NFL Game Recaps: Week 4, 2023

Josh Allen




NFL Game Recaps of previous weeks and seasons can be found via links at the bottom of the page.


Lions 34, Packers 20
  • A week ago, the 49ers absolutely thrashed the Giants in a one-sided affair. It appeared as though this game would suffer a similar fate despite these teams not being so far apart in talent as the 49ers and Giants happen to be. Yet, Detroit was completely embarrassing the Packers for most of the evening. They led 27-3 at one point, limiting the Packers to a laughable 21 net yards in the opening half. Green Bay averaged just one yard per play by intermission.

    Credit the Packers, however, because they did not give up. They came out of the locker room with some energy, putting together two touchdown drives. Suddenly, it was 27-17, and Green Bay was able to hold the Lions to a field goal on a drive that seemed to conclude with eight minutes remaining in regulation. A field goal would put the Lions up “only” 13, so the Packers would have a chance to complete the comeback with two more drives. However, Quay Walker was whistled for leaping, granting the Lions a free first down. Four plays later, David Montgomery scored a touchdown to ice the game for the Lions.

  • Montgomery was terrific in this victory. It wasn’t even clear if he would play 24 hours prior to kickoff, yet he was able to score three touchdowns. He rushed for 121 yards on 32 carries to go along with two catches for 20 receiving yards. He once again made Jahmyr Gibbs an afterthought, as the No. 12 overall pick was given just eight carries, which he turned into 40 yards. Gibbs did at least haul in four receptions, but was limited to only 11 receiving yards. He dropped a pass as well.

  • The Lions’ rushing attack made things easier for Jared Goff, who threw an interception on the opening drive when he panicked under pressure. Goff was able to rebound strong by leading multiple scoring drives immediately after that. Goff went 19-of-28 for 210 yards, one touchdown and the interception.

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown caught Goff’s only touchdown, reeling in five catches for 56 yards and the score. He was outgained by Josh Reynolds (3-69) and tied with Sam LaPorta (4-56).

  • As for the Packers, they were able to pad their stats in the second half after looking so dreadful prior to intermission. “No Cookie” Jordan Love finished with a respectable stat line, going 23-of-36 for 246 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The first pick was the result of a tip by Alex Anzalone, while the second came in desperation time. Love looked good in the second half, but was battling a prevent defense that was roaring in the opening half. Love had no chance behind his David Bakhtiari-less offensive line with the Detroit front creating lots of havoc in the pocket. Love took five sacks.

  • Love’s favorite target wasn’t Christian Watson, who also returned from injury. Watson scored a touchdown, but had two catches for 25 yards. Instead, Love threw the most to Romeo Doubs, who hauled in nine passes for 95 yards. Luke Musgrave, meanwhile, left the game with a concussion.

  • Like Montgomery, Aaron Jones was returning after being hurt. Jones, however, did nothing. He mustered just 18 yards on five carries, and yet he still outgained the terrible A.J. Dillon (5-11).


Jaguars 23, Falcons 7
  • The Jaguars had a disgusting 20-point defeat to Houston last week, so it wasn’t a surprise that they played for pride and rebounded against an inferior Falcons team. The offense improved from last week’s performance, but it was the defense that dominated this game.

    This was a 10-0 game when Jacksonville’s stop unit made a huge play. Desmond Ridder telegraphed a pass, which was picked and taken back for six by Darious Williams. On the very next play, Ridder once again stared down his receiver, allowing safety Andre Cisco to snatch the ball and give his team a great scoring opportunity.

    There was chatter from the announcers that Ridder could be benched. Arthur Smith stuck with Ridder, who was better in the second half. Ridder scored a touchdown on a 75-play drive, but the only other positive possession concluded with Drake London landing out of bounds on a fourth-down play. The misfire effectively ended the game.

    Ridder finished with passable numbers: 19-of-31, 191 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. However, he was just 9-of-14 for 73 yards and the two picks by intermission. He was lucky to not have a third pick when a deep pass of his was dropped by a Jacksonville defender. Atlanta should consider switching to Taylor Heinicke because its great weapons are going to waste with Ridder.

  • As for the Jacksonville offense, the team scored early when the Falcons’ secondary had a busted coverage, allowing Calvin Ridley to be wide open in the end zone. The Jaguars, however, didn’t do much offensively after that. They wasted the aforementioned scoring opportunity that Cisco created, as something seemed off with them. Ridley only caught one other pass, finishing with two grabs for 38 yards and a touchdown.

    Two Jaguars finished ahead of Ridley in the box score. Christian Kirk led the way with eight catches for 84 yards, while Evan Engram reeled in seven balls for 59 yards. Kirk had a chance at a touchdown, but Trevor Lawrence didn’t see him.

    Speaking of Lawrence, he went 23-of-30 for 207 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled eight times for 42 yards, which includes a 22-yard scramble on a scoring drive.

  • Though the Jaguars won, they couldn’t run the ball nearly as well as the Falcons. Travis Etienne had no running room as he gained just 55 yards on 20 carries. Bijan Robinson, conversely, dashed for 105 yards on 14 carries. He also caught five passes for 32 receiving yards.

