The 2016 NFL season took more twists and turns in Week 6.
It was a tough week for some of the league’s top-tier quarterbacks. Meanwhile, some upper-echelon quarterbacks who had been lost in the shuffle in recent weeks rose to the occasion and reminded people why they own Super Bowl rings.
Rising: Eli Manning
Odell Beckham Jr. once again hogged the spotlight, but even he knows where his bread is buttered.
OBJ on Eli Manning: “He kind of took us under his wing today. He said he was going to come out + give us his all. He led us the entire way.”
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) October 16, 2016
Eli Manning came through under pressure to end the Giants’ three-game losing streak with a 27-23 home win over the Ravens.
Manning kept three drives alive with fourth-down completions. The third of those passes went to Beckham on fourth-and-1 from the Giants’ 34 with 1:24 left and the Giants trailing 23-20. Manning put it on Beckham, and the receiver did the rest on the 66-yard touchdown.
The Ravens, ranked fifth against the pass going into Sunday’s game, hadn’t allowed a 300-yard passer this season. Manning hung 403 yards on them, completing 32 of 46 with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The first of Manning’s fourth-down conversions was a completion on fourth-and-5 which led to a 24-yard touchdown pass to Roger Lewis that pulled the Giants to within 10-7 late in the first half. The second came on fourth-and-3 to keep the game-tying field goal drive alive early in the second half.
That should keep the skeptics in the New York media quiet for at least a week.
Falling: Carson Wentz
It has been confirmed that Carson Wentz cannot walk on water.
A week after throwing his first interception and losing his first NFL game, the Eagles rookie completed just 11 of 22 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns in a 27-20 loss at Washington.
It was apparent what kind of day it would be for Wentz when he was sacked and his jersey was torn on the game’s first play. It was the first of five Redskins sacks.
Wentz completed three of his first eight passes for 28 yards as the Redskins jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. He had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but two sacks sandwiched around the two-minute warning killed that drive.
The Eagles (3-2) generated just 239 yards against the league’s 27th-ranked defense.
This doesn’t mean that Wentz was a big tease in the first three weeks of the season. It just means he’s human.
Rising: Drew Brees
Don’t mail Drew Brees those AARP offers just yet.
The 37-year-old threw for 465 yards Sunday, the third-most in his career, to lead the Saints a 41-38 home win over the Panthers. Brees moved past Peyton Manning with his 15th 400-yard game, most all-time in the regular season.
The Panthers’ defense is nowhere near what it was last year, but still wasn’t too shabby against the pass going into Week 6. Carolina ranked 15th with 246.4 passing yards allowed per game.
Brees connected on 34 of his 49 passes with four touchdowns and an interception. Brandin Cooks accounted for 173 of Brees’ passing yards, a career high. That included an 87-yard touchdown to give the Saints a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
The days of Coby Fleener struggling to mesh with the Saints’ offense appear to be over. The former Colts tight end caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Brees completed passes to 10 different players as the Saints (2-3) won their second straight after an 0-3 start.
Falling: Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger had thrown nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in two games heading into Week 6.
But those were home games.
Roethlisberger hasn’t been the same quarterback on the road in recent years. His only touchdown pass Sunday came with a minute left and the Steelers (4-2) down by two touchdowns as the Dolphins (2-4) stunned the Steelers 30-15.
In his career, Roethlisberger has thrown 165 touchdown passes at home and 123 on the road. Since 2014, however, he’s thrown 51 at home and 18 on the road. That’s nearly three times as many touchdowns at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger completed 19 of 34 passes Sunday for 189 yards, his fewest since 2013, and two interceptions. His knee was injured on his first interception and he left the game temporarily. He re-entered the game to start the second half and threw another interception. While the knee injury seemed to affect him, neither of Roethlisberger’s interceptions can be blamed on the injury. He threw into double coverage both times.
Following blowout wins over the Chiefs and Jets, Roethlisberger was starting to become part of the MVP conversation.
It’ll be a while before his name appears anywhere near those three letters again.
Rising: Dak Prescott
If there’s a movie about Dak Prescott’s career in 20 or 30 years, perhaps it could be called “176.”
Prescott’s record streak of interception-free passes to start a career ended at 176 during Sunday’s 30-16 Cowboys victory in Green Bay. The Packers converted it into a field goal to narrow their deficit to 20-9 12 seconds into the fourth quarter.
But Prescott bounced back and navigated a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley and a commanding 27-9 lead.
The Cowboys’ rookie sensation threw a career-high three touchdown passes and completed 18 of his 27 throws for 247 yards, leading the Cowboys to their first win at Lambeau Field since 1991 and the most one-sided win over an Aaron Rodgers-led team at Green Bay since the Giants beat the Packers 37-20 in a 2011 NFC divisional playoff game.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 16, 2016
Prescott made it that much harder for Tony Romo to get his job back when he’s healthy. The Cowboys have a bye next week, but there will be plenty to talk about in Dallas.
Falling: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers never used to throw interceptions at Lambeau Field. He threw none in 2013 and 2014 and four last season.
He already has thrown three picks in three games in front of the cheeseheads this season.
His one interception Sunday helped the Cowboys take control in their 30-16 win.
The Packers (3-2) trailed 17-6 at halftime, and Barry Church intercepted Rodgers to end the Packers’ first possession of the second half. The Cowboys turned it into a field goal and a 20-6 lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
On the next series, Rodgers got the Packers to the Cowboys’ 1-yard line, but fumbled the ball away. His one touchdown pass, to Randall Cobb, pulled the Packers to within 27-16 with 6:53 left in the game.
Rodgers completed 31 of 42 passes for a season-high 294 yards. Statistically he’s been merely an average quarterback this season.
It’s pretty cool of Aaron Rodgers to honor Brett Favre by playing like Favre in his final years. #DALvsGB
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) October 16, 2016
Maybe it’s time for Packers fans to W-O-R-R-Y.
Rising: Blake Bortles
It might be baby steps, but Blake Bortles did progress as an NFL quarterback in Sunday’s 17-16 win at Chicago.
For one thing, it was just the second road win of Bortles’ three-year career, and it came against a top-1o passing defense.
Bortles completed 20 of 33 passes for 271 yards with a touchdown and an interception. That one interception came when Allen Robinson couldn’t hold onto a pass in the end zone.
The Jaguars (2-3) trailed 13-0 heading into the fourth quarter, but Bortles completed 11 of 15 passes for 133 yards as the Jags scored 17 points in the final 15 minutes. Bortles’ 51-yard touchdown pass to Arrelious Benn with 2:49 left turned out to be the winning points as the Jaguars won their second straight after an 0-3 start.
Falling: Derek Carr
Derek Carr has plateaued since his four-touchdown game at Baltimore two weeks ago. He completed 22 of 34 passes for 225 yards, just 6.6 yards per attempt, with a touchdown and an interception in the Raiders’ 26-10 home loss to the Chiefs Sunday.
After completing nine of his first 11 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown, Carr completed just 13 of his last 23 for 131 yards.
The Raiders (4-2) blew a chance to move into first place by themselves in the AFC West. They were shut out in the second half, punting on their first three possessions of the half. Carr got them into the red zone down 26-10 midway through the fourth quarter, but was strip-sacked by Dee Ford.
Derek Carr loses fumble. Was his first fumble of year after 20 combined fumbles last 2 years.
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) October 16, 2016
Carr is far enough along in his development where he’s not measured by progress but by wins.