Clutch Performers

Eli Manning hits statistical milestones with clutch finish

The Atlanta Falcons' Robert Alford, Cincinnati Bengals' Mike Nugent, Cleveland Browns' Josh McCown, Buffalo Bills' Tyrod Taylor and New York Giants' Eli Manning each had the strength to come through during a key moment and contribute to wins during Week 5.

Thanks to those strong performances, each player is up for Castrol EDGE Clutch Performer of the Week honors. This is a deeper look at the significance of those conquests.

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Strong stats to consider:
» With the 30-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Giants have won three consecutive games after starting the season 0-2. However, the Giants also won three straight after opening the season 0-2 in 2014, but finished up by going 3-8 in the final 11 games for a 6-10 record.
» The Giants' 525 yards of total offense against the 49ers was the most for the team since a 41-34 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 of 2012 (604 yards).

Power of the moment: Manning's clutch performance against the 49ers helped the quarterback hit a number of statistical milestones. Manning's 41 completions is a new Giants team record (toppling Phil Simms' 40 in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1985). Manning also topped Simms in another -- arguably way more important -- category: Most wins by a quarterback in team history. Manning now has 102 wins to Simms' 101. Since 2004 -- including playoff games -- Manning has the most fourth-quarter comebacks with 27, just edging his big brother Peyton's 26.

Robert Alford, Atlanta Falcons

Strong stats to consider:
» With 25-19 overtime win on Sunday, the Falcons have now defeated the Redskins in five consecutive games. This is the longest (and only) win streak against the Redskins in franchise history.
» The last time the Redskins beat the Falcons was in 2003, when Steve Spurrier (Redskins) and Dan Reeves (Falcons) were the head coaches, and the opposing quarterbacks were Patrick Ramsey (Redskins) and Doug Johnson (Falcons).

Power of the moment: What was the first interception returned for a touchdown by an opposing team in overtime in Redskins history helped the Falcons make history of their own. The Falcons are the only team in NFL history to start a season 5-0 after having trailed in the fourth quarter in four of those games. On Sunday, the Redskins held a 16-12 advantage entering the fourth period, but a Devonta Freeman touchdown run before the two-minute warning gave the Falcons a 19-16 lead. Washington needed a 52-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins as time expired just to force the overtime, when the first possession ended in Alford's timely walk-off pick six.

Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals

Strong stats to consider:
» The Bengals trailed 24-7 after three quarters before outscoring the Seahawks 20-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime in the 27-24 win. This was the second-largest fourth-quarter comeback in Bengals history. The largest came in 1997 against the Arizona Cardinals when the Bengals trailed by 18 and win 24-21 (Ki-Jana Carter scored two touchdowns and Carl Pickens scored another in that epic rally during Week 1 of that season).
» The Seahawks have not defeated the Bengals in Cincinnati since Week 4 of the 1993 season. The starting quarterbacks that day were Rick Mirer for the Seahawks and David Klingler for the Bengals.

Power of the moment: Nugent's game-tying and game-winning field goals didn't come without more than their fair share of excitement. Nugent's tying field goal came in a frenzied final-seconds moment when the offense was rushed off the field and the special teams unit hurried on for the kick on the final play of regulation. That capped a 69-yard drive in which the Bengals didn't have any timeouts to use. Nugent's winner with 3:36 left in overtime bounced off the left upright and went through to give the Bengals the win, which gave the team its third 5-0 start in franchise history (1975 and 1988 were the other 5-0 starts).

Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns

Strong stats to consider:
» Entering Week 5, the Browns had lost 13 of 14 games against the Ravens, including seven consecutive games at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.
» The Browns' 33-30 overtime win snapped a streak of 10 consecutive losses in divisional openers (the longest such streak since 1967), and snapped a five-game road losing streak.

Power of the moment: In the midst of calls from outsiders for the Browns to go with Johnny Manziel at quarterback, McCown has embarked on a historic run and has rewritten portions of the Browns' extensive record book. McCown set a new franchise single-game record with 457 yards passing, topping the previous mark of 444 yards set by Brian Sipe in 1981 against the Baltimore Colts. Thirty-two of those yards came on the Browns' winning drive in overtime, which came after McCown and the Browns erased a 12-point deficit. McCown's yardage total also made him the first quarterback in Browns history to throw for 300-plus yards in three consecutive games.

Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

Strong stats to consider:
» The Bills have alternated wins and losses in the first five games of this season (wins in Week 1, Week 3 and Week 5; losses in Week 2 and Week 4). The Bills host the undefeated Bengals in Week 6.
» The Bills' 14-13 win over the Tennessee Titans was the 13th time since 1960 that both starting quarterbacks led their respective teams in rushing yards in the same game.

Power of the moment: Taylor was Mr. Everything for the victorious Bills. Forget about dual-threat quarterbacks, Taylor was a triple-threat dynamo, becoming the first quarterback since 1960 to throw for 100-plus yards, rush for 70-plus yards, catch a pass and win the game. Taylor's 76 yards rushing vs. the Titans represented a new franchise record for a Bills quarterback, topping the 74 yards Ryan Fitzpatrick scuttled for in Week 4 of 2010.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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