The Atlanta Falcons had high hopes going into the 2019 season, and just five weeks into the year, they're already on the verge of collapse. If you watched Super Bowl LI, then you already know that no team does collapsing better than the Falcons.
In what could end up going down as their most embarrassing loss of the season, the Falcons got beat in every way that an NFL team can get beat during Sunday's 53-32 loss to the Texans. As a matter of fact, the loss was so bad that Falcons owner Arthur Blank was asked after the game if he might consider making a coaching change.
"No," Blank said, via ESPN.com. "This staff has performed before. My hope is they can fix what needs to be fixed and start winning some games."
Well Arthur, the problem with that is that literally everything needs to be fixed, and that became clear after the loss in Houston. One of the reasons the Falcons hired Dan Quinn is because of his ability to design a strong defense, but he clearly couldn't come up with anything to stop Deshaun Watson, who threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns.
The Falcons gave up 592 yards of total offense to the Texans, which is the most they've given up since 2002 and the third most they've given up in franchise history. The 53 points scored by Houston was also a black eye for Atlanta. The Texans' point total was the most that any team had scored on the Falcons since 2004. Basically, it was a historically bad performance.
Week 5 Sunday is in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately Will Brinson, John Breech, and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here for daily NFL goodness.
The most embarrassing part for the Falcons is that they couldn't get any pressure on Watson, which has been one of the easiest things to accomplish for any NFL defense this season. Going into Week 5, Watson had been sacked 18 times on the year, which is an average of 4.5 times per game and was the third-worst total of any team in the league.
So what did the Falcons do against Houston's offensive line? Absolutely nothing.
In a game where Watson threw 33 passes, he was sacked zero times and only hit once, which allowed him to make throws like this.
After holding the Texans offense to a punt on its first possession, the Falcons didn't force another punt for the rest of the game.
The 1-4 Falcons have a lot issues that need to be fixed, and it's starting to look like Quinn might not be the guy to fix them, even if Blank thinks that he can. One issue that's been plaguing Quinn is his inability to beat AFC teams. Including their loss to Houston, the Falcons are now 1-12 in their past 13 regular season games against the AFC.
The good news for the Falcons is that they get the Cardinals in Week 6, which is the ideal opponent to face when you're trying to fix things. However, after that game the Falcons play the Rams, Seahawks and Saints in consecutive weeks, which means they could be out of the playoff race before Thanksgiving, and if that happens, Blank might actually have to think about making a move.
Houston 53-32 over Atlanta
|It's hard to say what the Falcons' biggest problem was in this game: their defense or the ground game. Although the Falcons got off to a hot start on offense, they couldn't get anything going on the ground in Houston with just 57 yards on 20 carries (2.85 yards per carry). Although Matt Ryan kept the Falcons in this game with three touchdown passes and a one-yard run for a score, he also iced the Texans win with a pick-six late in the fourth quarter. The Falcons are now 0-3 on the road this year, which isn't good news for a team that will be hitting the road against in Week 6 (at Arizona).|
|For the first time all season, Deshaun Watson didn't get sacked, and we finally got to see what he's capable of when he actually gets some protection. Watson, who was only hit one time in the game, threw for a career-high 426 yards and tied a career-high with five touchdowns. Although the Falcons were able to slow down DeAndre Hopkins, they had no answer for Will Fuller, who caught 14 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. The Texans' yardage (592) and point totals totals were their second highest in franchise history.|
New England 33-7 over Washington
|Bill Belichick would probably give his team an F for the way they started in Washington, but we don't grade quite as harshly as he does. Although the Patriots started slow, they figured things out in the second half. After rushing for just 19 yards in the first half, the Patriots steamrolled the Redskins for 111 yards in the second half, led by Sony Michel, who had 91 yards and a touchdown in the win. The second half was also easier for Tom Brady, who was sacked zero times in the game's final two quarters after a brutal first half where he was taken down four times. With more time to throw, Brady ended up shredding the Redskins for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the win. |
|The only reason this isn't an F is because the Redskins managed to do something that no other team in the NFL has done this year: hold a lead against the Patriots. The Redskins grabbed a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after a Steven Sims 65-yard TD run and manage to hold it for nearly 14 minutes before the Redskins turned back into the Redskins. This game was close for the better part of the three quarters thanks to a Washington defense that mostly shut down Tom Brady in the early part of the game. |
Arizona 26-23 over Cincinnati
