Week 4 of the NFL season got started off with a high-scoring affair on Thursday night between the Vikings and Rams. The trend of big offensive games continued on Sunday, with multiple teams scoring in the 30s and several quarterbacks torching defenses. We saw some head-scratching coaching moves, some defenses get burned, teams that failed to show up, and players who put up stinkers.
Let’s take a look at the 15 biggest disappointments from Week 4.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers
Fitzmagic is over. Fitzpatrick was benched at halftime of Tampa Bay’s blowout loss to Chicago, though things weren’t solely his fault. Despite his 400-yard game against Pittsburgh, the cracks began to show last week and were put on full display against Chicago, as he went 9-of-18 for 126 yards and an interception. He’s unlikely to get his starting job back after facing a quality defense for the first time and proving to be little match for them.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant is only allowed to play because of a suspension appeal, according to a new report.
Bryant is facing a yearlong suspension over another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but is still being allowed to play by the NFL, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That’s because he’s appealing that suspension, and they’re content with allowing him to play until a decision is reached on his appeal.
The fact that they may get a few weeks out of Bryant was a big reason the Raiders were comfortable bringing Bryant back, even if it turns out to be on a temporary basis.
It’s unclear how long it will take before Bryant’s appeal is heard. Indications are it should happen within a few weeks, and Bryant’s camp is even optimistic about the appeals process.
It came as a pretty big surprise that the Raiders were bringing Bryant back. They clearly think he can help, even if it turns out to be on a very limited basis.
The Oakland Raiders may have cut Martavis Bryant earlier this month, but they’re bringing him back, according to a report.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Tuesday that Bryant and the Raiders are closing in on a 1-year-deal. He says Bryant would be expected to play in the team’s Week 2 game against Denver.
The #Raiders and Martavis Bryant are closing in on a 1-year deal — and barring any hiccup, he's expected to play this week, per team source. Not officially signed yet, but they called him this morning and it's expected to get done today. Quite the twist.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 11, 2018
Bryant was released amid a report saying he was facing a suspension from the NFL, pending an appeal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the receiver is facing a year-long suspension, which would be the second of his career (he was suspended for all of 2016).
The Raiders passed for over 300 yards in a loss to the Rams on Monday night, but the bulk of the yardage (108) went to tight end Jared Cook. What’s interesting is that Pelissero says the Raiders reached out to Bryant, seemingly indicating they are desperate for wide receiver help.
There is an interesting twist in the Martavis Bryant situation.
Bryant was at the Oakland Raiders’ facility on Tuesday, according to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport. They say he was talking with the team about a potential return.
Sources to me and @RapSheet: WR Martavis Bryant is back at #Raiders’ facility today, talking with the team about a possible return to Oakland. Still nothing official on a suspension for Bryant, so he’s eligible.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 11, 2018
Bryant is currently a free agent after being cut by the Raiders on Sept. 1. The wide receiver was cut amid a report saying he is facing another suspension from the league, pending his appeal. On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Bryant was facing a second year-long suspension, which would likely end his NFL career.
The Raiders traded a third-round pick to the Steelers for Bryant despite his history of problems. He missed the entire 2016 season due to suspension, and he complained last season about his role on the Steelers. Bryant would be eligible to play until a suspension is officially announced by the league.
The Raiders’ acquisition of Bryant stands out among their poor offseason moves.
The once-promising career of Martavis Bryant could be in serious jeopardy, as the former Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders wide receiver is reportedly in danger of being suspended for the entire 2018 season.
A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Bryant has once again violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and he could be facing a ban of at least a year when the league is finished reviewing the case. A suspension would be Bryant’s third in the last four years, which would make it unlikely that any team would be willing to sign him if and when he was reinstated.
Bryant was suspended for the entire 2016 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but he returned last season to catch 50 passes for 603 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders decided to trade a third-round pick to Pittsburgh for him this offseason, and the decision obviously did not work out. They ended up releasing him.
In addition to the drug-related suspensions, Bryant was also suspended by the Steelers last season for some posts on social media in which he complained about his role and ripped one of his teammates. The 26-year-old just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
Martavis Bryant’s NFL career looks to be hanging by a thread amid reports that he’s facing another suspension.
The Oakland Raiders reportedly released the wide receiver on Saturday, with further reports indicating that Bryant is facing yet another suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Source: As of the 4pm ET deadline, the Raiders were planning to release WR Martavis Bryant, who has a pending appeal of a drug suspension by the NFL. Raiders moves not yet officially announced.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) September 1, 2018
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2018
This would be Bryant’s third suspension under the league’s substance abuse policy. The Pittsburgh Steelers also suspended him in 2017.
Bryant’s tenure with Oakland was nothing short of a disaster. They gave up a third-round draft pick to get him, which is not nothing, and proceeded to watch him struggle in camp. They even had a fear that this would play out exactly as it has. One has to wonder what they were thinking by giving up a real asset for him.
As regular viewers of Monday Night Football are aware, Jon Gruden has a way with words.
The Oakland Raiders coach had another fascinating comparison on Wednesday, comparing wide receiver Martavis Bryant to a white tiger. Don’t worry, there’s something behind it.
Gruden calls Martavis Bryant “the White Tiger. I used to go to Busch Gardens to see the white tiger and he was always in his cage. Like 13 times. But when he finally came out, it was special.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 15, 2018
We’re guessing that this is a hint that Gruden knows Bryant is capable of doing great things, but he needs to be more consistent and productive. After all, this is a guy who has reportedly struggled mightily through training camp and needs to show more. Gruden will keep getting on him publicly if that’s what it takes.