Five observations on the sixth weekend of the 2017 NFL season:
1. The broken collarbone that sidelined Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers last Sunday in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings was not only a shattering blow for the Packers, but for the NFL.
After losing J.J. Watt and Odell Beckham Jr., the NFL can’t afford to lose more stars, especially since TV ratings are declining. The NFL has to do more to protect quarterbacks.
Anthony Barr took a step before hitting Rodgers after he released the ball. The NFL should make it illegal for defenders to hit quarterbacks after they release the ball.
In a quarterback league, the NFL can’t let defenders have free shots at them.
2. The Atlanta Falcons did it again Sunday against Miami. After blowing a 25-point lead to New England in the Super Bowl, they had a 17-0 lead against Miami and lost, 20-17.
“We can’t replay the game played in the Super Bowl,’’ coach Dan Quinn said. “What we have is now.’’
They still haven’t learned how to protect a big lead. And now they play New England on Sunday night in a primetime game. The timing couldn’t be worse for the Falcons.
3. Adrian Peterson’s career seemed to be over in New Orleans at the start of the season. It turns out the Saints just weren’t a good fit for Peterson.
In his first game with the Arizona Cardinals, Peterson ran 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The victory brought the Cardinals to 3-3. Now Peterson will see if he can turn their season around.
4. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-2, but they’re doing it in a very unorthodox way with a lot of soap-opera drama surrounding the team.
First, Antonio Brown threw his Gatorade barrel tantrum. Then he was targeted against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions, including two pick-sixes, and suggested he might not have it anymore.
Then Roethlisberger chided reporters for suggesting he was near the end. After all that, Roethlisberger beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the sixth consecutive time to hand them their first loss of the season, 19-13.
The Steelers did what they should have done against the Jaguars and handed the ball off to Le’Veon Bell, who got only 15 carries against Jacksonville but carried for 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs.
Oh, yes, Martavis Bryant reportedly to be asked to be traded because he isn’t getting the ball enough.
Then again, that’s probably a good sign for the Steelers — a team that seems to thrive on drama.
5. Jaguars fans who remember Jack Del Rio probably aren’t surprised that the Oakland Raiders lost their fourth game in a row, 17-16, to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Del Rio’s teams in Jacksonville were noted for collapses, but they usually came later in the season.
Del Rio’s teams also reflected his personality and were up and down, so we’ll see if the Raiders can rebound. They were supposed to be a Super Bowl contender, but they’re not playing like one even though Derek Carr is back. And they host the Chiefs this Thursday night.