With the second NFL London game now complete, all eyes will be on Sunday’s Week 6 matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
As for Week 5, Decyfr takes a look at all the best action across the NFL, starting with the second-leg of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ historic trip across the pond.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills
Final Score: 25 – 20
This week’s NFL London Games matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars, playing their second of two back-to-back games in the capital, came up against the highly anticipated return of the Buffalo Bills and the UK debut of Josh Allen. The game got off to a great start for London’s adopted Jaguars with Zay Jones making an acrobatic leap to catch a 6-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence, with the former Clemson man throwing 315 yards and one touchdown against a depleted Buffalo defense – who had suffered key losses including Tre’Davious White.
Despite Allen throwing for 359 yards and two touchdowns to Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, whilst also running one in for himself, a late scoring frenzy was not enough as the Jacksonville defense managed to recover the ball late into the game after a Stefon Diggs fumble, sealing the win.
Player of the Game: Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears @ Washington Commanders
Final Score: 40 – 20
The winless Chicago Bears finally secured their first victory of the 2023 season with a superb Justin Fields performance. The quarterback threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns in a direct shootout against his Commanders counterpart Sam Howell, who had an equally impressive performance throwing for 388 yards and two touchdowns. Bears star receiver, DJ Moore, who was acquired in their infamous trade with the Panthers, who in-turn landed the first overall pick in the 2023 draft, was the difference maker, with an incredible 8 catches for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns. This performance came just hours after news of Bears legend and Hall Of Famer, Dick Butkus’ death. The win also broke a 14-game losing streak, with pressure on head coach Matt Eberflus somewhat relieved for now.
Player of the Game: DJ Moore, Wide Reciever, Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals @ Arizona Cardinals
Final Score: 34 – 20
After much speculation on whether star quarterback, Joe Burrow, would play as a result of his calf injury, he was quick to put any doubts to bed with a stellar showing. The 26-year-old seemed healthier, with his coach limiting play calls that would force Burrow to move out of the pocket, potentially aggravating a calf problem that has bothered the quarterback since the preseason.
Burrow threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, with all scores landing in the hands of his favourite target, Ja’Marr Chase. Chase secured a season-best 192 receiving yards including a 63-yard touchdown which sent the travelling Bengals fans into raptures. The Bengals, who next play the Seattle Seahawks still remain bottom of the AFC North.
Player of the Game: Joe Burrow, Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
New York Jets @ Denver Broncos
Final Score: 31 – 21
In his much-anticipated return to the Mile High City, former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett had the last laugh against an already troubled Broncos camp. The Jets’ Offensive Coordinator was able to rally his depleted roster with Zach Wilson under centre to rack up over 400 yards on offense. The workhorse for this performance was star running back, Breece Hall – who had 177 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, averaging eight yards per carry, nearly gaining a first down every time he touched the ball.
The Jets’ passing game was unable to find a real rhythm against Denver’s defensive and Patrick Surtain II in particular proving tough to beat, but the running game was a big factor in the Jets’ ability to secure their second victory of the year and move ahead of the New England Patriots in the AFC East standings.
Player of the Game: Breece Hall, Running Back, New York Jets
Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers
Final Score: 10 – 42
This historic rivalry between two of the NFL’s most decorated franchises was dominated by the brilliance of the 49ers’ offense – with the Christian McCaffrey, Brock Purdy and George Kittle trifecta front-and-centre. McCaffrey once again carried his streak of scoring a touchdown in every game so far this season, while Brock Purdy contributed to yet another win, extending his unbeaten record as a starter in the regular season. The young quarterback threw for 252 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to tight end George Kittle. Not only were the 49ers dominant on offense, but their defense completely outplayed one of the fiercest teams in the league, picking off Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott three times, thereby limiting him to just one touchdown and 153 yards in the air.
Player of the Game: George Kittle, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
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