(This is an article written by Richard Graves, a presenter and broadcaster for over 25 years, covering sports’ biggest events and interviewing the biggest names. Richard has covered the last eight Super Bowls along with countless other major sporting events. You can follow him on social media here.)
NFL Week 5 – 5 Key Performances
NFL Returns to London with a Heady National Anthem Performance
WOW! It had been nearly 2 years since the NFL last played a regular season game in London but what a way to announce its return! Marisha Wallace gave a sensational rendition of the American National Anthem…..153 feet above the playing surface, from the skywalk next to the Spurs cockerel!
A sold out crowd witnessed the Atlanta Falcons beat the New York Jets and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts had his coming out party. He terrorised the Jets defense, hauling in 9 catches for 119 yards and his first NFL touchdown.
The Brits clearly love the NFL….and the NFL certainly put on a show!
A Buffalo Stampede through KC
The Bills have been impressive in the last 3 weeks, but this was a step up on any of those performances. QB Josh Allen torched the Chiefs secondary for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns and then used his feet to rub salt into the wound – rushing for another 59 yards on 11 carries and another score in a 38-20 win. This was an impressive display!
After suffering the heartbreak of an AFC Championship loss last year in the same stadium, this performance lays down a marker for the rest of the conference this season.
It may be time to worry in KC though. Another error-strewn display on offense was compounded by injuries to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce and what appeared to be a serious looking knee injury to running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Rookie Running Back Steels the Show in Pittsburgh Win
Just when the Steelers were being written off, they responded against one of the best defensive units in the NFL – and they did it riding their rookie running back, Najee Harris. Denver’s defense ranks 3rd in the NFL but Harris burned them for 142 total yards – 122 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
“Big Ben” Roethlisberger played his part as well, throwing 2 touchdown passes but it was crucial 3rd down conversions which made a difference as the Broncos defense struggled to get Pittsburgh off the field.
It was a crucial 27-19 win for the Steelers – their first since the opening weekend – in a division where all three of their rivals hold winning records and leaves them just a game back of both Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Matthew Judon Proving his Worth in New England
Remember when New England made headlines in free agency as they looked to revamp their roster? Well, linebacker Matthew Judon was one of those acquisitions and he’s proving his worth in a team which has struggled this season.
On Sunday in Houston, he recorded another 2 sacks, giving him 6.5 for the season – just 0.5 behind Myles Garrett who leads the league with 7.
One of them came inside the final 2 minutes of the 1st half on 3rd & Goal, forcing the Houston Texans to kick a field goal and that proved crucial late on when Nick Folk kicked a game winning 21 yard field goal with 15 seconds left to play – it was the first time New England had led all day and capped a run of scoring 16 unanswered points.
The 25-22 win moves the Patriots into 2nd placein the AFC East with a 2-3 record but Judon and that defense will have to be at their very best next week as the high flying Dallas Cowboys come to town.
What a day it was for kickers in the NFL! Kickers missed 11 extra points on Sunday and then came the field goal woes in Cincinnati.
In a thrilling game, the Green Bay Packers eventually won 25-22 in overtime but that tells only half the story.
Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby missed 3 field goal attempts. The first came with 2:36 left in the 4th quarter – 2 more opportunities to kick walk-off field goals would come and go.
While Bengals’ kicker Evan McPherson missed two of his own – the second, in overtime, he thought he’d actually made to win the game as he leaped into a teammates’ arms. Only for the officials to signal it had drifted wide left.
So, for all the criticism, it takes real character to step up for a 4th time, with just 1:55 left in overtime, on the road, to convert from 49 yards. You don’t stick around in the NFL for 15 years without the character Mason Crosby showed on Sunday.
As it sailed through the uprights, he turned to the sideline and simply shrugged his shoulders….but that was the kind of day it was – and the Packers improve to 4-1 on top of the NFC North.