15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 4
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.
Cleveland became the first team to lose to the Raiders in 2018, but they really shouldn’t have. Cleveland appeared to have a first down with 1:41 left in the game and a 42-34 lead. That first down would have enabled them to kneel out the clock on the Raiders, but after an automatic review, the referees inexplicably changed the spot and left them short of the first. The decision left even Dean Blandino stunned in the FOX studios. Oakland got the ball back, scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion, and then kicked the winning field goal in overtime. It never should have gotten that far, and Browns fans have every reason to be aggrieved with how this game ended.
The Dolphins seemed like a good bet to be competitive on Sunday in New England. The Patriots have been struggling and the Dolphins came in unbeaten. Instead, they were thoroughly outclassed in every department, losing 38-7 and generating just 172 yards of offense, meaning Tom Brady threw for 102 more yards than Miami picked up as a team. In the end, it looked like the Patriots were the unbeaten team and the Dolphins were the franchises in crisis. The blowout will help redefine the narrative for each team going forward.
Frank Reich, head coach, Colts
Reich will certainly have some supporters, but his decision to go for it late in overtime on 4th and 4 from his own 43 was risky at best and ill-conceived at worst. Reich and his players stood by the call, but they likely would have tied if they punted. Instead, they failed to convert the first down and essentially handed the game to Houston. You have to respect the guts of Reich and his refusal to play for a tie, but a tie is still better than a loss. In the end, it comes down to philosophy, but when you’re on your side of the 50, that’s a call that needs to be carefully considered.
Phil Dawson, K, Cardinals
Dawson could have set the Cardinals up for a win in Josh Rosen’s first career start. Instead, with 1:55 left, the veteran went wide right on a 45-yard go-ahead field goal try. Seattle immediately got the ball back and drove downfield for a game-winning field goal of their own, leaving the Cardinals with a tough loss and Dawson with a defeat on his shoulders. It wasn’t even his only miss of the game; he couldn’t convert from 50 just before halftime.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Raiders
Bryant caught three passes for 51 yards on Sunday, but the real headline was a wide-open dropped touchdown in the second quarter that should have been an easy six points. It was somewhat emblematic of Bryant’s career: clearly talented, given an opportunity, but ultimately unable to capitalize. He’s not a huge part of the Oakland offense right now. Derek Carr completed 35 passes in this one, but only three of them to Bryant.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense
The Steelers have not had a losing season since 2003. This year’s team might challenge that. Pittsburgh has not looked good all year, but after putting up 30 on Tampa Bay and 37 on Kansas City, their offensive dud against Baltimore was hard to explain. The team only had 19 rushing yards in the game. They put up 14 points in the second quarter and got shutout in the second half. They went just 2-for-12 on third downs and failed to sustain drives. They turned the ball over twice. The Ravens simply dominated them.
Todd Bowles, coach, Jets
There were some strange coaching decision in this game on both sides, but Todd Bowles had a weird day on Sunday. Two key moves in the fourth quarter demonstrated some rather unusual priorities. First, he kicked a field goal on 4th and 8 from the Jacksonville 20 down 25-3 early in the fourth. Then, with the Jets down 13 with 4:33 left, Bowles punted. Yes, they were deep within their own territory, but they weren’t winning whether they punted or turned it over on downs, and sure enough, the Jets didn’t get the ball back until there were 25 seconds left. His defense didn’t play well either. None of it is a good look for a coach who may be on the hot seat.