NFL 2018: Week 5 in the AFC South Was Very Interesting
By Julie Voigt
Special to Pro Football Guru
What a week in the AFC South.
Let’s first look back at Thursday Night Football in Foxborough as a very-injured Indianapolis Colts’ team renewed its rivalry with the New England Patriots. The Colts fell to the Patriots, 38-24, but quarterback Andrew Luck was indeed a bright spot. He showed that his 2017 shoulder surgery should no longer be a concern. Meanwhile, a lot of penalties, injuries and dropped passes played a huge role in this loss.
Against the Patriots, Luck hit on 38 of his 59 tosses for 365 yards and three touchdowns, albeit with a pair of interceptions. Four days earlier in the team’s 37-34 overtime loss to the Houston Texans, he connected on 40-of-62 passes for 464 yards and four scores without a pick. And the zip appears to be back on his throws.
Although Frank Reich will never use injuries as an excuse for a loss, his team played without a number of key players in wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, left tackle Anthony Castonzo, tight end Jack Doyle and running back Marlon Mack. And rising rookie linebacker Darius Leonard was injured during the contest.
Down 24-3 at the half, the Colts narrowed the lead to seven points early in the fourth quarter. But the team’s record dropped to 1-4 after a third straight loss.
The Colts face the New York Jets next week in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Todd Bowles’s team is coming off a 34-16 win over the Denver Broncos.
But save for the Houston Texans, it was a rough Week 5 for the vast majority of the AFC South. The first-place Tennessee Titans lost on Sunday to the Bills, 13-12. Buffalo’s defense showed up in the one-point victory. The game plan was give the ball to veteran running back LeSean McCoy.
“It was a big (emphasis) this week. Real big,” stated wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to ESPN’s Mike Rodak after the game. “I felt like (it was) Buffalo football, so we got to control the scrimmage and get that defense going backward. Get the ball in Shady’s hands. Get the ball in (Chris) Ivory’s hands. Let the boys do what they do.” Buffalo ran for 144 yards against the Titans’ defense.
An undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team faced off with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Doug Marrone’s team fell to 3-2 via a 30-14 loss. Andy Reid’s club is the only undefeated squad in the AFC. And NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadiha said it best after the game. “The Jaguars were supposed to be the team with all the greatness and grit on defense. The Chiefs wound up being the squad that produced five sacks and forced five turnovers, including four interceptions by beleaguered Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles.” Next week, the Jaguars will battle the Cowboys in Arlington.
Speaking of Dallas, the Houston Texans knocked off Jason Garrett’s club in overtime, 19-16. Deshaun Watson completed 33-of-44 passes for 375 yards for one score and an interception. The big play came in the extra session when DeAndre Hopkins took a high Watson pass and wound his way through the Dallas’ secondary for 49 yards and set up the game-winning field goal. The Texans will host the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
It is amazing what one week can do to an entire division. And it’s safe to say that the AFC South is up for grabs. Stay tuned.
Julie Voigt, a former contributor for NFL Female (now OurTurf Football) is a freelance NFL writer. You can find her on Twitter (@SwhrtColtsFan13), Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.