|When the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray with the top overall pick in this year's draft, this is the kind of game they were hoping to see from him. Not only did the rookie throw for 253 yards, but he also rushed for a 93 yards and a touchdown. The biggest run by Murray was a 24-yarder that came with under a minute to play in regulation. The big run set up the Zane Gonzalez's game-winning field goal as time expired. Thanks in large part to Murray, the Cardinals totaled 514 yards in Cincinnati, marking the just the fourth time the Cards have cracked the 400-yard mark since 2000. |
|If the Bengals were only being graded on the first half, they'd get an F- due to disastrous play from a Cincinnati offense that put up just 90 yards. Andy Dalton had an especially bad half -- 4 of 10 for 22 yards -- but then recovered in the second half by going 23 of 28 for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Boyd single-handedly kept the Bengals in this game with 10 catches for 123 yards, including a 42-yard TD catch with two minutes left to play that tied things up at 23. The Bengals defense surrendered 514 yards, marking the second time this season that they've surrendered 500 or more yards. To put that in perspective, NFL defenses have only given up 10 500-yard games all season, and the Bengals have two of them. |
Buffalo 14-7 over Tennessee
|Josh Allen wasn't perfect against the Titans, but he did come through in the clutch for Buffalo. Allen led a 77-yard drive in the fourth quarter for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. On the drive, Allen completed a 46-yard pass to Isaiah McKenzie and a seven-yard TD to Duke Williams. Defensively, Bills defensive tackle Jordan Phillips had his way with Tennessee, as he racked up three of Buffalo's five sacks in the game. The combination of an unstoppable defense paired with slightly above average quarterback play from Allen seems to be working well of the Bills through five weeks.|
|Although the Titans offensive line had an ugly day, no one had an uglier day for Tennessee than Cairo Santos, who missed all four field goals that he attempted against the Bills. The misses came from all over field -- 53, 33, 36 and 50 -- and were extremely costly in the one-score loss. Basically, the Titans might be looking for a new kicker heading into Week 6. As for the Titans' offensive line, they went into the game surrendering the third most sacks of any unit in the NFL, and things didn't get any better against Buffalo. Marcus Mariota was sacked five times and was under pressure for most of the game. |
Philadelphia 31-6 over N.Y. Jets
|Instead of looking at the negatives in this game for the Jets -- and there were a lot of negative -- let's look at the positives. For one, the Jets were able to convert 3 of 14 third downs in the game, and although that's a horrible conversion rate for most teams, it was basically a moral victory for the Jets, who converted their first third down since Week 2 on Sunday. Also, the Jets got an offensive touchdown against Philly, marking the first time since Week 1 that they've scored an offensive TD. Don't let any of that fool you though, the Jets are a disaster and they played like a disaster against the Eagles. |
|Philadelphia's defense was so good against the Jets that the Eagles probably could have left their offense at home for this game. Going up against an overmatched Jets offense, the Eagles defensive line racked up 10 sacks with three of those coming from Brandon Graham. The 10 sacks were the most the Eagles have had in a game since 2007. The constant pressure on Jets quarterback Luke Falk forced him into making multiple mistakes, including a first quarter pick-six that Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry returned 51 yards for a touchdown. Orlando Scandrick also had an 44-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter, meaning the Eagles defense ended up outscoring the Jets 14-7. |
Carolina 34-27 over Jacksonville
|The mustache magic finally ran out on Gardner Minshew. For the first time this season, the Jaguars rookie quarterback actually played like a rookie quarterback. Although Minshew put up decent numbers (374 yards, two touchdowns), he lost three fumbles, which turned into two Carolina touchdowns. The ugliest fumble came in the second quarter and was returned for a score by the Panthers' Brian Burns. Despite the errors, the Jags were able to stay in this game thanks to a phenomenal performance from D.J. Chark (eight catches, 164 yards, two touchdowns) and an equally impressive showing from Leonard Fournette (27 touches, 137 yards, one TD). |
|If the Panthers offense has been good at one thing this season, it's getting the ball to Christian McCaffrey as often as possible, and to the surprise of no one, they kept feeding their star running back against the Jags. In what might have been the best performance of his career, McCaffrey totaled 237 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 25 touches (176 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, 61 yards and one touchdown through the air). The yardage total matched a career-high for McCaffrey, who's biggest play of the game was an 84-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. As for the Panthers defense, although it got lit up for 507 yards, it did force three key turnovers. |
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
