The New York Jets made some bold moves in the 2017 NFL Draft by selecting safeties in both the 1st and 2nd rounds. Many considered the move to be outlandish, especially since the team had no sure-fire quarterback at the helm.
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A quarter into the NFL season and nothing is as we expected it to be. The Patriots defense is awful, the Giants are 0-4, and Alex Smith looks like an actual quarterback. Here are a few takeaways from a wild week 4 in the NFL:
Patriots are in big trouble
Wow that was awful…wait not just awful, putrid.
What the Patriots did on defense against a struggling Cam Newton, and a banged up Panthers offense should be illegal. Multiple times the Patriots just didn’t cover, from Gilmore just abandoning his man, or just soft coverage by Malcom Butler on third and forever plays.
Now a quarter of the way into the season the Patriots have lost two games at home, and should’ve lost the other one if not for the Texans puking on themselves. On top of that they are dead last in the NFL in points allowed, passing defense, and are on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history.
The most concerning part is after playing a lackluster first half on Sunday, you have to figure the Patriots coaches were in the faces of the defensive players, then they come out and play an even worst second half. That’s a major red flag because if the players are tuning out the coaching, that would explain how Gilmore and Chung can’t figure out a simple motion play.
If not for Brady, the Patriots should be 0-4 and honestly I don’t think thats an overreaction at all. Granted Brady is the ultimate deodorant and can cover most flaws on your team, but no one can cover for this defense.
On top of that Brady has been getting killed this season, and it looked like he got rocked pretty hard when he landed on his left shoulder on Sunday. Do you honestly want your 40 year old quarterback taking hits like that every week? Chalk it up now: if the offensive line doesn’t play significantly better, then Brady won’t play this entire season.
Deshaun Watson is legit
Well for all those people wondering if it was the awful play of the Patriots defense, or the great play of Deshaun Watson last week: That should answer it for you.
Watson looked AMAZING! On route to an absolute massacre of the Titans, Watson threw 4 passing touchdowns, and added another on the ground in the Texans 57-14 win.
Watson showed a lot on Sunday. His accuracy was better as he was reading the defense and overall looked much more fluid in the pocket. Watson’s value to the Texans so far this season can’t be stressed enough, since he took over for Tom Savage the Texans offense looks rejuvenated and is starting to look like a real contender.
Watson looks a lot like Russell Wilson early in his career, mainly due to the pieces around him. The Texans have a great defense, a good running back, and a mobile young quarterback who can make plays. Starting to remind you of the Seahawks a few years ago, because it’s looking like the Texans have a good combo going right now.
Overreaction comparing the Texans to one of the most dominate defenses in NFL history? Maybe, but it could certainly happen, especially if Watson continues to play like this Houston is not to be taken lightly.
Kansas City is the best team in football
Kansas City had a lot of controversy surrounding the team coming into the season, mainly concerning the quarterback position. Alex Smith was on the hot seat, with Patrick Mahomes being taken 10th overall by the Chiefs. All that the Chiefs needed to see was Smith get off to a slow start and we more than likely would’ve seen Mahomes by now.
Well Smith wasn’t going to give his job up that easily. Smith doesn’t look like the Alex Smith we’ve come to know. He’s taken shots downfield, and is actually making plays for once.
Kareem Hunt has been a huge addition to the offense also. His speed is really unbelievable and his vision is more than good enough as he has made the line look better, making plays out of nothing.
The Chiefs defense has also been dynamite, headlined by Houston who is a force. Looking up and down the roster it’s hard to really find any holes in the Chiefs team as they are simply a really solid football team.
But are they the best in the NFL sitting at 4-0?
Right now it’s not even close: of course they are. The level that Smith is playing is more good enough to win a title, now he just has to keep it going and not revert to his old ways.
But to say the Chiefs aren’t the best team in the NFL right now is just absurd. Give credit where credit is due and the Chiefs deserve all the credit in the world.
Rams are proving everyone wrong
Sean Mcvay deserves all the credit in the world. What he’s been able to do for the Rams offense is amazing. Todd Gurley looks rejuvenated and has been downright unstoppable this season, and that trend continued in the Rams 35-30 upset of the Cowboys.
Gurley finished the day with 215 total yards from scrimmage, and willed the Rams to a win in the second half of the game.
McVay has been able to utilize Gurley’s pass catching ability this year, highlighted by his 53 yard catch and run touchdown, scoring on a pass for the third consecutive game this season.
Jared Goff has also benefited greatly from the coaching change. Goff has loooked good, like really good this year after an dismal rookie season were he looked overwhelmed. Goff has been much more accurate his year as he’s been able to hit the go route, and the back shoulder comebacks much more consistently this year. The arm strength has always been there with Goff but he’s been much better utilizing it this year.
The real question remaining about Goff is if can he read an NFL defense consistently, and that’s a legit question.
What McVay has done for the Rams is remarkable considering many believed they would be the worst team in the NFL. At the quarter mark he is your coach of the year, and could potentially lead the Rams to a wild card spot.
Bills are a dangerous team
Another team that many expected to be below average at best is all of the sudden 3-1 and leading the AFC East.
The Buffalo Bills cleaned house this offseason getting rid of some big name players, and brought in rookie coach Sean McDermott. So it was expected for there to be a lot of growing pains this season. Instead the Bills have been a really solid and consistent team.
Sean McDermott had a signature win Sunday against Atlanta. The Falcons are widely viewed as one of the best if not the best team in football, so to go into the Atlanta and beat the Falcons is a huge accomplishment.
The Bills defense has been excellent this year and continued that against the Falcons. They gave Matt Ryan all sorts of fits, picking him off twice and consistently getting pressure on him. On top of that they also scored on a fumble that highlighted what this new defense is all about: team play. The talent is not what it use to be, but they play smart team football and that’s the recipe to win games.
Tyrod Taylor isn’t the best quarterback out there but he is widely underrated. The Bills defense has been underwhelming this year, ranking 29th in the NFL averaging only 284.2 yards per game. Charles Clay is really the only real pass catching threat the Bills have after they traded away Watkins.
Luckily the Bills offense doesn’t have to be great it just has to be acceptable if their defense is going to play this good. But it does have to be better and that’s up to Taylor to make the players around him better.
Sean McDermott has his blueprints all over this team now. The Bills have been stock piling high draft picks on their defense, and McDermott has been able to utilize very single one of them with his right defensive system. The Bills probably won’t win the AFC East but they are a dangerous team, and could very well be in the postseason this year.
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A feat only completed a handful of times, the quest for any NFL team to finish a season 16-0 is no easy task.
The New England Patriots, who have done it once before, were buried in talks this off season about having a legitimate shot at making history once again in 2017, but quickly dismantled those rumors after a stunning loss in Week 1 to Kansas City.
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Tennessee Titans 33, Seattle Seahawks 27
Okay now it’s time to panic if your a Seahawks fan. Allowing 195 rushing yards to the Titans is bad enough, but not being able to provide any rushing offense is the more concerning stat.
Russell Wilson seemed to find some rhythm having his best start this season throwing for 4 TDs with 373 passing yards, but once again he was under way too much pressure, and was forced to carry the offense.
Seemingly every year the Seahawks are mediocre to downright bad for the first half of the season. With their only win coming against the lowly 49ers. Maybe this start is different than most years and this is what the Seahawks are.
New England Patriots 36, Houston Texans 33
I don’t care what team you support, if you can’t tip your cap to Brady after that performance than you don’t know talent.
The Patriots showed a lot of things on Sunday, mostly bad, especially on defense. The fact that the Patriots rank dead last in the NFL in both points and yards allowed is surreal considering the fact that the Patriots were expected to have a top ten defense this year.
But let’s try and not look at the disgusting defensive performance by the Patriots and the retched safety play and marvel at Brady for a second. Brady was pressured on over half his dropbacks against the Texans, and they still somehow won. Usually in the NFL if your over 40% your going to lose let alone 50%. It just shows how amazing this guy is.
How many other quarterbacks would’ve taken the beating that Brady did play after play and gotten right back up? Even on the 3rd and forever throw to Amendola and the game winning touchdown pass to Cooks he got trucked right after he threw it.
Granted the amount of hits that Brady took is certainly alarming and cannot continue to happen. But once again Brady did what he does best: win. Brady looks ready to singlehandedly win the Patriots another title, and I’m not betting against him.
Chicago Bears 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
While most protests on Sunday were very graceful and respectful, the Steelers was just a mess. That’s what happens when you try and make 53 individuals do and think the same thing, it never works.
But wait there was even more chaos on the field than off.
Somehow the Steelers who are flooded with offensive talent aloud themselves to get shutdown by the Bears. When are we going to admit that Mike Tomlin is not a good coach? Teams that are well coached don’t lose to the Bears, yet every single year it seems the Steelers lose 3-4 games to putrid teams.
A team that has as much talent as Pittsburgh should dominate games with their juggernaut offense, yet the mediocrity continues. Chalk it up as long as Mike Tomlin is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers they will not win another title.
Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 24
I can’t be the only one who wanted the Giants to get crushed this weekend. Jake Elliot not only hit the biggest kick of his career when he drilled in that 61 yarder, he also won himself Carson Wentz’s game check. 32k is nothing to sneeze at.
The biggest story of this game is the fact that the Giants are 0-3 and essentially done. The Giants showed a little life late with a rally that finally showed hope for Eli Manning and the offense, especially with Odell doing what Odell does best. But ultimately they fell short, and the only ones they have to blame are themselves.
Overall this has been the worst possible scenario for the Giants, if they were to go 8-8 at this point I think we would all be shocked. But the person who deserves the most blame is Jerry Reese. The offensive line has been putrid and he did nothing to fix that. This offseason the Giants need an overhaul coach, GM, or maybe even a quarterback. All that is for sure is that they’re the biggest disappointment in the NFL.
Washington Redskins 27, Oakland Raiders 10
Derek Carr is a great young quarterback with a lot of potential, but on Sunday night he looked downright awful. He was under consistent pressure which was noticeably getting to him, and he couldn’t find any consistency in the pocket.
Meanwhile Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense was dynamic even without their best offensive weapon in Jordan Reed. Chris Thompson picked up a lot of slack in this game going off for 150 yards and a touchdown.
This game was more about the Redskins defense which suffocated the Raiders. If the Redskins can play like that on defense every week then they can make some noise. Considering that Prescott and Wentz are still inexperienced and Cousins is arguably a top ten quarterback, a great defense could push them up the NFC totem pole.
Top Performer of Week 3
Tom Brady: 25-35, 378 yards, 5 touchdowns, qbr 146.2
Now that’s what I was expecting to see out of the Patriots last week. After calling out the new guys on his team for lack of energy, Tom Brady followed up his harsh words by having the best first quarter of his career at age 40.
Granted the Saints are absolutely putrid on defense, but it was still nice to see the Patriots execute even against a bad team.
Here are the players who stood out and the ones who were lackluster to say the least.
First Star: Tom Brady
Tom Brady was surgical in the first half on Sunday. The Patriots needed someone to step up and take leadership of this team. Brady did that and more, he finished the day with 447 yards, theee touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 139.6. The most impressive play of the day however was not a physical play, but rather a mental play.
On a 3rd and 9 play with 21 seconds left in the first half, Brady scrambled up the middle for seven yards before being tackled in bounds. Immediatly afterwards he popped up and initiated the “mayday signal” and it took a total of 13 seconds for the field goal unit to get onto the field lineup and convert to close out the half.
The awareness and execution by Brady to immediately get the entire team, including himself off the field after being tackled was something to behold.
Second Star: Deatrich Wise Jr.
Deatrich Wise was a major factor on Sunday, and that should have Patriots fans ecstatic. Wise finished the day with one sack, and two tackles, and was consistently bothering Brees all day long.
Wise coming out of college was believed to have a high ceiling, but he was a major injury concern. Wise at 6-5 and 274 lbs, has a dominant figure and has great strength and awareness of the snap. Most young players with that kind of length and height tend to keep their pad level too high and get pushed around.
As noted by Belichick earlier this season, Wise doesn’t seem to have that problem and is consistently able to get under offensive linemans shoulder pads and collapse the pocket.
The Patriots biggest concern heading into this year was young talent on defense. With the emergence of Wise this week, along with Adam Butler, and Jonathan Jones, the Patriots all of the sudden have some potential players. Wise could be key down the stretch if he is able to continue to improve.
Third Star: Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones was a surpise emergence (at least for me) this week and really played brilliant against a diminished but still solid Saints offense.
Jones finished the day with two pass breakups, including one in the endzone where his perfect positioning and technique allowed him to pry the ball out of the hands Ted Ginn Jr.
Later on in the game in a very similar fashion Jones broke up a pass intended for Brandon Coleman, were once again at the very last second he reached up and got his hand on the pall to break up a pass that would’ve gone for a big gain.
The awareness of Jones to wait until the ball had contacted both players hands before getting his body on them is a perfect example of being 100% focused on every play. Rightfully so, jones has received a lot of attention this week.
With Butler seemingly being in the dog house we could be seeing another case where Belichick sees something that the rest of us are missing.
First Down: Malcolm Butler
It seemed like the Patriots wanted to get a message out to both Butler and the public. They certainly did by starting Eric Rowe over Malcolm Butler, after Butler has player 98% of the defensive snaps last two years.
Butler did eventually get onto the field after Rowe got hurt, but wow was he underwhelming. Butler was targeted 5 times and gave up 4 catches and a touchdown. On the touchdown it’s hard to tell whether it was Chung or Butler who blew the coverage, but either way that is not the type of play your “top corner” should ever give up.
Butler has looked disengaged since the start of training camp, and Belichick seems ready to let him walk.
Second Down: David Andrews
Overall Andrews is a consistent player week in and week out, but throughtout his career he seemingly has trouble agasint bigger more physical defensive lineman.
Andrews played poorly to say the least against the Saints, giving up a sack and mutiple quarterback hurries. This could be something to keep an eye on as the Patriots offensive line has been shaky to say the least, and if Andrews can’t cut it against power lineman, than Brady is going to have a lot of difficulty staying comfortable in the pocket.
Third Down: Alan Branch
Yet another player who is seemingly on the way out. Alan Branch has been huge for the Patriots the last two years, but all of the sudden he is having difficulity even sniffing the field.
After a brutal week one performance where he was just bullied in the middle of the field by the Chiefs offensive line, Branch only got to play six snaps against the Saints and looked disengaged on the sideline.
Branch has been a troubled player throughout his career and it appears his reputation is beginning to catch up to him. its hard not to wonder if their is a attitude issue with Branch or a weight issue, but after getting payed it seems like Branch is content being useless.