Just three teams remain unbeaten after Week 4. The Broncos and Vikings are both 4-0, while thanks to their bye week, the Eagles remain undefeated at 3-0. Only the Browns are yet to win a game (4-0), but they have shown signs of promise in the last few weeks.
Here are five things we learnt this week:
- The Patriots are not invincible
- After shutting out the Texans in Week 3, the Pats could not score a single point at home to Buffalo in Week 4
- The Falcons can not stop scoring
- Atlanta has scored more than 40 points in their last two games, with Matt Ryan (503yds) and Julio Jones (300yds) having career days
- Wembley Stadium proved why it should host International Series games
- The game between the Colts and the Jags was watched by more than 83,000 people at Wembley, with more tickets than ever being sold
- Both the Panthers and the Cardinals are surprisingly poor this year
- The two sides that played off in the NFC Championship Game in January are both 1-3 through four games in 2016, with not much going right for either
- New Orleans, Jacksonville and Chicago all get off the mark
- All three won their first game this weekend, and will be looking to power on through the second quarter of the season
Thursday Night Football
(1-3) Miami Dolphins 7 – 22 Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Miami’s depleted offence could not produce on Thursday night, as AJ Green came up big for the Bengals. It was the Dolphins that took an early lead, however. Ryan Tannehill found Kenny Stills wide open downfield, and Stills took it home for a 71-yard score. Then AJ found his stride. He eventually finished with ten catches for 173 yards and the Bengals only TD. Mike Nugent kicked five FG’s to create the 15-point victory. The Dolphins drop to 1-3, while the Bengals move to 3-1.
NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium
(1-3) Indianapolis Colts 27 – 30 Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
Blake Bortles scored three touchdowns overall as the Jags held off a Colts comeback to win at Wembley. The Jags took the lead early thanks to an Andrew Luck INT. Yannick Ngakoue came up with the pick, setting up a Bortles TD throw to Allen Robinson. Bortles then ran in for a TD score with Jason Myers adding three FGs to make it 23-6 at the break. Frank Gore ran in for the Colts, before Luck found T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett for TD scores. However, a 42yd TD from Allen Hurns was enough to take the Jags over the line with a 30-27 victory. Both sides are now 1-3 in the AFC South.
(1-3) Carolina Panthers 33 – 48 Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones had career days for the Falcons as they blew away the Panthers, scoring 40+ points for the second week running. Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and four TDs on the day, with Julio Jones making 12 catches for a record 300 yards. Jones was also on the end of one of Ryan’s TDs. Jacob Tamme, Aldrick Robinson and Austin Hooper all got in the end zone as well. Devonta Freeman scored a TD on the ground as well for Atlanta. The Panthers scored 3TDs in the final quarter, with Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Olsen and Corey Brown scoring a receiving TD each. However, it was not enough, as Carolina fall to 1-3, while the heavy-scoring Falcons move up to 3-1.
(3-1) Oakland Raiders 28 – 27 Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
The Raiders won by a single point in Baltimore as they ended the Ravens’ unbeaten start to the 2016 campaign. Derek Carr threw four TD passes in the game, with Seth Roberts catching the first of the four. Michael Crabtree then came into his own for Oakland, catching the other three TD passes thrown by Carr. The Ravens didn’t score a TD until the third quarter, when Joe Flacco ran in from a yard. Steve Smith caught a Flacco pass for a TD and Terrance West ran in for a score, but they fell by the single point, dropping to 3-1. The Raiders go level with them in the AFC as a whole, with all three victories coming on the road.
(1-3) Detroit Lions 14 – 17 Chicago Bears (1-3)
Chicago got their first win of the season in an all-NFC North clash at Soldier Field. Brian Hoyer was the star for the Bears, starting in place of Jay Cutler. He threw two TDs and over 300 yards, to end the Bears’ streak of six home games without a W. Eddie Royal and Zach miller were the recipients of the two TD scores. Matt Stafford was intercepted twice by the Bears secondary, and Detroit’s only trip to the end zone came courtesy of an Andre Roberts 81yd punt return TD. The win is also Chicago’s first in seven against the Lions, and sees them move to 1-3, alongside their divisional rivals.
(1-3) Tennessee Titans 20 – 27 Houston Texans (3-1)
The Texans got the victory in their first game without JJ Watt for nearly six years. It came courtesy of a Will Fuller punt return TD in the final minute of the game, on his first career punt return. The Texans had taken a 14-0 lead through two Brock Osweiler TDs, with one of those going to Fuller. CJ Fiedorowicz was the man who caught the first to give Houston the lead. Two rushing TDs from DeMarco Murray brought the game back level before Fuller’s punt return heroics. The win sees Houston move to 3-1, while the Titans drop to 1-3.
(2-2) Buffalo Bills 16 – 0 New England Patriots (3-1)
The surprise result of Week 4 came in Foxborough, as Buffalo went to Gillette Stadium and shut out the previously unbeaten Patriots. It is the first time that the Pats have been shut out at home since 1993, when they were at Foxboro Stadium. Tyrod Taylor found LeSean McCoy for the only TD of the game with the Bills’ first possession. Only three Dan Carpenter FGs were scored in the rest of the game, as the Pats could not muster any sort of offence on the night. They fall to 3-1, while the Bills move to 2-2.
(3-1) Seattle Seahawks 27 – 17 New York Jets (1-3)
Despite wearing a brace on his right knee, Russell Wilson was his usual self, firing three TD passes, as the Seahawks won in New York. CJ Spiller, Christine Michael and Tanner McEvoy were the three recipients of Wilson’s TD throws. The Jets offence stuttered once again, with Fitzpatrick throwing three INTs on the back of six last week. Richard Sherman picked him off twice, while Earl Thomas got the other. Fitzpatrick did find Brandon Marshall in the end zone, but Seattle go into their bye week on a high, now sitting at 3-1. The Jets are now 1-3 and struggling already.
