NFL Week 5 grades: Giants get an ‘A+’ for upset in London; Steelers get an ‘F’ for blowout loss to Bills –

The Giants have been to London three times and all three times, they’ve come away with a victory and it’s probably safe to say their most recent win was also their most improbable one. 

On paper, it didn’t seem like the Giants were going to have much of a chance to beat the Packers on Sunday, but the Giants clearly don’t read the paper. In front of a raucous crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Giants were able to steal a 27-22 win in a game that no one thought they could win. Not only did they go into Week 5 with a banged-up starting quarterback (Daniel Jones), but they were also missing several key receivers. 

And to be honest, it was actually worse than that. Here’s what the Giants were dealing with this week: 

Daniel Jones nursed an ankle injury this week.

The Giants were without WRs Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shephard, Kadarius Toney, & Wan’Dale Robinson.

Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari were inactive.

Adoree Jackson left the game.

The Giants beat the Packers to move to 4-1.

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports)

With his options limited on offense, Giants coach Brian Daboll decided to throw the kitchen sink at the Packers: He devised a game plan with offensive coordinator Mike Kafka that kept the Giants offense one step ahead of the Packers defense for nearly the entire game. 

The Giants saved their most unique plays for the red zone. Their first touchdown of the game for New York came on a 2-yard run from Daniel Bellinger that was way more exciting than your standard 2-yard run. 

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📺: @NFLnetwork

— New York Giants (@Giants)

That score came in the second quarter and cut the Packers’ lead to 17-10. 

In the second half, the Giants were even better on offense, scoring on each of their first three possessions. A big reason they were able to do that was because of the play of Saquon Barkley. After briefly leaving the game in the third quarter due to a shoulder injury, Barkley stormed back on the field to come up with two of the biggest plays of the game for New York. 

The first one came on a short crosser from Jones that Barkley was able to turn into a 41-yard gain. 

More Saquon highlights?
More Saquon highlights.

📺: @nflnetwork

— New York Giants (@Giants)

Four plays after that, Barkley lined up in Wildcat formation on a play where he ended up getting in the end zone for what ended up being the game-winning touchdown. 

He’s here!
He’s there!
He’s every —where!

📺: @nflnetwork

— New York Giants (@Giants)

Barkley carried the ball 13 times for 70 yards on a day where he gashed the Packers defense with 5.38 yards per rush. 

Although Barkley was great, you could argue that the Giants offensive MVP was Jones, who came up clutch for his team despite playing on a gimpy ankle. Jones was nearly perfect, going 21 of 27 for 217 yards. He also rushed for 37 yards, which probably surprised the Packers, who didn’t look like they were really expecting him to be able to run due to his injured ankle. One big play from Jones came in the third quarter on a third-and-3 when he kept a drive alive by running 4 yards on a QB draw. 

The Giants are now 4-1 on the season for the first time since 2009 and there’s no reason to think they can’t keep winning. They didn’t just prove they can play with the big boys on Sunday, they proved they are one of big boys by knocking off the Packers. 

The Giants might also want to start volunteering to play in London more often. They’re now perfect in England and they’ve made the playoffs in every year where they’ve played overseas. 

Alright, let’s get to the grades for every game from Week 5. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on the Colts‘ 12-9 win over Denver that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.

N.Y. Giants 27-22 over Green Bay (In London)

We’ve already covered how good the Giants offense was, and the surprising thing is that the defense might have been even better, especially in he second half. The Giants defense held the Packers scoreless over the game’s final two quarters and continually frustrated Aaron Rodgers, who threw for only 76 yards in the second half. The defense only sacked Rodgers twice, but both sacks were big. The first one came from Dexter Lawrence on third down and ended a Packers drive in the third quarter. The second one, which came from Oshane Ximines, prevented Rodgers from throwing a Hail Mary on the final play of the game. The defense’s ability to make big play after big play was a big reason why New York was able to stun the Packers. 
Apparently, the Packers forgot to pack their second-half game plan for their trip to London. After playing a nearly flawless first half, the Packers absolutely fell apart in the second half. The most shocking part was how easy the Giants were able to move the ball on what’s supposed to very good Packers defense. The other surprise is that it seemed like the Packers gave up on the run. Even though A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones combined to average 5.1 yards per carry and even though the passing game was struggling at times, the Packers called more than twice as many passes (39) as runs (19) for their two running backs. They also didn’t give their stud running backs a chance to get a first down near the goal line late in the game. 

Giants-Packers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

L.A. Chargers 30-28 over Cleveland

Brandon Staley made some baffling decisions in his game — most notably when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 46 with 73 seconds left to play in a two-point game — but the Chargers were still able to escape Cleveland with a win. Staley got bailed out by Austin Ekeler (173 yards and 1 TD on the ground) and Mike Williams (10 catches for 134 yards), who both had HUGE games. Although the Chargers defense got steamrolled by Nick Chubb, the unit did come up with several big plays including a fourth-down stop in the third quarter and an interception by Alohi Gilman that came at the goal line late in the game. The Chargers weren’t perfect, but they’re going home with a win and that’s all that matters. 
The Browns could have won this game, but they let it slip out of their hands with way too many ugly mistakes down the stretch. The most notable one came from Jacoby Brissett, who threw a third-down interception with under three minutes left to play. If Brissett had simply thrown the ball away, the Browns would have had a shot at a 27-yard field goal for the lead. Of course, there’s no guarantee that kick would have gone through the uprights because Cade York struggled on the day. The rookie kicker missed two field goals, including a 54-yarder with 16 seconds left. The backbreaking mistakes overshadowed a huge day by Chubb, who rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries. 

Chargers-Browns grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Minnesota 29-22 over Chicago

In years past, the Bears might have packed it up and mailed it in after falling behind 21-3 in a game, but not this team. With Justin Fields making big play after big play in the second half, the Bears fought back to take a 22-21 lead. This was easily the most competent the Bears offense has looked all season and the unit got a small spark from David Montgomery, who returned to the lineup with 82 yards and a TD on 16 touches. Defensively, the Bears had no answers for what Minnesota was doing in a game where the Vikings only punted once. 
When your QB is completing every pass he throws, it makes it much easier to win in the NFL and that’s exactly what Kirk Cousins was doing on Sunday. The Vikings QB started the game by completing his first 17 passes, which set a franchise record. Although Cousins cooled down after that, he did heat up again during a fourth quarter where he led a game-winning TD drive that ended with him scoring on a QB sneak. Justin Jefferson continued to be an unstoppable force as he had another huge game with 154 yards on 12 catches. Although the defense struggled at times, Cameron Dantzler more than made up for those struggles by stripping the ball from former Vikings receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette with under one minute left to play. The Vikings are a force in the NFC North and they’re now all alone in first place. 

Bears-Vikings grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

New Orleans 39-32 over Seattle

Seahawks-Saints grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Tampa Bay 21-15 over Atlanta

The only grade Falcons fans care about is the one for the officials and we’re giving them an “F” for their horrible roughing-the-passer call that came after a hit on Tom Brady on a third-down play late in the fourth quarter. The call essentially ended any chance the Falcons had at making a comeback. If the Falcons had shown up for any part of the first three quarters, they might have been able to win this game, but they didn’t get things going on offense or defense until they were already down 21-0. 
To break their two-game losing streak, the Buccaneers turned to two guys: Brady and Leonard Fournette. Brady threw the ball early and often in a game where he attempted 52 passes for 351 yards and a TD. Brady was especially good throwing to Fournette, who caught 10 of his 11 targets for 83 yards and a TD (Fournette also added 56 yards and another TD on the ground). The one problem for the Buccaneers is that they just couldn’t score touchdowns once getting into the red zone (they were just 2 of 5 in the game). The Buccaneers offense also disappeared for a good chunk of the second half, which allowed the Falcons to creep back into the game. 

Falcons-Buccaneers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Tennessee 21-17 over Washington

Titans-Commanders grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Houston 13-6 over Jacksonville

It took five weeks, but the Texans might have finally found their recipe for success: Give Dameon Pierce the ball and then let the defense do the rest. The rookie running back came up huge for the Texans, carrying the ball 26 times for 99 yards and a TD. Of that total, 27 of those yards came on Houston’s game-winning TD drive in the fourth quarter. Defensively, the Texans did a lot of bending, but they didn’t break. The unit came up with three big fourth-down stops and two interceptions, including a pick in the third quarter from Derek Stingley that saved the game. It seems crazy to say, but this 1-3-1 team could easily be 3-2 if a few plays this season had gone the other way. 
If there’s one team the Jaguars just can’t figure out, it’s the Houston Texans. The loss on Sunday was Jacksonville’s NINTH straight to the Texans and this one might have been the most baffling one of all. The Jaguars simply couldn’t get out of their own way. At three different points in the game, they went for it on fourth down and on all three times they failed. Also, Trevor Lawrence threw an ugly interception in the end zone midway through the third quarter. The Jags piled up offensive yardage in this game, but they just couldn’t finish off their drives. 

Texans-Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Buffalo 38-3 over Pittsburgh

Steelers-Bills grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

N.Y. Jets 40-17 over Miami

Dolphins-Jets grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

New England 29-0 over Detroit

Lions-Patriots grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

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