NFL Recap: Week 4
By: ZACHARY JONES / STAFF REPORTER
New York Football
New York is back at it again with both the hometown teams getting the win this week. However, neither game came easy for the respective teams.
The New York Giants played a nerve wracking game against the Chicago Bears, in which a running philosophy was the key to victory.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley is performing strongly both for the Giants and many fantasy football managers as he’s also the top scoring running back for fantasy football. Both quarterbacks on the Giants roster found themselves hurt during the course of the game, leading the healthier of the two, Daniel Jones, having to finish the game battling injury.
The Bears still seemed to struggle heavily on offense, with poor performances from quarterback Justin Fields beginning to stack. Ultimately they will need him to play better if they are to compete for a playoff spot in a strong NFC.
The New York Jets are finishing games strong, and that trend continues in this week's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers where they scored 14 points to close the fourth quarter and take the lead.
If there’s one thing to be more excited about than this win it would be the rookie class. Headlined by offensive studs Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson, who have performed amazingly so far this year, as well as defensive beasts in Sauce Gardner and Jermaine Johnson. Each of these guys have found themselves to take over and succeed in their given roles.
On the other sideline there were some stirrups and changes made with rookie Kenny Pickett taking over at quarterback after Mitchell Trubisky’s struggles from last week continued into this week. While Pickett may have had 3 turnovers, it should not overshadow the fact that he led the team to 2 touchdown drives in his first NFL game.
Pittsburgh drops to 1-3 after the loss and will have an uphill battle if they wish to make the playoffs with a rookie quarterback at the helm.
Thursday Night Football and Controversy
This game between the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals was one surrounded by controversy after Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down with concussion symptoms for the second consecutive week.
This brings up questions on the initial diagnosis of Tagovailoa, where doctors said he did not have a concussion after a hit last week. This decision led to firings of doctors and investigations of others. Hopefully all is well with Tagovailoa, but it’s doubtful that we will see him on the field for a few weeks.
When it comes to the game we saw another good performance from Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. He played well and most importantly he did not turn the ball over, which has been an issue for him this season.
Tee Higgins came in and played great, even with his injury riddled season thus far. The Dolphins couldn’t make things happen after Tagovailoa went down, and it was obvious that his absence affected the performance of his team. Tyreek Hill was still great and added another 150 yard game to his season.
A Lovely Game in London
The Minnesota Vikings took down an injury riddled New Orleans Saints team in the overseas bout.
The Saints found themselves short of their QB1, RB1 and WR1 in the already tough matchup, but even with these missing stars, the Saints put up a solid outing, only losing by 3 points with Andy Dalton at the helm.
One positive for New Orleans fans is that rookie receiver Chris Olave continued his hot start with 67 yards as well as a touchdown.
The Vikings had their star receiver produce better than the week prior with Justin Jefferson totaling 150 yards from scrimmage. He also tacked on a touchdown on his sole carry of the game.
The Vikings continue to find themselves in these close game situations, but they’ve been winning them. They currently sit atop the NFC North.
Close Games Across the Early Window
The Atlanta Falcons beat the Cleveland Browns by three points after a game sealing interception from first year man Dee Alford.
Quarterback play in this game was lackluster to say the least., even with the starting running back for Atlanta, Cordarelle Patterson, getting injured early in the game. Luckily for the Falcons their rookie running back pair of Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier played great in place of the injured Patterson, leading the team to the narrow victory.
Each team is tied for the lead in their division, but expect each team to fall in those standings as the season progresses.
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves undefeated when backup quarterback Cooper Rush is at the helm. Rush played well in this victory over division rival Washington Commanders.
Ceedee Lamb played great, grabbing 6 catches for just under 100 yards and capped off his performance with a touchdown.
Kicker Brett Maher continues his amazing Cowboys resurgence with another game without missing a field goal, with his only miss coming in last week's win over the Giants.
Carson Wentz struggled in this game, throwing 2 interceptions and only 170 yards.
Rookie Jahan Dotson added another touchdown bringing his total to 4 on the year.
The Commanders now fall even further, being in a successful NFC East division that has 3 teams that are 3-1 or better.
The highest scoring game of the season came in a game many wouldn’t have expected. The Seattle Seahawks defeat a beat up Detroit Lions roster.
The Lions came in missing both star offensive players, D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St.Brown, but they found a way to get other players involved in the game on offense with 4 different players scoring touchdowns.
Offense was obviously not lacking on the other end either as Geno Smith and Rashaad Penny went off, contributing 5 touchdowns. Penny eclipsed 150 yards rushing against a Lions defense that has struggled to defend the run all year.
Each of these teams will probably miss the playoffs with their overpowering division rivals performing well.
