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.

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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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