Shawn Hubbard, baltimoreravens.com
Week six of the NFL is in the books and it didn't disappoint. We saw upsets, thing that'll make you upset, and more of the same ol same ol from some teams/players. Here are my observations:
-Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had another performance that leaves you in awe. 21/33 for 236 yards and ran the ball 19 times for 152 yards and a touchdown. While I'm not all for a quarterback running this much, Jackson hasn't taken too many hard hits. However, if he continues to run as much as he has, it'll catch up to him eventually. Until then, let's enjoy this talented quarterback.
-The Vikings' Stefon Diggs was the beneficiary this week of the angst turned production when it comes to the pass game. Diggs had seven catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns. I was impressed with Kirk Cousins' ability to hit him deep a couple times on two long touchdown catches (62 and 51 yards respectively). If the Vikings get this kind of production, they could be a tough out for the rest of the season. Cousins had 333 yards passing and four touchdowns.
-Welcome back Sam Darnold! The Jets quarterback came back from a case of mononuecleosis to help his winless team beat the Cowboys 24-22. 22/32 for 338 yards and two touchdowns, including a 92-yarder to Robbie Anderson. What a difference it was to have him under center. Will this spur on a playoff run? That remains to be seen. At 1-4, it's highly unlikely, but not impossible.
-In a game that pitted two of the worst teams in the league against one another, would one expect the Redskins/Dolphins game to end in any other way than an epic failure? The Dolphins scored a touchdown and were an extra point away from tieing the game, but they decided to go for two. They called a bubble screen to running back Kenyan Drake...and he dropped it. They're still winless and the Redskins got their first win because of it.
-With the score 7-7, 3rd&Goal, ball on the 1 yard line, two and a half minutes into the 2nd quarter, 49er's quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw a ridiculous pass. He appeared to get happy feet in the pocket as the pressure collapsed it quickly, and lobbed a pass up to Marcus Peters. Peters, unfortunately, plays for the Rams. Good thing the 9ers went on to win 20-7, or this could've been really bad.
-Speaking of interceptions, Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco wishes he didn't get credit for one he threw against the Titans. Rookie tight end, and 1st round pick, Noah Fant lost a ball looking for it over his shoulder. The ball hit his back and allowed Titan safety Kevin Bayard to get one of the easiest picks of his career. This is clearly a case for not counting all interceptions against the quarterback.
-Tough week for kickers around the league. Falcons' Matt Bryant cost his team a chance to tie the game by missing an extra point with 1:53 left in the game and they ended up losing 34-33. Texans' Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a field goal and an extra point in his team's 31-24 win. Although he missed a 60-yard drop kick, it was cool to see Panthers' Joey Slye attempt one. At least he didn't cost or nearly cost his team the game.
-Bears' offensive lineman Kyle Long has found himself on IR for the fourth year in a row. This time it's a hip injury that's taken the veteran down. At 30 years old and no guaranteed money left on his deal, it may be over for Long. He's been good, but injury-prone offensive lineman over 30 don't have much of a role outside of backup or camp body, and even those are iffy.
-The end of the road may be near for the top two picks in the 2015 draft. Bucs' quarterback Jameis Winston and Titans' quarterback Marcus Mariota are both playing in their fifth year option years of their rookie deals, and neither seems to have earned an extension or the right to another opportunity to start. Winston threw five interceptions against the Panthers and Mariota was benched in favor of backup Ryan Tannehill. Careers can be resurrected, but I doubt it in either case. The best they can hope for now is to hold a clipboard and keep cashing NFL checks for a few more years.
By now, we're starting to see the water find its level. Seven of the eight divisions have a leader, albeit some are by slim margins. Only the NFC East has a tie at the top with the flalling Cowboys and underwhelming Eagles tied at 3-3. There's also a line being drawn between true title contenders, and the pretenders. The next four to six weeks will tell us a lot more. I guarantee that one of the post-week six division leaders will be the eventual champion. Until then, keep me at my word.