The Games that Shaped the 2019 Season: Week 5

The 2019 season began on September 5th 2019 and culminated at Super Bowl LIV on February 5th 2020. However, in between those games at Soldier Field in Chicago and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the season took a number of twists, all of which impacted the path to Super Bowl LIV for many teams. In this series we will take a look back at the games that shaped the 2019 NFL season, with this article focusing on Week 5.

Week 5 of the 2019 saw some big games take centre stage. Thursday Night Football saw the always fascinating Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams match-up take centre stage. Meanwhile on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers travelled to the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in a match-up that is nearly always a tense one.

Let’s take a look at an exciting week that featured five games which had lasting effects on the 2019 season.

Los Angeles Rams 29 - 30 Seattle Seahawks

In one way or another this match-up never fails to be exciting and their first clash in 2019 was no different. With both teams coming into the game at 3-1 neither wanted to lose ground to the other, especially given the hot start the San Francisco 49ers had made (3-0).

The game swung back-and-forth throughout, with the Rams taking an early lead, before the Seahawks went into half time leading 14-13. The Rams twice took the lead in the second half and were leading 29-24 when Greg Zuerlien kicked his third field goal of the day with 9:23 remaining. 

However, the Seahawks took the ball on a near seven minute-drive, which culminated in a Russell Wilson to Chris Carson touchdown pass for a 30-29 lead. In the subsequent two minutes the Rams had two opportunities to win the game, and arguably should have. A 44-yard field goal is usually nothing to Zuerlein, but this time he failed to convert, leaving the Rams agonisingly short on the road. 

What was the games significance?

This loss was the second in a three-game losing streak for the Rams tat saw them slip from 3-0 to 3-3. While they recovered to go into their bye at 5-3 they could not sustain any momentum and ultimately missed the playoffs at 10-6. There is no guarantee that a victory here would have been enough to squeak past the Minnesota Vikings for the sixth seed, but it would have given them more of a fighting chance heading into the final few weeks of the season.

This was simply one of a number of hard-fought battles for the Seahawks in 2019. In the first 10 games they won eight by just one score, going 8-1 in one score games. Over the course of the entire season they won 12 of their 15 one score games, demonstrating that in 2019 they were superb team when it mattered the most.

Atlanta Falcons 32 - 53 Houston Texans

This game in Houston was absolutely huge for both sides. The Falcons headed to NRG Stadium at 1-3 and desperate to turn things around. As for the Texans  they were sitting at 2-2 in a season that could tilt either way.

Atlanta actually led 17-16 at the half before the Texans blew them away in the second half. Before the Falcons could add another point, the Texans had added 17 of their own to lead 33-17. They did not let up and ultimately ran out comfortable winners 53-32 in a game that was embarrassing for both defenses.

What was the games significance?

This was the start of the Texans recovery in 2019. The AFC South was always going to be competitive and the Texans could not afford to drop two games to the NFC South in two weeks. This victory also allowed them to head to Kansas City for Week 6 riding on a wave of excitement, which would crucial if they wanted to spring an upset on Mahomes and the Chiefs.

As for the Falcons this was a bad loss among many in the first half of the season. This game dropped them to 1-4 and all but eliminated them essentially from the NFC playoff picture. When your conferences looks set to be so competitive that 10 wins may not even be enough to make the playoffs, four losses in five weeks is a really troubling start. The Falcons would recover in the second half of the season, but this loss was part of a six-game losing streak that would see them drop to 1-7.

Baltimore Ravens 26 - 23 Pittsburgh Steelers

If you want to talk about moments that kick start a season you will not find a bigger one than Baltimore in Week 5. Coming into the game 2-2 on the back of two straight losses, the Ravens desperately needed to take control of the AFC North. Meanwhile, the Steelers had won for the first time in Week 4 to keep their season on life support. This game had the potential to be a huge swing point in the AFC North in 2019.

As with all of these games the two sides traded blows back-and-forth for 60 minutes. It took a Justin Tucker 48-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to rescue the Ravens and force over time. The Ravens got the ball first in OT but were forced to punt. Devlin Hodges then hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 10-yard completion to get the Steelers close to Ravens territory. However, Smith-Schuster fumbled and Marlon Humphrey came away with the ball for the Ravens.

Four plays after that Justin Tucker did what he does best. A 46-yard field goal clinched a 26-23 victory for the Ravens.

What was the games significance?

The impact of this result for the Ravens was tremendous. The Ravens would go on a 14-game winning streak that carried them all the way the #1 seed in the AFC. In that time they would only play three more one-score games as their offense and defense kicked into overdrive in 2019.

This game for the Steelers was them essentially waving goodbye to the AFC North. At 1-4 they were two games out of first place and needed to beat the Ravens later in the season to tie the series up. Dropping to 1-4 would also be too much for the Steelers to recover from when it came to a playoff berth at all. However, the fight they showed against what would become the best team in the entire league demonstrates how dangerous they can be in 2020 if they get their offense back on track.

Green Bay Packers 34 - 24 Dallas Cowboys

Games that shaped the 2019 season week 5

This match-up between the Cowboys and Packers was another that saw two 3-1 teams clash in Week 5. Both were coming into it off a loss in Week 4 and needing to get back to winning ways in divisions that promised to be competitive for different reasons.

The game had a disastrous start for the Cowboys. Prescott was intercepted twice in the first half as the Packers took a 17-0 lead into half time. By the time the Cowboys got to double-digit points the Packers already had 31 on the board themselves. The Cowboys put up 21 points in the final 18 minutes of the game, but that would not be enough as they ran out 34-24 losers at home to the Packers.

What was the games significance?

This game put the Packers right back in the fight for the NFC at 4-1. Wins in the next three weeks and four in the next five would see them go into their bye week at 8-2. With a rookie head coach and coming off a tough Thursday Night Football game in Week 4, getting a big result on the road against another potential playoff team was huge.

This game was symbolic of the Cowboys season and their seemingly impressive ability to melt under pressure. The effects of this game appeared to still be being felt in Week 6 when they went to New York and lost 24-22 to slip to 3-3. 2019 was a season in which the Cowboys struggled to build any momentum and performances like this from Prescott raised question marks about whether he has what it takes to lead a team to a Super Bowl.

Ben Rolfe

Head of NFL Content



Image credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports, Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports & Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports