NFL Week 5

Chuck Gruden gets over.

Jim Rome
October 07, 2019 - 10:50 am
Khalil Mack and Derek Carr

USA Today


Now that the dust has settled after everything that went down yesterday in the NFL, I’ve only got one thought: that was one weird-ass NFL Sunday wasn’t it? So weird that the weirdest guy of all, Adam Gase, got really weird and I’m going to have to save that for tomorrow, because of everything else that went down.

If yesterday taught us anything, it’s that nobody knows anything. 

I have said it before and I will say it again: when it comes to the NFL, nobody knows anything.

The Saints are 3-0 without their Hall of Fame quarterback. But I called that. Sort of. The Panthers are 3-0 with their backup. Nobody called that. Ever.

And speaking of the Panthers, remember when some dopes thought that Christian McCaffrey might not be able to handle the workload of a NFL running back? 231 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns later, that take goes right up there next to wide receiver Lamar Jackson.

Does this look like a guy who can’t handle it?

As teammate Brian Burns said: “He's probably like Thor's long-lost brother or something like that. The man's not human. I've never seen somebody jump over a person and make that person hit the other person. I've never seen that ever before in my life.”

And he can still do this.

The crazy thing about football is that it gives you moments like that, and then there are moments like the one involving Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph against Baltimore. Rudolph was scrambling out of the pocket, looking to complete a pass to James Washington, when he was hit by Earl Thomas and Brandon Carr. 

If you haven’t seen the replay, it’s not a bad thing that you haven’t. You might want to keep on avoiding it. Because it is horrifying. It’s the single scariest thing I’ve seen in a sporting event in years. 

It is the stuff of absolute nightmares. 

Offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva ran over to him and appeared to check to make sure Rudolph was still breathing. "His eyes were open and he was breathing, but he wasn’t there. He wasn’t moving. I knew it was a medical emergency."

Juju Smith-Schuster was overcome with emotion and said "I’ve heard of situations where the person's not moving at all and they don't get up. And I was just praying to God that he gets up, and he's our quarterback and he's our guy. I'm praying for a speedy recovery."

That is a reminder of how tough and dangerous this game is. And why I’m always siding with every player to get as much money as he possibly can, because the game can be over in an instant. 

And the crazy thing is, their game has to continue on after that. And while none of it feels like it matters after you see that, all of the games keep going. 

So you somehow have to transition from seeing that hit to the Broncos and the Chargers playing. 

And the Broncos, who have spent the first quarter of the season being in a “world of suck” blowing out the Chargers in the first half in LA. And then hanging on to get their first win of the season 20-13.

Or the Colts losing to the Raiders at home, then going on the road, missing roughly half their team, and taking it to Kansas City in Kansas City. That was a monster performance. 

And speaking of the Raiders, Alvin, hit me with some music (Insert Autumn Wind)

Because those Oakland Raiders went to Indianapolis and won. Then they got on a plane, with a head coach who gets vertigo if he’s on a plane for too long, and flew to London where everyone knew what was going to happen.

They were going to show up and get absolutely humiliated by Khalil Mack and the Bears. That was going to be the beatdown to end all beatdowns and the only question was how many strip-sacks Mack would have. 

And there was a beatdown, except it was Oakland beating down Chicago. The Raiders were up 17-0 before the Bears knew what hit them. 17 straight points in the second quarter against a defense that has caused everyone problems.

Oakland went in at halftime with a three score lead and the world was dumbstruck. 

And then the Raiders went Raider and promptly gave up 21 straight points in the third quarter. And everything was right with the world again. The Raiders would blow this and then everyone could laugh at them. Except they didn’t.

Late in the fourth quarter, trailing 21-17, they went on a 13 play, 97-yard drive, capped off with a Josh Jacobs touchdown.

Oakland rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns against one of the best run defenses in the league. And they did it while missing their best wide receiver, so it should’ve been that much easier to stop their run. But they kept on running. 

That was macho as hell and impressive as hell. Almost as impressive as the fact that the Raiders offensive line kept Mack pretty much under wraps. He had three tackles, a quarterback hit, and a fumble recovery, which is a strong game, but nowhere near the dominant showing that everyone expected. 

Let’s be clear: as awesome as that win was for the Raiders, that doesn’t mean that trading Mack was a good idea. It’s still a terrible idea, but they got themselves a really nice win. And right now, the Autumn Wind has to sound pretty damn good to Raider fans.