After some questions about how much of a schedule the NFL would play in Week 4, a mostly full slate of games went ahead on Sunday. The schedule was slightly reduced, but there was no shortage of excitement and drama. There was also plenty of disappointment, too, as some teams and players with high expectations fell flat.
Here are five big disappointments from NFL Week 4.
What is happening in Dallas? Nothing good, as they got absolutely torched by Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, and the Cleveland Browns. Turnovers played a huge role — the Cowboys fumbled on back-to-back drives in the second quarter, setting up short touchdown drives for Cleveland both times. The big concern is a “soft” defense that gave up 508 yards and 49 points to the Browns, even as the offense produced at a high level. The Cowboys are now 1-3, and their season needs to turn around quickly.
The Lions have had a double-digit lead in all three of their losses this year. Even when they’re up, it’s started to feel inevitable that things will turn on them. That happened again on Sunday against the Saints. The Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Then the Saints scored 35 unanswered points. Matt Patricia appears incapable of turning things around, and the team can’t play 60 full minutes. A coaching change feels inevitable.
Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
The Cardinals were generally disappointing on Sunday, losing to a Panthers team without Christian McCaffrey. Drake is definitely a concern at this point, though. He was expected to be the lead back in an explosive offense. Instead, he has one touchdown and was held to 35 yards on 13 carries Sunday. Part of that was the game script going against him, but it continues a string of underwhelming performances from the running back.
Nick Foles, QB, Bears
Perhaps Foles leading the Bears to a comeback win last week raised expectations too high. He was poor on Sunday against the Colts, throwing for a modest 249 yards with an interception. His lone touchdown came in garbage time, and was too late to make any difference in the outcome. Foles hasn’t actually won a start since 2018. He remains a superior option for the Bears than Mitchell Trubisky, but he’s still not a leading NFL starting quarterback.
The dire predictions some made when DeAndre Hopkins was traded away in exchange for David Johnson are coming true. The Texans’ offense is a mess. Deshaun Watson doesn’t know what to do, his offensive line is not protecting him, and Johnson has not looked like his old self any more than he did in Arizona. The Vikings have been brutal defensively this season, but the Texans still only came up with a modest 386 yards. That’s not good enough, and it suggests that it wasn’t just tough opposition that was causing the Texans to go winless.
The Detroit Lions are known for setting unwanted records, and they did it again on Sunday.
The Lions jumped out to a 14-3 first quarter lead over the Green Bay Packers. The lead did not last, as the Packers stormed back to win 42-21 at Lambeau Field.
Remarkably, this is the fourth consecutive game the Lions held a double-digit lead in and went on to lose, setting a new NFL record.
The Lions coughed up a 23-6 lead against the Chicago Bears last week and lost 27-23. They had a 17-3 lead against the Packers in Week 17 last season and lost. They squandered a 10-0 lead over the Denver Broncos the week prior to that.
The Lions have found some absolutely crushing ways to lose these games. It’s an indictment of both the players and the coaching staff that this has become a legitimate trend.
Coach Matt Patricia was given a list of high expectations for 2020. So far, he’s not meeting them, and the Lions’ inability to see out games could cost him his job in the end.
D’Andre Swift scored a touchdown in his NFL debut with the Detroit Lions on Sunday, but it will be the touchdown he didn’t score that haunts him for quite some time.
The Lions were trailing 27-23 late in the fourth quarter when Matthew Stafford drove them into the red zone. With 11 seconds left in the game, Swift got free down the sideline and should have had an easy game-winning touchdown. He dropped a perfect pass from Stafford.
Swift did have to turn his body, but it’s a play that very clearly should have been made. Here’s another angle:
The drop came on second down, but the Lions failed to convert on their next play and wound up losing. Had Swift secured the pass, he would have been the hero in his first ever NFL game.
Swift, a second-round pick out of Georgia, had just eight yards on three carries, though he did score a touchdown. He was outplayed by Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries.
That has to be the worst drop we’ve seen since Nelson Agholor’s infamous flub last season.
Adrian Peterson was a surprise release by the Washington Football Team this week, but it didn’t take him very long to find a new home.
Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Sunday that he is signing with the Detroit Lions. He said his familiarity with Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who served in the same role with the Minnesota Vikings several years ago, was a big factor in the decision.
“They’re giving me an opportunity to play,” Peterson told Anderson. “I know coach (Darell) Bevell from my days in Minnesota. Ultimately I feel comfortable going there and helping them to get better.”
Peterson had a productive season last year with Washington. The 35-year-old rushed for 898 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry, which was his highest mark since 2015. He has made it clear that he is nowhere close to considering retirement.
Lions running backs D’Andre Swift and Bo Scarbrough have been banged up this offseason, and Kerryon Johnson is coming off knee surgery. Peterson should provide some valuable depth for Detroit.
The Detroit Lions are undergoing a change with their ownership group heading into the 2020 season, as Martha Firestone Ford is stepping down from her role as principal owner of the team.