|Tampa was in this game for most of the afternoon, and technically, they had a realistic chance at a comeback. It says something that they were even close, considering they went down a couple scores on the road. But Bruce Arians was too conservative when he needed to be aggressive, and this secondary once again proved mostly incapable of stopping anything when it counted.|
|We knew their defensive line would give Jameis Winston some trouble, but they also locked down Mike Evans and O.J. Howard. Even more importantly, they found a way to make plays offensively without leaning solely on Alvin Kamara, unleashing Teddy Bridgewater against Tampa's porous secondary and proving, even without Drew Brees, they have what it takes to beat anyone.|
Buccaneers-Saints grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Minnesota 28-10 over N.Y. Giants
|Minnesota dominated in all phases of the game against New York. Kirk Cousins came out of his shell in the passing game, Dalvin Cook was a force in the backfield and the defense put constant pressure on Daniel Jones all afternoon. There's really not too much to nitpick, but some of the late offensive play calling where they elected to pass in situations where they could have simply run out the clock was puzzling. |
|The Giants didn't play that poorly. They are simply a less talented team overall than Minnesota as currently constructed. Daniel Jones showed strong poise against what was his toughest opponent yet. Losing Wayne Gallman early was killer to the run game and hurt New York's aerial attack too. Defensively, New York had no answer for Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen, but did have their moments. It just wasn't enough to get the win. |
Vikings-Giants grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 26-23 over Pittsburgh (OT)
|While it wasn't pretty, Baltimore did a great job working in concert to get the overtime win in Pittsburgh. While Baltimore's defense forced two key turnovers that included Marlon Humphrey's forced fumble and recovery in overtime, the Ravens' offense scored three times following a Steelers score. Baltimore's defense completely shut down Pittsburgh's Wildcat, while the Ravens' offense rushed for 138 yards that included 70 from Jackson, who just was able to make up for his three interceptions. The Ravens did, however, nearly lose to a team that played the majority of the first half with an undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges. Jackson's passing as well as Baltimore's pass defense will have to improve if the Ravens are going to remain in first place in the AFC North.|
|The Steelers almost winning with Devlin Hodges under center for most of the second half is a kudos to both Hodges as well as Pittsburgh's offensive coaching staff. That being said, the Steelers' costly turnovers -- an interception from running back Jaylen Samuels off the Wildcat and JuJu Smith-Schuster's fumble in overtime -- is a large reason why the Steelers are in serious jeopardy of suffering their first losing season in 15 years. And while the Steelers' defense has had success recording sacks (they had five on Sunday) and recording turnovers (Pittsburgh forced three on Sunday), they continue to struggle against the run. They are also struggling to come up with key stops, allowing Baltimore to score immediately following scores by the Steelers' offense during the second half.|
Ravens-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Oakland 24-21 over Chicago in London
|Even with a backup quarterback, the Bears were favored in this matchup because of their defense. Chicago is thought to have the best defensive unit in the league, but they allowed the Raiders to score the first 17 points of the game. Wimpy arm tackles and inconsistent pressure marred this performance. Chase Daniel was decent and Allen Robinson had a breakout game, but the main takeaway for Chicago in this one is that the Raiders marched 97 yards down the field on 13 plays for a game-winning score.|
|The Raiders played a backup quarterback and were inconsistent on both sides of the ball, but they found a way to win and that's what matters in this league. The defense pressured Chase Daniel all game long, Josh Jacobs rushed for his first 100-yard game and the Raiders dominated time of possession. Jon Gruden has now recorded his first back-to-back victories since taking over this team last year, and the Raiders have a winning record.|
Bears-Raiders grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Denver 20-13 over L.A. Chargers
|The Broncos showcased all the problems that had them off to an 0-4 start in the first place, but this time the defense played at the level head coach Vic Fangio believed they would at the beginning of the season. The Broncos held the Chargers to 13 points and didn't give up an offensive touchdown, forced three turnovers, and held the Chargers' high-powered offense to 246 yards on the day. Denver didn't even have a sack in the game, making the performance all the more impressive. Philip Rivers had 48 pass attempts for only 211 yards as the Chargers only managed 3.8 yards per play. Denver still played inconsistent on offense (only having two field goals after scoring touchdowns on the first two possessions) and gave up a special teams touchdown, but was able to finish the job and get into the win column.|
|Not a banner day for the Chargers offense, which had just 246 yards and only averaged 3.8 yards per play. Los Angeles had two red zone turnovers that cost the Chargers 14 points on the field an an opportunity to erase a 17-point deficit and beat the Broncos. The Chargers defense held the Broncos to 195 yards on their final nine possessions, getting two interceptions, but the offense failed to get a touchdown even though they had two possessions that took them inside the Broncos' 2-yard line but scored zero points. The Chargers don't have an offensive identity, and the return of Melvin Gordon (16 touches, 38 yards) didn't help. |
