Infirmary report: Week 5

Week 5: Sunday Stud

TJ's Take on Week 5 in the NFL

Rookie Report: Dynamic duo

Mort: NFL's Week 4 top-five lists

Chris Mortensen Archive
Week 5: Magnificent Manning leads the way

Oct. 7
Editor's Note: Chris Mortensen offers his usual array of NFL top-five lists to summarize Week 5.

It feels like I've revealed this previously, but I am inclined late on a Monday night to hit the sack if the game is in the bag, so to speak. This Monday, even though I was exhausted as the Bucs took a 35-14 lead, something told me to stay awake. Now that I think about it, it was Peyton Manning. It's just his presence. You could tell he was still into the game. Heck, he's always into the game. So I watched.

Manning made so many great throws, some of them perhaps not so obvious, that his mastery in overcoming adversity continued to make me laugh (in digust) at all those critics out there who nag about his inability to win the "big game." It's so stupid, and I say that to many of my friends who utter the same silliness.

I even heard it before the game Monday night when somebody dared to bring up Manning's "failure" as the Tennessee quarterback to beat Florida in three starts while his brother Eli has led Ole Miss to two consecutive wins over the Gators. This is nothing against Eli, but his two wins didn't come against Steve Spurrier, or with Bob Stoops coordinating the Florida defense.

Regardless, this was about Monday night, a magical game, a terrific quarterback, a wonderful man in Tony Dungy, and a great finish to a fairly non-shocking weekend in the NFL. As for the post-Week 5 Super Bowl predictions, it's a toughie. I'm sticking with the Chiefs and Bucs.

On to the Week 5 lists:

Best Games
1. Colts 38, Bucs 35 (OT) - Funny thing is, it almost didn't qualify until way into the fourth quarter. But what a finish.
2. Chiefs 24, Broncos 23 - Really, blow for blow, probably better than the Monday nighter.
3. Patriots 38, Titans 30 - Two of the best coaches, Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher, fought it out with a bunch of great competitors. The Patriots scored 31 points in the second half.
4. Eagles 27, Redskins 25 - Like most of the games this weekend, not a pretty sight to see, but a dramatic finish that Patrick Ramsey made happen only to see the 'Skins miss on a two-pointer.
5a. Bears 24, Raiders 21 - Down 18-3 at half, we had the Bears finished again, but a good thing happened to a good guy as Bears coach Dick Jauron gets a win.
5b. Bills 22, Bengals 16 (OT) - Drew Bledsoe, Eric Moulds and Travis Henry were clutch when the Bills needed it, but the story line is that Marvin Lewis and the Bengals are no longer - shall we say it? - the Bungles.

Most Impressive in Victory
1. Colts 38, Bucs 35 (OT) - You're made of something special when you come back from the pits to beat the defending Super Bowl champs on the road.
2. Packers 35, Seahawks 13 - The Pack came off a Monday night road game and absolutely dominated an unbeaten Seahawks team coming off a bye.
3. Vikings 39, Falcons 26 - Even though Randy Moss once again seems to be playing on another planet, it was the Vikings' O-line and running game that overwhelmed the Falcons in the second half.
4. Chiefs 24, Broncos 23 - Honestly, the Broncos looked like the better team, but special teams (i.e. Dante Hall) are still part of the deal and the Chiefs have them.
5a. Patriots 38, Titans 30 - There were a lot of heroes on a day both sides had to gut it out with injuries, but it was a terrific win for New England.
5b. Dolphins 23, Giants 10 - This is another good sign for the Dolphins: Ricky Williams was stuffed and they still found a way to win a road game.

Best Performance, Quarterback
1. Peyton Manning, Colts - Supposedly, when a great defense like the Bucs has a 21-point lead to work with the quarterback is meat. Manning toasted the Bucs for 330 yards in the second half in a gourmet performance.
2. Tim Couch, Browns - He was 20-for-25 for 204 yards and the Browns beat the Steelers. If can can duplicate that in a home game against the Raiders, Kelly Holcomb may stay on the sidelines.
3. Brett Favre, Packers - Once again, it was mastery for Favre, who threw for "only" 185 yards but completely controlled the game against the Seahawks.
4. Byron Leftwich, Jaguars - The rookie looked cool -- which he is -- on a 336-yard, two-TD, zero-INT afternoon that gave the Jags and coach Jack Del Rio their first victory.
5. Brad Johnson, Bucs - Almost lost in the shocker was the fact that Johnson was 26-of-39 for 318 yards and three TDs. And heck, the one interception he threw -- to Colts safety Mike Doss -- somehow turned into a touchdown for Tampa.

