NFL Week 4 recap

One of the biggest surprises of the 2017 NFL season has been the New York Jets. Picked by many to be the worst team in the league, the Jets have found themselves with a 2-2 record, only one game behind the first place Buffalo Bills.

Collin Silverman
Staff Writer

Packers 35 (3-1) / Bears 14 (1-3)

The Packers improve to 3-1 with an uncontested victory over the Chicago Bears. The Packers were able to build a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. Turnovers really hurt the Bears as the Packers converted three of them into scores. The Packers lost two huge players on offense during the game including wideout Davante Adams, and their swiss-army knife in Ty Montgomery. Adams was taken off Lambeau Field on a stretcher from a hit by Bears LB Danny Trevathan, who was suspended two games for the hit. Montgomery received a chest injury, and has a possible chance to play in week 5. The Bears look forward as they announce they will be starting their second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback on Monday Night Football, when they face their division rival, the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers head to Dallas for a NFC Divisional round rematch in America’s Game of the Week next Sunday.

Saints 20 (2-2) / Dolphins 0 (1-2)

The Saints defense came alive and were able to blank the Dolphins in the first shutout in the 19 games played in London. Drew Brees threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns, wideout Michael Thomas and running-back Alvin Kamara being the receivers of those two, and coming up big as they combined for 185 scrimmage yards for their offense. The Dolphins had nothing to offer on offense, as they only scored once in the last eight quarters. Dolphins running-back Jay Ajayi returned to his hometown of London, and could not get anything going as he had just 46 yards on 12 carries. Ajayi took the blame as a part of the offense he stated, “On offense, we need to have some pride in ourselves, some respect for ourselves. Put some points on the board. We’re not doing that.” Injuries include Saints TE Josh Hill (concussion), and LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder), and Dolphins LB Mike Hull (shoulder) all left the game and did not return. The Saints have a bye week and return to action in week 6 when they play the Detroit Lions Sunday, October 15th. The Dolphins host the Tennessee Titans in their latest home opener since 1987 next Sunday.

Bills 23 (3-1) / Falcons 17 (3-1)

A win over the Falcons puts the Bills on top of the AFC East. Matt Ryan turned the ball over three times in the game, which the Bills took full advantage of including two interceptions from Micah Hyde, and a 52-yard touchdown by Tre’Davious White on a fumble recovery. The Bills defense stood strong in the last minute of the game on their own ten-yard line when Ryan failed to convert a pass on fourth down to Taylor Gabriel. The Bills biggest star on offense was their TE Charles Clay as he had five receptions, and received 112 of Tyrod Taylor’s 182 passing yards. The key to this game and the success of the Bills season so far is their ability to protect the football, as this is a franchise record 15th consecutive quarter without a turnover. Injuries played a big role for both teams in this game as the Bills lost S Colt Anderson (shoulder), LB Ramon Humber (thumb), WR Jordan Matthews (thumb), and CB E.J Gaines (groin). The Falcons lost two of their top receivers, including star wideout Julio Jones who suffered a hip flexor and is considered day-to-day, WR Mohammed Sanu is reportedly out 2-3 weeks with a hamstring injury, and DT Jack Crawford (biceps) did not return along with Sanu and Jones. The Bills look forward to next Sunday as they go down to Cincinnati to face the Bengals, and the Falcons look to recover from the tough loss and injuries as they head into their bye week and return to action October 15th when they host the Dolphins.

Steelers 26 (3-1) / Ravens 9 (2-2)

The Steelers pull off a huge division win on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, for the top of the standings in the AFC North. Pittsburgh’s run game finally got going, as Le’Veon Bell ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers offense still has not lived up to expectations, and has not looked balanced or consistent all season. When asked what is wrong with the offense, Ben Roethlisberger took the blame and replied, “the quarterback needs to play better.” As for the Ravens, they lived up to their expectations as they looked like their 32nd ranked offense. The Ravens had only 134 yards through three quarters. Joe Flacco continues to struggle for the Ravens as he threw for 235 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Flacco also took blame as he said, “It starts with me… I wasn’t good enough to get us back in the game.” The Steelers host the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday, and the Ravens head to Oakland to face a Derek Carr-less Raiders team.