Broncos-Chargers grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Green Bay 34-24 over Cowboys
|For the Packers, both the defense and offense were locked in from minute one. When an unfocused Amari Cooper tipped a would-be touchdown pass to Jaire Alexander for an interception in the first quarter, it turned out to be an omen of things to come. The Packers went down to score on that takeaway on the legs of Aaron Jones, who ended up with a career day that included four touchdowns. It also wasn't until late in the fourth quarter that the Cowboys figured out how to sack Aaron Rodgers, who had already proven he didn't need team-best receiver Davante Adams to win -- although he would've if the Cowboys had decided to play football on Sunday. They didn't, though, and got embarrassed on their own field in Week 5. So, why didn't Green Bay land an easy A? Well, because of the late-game rally that had head coach Matt LaFleur sweating in his headset.|
|This grade was an F for more than 2 1/2 quarters of play, because the Cowboys didn't run onto the field to play this game as much as they rolled out of a casket and were dragged onto the field by their heels. The Packers had their number early, and a slew of penalties and poor execution -- in an otherwise stellar gameplan from offensive coordinator Kellen Moore -- combined with a defensive effort that was nothing more than a matador for an angry bull named Aaron Jones, and it took an improbable and still-messy late game surge to make the score respectable. The on-the-field play was not, however, and easily the worst product the Cowboys have put on the field this season. |
Packers-Cowboys grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Indianapolis 19-13 over Kansas City
|The Colts didn't have their best defensive player (Darius Leonard) or either of their starting safeties (Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers), but they still somehow managed to shut down the Chiefs thanks to one of the most impressive defensive performances from any team this season. The Colts harassed Patrick Mahomes for four straight quarters and end up sacking him four times, which was especially impressive since Mahomes had only been sacked three times total the entire season going into the game. Justin Houston got revenge on his old team by racking up one of those sacks on a night where he had two tackles for a loss. The Colts also got a huge performance from Marlon Mack, who kept the clock running with a bruising performance that saw him rush for 132 yards on 29 carries. |
|For the first time in Patrick Mahomes' career, the Chiefs offense got absolutely shut down. Before Sunday night, Kansas City's previous lowest scoring total with Mahomes was 26 points. The Chiefs offense failed for multiple reasons. For one, the Colts defensive front abused Kansas City's offensive line for a total of four sacks. Mahomes also injured his ankle early in the game, which mostly took away the scrambling element from Kansas City's offense. Mahomes also lost leading receiver Sammy Watkins, who left the game in the first quarter and didn't return. The Colts also did a great job of keeping Kansas City's offense off the field. The Chiefs only had the ball for 22:45 in the game, which is the lowest time of possession they've ever had under Andy Reid. In the past 60 games where an NFL team has had less than 23 minutes of possession, those teams have gone 6-54. |
San Francisco 31-3 over Cleveland
|With the eyes of America watching on Monday night, the Browns absolutely melted down in the national spotlight. Every thing that could go wrong did go wrong for the Browns in this game. Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions, including a goal line pick that bounced off of Antonio Callaway. Mayfield only completed 8 for 22 passes and never looked comfortable. Odell Beckham was shut down for the third straight week (two catches, 27 yards) and the Browns defense got steamrolled by the 49ers ground attack that totaled 275 yards. The Browns didn't even put up 200 yards of offense, which was an especially embarrassing showing, considering a big reason Freddie Kitchens was hired was to keep the offense performing at a high-level. To put in perspective just how bad the Browns were on offense, they only totaled 180 yards, which is a number that Hue Jackson's Browns only went under once during his tenure. |
|It wasn't turn back the clock night in San Francisco on Monday, but it felt like it, and that's because the 49ers won this game the old-fashioned way: They ran all over their opponent on offense and then played smash-mouth defense. Matt Brieda started things off with an 83-yard TD run on the 49ers first play from scrimmage and that basically set the tone for the night for a San Francisco rushing attack that finished with 275 yards, the 49ers highest rushing total since 2014. Besides Breida, who finished with 114 yards, the 49ers almost had another 100-yard rusher in Tevin Coleman, who finished with 97. The star of the game might have been Nick Bosa, who harassed Baker Mayfield all game while tallying two of San Francisco's four sacks. The only minor hiccup in this game for the 49ers came from Robbie Gould, who hit just 1 of 4 field goals on a night where his snapper and holder both struggled. |