The fourth week of the 2017 NFL season continues to prove that whatever you expect to happen, the literal opposite will occur. It’s a wacky year in the NFL, where the Buffalo Bills are 3-1 and the New England Patriots defense has given up more than 30 points in three of four games this season.
From shining young quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff to struggling veteran quarterbacks like Mike Glennon and Joe Flacco, we’re breaking down the good and the bad from this week in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers in Week 4 of the 2017 NFL season:
The Houston Texans offense looked like it was on life support before rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson breathed life into it. Following a subpar first two games where he looked so-so, Watson has found his footing and has been lighting it up in the past two weeks. After nearly delivering the Texans to a win against the Patriots, Watson and the Texans put 57 up on the Titans. Watson completed 25 of 34 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 24 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. Watson looks more and more like the real deal. Just look at what can happen when you insert a rookie quarterback into the game. Thankfully, the Bears followed the Texans suit with promoting Mitch Trubisky to starter in Week 5.
First, the Cincinnati Bengals offense couldn’t find the endzone in its first two games. Now they can’t stop finding the endzone. The Bengals offense has significantly rebounded since starting the season 0-2 and touchdown-less in its first two games. They should’ve beaten the Packers. But the Bengals offense continued to thrive in a 31-7 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Los Angeles Rams
It’s hard to imagine that almost this time last year critics were calling Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff a “bust.” But it’s amazing what a difference a new coach — an offensive minded one, at that — will do for your franchise quarterback and the team around him. The Rams are off to a 3-1 start with the most recent victory coming in a 35-30 shootout against the Cowboys. Goff completed 21 of 36 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Todd Gurley rushed for 121 yards, and caught 7 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. The Rams offense is electric. And this team looks to be headed in the right direction. Good on you, Rams.
Pittsburgh Steelers Offense
Finally, someone’s awake! After three lackluster performances on offense, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has finally come to life. It was starting to look a little scary there, especially after the Steelers fell to the Chicago Bears the previous week in OT. Running back Le’Veon Bell had 35 carries for 144 yards as the Steelers offense got back on track against divisional foes the Baltimore Ravens.
Raise your hand if you could’ve imagined the Buffalo Bills would be 3-1 to start this season. That’s what I thought. The Bills have defied all expectations to cruise to a 3-1 start to the season, which includes most recently a 23-17 takedown of the 3-0 Atlanta Falcons. Are the Bills the real deal? With a dominant defense and productive offense, the Bills continue to surprise as current AFC East leaders.
The only good thing about Mike Glennon’s atrocious performance against the Green Bay Packers last Thursday night — where he tossed two interceptions and fumbled twice — is that it has officially marked the end of the Mike Glennon Era in Chicago. Hallelujah. Glennon, who now becomes the highest paid backup or third string quarterback in the league — hasn’t impressed dating back to training camp. The money — and the guaranteed starting job to open the season — were the only things promised to him. In four games, Glennon has turned the ball over eight times. Now, the Bears made the easy — and love overdue decision — to move to rookie Mitchell Trubisky for Week 5. But we all knew once the Bears put Trubisky in, there was no going back. This is Mitch’s team moving forward. So long, Glennon.
I would ask if there was a worse quarterback in the NFL this season than Ravens QB Joe Flacco. But then I remembered that Mike Glennon was a starting quarterback in this league. Now that Glennon is benched, Flacco might just be the answer. Flacco has been struggling immensely leading a Ravens offense that has been shut out in the first half in back to back games, as well as scoring points on just 3 of their 24 offensive series in the past couple of weeks. They’ve been blown out by the Jaguars and Steelers, and Flacco is rightfully receiving a bulk of the blame.
Dalvin Cook, Julio Jones, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Davante Adams. When I list those names, you’d figure I’d be setting my fantasy football lineup. Well, if I were, it won’t be including any of those names for the foreseeable future. No doubt one of the biggest losers this week — and throughout an NFL season — were the unfortunate injuries suffered by some of the biggest names in the game. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a transverse process fracture (that’s in his back, I had to Google it). Vikings running back Dalvin Cook tore his ACL. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a hamstring injury. Packers receiver Davante Adams suffered a concussion after a brutal blow by Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan. Falcons receiver Julio Jones suffered a hip injury, which shouldn’t keep him out for too long. But can we just agree that these injuries just freaking suck? And I’m not just talking about my fantasy team.
New England Patriots Defense
Can you believe the New England Patriots are 2-2? Yes, we live in a world where the Patriots are 2-2 and the Buffalo Bills are 3-1. A big part of the Patriots current .500 state is their struggling defense, which has given up at least 33 points in three of its first four games — 42 to the Chiefs, 33 to the Texans, and 33 to the Panthers. Sure, Tom Brady can put up 30+ points a game. But he really shouldn’t have to.
Ever since their season opening win against the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins have been in a rut. Their offense has stalled (which most will put a bulk of the blame on Jay Cutler and ignore the fact that Jay Ajayi hasn’t been able to get going on the ground or ignore the fact that the receivers are dropping passes like their former Chicago Bears.) Even the Dolphins defense seems off. The Dolphins could sure use that bye week…oh, wait.