A dominant performance by an Aaron led Green Bay to a massive road victory Sunday in Dallas.
It wasn’t Aaron Rodgers, though, who did the dominating. It was running back Aaron Jones who scored four touchdowns in the Packers’ 34-24 win over the Cowboys at Jerry World.
Jones, the first Packer with four rushing touchdowns since Dorsey Levens in 1999, found the end zone twice in each half, doubling his season total to eight, most in the league through five weeks. He also became the first player to score four rushing TDs against Dallas in its history.
The Cowboys (3-2) opened the season with wins against the Giants (pre-Daniel Jones), and winless Washington and Miami, but they since have lost to two 4-1 teams in the NFC, New Orleans and Green Bay.
“Two challenging games, didn’t get it done in either of them the last few weeks,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “You can’t turn the ball over three times and we have to do a better job defending the run.
“That was the biggest issue on defense, they ran the ball too easily against us.”
After a potential pass interference review did not go his way, Garrett also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the third quarter for abusive language while slamming his red challenge flag to the ground in the vicinity of an official.
“Obviously, I didn’t handle that situation as well as I should have,” he said. “I knew we were going to get the play. … Apparently he didn’t like how I threw the flag.”
Dak Prescott threw for a career-high 463 yards as the Cowboys attempted a furious rally from a 31-3 hole with 3:30 left in the third quarter, but he also was picked off twice in first half and again in the fourth.
Playing without wide receiver Davante Adams (turf toe), Green Bay’s attack leaned more on Jones than Rodgers, who went 22-for-38 for 238 yards and no touchdowns. The third-year running back totaled 182 yards from scrimmage, including 107 on 19 carries. Jones had rushed for only 21 yards on 13 attempts in a Week 4 loss to Philadelphia.
Dallas closed to within 34-24 on three touchdowns in the final 18 minutes — passes to Michael Gallup (40 yards) and Amari Cooper (53) sandwiched around a 2-yard scoring run by Ezekiel Elliott. After a 28-yard field goal was pulled off the board due to a false start penalty, kicker Brett Maher pushed a 33-yarder wide right with 1:52 remaining.
DOWN GOES MAHOMES
The Chiefs fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Sunday night in a stifling performance by the Indianapolis defense.
Unlike in last week’s win against Detroit, Patrick Mahomes was unable to complete a late comeback for a second consecutive game as the Colts held on for an impressive 19-13 road victory.
Jacoby Brissett scrambled for a first-quarter touchdown and 46-year-old all-time NFL scoring leader Adam Vinatieri kicked four field goals for the Colts (3-2), leaving the Patriots as the only unbeaten team in the AFC.
Former Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston stopped Damien Williams behind the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-1 around midfield with 5:01 remaining.
JUST WIN, OLD CHAP
Khalil Mack had to go all the way to bloody England to lose his revenge game against the Raiders.
Jon Gruden’s surging team won for a third straight week, holding on against Mack and the Bears, 24-21, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
“I know they have a good run defense and pass rush, but no one talks about our guys,” Gruden said after the win. “We’re making progress. We have some injuries to deal with, but we’re all pounding the rock and working hard.”
Mack declined to talk to reporters after the game, even though he smiled and said “I like that word” last week when asked if he had any vindictiveness towards Gruden. The 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was dealt to Chicago for two first-round picks and four other selections before the 2018 season.
The Bears fifth-ranked defense in yards allowed this season spotted the Raiders a 17-0 halftime lead, before Chicago backup quarterback Chase Daniel led three scoring drives in the third, including two touchdown tosses to Allen Robinson, for a 21-17 turnaround.
Josh Jacobs, draft by Oakland this year with the Bears’ first-rounder, ran for 123 yards on 26 carries and scored two touchdowns, including a 2-yard run with 1:57 remaining to retake the lead.
British actress Sophie Turner, who played Sansa Stark on “Game of Thrones,” wore a Bears jersey on the sidelines even though her family’s sigil was a direwolf.
“To all the Bears fans, I’m here and I’m repping you. Shout out Chicago Bears,” she said in a tweeted video.
Gruden said afterward he was “disappointed” that most of the crowd seemed to be pulling for Chicago. He also was caught on camera during the fourth quarter not exactly speaking the Queen’s English, saying, “Who called that f—ing timeout?”
THE COMEBACK KIDS!
It wasn’t quite 25 points against Atlanta in the Super Bowl, but the Patriots posted their first comeback win of the season Sunday.
Of course, that’s only because Redskins back Steven Sims busted a 65-yard touchdown run barely five minutes into the first quarter for winless Washington, giving New England its first deficit all season through a 5-0 start.
Tom Brady threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the perfect Pats’ 33-7 victory, surpassing Brett Favre for third place on the NFL’s all-time list with 71,293 passing yards. The 42-year-old Brady is just 17 yards behind Peyton Manning for second place, with injured Saints QB Drew Brees still comfortably ahead by nearly 3,000 yards.
Former Jets kicker Mike Nugent, replacing the injured Stephen Gostkowski (hip surgery), missed an early extra point but hit his next three and also was 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts.
The Patriots have allowed just 34 points through five games, and 14 of them came on a muffed punt and a pick-six against the Jets in Week 3.
HE’S NUMBER ONE
First-overall draft pick Kyler Murray got on the board with his first career win, rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 253 yards in Arizona’s 26-23 victory over 0-5 Cincinnati.
“We needed to win this game, just for the morale of the team,” Murray said.
Murray had a key 24-yard scamper to set up Zane Gonzalez’s tiebreaking 31-yard field goal as time expired to complete what also was the first NFL win for new head coach Kliff Kingsbury following an 0-2-1 start.
The Cowboys, already without starting left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle), lost right tackle La’el Collins in the third quarter with a knee injury.
THE HURT LOCKER
The Steelers were already without Ben Roethlisberger for the season, and backup quarterback Mason Rudolph appeared to be knocked out cold briefly in the third quarter of a 26-23 overtime loss to Baltimore.
Veteran safety Earl Thomas received a roughing the passer penalty but was not ejected for a high hit on Rudolph, who simultaneously was hit from behind by Brandon Carr on a third-down throw.
A stretcher was brought out to the field, and Juju Smith-Schuster was shown on TV in tears as medical personnel cut off Rudolph’s facemask, but the second-year QB eventually got to his feet and was helped to the locker room. He appeared extremely wobbly, but mouthed “I’m good” to teammates, as he departed, and was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
“I hit the strike zone like we talk about. I didn’t go high. I didn’t intentionally try to hurt him,” Thomas told ESPN after the game. “I’m worried about him. I heard he’s at the hospital. My prayers go out to him and his family. I’ve never tried to hurt anybody.”
After the game, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported from a Heinz Field source that the cart on the field “failed due to operator error, not because it broke down,” but that Rudolph “wanted to walk off the field.”
Devlin Hodges an undrafted rookie out of Samford, an FCS school, replaced Rudolph and helped get Pittsburgh to overtime (7-for-9, 68 yards, plus two scrambles for 20 yards). But Smith-Schuster fumbled in overtime to set up Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s fourth field goal of the game, a 46-yarder with 5:31 remaining in overtime. … Lamar Jackson threw a season-high three picks for Baltimore, one more than he’d totaled in the first four weeks. … Titans kicker Cairo Santos missed all four field-goal attempts (one blocked) in a 14-7 loss to 4-1 Buffalo. Jordan Phillips had three of the Bills’ five sacks of Marcus Mariota. Josh Allen threw for two TDs and ran for a game-sealing first down late in the fourth quarter. … Jacksonville wide receiver DJ Chark (do-do-do, do-ta-do) has five touchdown catches through five weeks, going 8-164 with two scores from Gardner Minshew in a 34-27 loss to Carolina. … The Broncos defense held the Chargers to 246 total yards in a 20-13 win, their first of the season. The Chargers’ lone touchdown was a 68-yard punt return by Desmond King.
1.Deshaun Watson, Texas quarterback
After posting just 10 points last week against Carolina, the Georgia native and former Falcons ball boy threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Will Fuller (14-217), in a 53-32 win over Atlanta.
2.Christian McCaffrey, Panthers running back
Carolina has won three straight without Cam Newton, and their do-it-all running back has been the biggest reason. He totaled 237 yards (176 rushing) and three touchdowns, including an 84-yard burst in a 34-28 win over Jacksonville.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, Saints quarterback
New Orleans also is 3-0 without Drew Brees, and Bridgewater had his best game of the season, completing 26 of 34 passes for 314 yards and four scores, including two to Michael Thomas (11-182).
Quote of the Day
“That’s who he is. He doesn’t blink. He just makes plays, with his arm and his leg.”
— Cardinals first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury after his and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray’s first NFL win, 26-23 over Cincinnati.
- It was Will Fuller Day in Houston. The explosive receiver hauled in 14 receptions on 16 targets for a whopping 217 yards and three TDs — the 53.7 PPR fantasy points being the highest of the year heading into Sunday night’s Colts-Chiefs game. Fuller’s 16 targets were more than twice as many as he had in any previous game. His 87.5 percent catch rate far exceeded his previous average this season (60.9). Plus, DeAndre Hopkins is due to break out of his fantasy funk, which would cut into Fuller’s potential future production. Shop Fuller this week when his value has spiked.
- Jaguars rookie D.J. Chark (eight catches, 164 yards, two TDs on Sunday) has scored fewer than 17.6 PPR points just once all season. Put him in your starting lineup and keep him there every week until further notice.
- Squeaky wheel alert: Adam Thielen had season-highs with seven catches, 130 yards and two TDs after voicing complaints regarding the offense/his role. Message to Stefon Diggs: Complain louder.