All eyes were on the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys showdown that unfolded in the first Sunday afternoon game since 2001 to be broadcast to 100 per cent of the national audience, and it did not disappoint.
Green Bay led 24-0 midway through the third quarter before Dallas put the pedal to the floor, but it was too little, too late as the Packers won 34-24.
Packers running back Aaron Jones erupted for a career-high 182 scrimmage yards – 107 rushing and 75 receiving – and four touchdowns on 26 touches, while Aaron Rodgers threw for 238 yards without an interception.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the Denver Broncos spoiled Melvin Gordon’s long-awaited return from his contract holdout with a 20-13 victory over the Chargers to end the team’s eight-game losing streak. It was thanks to a stout defensive effort that forced three turnovers and a flawless performance by veteran quarterback Joe Flacco.
Things went from bad to worse for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins, who were routed by the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots respectively, to remain winless.
The Cincinnati Bengals were also defeated for the fifth straight game to drop to 0-5, but at least they put up a fight before falling 26-23 to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, who gave head coach Kliff Kingsbury his first NFL win.
A scary scene unfolded in Pittsburgh as quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked out after taking a brutal hit to the chin from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Rudolph laid motionless on his back for several minutes as the Steelers’ medical staff attended to him on the field, and he was later carried off to be taken to a hospital after apparent problems with the cart.
Rudolph was ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion, which will be closely monitored this week after the Steelers switched to third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges. Team-mate and receiver James Washington was also ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Eagles running back Darren Sproles was questionable to return with a quad injury but moved to fifth on the NFL’s all-time in all-purpose yards list first.
Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks left the team’s London game against the Raiders due to an elbow injury and did not return.
Chargers center Mike Pouncey was questionable to return after suffering a neck injury.
By the numbers
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady moved to third on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list during Sunday’s game against the Redskins after surpassing Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (71,838). Brady is set to pass Peyton Manning (71,940) for second in career yards in his next game.
The Bengals are 0-5 for the first time since 2008. It is the seventh time Cincinnati have started 0-5 since 1990, which is the most in the NFL in that span.
Christian McCaffrey had a historic day in Carolina, as the Panthers running back logged 237 total yards to become the first player since Jim Brown in 1963 to total 175-plus yards from scrimmage in four of a season’s first five games. McCaffrey also reached a max speed of 21.95 mph on his 84-yard touchdown run Sunday, which is his fastest speed this season.
Steve Smith Sr. was grateful to be back in Carolina as he was inducted into the Panthers’ Hall of Honour: “I’d like to thank Mr. Tepper for bringing me back … I never thought I’d be back in this stadium, but I am and I’m happy to be here.”
Redskins coach Jay Gruden on dropping to 0-5: “If the key works Monday I’ll keep working.”
Thomas was remorseful for his brutal hit on Rudolph: “I was just trying to get to the ball and make a play for my team. I hit the strike zone, I didn’t go high. I didn’t try to intentionally hurt him. I’m worried about him. I heard he’s at the hospital and my prayers go out to him and his family.”
Week 5 NFL scores
Teams on bye week
Dolphins and Lions
Eagles 31, Jets 6
Panthers 34, Jaguars 27
Vikings 28, Giants 10
Texans 53, Falcons 32
Saints 31, Buccaneers 24
Bills 14, Titans 7
Cardinals 26, Bengals 23
Patriots 33, Redskins 7
Ravens 26, Steelers 23
Raiders 24, Bears 21
Broncos 20, Chargers 13
Packers 34, Cowboys 24