The NFL Winners and Losers of Week 4
By Quincy Williams
I truly don’t know what to say about Gardner Minshew. The guy is unbelievable. Minshew’s stats aren’t impressive, he doesn’t have the biggest arm, and he’s not the fastest guy in the world. What he can do is deliver accurate, catchable balls, read a defense, and navigate a crumbling pocket. The score was 17-6 Broncos on Sunday when Minshew held the ball for 7 seconds evading and eventually escaping a horde of Broncos lineman and lofting a pass to Ryquell Armstead. This was a turning point in the game and led eventually to a 26-24 win for the Jags. Now is the time to acknowledge that Leonard Fournette ran for 225 punishing yards; but the most important man on the field is the quarterback. Minshew didn’t turn the ball over and managed the game expertly. What a find for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mahomes Inna’ Dome
In the inimitable words of Andy Reid, “Not all of Mozart’s paintings were masterpieces.”. Reid didn’t take Art History Survey. His point was; however, every game can’t have four Mahomes’ thrown touchdowns in the second quarter. Sometimes in this league, you must win ugly. Mahomes was given a limited canvas to work with on Sunday, facing pressure most of the day. When not constantly harried by Lion’s lineman, Mahomes was sharp. The Chiefs lost three fumbles on the day; the spirit of Peanut Tillman was present throughout the game. The story of the day was Mahomes’ mobility; he rushed six times for 54 yards, including one huge 15 yarder on a fourth down. Pat got it done on Sunday, despite throwing three fewer touchdowns than his counterpart Matt Stafford. Don’t get used to this performance, the guy still has the MVP in the bag.
Mea Maxima Culpa Marcos Mariota??
Marcus Mariota has a great game once a year that makes the sports-viewing public stand up and take notice. This week was Mariota time. He threw three touchdowns in the first half and generally looked like a franchise quarterback. For the people who have been bamboozled Mariota before its absolutely no surprise. What would also come as no surprise is the fact that the Titans, who looked like world-beaters in the first half, didn’t score again the rest of the way through? Mariota is the quintessential Jekyll-and-Hyde quarterback. I’m selling this standout performance as more Mariota misdirection.
Road teams won 11 out of 15 games. Marcos Mariota looked competent. Phillip Rivers won a game on the east coast. But the weirdest occurrence of the past week is that Daniel Jones, Gardner Minshew, Kyle Allen, Mason Rudolph, and Chase Daniel all won games in the same week. If you polled casual NFL fans and asked what the likelihood of that happening was most people wouldn’t have known who half the names were. Kyle Allen’s possible usurping of the starting QB role from Cam Newton is one of the most compelling latent storylines we have in the NFL this year.
The Cincinnati Bengals!
If the Bengals are going to be bad, what the hell, I hope they’re extremely bad. Trying to salvage a lost season by winning a handful of games isn’t going to do it anymore. The Bengals need talent, blue-chip talent, at several positions. The best way to accumulate talent is to bottom out, lose as many games as possible and position themselves to get a high draft pick. Fingers crossed they “beat” the Dolphins in losses and select a QB with the first overall draft pick.
Haskins is in this portion of the column by virtue of him being selected by the Washington Redskins, not because of his performance on Sunday. A great organization gives their first-round QB ample time to prepare for his first NFL game, perhaps preparing for the next opponent over a bye week. A good organization announces their first-round QB on the Monday leading up to that Sunday’s game. A terrible, very bad, no-good organization puts their first-round QB into the game midway through the second quarter in a losing effort. Haskins is going to be put through the wringer playing for maybe the worst front office in American sports. He may be an extremely talented quarterback who loses all self-confidence under a deluge of losses and sacks. Free Dwayne Haskins!
The Colts are still an extremely talented team, but this week was a bad look. Brissett threw for three touchdowns, but he also threw an extremely costly pick-six. The defense only allowed a tick over 300 yards, but Derek Carr and Trevor Davis combined for three touchdowns. Point being, for every positive outcome for the Colts there was a stark negative. In the NFL you must-win games at home, and you must win games against inferior opponents. A positive development for the Colts is that they are 2-2 and tied for the lead in the division, the negative is that there are three other teams in the division that are 2-2. The AFC-South playoff race is going to be fun to watch.
I lost every bet last week. Every single one. So, I was faced with the Gambler’s dilemma before Monday night football last night. The Gambler’s dilemma, as it pertains to football, is when you are forced to bet against your favorite team to recoup your weekend losses. I knew the Steelers were going to embarrass the Bengals on Monday Night Football. Its what the Bengals do. Should I be miserable because my team lost, and I lost money on the weekend? Or should I do what any self-respecting capitalist would do and bet against my awful team and make some money in the process? I bet against the Bengals! As I advise everyone to do for the rest of the season.