A quarter of the 2016 NFL season is officially in the books. It seems like the series just started, yet here we are. This week a few things caught my eye, including a receiver who needs to quit his nonsense, a fumble that wasn’t and rookies leading the Cowboys among other things. Starting this week, I will be adding a poll to the end of the Notebook.
Odell Beckham Jr. needs to chill
The best way to stop Odell Beckham Jr.? Get in his head. OBJ has not gotten off to a stellar start in 2016. Last week he let Washington Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman get in his head. He also lost a battle with a kicking net. This week, Minnesota Vikings – who defeated the New York Giants 24-10 on Monday Night Football – cornerback Xavier Rhodes was rough and physical with OBJ. Beckham lost his cool when he was heading out of bounds and Rhodes took a shot at him, Beckham thought the hit was late, then got in the face of Rhodes, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Rhodes held Beckham to 3 catches and a career-low 26 yards. Beckham said on Tuesday he is no longer having fun, but that can and will change. He needs to get over the fact that the ball can’t go to him on every single possession or throw. Also, there was no reason for him to prove how tough he was, as Mike Golic stated on Mike and Mike. The Giants need OBJ to get out of his own head and start playing like one of the best-five wide receivers in football.
Arizona and Carolina both fall to 1-3
Both of these teams were battling in the NFC Championship game a season ago and now both find an uphill battle just to get back to the postseason.
Arizona: Many had this team as one of the Super Bowl contenders of the NFC, but so far, that is not going as planned. The Cards lost to the divisional-rival Los Angeles Rams 17-13, a week after getting shellacked by the Buffalo Bills. Case Keenum finished the game 18-30 for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns to wide receiver Brian Quick, including the game-winning, four-yard touchdown with 2:41 left in the game. Three minutes prior, Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer was removed from the game after being evaluated for a concussion. Backup Drew Stanton came in and threw two interceptions, including one on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game. Arizona has lost three of four on the season and have dropped two at home.
Carolina: Sunday was one of the days that the Carolina Panthers heavily missed cornerback Josh Norman. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones put on a show for the ages in Atlanta’s 48-33 victory over the visiting Panthers. Ryan threw for a franchise-best 503 yards and four touchdowns. Jones caught 12 passes for a Falcons’ record 300 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown reception. It marked the first time in NFL history that a quarterback threw for 500 yards with one of his receivers catching for 300 yards. Much like Arizona, Carolina lost their starting quarterback in Cam Newton after he took a vicious shot on a successful two-point try and was then treated for concussion symptoms. The Panthers have lost two straight and look like a shell of themselves from a season ago, especially on defense. The offensive line can’t protect Newton enough this season and the record shows that.
Phantom building hurts Browns in loss to Redskins
On Sunday afternoon in Washington, one thing was clear; Duke Johnson fumbled the football. What happened next is bizarre and confusing. After Johnson fumbled the football, no more than two seconds he emerged from the ground with possession of the football. A scrum continued as players from both teams were fighting for what would turn out to be nothing, Line judge Sarah Thomas rushed in, observed the dogpile and awarded possession to the Redskins. In a statement from the NFL, the ruling was not reviewed via replay (all turnovers get reviewed) due to the instant replay booth confirming the call on the field.
“The on-field ruling was a fumble, recovered by Washington,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said Monday. “It was confirmed as a fumble in instant replay without the need to stop the game. As to the recovery, several different angles were looked at, but with nothing definitive shown, there was no need to stop the game because the on-field ruling that awarded possession to Washington would have stood.”
That fumble proved to be costly for the Browns. It came after Washington took a 24-20 lead with under 10 minutes to play. Washington would add on one more touchdown to seal the deal. The Browns are now the lone remaining team that has yet to register a win this season. The journey won’t get any easier for Cleveland and they host a returning Tom Brady on Sunday.
Rookies continue to lead the way for the Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys improved to 3-1 on the season after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 24-17. The rookie duo of running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott continue to lead the way. Zeke rushed 23 times for 138 yards and a one-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to put the Cowboys ahead for good. Prescott continued to impress in the absence of Tony Romo, completing 23 of 32 passes for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns. What’s even more impressive is the fact that 21 quarterbacks have attempted at least 130 passes and only Dak has not thrown an interception. A lot of people knew that Zeke would excel, especially with the offensive line of Dallas, but hardly anyone was talking about Prescott, who was a fourth round draft pick. Now the question is whether or not Prescott should remain under center when Romo is cleared. The answer is yes, as long as he continues to play the way he has.
Steelers rout Chiefs 43-14
Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers were embarrassed at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles 34-3. That was last week and this week was completely different. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 300 yard and five touchdowns. Antonio Brown caught just four passes for 64 yards, but hauled in a pair of Big Ben’s five touchdowns. Running back Le’Veon Bell made his season debut, picking up where he left off last year. Bell rushed for 144 yards and caught five passes for 34 more yards. The Chiefs were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was the third time since 1987 that the Chiefs have been involved in a 43-14 decision. All three resulted in losses. That stat is brought to you by Alex Kozora of Steelersdepot.com.