NFL Week 4 Recap
Atlanta and their vaunted offense is for real, the Raiders showed grit to earn their 3rd win of the season, Drew Brees extracted revenge against his old team, and more analysis
Matt Ryan, or as he is colloquially known, Matty Ice, has had a resurgence in his age 31 season in the NFL, captaining the Atlanta Falcons to a 3-1 record through the first four weeks of the season with a stat line of 1,473 yards, 11 TDs, and 2 INTs, with 503/4/1 coming in this weeks’ beating of the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers by a score of 48-33. (That line extrapolates to an eye-popping 5,892/44/8 over the course of a whole season). Despite the throwing prowess of Ryan, this game singularly belongs to one man: Julio Jones.
As you might know if you had Jones in your fantasy football lineup (or were playing against him), Jones had an afternoon for the record books. With 12 receptions on 15 targets, Jones went for 300 yards even and one TD for good measure (as seen with this brutal TD run), showing no regard for the Panthers weak secondary. Jones routinely made defensive backs look dumb, gaining 173 yards at halftime alone. The Ringer also did an excellent article regarding Jones, making the praise of the article appropriate after this dominant performance. Rushing wise, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 21 carries for 76 yards as well, with Freeman scoring one TD.
On the flip side of the ball, the Carolina Panthers obviously struggled defending the pass (spurning comments like this), but the biggest story was again an injury to star QB Cam Newton. Cam finished with a line of 17/23 with 172/2/2, to go with 5 carries for 30 rushing yards. Newton, however, seemingly not expecting to get hit in a game of football, tried to walk into the end zone on a two-point conversion, and was quickly met by a jarring hit to stop the conversion cold in its tracks. Newton is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and is questionable for this week. The good news for the Panthers is they have backup Derek “He’s Definitely Not Cam Newton” Anderson to throw the ball in the meantime.
Next week, the 1-3 Panthers head back home to take on the 1-3 (and equally struggling) Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. Conversely, the 3-1 Atlanta Falcons take on the 4-0 Denver Broncos in Denver, in what is surely to be a hotly contested game for both teams.
Del Rio Grinds Out Another
Jack Del Rio and the Raiders keep finding new ways to win. After going for the game winning two-point conversion in Week 1, Del Rio and Oakland were able to fight off a feisty Baltimore Ravens squad to win 28-27 on the back of Derek Carr’s 4 TD passes and 199 yards. Looking poised in the pocket against a Ravens defense that ranks in the top half of essentially every defensive category, Carr delivered strikes to 9 different Raiders receivers, including a 7/88/3(!!) line to Michael Crabtree. The game winner was a beauty, a perfectly placed strike to Crabtree that tied the game, allowing for Sebastian “The Polish Cannon” Janikowski to hit the PAT that won the game for the Raiders.
Despite being touted as one of the premier defenses in the league this preseason, the Raiders have ranked in the bottom five in passing defense and total yards allowed. This game was arguably their best they had played all year, limiting the Ravens when it mattered most. Despite giving up over 410 yards, the defense prevented the Ravens from moving the ball on their final two drives, one to extend the lead and then one to go for the win. Joe Flacco had a line of 32/52 with 298 yards and one TD, while Terrance West posted his first 100-yard game of the year, toting the ball 21 times for 113 yards and one TD. The turnover on downs on the last drive of the game ultimately did the Ravens in, moving them to 3-1 on the year.
Defensively, Baltimore was not able to register any sacks, only getting 2 tackles for loss. The lack of pressure on Carr allowed for him to pick apart the Ravens secondary, finding seams for Crabtree and Amari Cooper all game. Oakland was able to account for two sacks and 3 TFL, pressuring Flacco into just enough tough spots to squeak out a win. Moving forward, the 3-1 Raiders take on the 1-3 San Diego Chargers in Oakland next week, while the Ravens at 3-1 will take on the Washington Redskins (2-2) in Baltimore next week.
