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Biggest Winners, Losers From 2023 NFL Week 5

Week 5 was one of the wildest weeks of the NFL season, with several outstanding performances and a few disappointing showings from playoff-caliber teams. 

Here are the biggest winners and losers from the slate of games before Sunday Night Football:

Week 5 Winners, Losers

Winner: De’Von Achane, Miami Dolphins 

Seemingly, he’s scored a long touchdown every week with his incredible speed. Miami Dolphins RB De’Von Achane has 455 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 37 carries in the past three games. That means he averages 12.2 yards per carry. 

That number isn't sustainable, but it's clear Achane is one of the most explosive running backs we've seen in the last several years. He might be the modern-day Chris Johnson. It’s been incredible to watch. 

Loser: Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Time might be running out on Mac Jones in New England. The New England Patriots had another ugly loss, getting shut out against the New Orleans Saints at home. After an embarrassing performance in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys, the Patriots were even worse in Week 5. 

The Patriots had just 156 yards of offense against the Saints with three turnovers. New England averaged just 3.1 yards per play, the lowest among all teams. 

New England has scored just 18 total points in the past three weeks, and it’s clear Jones isn’t the answer. Jones averaged just 5.0 yards per attempt on Sunday and was replaced by backup QB Bailey Zappe for the second straight week. 

At this point, it would be a major shock if the Patriots didn’t have a new quarterback under center in 2024. It is hard to blame all the offensive struggles on Jones, but he certainly isn’t helping, either. He’s just not good enough for the Patriots to be competitive in the AFC.

Winner: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

For anyone who wondered about Cooper Kupp after suffering his hamstring worry, don’t be. After missing the season's first month, Kupp looked healthy and fresh while torching the Philadelphia Eagles’ secondary. 

In the first half, Kupp caught six passes for 95 yards. He lined up all over the field, and the Eagles had no answer. Kupp finished the game with 118 yards on eight receptions but could have had a much bigger day if the Los Angeles Rams had protected Matthew Stafford

On Sunday, Puka Nacua was the clear-cut No. 2 receiver, as Kupp went right back into his featured role.

Loser: Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens paid WR Odell Beckham Jr. to be their No. 1 receiver this year. He’s been anything but through five games. Beckham returned to the field in Week 5 after missing the past few weeks with an ankle injury. 

On his first reception of the game, Beckham was injured again and was forced to miss most of the first half. He returned to the field in the second half and had just one more reception the rest of the way.

One of the game's biggest plays was on a third and goal from the 5-yard line late in the fourth quarter. With the Ravens up by two, they threw a fade to Beckham in the end zone. He could not create separation and never even attempted to get the football. 

Steelers rookie CB Joey Porter Jr. intercepted the pass, and Pittsburgh won the game. Clearly, the Ravens wanted to get Beckham more involved in the offense, but things just aren't clicking. Now, they are force-feeding him the football, and the offense has stalled because of it. 

After five games, Beckham has seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. While he can still be a useful player in spots, it’s clear the Ravens aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Winner: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

It took five weeks, but Joe Burrow is finally starting to look like himself. Burrow wasn't perfect by any means, but he threw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns for the first time this season. 

The Cincinnati Bengals scored 31 points in Week 5 after scoring just 49 total points in the season's first four games. 

We even saw Burrow get out of the pocket and make plays with his legs. He wasn't comfortable doing that in the first month of the season. The Bengals are 2-3 and are only one game back in the AFC North. Somehow, they've managed to keep themselves alive in the division.

Loser: Denver Broncos

It’s hard to get much worse than allowing 70 points to the Dolphins in Week 3. But the Denver Broncos Week 5 loss to the New York Jets might just do it. 

Sean Payton was very critical of Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, but it was the Jets who scored 31 points and racked up more than 400 yards of offense. The Jets were sloppy on offense, too, but that unit averaged 6.6 yards per play.

Meanwhile, Denver's offense struggled all game and could only move the ball on the ground and via penalties. The Broncos had three turnovers at home and dropped to 1-4 on the season.

Sean Payton's time in Denver certainly hasn’t gone well. The Broncos are probably the worst team in the AFC through five weeks. This team needs a complete reset because they don't do anything well on either side of the ball. 

It’s fair to wonder if the Broncos made the wrong decision to give up draft capital to hire Payton. That’s where we are after five games in Denver.

Winner: Alex Highsmith, Pittsburgh Steelers

T.J. Watt gets a lot of attention in Pittsburgh, but you can make the case Alex Highsmith is the more consistent player this season. Watt had two sacks on Sunday, but Highsmith had 11 pressures and the critical sack at the end of the game to help the Pittsburgh Steelers get a 17-10 lead.

Highsmith went from a nice No. 2 Edge rusher last season to one of the NFL’s most consistent pass rushers. 

After being rewarded with a big contract extension this offseason, Highsmith has leveled up his game even more this year. He has two sacks, but his consistent pressure and playmaking abilities have helped the Steelers steal two AFC North games they probably shouldn’t have won.

Marcus Mosher is an NFL writer with a decade of experience in podcasting and writing for various NFL websites, including Bleacher Report, Pro Football Focus and The Athletic. He’s currently a managing editor at USA Today Sports Media Group and host of the Locked On Cowboys Podcast. Marcus has been working full-time covering the NFL since 2015 and works as a betting expert for You can follow him at @Marcus_Mosher.