Ian Evans’ NFL Week 4 Love/Hate Weekend Recap
Things are already getting rather interesting real fast through four weeks of the 2020-2021 NFL regular season. From Cam Newton and a multitude of Tennessee Titians players contracting the coronavirus to postponed games and head coach firings, the NFL was baffled with headline after headline this week. Besides that, both the 49ers and Patriots played two quarterbacks in their respective games, the Browns put up 49 points, and the Packers and Seahawks are continuing their dominance. There were many more games, players, and teams I loved and hated in Week 4 that need to be discussed. Let’s get into it.
Love: Odell Beckham Jr.
Photo Courtesy: Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns are 3-1 for the first time since 2001. Think about that. They have never been above .500 in their first four games of the season for the past 19 seasons. However, thing are looking up in Cleveland, not only due to an impressive running game that couldn’t be stopped on Sunday, but also due to the incredible play of Odell Beckham Jr. On Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, Beckham had himself a day. Beckham Jr., caught 5 passes for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of those touchdowns from wide receiver and LSU teammate Jarvis Landry. But the play that sealed the deal on a sensational day for him came in the 4th quarter. As the Browns are up 3 with just under 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Browns planned to run the ball, which is understandable as their run game was exceptional all game. However, OBJ had bigger plans. On a designed run play for Beckham Jr., Odell not only got the first down, but then proceeded the follow his blocks and use his speed and elusiveness to break out for a 50-yard touchdown run to seal the deal. Don’t look now, but the Browns are tied 2nd in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens. Things just got interesting.
Hate: The Dallas Cowboys Defense
Photo Courtesy: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
I want everyone who truly believed that the Dallas Cowboys were going to win this year’s Super Bowl to please get drug tested immediately. The Cowboys, whose defense was praised heavily during the offseason, gave up 49 points to the Cleveland Browns. They gave up a whopping 307 rushing yards, 7.7 yards per rush, and 7.0 yards per play. From blown coverages, miscommunication, plenty of missed tackles, a lack of quarterback hits, and soft pressure of Baker Mayfield, the Cowboys defense looked depleted, tired, out-of-sync, and frustrated the entire afternoon. The Cowboys let the Browns score 31 points in the first half alone and accounted for, you guessed it, 0 turnovers the entire game. This team is currently on pace to allow 584 points on their season, which would crush the team record of 486. If they truly want to prove that they are a legitimate threat not only in the NFC, but also in the NFC East as well, they have to make a multitude of defensive adjustments immediately.
Love: Tom Brady
Photo Courtesy: Jason Behnken/Associated Press
Some called me crazy for having the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the NFC South. They’re currently first in the division at 3-1 after losing their first game as a unit to the Saints. Although he had a rough first game with the team, Tom Brady is coming alive. He’s the G.O.A.T. for a reason. On Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Brady threw for 5 touchdowns, count them, FIVE touchdowns, and 369 yards against a solid Chargers defense. Because of Brady’s play, Tampa Bay rallied from a 17-poin deficit to defeat the Chargers 38-31. Although the 43-year-old quarterback has lost some steps, it is never a good idea to get too comfortable or overlook Tom Brady due to his age or because he’s on a new team. He clearly still has it.
Hate: The New York Jets
Photo Courtesy: Elsa/Getty Images
First and foremost, the New York Jets should fire Adam Gase yesterday. Why? Case and point: Thursday night’s game. The Denver Broncos roster is depleted due to significant injuries from Drew Lock, Von Miller, and Courtland Sutton, meaning this was a perfect opportunity to win their first game of the season. Although they did not have Le’Veon Bell, the Jets looked somewhat decent in the first quarter. And proceeded to fall apart. The Jets offense couldn’t get anything except field goals going. Sam Darnold was running for his life as he was sacked 6 times as one sack sidelined him for a couple of plays. Brett Rypien, the quarterback replacing Drew Lock, won his first start with the Broncos, but it wasn’t pretty. Rypien still threw for 2 touchdowns, but was picked off 3 times as well. Yet the Broncos still found a way to win 37-28. If the Jets are losing to depleted teams like the Broncos, they could very well go 0-16 this year. It is clear and apparent to see the Gase has lost the locker room, the trust of his players and staff, and can’t control the egos on this team. This was evident in the 4th quarter when frustrations boiled over. Knowing that they lost the game, the Jets defense gave up 3 consecutive personal foul calls which only hurt them more. The Jets are simply a dumpster fire and the first thing that needs to be done to douse the fire is to, no pun intended, FIRE ADAM GASE.
