Week 4 NFL Takeaways: Tis better to receive

Week 4 NFL Takeaways: Tis better to receive

The offensive struggles from the first week of the NFL season feel like they were three months ago instead of three weeks. Points were piled up at a furious pace during the Week 4 slate of games. The Miami Dolphins did not repeat their Week 3, 70-point performance. Instead, Josh Allen played his best game of the season and the Buffalo Bills hung nearly 50 on the Dolphins.

Two great defenses faced off in the Washington CommandersPhiladelphia Eagles matchup. That game went to overtime after the Commanders responded to an Eagles’ seven-play touchdown drive with a 12-play march of their own to tie the score. The Eagles eventually won, 34-31, in overtime.

The Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos are two of the worst teams in the NFL. Watching both teams has been painful. But on Sunday, Bears QB Justin Fields played the best game of his NFL career against the Broncos and the Bears looked all but assured of the win with 28-7 lead late in the third quarter. But the Broncos stormed back to win, 31-28.

Credit for these types of offensive outbursts is usually given to the quarterbacks, but this week the hands of the pass catchers deserve a round of applause. Whether it was Garrett Wilson giving Zach Wilson confidence by hauling in some tough passes, or Brandon Aiyuk tallying four catches of 20 yards or more, the wide outs put on a show. Three in particular were crucial in helping their teams to big wins.

Stefon Diggs is the key to the success of the Bills offense

Josh Allen is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks to ever play football. He is fast, elusive, huge, and can make every throw reasonably asked of a professional quarterback — and others that could never be requested with a straight face. However, Allen was not looked at as one of the best players in the NFL until the Bills traded for Stefon Diggs prior to the 2020 season.

That type of dynamic pass-catching threat makes decision making significantly faster for quarterbacks. With what Diggs brings to the table, he had every right to be frustrated during the Bills’ playoff loss last season. They went down, 14-0, quickly to the Cincinnati Bengals, and Diggs had only caught four passes. However, it wasn’t for lack of effort on the Bills’ part— he was targeted 10 times.

The Dolphins were the hottest team in the NFL coming into their Week 4 matchup against the Bills. The two teams went blow for blow early on, but the Dolphins were not able to keep up. Diggs was largely responsible for the Bills leaving the NFL’s fastest offense in the dust with his six catches for 120 yards. Three of those catches were touchdowns. One was a 55-yarder in the second quarter that put the Dolphins in a double-digit deficit they never recovered from.

Diggs getting the ball early and often has appeared to be the best recipe for Bills success the last four seasons.

A.J. Brown did his part to try to keep the Eagles out of overtime 

The game appeared over when Brown caught a 28-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. That reception gave Brown eight on the day for 167 yards and two TDs. Eagles fans at Lincoln Financial Field likely believed that would be his final catch of the day, but a ninth came in overtime after Sam Howell led Washington on an improbable drive in which he threw a touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson as time expired.

Brown beating up the Commander’s secondary throughout the day helped spur Jalen Hurts to his best passing game of the season — 67.6 completion percentage for 319 yards and two touchdowns.

He sat in the sweet spot in zone coverage for receptions, ran through tackles, and also juked and ran past opposing defensive backs. Brown was the NFL Week 4 leader in receptions and receiving yards — nine catches for 175 yards. Against the Commanders he most certainly played like the best wide receiver in the league.

The Puka Nacua show continues

As great as Nacua had been through three games, one feat had eluded him. Coming into the Los Angeles Rams’ Week 4 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, he had yet to haul in his first NFL touchdown pass.

The Rams entered the game 1-2, and falling to 1-3 would not have been a good look for their postseason hopes. They moved the ball all day on the Colts, dominating both in time of possession and total yards. The Rams were up, 20-0, at halftime, and Nacua was having the best game of his career with 98 yards and averaging 19.6 yards per reception significantly higher than his 11.3 average for the season going into the game. He still hadn’t caught that touchdown, though.

QB Matt Stafford got hurt in the third quarter and the Rams’ offense ground to a halt. They managed only a field goal and the Colts tied the score at 23 late in the fourth quarter. While the Rams weren’t able to gut out a game-winning drive in regulation, they received the opening kick during overtime and went right down the field for a touchdown — a walk-off 22-yard score to Nacua.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.