Like every Monday, we go with the conclusions after the fourth day of the NFL.
From the victory of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, to the great moment that America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, is going through.
1. Justin Fields earned his first professional win. With a better game plan and more protection, he was able to give Chicago more verticality, although he still has a lot to improve. David Montgomery was lethal on the ground, but his knee injury overshadowed the afternoon.
2. When we think worse things can’t happen to the Lions, they come within Chicago’s 10-yard line three times, and they walk away with zero points, two fumbles, and a loss on attempts. It is the first team in 40 years to have this happen. Hard to win like that for Detroit.
3. Taylor Heinicke takes you on a merry-go-round of emotions, but you thrive on the most important moments, which is one of the most important attributes for every quarterback. Washington had its second success despite a disappointing defense allowing 10 of 16 third downs.
Four. Cordarredelle Patterson had three rushing touchdowns against Washington, and he had just six on the ground for the rest of his career. However, they got conservative at the end, they couldn’t contain Heinicke as he extended plays, and Atlanta takes a painful loss.
5. Without two of his main goals, down 11 points in the fourth against a strong defense, Daniel Jones led the Giants to their first win of the season in what was perhaps the best performance of his career. Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay looked better.
6. It is one thing to want Jameis Winston to limit mistakes, quite another to make him extremely conservative. The Saints offense has no punch, beyond Alvin Kamara and the defense got tired in the fourth quarter. Disappointing stumble in front of his fans.
7. Is it time to say that Dallas is a candidate? Ezekiel Elliott surpassed 100 yards against what was the best rushing defense, Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns and Trevon Diggs has five interceptions in fourth games. The Cowboys look really good.
8. I understand Carolina had sensitive casualties, but Sam Darnold did not deal well with charges and the secondary proved to have no depth. The defense was a rushing strainer and failed to capture Prescott once and they barely made the most decent result in the end.
9. I understand that the opponent was not measured, but if Buffalo’s defense plays like that, they are candidates for the Super Bowl. Always difficult to shutout, they had four interceptions and limited Houston to 109 total yards. Dawson Knox emerges as a reliable target for Josh Allen.
10. Tyrod Taylor still has one more game to miss, and without him, the Texans may well have the worst offense in the NFL. Without a running game, Davis Mills’ weaknesses are even more exposed.
eleven. The Browns defense had another phenomenal performance. He had Kirk Cousins under constant pressure, and after the first series, they allowed no more points against Minnesota’s offense that was reaching red-hot. With that running attack, and that defense, the sky’s the limit for Cleveland.
12. Minnesota’s defense on the ground is a problem, although on the air they did a better job than expected. Cleveland brought them to life on several occasions, but the Vikings committed one costly penalty after another. A lot of talent, but little discipline and a 1-3 record.
13. It took countless injuries for the Colts to realize that their identity must be on the ground. Jonathan Taylor had carry volume, and he had the best game of this season. The defense shone, and incredibly Indianapolis is still alive in a poor division.
14. Miami’s offense has stalled. They cannot run, nor can they be vertical; Jacoby Brissett threw just a pass of more than 20 yards. The defense cannot stop the running attack and the game plan is extremely conservative. The Dolphins are in trouble.
fifteen. Time will tell if the Kansas City defense improves as the season progresses, which I doubt. But the offense makes them dangerous for all opponents. They scored six touchdowns in seven series and didn’t punt once. It is not a balanced team, but it is the most explosive offense.
16. The Eagles’ defense has fallen apart in the past two weeks. I understand that Brandon Graham was a sensitive casualty, but this level is inexcusable. As if that weren’t enough, Philadelphia is a penalty machine. Jalen Hurts and Devonta Smith looked good, but it wasn’t enough.
17. There is already talk that the Bengals could be candidates in their division, but I would put my foot on the brake. Cincinnati avoided a disastrous loss to Jacksonville. CJ Uzomah played a great game, and Joe Burrow showed his usual mettle and has a confidence-inspiring presence.
18. I am convinced that the tipping points exist. The Jaguars played it on the fourth down at the end of the first half instead of extending the lead to three possessions and bringing Cincinnati to life. At least Trevor Lawrence did not commit turnovers.
19. Day to celebrate for the Jets. Not just for the first win of the season, but because Zach Wilson’s passes to Corey Davis and Keelan Cole are reason for hope for the future. The Jets defense had seven sacks and did a terrific job in the red zone.
twenty. Everyone was talking about the absences of AJ Brown and Julio Jones, but it wouldn’t have mattered with that protection. They have allowed at least six sacks in two of four games. With Derrick Henry, who had another good game, the ineffectiveness of the Titans in the red zone seems to make no sense.
twenty-one. After a very poor start that included five straight three-play series, Russell Wilson and the offense woke up on the snap. I’ve always been a believer in the talents of Alex Collins, who proved he can do his bit for Seattle.
22. Jimmy Garoppolo injured his calf and Trey Lance took the controls in the 2nd half. The rookie proved he’s still not comfortable commanding the offense when he can’t impose his incredible athleticism. Between injuries and mistakes, the 49ers special teams were a disaster.
2. 3. Despite the absence of Elgton Jenkins, the Packers’ offensive line did a decent job, and the attack was balanced by Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Aaron Rodgers wanted to prove why he asked for the return of Randall Cobb. The defense generated a couple of losses and limited the running attack.
24. Ben Roethlisberger pitched his TD 400, but again there was little to stand out from an offense, which hasn’t been able to score more than 17 points in the last three games. I didn’t think it was possible, but if the Steelers seat Big Ben at any point in the season, I wouldn’t be surprised.
25. Considering all the injuries they have suffered, I find it incredible that the Ravens are 3-1. It hasn’t been pretty to watch at times, but they have winning DNA. Lamar Jackson hurt primarily through the air, as no running back seems to want the starting job.
26. Teddy Bridgewater’s concussion hurt the Broncos’ chances of success, whose defense limited Baltimore’s running game. On offense, they abandoned the running game too quickly, and that can’t happen again if they have to win with Drew Lock.
27. Arizona is the only team with a 4-0 record and they beat the Rams for the first time in 4 years.
28. Kyler Murray is an indecipherable puzzle, the offense averages 35 points per game and if they run like this Sunday, they will be impossible to stop. Arizona’s defense handcuffed the Rams.
29. The Rams defense couldn’t contain Kyler Murray in the pocket for protection all afternoon and allowed 216 yards rushing. The offense also didn’t have an inspired day. Matthew Stafford did not look comfortable and in 13 goals, he only connected 5 times with Cooper Kupp.
30. Tom Brady returned to New England on an emotional night, but the now-Bucs quarterback struggled in the red zone in the rain. The defense continues to lose players in the secondary, and while I understand he was just arriving, Richard Sherman proved not to be a guarantee.
31. The Patriots defense probably played its best game of the season. The focus was on how well Mac Jones handled the pressure. While it’s true, he didn’t go deep into an injury-ravaged unit and New England continues to struggle to score points.