Love: The Cincinnati Bengals (THEY WON! This is not a typo this actually happened.)
Photo Courtesy: Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Ladies and gentleman…..the BENGALS WON THEIR FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON! The Cincinnati Bengals won their first game of the season on Sunday defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-25 behind Joe Mixon’s 151 rushing yards and 3 total touchdowns. Randy Bullock did not miss a single kick going 4 for 4 on the day, while rookie Joe Burrow put up another 300 yard passing game in back-to-back games. Tyler Boyd also had a solid day catching 7 passes for 90 yards and rookie Tee Higgins also played well catching 4 passes for 77 yards. Finally, Bengals fans have something to be positive about in a difficult division. Go celebrate that win Bengals fans, you deserve it!
Hate: The NFC East
Photo Courtesy: Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG
First, let me show you the current standings of the deplorable NFC East:
1. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1)
2. Washington Football Team (1-3)
3. Dallas Cowboys (1-3)
4. New York Giants (0-4)
Wow. Just wow. The only team to win this weekend was the Eagles, who just barely escaped the San Francisco 49ers who are not only dealing with many significant injuries, but also played two backup quarterbacks in that game as well. The Eagles should have won that game. Anyway. This is the worst division in football and it’s not even close. This Sunday, the Cowboys lost to the Browns 49-38, the Giants lost to the Los Angelges Rams 17-9 and also found themselves in a brawl after the game (sparked by Golden Tate and Jalen Rasey), and the Washington Football Team lost to the Ravens handedly 31-17. If you combine every team’s record in the NFC East, you get a horrific combined record of 3-12-1. My goodness. If you are new to football and do not understand how the playoffs work, each team from each division has at least one team represent their division in the playoffs. From this sorry division, we could potentially see a team with 6 wins make the playoffs. Yikes. Not good. Not good at all.
Love: George Kittle
Photo Courtesy: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
George Kittle suffered a sprained MCL and bone bruise in the San Francisco 49ers first game against the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the next two games but was cleared for their fourth game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Although the 49ers lost and dropped to 2-2 on the year, Kittle shined in his first game back. He was the apparent focal point of the offense as he caught 15 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, one of those catches going for 38 yards. By the way, he was targeted 15 times, so he caught every ball that was thrown his way. Fantasy owners that have Kittle on their rosters had to have been thrilled seeing him return as he truly dominated against the Eagles. Although they suffered a loss to the Eagles, the positive with this team is that Kittle is back, and looking like his usual self. There’s a reason why he’s one of the best tight-ends in the league, and last night showed that he has to be accounted for on every down defensively.
Hate: Bill O’Brien
Photo Courtesy: Jordan Dajani/CBSSports.com
I don't wish bad on head coaches losing jobs, especially during a pandemic, but it was about time. I personally thought he should have been fired after he traded away DeAndre Hopkins (quite arguably the best wide receiver in the game) for David Johnson, who has struggled this year, and a couple of 2nd round picks. But it finally happened. The Houston Texans fired head coach and GM Bill O’Brien after their 0-4 start to the season. Let’s not forget, O’Brien, besides trading away Hopkins, also traded 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, and traded away two first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Dolphins for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. He put them in a deep role which will be tough for any coach to get out of. I believe the Texans should hire Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Beiniemy after this season is over, as he would be a perfect candidate for Houston. It’s about time things turn around for the Texans. This firing makes sense and it was bound to happen. It’s a simple equation, great results yield great praise and benefits, bad results yield bad praise and criticism. He is still a great football mind but his time in Houston has come to an end for good reason. Maybe he can find a role elsewhere on a contending team.