  • Only one Falcon had more receiving yards than Robinson. It wasn’t London (3-28), who scored a touchdown, or Kyle Pitts (2-21), who once again did nothing. It was Jonnu Smith, who snatched six passes for 95 yards.



Rams 29, Colts 23
  • The Rams won by six in overtime, but the Colts didn’t appear to have much of a chance for most of the afternoon. The Rams were a buzzsaw for most of the game, owning a 23-0 lead in the third quarter. Matthew Stafford was doing everything he wanted, torching the Colts mercilessly in the opening half. Kyren Williams picked up big gains on the ground, scoring twice in the opening half. The defense, meanwhile, restricted Anthony Richardson to just four completions before the third quarter. The Rams had outgained the Colts, 272-110, by intermission in this completely lopsided affair.

    The Colts, however, gained some life in the third quarter when they scored their first touchdown. They were able to suddenly move the chains on the ground with Zack Moss, while Richardson finally came alive as a passer. The Colts came all the way back, tying the game just prior to the end of regulation.

    Richardson may have been able to complete the comeback, but he never saw the ball in overtime. Instead, the Rams won the coin toss and drove the length of the field. Stafford opened with a completion to Puca Nacua, and he concluded the game by finding Nacua in the end zone for the game-winning score.

  • Stafford finished 27-of-40 for 319 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The pick helped spark the Colts’ comeback in the second half, as Kenny Moore undercut the pass. Stafford, however, was able to bounce back and light up the Indianapolis secondary in overtime. However, it was clear that Stafford wasn’t quite himself because he had injured his hip in the third quarter. Stafford was gritty in overtime, but it was evident that he was in pain for most of the second half.

  • Nacua had a huge day to set the record for most catches for any receiver through four games in NFL history. Nacua reeled in nine of his 10 targets for 163 yards and a touchdown. No one was near him on the stat sheet, with Tyler Higbee (5-64) being second in receiving.

  • As mentioned earlier, Williams picked up big chunks on the ground. He dashed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. He also caught three passes for 24 receiving yards. His lone blunder was a fumble, but a teammate recovered.

  • The Colts, meanwhile, had big gains from Moss in the second half. Moss rumbled for 70 yards on 18 carries. He and Richardson did lots of damage as runners, as Richardson scrambled 10 times for 56 rushing yards and a touchdown. Note that Richardson did most of his running in the first half. He got a bit banged up on his first touchdown, with the announcers noting that he couldn’t move like he normally does.

    As a passer, Richardson was much better in the second half, ultimately finishing 11-of-25 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He also lost a fumble when he tried to hurdle an opponent. The completion percentage was poor – he badly missed Michael Pittman Jr. on a pass that would have moved the chains on third down – but Richardson connected on multiple downfield throws during the comeback.

  • Richardson’s touchdowns went to his tight ends, Alec Ogletree (3-48) and Mo Alie-Cox (1-35). Pittman was limited to just one catch for 15 yards, but he caught the game-tying two-point conversion at the end of regulation.


Bills 48, Dolphins 20
  • The Dolphins and Bills entered this game as the first- and third-ranked offenses in the NFL. Buffalo was second in defense, while the Dolphins were 17th. That proved to be the difference, as Buffalo’s offense scored on nearly possession, while Miami’s scoring unit was stopped on occasion following a hot start.

    A big part of Buffalo stopping the Dolphins was the pressure. Tua Tagovailoa was bothered by the Bills’ pass rush. This was apparent when he threw an interception on an overthrow in the second half as he was desperately trying to keep pace with the Bills’ unstoppable offense. This wasn’t the only turnover, as Raheem Mostert lost a fumble prior to halftime.

    The Bills’ offense, meanwhile, stalled just twice. Amazingly, Josh Allen had only a couple more incompletions compared to his team’s punts (2). Allen misfired on just four occasions, going 21-of-25 for 320 yards and four touchdowns. He also scrambled four times for 17 rushing yards and a fifth score on the ground. There was no stopping Allen, who looks like a far different quarterback who made multiple gaffes on the opening Monday night loss to the Jets.

  • Stefon Diggs had a monster game. He caught six of his seven targets for 120 yards and three touchdowns. One of his scores was a 55-yard reception in which he somehow spun away from two defenders. Diggs also drew a deep pass interference flag. Miami’s miserable secondary had no chance against him. Gabe Davis (3-61) also scored.

  • An interesting development is that James Cook received goal-line carries in the first quarter. These previously went to Latavius Murray and Damien Harris, but Cook was able to convert from the 1-yard line. Cook didn’t do much otherwise, gaining just 29 yards and the touchdown on 12 carries. He caught only one pass, but it went for 48 yards.

  • The leading rusher in this game was easily De’Von Achane. He received just carries, yet he was able to explode for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 19 receiving yards. Raheem Mostert, by comparison, did nothing with only nine yards on seven carries. The Dolphins need to keep giving Achane the ball, as he can go the distance any time he touches the ball.

