COVID-19 was the story for the league this week as multiple positive tests forced teams to shut down facilities and games to be postponed.
Tennessee and Pittsburgh were both forced to take bye weeks due to 18 positive tests being discovered in the Titans organization since last Monday.
The Titans are in jeopardy of not being able to play in Week 5, either, if the organization cannot register consecutive days without a positive test.
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton also tested positive for the virus and forced the team and Chiefs game to be pushed back to Monday night. Chiefs practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu also tested positive.
Newton won’t be allowed to play on Monday night.
As for the guys who did play in Week 4, here are our takeaways from the NFL weekend.
Another inconsistent Cowboys performance resulted in America’s Team taking its third L in four weeks. This one however was at the hands of an improved Browns team that is 3-1 for the first time since 2001. On defense, Dallas looked as lost as a grandmother trying to share her screen during a Zoom church meeting. Cleveland rushed for 307 yards on Sunday and punched the Cowboys in the mouth all afternoon with their impressive ground game. Dallas’ defense was one point away from giving up a 50 ball in the 49-38 loss and was as nonexistent as COVID protocols at a Trump rally. In addition to the run game, Odell Beckham Jr. decided to show up in a big way on Sunday, accounting for three touchdowns (one from a pass from receiver (and LSU buddy) Jarvis Landry, and one on the ground) and 154 total yards in the game. Dak Prescott had a great day leading the Cowboys offense as he threw for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Amari Cooper pulled in 12 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown for The Boys. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but the loss leaves the 1-3 Cowboys tied for second place in the raccoon infested dumpster fire that is the NFC East.
This was an extremely intriguing game in the early slot. The Chargers flew across the country to Tampa and had Tom Brady and the Buccaneers down by as many as 17 points. Justin Herbert, aka young Jim Halpert, played extremely well on Sunday throwing for three touchdowns and nearly 300 yards. His poise in the pocket and ability to make eye-popping throws should give the organization some reassurance that they have a quarterback for the future. Yet, Sunday wasn’t the rookie’s time to shine as Brady threw for five touchdowns and 369 yards to complete the 38-31 comeback for the Bucs. Ronald Jones also put in 111 yards on the ground while Mike Evans hauled in seven catches for 122 yards and a TD. The Buccaneers have bounced back from their Week 1 loss against the Saints and now lead the division at 3-1. It’s safe to say AARP Brady has found a rhythm down in Tampa.
I’m not going to lie to you all, this game made the cut for two reasons. The first one being Jalen Ramsey and the second one being Golden Tate. If you haven’t heard by now the two veterans got into a fight immediately following the game where it was reported that both players took swings at each other and fell to the ground. Ramsey popped Tate during the game with a clean but very aggressive hit but many doubt that was the cause of the altercation. Ramsey reportedly has two children with Tate’s sister and the Rams corner had a public breakup with her last year. It’s unclear if the altercation was based on personal reasons but one could certainly speculate that there was already some beef there. As for the game, the Rams won 17-9 in a mostly defensive battle. Daniel Jones looked more like a Wells Fargo Bank Teller than an NFL quarterback in the pocket yesterday and posted a very pedestrian passer rating of 65.7. On the other side, Jared Goff was very efficient throwing for only 200 yards in the win.
The Bills are legitimate contenders in the AFC. Josh Allen is starting to solidify himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and has played lights out to start the season. Against the Raiders on Sunday, Allen added two more touchdown passes to his total for 2020 of 12 and had a passer rating of 115.8. The addition of receiver Stefon Diggs, who had six catches for 115 yards on Sunday, has proven to be one of the main catalysts in the progression of Allen and this Bills team. Also, the defense is improving and showing that they can make timely plays. Newly added Josh Norman who was coming back from a hamstring injury forced a crucial fumble on the Raiders’ Darren Waller in the 4th quarter and recovered it to give the Bills control of the game. The front seven also caused problems for the Raiders all day. They limited star running back Josh Jacobs to 48 yards on the day and caused a sack-fumble on Derrick Carr. The Bills are 4-0 for the first time since 2008. Expect Buffalo to make a significant run for the top seed in the AFC come playoff time, and don’t be surprised if you find them stumble their way into the AFC Championship Game.
Eagles vs 49ers
The Eagles should send a thank you basket on behalf of the organization to San Francisco QB Nick Mullens for almost single-handedly putting them in the first place of the sewage pipe otherwise known as the NFC East. Mullens had three turnovers in the Sunday night game, none more crucial than the late-game pick-six he threw with five minutes left in the fourth that ultimately put the game out of reach for the injury-riddled 49ers. That interception also resulted in Mullens being benched for C.J. Beathard. Regular starter Jimmy Garoppolo is week-to-week with an ankle injury. Tight end George Kittle returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with a knee injury, and tried to put the team on his back and will them to a victory with 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles who are now 1-2-1 are now the leaders of the four lost XFL teams. Seriously, the teams in the NFC East have a 2-11-1 record against every other opponent that doesn’t reside in the division. Carson Wentz was ehhh once again in the passing game, even though he did make a few key plays with his legs. Oddly enough a two-point conversion in the first quarter was one of the main factors for the Eagles winning this game. Beating an undermanned 49ers team doesn’t mean that all of Philly’s problems are solved but it is good for the City of Brotherly Love to get its first win of the season.