Sun. Dec 16th, 2018

NFL: X vs. O Week 5 Review: Vikings deke Eagles, Kamara just a decoy

Here, Thielen starts inside on a slant route before breaking back to the corner of the end zone. Cornerback Ronald Darby (No. 21) bites down on the slant, and Cousins drops in a perfect throw that Thielen pulls in - despite Darby being flagged for defensive holding - giving Minnesota a 14-point lead at the break.

This was not the only time Thielen got the better of a Vikings defensive back. In the preview piece, we specifically pointed out that cornerback Jalen Mills could be susceptible to double-moves. Well …

Here, Thielen uses a quick stutter-and-go move against Mills (No. 31) that beats him deep. The 68-yard gain flips field position and sets up a field goal.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Jaguars' defense

Winner: Mahomes

Sunday’s clash between the Chiefs and the visiting Jaguars was billed as a heavyweight contest between the league’s top scoring offense and the league’s best defense. And despite wet, soggy conditions, emerging superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs got the better of the Jags in a 30-14 win.

It wasn't Mahomes' best performance, mind you, as he threw his first two interceptions of the season and failed to complete a touchdown pass for the first time all season. But he still racked up 313 passing yards, while both he and Kareem Hunt scored a rushing touchdown as the running game thrived.

As for the marquee matchup between Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey and Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, it lived up to expectations. Hill was limited to just four catches for 61 yards, but he got the better of Ramsey on this vertical route:

It's also worth noting that Kansas City's defense stepped up in a big way after struggling over the first four weeks. The unit intercepted Blake Bortles four times and didn't give up a touchdown until the second half.

The Chiefs’ defense even got on the scoreboard with one of the interceptions, as defensive end Chris Jones (No. 95) alertly stepped in front of a Bortles screen-pass attempt and returned it for a TD:

Jones, who usually aligns on the edge, slides inside to a defensive tackle alignment for this play. As Bortles (No. 5) drops to throw, Jones does a fantastic job of reading his eyes and mirroring the running back's path.

That impressive defensive performance helped Kansas City remain unbeaten despite Mahomes not being at his very best.

Redskins' defense vs. Alvin Kamara in space

Winner: No Contest

Despite Kamara’s hot start to the season, many wondered how the New Orleans Saints’ offense would look with fellow running back Mark Ingram returning from suspension on Monday night. And on an evening that focused on Ingram’s return and quarterback Drew Brees' pursuit of the NFL’s all-time passing yardage mark, Kamara was largely an afterthought.

Ingram returned to the lineup and carried the ball 16 times for 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Kamara was limited to six carries for 24 yards and just three receptions for 15 yards. Taysom Hill, New Orleans’ third-string quarterback whom Sean Payton uses in a number of roles, saw five carries for 23 yards and a touchdown.

On the play when Brees set the all-time passing yards record - a 62-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith (No. 10) - Kamara (No. 41) was used more as a decoy:

Here, Kamara runs a swing route to the right, which holds cornerback Josh Norman (No. 24) down near the line of scrimmage. That gives Smith space to get open on his vertical route, and Brees puts the throw on him. The ensuing catch and run established the record for Brees and extended the Saints' lead.

We'll call this one a no-contest.

Mark Schofield writes NFL feature content for theScore. After nearly a decade of practicing law in the Washington, D.C., area Mark changed careers and started writing about football. Drawing upon more than a decade of playing quarterback, including at the collegiate level, Mark focuses his work on quarterback evaluation and offensive scheme analysis. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two children. Find him on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

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