  • Aside from the interception, Tagovailoa had a great game, especially early on as he was able to keep pace with the Bills initially. He went 25-of-35 for 282 yards, one touchdown and the pick.

  • Tyreek Hill was limited to three catches for 58 yards, yet he was still the leading receiver for Miami. Jaylen Waddle was right behind him with four grabs for 46 yards.


Broncos 31, Bears 28
  • Justin Fields has taken lots of criticism this season, and deservedly so. Fields had been terrible during Chicago’s 0-3 start, but he had battled nothing but top-15 defenses in the first three weeks. Fields finally had a favorable matchup in this contest, getting a Denver defense ranked dead last in EPA. The results were drastically different, as Fields finally lived up to the expectations he had entering the year.

    Fields was perfect in the first half of the game. That is not hyperbole, as he was quite literally perfect. Excluding a Hail Mary attempt just prior to intermission, he completed all 16 of his passes in the opening half for 231 yards and three touchdowns. He barely ran – two scrambles, two rushing yards – but he didn’t need to, as he was able to slice through Denver’s pathetic defense with ease. The lifeless Broncos defense, which just allowed 70 points to the Dolphins a week ago, had no answer for Fields.

    Everything changed in the second half, however. The Bears, comfortably ahead by the score of 28-7, took their foot off the gas as the Broncos began engineering their comeback. Russell Wilson began dissecting Chicago’s beleaguered defensive backfield. Denver also picked up big chunks on the ground. Suddenly, this game was tied at 28. The Bears still had a chance to win, but opted to go for it on a fourth-and-1 in field goal range. They failed to move the chains, opening the door for the Broncos to take the lead with a field goal. They naturally converted the field goal, and Chicago squandered another opportunity when Fields made his first mistake of the day, which was an interception.


  • Though the Bears ultimately lost this game, they had a very positive Sunday because they and the Panthers both lost, preserving their draft positioning. Plus, Fields had a great performance to perhaps bolster his trade value. Fields wasn’t perfect in the second half, but he still was able to finish 28-of-35 for 335 yards, four touchdowns and the interception. He also scrambled four times for 25 rushing yards.

  • It’s not often that Fields’ pass-catchers will have great fantasy outings, but this was obviously an exception with Fields performing so well. D.J. Moore led the team with eight catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Cole Kmet was next with seven grabs for 85 yards, and he scored twice.

  • Khalil Herbert also came to life in this easy matchup. He dashed for 103 yards on 18 carries, and he also caught four passes for 19 receiving yards and a touchdown.

  • Denver’s running game must be mentioned because Javonte Williams (2 carries, 0 yards) suffered a hip injury. This was not a surprise, given that Williams was naturally going to have complications coming off his torn ACL. Jaleel McLaughlin rushed for 72 yards on seven carries as a replacement. He also caught three passes for 32 receiving yards and a touchdown.

  • Wilson had a big second half to finish 21-of-28 for 223 yards and three touchdowns. His top receiver was Jerry Jeudy (3-52), though Courtland Sutton (3-27) was the one with a touchdown.


Ravens 28, Browns 3
  • Good teams often play above expectations when they’re starting a backup quarterback because the players often give 110 percent. Of course, terrific play from the opposition can negate that, and that is exactly what occurred in this game. Cleveland’s stellar defensive line, which had dominated its first three opponents, could do nothing to contain Lamar Jackson, who looked like the MVP version of himself from 2019.

    Jackson, playing behind an offensive line that welcomed back Tyler Linderbaum, had more time in the pocket than he had in previous weeks. When Jackson saw pressure, he was able to navigate the pocket and buy time for his receivers. This was evident just prior to halftime when Jackson danced around some Browns defenders and then launched a 43-yard bomb to Zay Flowers to ultimately set up a touchdown that took the score to 21-3 entering the break.

    Of course, it didn’t help that the Browns made some crucial mistakes. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, making the first start of his career for the injured Deshaun Watson, threw way behind his receiver in the first quarter, causing a deflection and an intercepted pass, which set up the Ravens with a touchdown on a short field. Later, the Browns had a good drive going, but an incredibly dumb play by Elijah Moore forced the Browns to take a loss of 20. An illegal forward pass on the next play just made things worse. The mistakes continued the entire game, as Thompson-Robinson threw an interception on the final play of the game.

  • Jackson misfired on just four occasions, going 15-of-19 for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He scrambled nine times for 27 yards and another two scores. Cleveland’s defense, previously ranked No. 1, had no answer at all for Jackson.

  • Both of Jackson’s passing touchdowns went to Mark Andrews, who thrived against a defense that had previously stopped tight ends. Andrews hauled in all five of his targets for 80 yards and the two scores. Flowers (3-56) was the only other Raven with more than 23 receiving yards.

  • The Ravens didn’t run the ball very well, as Gus Edwards was limited to 48 yards on 15 carries. Justice Hill (3-33) lost a fumble.

  • Cleveland also struggled on the ground. Jerome Ford mustered only 26 yards on nine carries. In fact, he was outgained by Pierre Strong (5-49), though Ford was able to catch fiv passes for 19 receiving yards.