The Lions announced on Tuesday that Ford will step aside and her daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp, will assume the role of principal owner and chairman.
Martha Ford, 94, has acted as the chairman of the Lions since 2014, when her husband William died. William Clay Ford had been the sole owner of the Lions since 1963.
The Lions have never won a championship under the Ford family’s ownership. They have won four titles as a franchise, with their last coming in 1957 before the AFL-NFL merger.
The Detroit Lions have been fielding phone calls for the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, and they may have a taker.
The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero reports that the Lions are planning to pick in the Dolphins’ spot at No. 5, which suggests the teams would be swapping first-round picks.
There has been noise about the Dolphins wanting to move up to No. 3, but it was supposedly for an offensive lineman. That makes little sense.
If Miami wants to move up that high, it’s probably to take a quarterback. We have long believed they want Tua Tagovailoa, and a trade would fit in with that desire. Detroit still might be able to draft Jeff Okudah at No. 5, so a move down by two spots would make sense for them.
The Detroit Lions are receiving trade calls regarding the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn told reporters via a Zoom call on Friday that they have had talks about trading the pick since the combine.
“We call every team in the league, see what they’re thinking,” Quinn said, via MLive.com. “Obviously I’ll handle the calls that are a little closer to our pick, especially this year, since we’re drafting at three. I’ve had a few of those conversations over the last week or so — had a few of those conversations, honestly, as far back as the combine — and then there will be more substantive talks next week if people are interested.”
The Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers are viewed as teams that might have interest in trading up, and it has to do with a battle over quarterbacks. The Dolphins are widely expected to take a quarterback, while the Chargers might go that road too. Joe Burrow is expected to be drafted No. 1 overall, and it’s my view that Miami wants Tua Tagovailoa, who could be available at No. 5. Would the Chargers or someone else trade up to try and get him? Does someone want Justin Herbert badly enough to move up to that spot? One report says the Chargers are not expected to make a trade.
Meanwhile, MLive.com suggests the Lions are unlikely to make a deal. They are expected to take former Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the pick.
Darius Slay is thrilled to be with the Philadelphia Eagles now, and it sounds like some with the Detroit Lions think it’s better for the team chemistry that he’s gone.
Slay was drafted by the Lions in the second round in 2013 and had been with them his entire career until now. However, he had issues with Matt Patricia since the head coach took over the team.
Slay told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday that he lost respect for Patricia when the new head coach made an example out of Slay during training camp in 2018 over the cornerback posting on social media. That negative first impression stuck with Slay, who still described his relationship with Patricia as “solid” last season.
Still, some others didn’t see it that way.
One Lions source told the Free Press’ Dave Birkett that Slay was a “major cancer” last season and would “sit in meetings and not pay attention” then “go into the locker room and tell other players how the coaches are full of s–t.”
Slay read the article and laughed at it via social media.
He also didn’t like that somebody aired him out anonymously.
Slay believes that the Lions cleared out the players who didn’t fit with Patricia and are bringing in new ones. The trade of Quandre Diggs last season upset many of the team’s players.
Slay is in a happier place now and is getting a nice fat contract from the Eagles. Patricia is building the Lions in the way that he wants. If the former Patriots defensive coordinator doesn’t turn them around, he’ll be viewed as another example of a coach trying to take over like he’s Bill Belichick before winning anything and building relationships with his players. It sounds like that may have been the issue between him and Slay.
You should read the entire Free Press article on Slay for more.
The Philadelphia Eagles are revamping their secondary after they released veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins this week, and they have now acquired one of the best cornerbacks in football.
The Eagles are sending a third-round draft pick and a fifth-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. Slay will receive an extension as part of the deal that will make him one of the highest-paid corners in football. The contract is worth $50 million over three seasons and includes $30 million guaranteed, according to Slay’s agent Drew Rosenhaus.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson first reported on Wednesday evening that the Eagles and Lions were working on a trade involving Slay.
Slay has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons, and he was set to earn just $10 million next season. That is well below market value for the top cornerbacks in the league, so you can understand why he wanted a new contract. The 29-year-old had 46 tackles and two interceptions last season. He has 19 career interceptions.
Having a strong secondary will be important for the Eagles, especially after the Dallas Cowboys just signed Amari Cooper to a huge extension. Slay will give Philly a major boost in that department.
The Detroit Lions are making an addition to their secondary, which will ease the potential departure of Darius Slay.
Detroit is signing cornerback Desmond Trufant to a 2-year deal worth $21 million, with $14 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz.
Trufant had 18 tackles and four interceptions in nine games for the Falcons last season before suffering a broken forearm.
Adding Trufant will allow Detroit to continue shopping Darius Slay. Slay has been looking for a new contract and wants to be highly paid. A report last month said the Lions were open to trading him.
This may be what Detroit needed in order to have the confidence to get what they want for Slay in a trade.