(0-4) Cleveland Browns 20 – 31 Washington Redskins (2-2)
The Redskins bookended the game with scores, as the Browns were condemned to their fourth straight defeat of 2016. Kirk Cousins threw three TD passes for the ‘Skins, including two to Jordan Reed in the first quarter. Chris Thompson got the other late on, and that was followed by a 1yd TD run from Matt Jones to kill the game. Isaiah Crowell scored a rushing TD and Terrelle Pryor Sr. caught a pass from Cody Kessler in the second quarter to tie the game, but Washington had enough in the end. They move to 2-2, while the Browns fall to 0-4.
(4-0) Denver Broncos 27 – 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
Another week in Tampa Bay, another rain delay during the NFL. This time it was the Broncos that were in town, but despite the 70 minute delay, Denver extended their 100% record this year. They also had to deal with an injury to Trevor Siemian, with Paxton Lynch coming into the game for his first action in the NFL after being drafted 26th in April. Two Aqib Talib INTs set up scores for Denver. The first was a Siemian-Demaryius Thomas throw and catch, with the second coming on the ground with CJ Anderson. Paxton Lynch threw his first NFL TD in the final quarter, finding Emmanuel Sanders for a score. The Bucs offered nothing for the second week running, falling to 1-3, while the Broncos remain perfect at 4-0.
(3-1) Los Angeles Rams 17 – 13 Arizona Cardinals (1-3)
After being shut out in Week 1, the Rams have come back strong, winning their next three, including this tight game in Arizona. Case Keenum and Brian Quick connected for two TD scores, one at the start and one at the end, for the Rams. Carson Palmer had another day to forget for the Cards, only throwing for one score, before being removed from the game under concussion protocol. His replacement, Drew Stanton, threw two INTs late on as the Rams held on for victory. They move to 3-1 while Arizona, who reached the NFC Conference Game last year, are struggling at 1-3.
(1-3) New Orleans Saints 35 – 34 San Diego Chargers (1-3)
The Saints once again scored 30+ points, but this time they came away with victory on Drew Brees’ first return to San Diego. Brees threw two TDs in the final five minutes as the Saints came back to win. John Kuhn had a great day for the visitors, with two rushing TDs and a receiving TD in just five touches of the ball. Marcus Ingram ran in for a score and Michael Thomas caught Brees’ other TD pass. Melvin Gordon ran in for two Chargers TDs, while Philip Rivers found Hunter Henry and Dontrelle Inman for his two passing TDs. The Saints won their first game of the year to move to 1-3, while the Chargers have dropped to the same record.
(3-1) Dallas Cowboys 24 – 17 San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
Dallas’ rookie tandem of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott came to the fore as the Cowboys got the win on the road in San Francisco. However, it was the 49ers that took a two score lead. Blaine Gabbert found Jeremy Kerley for the opening TD, before Carlos Hyde ran in for six soon after. The lead was gone by the half though. Dak Prescott hit Terrance Williams and Brice Butler for TDs n the second quarter to tie the game at 14. Zeke Elliott then ran in for the game-winning score late in the third to cap off an impressive game for the RB. The Cowboys improve to 3-1, while the 49ers have lost their last three after shutting out the Rams on the opening weekend.
Sunday Night Football
(2-2) Kansas City Chiefs 14 – 43 Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Ben Roethlisberger threw 5TDs and the Steelers defence shut out for the Chiefs for the first three quarters as Pittsburgh won big on Sunday night. They scored a franchise record 22 points in the first quarter, with Roethlisberger throwing two TD passes to Antonio Brown and one to Darrius Heyward-Bey. TD throws to Marcus Wheaton and Jesse James followed as the Steelers ran up a 36-0 lead. Alex Smith finally got the Chiefs on the board with TD throws to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce but it was never going to be enough. The Steelers move to 3-1 with this bounce back victory, while the Chiefs drop to 2-2.
Monday Night Football
(2-2) New York Giants 10 – 24 Minnesota Vikings (4-0)
The Vikings carried on their unbeaten record through four games, with a dominating performance against the Giants. Odell Beckham Jr was kept to just 23 yards, the lowest of his career as the Vikings D continued to be the best in the league. Matt Asiata and Jet McKinnon both ran in for TD scores for Minnesota, while Sam Bradford found Kyle Rudolph in the end zone for the third straight game. Orleans Darkwa ran in the Giants only TD as they drop to 2-2. The Vikings D is already being compared to the 1985 Bears D (who went 15-1), as they are one of only two teams to be 4-0.
Byes: Green Bay Packers (2-1), Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)
AFC Divisional: Patriots (3-1), Steelers (3-1), Texans (3-1), Broncos (4-0)
Wild Card: Ravens (3-1), Raiders (3-1)
In the Hunt: Bengals (2-2), Bills (2-2), Chiefs (2-2)
NFC Divisional: Eagles (3-0), Vikings (4-0), Falcons (3-1), Rams (3-1)
Wild Card: Cowboys (3-1), Seahawks (3-1)
In the Hunt: Redskins (2-2), Giants (2-2), Packers (2-1)
Week 5 kicks off with a big NFC West game between Arizona and San Francisco in Santa Clara. Elsewhere, the Falcons take on the Broncos in what could be a high-scoring game, while the Vikings and Eagles will look to maintain their unbeaten records against the Texans and Lions, respectively. The Browns will host the Patriots as they look for their first win of 2016.