  • Thompson-Robinson didn’t do as much running as expected, as he scrambled just four times for 24 rushing yards. This was a poor job by Cleveland’s coaching staff to adjust for their new quarterback. Thompson-Robinson was dreadful as a passer, going 19-of-36 for only 121 yards and three picks.

  • With Thompson-Robinson struggling, Amari Cooper did nothing. Cooper caught only one pass for 16 yards. David Njoku, who had a burn accident in his home, led the team in receiving with six catches for 46 yards.


Titans 27, Bengals 3
  • The Titans have a major weakness when it comes to stopping the deep pass. The Browns were able to exploit it last week, but it didn’t seem like the Bengals would be able to take advantage because of Joe Burrow’s troublesome calf. Burrow hasn’t been healthy all year, and all he was able to do versus the Rams was toss checkdowns.

    History repeated itself just six days later, as Burrow could do nothing but dink and dunk the ball, resulting in poor offensive production. The Bengals converted just 2-of-9 third downs while being outgained 400-211. Burrow completed 20-of-30 passes, but threw for just 165 yards. He’s clearly not himself, as Cincinnati made a huge mistake by bringing him back from injury so early.


  • While the Bengals couldn’t take advantage of Tennessee’s defensive weakness, the Titans were able to exploit Cincinnati’s primary defensive liability, which is stopping the run. The Rams didn’t rush the ball very much on Monday night for some reason, but the Titans made sure to do so. Derrick Henry rumbled for 122 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while Tyjae Spears gained 40 yards on five attempts.

  • Henry’s great running opened up opportunities for Ryan Tannehill, who went 18-of-25 for 240 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Tannehill should have thrown a second score, but overthrow DeAndre Hopkins deep downfield.

  • Speaking of Hopkins, he led the team in receiving with four catches for 63 yards. Tannehill’s one score went to Nick Westbrook, who hauled in five passes for 51 yards.

  • Ja’Marr Chase happened to be the leading receiver in this game with seven catches for 73 yards, but the biggest news from this position was that Tee Higgins (2-19) suffered a rib injury.

  • Joe Mixon didn’t have a chance to run very much, given the constant deficit. He gained 67 yards on 14 carries.


Buccaneers 26, Saints 9
  • There was question about Derek Carr playing in this game, as Jameis Winston was the projected starter for most of the week. It was shocking that Carr was announced as the starter, but it didn’t seem plausible that he would be 100 percent in this divisional battle. It turned out this was the case, as Carr struggled to move the chains downfield. Sustaining drives was also an issue, with the Saints converting just 5-of-14 third downs.

    The Buccaneers, conversely, had no issues moving the chains on the Saints. Their offense was explosive against a Saints team that ranked highly on the defensive side of the ball. This was despite Mike Evans suffering a hamstring injury during the opening half. Even though Evans was sidelined for a stretch, Baker Mayfield was excellent, as he was able to rebound from the blowout loss against the Eagles to win in New Orleans.

  • There was a stark difference between the two quarterbacks. Carr looked lost when trying to get the ball downfield. He had a fine completion percentage overall (23-of-37), but threw for just 127 yards. Excluding one instance, Carr’s longest completion was 12 yards. He had opportunities, including two tries when he had Chris Olave open deep downfield, but Carr couldn’t connect with him. He was also way wide of Michael Thomas on an intermediate pass. Carr was only accurate when tossing checkdowns. He was eventually pulled in favor of Jameis Winston, but the game was decided by then.

    Mayfield, meanwhile, went 25-of-32 for 246 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The pick was an underthrow, but Mayfield was able to retain possession almost immediately because a New Orleans fullback fumbled on the ensuing drive. This set up Mayfield for a quick touchdown. Mayfield was deadly accurate in this game, with the announcers marveling at his ball placement.

  • The silver lining for the Saints is that Alvin Kamara returned from his suspension and looked good in his first game. Kamara rushed for 51 yards on only 11 carries, and he caught 13 of his 14 targets for 33 receiving yards.

  • Kamara was second on the Saints in receiving with four receptions for 53 yards. Olave, thanks to Carr’s poor health, caught only one pass for four yards.

  • The leading receiver for both teams was Chris Godwin, who caught eight of his 11 targets for 114 yards, shining in the wake of Evans’ injury. Evans caught only three balls for 40 yards. He drew an early interference flag to set up a red zone possession. His replacement was someone named Deven Thompkins, who had four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.


Eagles 34, Redskins 31
  • No one was expecting the Redskins to be competitive after they were blown out by the Bills last week. However, they showed the same fight that they had against the Eagles when they pulled the upset on a Monday night last year. Sam Howell did well to move the chains throughout the afternoon, as the Redskins were able to achieve more first downs and win the time-of-possession battle by five minutes.

    The Redskins led for the majority game, but the Eagles fought back in the third quarter and took a lead. Washington fought back and tied with a Brian Robinson touchdown, but the Eagles struck back with a Jalen Hurts 28-yard pass to A.J. Brown. This gave the Eagles a 31-24 advantage, but Brown made the mistake of standing over the defender and taunting him. This gave the Redskins a short field because of the 15-yard penalty, and they took advantage of the favorable field position. Howell drove right down the field to hit Jahan Dotson for a 10-yard touchdown to send the game to overtime.

