Here are five things to love about the NFL from the fifth weekend of the regular season:
One. Hue Jackson’s emotional response on the sideline and again in the locker room after the Raiders had rallied to beat the Texans. The Raiders had lost their Raider on Saturday, when iconic owner and former coach Al Davis died at the age of 82. When safety Michael Huff intercepted a Matt Schaub pass in the end zone on the final play to seal the 25-20 victory, Jackson lost it along the sideline. It happened again when he was talking to Al’s guys in the locker room. The come-from-behind win was the tribute Davis would have loved. Jackson’s reaction was the salute anyone who ever encountered the enigmatic Davis, who could be gregarious one moment and cantankerous the next, appreciated.
Two. Dwayne Bowe. There hadn’t been a lot for the Chiefs to cheer about during their 1-3 start. But that changed Sunday, when Bowe displayed his impressive range of skills in a 28-24 win over the still-winless and still Peyton-less Colts. First, Bowe hooked up with Matt Cassel on a 41-yard pass play that was short on the pass and long on the run, as Bowe simply ran away from the Chiefs’ defenders to score. Then, Bowe added a 5-yard TD in the third quarter. Rather than try to describe the I-don’t-believe-what-I-just-saw catch, it’s worth another look.
Three. Adrian Peterson. Just when everyone was ready to completely write-off the Vikings, the back they call A.P. decided to rewrite the script. He scored not once, not twice, but three times in a 34-10 romp over the Cardinals. And Peterson did it in his usual fashion, but running over and also away from defenders while scoring on runs of 4, 24 and 14 yards. He finished with 122 yards on 29 carries, showing that it’s never really over for the Vikings as long as this guy gets enough carries and enough room.
Four. Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben came up just that in the Steelers’ 38-17 victory over a Matt Hasselbeck-led Titans team that had won three of its first four games. Playing on a gimpy left ankle that required him to wear a special shoe, Roethlisberger came up with a special performance – passing for a club record-tying five touchdowns while completing 24 of 34 passes for 228 yards.
Five. The Lions. They didn’t even play Sunday. That’s because the Motown team is hosting the Bears on “Monday Night Football.” The Lions are 4-0, thanks largely to the Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson connection that already has produced eight touchdowns. The last time the Lions were 4-0? That would 1980. The last time the Lions played on “Monday Night Football”? That would be 2001. The last time the Lions were 5-0? That would be 1956. This new-look Lions teams has turned Ford Field into a place to be seen – in a town that can use any feel-good story it can get.