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Week 4 of the NFL, the first week of byes, and boy were some big teams missing out. Two of the three undefeated teams, Cincinnati Bengals, and Arizona Cardinals had their only off week of the season this week. As if that wasn’t enough, the AFC Champion Denver Broncos, and Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks also enjoyed a week off.
However, there was no shortage of excitement this week in the NFL. The next few weeks will really expose teams of their identity and whether this is really the year they turn things around, or the year take a step back. For some teams these are the most important weeks of their season, especially for coaches on the hot seat, as Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen was fired after a miserable 0-4 start.
Blowout of the Week
Kansas City Chiefs 41, New England Patriots 17
This week alone, seven teams won by a margin of 21 points or more, so obviously picking the blowout of the week was no easy task. Although, this one stood out for a few reasons, this was the only one with two playoff teams from last year, it was the prime-time Monday night game, and it may have the biggest indication for each team’s future.
Tom Brady and company, were flat out embarrassed by the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Embarrassed so bad, that rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was put in for the future hall of famer in the fourth quarter.
The Kansas City Chiefs finally looked like the team they were last year, a defensively run-tough team, with a fierce pass rush, and a smart, efficient offense. They finished the game with only 3 sacks, but two of them turned into fumbles (one recovered), and Tom Brady was under pressure the entire game, behind an inexperienced offensive line. Meanwhile, the return of Jamaal Charles was huge for the Chiefs, and with new weapons Knile Davis, and Travis Kelce, a lot of weight should be lifted off his shoulders.
For the supposedly hugely improved Patriots defense, one that struggled a lot last year, they took a huge step back with this game allowing Alex Smith to throw for nearly 250 yards, with 3 touchdowns, and the backfield of Davis and Charles to combine for 199 yards on the ground.
A lot of the credit has to go keeping Tom Brady on edge throughout the game as he finished with one of his most horrific games in recent memory, finishing with two interceptions and a lost fumble, it appears that the lack-luster receiving corps really isn’t giving him the help he needs along with a miserable o-line.
The real question after the game has to be, is this the end of an era, and the start of another one? Well, if anybody know Tom Brady, he is one of the most confident, and greatest quarterbacks of all time, another prime-time game next week against the undefeated Bengals is no easy task, but I expect him to bounce back, big time.
As for the Chiefs, they’ve always played great at home, it’s just the question of if they can take in on the road, as long as they can stick with what works for them, they should no doubt be in the running for the Wild Card despite a slow start.
Upset of the Week
Dallas Cowboys 38, New Orleans Saints 17
This isn’t necessarily an update in terms of record, but in terms of expectations coming into this season this a huge upset.With the loss the heavily-favored coming into the season, Saints, drop to 1-3 on the year, with their only win coming against a faulty Vikings team. While the Cowboys, projected to be a bottom-dweller in the standings, is now tied for first in the NFC-East at 3-1 on the year.You could consider this a revenge game after the Saints stomped the Boys’ last year at the Superdome 49-17.
As of week 4, it’s impossible to talk MVP without putting Cowboys tailback, Demarco Murray into the conversation. The 4th year back has started the season with at least 100 yards and a touchdown in each game, and has been instrumental to a surprising start for Dallas.
Dallas jumped out to a huge 24-0 lead heading into the locker room at halftime, after capitalizing on a Drew Brees interception, and a Tony Romo lead, touchdown drive. They never looked back from there.
Brees came out the gate looking strong, after completing a couple of long passes, his drive was ultimately halted and they were forced to settle for a field goal. After another turnover on the next drive, the Saints had lost their chance.
In a game where a lot of stats seem eerily similar, what it comes down to is turnovers, and three Saint turnovers, compared to zero from the Cowboys was the ultimate difference, especially considering the crucial times they came at.
It’s hard to not remain suspicious of the Cowboys, but after an impressive 3-1 start, it’s hard to keep doubting them, as they should give the Eagles a run for their money for the East.
Are the Saints really who we thought they were? After looking to be an improved team this offseason it seems they are quickly spiraling downwards, a lot of it has to go to the play to the defense, one thought to be improved with the huge signing of Safety Jairus Byrd. With the both the Panthers and Falcons taking tough losses, the NFC South is still open, but they only have so much time to right the train.
Comeback of the Week
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
The Tampa Bay Bucs’ biggest deficit in the game was seven points one touchdown, but sometimes a comeback isn’t all about how much you came back, but how. Second year quarterback, Mike Glennon, started the game for injured Josh McCown, and after three horrific losses to start the season, things were looking bleak for the Buccanneers, but deep inside this team, they do have a will.
After somewhat of a see-saw first half, the Steelers finished the half on the top up by a touchdown. The Bucs came out firing on all cylinders and drove the field to tie up the game, but the Steelers would quickly retaliate with a touchdown of their own to reclaim their lead. What looked like another successful drive, ultimately stalled out at the 9 yard line after two consecutive incompletions from Glennon, and they were forced to kick a field goal to narrow the deficit down to four.
The Bucs caught a huge break, after using all three of their timeouts in order to get the ball back, the Steelers kicked an awful punt only going for 29 yards, setting Glennon up at the Pittsburgh 46.
46 yards to go, 40 seconds on the clock, no timeouts, and second receiver Mike Evans out with an injury, things looked all but over for Tampa. On second and 10, Glennon found Louis Murphy on a slant route that went for 41 yards, taking them all the way down to the five. A spike on first and goal left Tampa Bay with 3 plays and 15 seconds to cash in from the five yard line. After a solid throw from Glennon to Vincent Jackson was broken up, doubts of a miracle began to creep in.
On 3rd and goal Jackson made a great double move in order to creat some space, and Glennon was there to capitalize placing the ball only where Jackson could grab it, and a diving catch from him in the endzone, all but sealed up the first victory of 2014 for the Buccaneers.
The Steelers have got to be banging their heads after a loss like this, hopefully the won’t repeat the same mistake next week going up against the similarly winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Buccaneers should be feeling fantastic after a win like this but eventually they’ll have to come back to reality as they still have a lot of problems to be fixed and a lot to prove.