    Both teams had possession in overtime, but all the Redskins could muster was a three-and-out. The Eagles took over and converted a fourth-and-1 with their patented Hurts sneak. Hurts was then flagged for intentional grounding, but a 9-yard completion to DeVonta Smith put Philadelphia in position for a 54-yard field goal. Jake Elliott connected to move the Eagles to 4-0.

  • Hurts got off to a bit of a slow start, but exploded in the second half and overtime. He finished 25-of-37 for 319 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled nine times for 34 rushing yards. Of his 319 passing yards, 203 came after intermission.

  • Brown was once again a huge weapon for Hurts. Brown caught nine balls for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He made a mistake with the taunting penalty, but that didn’t end up costing the Eagles.

    Elsewhere in the receiving corps, Smith finished second with seven grabs for 78 yards. No other Eagle receiver logged more than 25 receiving yards.

  • D’Andre Swift had another strong fantasy performance. He had 10 more carries than Kenneth Gainwell (14-4), and he picked up 56 rushing yards and a score. He also caught four balls for 23 receiving yards.

  • As for the Redskins, Howell was a solid 29-of-41 for 290 yards and a touchdown despite not being in a favorable matchup. He also scrambled six times for 40 rushing yards. He nearly led the team in rushing, finishing just behind Robinson (14-45), who scored a tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.

  • Howell threw the most to Terry McLaurin, who snatched eight balls for 86 yards. Curtis Samuel (7-51) was next in the box score, and he also scored a rushing touchdown. Jahan Dotson also found the end zone, but was able to reel in just four of his nine targets for 27 yards.


Texans 30, Steelers 6
  • This was a devastating loss for the Steelers. Not only did they suffer a humiliating defeat to the Texans; they also lost several key players to injury, including Kenny Pickett. The second-year quarterback got hurt on a fourth-and-1, which featured a terrible play-call by offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Pickett paid the price and had to be helped off the field while not being able to put pressure on his leg.

    Pickett wasn’t the only Steeler who got hurt, as Pat Freiermuth (hamstring), Dan Moore (knee), and DeMarvin Lee (concussion) were also knocked out of this game. It was a total blood bath, as the Steelers couldn’t get anything going offensively or stop anything the Texans were doing, even before all the players were injured. As the announcer in this game said, “The Steelers don’t look like they’re in a position to make a play.”

    Aside from the injuries, the greatest take-away from this contest is that C.J. Stroud looks legit. Despite missing four offensive linemen, including all of his viable left tackles, Somehow, the Texans blocked well against Pittsburgh’s devastating pass rush, allowing Stroud to torch their secondary mercilessly. Stroud threw for 300-plus yards again, as he was 16-of-30 for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Stroud has been excellent through four weeks, especially when considering all of Houston’s offensive line issues.

  • Tank Dell has been Stroud’s preferred receiver the past two weeks. That changed in this game, with Nico Collins putting together a monstrous stat line: seven catches, 168 yards and two touchdowns. Dell, conversely, barely did anything with only one catch for 16 yards. Dalton Schultz (3-42) also found the end zone.

  • Dameon Pierce was once again impacted more by the offensive line injuries than Stroud. He mustered 81 yards on 24 carries, but he had a touchdown negated by a penalty in the opening quarter. This was part of a sequence in which the Texans spent what seemed like an eternity at the Pittsburgh goal line, with two potential scores being nullified.

  • It was expected that the Steelers would be able to run well on Houston’s poor rush defense, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Najee Harris rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries, but a big chunk of that came on a 23-yard burst. Harris also led the team in receiving, albeit on one reception for 32 yards. Jaylen Warren (8-29) was a huge disappointment as a rusher, but he was second on the team in receiving with six catches for 26 yards.

  • Pickett wasn’t abe to benefit from the non-existent running game. He went 15-of-23 for only 114 yards and an interception on a deep shot into double coverage before being knocked out with the injury. Mitchell Trubisky (3-of-5, 18 yards) didn’t get much time in relief, but will start if Pickett can’t go versus Baltimore next week.

  • Aside from the two running backs, George Pickens was atop the Steelers’ receiving list. However, he converted just three of his seven targets for 25 yards. He also dropped a pass and lost a fumble, though he wasn’t charged with it because the officials made an error.

  • I loved this quote from one of the announcers: “Henry To’o To’o is going to hit it and split it.”


Vikings 21, Panthers 13
By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: Condolences to anyone who bet the Panthers. It looked like they would cover the entire time, but lost it at the end.

  • If the Vikings had avoided turnovers, they would have blown out the Panthers. Minnesota’s mistakes kept Carolina in the game, but Bryce Young really struggled and played terribly versus a vulnerable Vikings defense. Young’s size limitations were evident, and he showed the problems of a rookie, including a lack of awareness and field vision. Minnesota came away with its first win of the season, while Carolina fell to 0-4.

