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Week 5 Highs and Lows: San Francisco 49ers prove legitimacy, Washington Redskins hit bottom

Redskins, 49ers

Week 5 of the 2019 NFL season opened with high drama when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams, 30-29, on Thursday Night Football. However, it was their NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers that stole the show with a dominating 31-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns to finish the week. 

Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins hit rock bottom with their 33-7 loss to the New England Patriots. Head coach Jay Gruden became the first head coaching casualty of the season less than 24 hours later.

Overall, it was an interesting weekend for the NFL. Here are the highs and lows of Week 5:

Highs

San Francisco 49ers emerge as NFC West frontrunners

The Browns haven’t quite jelled yet, but they still feature one of the more talented rosters in the AFC. However, they had nothing to offer a 49ers team built to win in the trenches.

The 49ers’ 31-3 victory displayed how important it is to build a roster around a talented offensive and defensive line. San Francisco physically dominated the Browns up and down the field. Given the line issues shown by the rival Seahawks and Rams, it’s easy to see the 49ers winning the division outright if they stay healthy.

Oakland Raiders spoil Mack’s return

The Raiders faced plenty of criticism when they traded star linebacker Khalil Mack, but it appears they may have made the right decision. Oakland moved to 3-2 after beating Mack’s Chicago Bears 24-21. They did it with the grit and toughness often displayed by the Bears last season.

John Gruden’s Raiders likely won’t make the playoffs, and they still need more talent to win long-term, but they are on the right path. Don’t be surprised to see the Raiders in several games they shouldn’t be in this season. 

Teddy Bridgewater’s resurrection

New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made the right decision when he chose to return to the NFC South champions for 2019. His performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers serves as a reminder that he likely made the right decision.

Bridgewater once sat entrenched as the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback of the future. A major knee injury robbed him of that future in August 2016, and he’s been struggling to find his place in the NFL ever since.

Bridgewater struggled for the first couple of games after replacing injured legendary quarterback Drew Brees. However, his performance in a 31-24 victory over the Bucs should serve as a reminder of what he’s capable of. Bridgewater completed 26 of 34 passes for 314 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He’s still young at 26 years old. Bridgewater has a chance to become a permanent starter again somewhere in the league, and could possibly be Brees’s replacement. What a story would that be.

Lows

Washington hits the floor

The Washington Redskins entered the season as a team in flux. No one expected them to be a playoff contender, but they weren’t expected to be winless at this point either. They had a new quarterback to develop and several young talented players to build around. 

However, nothing has worked right for the Redskins this season. Whether it be the Trent Williams debacle or Derrius Guice’s second knee injury in two years, Washington never seems to get a break. Yet some issues are self-inflicted, and now former head coach Jay Gruden paid the price for it. The Redskins once stood as one of the league’s top franchises. Now they will likely begin another rebuild with another scapegoat for owner Dan Snyder’s failures to be hired this offseason.

No working cart in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph took a brutal hit from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas, which knocked him out cold. When the time came for Mason to be carted off the field, there was no cart to be found. A major sports franchise worth $2.8 billion did not possess a working vehicle to take a player with a potential serious injury off the field. 

Mistakes happen in life, even from the richest and best of all of us. Yet the visuals here aren’t good for the sport. It certainly doesn’t send the best message to the players. Hopefully, every team in the league performed checks on their emergency equipment this week.

Local media can defend this all they want, but the New York Jets’ decision to give all of their first team snaps to Sam Darnold last week remains on of the more ridiculous choices the team has made in recent memory. The message sent by the Jets is that they lack any faith in the guy backing up Darnold, which is fair. However, the other message is that they were willing to give up any chance that the Jets could beat the Eagles with Falk on the off-chance that Darnold might start. That’s not a good look from the Jets.