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NFL – ​​YOUNG PASSERS PLAYING & WINNING AS NFL ENTERS WEEK 5

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To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated the Bills-Titans game (1:00 PM ET, CBS) as the NFL100 Game of the Week to remember the Music City Miracle during the 1999 playoffs. On January 8, 2000, in Nashville, ROB JOHNSON and the Bills climbed out of a 12-0 hole in the second half, on the strength of two ANTOWAIN SMITH rushing touchdowns. After STEVE McNAIR led a go-ahead field-goal drive with 1 minute, 48 seconds, on the fourth-quarter clock, giving the Titans a 15-13 advantage, Johnson answered. Having lost his shoe with no time to put it back on his foot, Johnson completed a sideline pass to PEERLESS PRICE, who stopped the clock at the Titans’ 24-yard line. With 16 seconds left, STEVE CHRISTIE’s 41-yard kick put Buffalo on top, 16-15. Then, it happened. … The brainchild of Titans special-teams coordinator ALAN LOWRY, “Home Run Throwback” was executed several times in practice after Lowry first saw it at a 1981 SMU-Texas Tech game. The key cog in the play, FRANK WYCHECK, had thrown a 61-yard touchdown three weeks earlier at Atlanta; offensive coordinator LES STECKEL installed that play after watching Wycheck killing time at practice by throwing the ball with Pro Football Hall of Famer BRUCE MATTHEWS … Christie’s pooch kickoff went to LORENZO NEAL, who handed off to a trailing Wycheck, drawing most of the Bills’ kick coverage. Wycheck then lateraled across the field to KEVIN DYSON, who returned the ball 70 yards for the game-winning touchdown as Tennessee prevailed, 22-16, en route to a berth in Super Bowl XXXIV.

QUARTERBACKS NOT ONLY GETTING YOUNGER, THEY’RE ALSO WINNING: Pittsburgh quarterback MASON RUDOLPH earned his first NFL win as a starter on Monday. In fact, 11 of the 15 winning clubs this past week had a starting field general who has yet to see his 27th birthday. The Steelers’ victory marked the 39th win by a starting quarterback age 26-or-younger this season.

The most wins by quarterbacks under age 26-or-younger, through four weeks of play, in NFL history:​

YEAR WINS
2019 39
1987 31
1986 30
2013 28
2008 27

 

Rudolph joined Carolina’s KYLE ALLEN, New Orleans’ TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, the New York Giants’ DANIEL JONES, Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES, Tennessee’s MARCUS MARIOTA, Cleveland’s BAKER MAYFIELD, Jacksonville’s GARDNER MINSHEW, Chicago’s MITCHELL TRUBISKY, Philadelphia’s CARSON WENTZ and Tampa Bay’s JAMEIS WINSTON as quarterbacks age 26-or-younger to win last week.

This week, at least four games match up youthful quarterbacks. Minshew’s Jaguars travel to Carolina to play Allen (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Winston and the Buccaneers are at New Orleans to play Bridgewater (1:00 PM ET, FOX), and one of the New York Jets’ young starters, either SAM DARNOLD or LUKE FALK, will be in Philadelphia to meet CARSON WENTZ (1:00 PM ET, CBS), and Rudolph’s Steelers host Baltimore and LAMAR JACKSON (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

BIG GAMES ON TAP: Two weeks can mean a night-and-day difference in the National Football League.

Exhibit A is the AFC North, where the CLEVELAND BROWNS and PITTSBURGH STEELERS two weeks ago were near the bottom looking up. This week, the Browns are in first place and the Steelers are just a game out with a prime opportunity to gain important ground at home against Baltimore.

Like the Browns and Steelers, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS and GREEN BAY PACKERS didn’t qualify for the 2018 playoffs. However, each of those NFC teams begin Week 5 in first place preparing for a division leader on the opposite sideline. Cleveland is one of 14 teams standing at either 2-2 or 2-1-1 entering Week 5

The 49ers (3-0), off to their best start in 21 years, return from an early bye to host the Browns (2-2) on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN). San Francisco with a win can achieve its first 4-0 record since Pro Football Hall of Famers JOE MONTANA and JERRY RICE led their club to a 10-0 start in 1990.

Also looming large on the Week 5 docket is a clash between the Packers (3-1) and the leaders of the NFC East, the DALLAS COWBOYS (3-1), at AT&T Stadium (4:25 PM ET, FOX).

The captain has turned on the fasten-seatbelt sign. The NFL enters October with a lot left to be determined in an already exciting 100th season.

ORIGINAL TEAMS MEET IN LONDON: The 2019 London series kicks off on Sunday, when an original NFL franchise, the CHICAGO BEARS, faces an original AFL franchise, the OAKLAND RAIDERS.