  • On the opening drive, the Vikings moved to midfield using Alexander Mattison and Justin Jefferson before a long pass interference set up a first-and-goal. After a holding penalty took away a Jefferson penalty, T.J. Hockenson (2-24) made a horrible effort and failure to execute a rub route, which allowed Carolina defensive back Sam Franklin to pick off a pass in the front of the end zone. Franklin then raced 99 yards down the sideline for a pick-six that gave the Panthers a quick 7-0 lead on what should have been a Vikings touchdown.

    After a Minnesota punt, Carolina started moving the ball with Chuba Hubbard and a chunk completion to Adam Thielen. A costly pass interference penalty set up a second first-and-goal series, but this one also was futile, and Carolina settled for a field goal to take a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. The Vikings got moving using Justin Jefferson, including on a fourth-down conversion, and to cap the drive, Cousins tossed a short scoring strike to his star receiver.

    Just before the half, Minnesota drove via completions to Jefferson and Hockenson to get deep into Carolina territory, but Cousins got hit by Yetur Gross-Matos while throwing, which yielded a pop fly that was intercepted by Kamu Grugier-Hill, who made a return close to midfield. On the final play of the second quarter, Eddy Pineiro hit a 56-yard field goal to make the score 13-7 Carolina at the half.

    After trading some punts, Carolina had a drive going into its territory before Harrison Smith strip-sacked Young. D.J. Wonnum then scooped up the loose ball and rumbled down the field 51 yards for a touchdown to put the Vikings up 14-13. On the final play of the third quarter, Cousins tossed a 30-yard touchdown to Jefferson to make things 21-13 going into the fourth quarter.

    Late in the fourth quarter, Young used his legs to convert a third down and then hit D.J. Clark for 18. A few more conversions set up a first-and-goal, but Young showed a lack of awareness again, taking a costly sack from Harrison Smith. On fourth-and-goal, Smith sacked Young again to clinch the win for Minnesota.

  • Cousins completed 12-of-18 passes for 139 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

  • Mattison ran for 95 yards on 17 carries. Cam Akers rushed for 40 yards on five carries and made two catches for 11 yards in his Vikings debut

  • Jefferson caught six passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Young completed 25-of-32 passes for 204 yards.

  • Chuba Hubbard (14-41) and Miles Sanders (13-19) were held in check by Minnesota.

  • Thielen (7-76) led the Panthers in receiving.


Cowboys 38, Patriots 3
By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: I was so close on this one. If like a million things went the other way, the Patriots would have covered.

  • Years of poor draft evaluation on the part of Bill Belichick have come home to roost for the Patriots. New England’s impotent offense, with predictable play calling from Bill O’Brien, was no match for the Dallas defense. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was awful, leading to the Cowboys’ defense outscoring the Patriots’ offense 14-3 in embarrassing performance for New England. The Cowboys had their way with the Patriots on offense, on defense, and on special teams in a blowout.

  • The Cowboys got an early lead with a field goal drive that was set up by a 28-yard completion to Michael Gallup and an 18-yarder to Jalen Tolbert. New England responded by moving down the field, but on a third-and-goal, Mac Jones missed an open Mike Gesicki in the back of the end zone. That left the Patriots having to settle for a tie at 3-3. Dallas quickly responded, getting into scoring position, and after Christian Gonzalez went into the injury tent, Dak Prescott went after the backup defender, lofting in a 20-yard touchdown to CeeDee Lamb.

    In the second quarter, the Dallas defense started enforcing its will, stopping a fourth-and-1, and then after a punt, Dante Fowler strip-sacked Jones before Leighton Vander Esch scooped up the fumble and running a few yards into the end zone for a touchdown. The Cowboys then ran a fake extra point to get a two-pointer and go up 18-3. Midway through the second, Dallas tacked on a field goal to go up 21-3. Jones then made a horrible mistake, throwing the ball late back across the field, where Daron Bland jumped the route for an easy interception. Bland then raced down the field for a 56-yard pick six to put Dallas up 28-3 going into the locker room.

    To open the third quarter, Bland intercepted Jones again on another horrible predictable play call and what was a terrible pass by Jones. That led to a field goal which gave Dallas a 31-3 lead. Following one more fruitless possession, Jones was benched for Bailey Zappe, who did not have any success moving the ball. In garbage time in the fourth quarter, fullback Hunter Luepke scored from a few yards out to make it 38-3.

  • Prescott completed 28-of-34 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown.

  • Tony Pollard ran for 47 yards on 11 carries and had three catches for 13 yards.

  • Lamb had four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.

  • Mac Jones was 12-of-21 for 150 yards and two interceptions, plus lost a fumble. Bailey Zappe completed 4-of-9 passes for 57 yards.

  • Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 30 yards on 14 carries.

  • Hunter Henry had four catches for 51 yards.


Chargers 24, Raiders 17
  • It’s rare to see the Chargers win a one-score game, but this victory naturally came with some drama. It all started when Justin Herbert injured his hand, as it was stepped on by another player in the second half. It was difficult for the Chargers to move the chains after that, as Herbert was incapable of lining up under center. Despite this, Brandon Staley called for a quarterback sneak in what was another puzzling fourth-and-1 decision for the second consecutive week. The attempt predictably failed, giving the Raiders a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation.

