We’re now one quarter into the 2018 NFL season, and while some things are beginning to settle in as fact — how the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl favorites, how the Bears defense is the best in the league, how the Pittsburgh Steelers are crumbling, how the Cardinals are who we thought they were — there continue to be some surprises that we can’t help but wonder are indicative of the future.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky had a historic performance throwing for 354 yards and 6 touchdowns for a passer rating of 154.3 — coming just two weeks after Mahomes tossed 6 touchdowns of his own. The Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Cleveland Browns are making the AFC North one of the more intriguing divisions in the league. The Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are showing you how not to play defense — oh, and one of these defenses was top in the league just one season ago.
Simply put, it was another entertaining week in the NFL with plenty of feel-good storylines and some disconcerting ones for some franchises.
Let’s take a look at the Winners and Losers from Week 4 of the 2018 NFL season:
Mitch Trubisky – Can some of y’all stop with the bust-after-4-games-in-a-new-offense crap now? Trubisky silenced his haters with a 6-touchdown performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he set career highs in touchdowns (6), passing yards (354), passer rating (154.3), and touchdown pass (39-yards). Trubisky finally had his “breakout” game, and hopefully this is the first of many.
Jared Goff – Jared Goff made it look easy against a defense that was the league’s top last season. Goff continues to thrive in his second season in Sean McVay’s offense passing for over 450 yards and tossing five touchdowns. This Rams offense continues to look hard to stop.
Tennessee Titans – The Titans are quietly impressing in the league, as they sit at 3-1 atop the AFC South. Not only are the Titans rolling on a three-game winning streak, but they’ve done it now against the Jaguars and defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. An impressive feat, to say the least.
New England Patriots – How dare anyone ever doubt Bill Belichick and Tom Brady! Even after losing two straight games, including one to the Lions, the Patriots proved that this isn’t a four-game season — it’s a 17-week grind that will eventually leave the best standing. The Patriots rolled over the previously undefeated Dolphins 38-7.
Ezekiel Elliott – The Cowboys offense got some much needed resuscitation on Sunday thanks to running back Ezekiel Elliott, who showed that he’s the strength of this offense with his 240 all-purpose yards. Elliott had 25 carries for 152 yards and added 4 receptions for 88 yards and score.
Baltimore Ravens – It’s always a win when you can go into Pittsburgh and beat your division rivals on Sunday Night Football. But the Ravens continue to prove doubters wrong that were writing them off before the season even began, myself included. They’re tied with the Bengals atop the AFC North and things are certainly looking up.
Cincinnati Bengals – Remember when Marvin Lewis was nearly fired last season? Well, his team is currently 3-1 and sitting atop the AFC North after a 37-36 shootout victory over the Falcons.
Houston Texans – Winless no more! Who knew all it took was a gutsy call on the other sideline to set the Texans up for a much-needed win? The Texans finally nabbed its first win of the season in a 37-34 win over Colts in overtime, and Deshaun Watson and thousands of Texans fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Vikings Defense – What happened to the Vikings defense? They’ve been MIA since the playoffs last season, where they’ve been allowing an average of 28.6 points per game dating back to those two playoff games last season. While they were able to keep up with the Rams, the defense allowed 94 points in last three games this season, including 38 to the Rams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – “Everyone on that field should be fired.” You know what, Dirk Koetter is right. Yes, the Bucs defense isn’t very good. But their offense was one of the top in the league. But Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense embarrassed the hell out of a defense that already wasn’t very good. So much for Fitzmagic. And so much for Jameis, too.
Saints Defense – It’s no secret that a well-rounded team will get you far in this league. One unit can only carry the other unit for so long. Case in point, the New Orleans Saints, whose offense continues to flash but whose defense almost lost New Orleans the game against the Giants.
Atlanta Falcons – Somehow, somewhere the Falcons have jumped to a 1-3 start to the season despite putting up a combined 73 points in the past two games. While the offense has been getting into shootouts with the Saints and Bengals, the defense has been giving up an average of 36.5 points per game.
Denver Broncos – The only thing standing in between of the Broncos being mediocre/disappointing and respectable/good is its offense. The defense managed to bring Patrick Mahomes back down to Earth, but they couldn’t survive their offense in the end.
Arizona Cardinals – And then there was one. The Cardinals are the last winless team remaining this season in the NFL, and just barely. While there was some encouragement on the Josen Rosen front, the Cardinals couldn’t eek out the win in a 20-17 loss to Seattle.
Frank Reich – The decision to go for it on 4th down in OT and missed it, which led to Houston’s win. Now, I don’t disrespect Reich’s “win, no tie” attitude, but it didn’t pay off and I have to put it on this list.