Photo Credit: AP
The first quarter of the NFL season is officially in the books and a lot came out of Week 4. COVID-19 reared its ugly head into the NFL mix this week, causing a couple of postponed games, one of which will be played later this season.
This post will highlight some key points from Week 4 and also give the quarter-season awards.
There are six remaining teams who have yet to lose. Those six teams are Seattle, Green Bay, Kansas City, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. On the flip side, four teams are looking for victory No. 1 of the 2020 season and those teams are Atlanta, Houston, and both New York teams, the Giants and Jets.
A COVID-19 outbreak hit the Tennessee Titans and as a result, the Week 4 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers had to be postponed until Week 7. This came after 13 Tennessee players and team personnel tested positive. The Steelers will travel to Baltimore in Week 8, as that is the week both teams were scheduled to have a bye week. Baltimore will have their bye week in Week 7, the original week they were supposed to play the Steelers.
Cam Newton of the New England Patriots tested positive last week, which caused the Chiefs/Patriots game to be moved to Monday night. No other player tested positive for New England. The Saints and Lions nearly didn’t happen as fullback Michael Burton tested positive and then when he was retested, it was negative, declaring a false positive.
Coaches on the hot seat.
The Houston Texans fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien on Monday after an 0-4 start. Had they not, he would have been in this segment of the post. Romeo Crennel will take over as interim head coach, making him the oldest head coach in NFL history.
Dan Quinn, the head coach of the Falcons, needs to go. Atlanta has blown two fourth-quarter leads of 15+ points – did it in back-to-back weeks – becoming the first team in NFL history to blow such a lead twice in a season. His team didn’t understand the rules of an onside kick. Adam Gase of the Jets has to go as well. He has been deemed an “offensive guru” but his offense isn’t that good. Sam Darnold has minimal protection and virtually no receiving corps and this falls on Gase. Joe Judge of the Giants should be safe as they can chalk up the Saquon Barkley knee injury as a result of the loss of this season.
Let’s move on to Matt Patricia, who is a coach from the Bill Belichick coaching tree. The Lions are 1-3 and after Sunday’s 35-29 loss and Patricia had the audacity to say “Certainly I think when I came to Detroit there was a lot of work to do.”
Before Patricia arrived, Jim Caldwell led the Lions to consecutive 9-7 seasons. Detroit wanted to hire someone who would lead them to the next level. Patricia isn’t it. In his third season as the head coach, Patricia is 10-25-1. So explain how Caldwell doesn’t have a job and Patricia does.
Cleveland is 3-1 for the first time since 2001.
The Browns won a high-scoring affair, 49-38 in Dallas last week to improve to 3-1 on the young season. Cleveland was able to utilize wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in unique fashion.
Beckham caught five of six targets for 81 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came from best friend Jarvis Landry, on a reverse play called “bananas.” Beckham also rushed the ball two times for 73 yards, including the game-sealing 50-yard touchdown dash.
Cleveland held a 41-14 lead entering the fourth quarter, and then suddenly it was 41-38. In the past, Cleveland would have folded and lost the game. Not this year. This isn’t your typical Browns teams we have been accustomed to seeing since coming back into the league in 1999,
First-year head coach Kevin Stefanski has given this team an identity and that is to pound the football. Cleveland rushed for 307 yards, the most in a game since 2009. Leading rusher Nick Chubb left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury that will sideline him up to six weeks, but he was able to rush for 43 yards.
Losing a player of Chubb’s stature would normally crush a team. Well luckily for Cleveland, they have another elite back in the backfield in Kareem Hunt, who rushed for 71 yards and two scores. D’Ernest Johnson rushed for 95 yards, 41 more than Cowboys star back Ezekiel Elliott.
The offensive line has been a huge reason for the run game success. Through the first four weeks, Cleveland has a team run-blocking grade of 88.1. The next closest is the Patriots with 77.9. Wyatt Teller is the third-highest offensive ranked player according to Pro Football Focus as 94.1. The 25-year old is just mauling whoever gets in his way.
Myles Garrett yet again wreaked havoc for the opposing quarterback, recording two sacks, including a strip-sack. This marks the third straight game in which Garrett has recorded as strip-sack. He is tied for the league lead with five sacks and is who I have as the Defensive Player of the Year through four games.
Russell Wilson is the MVP as of this writing. He has led the Seahawks to a 4-0 record and has thrown for 1,285 yards, 16 touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 75.2% of his passes. He is on a mission to get just one MVP vote, but his play warrants multiple. Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen are 2-3 for me. Rodgers has the Packers at 4-0 and has thrown 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Allen has the Bills 4-0 and has thrown for 12 touchdowns and one interception. This race is about to get fun.
Kevin Stefanski is the Coach of the Year to this point. What he has been able to do with the Browns to this point has been incredible. He is relying heavily on his running game and with that, he is having Baker Mayfield manage games, which he is doing a good job of.
Joe Burrow is as good as advertised and is the current Offensive Rookie of the Year. Burrow got his first NFL victory on Sunday against the Jaguars. For the third consecutive game, he threw for at least 300 yards. He has thrown for 1,121 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, completing 65% of his passes. This is his award to lose, but Justin Herbert and Clyde Edwards-Helaire will have something to say about that.
You can make an argument for either linebacker Patrick Queen or defensive end Chase Young as to who is the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Queen has 33 tackles and a sack on the season for the Ravens. Young, who left early in Week 3 against the Browns and missed Week 4 against the Ravens, has 2.5 sacks. Look for these two to be neck-and-neck during the season.
That’s a wrap for Week 4 of the NFL season. Hit me up on Twitter @KingEdward15 to discuss all things NFL and sports in general.
Be kind. Be safe. WEAR A MASK. ARREST THE COPS THAT KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR!