Week 4 has wrapped up, and TRO is reflecting on all that transpired, breaking down major headlines, and handing out its weekly superlatives. Check out our thoughts following another fun week of games:
via Getty Images
Another week gone, another wild slate of games. TRO is launching its rapid reactions following the conclusion of the games from the Week prior. With Week 4 having concluded, it's time to fire off TRO's immediate reactions following all of the action. We're here, again, to elaborate on the biggest headlines that stuck with us, and to hand out superlatives. Look for TRO to award the Surprise Performance of the Week to the most deserving team, and the Game of the Week to the most exciting matchup, in addition to individual player superlatives. Players whose team won their game will be eligible to be selected in the following categories: Passer of the Week, Pass Catcher of the Week, Tailback of the Week, Defensive Lineman of the Week, Linebacker of the Week, Defensive Back of the Week, and Special Teamer of the Week.
1) RAPID FIRE - WEEK FOUR HEADLINES:
via Jonathan Bachma / USA Getty Images
Welcome Back Saquon:
For the first time since tearing his ACL in 2020, Saquon Barkley looked like his normal self. He totaled 126 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns, including a walk-off overtime score to upset the New Orleans Saints. While he didn't earn our Tailback of the Week award, it was great to see Barkley look like his former self after a disappointing start to the 2021 Season.
The Bills are as Good as Expected, but it Seems to be Flying Under the Radar:
After coming up short in the AFC Championship last year, everyone expected Buffalo to be one of the favorites to win it all this year. Josh Allen was a preseason MVP favorite, and the team was returning all of its key players. Things got off to a rough start losing to Pittsburgh in Week 1, but since then, they have beaten their opponents by an average of over 32 points which includes two shut outs. It's hard to shut out any NFL team, and to win games by such large point differentials, no matter who is on the schedule. The Bills have come to form, and everyone should watch out.
Do Not Return Play Calling Responsibilities to Matt Nagy:
Last week we highlighted the offensive ineptitude of the Chicago Bears against the Cleveland Browns. This Week, Matt Nagy gave up play calling authority ahead of their matchup with the Detroit Lions. Not only did the Bears pull out their first win of the season, but they put up a respectable 24 points, and the offense looked competent. Most notably, they called plays that allowed Justin Fields to showcase his arm talent. We'd like to still see more, but this was certainly a step in the right direction.
With Fields named the Bears' starter going forward, and no signs of Nagy reclaiming play calling duties, Chicago's offense should continue to be much improved from the first 3 weeks of the season. Look for there to be more attempts at plays down field going forward.
Arizona is 100% For Real
The lone 4-0 team in the NFL. The Cardinals earned this title by comfortably handling the Los Angeles Rams in a statement NFC West win. Arizona is a complete football team on both sides of the ball, and Kyler Murray is looking like the MVP favorite. The win over the Rams was huge for Arizona because it gives the Cards a leg up on the Rams, as we can expect those two teams to be competing back and forth for the division title all season long.
Since the Cardinals are the only undefeated team remaining, that means the other four 3-0 teams all took losses this week. While you certainly are what your record says, and you can only play the teams on your schedule, is there a level of concern for any of these teams that fell to 3-1?
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have impressed many with their start to the season. While their offensive line will hinder how far they are capable of going, we believe that they have shown enough to label them as a legitimate Wild Card level team. Aside from a disastrous third quarter, they showed fight and grit against a tough Dallas Cowboys team. They aren't Super Bowl bound, but look for them to be in the playoff picture.
Denver Broncos: Tough matchup against Baltimore, and losing your starting quarterback to a concussion never helps. The Broncos are certainly talented on both sides of the football, but might come up short in a competitive AFC. If Teddy Bridgewater has to miss time, this team could be in trouble.
Las Vegas Raiders: Nothing to worry about here. They got off to an awfully slow start on Monday Night, but rallied back to make the game competitive. Their defense is way better than expected, and they have an offense that can explode when it is clicking. They lost to a very good Chargers team, so there is no reason to sound the alarm, as long as they can play consistently. The AFC playoff picture will be crowded, so the Raiders will need to be careful to not make a habit of slow starts.
Los Angeles Rams: The Rams are still one of the top few teams in the NFC, even after this loss to the Cardinals. In fact they are the best team on this short list. Plenty to learn from in their first loss, but no cause for concern.
2) GAME OF THE WEEK: Washington Football Team @ Atlanta Falcons
via Yahoo Sports
This game was chaotic in the best way possible. It had everything: 5 lead changes, 3 Cordarrelle Patterson touchdowns, a kickoff return touchdown, splash defensive plays, missed extra points, 2-point conversion attempts, and Heinicke Heroics. It was an absolute riot from start to finish. Not to mention it ended with a feel-good moment during Heinicke's press conference, where he emotionally mentioned that he got to play in front of his sister and brother in law, who allowed him to sleep on their couch after his stint in the XFL, and pushed him to keep chasing his dream.
3) SURPRISE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: The New York Jets
via Al Bello/Getty Images
The Jets looked like the worst football team in the League through three weeks, losing all three games by an average of nearly 17 points. Despite a monster day from Derrick Henry, and the Jets' inability to get their ground game going (only 66 rushing yards), Zach Wilson and this defense overcame all of the odds to win an exciting game in overtime against the Titans. Most (including us) expected this game to be a blowout in favor of Tennessee, but this New York team was more disciplined, they hung tough, and they gave the home fans a much needed win. This is huge for both the development of Zach Wilson and Robert Saleh. Credit given where credit is due.
4) PLAYER SUPERLATIVES:
PASSER OF THE WEEK: Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs
via Matt Rourke / AP Photo
It was only a matter of time before Patrick Mahomes earned this accolade, and we're willing to bet it won't be his last appearance on this list. He willed his team to a win over the Eagles completing 22 out of 30 of his pass attempts for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns. He did have 1 interception, but the good far outweighed the bad, still managing to separate his performance from the other victorious quarterbacks in Week 4.
PASS CATCHER OF THE WEEK: Tyreek Hill - Kansas City Chiefs
via Matt Rourke / AP Photo
Tyreek Hill is back for the second time (Week 1). He torched the Philadelphia secondary for 11 catches, 186 yards and 3 touchdowns.
TAILBACK OF THE WEEK: Austin Ekeler - Los Angeles Chargers
via Benjamin Hager / Las Vegas Review
It's great to see Austin Ekeler healthy this year. He was rockin' and rollin' on Monday Night, totaling 117 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground, on just 15 carries (that's 7.8 yards PER CARRY!), and 28 yards and 1 touchdown through the air on 3 catches.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Michael Danna - Kansas City Chiefs
via ChiefsWire / USA Today
For the first time this season, we're featuring 3 players from the same team in our weekly accolades. We promise we were locked in on all of the games this past week, but these performances stood out. Michael Danna, stepped in for the Chiefs on defense, having a career day. He posted 2 sacks, 5 tackles, and 2 tackles for a loss.
LINEBACKER OF THE WEEK: C.J. Mosley - New York Jets
via Seth Wenig / USA Today
C. J. Mosley was instrumental in the Jets' upset victory over the Titans. He was all over the field piling on 13 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack. On the sack, Mosley checked the defense into his own call at the line of scrimmage, resulting in a drive-ending stop.
DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: Trevon Diggs - Dallas Cowboys
via Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports
Another week, another defensive back with a 2 interception game. This week, Trevon Diggs picked off Sam Darnold twice, early in the second half, putting Carolina in a hole they would not quite dig out of before the clock hit zero. His clutch interceptions were crucial to locking up Dallas's third consecutive win. Diggs also tallied 4 tackles and 2 pass deflections. He has a League-high 5 interceptions on the year, proving to be a menace for opposing offenses.
SPECIAL TEAMER OF THE WEEK: Matt Prater - Arizona Cardinals
via FortheWin / USA Today
Matt Prater accounted for 16 of the Cardinals' 37 points, in their impressive win over the Rams. He hit all 7 of his kicks, 3/3 on field goals (55 yards long) and 4/4 on extra points.