Bengals 31 (1-3) / Browns 7 (0-4)

The Bengals’ offense finally finds some life, and protected the football. Andy Dalton completed 25/30 passes, threw for 286 yards with four touchdowns to zero interceptions. Dalton, only missing on one throw in the first half took full advantage as he built a 21-0 lead and took their sixth straight win over their cross-state rival. The Browns were down three defensive starters, and got embarrassed on home turf. The Browns have one win in the last two seasons under coach Hue Jackson, who was an offensive coordinator for the Bengals in his previous years before taking his current job in Cleveland. Vontaze Burfict returned from his three-game suspension for the Bengals defense, and brought some much-needed toughness to their team. The Browns remain the only team to not have a lead through all four games of their season, and that basically wraps up how their season is going. Injuries include Bengals running back Ryan Hewitt (knee), and Center T.J Johnson (neck) who both did not return, along with Browns WR Jordan Leslie, and LB Dominique Alexander. The Bengals host the Bills next Sunday, and the Browns host the New York Jets who are led by former Browns quarterback Josh McCown.

Eagles 26 (3-1) / Chargers 24 (0-4)

The Eagles gained an extra home game as the Chargers stadium in Carson, California was packed with Eagles’ fans. Carson Wentz threw for 242 yards, and the backs ran for 200 themselves, including 136 from LeGarrette Blount. The Eagles had several defensive starters injured including pro bowl DT Fletcher Cox, and CB Ronald Darby, but still held the Chargers under 100 yards rushing, and made their offense very one-dimensional. Blount iced the game with his 68-yard “beast mode” run that Wentz described as “one of the most impressive runs” he has seen in his life. Blount gave credit to his offensive line when he stated, “running behind the O-line I run behind, it’s pretty hard not to have a good day.” As for the Chargers, they just can’t win close ball games. Philip Rivers threw for 347 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, but still his team could not keep up with the high-flying Eagles. The Eagles’ offense has controlled almost every game they have played, keeping their defense off the field, they lead the league in time of possession which is the key to their success. The Eagles host the Cardinals next Sunday as they look forward to their next five games, as four of them will be played in Philadelphia. The Chargers will head to New York to face the winless Giants as they both battle for their first win.

Texans 57 (2-2) / Titans 14 (2-2)

This game was simply taken over by rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was making his third start in the NFL on Sunday against the Titans. Texans star wideout Deandre Hopkins could not hide his eagerness after having 10 receptions, 107 yards, and a touchdown as he stated, “you have to thank the organization for going out and moving up and getting a guy like Deshaun Watson. Taking that risk on moving up and trading draft picks to get a guy that they know can do this for this organization.” Watson threw for 283 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, and ran for another touchdown. Watson lead his team to three straight touchdowns on their first three drives, which was the first time that has happened for the Texans since 2008. Texans back Lamar Miller also had a breakout game with 131 scrimmage yards, and two touchdowns. Miller, himself could not hide how ecstatic he was about his quarterback as he stated, ”just seeing your quarterback have that swagger and that demeanor to want to win and want to keep the ball going down the field, that gets everybody going.”  As for the Tennessee Titans, nothing went their way on Sunday. Not only did they lose the game in horrible fashion, but their quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a hamstring injury, and is considered day-to-day, and questionable to play next week. The Titans look to erase this game from their memory as they visit the Dolphins on Sunday, and the Texans host the Chiefs on Sunday night.

Cardinals 18 (2-2) / 49ers 15 (0-4)

The 49ers kept star receiver for the Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald quiet until the last play in overtime which was a touchdown pass to him. This game had four field goals, and no touchdowns for either team heading into overtime. Robbie Gould kicked one in overtime for the 49ers on their first possession which forced the Cardinals to at least score to tie, but they got a touchdown for the win. Carson Palmer passed for 357 yards throughout the game, and 77 yards and his only touchdown on the final drive. Palmer gave full credit to his number one wideout in Fitzgerald when he said, “he’s the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some really good ones.” The Cardinals head to Philadelphia next Sunday to play the Eagles, and the 49ers are still in search for their first win when they head to Indianapolis to face a struggling Colts team.

Lions 14 (3-1) / Vikings 7 (2-2)

In a tight defensive game, the Lions played a very balanced game against a top-notch Vikings defense. Matt Stafford was sacked six times, but did not turn the ball over. Lions back Ameer Abdullah came very close to ending a four-year drought of a 100-yard rusher in a game, as he finished with 94 yards and a touchdown. The Lions defense forced three turnovers, which they turned two of them into 11 out of their 14 points. A big-time performance by Anthony Zettel who had two sacks, four hurries, and a fumble recovery did not go unnoticed; when asked about his defense, Stafford said, “they’re really helping us win games.” The Vikings not only lost the game but lost their star rookie running-back in Dalvin Cook, as he is out for the season due to an ACL tear that happened in the game on Sunday. Next Sunday, the Lions host the Carolina Panthers in a battle between two 3-1 teams, the Vikings will play on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears.

Panthers 33 (3-1) / Patriots 30 (2-2)

The Panthers offense finally came to life as Cam Newton threw for 316 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown as well, Newton was also uncharacteristically very accurate as he completed 22 out of his 29 pass attempts. Graham Gano kicked the game-winning field goal with no time remaining. Newton said after the game, “I feel this was a breakthrough game for us, a statement game.” Newton continued, ”We had some careless turnovers, including my interception. But for us to come into a hostile environment, to battle, face some adversity early on, and still hold on at the end – it was a great team win for us.” Jonathan Stewart rushed for 68 yards to pass DeAngelo Williams as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. This is the second home loss for the Patriots, who are usually unstoppable in Foxborough. Tom Brady finished with 307 yards and two touchdowns, but still that was not enough to knock off a hungry Panthers team. The Panthers safety Kurt Coleman left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury, and did not return, along with WR Damiere Byrd (arm), and WR Devin Funchess (unknown). The Patriots lost S Eric Rowe (groin), and LB Elandon Roberts who both did not return. The Patriots look to bounce back on a short week, as they face the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. The Panthers head to Detroit to face another three-win Lions team.

Jets 23 (2-2) / Jaguars 20 (2-2)

When asked about this game, Jets quarterback Josh McCown stated, “crazy is right.  I’m glad we were on the right side of it though.” The Jets run game was unstoppable against the Jaguars defense, as Jets back Bilal Powell rushed for a career high 163 yards, including his 75-yard breakaway touchdown run, and rookie back Elijah McGuire had a 69-yard touchdown, and finished with 93 yards himself. Jets coach Todd Bowles was proud of his team when his team blew the ten-point lead before overtime, and showed resiliency, he said, “we fought back… we had the lead and gave it away. Guys didn’t get down. They didn’t blink.” Blake Bortles finished with 140 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception for the Jaguars that got them to overtime, but could not get anything going at all. It took until there was 28 seconds left in the overtime period for Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro to kick the game-winning field goal. The Jaguars head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers, and the Jets head to Cleveland to face the winless Browns.

Buccaneers 25 (2-1) / Giants 23 (0-4)

The Giants remain winless as Jameis Winston throws for 332 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. This happened to be the first game in Winston’s career he threw for over 300 yards and zero interceptions. Unfortunately for the Giants, they lose on a field goal with time expiring for the second week in a row. The disappointment in New York continues for the Giants, who were considered a contender before the season. Giants coach Ben McAdoo stated after the game, ”A tough one there that came down to the end again… We’ve got a lot of fight in us, but so do a lot of teams in this league. We have to minimize the mistakes and maximize the details to give us a chance to win these games.” As for the Buccaneers, Winston threw touchdowns to Mike Evans for six yards, and one to rookie first round pick OJ Howard of 58 yards to build an early 13-0 lead. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said, “the way Jameis was throwing the ball, I was confident we’d have a chance.” Offensive struggles for the Giants have been very bad. Eli Manning was the second leading rusher, and the only one with a rushing touchdown in this game. The Giants lost DE Olivier Vernon with an ankle injury in the first half and did not return, along with C Weston Richburg (concussion), and Buccaneers S Keith Tandy (hip). The Buccaneers host the Patriots in a short week on Thursday Night Football this week, and the Giants host another winless Los Angeles Chargers team for the battle of the basement.

