Week four of NFL action saw a great comeback win for the Denver Broncos, Bill Belichick suffered his worst loss ever, and the New York Jets nearly upset the Kansas City Chiefs in primetime. Between all of this, a major injury to Patriots corner Christian Gonzalez, and the Buffalo Bills keeping their spot atop the AFC East, let’s go through some key takeaways as nearly a quarter of the season is complete.
Josh Allen’s Perfect Day
In a duel between AFC East powerhouses, Josh Allen rose to the occasion with 320 yards, four passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. The Dolphins simply had no answer for Allen, who was responsible for all but one of Buffalo’s touchdowns. We saw what was easily Allen’s best game of the season and potentially the best one of his career. After week one’s game-losing performance against the New York Jets, we’ve seen Allen bounce back and continue to stack good and great performances.
Roar Restored – Lions Take Command
The Detroit Lions walked into Lambeau Field on Thursday Night and had a dominant victory over the Green Bay Packers in what felt like a passing of the torch moment. Getting five sacks, forcing two interceptions out of Jordan Love, dominating with 401 total yards, 211 on the ground, to Green Bay’s 230, and decisively winning the time of possession battle with 37:58 to Green Bay’s 22:02. The Lions are in the driver’s seat to win the division and have the home head-to-head win against the second place team. The Bears are a disaster, and the Vikings have been on the wrong side of variants for a while now.
A Giant Disaster
The New York Giants have lost all momentum from last season’s playoff win. Daniel Jones is under constant pressure to the point where it does not matter who is behind that offensive line, it simply will not function. Jones has been under pressure 79 times on 170 dropbacks, 46.47 percent of the time. Nothing will remotely work like that. Against the Seahawks alone, Jones was sacked 11 times, no one has a prayer in that situation. 2023 is already looking like it will be a Giant disaster in New York.
The Carr Stalled
Derek Carr produced a stat line that only Derek Carr could do, Alvin Kamara had 13 catches for 33 yards. Carr had 127 passing yards on 37 attempts in New Orleans’ 26-9 loss against the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carr’s average depth of target has been steadily declining through the first four weeks, with this week’s 7.4 being the lowest so far. I understand some of this is due to his right shoulder injury, but if he’s out there playing the team believes he’s good enough to play and he needs to back it up or have the gameplan adjusted to where he is not dropping back 39 times, the second most dropbacks he’s had in a game so far.
Anything Steelers Offense
Somehow the Steelers are 2-2 despite having the worst offense in the league by far. It lacks creativity, it is incredibly predictable, and the decision to go with a shotgun pass on fourth and short caused a very avoidable knee injury to Kenny Pickett. Everything just looks broken, and when the defense is unable to have game-winning performances with turnovers, sacks, and even defensive scores, this team looks as dysfunctional as it gets. Pickett is not free from blame either. Last year he had 18 big time throws (4.3 percent) and 12 turnover worthy plays (2.5 percent) with a pretty misleading TD to INT ratio with bad turnover luck. So far this season Pickett has one big time throw (0.8 percent) and five turnover worthy plays (3.4 percent) with his 4-4 TD to INT ratio being quite flattering given the circumstances. He’s been under consistent pressure, but he also has to do a better job protecting the ball and creating big plays like he did as a rookie.
Brutal Bears Beat
In Justin Fields’ best game of the season, the Bears held a 14 point lead heading into the fourth quarter and lost by three in regulation against the Denver Broncos who had 70 points dropped on them the week prior. For the Bears fans, the feeling on Justin Fields has to be a split decision. We’ve only seen a couple of flashing in the NFL where he has been a good passer, and he has the longest average time to throw in the league at 3.25 seconds. It can be and likely is a combination of a lack of supporting cast, abysmal roster construction by general manager Ryan Poles, less than ideal coaching and a lack of development from Justin Fields. The tank might be on in Chicago, and they have two first round picks to work with.
Bill’s Losing His Fastball
I needed to put a third just for how bad the Patriots were against the Dallas Cowboys this past weekend. Bill Belichick suffered his worst loss of his coaching career, Mac Jones got pulled before the end of the third quarter and major injury to Christian Gonzalez is keeping him out for the year. New England needs a miracle. Jones’ play has been declining throughout the season, capped off with five turnover worthy plays, an abysmal 6.2 average depth of target and multiple headscratching decisions that directly led to Dallas scores. It is panic time in New England, and Bill might need to answer for his bad roster building.