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Week 4 Observations
By Matt Horkman

Chicago fans didn’t have much to cheer about on Sunday, but they did witness phenomenal downfield blocking by wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall on running back Matt Forte’s second-quarter touchdown run. The 53-yard score was able to develop, thanks to Marshall’s textbook cut block on Detroit cornerback Chris Houston. Forte ended the game with 117 yards (22 receiving) on 19 touches.

A big reason for Detroit’s success was the effectiveness of running back Reggie Bush. The Lions did everything they could to involve Bush in their offense, especially early in the game. In the first half, Bush had 14 touches for 136 yards and a touchdown.

Arian Foster owners can thank K.J. Wright for slipping on Foster‘s only touchdown of the day. Wright was in decent position to defend Foster, but he fell down, allowing the Houston running back to walk-in for six points.

The Seahawks entered this week allowing 241 yards per game, but Houston had them on the ropes in the first half. In fact, the Texans totaled over 250 first-half yards en route to taking a 20-3 lead into halftime.

Russell Wilson was under pressure all game long with Houston’s front seven -- especially Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt -- harassing the Seattle quarterback all game. The Texans sacked Wilson five times, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Including the sacks, the Seahawks gave up at least 20 pressures.

Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate took a major risk when he fielded a punt at the one-yard line. However, Seattle blockers sprung him for 32 yards, positioning the Seahawks with reasonably strong field position for their final drive.

The Seahawks can also thank Houston cornerback Kareem Jackson for his recklessness. On a seven-yard pass, Jackson had wide receiver Doug Baldwin stopped in his tracks, but instead of letting up after the whistle, he gave Baldwin his version of the german suplex. The refs called him for an unnecessary roughness penalty, setting up kicker Steven Hauschka’s 45-yard game-winning field goal. Joe Flacco

In a span that lasted less than two minutes, Buffalo scored two touchdowns that put them ahead before halftime. The first came when quarterback E.J. Manuel launched a perfect pass to wide receiver Robert Woods. The second was setup by a Joe Flacco interception.

You may not see a more one-dimensional team this season than Baltimore in week four. In the final 30 minutes, the Ravens threw the ball 28 times and ran the ball just twice.

Tony Romo’s efficient first half allowed Dallas take a 21-13 lead into halftime. At one point, Romo completed eight consecutive passes. Everything fell apart later in the game, however, as Dallas blew a fourth-quarter lead. The Cowboys could’ve made things interesting with a late touchdown, but wide receiver Terrance Williams fumbled at the goal line, ending any chance at a comeback. Williams, who was more than a yard away from the end zone, attempted to stretch for the goal line anyways. Nobody can fault his effort, but it was an example of poor on-field awareness.

Because of Denver’s high-scoring offense, teams have to abandon the run early against them. This is a major reason why they rank No. 1 against the run. The Eagles, however, were able to keep the game within reason during the first half. Both LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown were running effective, combining for 58 first-half rushing yards. The Broncos pulled away in the third quarter, though, nullifying Philadelphia’s running back tandem.

I’ve been a huge proponent of Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan for years now, but nobody can excuse his botched second-quarter throw on fourth-and-2. On the play, wide receiver Roddy White clearly breaks open, but the throw inexplicably sails on Ryan. This missed throw potentially cost the Falcons seven points, as White was in position score. The Falcons would go onto lose by a margin of seven points.

It took until the third quarter before Julian Edelman made his first catch, but the New England wide receiver’s biggest impact came in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-8 play, he schooled cornerback Roger McClain by faking inside and then breaking out. In contrast with Ryan, Brady hit Edelman in stride allowing his wide receiver to take the ball inside Atlanta’s 20-yard line. 

On the Saints’ opening-drive, Miami safety Reshad Jones bit on an out-and-up pattern ran by New Orleans running back Darren Sproles. Brees connected with Sproles for a 48-yard gain, setting up the Saints with their first of five touchdowns.

On a third-and-9 play, Miami running back Marcus Thigpen made Rafael Bush look like a fool in the open field on his 50-yard reception. The play setup a Lamar Miller touchdown run, putting the Dolphins within striking distance in the second quarter.

The Dolphins could not capitalize, however, as quarterback Ryan Tannehill made a rookie mistake with less than two minutes remaining before halftime. The second-year quarterback stared down his wide receiver on a slant route, allowing New Orleans cornerback Jabari Greer to read his eyes and jump the route. This was the turning point of the game, as the Saints would go onto to score 21 straight points, including a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

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