Best Performance, Running back
1. Clinton Portis, Broncos - He outshone Kansas City's Priest Holmes in defeat, rushing for 141 yards on 23 carries and catching five passes for 79 yards. A whopping 220 total yards in a big AFC West game.
2. Stephen Davis, Panthers - He nailed the Saints for 159 yards on 30 carries, and put 'em away late after getting an IV to treat dehydration.
3. Ahman Green, Packers - If this guy stays healthy along with his quarterback and O-line, the Pack becomes very interesting again. This time he went for 118 yards and two TDs.
4. Deuce McAllister, Saints - He overcame a stomach virus and a stiff back. More impressively, he overcame a stingy Carolina defense to run for 124 yards and a TD on 23 carries.
5. Anthony Thomas, Bears - Yes, it looks like the A-Train is back on track, this time with 123 yards on 22 carries in win over Raiders.

Best Performace, Receiver
1. Marvin Harrison, Colts - The numbers are obvious (11 catches for 176 yards, two TDs), he ran a couple of routes that only coaches, quarterbacks and receivers can truly appreciate.
2. Keenan McCardell, Bucs - He was Monday night's stud until Manning and Harrison took over. Ever the wily vet, McCardell caught four passes for 106 yards and two TDs and gathered a fumble in stride for a 57-yard scoring return that seemingly took the wind out of the Colts' sails.
3. Jimmy Smith, Jaguars - McCardell's former teammate came back from a league suspension and substance abuse treatment to treat the Jags to a 137-yard day and a win.
4. Randy Moss, Vikings - Forget the stats (5 catches for 81 yards). After he caught another amazing TD covering 17 yards in the third quarter, the Falcons forgot they had to defend the run, too. Moss got 'em for two scores.
5a. Eric Moulds, Bills - Maybe his stats seem average, too (nine receptions for 99 yards), but he made some tough, clutch catches that saved the Bills from what could have been a devastating defeat to the Bengals.
5b. Peerless Price, Falcons - Finally, a breakout game (12 catches for 168 yards, one TD), but there was little joy as Atlanta dropped to 1-4.

Best Plays
1-5. Dante Hall's 93-yard punt return TD -- Took the breath away from anybody who witnessed it, including the Broncos, as the little man delivered another victory for the Chiefs. Any mention of another play would do this one a disservice.

Personal Fouls (5 - 3 = 2)
1. Bucs-Colts umpire Ed Coukhart - He's No. 71 in your program. No matter how the NFL spins it, Coukhart's call that the Bucs' Simeon Rice was guilty of "leaping" and landing on a teammate when the Colts' Mike Vanderjagt missed a first FG attempt in OT was ludicrous. Rice did leap. He did land -- on his feet. He had minimal contact with a teammate that was pushed back into him. He didn't even lose his balance. It was an embarrassment.
2. Bucs-Colts referee Johnny Grier - He's No. 23 in your program. He flagged the Colts' Dominic Rhodes for running into Bucs punter Tom Tupa on the first drive of overtime. No way. The penalty gave the Bucs a first down and a chance to continue a potential game-ending drive that was instead aborted with another punt. Maybe the officials were sleepy like the rest of us.

Defensive notables
1. Ty Law, Patriots CB - Playing again with a bum ankle, he talked his way back onto the field and picked Steve McNair -- who thought he was picking on a gimpy corner -- for a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown that lifted the Patriots to a great win.
2. Patrick Surtain, Dolphins CB - He collected two interceptions off Kerry Collins and made Giants WRs, including Amani Toomer, very quiet.
3. Rodney Harrison, Patriots - If anybody remembers Harrison at his best in San Diego, this was a rerun. He hit any Titan that moved with the ball, and hit 'em again.
4. Duane Clemons, DE, Bengals - He frustrated Drew Bledsoe and the Bills with three sacks.
5. Brandon Whiting, DE, Eagles - On the Redskins' two-point try to tie the game at 27, with Laveranues Coles breaking open, Whiting gassed it up as he rushed into Patrick Ramsey's face and throwing lane to alter the throw for an incompletion.

Best Games, Week 6
1. Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts - This is pretty funny, huh? The Panthers will try to do what the Bucs couldn't in a battle of unbeatens.
2. Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys - You are curious, right? About the Cowboys and about the Eagles.
3. Kansas City Chiefs at the Green Bay Packers - Just three words of advice to the Packers about kicking to KC's Dante Hall: Don't do it! Obviously, it's easier said than done.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins - One of these teams is going to be .500 when the game is over.
5. New York Giants at New England Patriots - Since the Giants can't win at home, let's see if they're up for a key road game against Bill Belichick & Co.

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