10 things you need to know from NFL Week 5
Didn’t catch every moment of NFL Week 5? PFF has you covered with the top 10 things you need to know based on our grades and data.
1. Carson Palmer is our top-graded quarterback this season.
Entering Week 1, who would have guessed Carson Palmer would sit atop our quarterback grades five weeks into the season? In Week 5, the Arizona QB put up another solid performance, earning a +3.5 against the Lions.
Palmer was 11-for-14 on the day, giving him a season-high 78.6 completion percentage. Three of those passes went for touchdowns, and he had no interceptions. Sam Monson recapped much of Palmer’s stellar season performance in his article published earlier this week.
The 4-1 Cardinals stand alone atop the NFC West as the only team in the division with a winning record.
2. Even more shocking: Andy Dalton is our No. 2-graded quarterback.
Many predicted Andy Dalton’s fantastic start would skid to a halt against Seattle, the NFL’s third-best pass-rushing defense. Instead, Dalton led the Bengals to a comeback win at home, tying with Colts’ QB Matt Hasselbeck for the best overall QB grade in Week 5 (+4.2).
This season, Dalton’s accuracy is third-best in the league (behind only Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, respectively), and he owns the top accuracy percentage on deep balls (passes attempts of 20 or more yards downfield) at 60.9 percent, well ahead of second-best Drew Brees (47.6 percent).
3. Eric Berry made PFF’s Team of the Week.
Each week, PFF’s Khaled Elsayed honors the best players at every position for that week’s games. In Week 5, Kansas City safety Eric Berry earned the spot of top safety in the league.
The fact that Eric Berry earned a +5.1 overall grade (his second-best career single-game grade) is incredibly impressive in itself—the fact that he did it after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma makes it unbelievable.
Berry was diagnosed with cancer in December 2014, and in what could be considered the comeback of the year, was cleared for training camp on July 28. Now, five weeks into the 2015 season, Berry is the No. 3-rated safety in the league, according to PFF’s new 2015 player grades.
4. Doug Martin and Dion Lewis earned the top Week 5 RB grades.
The artist formerly known as “Muscle Hamster” is remerging as a force out of the Tampa Bay backfield this season. In Week 5, he earned the highest single-game grade of his career at +4.0, eclipsing even his stellar 2012 game against Oakland.
On Monday, PFF’s Sam Monson broke down the revival of Martin.
Behind Martin this week, Patriots’ halfback Dion Lewis again showed why it was a mistake for the Colts to cut him after one week last season. Lewis owns the top elusive rating in the league, forcing a total of 28 missed tackles through Week 5 (rushing and receiving).
5. Despite another loss, Jacksonville’s young offensive weapons are showing promise.
The Jaguars dropped to 1-4 on Sunday with a loss to the Buccaneers, but not all news was bad for Jacksonville fans. The Jags’ offensive has a few bright spots this season, with the play of quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson exceptional in Week 5.
As Sam Monson wrote on Monday, Blake Bortles is a top-10 graded quarterback this season. After ranking dead last among all NFL QBs last season, that’s certainly a huge step in the right direction.
At the wideout position, both Hurns and Robinson made our Team of the Week after posting grades of +2.7 and +2.6, respectively. In fact, Hurns was an honorable mention for our list of top 10 receivers through Week 5. If the units around Bortles, Hurns, and Robinson can develop, the Jaguars may have some future stars in their young offensive weapons.
6. Kam Chancellor fell flat against the Bengals.
While many predicted that Kam Chancellor and the Legion of Boom would be too much for Andy Dalton to handle, it was Dalton who had his way with Chancellor on Sunday.
Chancellor earned the worst grade of any NFL safety in Week 5, due mainly to his abysmal pass coverage (-4.9). He surrendered 9 of 11 targets for receptions, one for a touchdown.
The Seahawks hope to see more of Week 3 and 4 Chancellor, as opposed to the Week 5 version, if the defense is to propel the team back into contention with the Cardinals in the NFC West.
7. The Broncos’ defense once again carried Denver in the team’s fifth win.
How much longer will the Broncos be able to win by relying on just one side of the ball? Von Miller (+3.9 overall), Malik Jackson (+2.3), and Chris Harris Jr. (+3.4) once again put up outstanding numbers in Oakland, reminding Derek Carr why they own the top spot in our defensive rankings. Harris Jr. delivered the biggest of the game for Denver, returning a pick-six that would seal the win.
Manning, on the other hand, put up average grade of +0.6. When he wasn’t pressured by the Raiders, the future Hall of Famer posted a dismal grade of -1.4, compared to +2.0 when under pressure. He had two interceptions on the day, with no touchdown passes.
The Denver run game wasn’t much better. C.J. Anderson tied Eddie Lacy for the lowest grade of any running back in Week 5 (-1.7), earning him a spot on PFF’s Worst Team of the Week.
8. Jamaal Charles’ injury leaves the Chiefs as non-contenders in the AFC.
As confirmed by an MRI on Monday, Chiefs’ running back Jamaal Charles tore his ACL in the 17-18 loss to the Bears. With Charles likely out the remainder of the season, it seems highly unlikely the 1-4 Chiefs will see the playoffs.
Charles, PFF’s No. 14 running back entering Week 5, was the key to Chiefs’ offense. Entering the game, he had more snaps than any other RB this season (231). His potential replacements, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis, have now taken a combined 74 snaps, with neither making much of those opportunities.
As Kansas City’s conservative offense is so reliant on Charles, it is unlikely the Chiefs will catch Denver in the AFC West, much less earn a Wild Card slot.
9. Matt Hasselbeck provided exactly what the Colts need in Luck’s absence.
Unlike other teams down a starting quarterback at the moment, the Colts have to be thrilled with the performance of the 40-year-old veteran. Hasselbeck tied Andy Dalton for Week 5’s top overall QB grade, leading Indy to a Thursday night division win over the Texans.
In his past two starts, Hasselbeck has been extremely cool under pressure, posting an accuracy percentage of 80.0 in such situations—fourth-best among QBs in Weeks 4 and 5.
While the Colts certainly hope Andrew Luck can return for Sunday night’s matchup against the Patriots, there’s some relief in knowing the 40-year-old veteran is more than capable of holding the offense steady.
10. No one has played better than Cameron Heyward over the last two weeks.
While Monday Night Football brought us plenty of storylines (Michael Vick’s poor play, then really high finish, Le’Veon Bell’s game-winning rush, the return of Antonio Gates, etc.), it would be a crime not to mention the outstanding play of Steelers’ defensive end Cameron Heyward. Heyward earned a league-high grade of +9.8 in Week 5, on the heels of a +7.5 grade against Baltimore in Week 4.
Against the Chargers, Heyward posted 11 total QB pressures (two hits, nine hurries), giving him the best pass-rush grade for a defensive end (+6.6).
Heyward, a 2011 first-round pick out of Ohio State, now ranks only behind Houston’s J.J. Watt for the top 3-4 DE spot.