That contest (1:00 PM ET, FOX) marks the first NFL game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The new facility will become the 187th venue to host a regular-season or postseason game in the 100 years of the National Football League.

This week marks the Raiders’ third appearance as a regular-season home team in London. It’s the fourth straight season and the fifth time in six years that the Raiders have hosted a regular-season game internationally, having played at Wembley Stadium in 2014 and 2018 as well as games at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca in 2016 and 2017.

The Bears also have played in the United Kingdom twice before, both at Wembley Stadium (preseason in 1986 and regular season in 2011).

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur have an agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played through 2028. The state-of-the-art stadium features a retractable-grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It also has customized NFL features, such as purpose-built locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL will have played 28 regular-season games in London, with 31 of 32 teams having participated. The Green Bay Packers are the only team that has yet to play there.

INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: Since 2007, when the NFL played its first regular-season game in the United Kingdom, the league has been remarkably pleased with the passion and knowledge of the UK fans as well as the resulting growth in the NFL’s international popularity. For the teams, traveling to London is a unique road trip, allowing the coaches and players to spend more time together than they would for a domestic trip. And when those teams return from either London or Mexico City with a win, those wins have proven significant.

The last nine teams that have won an international game have earned playoff berths later that season:​

TEAM YEAR, RESULT LOCATION SEASON RESULT
Philadelphia 2018 Def. Jacksonville, 24-18 Wembley Stadium, UK Advanced to NFC Divisional playoffs
L.A. Chargers 2018 Def. Tennessee, 20-19 Wembley Stadium, UK Advanced to AFC Divisional playoffs
Seattle 2018 Def. Oakland, 27-3 Wembley Stadium, UK Advanced to NFC Wild Card playoffs
New England 2017 Def. Oakland, 33-8 Estadio Azteca, Mexico Advanced to Super Bowl LII
Minnesota 2017 Def. Cleveland, 33-16 Twickenham Stadium, UK Advanced to NFC Championship
L.A. Rams 2017 Def. Arizona, 33-0 Twickenham Stadium, UK Advanced to NFC Wild Card playoffs
New Orleans 2017 Def. Miami, 20-0 Wembley Stadium, UK Advanced to NFC Divisional playoffs
Jacksonville 2017 Def. Baltimore, 44-7 Wembley Stadium, UK Advanced to AFC Championship
Oakland 2016 Def. Houston, 27-20 Estadio Azteca, Mexico Advanced to AFC Wild Card playoffs

 

NO SUCH THING AS A SAFE LEAD: Three teams, all of which were on the road, erased deficits of at least 10 points last week to register important wins. Both the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES and KANSAS CITY CHIEFS came back from 10 down to win gritty games at Green Bay and Detroit, respectively. Meanwhile, the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, behind rookie quarterback GARDNER MINSHEW, climbed over a 17-3 obstacle at Denver to win a thriller, 26-24.

Through four weeks, five games have featured a team coming back to win or tie after trailing by 10-or-more points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 2011 (9), 1979 (8) and 2018 (7) seasons have had more such games through the first four weeks.  

Also through four weeks this season, three games have featured a team coming back to win or tie after trailing by 17-or-more points. Since the 1970 merger, only the 2011 (6), 1999 (4) and 2014 (4) seasons have had more such games through the first four weeks. 

TURNOVERS AT RECORD LOWS: The TENNESSEE TITANS have committed one turnover, fewest in the NFL through four weeks. One of the more interesting aspects of the NFL’s current era that separates it from previous periods is that teams are turning over the ball less frequently. The amount of interceptions and fumbles lost has decreased dramatically in recent years. In each of the last three seasons (2017-19), the NFL through four weeks of play has reached some of its lowest marks in the turnover category since the 1970 AFL-NFL league merger.

The fewest turnovers through four weeks, 1970-present:

YEAR TURNOVERS
2017 160
2014 176
2019 178
2018 178
2008 183
2016 185

 

NFL SCHEDULE, OCTOBER 3, 6-7

(All times Eastern)

Thursday       Sunday (cont.)    
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks 8:20 PM FOX/NFLN

AMAZON

  Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 PM CBS
Sunday       Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans 1:00 PM CBS
Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM CBS   New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 1:00 PM CBS
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM FOX   Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 PM CBS
Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans 1:00 PM FOX   Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys 4:25 PM FOX
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM FOX   Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs 8:20 PM NBC
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX   Monday    
Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders (London) 1:00 PM FOX   Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers 8:15 PM ESPN
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 PM CBS   Byes: Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins

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