Brees Gets His Revenge
In 2005, the San Diego Chargers released Drew Brees because they believed that his labrum, which was torn. The heir to the QB job in San Diego was Phillip Rivers, who still is the QB for the team. However, there is many times since the release of Brees that the Chargers wish they had the future first ballot Hall of Fame QB back on their roster. Sunday was likely one of those times.
Playing his former team for the first time, Drew Brees threw for 207/2/2, while leading the New Orleans Saints to a comeback win against the Chargers by a score of 35-34. (Another fun win probability graph, I might add). Philip Rivers did have a gaudy stat line, going 28/43 with 321/2/1, while fumbling twice but losing none. Dontrelle Inman chipped in with 7/120/1, while backup tight end Hunter Henry had 4 catches for 61 yards and his first ever NFL TD. Both teams boasted solid running games, but were limited to a combined 110 yards between the two teams, with Melvin Gordon mustering 36 yards on 19 carries, while Mark Ingram chipped in 18 carries for 56 yards. Perhaps the surprise of the game was fullback John Kuhn having 3 TDs, something virtually no one saw coming. Kuhn went for 13 yards in total on five touches in all.
This game appeared that it was going to be won handily by the Chargers, as they appeared to be in control during the duration of the game. However, the Saints had other plans. After digging themselves into a 13-point hole with only seven and a half minutes left, Brees and the offense went to work, capping the drive off with a TD pass to Michael Thomas. The Chargers got the ball back with the intention to milk clock, but this plan was quickly derailed by a Travis Benjamin fumble that gave the Saints the ball back deep in Chargers territory. A few plays later, Kuhn punched in a 1 yard TD run, and the Chargers went ahead for good, allowing for Brees to extract his revenge against his former team.
Moving forward, the 1-3 New Orleans Saints head into their bye week, and will take on the 1-3 Carolina Panthers at home the week after. As for the 1-3 San Diego Chargers, they will head to Oakland to take on the Raiders, in what is surely to be another offensive shootout between the teams.
Cincinnati 22, Miami 7
AJ Green was dominant, Miami is as bad as the league thought
Jacksonville 30, Indianapolis 27
Somehow, the Colts O-line has gotten worse than last year
Houston 27, Tennessee 20
Washington 31, Cleveland 20
Seattle 27, NY Jets 17
Buffalo 16, New England 0
Maybe it does matter who plays QB for the Patriots
Chicago 17, Detroit 14
Avert your eyes because this one was ugly
Denver 27, Tampa Bay 7
No Trevor Siemian, no problem, as Denver cruises with Paxton Lynch and their defense
Los Angeles 17, Arizona 13
Arizona could be in trouble; Rams are 3-1, ahead of scheduled 8-8 pace
Dallas 24, San Francisco 17
Dak Prescott still has not thrown an INT
Pittsburgh 43, Kansas City 14
An all out beat down by the Steelers
Minnesota 24, NY Giants 10
Bradford, played well, and the Vikings defense dominated again
Week 5 Picks
Home team in CAPS (all lines as of 10/4)
Arizona (-3) over SAN FRANCISCO
New England (-10.5) over CLEVELAND
Philadelphia (-3) over DETROIT
INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) over Chicago
Tennessee (+3.5) over MIAMI
Washington (+4) over BALTIMORE
MINNESOTA (-6) over Houston
PITTSBURGH (-7) over NY Jets
Atlanta (+6) over DENVER
Cincinnati (-1) over DALLAS
LOS ANGELES (-2.5) over Buffalo
OAKLAND (-4) over San Diego
NY Giants (+7) over GREEN BAY
CAROLINA (Even) over Tampa Bay
Byes: Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle
Last Week: 9-6
All Time: 30-17
Luke Hallett is a sophomore at Indiana University, and his radio show Gerky Gerk and The Funky Bunch, is on WIUX 99.1 FM on Fridays from 6-7PM EST.