Broncos 16 (3-1) / Raiders 10 (2-2)

The Raiders faced a Broncos defense that looked much like the Super Bowl 50 winning defense we seen two years ago. Nothing went the Raiders way as their star quarterback suffered a fracture in his back early in the game, that we later found out will keep him out 2-6 weeks. Marshawn Lynch was limited to 12 yards on nine carries against the best rushing defense in the league. EJ Manuel came in for Derek Carr against one of the best defenses and put up a fight for his team, as he threw for 106 yards and an interception. Carr when asked about Manuel said, “I thought EJ did a great job coming in a tough situation.” Before Carr went down, he threw for 143 yards and touchdown. Trevor Siemian threw for 179 yards and a touchdown. The game was capped off with a defensive stop by the Broncos on their own 8-yard line with an interception by Broncos safety Justin Simmons in the closing minutes. The Raiders head home to face the struggling Baltimore Ravens as they will be without their starting quarterback, and have yet to announce who will be starting in place for Carr. The Broncos head into their bye week, and get back to action when they host the New York Giants for their final home game before a three-game road stretch.

Seahawks 46 (2-2) / Colts 18 (1-3)

Seattle has a big second half to knock off the Colts in dominating fashion at home. Russell Wilson throws for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks. Despite throwing two interceptions, Wilson completed 21 out of his 26 attempted passes. The Seahawks finally got their run game going as they finish the game with 194 yards, and two touchdowns on the ground. The game was tied at 18 in the third quarter, but Seattle took advantage of the turnovers, including Bobby Wagner’s fumble recovery for Seattle’s second defensive touchdown to give them a 32-18 lead that iced the game. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said, “they just outplayed us big time in the second half. We didn’t do a good job of adjusting. That’s on me.” The Seahawks lost DE Cliff Avril due to a neck injury, and CB Jeremy Lane due to a groin injury who both did not return. As for the Colts, they lost C Deyshawn Boyd, already filling in for starter Ryan Kelly who was hurt on the second play of the game, both did not return. The Colts look to bounce back as they host a winless 49ers team next Sunday, and the Seahawks travel to the Rams in a battler for the top of the NFC West.

Chiefs 29 (4-0) / Redskins 20 (2-2)

The Chiefs remain unbeaten and knock off the Redskins in a very close game. With Kansas City up 23-20 the Chiefs secured the win when Justin Houston returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Alex Smith threw for 293 yards with touchdowns on the ground and in the air, Travis Kelce had a big day with 111 yards and a touchdown, along with Kareem Hunt’s 101 yards on the ground. Kelce after the game stated, “I mean it’s the NFL. It’s any given Sunday for a reason.” The Chiefs are the first team to start 4-0 since the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs, who ended up winning their division that season. Kirk Cousins had 220 yards through the air, but a critical drop in the end zone by Josh Doctson forced the Redskins to kick a field goal in the closing minute of the game to tie it. Cousins said, “we’ll go back and try to look at different plays throughout the game that could have made a big difference,” something tells me Cousins is referring to the Doctson drop that could have gave the Redskins a good chance to win the game. The Redskins lost star cornerback Josh Norman who suffered a rib injury and could miss several weeks, while their running-back Robert Kelley was sidelined with an ankle injury. The Chiefs starting guard Laurent Duvrenay-Tardif left the game with a knee injury and did not return. The Redskins get a bye week before hosting the 49ers on October 15th, and the Chiefs go on the road to Houston to face the Texans on Sunday Night Football, next Sunday.