NFL Week 5: MVP and LVP

NFL Week 5: MVP and LVP


Gadget player Taysom Hill scored 4 TDs against Seattle
Image: Getty Images

Who had the better four-touchdown outburst, Travis Kelce or Taysom Hill? Kelce and Hill showed that efficient production trumps volume in wins. In the red zone, Kelce has a knack for getting open, and despite only gaining 25 yards on seven receptions, he maneuvered himself open for Mahomes on nearly every red zone trip. While Kelce’s four-TD catches accounted for the Chiefs’ collective touchdown output on Monday Night Football, Taysom Hill was the MVP of Week 5.

While Kelce was spectacular in primetime, Hill just did more off-Broadway. In New Orleans’ 39-32 win over the Seahawks, Hill had the highest passer rating in the NFL — he threw a 22-yard touchdown — and led the Saints in rushing (nine carries, 112 yards, three TDs). The versatility he displayed is unparalleled. Hill is the NFL’s ultimate Swiss Army Knife. Most weeks, he’s just the highest-paid backup tight end/L3 on the kickoff coverage team, but once in a blue moon, his diverse array of skills comes in handy. He’s not equipped to be the full-time starting quarterback former head coach Sean Payton once imagined him to be. We found that out last season when he completed just 19-of-41 attempts, and puked up four interceptions against the Cowboys last December.

Under the Dennis Allen regime, his dream of being a full-time quarterback ended. Instead, he’s a temp at several positions. Jameis Winston’s myriad of injuries led to Andy Dalton starting Sunday, but Hill stole his thunder. In totality, Hill shredded the Seahawks, and even recovered a fumble on special teams, which led to one of his touchdowns. Taysom Hill is a bigger paradox than ouroboros.

His first score was the result of a scamper up the middle. His second score was a rushing touchdown following his fumble recovery on the punt-coverage team. Hill’s third touchdown was a product of the defense dozing off, expecting another designed run and then him subverting expectations by throwing a strike to “fellow tight end” Adam Trautman. On his final possession, Hill Forrest Gump’d 60 yards into the end zone to put the Saints up eight.

In the process, Hill became the first NFL player since the merger with four touchdowns, at least one kick return, two rushing touchdowns, and a passing score. The amazing thing is you may not hear Hill’s name for another 12 weeks. I didn’t even realize he was still squatting on the Saints’ roster.

Hill’s heroics bounced Geno Smith from Week 5 MVP contention as well. The former Jet led Seattle’s offensive scoring burst and had the highest passer rating this week among starting quarterbacks who threw more than one pass, but his comeback bid stalled out in the final minutes against the Saints. 

LVP — Russell Wilson

Broncos Nation! Let’s Hide!

During Thursday night’s catastrophe, both Colts and Broncos fans looked like they wanted to shove their own heads into a toilet bowl rather than watch their teams play awful football. Russell Wilson continued his tradition of playing like Washington-era Donovan McNabb, and hit a new low on Amazon’s Thursday Night Football broadcast. In addition to getting millions of Broncos fans to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime, Wilson sank the Broncos on a night when their defense battered the Colts.

As the Broncos and Colts traded punts, you got the feeling that eventually, the old Wilson would emerge to make a splash play which would seal the deal. Instead, with the Broncos ahead, 9-6, with the ball deep in Colts territory, Russ slung a rocket into a tight window in the end zone, which Stephon Gilmore slammed shut by picking it off. Had it not been for Wilson’s second interception of the evening, the Broncos could have run the clock down and taken a six-point lead with under two minutes remaining.

Then, in overtime, Wilson led the Broncos into the red zone with a chance to win it. Then, on fourth-and-1, the Broncos decided to go for the win, which was a nice change of pace from Nathaniel Hackett’s conservative play-calling. Unfortunately, they tag-teamed on the decision not to run, then Wilson made another mind-numbing decision by a) Not rolling out to pick up the first down, b) Missing a wide-open KJ Hamler on the slant, and c) Throwing at Gilmore again, who knocked it down to secure the win.

Wilson’s noxious outing saved Carolina’s Baker Mayfield from being a repeat LVP. Mayfield’s sorry play contributed to the firing of coach Matt Rhule, but at least he wasn’t detrimental to a tech titan’s business model. A high ankle sprain Mayfield suffered in the loss will sequester him to the sidelines for possibly the rest of the season making way for third-string QB and former XFL star P.J. Walker (Carolina’s other 2018 draft reject, Sam Darnold is also out with a high ankle sprain).

News trickled out over the weekend that Wilson was playing with a partially torn lat near his right throwing shoulder, which is some nifty damage control. However, a lat injury didn’t compel him to listen to the devil on his shoulder advising him to make a Danger-Russ throw when a check-down likely would have led to a Broncos victory.



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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.