With each passing NFL Sunday, two of the league’s major storylines remain the same: Christian McCaffrey’s unmatched dominance and the New England Patriots’ historically excellent defense. McCaffrey and the Patriots’ stingy defense are touched upon in this article, in addition to a rough outing from a veteran kicker and breakout performances from two talented young players.
Here are five defining stats from NFL Week 5.
Christian McCaffrey’s 3 TDs, 237 yards from scrimmage
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is making a serious case for Offensive Player of the Year, and perhaps, MVP. He accumulated 237 yards from scrimmage (176 on the ground) and three total touchdowns in a 34-27 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
McCaffrey had a highlight-filled afternoon. He went airborne on his five-yard rushing TD in the first quarter.
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2019
Quarterback Kyle Allen connected on an 18-yard TD pass to McCaffrey later in the quarter.
Christian McCaffrey. Again.pic.twitter.com/fKLyDljNpy
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 6, 2019
McCaffrey’s biggest play of the day came in the third quarter and set a Panthers record. He sprinted for an 84-yard TD run—a franchise-long rushing play—that put the Panthers up 28-17.
NO ONE can stop Christian McCaffrey today 😳pic.twitter.com/OX4JoGiB1K
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 6, 2019
Through five games, McCaffrey has amassed 866 yards from scrimmage. The only player to ever produce more scrimmage yards in his first five games in a season was Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who began the 1963 campaign with 988 yards from scrimmage. McCaffrey is on pace to rack up 2,771 yards from scrimmage. That total would break Chris Johnson’s NFL record of 2,509 yards set in 2009.
McCaffrey has produced roughly 117 yards rushing and nearly 56 yards receiving per contest. He has 31 receptions, putting him on pace to catch 99 passes in 2019.
Spearheaded by McCaffrey, the Panthers have won three straight—all sans starting QB and former MVP Cam Newton—after starting the year 0-2.
Cairo Santos’ 4 missed field goals
It was a rough afternoon for kicker Cairo Santos. The 27-year-old went 0-for-4 on field goal attempts in the Tennessee Titans’ 14-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Santos missed from 36, 50 and 56 yards, and had his 33-yard attempt blocked.
The missed field goals were extra excruciating in a contest where points were at a premium.
The Titans signed Santos in early September after placing Ryan Succop (knee) on injured reserve. Succop is eligible to return this season, meaning Santos never had a realistic chance of sticking with the Titans long term (barring a setback from Succop in his recovery). Following a brutal outing, Tennessee cut ties with Santos.
The #Titans have released kicker Cairo Santos.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 7, 2019
According to multiple reports, the Titans are expected to sign Cody Parkey to fill the void at kicker.
Patriots’ 7 points allowed
Fueled by another defensive masterpiece, the Patriots blew out the Redskins 33-7. The Patriots limited the Redskins to one touchdown, which came on a 65-yard dash by wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. on a jet sweep in the first quarter.
The Patriots (5-0) sacked Redskins QB Colt McCoy six times and intercepted him once. New England has recorded 24 sacks and 11 interceptions this season, both league highs.
Surrendering just two defensive TDs (zero passing) all season, the Patriots have limited opponents to 6.8 points per contest. The Patriots are on pace to yield the fewest points per game in NFL history. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens hold the all-time mark, having allowed 10.3 points per game.
How good is the @Patriots defense?
1985 Bears – 12.4 PPG Allowed
2000 Ravens – 10.3 PPG Allowed
2019 Patriots – 6.8 PPG Allowed
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 6, 2019
The Patriots’ top-ranked defense gives up just 160.4 passing yards per game, the best mark in the league. They rank fourth in rushing defense, allowing 78 yards per contest. Additionally, they have forced 12 turnovers, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in the NFL. Furthermore, the Patriots rank No. 1 in third-down defense (12.8 percent).
2019 Patriots defensive comps through five games.
1. 2019 Patriots (1,160)
2. 2000 Ravens (1,281)
3. 1985 Bears (1,396)
1. 2019 Patriots (34*)
2. 2000 Ravens (55)
3. 1985 Bears (88)
* 14 of the points NE allowed weren’t given up by the defense
— Mark Dondero (@MarkDondero) October 7, 2019
Aaron Jones’ 4 rushing TDs
Aaron Jones tied a Green Bay Packers record with four rushing touchdowns on Sunday, leading his team to a 34-24 road win over the Dallas Cowboys. Jones posted a career-high 182 scrimmage yards—107 rushing and 75 receiving. The third-year tailback led the Packers in receiving, stepping up in the absence of the team’s No. 1 wideout Davante Adams, who was sidelined with a toe injury.
Aaron Jones is the first Packer since Jan. 2, 2000, to have four rushing TDs in a single game (Dorsey Levens). Jim Taylor (thrice) and Terdell Middleton are also on that list.
— Packers History (@HistoricPackers) October 6, 2019
After being held to 40 yards rushing combined the past two weeks, Jones exploded to guide the Packers to their most impressive victory of the young season. He opened the scoring with an 18-yard TD run in the first and scored a 3-yard rushing TD later in the quarter.
Jones put the Packers up 24-0 in the third quarter following his third rushing score. His fourth TD also came in the third quarter, which put the Packers up 31-3 before a Cowboys’ rally came up short.
— NFL (@NFL) October 7, 2019
Jones leads the NFL with eight rushing touchdowns.
Will Fuller’s 217 receiving yards, 3 TDs
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller was held in check for the first four weeks of the season, catching 14 passes without a single TD. Things changed in a hurry for Fuller, who exploded for 14 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns to help the Texans defeat the visiting Atlanta Falcons.
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2019
Setting single-game career highs in catches, yards and TDs, Fuller was unstoppable on Sunday. The fourth-year WR scored from six, 33 and 44 yards out. Remarkably, he was tackled at the 1-yard-line on two separate drives, as his afternoon could have been even more legendary.
Will Fuller recorded 14 receptions for 217 yards and 3 TD today.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 6, 2019
Fuller entered the contest ranked 63rd in receiving yards. By game’s end, he leaped to No. 10 in the NFL with 400 yards receiving for the year.