Week 5 of the NFL season brought with it some serious craziness when it comes to scheduling. Thanks to more positive COVID-19 tests in Tennessee and New England, things got totally thrown out of whack. The Titans’ positive cases meant moving their matchup with the Buffalo Bills to Tuesday night and the league collectively holding their breath to see if there are any more cases before game time.
In the case of the Patriots, New England came out smelling like roses. After being able to get their game in last week while starting QB Cam Newton sat out with a positive test, the positive result in week five came late enough the league decided to postpone their matchup with the Denver Broncos to week 6, when the Patriots were supposed to have their bye. Nevermind the fact the Broncos were scheduled to play the Miami Dolphins next week, the league pushed that game back resulting in a domino effect wherein a total of 8 games have been moved around later this year to ensure the Patriots took a bye in week 5 to play in week 6. Cam Newton is expected back now that he’s sat during a bye week.
Now, future scheduling implications aside, the shuffling in week 5, coupled with previously scheduled bye weeks for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, means there were a number of former Hawkeyes sitting out this weekend. Those that were playing were spread over a number of days with the Bears and Buccaneers facing off last Thursday, the Saint and Chargers playing on Monday night and the aforementioned showdown between Tennessee and Buffalo still to come tonight.
Here’s a look at how everyone performed in week 5.
A week ago, with starter Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined, C.J. Beathard stepped in late in the fourth quarter for a flailing Nick Mullens. The Niners were in rough shape and needed to mount a comeback. Beathard nearly pulled it off. This week, Garoppolo was back in the starting lineup, but struggled mightily against a not great Miami Dolphins defense. With the Niners again trailing thanks to miserable QB play, Kyle Shanahan once again called on Beathard to mount a comeback.
Week 5 didn’t go quite as well as week 4, but Beathard clearly looked like the better option during the week.
The numbers weren’t fantastic for CJB and his pocket awareness on the two sacks was less than ideal, but he looked lightyears ahead of the starter in San Francisco, especially on his one TD pass of the game.
C.J. Beathard > Joe Montana pic.twitter.com/oD7SqKzvGy— HawkeyesChronicles (@HawksChronicles) October 11, 2020
Jimmy Garoppolo has a nice paycheck due to him every week and San Francisco isn’t likely to pay him that kind of money to sit on the bench if he’s healthy enough to play, but Beathard may have earned himself a start in week 6 against the Rams if Jimmy G isn’t truly fully healthy. At the very least, CJ has shown he’s the superior backup in San Fran.
Anthony Hitchens, LB
Kansas City Chiefs
After getting off to a hot start, the Kansas City Chiefs hit a wall on Sunday. It got ugly against the Las Vegas Raiders as the Chiefs defense gave up 490 yards of offense and 40 points to the Raiders. The lone bright spot seemingly was former Hawkeye LB Anthony Hitchens, who led Kansas City with 9 total tackles, including 7 assists. Look for KC to bounce back in an early afternoon Monday Night Football matchup with Buffalo in week 6.
Ben Niemann, LB
Kansas City Chiefs
Fellow Chief Ben Niemann added two tackles, including a solo, in the losing effort Sunday. Better days are ahead for the former Hawkeye.
Desmond King, CB
Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers defensive back Desmond King has continued to see his playing time elevated after a rift earlier in the season. Injuries or not, King is got plenty of run in week 5 and totaled 5 tackles, including 3 solos as LA fell short against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
George Kittle, TE
San Francisco 49ers
With the QB struggles on Sunday, it was a bit of a rough day for all-world tight end George Kittle. The People’s Tight End finished with just 44 yards on 4 catches. Sadly, that was enough to lead the team in both categories. Kittle also led with 8 targets. Whether it’s Beathard or Garoppolo in week 6, Kittle will be back.
Jaleel Johnson, DT
It was a tale of two halves for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday as they looked unstoppable in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks. The defense looked stout and the offense was running wild. Then the second half started and the roles appeared to reverse. The Vikings ultimately fell to the Seahawks 27-26 on a TD pass from Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf with 15 seconds remaining. Former Hawkeye Jaleel Johnson had a pair of tackles, including one solo, in the losing effort.
Some updates in week four:
Browns defensive end Adrian Clayborn was back in action on Sunday, though he didn’t record any official stats. Clayborn had been dealing with a hip flexor issue so it’s nice to see him back on the field.
Tampa Bay offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs continued to cut his teeth against the best in the league this week. He faced off with Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears this week. Mack is #GoodAtFootball and while Wirfs did have his moments, which earned a shoutout to the University of Iowa as an offensive line factory, he also learned some life lessons from Mack.
Khalil Mack just tossing 340-pound Tristan Wirfs pic.twitter.com/65Ti6t578a— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 9, 2020
While that one probably doesn’t end up on the highlight reel, it will likely be a play Wirfs remembers for a while. As he continues to develop, there will be fewer and fewer plays like that and more and more plays like this:
The kid has a future.
Another notable item from Thursday’s matchup was Bears center James Daniels, who exited the game with an injury. We later learned it was a torn pectoral muscle and the former Hawkeye will miss the remainder of the season. Another in a long list of bummers this year.
And speaking of bummers, the Baltimore Ravens waived 7th round pick Geno Stone last week. Hawkeye fans wondering if they can claim Stone off waivers for the 2020 season (hey, if Minnesota and Purdue can get their WRs back can’t we get a DB to defend them?) will be disappointed to learn they cannot. Stone went unclaimed, but was signed to the Ravens practice squad the following day.
We have signed S Geno Stone to our practice squad. pic.twitter.com/0Rvyo6wOVh— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 9, 2020
Here’s hoping Stone can continue to earn a paycheck at the next level for a long time.
And sadly, that’s it for this week in the NFL. We’ll be back next week with more action as the Packers, Lions, Patriots and Broncos come off of byes. Keep an eye out for an update later in the week as well following tonight’s matchup between the Titans (Amani Hooker and Greg Mabin) and Bills (Micah Hyde AJ Epenesa). Go Hawks!