved the star attraction.
Defence has been an afterthought for the Chiefs this season but they turned in a superb display as they shut out the Jaguars for almost three quarters, intercepted Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles four times and even ran one of those back for a touchdown.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw his first interception of the season and was unable to throw a touchdown pass, but he ran in a score himself and managed the game superbly as he, and the entire Chiefs team, showed that they are the real deal this season.
“It shows what kind of team we are,” said Mahomes, who takes his side to New England for a huge showdown with the Patriots next week. “I’m just excited to come out with a win on a day the defence made plays.”
The Jaguars had been the only team in the NFL not to be more than three points behind in any game this season before Sunday, but they found themselves losing 23-0 deep into the third quarter and could just not recover.
“That play calling was something I’ve never seen before,” said Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson. “Tip your hat to them. Obviously, the offensive personnel they’ve got – they came out here and they beat us.”
Round-up: Vikings get revenge for missing home Super Bowl
The Minnesota Vikings missed out on becoming the first team to play in a home Super Bowl thanks to a heavy defeat at the Philadelphia Eagles in January – but they went some way to atoning for that loss as they inflicted a third defeat of the season on the ailing champions.
New quarterback Kirk Cousins was excellent, while Minnesota’s defence finally started to resemble the stellar unit of last season – and the desire was there for all to see as huge lineman Linval Joseph rumbled a fumble recovery 64 yards for a crucial touchdown in a 23-21 success.
The Los Angeles Rams faced a real struggle to maintain their perfect record but they had a Todd Gurley touchdown hat-trick to thank as they came away from a tough trip to the Seattle Seahawks with a 33-31 victory.
It’s eventful watching the Cleveland Browns this season as they went to overtime for the third time in five games in their tough match-up against the Baltimore Ravens. There was nothing pretty about the game and it was apt that rookie kicker Greg Joseph’s game winner was hardly the purest of strikes as the Browns secured the dictionary definition of an ugly win 12-9.
It was expected to be a high-scoring contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons but it was not expected to be so one-sided as Antonio Brown and James Conner both scored twice to give the Steelers a 41-17 victory to leave Atlanta struggling on 1-4 for the season.
Odell Beckham’s first touchdown involvement of the season was to throw a pass for Saquon Barkley in a crazy New York Giants game against the Carolina Panthers – although the superstar receiver did then find the end zone himself and pull off a trademark one-handed grab.
It was all to no avail though as the Giants slumped to a 33-31 defeat in Charlotte thanks to a booming Graham Gano kick of 63 yards to win it right at the death for the Panthers.
How the Green Bay Packers could have done with a reliable kicker because Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point in a damaging 31-23 defeat to divisional rivals Detroit Lions. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers also made big mistakes as he lost two fumbles for just the third time in 14 years.
Two yo-yo teams collided in Buffalo as the Bills rebounded from last week’s embarrassing shutout loss to edge out the Tennessee Titans, who beat the Eagles in overtime last week, 13-12 thanks to a last minute Steven Hauschka kick.
The Houston Texans won in overtime for the second week running as they got the better of the Dallas Cowboys in a Texas derby, while the Cincinnati Bengals continue to be one of the surprise teams of the season with a 21-17 triumph over the Miami Dolphins to move to 4-1 for the campaign.
What’s to come in week six?
The New Orleans Saints host the Washington Redskins at 01.15 BST on Tuesday.
The Washington Redskins have come off an early-season bye week and now start their long stretch of 13 continuous weeks of football with a tough road trip to the New Orleans Saints.
The Redskins have managed to get a few players back from injury, including running back Adrian Peterson who returns to one of his former teams, as they look to erase memories of last season when they blew a 31-16 lead at the Superdome to lose in overtime.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees needs 201 yards to pass Peyton Manning’s NFL record for career passing yards and the home fans will be hoping to celebrate both the record and fourth win of the season.
Brees has thrown for 71,740 yards in his 18-year career and trails just Brett Favre (71,838) and Manning (71,940) in the overall standings.
Stats of the week
For the first time ever in the NFL at least one game has gone to overtime every week in the first five weeks of the season – the games, it seems, are getting closer.
The LA Rams are the team to watch if you want points – they are the fifth team in NFL history to score at least 30 points in their first five games of the season
Graham Gano’s 63-yard kick for the Panthers is the second-longest ever, trailing only Matt Prater’s record 64-yard effort. It is though, tied for the longest kick ever to win a game in the NFL.
Gano is as consistent as you’d want from a kicker – he’s now made 35 in a row at home, dating back to 2016
The Cleveland Browns won their first NFL Sunday game since December 2015.
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen is first player in the Super Bowl era to have 100-yard receiving games in his first five outings of the season.
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Maye sets unwanted record
New York Jets safety Marcus Maye set a new NFL record for the longest interception return without scoring as he ran 104 yards but fell just short of the end zone when tackled.
It’s a long way to go for these big-muscled NFL players, but as the Jets won anyway his team-mates decided instead to direct some good-intentioned ‘banter’ at their colleague.
Jets team-mate Jamal Adams was not pulling any punches when asked about it by reporters.
Linval Joseph styles it out
Maye should be taking notes from Linval Joseph – of all people!
Defensive linemen don’t score too often Joseph hadn’t scored at all before Sunday night, and it was even more surprising that the big man managed to race away 64 yards to score for the Minnesota Vikings.
Joseph celebrated as all linemen would in this situation – he took his seat on the bench, slipped on a pair of sunglass and reached for the oxygen mask.
Conner making a name for himself on the field
James Conner is making a big name for himself at the Pittsburgh Steelers in more ways than one – firstly as the starting running back in place of star man Le’Veon Bell who is holding out in a contract dispute.
Conner has performed admirably and ran in another two touchdowns on Sunday – even more remarkable when you realise Conner had battled through cancer to be playing in the NFL today.
“I realise survivor will always be a part of my name,” said Conner. “I’m trying to make my name on the field of play. That’s what I’m trying to be known for.”
More displays like Sunday will help him in his quest.
Quote of the week
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton after Graham Gano’s monster kick won the game for the Panthers.
“A wise man told me once that a great quarterback is only as good as his kicker. Graham put the whole team on his back today… well, on his toe today.”