    Aidan O’Connell, starting in place of the concussed Derek Carr, drove his team down to the 5-yard line. But like last week, the Chargers were bailed out by incompetence by the opposition near the goal line. O’Connell fired the ball into the end zone, but was confused by the Chargers’ coverage. Asante Samuel Jr. snatched the interception, effectively sealing the victory for the Chargers.

  • There must be concern with Herbert and his injured hand, as he wasn’t the same after he got hurt. Herbert, who finished 13-of-24 for 167 yards, one touchdown and an interception, logged just 65 passing yards after halftime. However, 51 of those 65 yards came on a bomb at the very end of the game when the Chargers needed just one first down to officially end the contest. Herbert’s long pass was caught by Joshua Palmer, who got away with an offensive pass interference penalty when he pushed off the defender to get open.

    It’s hard to know what to make of Herbert’s hand. On one hand, he delivered the 51-yard bomb to Palmer. On the other hand, he had to take shotgun snaps on kneel-downs at the end of the game. What we do know is that Herbert can use his legs, as he was able to scramble 12 times for 27 rushing yards and two touchdowns.


  • With Herbert struggling with his hand, all Charger players not named Palmer disappointed. Keenan Allen caught a touchdown, but had just three catches for 32 yards. They were the only players on the team with more than 18 receiving yards.

  • The Chargers didn’t have the best success running the ball in this game. Joshua Kelley gained 65 yards on 17 carries, while Isaiah Spiller was limited to 12 yards on five attempts.

  • Josh Jacobs didn’t do all that well as a runner either, gaining 58 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. However, he was at his best as a receiver out of the backfield, catching eight passes for 81 receiving yards.

  • It was no surprise that O’Connell relied on Jacobs, as he had issues with his pass protection. He was sacked seven times, with six of the sacks coming from Khalil Mack. Granted, O’Connell was guilty of holding the ball too long in the pocket, resulting in several fumbles, but the offensive line didn’t play well either.

    Still, O’Connell didn’t perform all that poorly in his first start. He went 24-of-39 for 238 yards and the aforementioned interceptions. He didn’t have Davante Adams for a chunk of the game after the star receiver suffered an injury. O’Connell also lost a 50-yard completion when Jakobi Meyers was flagged for offensive pass interference. It was a ticky-tack call, and it resembled the Palmer shove at the end of the game. For some reason, the officials called pass interference on the Raiders, but not the Chargers.

  • It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Adams and Meyers led the Raiders in receiving if Jacobs’ stats are disregarded. Adams, who appeared to be used as a decoy in his first few snaps back from injury, finished with eight catches for 75 yards. Meyers (2-33) was hurt by the bogus call.


49ers 35, Cardinals 16
  • Brock Purdy has yet to lose a game in the NFL, and that certainly wasn’t happening for the first time against the Cardinals. In fact, Purdy misfired only once in this game. He was perfect, while Christian McCaffrey ripped right through Arizona’s beleaguered defense as the 49ers came away with a win in a game that was never close.

    Purdy began this game 13-of-13 for 190 yards. His first incompletion – and his only one – was the result of pressure from Dennis Gardeck, who had a sack of Purdy on the previous play. This was only a minor hiccup, with Purdy finishing 20-of-21 for 283 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on the ground via a sneak.

  • As for McCaffrey, he accounted for four of the 49ers’ five touchdowns in this game. He rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, and he also caught seven passes for 71 receiving yards and a fourth score. McCaffrey was able to breeze by the Cardinals, who were completely incapable of stopping him.

  • Excluding McCaffrey, only one 49er logged more than 22 receiving yards. That was Brandon Aiyuk, who reeled in all six of his targets for 148 yards. With Aiyuk and McCaffrey doing all the damage, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle didn’t have to do much. Kittle caught just one pass for nine yards, while Samuel didn’t register a single reception.

  • The Cardinals fell behind 21-3, but they deserve credit for hanging around. They were down just 12 in the fourth quarter until a San Francisco touchdown in the final couple of minutes. In fact, Arizona had a chance for a back-door cover, but Zach Ertz dropped a touchdown on the penultimate play of the game.

    Joshua Dobbs should have thrown a third score had Ertz just hung on to the ball. Instead, he finished 28-of-41 for 265 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled 12 times for 48 rushing yards. He played well, but was lucky to have a potential interception dropped.

  • Both of Dobbs’ touchdowns were thrown to Michael Wilson, who caught all seven of his targets for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He was second on the receiving list behind Marquise Brown, who snatched seven balls for 96 yards. Ertz let bettors down, but he had six receptions for 53 yards.


Chiefs 23, Jets 20
  • The Chiefs had to squeak by the Jets, but this game looked like it would be a lopsided affair after the first quarter. The Chiefs got out to a 17-0 lead and looked like they would thoroughly embarrass the Jets. Everything changed, however, when the Jets were incorrectly given a safety on a Jawaan Taylor face mask. This seemed to give the Jets some life on both sides of the ball. Suddenly, Zach Wilson transformed from an incompetent quarterback to a lethally accurate one. The defense, meanwhile, frustrated Patrick Mahomes to no end.

