Week Four Recap
Week four was a wild one! The Bills put up a 40-burger and shutout the Texans. Andy Reid earned his 100th win with the Kansas City Chiefs. We had championship rematches between the QBs in Super Bowl XLV & the 2019 NCAA Championship. Oh yeah, and Tom Brady returned to Foxborough to face Belichick and the Patriots for the first time in his career. Not to mentioned, the Arizona Cardinals are the last undefeated team! With all of that excitement, there are bound to be some start performances and some that are not nearly as noteworthy. This is NFL studs and duds — week four!
Thursday Night Football
Two studs I want to highlight here, and we will give Joe Burrow his rose first. This man oozes confidence and has been backing it up on the field this year. Last Thursday, we saw him put up just under 350 yards passing to go with two touchdown tosses and 0 interceptions. Not to mention, he led his team to a comeback victory, capped off with a last-minute field goal to take the win. The Bengals are now 3-1 and tied for 1st place in the AFC North. Just put it in his hands!
The next guy has had an incredible journey. From undrafted free agent to 1,000-yard rusher, James Robinson has been a true wonder to watch and he was on full display this past Thursday. He rushed for 78 yards and two scores against what is one of the tougher rush defenses in the league. He has been one of the few bright spots for a dismal Jags team the past two seasons. His hungry running style is not something you see much in the league anymore and it was on full display.
This isn’t a player, but it needs to be mentioned that Urban Meyer was a DUD in week four. I do not think he particularly coached a bad game, even though it was a loss. He was able to utilize Robinson better than they have up to this point and Trevor Lawrence had his first game without a pick. A lot of this is due to the option plays he incorporated in the game plan. However, Urban Meyer, head coach of the winless Jaguars, was caught out partying in Ohio dancing with a woman who was not his wife. I do not enjoy shaming people for their decisions off of the field, but you would think he would be at home trying to figure out how to win. Instead, he is having to apologize to his team.
I am going to be very biased and start with my hometown Chiefs. Two studs to give props to here — Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. These two absolutely lit it up connecting eleven times for over 180 yards and three scores. Mahomes ended up having a banner day in his own right, passing for 278 yards, five touchdowns, and over 25 yards on the ground as well. The offense was electric and it is all due to the chemistry between these two studs.
I also have to highlight Jalen Hurts for his solid performance. He took advantage of a weak Chiefs defense and passed for almost 400 yards, two TDs, and almost 50 yards on the ground. Easily turning in his best game of the season, he earned the title of stud this week, even in a losing effort.
We have a group of studs worth recognizing here, the Buffalo Bills defensive starters. Say what you want about the Houston Texans, but in the NFL you do not see shutouts often. These athletes are the best at what they do and they play at the highest level of their craft. This team blanked the Texans, picked off Davis Mills four times, sacked him three times, and collected a fumble. Special mentioned to Bills’ kicker Tyler Bass also, scoring 16 points in the winning effort.
Lastly, I want to welcome back a few running backs to NFL stardom. Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley were beasts this weekend. Zeke put up almost 150 yards on the ground and added a TD to his effort. He looked unstoppable as he gathered over 7 yards per tote against one of the top defenses in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers. Barkley and the Giants also tasted the glory of victory collecting their first win in OT against the Saints. He converted 18 total touches to 126 yards and two total TDs. Including the game-winning score. Quad God is back!
This first dud needs to be used on the Vikings-Browns game as a whole. Wow. Talk about a total bore. When I saw these two teams on the schedule I saw a high-scoring affair. I saw absolute fireworks. I saw the over hitting. None of these things happened for us and the Kevin Stefanski “revenge game” turned out to be a total dud. We deserved better.
Speaking of duds, D’Andre Swift put up an absolute stinker against the Bears. He ran for 16 yards on 8 total carries and added four catches for 33 yards. Jamaal Williams has been getting the lion’s share of the touches in Dan Campbell’s offense and has been more productive with his opportunities as well. The team needed him to be explosive and we did not see that on Sunday. If we see another performance like this from Swift, then I would expect this trend to continue.
“The Tennessee Titans lost this weekend.” Not a surprising statement, even the best teams lose in the NFL on occasion. “The Tennessee Titans lost to the New York Jets this weekend.” Now that is a shocking thing to see! The winless Jets took care of business at home and secured their first dub of the season against the Titans and it is all due to these two duds. The Titans’ offensive line and secondary. Henry was able to rush for over 150 yards, but Ryan Tannehill was sacked SEVEN times. The secondary also allowed rookie QB Zach Wilson to have the best game of his young career thus far.
You have to start with the running backs for the Cardinals: James Conner and Chase Edmonds. Edmonds was an absolute dog, rushing for 10 yards-per-carry and adding almost 140 total yards on the ground and through the air. He showed toughness against a top five defense in the league and proved why he is the top RB in Arizona. Then you had James Conner there to get the tough yards and score in the red zone. He was able to pound his way into the endzone twice and added almost 70 scrimmage yards total.
