NFL Week Five: Two Controversial Concussions To RG3 And Matt Cassell Lead to Two Very Different Reactions
Week 5 in the NFL had no shortage of news-worthy story lines. From Drew Brees' record setting first win of the season, to the Indianapolis Colts toppling the Green Bay Packers in honour or their head coach, Chuck Pagano, recently diagnosed with leukaemia. There was also a fair share of controversy, not least of which regarding concussions suffered by two quarterbacks—Matt Cassel and Robert Griffin III—and the reactions that followed. Rarely will you find two quarterbacks with such diametrically opposed fan support. Latter is widely haled as the savior of the Washington Redskins franchise, with fans willing to overlook almost any and all mistakes and missteps, while the former is generally considered the cause of all that ails the Kansas City Chiefs. In Sunday's games, both men suffered concussions, both would leave the field, neither would return, and controversy would immediately follow both teams.
It was not only the Cardinals perfect record that was put to an end during their loss to the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. Jay Feely's perfect season also came crashing down when he missed a very makable 40 yard field goal late in the second quarter.
Feely's miss was almost unfathomably costly.
The game would certainly have had a very different feel at 7-6 coming out of the half. Worse still, the missed field goal early in the game robbed Feely of a shot of redemption later.
Playing from behind as they were, the Cardinals were forced to attempt not one, but two fourth down attempts in the red zone later in the game, both of which failed. Both attempts would have been practicality gimme's for Feely had the game been a little closer.
Now, Feely has an unusually long wait before his next game. He has already been forced to face two days of scrutiny, and still has more than a full week to allow the miss to play on his mind.
The Arizona Cardinals entered Thursday night's game against the St. Louis Rams as some of the golden boys of the NFL, hoping, and likely believing that they would enter their mini-bye week at 5-0. Though no-one ever expected the game to be a cake-walk, the general consensus amongst the media, fans and team appeared to be that the Cardinals could, and should, leave the prime-time showdown with thier divisional rivals victorious.
What they got, however, was a wake up call, and brutal reminder of why the NFC West may just be the toughest division in the NFL.
The game was ugly for both teams, and the 17-3 scoreline barely tells the story of just how well, and how badly both teams performed in various phases of the game.
Whenever a team loses a game, much of the blame immediately falls at the feet of the quarterback, especially when that quarterback failed to post any touchdowns on three trips into the red zone.
The Arizona Cardinals (4-0) are off to their best start in 38 years following their 24-21 come-from-behind win in overtime against the Miami Dolphins (1-3). The Cardinals struggled in every phase of the game at various times, and the Dolphins impressive passing game appeared to have assured them of a win for most of the game. However, Cardinals resilience saw them battle back and take the game into overtime—familiar territory for the both teams—where the Dolphins once again suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss, and the Cardinals secured the teams longest home winning streak in 87 years. In the end, a few big defensive plays and a few competent Cardinals offensive drives were enough to sugar coat the team's other deficiencies, and white-wash the Dolphins' otherwise spectacular offensive performance.
The Cardinals have a short week to prepare for their division rival St. Louis Rams (2-2) this Thursday night, while the Dolphins travel to Cincinnati to face 3-1 Bengals on Sunday. Both teams clearly have a lot to learn from the game, but who were the real winners and losers?
For the third time in as many week's, the Arizona Cardinals entered their game as underdogs. For the third time in as many weeks, the Cardinals saw off their opponents, and sent a message to their doubters.
By starting the season 3-0, for the first time since 1974, the Arizona Cardinals are forcing the league to take notice. Any lingering doubts about if the team are the real deal were put firmly to rest when the Cardinals demolished the Philadelphia Eagles 27-6.
The result gave both Cardinals fans and detractors a lot to chew on, and here are the five biggest things we learned.
1. The Cardinals Defense is an Elite Unit.
For a while now, people have been paying attention to Ray Horton's unit, but most have stopped short of calling them elite, and even fewer would dare suggest that they are in contention to be named the top defense in the NFL.
Well, I'm just gonna come right out and say it. Their defense is elite, and may just be the best in the NFL right now.