Here’s what each team did during the national anthem on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers: More than 20 Niners knelt during the anthem, with several of their teammates standing behind them. Vice President Pence walked out of the game shortly after the anthem, stating on Twitter that he would “not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts wore black t-shirts with the words “We Will” on the front and “Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity” on the back for the second straight week. During the anthem, the players stood with their arms locked.
Tennessee Titans: Receiver Rishard Matthews stayed in the locker room during the national anthem for the second straight week. The rest of the Titans stood during the song.
Miami Dolphins: Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, safety Michael Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas stayed in the locker room during the anthem before their game against the Titans. All three players kneeled before last Sunday’s game against the Saints in London
Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Jenkins, with teammate Chris Long’s arm around his shoulder, raised his first above his head during the anthem before the game against the Cardinals. Rodney McLeod joined him by raising a fist.
N.Y. Giants: Injured defensive end Olivier Vernon knelt during the anthem before the game against the Chargers, as he has done in previous weeks. Linebacker Keenan Robinson raised his fist in the air, while the rest of the Giants locked arms.
Panthers’ Cam Newton shakes off controversy with a strong first half
The Carolina Panthers survived numerous head-scratching penalties early in the game to go into halftime with a 17-10 lead over the Detroit Lions. They have Cam Newton to thank for it.
Newton, who is coming off of his best game of the season, plunged his team into a massive distraction this week when he made sexist remarks to a female reporter. While his teammates seemed far from sharp in the half, Newton was at his best, completing 15 of 17 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
That Carolina was able to build a lead despite running up seven penalties for 78 yards on just the first few drives of the game, was a testament to how well Newton has played since he bottomed out with a poor performance against New Orleans in Week 3.
Carolina’s defense held up their end of the bargain, limiting Matthew Stafford and the Lions to 109 yards of offense. It is the 101st consecutive start for Stafford, and thus far he has completed just 9 of 16 passes for 71 yards.
First-half highlights: After Pence walks out, football happens.
■ Reshad Jones, a safety, scored the only touchdown of the first half as the Miami Dolphins took a 10-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are playing without Marcus Mariota, and the Dolphins took advantage by sacking Cassel, who fumbled, with Jones picking the ball up and returning it 38 yards for the score.
■ The Jets had a 3-0 lead at halftime over the Cleveland Browns thanks to a 57-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro as time ran out in the half. The Jets needed to drive the ball only 32 yards to get Catanzaro into scoring position after a missed 39-yard field goal attempt by the Browns’ Zane Gonzalez.
■ The Philadelphia Eagles had a fairly easy first half against the Arizona Cardinals, going into the locker room with a 21-7 lead thank to Carson Wentz throwing three touchdown passes in the first quarter.
■ Buffalo’s defense continues to shine, as the Bills fought to a 10-10 halftime tie on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. Micah Hyde provided an interception that set Buffalo’s offense up with a short field, leading to the team’s lone touchdown.
■ After Vice President Pence stormed out of the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, he did not miss much. The teams fought to a 6-6 tie, with neither side managing even 160 yards of offense.
■ In the matchup of winless teams, the Los Angeles Chargers went into halftime with a 10-7 lead over the Giants thanks to a field goal and a 6-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Melvin Gordon. The Giants got a safety after a ball was fumbled in the end zone, and Orleans Darkwa ran in a 23-yard touchdown.
Jaguars’ defense makes Steelers pay for turnover.
The Jacksonville Jaguars took advantage of an interception by Ben Roethlisberger and simply pounded the ball down the field with Leonard Fournette on the way to the end zone, giving the team a 7-6 lead at halftime on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was a first half with decidedly few offensive highlights, but the Jaguars’ top-rated pass defense came through for the team yet again when Roethlisberger attempted a deep pass to Vance McDonald in the first quarter. Jalen Ramsey, a second-year cornerback out of Florida State, made Roethlisberger pay for the pass by delivering Jacksonville’s sixth interception of the season.
In the half, the Steelers, who have struggled to pass the ball this season, managed field goals on the team’s first and possessions of the half, but otherwise did not do much. They had 194 yards of offense, with 152 coming through the air, but Ramsey made several huge plays to shut down potential catches. The young defensive back’s lone mistake came when he failed to wrap up Antonio Brown on a catch late in the half that helped set up the Steelers’ second score.
Colin Kaepernick says he’d stand for the national anthem.
If a team is willing to sign Colin Kaepernick, the polarizing former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers has vowed to stand during the national anthem.
According a CBS report, Kaepernick, who had 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season, has been working out privately in New Jersey in hopes of finding a team willing to take a chance on him. To this point, teams have stayed away, with many players speculating that his kneeling for the national anthem last season caused too large of a distraction for team owners to tolerate.
Kaepernick became a free agent when he opted out of his long-term contract with the 49ers following last season, though it was widely believed he was simply beating the team to the punch as they were expected to release him to move in another direction. The 29-year-old quarterback led San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance following the 2012 season — and had one of his best statistical seasons last year despite his 1-10 record as a starter — but no team chose to sign him.
Kaepernick initially sat during the anthem in the preseason last year in hopes of raising awareness of issues of awareness of systemic inequality and police brutality against African-Americans. Shortly after his protest began he began kneeling instead, and did that for the entire regular season. He was joined by his teammate, Eric Reed, and the protests eventually spilled over to other teams as well.
The issue has ramped up this season with President Trump condemning the protests, and the league responding with widespread protests and demonstrations during the playing of the anthem over the last three weeks.
Top Story Lines for Week 5
Are the Kansas City Chiefs the best team in the N.F.L.? Should the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams really have the same records as the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers? No real pecking order has been established this season, so perhaps Week 5 can quiet down some of the noise and establish the real contenders.
Here are some of the things to watch out for this week:
Quarterbacks to watch
No position affects an N.F.L. game as directly as quarterback, and there is plenty of uncertainty at that position this week.
■ Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford has been listed as questionable to play against the Bears. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer refused to declare Bradford the starter this week, so we might see Case Keenum, who has lost two of three games as the starter.
■ Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans, who is technically a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, is not expected to play against Miami, forcing the team to start Matt Cassel.
■ Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders broke a bone in his back last week, and while he returned to practice far ahead of schedule, the team is likely to start E.J. Manuel against Baltimore.
■ Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, who spent the week dealing with the distraction of his sexist remarks at a news conference, is also on his team’s injury report in his continuing recovery from off-season shoulder surgery. He is expected to play, but his inability to participate fully in practices keeps his health in question.
Rookies to watch
■ Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, will make his debut for the Cleveland Browns. He missed the first four weeks with an ankle injury, and will be trying to help his team get its first win of the season against a Jets team that is surprisingly 2-2.
■ Last week, Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans joined Fran Tarkenton, the Hall of Fame quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, as the only rookie passers to have a game with four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. The week before he had passed for more than 300 yards against New England. He still needs to cut down on his turnovers, but a strong performance on national television against the undefeated Chiefs tonight would do a lot to build his hype.
■ Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears will be the third quarterback from the 2017 draft class to start a game this season (DeShone Kizer of the Browns and Watson are the others), but that will have to wait until Monday night when his team faces the Vikings.
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