NFL Week Four Sunday Roundup
A record-setting week around the league as a coach, a quarterback, and two crosstown rivals set NFL historical firsts, bests and numbers to chase for everyone else
Week four proves to be a standout week in the NFL
Tom Brady squared off with his old coach Bill Belichick in Foxborough, their first meeting since the future hall-of-famer made the move to Tampa. A stadium full of Peter Griffins won’t let any opposing quarterback touch a football without receiving a round chorus of boos, and while they may have greeted the prodigal son warmly pre-game, Tom Brady was not spared the rod. Not that Brady expected any different, he knows that they will cheer for their team, and besides he had bigger fish to fry in the form of the all-time passing yardage record. He entered Gillette Stadium just 68 yards shy of the record set by Drew Brees.
Tom Brady’s return to New England saw him complete 22 of 43 passes for just 269 yards and no touchdowns as the Bucs squeaked by the Patriots 19-17. Many expected a 50 point blowout and a return to vintage Brady, and I would argue that this game was exactly that. Brady’s career has not been made of stunning blowouts. When you take off the rose-tinted glasses and have a look at the past twenty years, they are made mostly of tight games, unimpressive numbers and a heavy reliance on the team over the individual. And in that respect, week four was very much vintage Tom Brady. He did just enough to win, and you know when it is all said and done, good enough is good enough.
As to those bigger fish that he had to fry, the week four matchup will long be remembered not for the manner it which it was won, nor for the reception that Brady received by the New England faithful, but for those 269 passing yards, setting Tom Brady all alone atop the record books. With the season so young, look for that record to be put on a very high shelf indeed by the post-season.
The rest of the action around the league
Elsewhere around the league there was another, less notable, historic moment in the double wins, in overtime, by both New York teams. The AFC’s Jets and the NFC’s Giants both came away with their first win of the season in overtime games, the Jets surviving a Tennessee field goal miss to win 27-24 and the Giants besting the Saints 27-21. The last time that both teams won on the same day was back in December 2019. To have both New York teams win on the same day in overtime? It’s never happened before in the history of the NFL. Not as impressive as Tom Brady’s record, especially since this one sees both teams still vying for the bottom of the league going into week five, but still a glimmer of hope for fans in the Big Apple.
Washington was another team looking for their first win and they got it the hard way down in Atlanta. Their 34-30 win was a thriller, going right to the last gasp as their sometimes-rubbery defensive backfield stood strong in the final seconds. At no point did the game look over until the clock finally read all zeros, and in the end, isn’t that what we are looking for in a football game?
Last year’s runners-up and 2019 Super Bowl champs looked like they had returned to form as Kansas City punched their way through an overmatched Philadelphia 42-30. Continuing the theme of a day to set NFL records, the Chiefs’ win over head coach Andy Reid’s former team sees him become the first NFL coach to have over 100 wins with two different organizations.
Two teams who are sitting astride their respective divisions faced off in Charlotte for a thrilling display from Dax Prescott as his four touchdown passes see Dallas hand the Panthers their first loss of the season. The real story was on the defensive side of the ball, though, as the Cowboys hurried Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold eleven times and got four sacks, while cornerback Trevon Diggs’ two interceptions earned him a franchise record for the most interceptions in the first four games of a season.
In Mile High Stadium, the Broncos were handed their first season defeat at the hands of Baltimore, losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to concussion in the process. The 23-7 finish saw Denver’s offence never quite recover under Drew Lock’s stewardship for just 245 yards total offense. Their production needs to be less player-dependent if they hope to stay in the top half of a very competitive AFC as the season wears on.
In a classic midwest rivalry matchup, Chicago jumped out to a three touchdown lead over Detroit, and though the Lions looked to make up the ground late, they simply couldn’t catch up in a game that finished with a Bears 21-14 win. Not so much about what either team did right, this win was more that Chicago did certain things less wrong than usual. Up in Buffalo, the Bills trounced the hapless Houston 40-0 in a game where little went right for the visiting side. Just as hapless were the Miami Dolphins. Just one week after a stunning performance where they came up just short to Las Vegas, they proved that their lucklessness is equal opportunity as they hand the Indianapolis Colts their first season victory in a 27-17 showing. In Wisconsin, Green Bay rolled over the Steelers 27-17 in a game that was highlighted by the lack of offense on the Pittsburgh side of the ball. Big Ben might be four years younger than Tom Brady, but he is looking slow and vulnerable as he surpassed Brett Favre to become the second-most sacked quarterback in NFL history. After dropping the season opener to the Chiefs, Cleveland extended their win streak to three by holding off the ever-difficult Minnesota Vikings 14-7. The win sees the third-ranked defense flex their muscles and take up the slack for Mayfield’s struggling offense.
The Cardinals snap an eight-in-a-row streak of losses to the Rams to remain the only still-undefeated team in the NFC. Los Angeles may be Tampa’s biggest threat in NFC dominance, but Kyler Murray was spectacular in a blazing display as Arizona comfortably dealt a 37-20 defeat to Sean McVay’s side.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson became the fastest in NFL history to reach his 100th win as the Seahawks bested the 49ers 28-21. Having reached the milestone in only the second week of his tenth season, his side got a badly-needed boost to stay on the positive side of the win/loss column. San Francisco have to rethink and regroup as penalties and turnovers were the deciding factor in this loss that they could ill-afford.