Home Sports NFL Week 5’s big questions, risers and fallers: Jaguars upset Bills, Bears offense dominates

NFL Week 5’s big questions, risers and fallers: Jaguars upset Bills, Bears offense dominates

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NFL Week 5’s big questions, risers and fallers: Jaguars upset Bills, Bears offense dominates

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Week 5 of the NFL season got started on Thursday night with a Chicago Bears breakout, as Justin Fields threw four touchdown passes and the Bears got their first win, beating the Washington Commanders.

On Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ defense slowed the high-flying Buffalo Bills offense enough to win in London.

Our NFL Nation reporters reacted to all the action, answering lingering questions coming out of each game and picking out who — or what — is rising and falling for every team. Let’s get to it.

Jump to a matchup:
CHI-WSH | JAX-BUF

Sunday

Jaguars

After a rough start, is this victory a sign the Jaguars are going to be a factor in the AFC after all? QB Trevor Lawrence has said multiple times that you’re measured by what you do against the league’s best teams. The Jaguars failed against Kansas City in Week 2, but against the Bills — one of the hottest teams in the NFL — the Jaguars dominated time of possession, yardage and third downs. So by Lawrence’s measure, the answer is yes. There are still concerns — especially along the offensive line — but the Jaguars now have a critical tiebreaker over the Bills when it comes to playoff seeding.

Stock up after the win: Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell. The Bills averaged 41 points in their previous three games, but Caldwell called perhaps his best game of the past two seasons by being aggressive. The Jaguars blitzed Josh Allen on 32% of his dropbacks (12 of 37) and Allen completed just 4 of 11 passes for 41 yards on those plays.

Stock down after the win: The offensive line. It continues to be a major issue, with penalties by Anton Harrison (two) and Brandon Scherff, a bad snap by Luke Fortner, and whiffs by Cam Robinson that stalled drives, stole points and resulted in turnovers. — Mike DiRocco

Next game: vs. Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Bills

Was this offensive performance a one-off or something that will be an issue going forward? There’s reason for concern, but not alarm. Jet lag isn’t to blame for a Bills offense (which had scored 37 or more points in the previous three games) being held to 20 points. The Bills gave up on the running game, finishing with only 13 carries for 29 yards. Quarterback Josh Allen also struggled with pressure, resulting in an inability to sustain long drives. It’s nothing that can’t be corrected, but a lack of balance can’t become a theme.

Stock up after the loss: AJ Epenesa. With the Bills dealing with multiple injuries at defensive end, Epenesa stepped up with a strip sack and fumble recovery, two total sacks, three tackles and three batted passes — becoming the first player since J.J. Watt in 2014 to have two sacks and three batted passes in a game.

Stock down after the loss: The linebacking corps. The Bills lost Matt Milano to a knee injury in the first quarter. The defense allowed Jacksonville to march up and down the field, dominate time of possession and rush for over 150 yards. — Alaina Getzenberg

Next game: vs. Giants (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)

Thursday

Bears

Will the Bears commit their offensive identity around DJ Moore? Justin Fields has appeared his most comfortable when targeting Moore, who accounted for 230 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Washington. The wide receiver’s 141 yards after the catch accounted for half of Fields’ passing yardage, and the quarterback has looked more polished as a passer in the Bears’ past two games. Fields pointed out how often he saw Moore one-on-one with a Washington defender, which should change against better defenses. How Fields adjusts to those changes will speak to the direction of the offense.

Stock up after the win: Teven Jenkins. The Bears left guard was activated off injured reserve hours before Chicago’s win and kept Washington’s stout DT duo in check while playing on a snap count.

Stock down after the win: The running backs. Chicago was down to fullback Khari Blasingame against the Commanders after losing Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson and Travis Homer because of in-game injuries. — Courtney Cronin

Next game: at Falcons (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Commanders

After such an ugly loss, where’s the hope? Quarterback Sam Howell has played two productive games in a row, throwing for a combined 678 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He has posted a 79.4 quarterback rating in the past two games combined on third downs. If the defense ever gets turned around, Washington can gain momentum. After five games last season, the defense ranked 25th in points and 17th in yards; it finished seventh and third, respectively. Without another turnaround, jobs will be lost.

Stock up after the loss: DE Chase Young. While the defense in general has struggled, Young had a season-high 36.4 percent pass rush win rate vs. Chicago, and he now has three sacks in four games.

Stock down after the loss: The defense. Washington surrendered five plays of 25 yards or more against Chicago, giving the Commanders an NFL-high 16 such plays for the season. The secondary’s attention to detail has been poor; rookie corner Emmanuel Forbes has struggled mightily and the entire unit has failed to produce big plays (one takeaway in the past three games combined). — John Keim

Next game: vs. Vikings (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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