Russell Wilson didn’t have the best performance of his career, but he willed his team to a victory against a divisional opponent and made some pretty spectacular plays in the process. Just under 200 yards total, but he was able to score three TDs including a fantastic 16-yard scramble. Not to mention, it was the 32-year old’s 100th win as a starter.
Even in the losing effort, you cannot ignore the performance that Deebo Samuel had. His eight catches, 156 yards, and two TDs are more than enough for a stud tag. Add in the fact that those numbers came from two different QBs and you have no choice but to be even more impressed.
We were treated to a blast from the past in the Packers and Steelers game as well. We saw Aaron Rodgers throw two TDs to his guy, Randall Cobb. He converted five of his six targets to catches, had just under 70 yards, and was able to catch the only TD passes from Rodgers on the night. He is not one of the top receivers, but the way he and Rodgers worked together in that game was textbook.
On the other side, we have to start with JuJu Smith-Schuster. The TikTok star saw eight targets and was able to snag just two of those for 11 yards. The Steelers are counting on a player of his caliber to be one of the more reliable targets out there for Big Ben, especially when you consider his inability to throw the ball down the field this season. JuJu needs to be more effective if he wants to avoid the dud portion of the column in the future.
After three straight weeks of at least 80 yards or a TD, Chris Carson did neither in his matchup against the 49ers. The backup, Alex Collins was able to produce, and certainly overshadowed the 30 yards that Carson gained with his 13 carries. San Francisco shut him down and Russell Wilson had to pick up the slack for the offense to get the win.
Finally, we have Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton. Drew Lock entered the game after Teddy Two-Gloves suffered a concussion in the 2nd quarter of the game. He did not take advantage of this opportunity, however, as he failed to throw a TD, or even lead a scoring drive. Courtland Sutton did him no favors either. The WR1 caught just three passes on 10 targets and failed to eclipse 50 yards. As soon as the uber-efficient Bridgewater left the game, it was curtains for the Broncos.
Sunday Night Football
The return of Tom Brady to New England was the perfect end to a great day full of football. So first, I have to highlight the NBC media team and the NFL for such a great production. They truly pulled out all of the stops, from Steve Belichick to the animated shorts, to Schwartzy, it does not get more entertaining than that. Hats off to that team, you all are studs!
Now back to the actual on-field studs, and I have to start with Mac Jones. He stood toe-to-toe with the GOAT and put up a very nice game with 275 yards and two TDs. He kept the Patriots in the game the entire night all the way down to a heartbreaking missed FG in the final seconds of regulation. Definitely the most impressive start of his career so far and something for Patriots fans to feel confident about moving towards the future.
You also have to give props to the Patriots edge rusher, Matt Judon. He was a constant presence in the backfield and made things extremely difficult for Tom Brady. Altogether, he had seven total tackles, two for loss, a couple of QB hits, and he also tallied a sack. Judon may have been the most valuable free agent signing for New England and it showed Sunday night.
The Buccaneers’ offense – outside of Fournette and Mike Evans – was a complete dud. Tom Brady did not look sharp in his return to Foxborough. He was constantly under pressure, barely completed 50% of his passes, and in Gronkowski’s absence, could not connect with any receivers for a TD. The offensive line allowed the Patriots front to pressure Brady constantly, and it showed how fast he had to get rid of the ball throughout the game.
I also wanted to give Antonio Brown some attention here, you all know he loves attention! He was targeted 11 times, caught seven for less than 70, but it should have been so much more than that. He dropped a difficult catch in the endzone, but he also lost track of another last night and definitely underwhelmed for his standards. I may be a bit bitter because he cost me a Buccaneers’ cover, but he did not live up to the potential of the night.
Monday Night Football
Nothing like a classic AFC West matchup to make a Monday bareable. The Chargers and the Raiders squared off to decide who would remain in first place. Thanks to a balling effort from Austin Ekeler, the Chargers dominated the game. Ekeler was easily the most electric player on the field, racking up 145 total yards and two TDs on 18 touches. The running back ran with ease, carving up a battered Raiders defense for over seven yards per tote.
On defense you had a strong performance from the Chargers line as a whole, but none could top the one we saw from Derwin James. He seemed to be everywhere, leading the team in tackles, knocking a pass out of the air, and even picking off Derek Carr to essentially seal the game in the 4th quarter. He has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, and the NFL s better with him in the game.
This was a game that did not feature many poor performances, even from the losing team. Mike Williams, however, had a rough game. The Raiders pretty much locked him down, holding him to just one catch for 11 yards on four targets. Even the MNF football crew was looking for Williams to show up. Herbert heaved two passes to him down field and the big-bodied receiver was not able to haul them in. After the best start of his career, Williams finds himself on the dud list.