The Tennessee Titans battled their division rival Indianapolis Colts in a game that featured the past 2 NFL leading rushers, Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry
In this game Henry looked the more efficient back, as he neared 150 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown as well, while Taylor struggled to get it going on the ground averaging 2.1 yards per carry.
For the second consecutive week the Colts had a tight end with 2 touchdown catches, this time it being Indianapolis veteran Mo Alie-Cox. The Titans are tied for the lead in the division, and the Colts fall behind further with a record of 0-2-1 in division play.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the only undefeated team heading into week 5 after they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For the first time this season Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts underperformed, but the running game for the Eagles played amazingly, rushing for 210 yards total as well as scoring all 4 touchdowns on the ground.
The Jaguars struggled on offense, but their defense played well keeping them in the game and even scoring a touchdown. Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrance simply couldn’t keep the ball in his offense's possession, turning the ball over 5 times, throwing a single interception and losing 4 fumbles. This included the final possession where he fumbled the ball off of a Hassan Reddick pressure.
Another game decided on a last possession turnover was the Baltimore Ravens’ loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Two of the league's best quarterbacks, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, battled it out in the close game.
Both quarterbacks led their team in rushing, but neither could seem to catch stride passing the ball as they combined for 3 interceptions on the day. This included the game sealing red zone interception thrown by Lamar Jackson, leading to a Bills drive where they kicked the game winning field goal.
Each team is tied for the lead of the division, and have high expectations to make the playoffs at this point.
The Houston Texans also lost on a game sealing turnover to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers won by 10 after a great performance from quarterback Justin Herbert, who many questioned the health of coming into the game. Herbert silenced questions of his injury’s effect on his play by putting up 340 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Austin Ekeler soothed the worries of fantasy football owners with a game where he totaled 3 touchdowns on the day. Rookie Dameon Pierce played great rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries. Unfortunately for the Texans a late interception from Davis Mills took the team out of the game.
The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Carolina Panthers in a very unexciting game for fans.
While wide receiver Marquise Brown played well, adding 88 yards and a touchdown to his recent flair in production, but he was one of the only highlights in a very slow starting Arizona offense.
Carolina also performed poorly offensively, but Christian McCaffery did well catching the ball out of the backfield, leading the team in receiving.
The Cardinals are now tied with the rest of their division at the .500 mark, and the Panthers fall to the bottom of the NFC South with the Saints.
Late Afternoon Rushing Spectacles
The Green Bay Packers narrowly defeated the New England Patriots in overtime despite the Patriots having to play 3rd string rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe due to injury.
Each team averaged over five yards per carry on the ground, but when it comes to passing the back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers, besides a pick-six, simply outdueled the college standout Zappe. The Packers are now tied atop the NFC North at 3-1, while the Patriots slip to 1-3 in a division boasting two 3-1 teams.
The Las Vegas Raiders grabbed their first win this week over the Denver Broncos.
Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson looked the best he has all year, but the team just couldn’t get it done. The loss wasn’t the only bad news for Denver though, as second year standout running back Javonte Williams left the game injured and will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
The Raiders got a good game out of offseason signee Devante Adams, who had 9 receptions for just over 100 yards on the day.
The ground game for Oakland seemed to be the focal point of the victory as running back Josh Jacobs ran the ball 28 times for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. Las Vegas is still playing catch up in the division at 1-3 in last place just behind the 2-2 Broncos.
Sunday Night Football
The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a high scoring game filled with passing.
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers had over 50 passing attempts to a mere 6 rushing attempts, while the Chiefs had a more 2 dimensional offense that had 37 of each.
Mike Evans had over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in his return to play following his suspension stemming from a fight with Saints Marshon Lattimore, but Brady’s passing attack was no match for Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs, who scored on all but 3 drives.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire seems to be back on the same standard from his rookie season as he continues his solid start with almost 100 yards from scrimmage as well touchdowns both in the air and on the ground. The Chiefs take a sole lead on the AFC West and the Buccaneers are now tied for top of their division with the Falcons who both sit at the .500 mark.
Monday Night Football
The San Francisco 49ers shut down the Los Angeles Rams offense in the 24-9 victory.
The 49ers scored touchdowns on both offense and defense with a pick-six from Talanoa Hufanga, Troy Polamalu’s protege. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo picked up right back where he left off last year with multiple targets, including a touchdown, to his star receiver Deebo Samuel.
Jeff Wilson also performed well rushing for 74 yards and touchdown on the day. As expected, Cooper Kupp had a great game with 14 catches and 122 yards and Tyler Higbee surprised fans with 10 catches and 73 yards in the game, but despite this good receiving performance for LA, the game was lost by the Rams quarterback. Matthew Stafford continued his struggle to limit the turnovers with his 3rd multiple turnover game in only 4 games.
Ultimately with this result every team in the NFC West finds themselves at .500, leaving the division open as well as making division games like this one of paramount importance for each team's playoff chances.