The Atlanta Falcons are out of the group with their first loss of the season. Who is still in? The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.
The Falcons fumbled the ball three times in a loss to the New Orleans Saints, and overall have been struggling more and more as Julio Jones is playing without being 100%. There’s more than just him on this team, meaning Devonta Freeman getting touchdowns in every way possible, but the link up between Matt Ryan and Jones is the backbone of this offense and without it in full swing, the Falcons ain’t that special of a team it turns out.
The remaining undefeated teams differ this week in terms of difficulty to achieve a win. Two teams, the Patriots and the Bengals, enjoyed a rather comfortable finish and win without having to sweat it out in the final minutes. The Packers, Broncos and Panthers had themselves more dramatic finishes that required even coming from behind or in overtime to finish the job or simply holding out against one final drive from the opponents.
The Patriots improved to 5-0 with a 34-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts. All the talk of revenge over DeflateGate and what not didn’t seem to affect them. The first half was a difficult one, with the Colts holding a 21-20 lead but the Patriots, despite the secondary being their weakest unit, managed to shut down the field in the second half for Andrew Luck, who surprisingly didn’t throw any interceptions, but couldn’t come up with some truly creative in the second half while Tom Brady, as always, thrived with the game on the line.
The Bengals didn’t need any fourth quarter or overtime miracles this time. Like the Patriots, their first half against the Buffalo Bills was a close one (17-14), but the Bengals have an extra gear on offense thanks to Andy Dalton finally having a tight end to throw to. Tyler Eifert caught a touchdown pass and so did Marvin Jones. The Bills, with EJ Manuel at quarterback, couldn’t keep up with the scoring in their third loss following a win this season.
And now for the good stuff. We begin with the Denver Broncos, and the anomaly of Peyton Manning looking disastrous while the defense keeps pulling him towards victory. Manning did do his job by providing the drive that led to the game winning field goal, but he threw three interceptions in the 26-23 win over the Cleveland Browns with one touchdown. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns, although Manning bounced back from one of them to pull Denver back from behind in the fourth with a TD throw to Emmanuel Sanders. Manning has now thrown 10 interceptions to 7 touchdowns in 2015, with a passer rating of 72.5.
The Green Bay Packers looked to be doing very well for a quarter and some, taking a 17-3 lead over the San Diego Chargers. But there’s a problem over the last few weeks, with long periods of nothing happening, something that cost them a place in the Super Bowl last year. The Chargers stormed back and in the end, with the Packers leading 27-20, it came down to the Chargers being a few yards away from a touchdown, and four downs to go. Luckily for them, Philip Rivers didn’t see wide open targets on his two passing attempts, and so the game was won, barely.
The Carolina Panthers became the next team to ignore the Seattle Seahawks and whatever it is they’ve achieved under Pete Carroll. Down 20-7, the Panthers stopped making mistakes and had no problem shutting down the broken apart offense the Seahawks are struggling with. Jonathan Stewart ran for two touchdowns and with 32 seconds to go, Cam Newton tossed a great touchdown pass to Greg Olsen in the end zone, leading to Seahawks players getting into an argument over who blew the coverage. The bottom line was the Panthers winning 27-23, remaining perfect.