    This game was eventually tied at 20. The Chiefs kicked a field goal and then retained possession when Wilson fumbled the snap. The Jets appeared to get off the field on an errant Mahomes pass, but a defensive hold was called to extend the drive, drawing the ire of Robert Saleh. The Jets never ended up seeing the ball again, as the Jets allowed some first downs on Mahomes scrambles, including a 25-yard scamper on a third-and-22.

  • Despite the big runs at the end, Mahomes had a disappointing showing. He was intercepted twice on a pair of underthrown passes, and he was lucky not to be picked a third time on a weird throw he made off his back foot. Mahomes had some bright moments as well, but nearly cost his team the victory. He certainly cost his bettors the cover when he slid at the Jets 1-yard line on the final real play of the game, allowing the clock to run out. Mahomes finished 18-of-30 for 203 yards, one touchdown and the two picks. He was at his best as a runner, scrambling seven times for 51 rushing yards.

  • For a while, it seemed like Mahomes and Wilson switched bodies in some sort of Freaky Friday scenario. Wilson began slowly, but after the aforementioned sack, he caught fire and made a number of terrific throws, showing terrific ball placement. He ended up 28-of-39 for 245 yards and two touchdowns, which was not an easy feat against a defense ranked No. 4 heading into the week.

  • Wilson connected successfully with three players for the most part. Allen Lazard (3-61) scored a touchdown, while Garrett Wilson (6-90) saw a game-high 14 targets. Tyler Conklin hauled in four balls for 58 yards.

  • The Jets had some nice runs from Breece Hall even though Hall rushed only six times. He dashed for 56 yards in the process. However, he was far from the leading rusher in this game. That was Isiah Pacheco, who rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also caught three passes for 43 yards.

  • Of course, the Kansas City skill player everyone had their eyes on was Travis Kelce, who looked to impress his new girlfriend. Kelce caught six passes for 60 yards, leading the team in receiving. Rashee Rice chipped in with three receptions for 32 yards, but he dropped a pass.


Seahawks 24, Giants 3
  • The Seahawks won by three touchdowns, but this was a game that was really decided by only three plays:

    1. Daniel Jones lost a fumble on a strip-sack to set up the Seahawks on a very short field. Seattle converted with a D.K. Metcalf touchdown.

    2. When Geno Smith briefly left the game with an injury, Drew Lock connected with Noah Fant on a busted play. The Giants missed several tackles, allowing Fant to record a 51-yard reception, setting up Seattle with a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Kenneth Walker scored on the next snap.

    3. The Giants put together a rare, positive drive, as Jones put the team in a first-and-goal inside the Seattle 5-yard line. However, Jones threw a poor pass that was intercepted and taken back for six by rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who recorded two sacks as well.

    Three plays transformed into three touchdowns for the Seahawks. Otherwise, this would have been just a 3-3 affair.

    Of course, the case can be made that the Seahawks still would have prevailed because the Giants couldn’t block for Jones whatsoever. Already missing Andrew Thomas, the Giants lost center John Michael Schmitz to an early injury. Jones was sacked a ridiculous 11 times. He often had no chance, though there were instances where he just showed zero pocket awareness. Jones finished with a great completion percentage (27-of-34) and compiled 203 yards, but all the sacks and the three turnovers were too costly.

  • The Seahawks didn’t have to do much with the Giants imploding. Smith threw just 20 passes, completing 13 of them for 110 yards and a touchdown. It appeared he was done for the night when he went into the medical tent and then the locker room after taking a hit near the sideline in the second quarter, but he was able to return following intermission. It’s worth noting that Smith operated behind an offensive line that lost two players in addition to the two tackles who were already sidelined.

  • Seattle’s leading receiver was Noah Fant (2-63), who did most of his damage from a Lock pass. After that was Tyler Lockett (4-54) and then Metcalf (3-34), who caught the only receiving touchdown of the night. Metcalf had a long catch negated because he stepped out of bounds.

  • Walker, as mentioned, also scored for the Seahawks, though Fant did all the work to set him up at the 1-yard line. Walker rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. He also nearly had a second score where the Giants assumed he was down, but replay review showed that this was barely the case.

  • Jones was the leading rusher for the Giants, scrambling 10 times for 66 rushing yards. New York didn’t get much out of its running game otherwise, with Matt Breida being limited to 30 yards on 14 carries. Breida also caught five passes for 48 receiving yards.

  • Excluding Breida, the Giants’ leading receiver was Wan”Dale Robinson, who snatched five balls for 40 yards. No other New York player registered more than 24 receiving yards.


  • For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.



    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 21


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12








    2023: 2023 NFL Week 1 Recap - Sept. 11
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    2017: Live 2017 NFL Draft Blog - April 30
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    2010: Live 2010 NFL Draft Blog - April 22
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    2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
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    2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
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    Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog