Every-Thing Sports

NFL Week Four: Good, bad & ugly

Bill Wippert, buffalobills.com

Week four of the NFL season was a wild one. There were a few unexpected results of different varieties on different levels. This week marks the end of the first quarter of the NFL season. Here's some of my observations:

The Good

-Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones won his second straight start this week in a 24-3 win over division rival Redskins. "Danny Dimes" didn't have a great game (two picks and only one touchdown), but did enough to help his team win by going 23/31 for 225 yards, along with five runs for another 33 yards. Jones is showing some of the same promise he showed in the preseason. He might be as good as his draft position (#6 overall)...might is the key word here.

-Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes did it again. Every week he shows us something we haven't seen, rarely see, or a "wow" play. This time, he took off on a scramble, but stared down a ref mid-play, and still managed to run for a first down! While he didn't throw a touchdown pass this week (first time in his career), he led a comeback win in Detroit. Wonder what he'll do next week?

-I've been watching Bills running back Frank Gore for the better part of about 20 years now. He was a stud at the University of Miami. Sans his knee injuries there, we may have never heard of Willis McGahee or Clinton Portis. At 36, he ran for 109 yards in a loss against the Patriots, but moved himself into fourth place all-time behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders. Kudos to the ageless wonder. I've enjoyed watching him play. Hopefully, he gets a gold jacket whenever he decides to hang up his cleats.

The Bad

-The Ravens fell to 2-2 after giving up over 500 yards on defense for the second week in a row. The Browns also put up 40 points in Baltimore which hasn't happened in several years. The Ravens were leading the AFC North. Now they're tied with the team they just lost to and gave them a confidence boost.

-The Bills forced Tom Brady into one of the worst games of his career...and still lost. Brady was 18/39 for 150 yards, no touchdowns and threw an interception. Not only that, but Bills quarterback Josh Allen was knocked from the game by Jonathan Jones after a helmet to helmet hit. Disappointing way to lose your first game of the season to a division rival and defending champs.

-The Rams gave up 55 points in a home loss to the Bucs. Their quarterback Jared Goff threw the ball 68 times (the third highest total in NFL history) in the loss. The Bucs aren't an offensive juggernaut and the Rams' defense is thought to be better than this performance. This is why they play the games.

The Ugly

-Add Mitchell Trubisky to the list of quarterbacks that have been sidelined due to injuries this season. It was a non-throwing (left) shoulder dislocation and slight labrum tear, but it'll still keep him out for an undisclosed amount of time. It occurred on the sixth play from scrimmage. Backup Chase Daniel came in and secured a 16-6 win for the Bears over the Vikings.

-Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the rest of the season after his helmet to helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle. Burfict has been warned, and suspended/fined, several times previously for similar offenses, hence the heft of this suspension. Burfict is a guy that can't seem to get himself together, and it may have cost him his career. Doyle said he thinks the hit was worse than what it looked.

-Broncos outside linebacker/defensive end Bradley Chubb suffered a partially torn ACL in their loss to the Jags. He was injured on a play in which he was attempting to shed a block on a run to his side of the field. There was no contact, as he seemed to plant and barely twist is leg when the injury occurred. The fact that he came back and played after the injury is crazy!

With one fourth of the season down, we now have a clearer picture of the division and playoff races. There are several good surprise teams (Bills and Lions come to mind first), and several expected awful teams (Cards and Dolphins). With 25% of the season done, there's still a long way to go. Too early to tell who's a favorite to win it all, but we can certainly see who won't have an ice cream sandwich in a Houston July's chance. Looking forward to seeing the dust settle in a few more weeks.

NFL PR has more than a Myles Garrett Problem

Gut reaction to Browns - Steelers: Ugly brawl, hits yet another bad look

Getty images

As I watched Myles Garrett being punched and kicked on the ground by Pittsburgh Steelers offensive linemen, I couldn't help but feel bad for the NFL public relations team. Last night's game was a PR nightmare. What will dominate sports headlines for the foreseeable future is Myles Garrett's inexcusable action where he tore the helmet off Mason Rudolph and then proceeded to use that helmet as a weapon to strike Rudolph on the head. However the unfortunate truth is that the game was a PR mess before that brawl even started.

For the past few years the NFL has had issues with its image on topics ranging from substance abuse problems to the game being regarded as "unsafe." Here is a recap of all the issues the Browns – Steelers match-up couldn't help but showcase last night.

Headlines prior to the game starting:

  • Cleveland RB Kareem Hunt – Headlines about Hunt returning back from suspension for "multiple physical altercations". Though his first game back was Nov 10th against Buffalo, we are still in the first week of his return and pre-game talk was focused on his history.
  • Cleveland WR Antonio Callaway – Was released by the team before the game for violating the substance-abuse policy. Though he will appeal the upcoming 10 game suspension, the team decided to waive the WR immediately.

Injuries:

  • Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – Exited the game in the 2nd quarter after absorbing two simultaneous helmet-to-helmet hits. Smith-Schuster appeared to be motionless on the ground for some time.
  • Steelers WR Diontae Johnson – Exited the game in the 3rd quarter after taking a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot from Browns Safety Damarious Randall. Randall was ejected for the hit and we all got to watch Johnson be helped off the field while blood was gushing from his ear.
  • Steelers RB James Conner – Was playing in his first game back from injury, appears to have re-injured his shoulder in the 2nd quarter.

It is worth noting here that the Steelers were already missing QB Ben Roethlisberger who is out for the season with an elbow injury. As a result of these injuries the Steelers offense was unable to function for most of the game. Backup Quarterback Mason Rudolph finished with 4 interceptions and a 10.8 QBR.

The Brawl:

  • Cleveland DE Myles Garret – Will most likely be suspended for the rest of the year for his actions. The Brawl started when Garret threw Rudolph to the ground in what looked like a late hit to the QB. Rudolph's actions to escalate the situation cannot be overlooked, but for Garret to use a helmet as a weapon was completely inexcusable.
  • Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph – Rudolph came off as the victim but my gut tells me he will be punished as well. Rudolph took issue with Garret's late hit and is caught on tape trying to pull Garret's helmet off first. Also, as Garret is being pulled away it is Rudolph who runs at Garret to restart the fight. Rudolph called the helmet hit "cowardly" and "bush league" in the post-game press conference but his own actions may fall into that bush-league category.
  • Browns DE Larry Ogunjobi – Came in after he saw Rudolph get hit on the head with the helmet and than proceeded to push Rudolph to the ground from behind… That one left me scratching my head.
  • Pittsburgh Offensive Linemen Maurkice Pouncey & David DeCastro – After Garret struck Rudolph, Pouncey and DeCastro threw Garret to the ground where they repeatedly punched and kicked him. Of all the actions that took place, this one at least made sense as the line was defending their QB. However that probably won't stop suspensions and fines from heading their way. The whole "start a fight after your QB gets hit" thing may need to be re-examined if these guys miss significant time.

The trend we are seeing in the US is that more and more parents are refusing to let their children play football for fear of it being an unsafe and dangerous game. The NFL has been doing everything in its power to fight against that image, but Thursday's game was a failure on all fronts.

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