NFL Sunday Week 5 Ends in Controversies and Questionable Calls
Football fans who sit down to catch the action on Sundays sometimes get more than they bargained for. The NFL’s Week 5 Sunday was no different, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers possibly receiving an early Christmas present from the referees.
For the most part, yesterday’s lineup didn’t offer any huge surprises, although the Detroit Lions, and especially head coach Dan Campbell, are wishing things had gone a lot differently. There were still several underdog victories, continuing a trend seen all season.
One of the biggest upsets would have been the Atlanta Falcons taking out the Bucs. They came close, and according to some, the 21-15 loss was only because the refs gave Tampa Bay a free pass.
Bucs Hang On for a Win
After last week’s poor start against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bucs needed a win to prove themselves. They got it, even if it wasn’t pretty. QB Tom Brady had a good day, completing 32 of his 52 passes for 351 yards and a TD. Running back Leonard Fournette had more carries than in Week 4, adding 14 rushes for 56 yards and a TD to his count.
Tampa Bay controlled the game, but then trouble arrived. After falling behind 21-0 in the first three quarters, the Falcons made a 15-point comeback in the fourth to pull within six. Then, with three minutes left, the Falcons prevented the Bucs from advancing when defensive end Grady Jarrett sacked Brady on 3-and-5 for a 10-yard loss.
However, referee Jerome Boger made a call that will be talked about for the next few seasons. He flagged Jarrett for roughing the passer. That kept the Bucs alive and allowed them to run out the clock.
After the game, Boger, a veteran referee of almost 20 years, explained why he made the call. Greg Auman of The Athletic asked him about it, and he responded, “What he had was that the defender grabbed the quarterback while he was still in the pocket and, unnecessarily, threw him to the ground. That’s what I was making my decision based on.”
The sack was almost identical to the one Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa received in Week 3. Despite what could have been a career-ending hit, there was no flag on that play.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Falcons, though. They entered Sunday as the only team with a perfect record against the spread (ATS). When they picked up a TD late in the fourth quarter and added a two-point conversion, they improved to 5-0 ATS.
Titans Overpower the Commanders
The Tennessee Titans (3-2) achieved victory over the Washington Commanders in a game where running back Derrick Henry was in his zone. He completed the day with 102 yards and a TD to help lead Tennessee to a 21-17 win.
However, it was linebacker David Long Jr. who nailed the coffin shut. He intercepted a Carson Wentz pass at the 1-yard line with six seconds left to stop Washington’s potential winning drive.
This was the second time in three games that Tennessee’s defense was key to a win. It picked up five sacks on Wentz, as the Commanders’ offense continued to slip.
The sportsbooks had this game almost even going in, and even closer right at the first whistle. The over/under of about 43 proved to be too much. But the Commanders will try to find some solace this Thursday when they meet the Chicago Bears.
Bills Annihilate the Steelers
There was never any doubt that the Buffalo Bills would have a light day against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But it was still a fun game to watch. Josh Allen tore apart a shaky Steelers secondary, throwing four TDs before the end of the first half.
Allen added a 62-yard TD pass and Stefon Diggs had a 15-yard TD as Pittsburgh desperately pleaded with the clock to move faster. At the two-minute warning leading into halftime, they were already down 31-3. With a runaway lead, Allen could take a breather later to give backup Case Keenum some field time.
The Bills took it easy for the rest of the game, only scoring one more TD in the fourth quarter. The Steelers, however, could never get on the board. Buffalo walked away with a 38-3 victory as they improve to 4-1 and still eye a Super Bowl appearance.
Allen’s 348 yards in the first half puts him in a unique class. He’s now tied for second place for first-half performances, only 11 yards behind Patrick Mahomes’ 359 yards, which he delivered for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020.