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One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 4: Nick Bosa DPOY; Cowboys contenders as CeeDee Lamb gets hot

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Four weeks into the NFL season, and the league is beginning to see some rivals breaking out of the pack. The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are top contenders in the AFC, while the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers look like the best teams in the NFC.

Outside of these five teams, the league looks wide open. Three teams in the NFC East are 3-1 or better, while every team in the NFC West is 2-2. The three teams are tied for first place in the AFC North 2-2, with the Jacksonville Jaguars still tied for first place in the AFC South 2-2.

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The fourth week wasn’t as crazy as the first three weeks, but the league learned a lot as the first quarter of the season came to an end. This is what we learned about each team at the conclusion of Week 4.

Arizona Cardinals

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Protection has shown itself over the past 11 quarters: Despite all the talk of an inconsistent offense and a slow start to games, the Cardinals’ defense has only scored 39 points in the last two and a half games (10 quarters plus overtime). Seven of those quarters are against the Raiders and Rams, so there’s a significant sample size indicating that the defense is getting better.

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Arizona has five eliminations this stretch, including a touchdown with a fumble return for the win. Over the past two weeks, the Cardinals have only gained 18 points per game and 279.5 yards per game, including 70 yards per game. Defense is an important reason why Arizona enters the NFC West race after a poor start.

Atlanta Falcons

Falcons can run against any defense: In Week 3, Cordarrell Patterson hit the Seahawks defense for 141 yards and a touchdown to speed up Atlanta’s attack. In Week 4—although the Browns were three starters short on the defensive line, to be fair—the Falcons got 140 yards and a touchdown from Tyler Allgayer and Caleb Huntley combined (Huntley was called up from practice on Saturday). .

Patterson was held back (now heading to IR for knee surgery), but the Falcons still rushed for 202 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Give credit to the offensive line for Atlanta’s ability to control the ball, and this unit far exceeded expectations in four games.

Baltimore Ravens

John Harbaugh still has the “go big or go home” mentality: Harbaugh’s decision to score the fourth goal in the 20:20 game with 4:15 left does not bother him. The Ravens went for a touchdown against a powerful offense in Buffalo, even as Justin Tucker’s accurate field goal gave Baltimore the lead.

Lamar Jackson opened up Devin DuVernay in the far corner of the end zone, but didn’t see him right away. The decision was right, but the execution was not, and it cost the Ravens. The bills chewed through the remaining hours, drove across the field and kicked a field goal to secure the victory.

Harbaugh has been aggressive over the past two years, and most of the time decisions have been made against the Ravens. He had to be aggressive after the defense missed another big lead. It’s hard to blame Harbaugh for his thinking.

Buffalo Bills

The closed game narrative is gone thanks to Josh Allen: What Allen did in Sunday’s final run showed why he’s one of the NFL’s top three quarterbacks. On the Buffalo 28s at 3 and 2 with 2:59 left, Allen passed to Dawson Knox for 20 yards, a throw that only he (and a few others) can throw. This was followed by a seven-yard run, a nine-yard and 16-yard completion, and a rough penalty from a passer that brought the Bills to the Ravens’ 11-yard line.

Allen bequeathed to the Bills to win in Baltimore after falling 17 behind at one point, finally ending the narrative that “it’s impossible to win games by one score”. The Bills got rid of it and thanks to Allen will win closer matches.

Carolina Panthers

Baker Mayfield does not save from an inept attack: Whether it’s a call-to-play or a penalty, the Panthers’ offense is simply not at the NFL level. Mayfield had his worst game of the season in a 22-of-36 loss to the Cardinals for 197 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions (61.9 rating) on ​​Sunday.

In four games, Mayfield completed 54.7% of his passes for 747 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 75. The Panthers are only averaging 19.5 points and 262.3 yards per game, the latest in the NFL.

PJ Walker is a backup and Sam Darnold is still injured. Whether or not Mayfield is defeated, he remains a quarterback as long as he is healthy. That’s what the Panthers are – an inept attack.

Chicago bears

The Bears actually scored points by opening two passing possessions: Passing seems to have been lost in Chicago since Sid Luckman retired, but the Bears may have found ways to move the ball downfield with Justin Fields. On his second possession, Chicago Field threw a deep bomb to Darnell Mooney for 56 yards (29 more yards from Mooney at the start of the game), which ultimately resulted in a field goal in the red.

Fields opened the first shot of the second half with a 23-yard pass to Trevon Vesco, which led to another field goal in the red zone. The Bears started two possessions with a pass, with Fields hitting 2-of-2 for 79 yards. They didn’t score a touchdown in the red, but Chicago moved the ball deep into the field and scored on the board.

Perhaps there is still hope for an attack by the Bears.

Cincinnati Bengals

Explosive play masks bad play: The Bengals came back with explosive play as they had five shots from over 20 yards when they beat the Dolphins on Thursday. Last year, Cincinnati became one of the most exciting teams in the league thanks to Joe Burrow’s deep passes, and in Week 4 we saw a 59-yard touchdown on Tee Higgins, a 43-yard pass to Tyler Boyd, and a 36-yard pass. courtyard passage to Jha’Marr Chase.

This is a great sign for a team that started 0-2 and now leads 2-2, but the running game should improve significantly. The Bengals are only 26th in the league in rushing (89.8 yards per game) and have just one rushing touchdown in four games. Joe Mixon is only averaging 2.7 yards per carry, and the team is not much better at 3.1 (31st in the NFL).

The Bengals are recovering offense, but the running game should get better soon.

Cleveland Browns

Defense line injuries cause harm: Miles Garrett’s absence on Sunday has already been a hard pill for Cleveland. Throw in Jadevon Clooney and Taven Bryan, and the Browns will have trouble stopping a Falcons team that can beat football.

The Browns conceded 172 yards in the second half after being slowed down by Cordarrell Patterson in the first half. The combination of Tyler Allgayer and Caleb Huntley weakened the defense despite the Browns holding Marcus Mariota to 7 of 19 passes.

Cleveland needs to get their defensive players back, especially in the open AFC North, which the Ravens don’t seem to want.

Dallas Cowboys

CeeDee Lamb enters the rhythm: Lamb put in a breakout game against the Giants with his one-handed touchdown grab in the fourth quarter to boost his confidence (eight catches, 87 yards, one touchdown) as he gets used to the WR1 role. He followed up that performance on Sunday with six catches for 97 yards and a 30-yard touchdown that gave Dallas a two-point lead over the Commanders in the fourth quarter.

Lamb significantly helps Cooper Rush win games rather than throw interceptions as he has 14 rushes for 184 yards and two points in his last two contests. Rush had a 154.2 passer rating targeting Lamb in Week 4, a week after targeting him with a 115.6 rating.

Lamb plays that WR1 role just like the Cowboys intended. He will need to continue this production once Dak Prescott returns.

Denver Broncos

Havonte Williams injury aggravates attack: Williams is out for the season with an ACL tear, a major blow to the Denver offense that won’t be the most explosive in the last 13 games. On Sunday, the Broncos had just 299 yards on offense and missed Williams hard when he lost in the first play of the second half.

Without Williams, Denver had six possessions, 24 plays, 113 yards, four punts, a touchdown and a loss of downs. In the second half, the Broncos only had 41 yards on nine carries and didn’t try to recover a fall with Melvin Gordon or Mike Boone. The latter made a decisive pass in fourth and fifth, which would have moved the chains belatedly.

The Broncos needed Williams’ health to launch an attack. Now, he has done for a year. Not good.

Detroit Lions

Ben Johnson is a damn good offensive coordinator: Duce Staley also deserves credit for the Lions offense, as the team averaged 35 points and 436.8 yards per game over four weeks—both No. 1s in the NFL. Sunday was the most impressive performance as Detroit scored 45 without D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown or DJ Chark.

Jamaal Williams leads the league with six touchdowns. Josh Reynolds and TJ Hockenson were dangerous pass catchers on Sunday, while Jared Goff threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns. The Lions shouldn’t be that dangerous on offense with Goff, but they are.

The defense let Detroit down, but this offense will bring them victory sooner or later. Just wait until Jameson Williams joins the fight.

Green Bay Packers

Crime is still surprisingly inconsistent: The Packers scored just one touchdown and lost twice in the first half (one of them was by Aaron Rodgers…


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