On Wednesday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 5.
He has now won 32 Player of the Week awards, extending his record for the most-such awards in NFL history
In a 45-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, Brady completed 30-of-41 passes (73.2 percent) for 411 yards and five touchdowns, earning a 144.4 passer rating. He did not throw an interception for the fourth consecutive game, breaking his own team record by throwing 203 consecutive passes without an interception. Brady led all quarterbacks in Week 5 with his five passing touchdowns and 144.4 passer rating, while finishing second in passing yards.
Brady threw five-or-more touchdown passes in a game for the ninth time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the second-most such games in NFL history. In addition, his 36 regular season games with at least four passing touchdowns surpassed Manning (35) for the second-most such games in league history. The game also marked the 12th regular season game in which Brady has thrown for 400-or-more yards, tying Ben Roethlisberger for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. It was the first game in Brady’s 22-year career that he threw for 400-or-more yards and had five-or-more touchdown passes.
Through Week 5, Brady leads the NFL in passing yards (1,767), ranks second in passing touchdowns (15) and fifth in passer rating (108.5). Since joining Tampa Bay in 2020, Brady ranks first in the NFL in passing yards (6,400) and ranks second in passing touchdowns (55).
Tampa Bay leads the league with its 349.4 passing yards per game and 98 passing first down this season, while ranking third in points scored (33.4). The Buccaneers have recorded 1,747 passing yards as a team so far this season, the eighth-most passing yards through five games in NFL history.
On Monday, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after racist, misogynistic, and homophobic emails came to light from 10 years ago, which were recently detailed in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
The 58-year-old Gruden, who spent seven seasons with the Buccaneers after his first stint coaching the Raiders, won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay in 2002.
In 2017, he was inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor. However, on Tuesday, Tampa Bay decided to remove Gruden’s name from its Ring of Honor.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity, and inclusion for many years,” the team said in a statement. “While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization. Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.”
Gruden returned to coaching in 2018 with Raiders after signing a 10-year, $100 million deal with the team.
The first half for Eagles QB Jalen Hurts against the Panthers on Sunday was not very good. The second-year quarterback was 15/24 for 74 yards, which is 3.1 yards per completion, and ultimately the Eagles trailed 15-6 at halftime.
The second half for Hurts was not great, but it was much better. Hurts led the Eagles on two scoring drives, including the game-winning drive, which he capped off with a six-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 21-18 road victory over the Panthers.
It was Hurts’ first-career game-winning drive, as well as his first-career fourth-quarter comeback, and he finished the game 23/37 for 198 yards, interception, and rushed for 30 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni discussed how Hurts overcame the slow start to lead Philadelphia to victory.
“It was perseverance and his ability to just forget what happened in the first half because everything that we wanted out of that game, which is obviously to win the game, was right there in front of us,” Sirianni said on Monday. “He took advantage of it and played a really good game in the second half. You’re just going to want some throws back, some reads back, and that kind of even extended into the third quarter a little bit for all of us, not just Jalen but the entire offensive unit and coaching staff. But again, it was just completely playing the next play and knowing that the defense was keeping us in the game and keeping us right there. Then it’s just going to take one play to really turn the tide, and he made a heck of a throw then to [WR] Quez [Watkins] to really turn the tide and help that comeback start.”
Fortunately for Hurts, the defense and special teams kept the Eagles in the game on Sunday. Philly picked off Sam Darnold three times, including two by Darius Slay and a blocked punt by T.J. Edwards to set up the game-winning score.
Obviously, with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers coming to town on Thursday night, Philly’s offense and Hurts will have to be much better if they want to get a win.
The last time the Jacksonville Jaguars(0-5) won a game was September 20, 2020, when they defeated the Colts 27-20 in Jacksonville. That was almost 13 months ago, and losing continued on Sunday when they fell to the Titans(3-2) 37-19 at TIAA Bank Field.
With the loss, the Jaguars have lost 20 straight games, and they join the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only teams in NFL history to lose 20 consecutive games.
Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has been apart of five of those 20 straight losses, and at this point, Jacksonville is desperate for a win.
“Desperate for a win, desperate for the way they go to work each day, each week,” Meyer said. “Desperate for a win. But we can’t worry about the past, worry about the future, and a trip to London and try to get a win. Some guys are playing their tails off. But, yeah, we’re desperate for a win.”
Jaguars RB James Robinson, who had 18 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown, has been around for all 20 games.
“You can’t wrap your head around that,” Robinson said about losing 20 straight. “We’ve got to find a way to win. We’re a really good team. Obviously, our record doesn’t show it, but we’ve got a lot of great guys in the locker room, and we’ve just got to find something that’s going to work for us.”
Even as the losses pile up, Meyer believes the team is getting close. Early in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville had an opportunity to get within one score of the Titans. However, Jacksonville was stopped on 4th and goal from the one. According to Meyer, the team has to find a way to close out games.
“We’re not closing it out,” Meyer said. “From the Cardinals on, Cardinals, Bengals, and this one. We go down to score. I’m waiting to see Trevor(Lawrence) get the ball in his hand with a chance to go win the game. We thought we were going to have that at Cincinnati, and then that penalty, and we couldn’t get off the field. Then a similar situation today. If we score on that, we score there, our defense really stiffened up near the end of the game and played high energy, got pressure on the quarterback, stuffed the run, and we didn’t slam it in from the one-inch line, two-inch line.”
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence completed 23-of-33 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown. The number one pick also rushed for a 4-yard TD, which was his second consecutive week with a rushing TD.
Meyer iss happy with what he’s seeing out of Lawrence.
“He’s awesome,” Meyer said about Lawrence. “We all are, the 904; we all are waiting for that. Our teammates are waiting. Just to give him the ball with a chance to go win the game because I think he’ll win it. His practice habits, his toughness, his leadership, it’s getting better each week, like you said.”
No team likes to lose, and no team wants to lose 20 in a row, but Lawrence believes there are brighter days ahead.
“We’re going to win some games,” Lawrence said. “We’re going to turn it around. We all thought today was the day we were going to get that first win, and it wasn’t. We didn’t execute enough down the stretch, but we’re going to figure it out, and we’re going to turn this thing around. It’s going to be a lot of fun when we do.”
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown in the offseason, they knew that he had the potential to make big plays as he’s done throughout his whole career.
On Sunday, that big-play ability was on full display. Brown, who became the fastest player to 900 receptions, caught seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-year touchdown reception as the Buccaneers defeated the Dolphins 45-17 at Raymond James Stadium.
“That is something I am very grateful for, but you know, I couldn’t do it by myself,” Brown said about being the fastest player to 900 receptions. “I’ve been able to play with some great quarterbacks – Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady. It’s a blessing to play with guys like that and be able to get the ball and be on that trajectory.”
The 33-year-old Brown(20 receptions, 325 yards, three touchdowns this season) has had his share of issues off the field, and according to Brown, those issues have made him a better person today.
“In life, we all need conflict,” Brown said. “We all need to go through things to shape our purpose and make us better. If we always sat here and didn’t go through anything, we would not appreciate life, or we wouldn’t be able to grow. I think the things I went through were able to prepare me to grow and make me a better person. I’m glad to be here today.”
Tom Brady, who threw five touchdowns passes on Sunday and developed a close bond with Brown when the two were in New England, gave Brown a lot of credit for keeping his focus on football during the tough times.
“So much, I think since the day we met – obviously I’ve admired him and watched him for a long time and obviously played with him briefly in New England, and [we] just struck up a great relationship, and [I] really wanted to see him get things,” Brady said. “Sometimes things take us away from what we really love to do in football – I think he’s done an incredible job personally of putting a lot of those things aside and just focusing on football and just showing everyone how great he is.”
The Buccaneers have many weapons on the outside in Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin. According to Brady, Tampa Bay has the best wide receivers in football.
“Mike [Evans] is a great player, Chris [Godwin] is a great player, Tyler [Johnson] made some plays,” he said. ‘”So, everybody is really contributing, and it’s fun to see from my standpoint, all these different guys of different ages all kind of coming together as a group and being, I think, the best group of receivers in the league.”
Brown is playing at a fairly high level, which could be bad news for rest of the league.
It’s hard to win in the NFL when you’re at full strength, and it becomes even harder when you’re banged up, and right now, the New York Giants(1-4) are banged up.
Coming into Sunday’s 44-20 loss to the Cowboys(4-1), New York was without wide receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, and during the game, it got worse. Running back Saquon Barkley left with an ankle injury in the first quarter, and QB Daniel Jones went out with a concussion in the second quarter. Also, wide receiver Kenny Golladay left with a knee injury.
“Our guys are going to keep playing,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said after the game. “That’s not even going to be a question. We’re going to play for 60 minutes. You don’t want anybody to get hurt. You don’t want your teammates to get hurt. You don’t want the other team to get hurt, either. I say it all the time, \but that’s just the truth. You want to have everyone come out of the game healthy. That’s part of the philosophy we believe in. In terms of the next-man-up mentality, well, there’s a lot of good examples today in the game. We have guys stepping up, taking on different roles, being productive, making plays.”
It’s rare for a team to lose its number one receiver, quarterback, and running back in the same game; according to Giants RB Devontae Booker, he’s never experienced anything like it.
“Not that I can recall,” Booker said. “It’s always just one or the other. This today, I was just like, damn. It is next man-up mentality, and we all have to go out there and perform and fight our butt off.”
Also, the Giants would lose rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney for another reason. In the fourth quarter, Toney, who caught 10 passes for 189 yards, both career-highs, got involved in a skirmish, which ended with him punching Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee.
After the game, Judge, who escorted Toney off the field, reacted to the rookie’s ejection.
“Look, there’s a pretty distinct line in terms of competing and doing the things we’re not going to condone as a team that put us behind,” Judge said. “That’s not going to be accepted. It’s not going to be condoned. That’s as far as I’m going to go with that. Obviously, it resulted in him leaving the game, and I’m just going to leave it at that right now.”
Without many of their top players, it will be tough sledding for New York, and it doesn’t get easier as they host the Rams next Sunday.
Watch below as Judge reacts to New York’s loss to the Cowboys:
In basketball, it’s the first step that can help you can by a defender, and former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson had one of the best first steps in NBA history. Along with his speed and athleticism, Iverson’s first step helped him to score over 24,000 points in his career and got him inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.
Eagles rookie wideout DeVonta Smith, like Iverson, has an excellent first step and is off to a decent start. Last week against the Chiefs, Smith had his first 100-yard receiving game with seven catches and 122 yards, and he leads the team in receptions and yards.
On Friday, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni compared Smith’s first step to Iverson.
“Yeah, I always consider the jab at the first point of the line of scrimmage,” Sirianni said. “And I think this will resonate with Philadelphia fans, that any time I teach a wide receiver how to release off the line of scrimmage, I have an Allen Iverson clip ready to go.
“And because it’s very much like a crossover. So why was Allen Iverson – I know this is like, ‘Man, why is he talking about basketball?’ Why was Allen Iverson good at the crossover? One thing, and you hear him say this all the time, is that he’s fast; he was quick. And so, people had to react to his first step.
“And so, when he took that hard jab one way, they had to react to it because he was quick, and then he was able to go back the other way. And that’s really what receivers are. And because DeVonta’s fast and because he’s quick and he has a quick, fast first release, first step, they have to react to when he jabs, and then the other thing on top of that, he’s making it a meaningful jab. You know, some receivers will just kind of — I mean, I know you can’t really see what I’m doing, but put their foot in the ground.
“Well, he puts his foot in the ground, he puts his body that way, and puts his head that way to really get them going, and then he crosses them over to, say, on — you know, how Allen Iverson used to do it.
“So that’s what makes him so effective. Again, his first quick step and then his technique in which he does it with how he gets that guying leaning that way and then come off and do it, So that’s exciting because that’s not something a lot of guys have to do a lot in college. And so, he’s just a quick — again, I always felt like he is a technically sound wide receiver, and he was coached really well at Alabama. And he’s a student of the game.
“So, it’s no surprise. And so, he has that understanding to that, too, that you really got to move them to get off the line of scrimmage.”
Well, if Smith is anything like Iverson, the Eagles, and their fans will be happy!
The last time Giants safety Logan Ryan was in Dallas to face the Cowboys; he was involved in a play that changed the course of the Cowboys 2020 season. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was running in the open field and was tackled by Ryan. Prescott fell awkwardly and suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle.
Almost one year later, Prescott is back, and the Cowboys(3-1) are on a three-game winning streak and are on top of the NFC East.
Ryan is happy for Prescott, who signed a four-year, $160 million deal in the offseason, and is excited to play against him and the Cowboys on Sunday.
“He looks really good. He looks healthy, which is great, and he looks like he’s operating as one of the best quarterbacks in football with just how they’re moving the ball and the command he has – great command at the line of scrimmage,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to root for a guy that’s a good guy and had a tough injury, obviously. You’ve got to root for stories like that.
“I just love playing against Dak because he’s a competitor, and I am, and we are. I think we have to lead our units. We’ll go out there, and we’ve got to play the game, but between me and him, I’m happy that he’s back, I’m happy that he’s operating at a high level because I think when you’ve played the game for years, and you’ve won some Super Bowls, and you’ve had some contracts, I think what keeps you in the game is the competition. You want to compete against the best. I think that’s why everyone wants to play against (Buccaneers Quarterback) Tom Brady and play against the best. Dak’s one of the best right now, so we want to play against him, and we want to play well. He’s a great challenge.”
While Prescott was recovering, Ryan sent him books and tried to help Prescott through the rehab process.
“I’ve just been in a similar situation breaking my leg and kind of a guy that’s always been go, go, go having some time (with the) injury, whatever it may be – they put you in a cast and say you can’t do anything for this many weeks, and you don’t want your mind to go stale,” Ryan said. “So, I had some books to help me get through it, and I sent him some books, and apparently it helped him get through it. That was obviously my goal and intention, and just wanted him to come back a great quarterback, and he is.”
Prescott’s injury was horrible to watch, and for some players, being the person who caused a serious injury could leave scars. According to Ryan, that was not the case for him, and he explained why.
“I think last year was just a freakish play, a gruesome injury, but it was a freakish play,” he said. “It was a tackle I’ve made over 500 times in my career, and that one just felt different. To me, I didn’t put much beyond the fact of just hoping that he – it was just unfortunate. But for me, it was just, if I had any ill intent or malicious (intent) or try to go hurt somebody, then I probably couldn’t sleep well at night. Knowing it was just a normal play between two competitors, we’ve got to call it what it is and move on and try to come back better from it.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed cornerback Carlton Davis III(quad) on the Reserve/Injured list, the team announced on Thursday.
On Sunday, Davis injured his quad on special teams in Tampa Bay’s 19-17 victory over the Patriots. The fourth-year corner is expected to miss at least three weeks, but it could be longer. Tampa Bay has been decimated by injuries in the secondary this season, including injuries to Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting.
Last week, the team signed free agent corner Richard Sherman, who made his debut Sunday night.
“I’ve been coaching in this league over 20-21 years, and I’ve had a healthy secondary in maybe three or four of them, so it’s next man up,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said on Thursday. “Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. You’ve got to get them ready to play. It’s our job as coaches to get everybody ready to play when they come in the building. You survive and advance. It’s early in the season. I thought those other guys did a good job stepping in.”
Davis is Tampa Bay’s best corner, so he will definitely be missed, but as Arians said, it’s next man up.