November 26, 2020

NFL Week 4 takeaways, stat leaders

Week 4 in the NFL featured huge performances from Odell Beckham Jr., Joe Mixon, Dak Prescott, Tom Brady and Dalvin Cook. The Browns hung 49 points on the Cowboys, while the Vikings finally found the win column by holding off the Texans — who remain winless. The Buccaneers came back to beat Justin Herbert and the Chargers, while the Saints’ offense got rolling in a five-TD day against the Lions. Joe Burrow earned his first NFL win as the Bengals defeated the Jaguars, and the Panthers upset Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.

All that and more in Week 4’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Jump to a matchup:
SEA-MIA | CLE-DAL | BAL-WSH
NO-DET | LAC-TB | MIN-HOU
ARI-CAR | JAX-CIN | DEN-NYJ

Standout performer for SEA-MIA: Chris Carson, 80 rushing yards and 2 TDs, 20 receiving yards

The Seahawks’ defense showed it can cover. That was a big question mark after it allowed an NFL-record 1,292 passing yards over the first three games, something few saw coming after they added Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar to their secondary. Seattle’s defense produced two interceptions and didn’t allow Miami to find the end zone until under two minutes were left. That was without Adams, Dunbar and first-round pick Jordyn Brooks, whose absences provided a test of Seattle’s defensive depth. It passed. — Brady Henderson

Next game: vs. Vikings (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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Ryan Fitzpatrick did just enough to earn more cushion as the starting quarterback while Tua Tagovailoa develops. The FitzMagic experience was on full display in the Dolphins’ loss to the Seahawks. He completed passes to 10 different receivers, dove for first downs and touchdowns and battled Russell Wilson all day. Miami believes it can win with him. But zero touchdown passes and two interceptions against a depleted Seahawks secondary doesn’t elicit much excitement, either. The classic boom-or-bust QB, Fitzpatrick will get more rope but needs to produce to quell cries for Tua. — Jeremy Fowler

Next game: at 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for CLE-DAL: Odell Beckham Jr., 81 receiving yards and 2 TDs, 73 rushing yards and 1 TD

The Browns delivered one of the most impressive offensive performances in franchise history, churning out 307 yards on the ground, their highest total in 11 years. They also put up 31 points in the first half, their most before halftime since 1991. With three touchdowns, including a game-clinching TD run, Beckham Jr. was electric. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was efficient and avoided mistakes. As coach Kevin Stefanski noted, there is still a lot of season left to play. But if this a snapshot of what’s to come from the Browns’ offense, Cleveland is going to be a load for the opposition the rest of the way. — Jake Trotter

Next game: vs. Colts (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)

At 1-3 after Sunday’s loss to the Browns, the Cowboys have more questions than answers, especially on defense. In the previous two games, they allowed too many big plays through the air. Against Cleveland, they were throttled on the ground, allowing a franchise-record 307 yards. Coach Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys are not playing complementary football, with the offense turning the ball over too much and putting the defense in bad spots. “We came out the gate soft, and in different words, I could call it something else,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said. “It’s about having some grit and playing balls to the wall and going out there giving everything you got.” The last time the Cowboys started 1-3 was in 2010, when Wade Phillips was fired at midseason. — Todd Archer

Next game: vs. Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for BAL-WSH: Lamar Jackson, 193 passing yards and 2 TDs, 53 rushing yards and 1 TD

Rebounding from Monday’s loss to the Chiefs, the Ravens weren’t satisfied with their offensive performance even after putting up 31 points and 350 yards against Washington. Jackson threw his first interception of the season and missed Marquise Brown on a couple of deep throws. Baltimore has high expectations after leading the NFL in scoring last season. “We shouldn’t be coming off the field without touchdowns or points at all,” Jackson said. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: vs. Bengals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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Lamar Jackson keeps it on the read option and breaks free up the middle for a 50-yard touchdown.

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. finished 32-of-45 for 314 yards, but he once more showed how far he and the offense are from being consistent. Coach Ron Rivera said after the game that he wants to see Haskins play with more situational awareness — look at the fourth-and-goal pass in which the QB threw too short of the end zone. Haskins didn’t force passes, which was good, but he and the offense weren’t much of a threat until they trailed by two scores. Haskins warrants more time because he’s young and has made 11 NFL starts, but the coaches are harping on needing to see growth. At some point, he needs to put up big numbers in a win and provide ample proof of what he can become. — John Keim

Next game: vs. Rams (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for NO-DET: Alvin Kamara, 83 rushing yards and 1 TD, 36 receiving yards

Here’s what the Saints were dealing with heading into Detroit on Sunday: Their first two-game losing streak in three years, six starters ruled out with injuries including Michael Thomas and both CBs and a middle-of-the-night COVID-19 scare. And then they faced an early 14-0 deficit to the Lions after five minutes. Yet they responded with their most impressive performance to date to escape with a victory and some much-needed new life heading into Week 5. This could be a huge turning point for a 2-2 team that will get healthier soon. — Mike Triplett

Next game: vs. Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 12)

Another double-digit lead. Another double-digit lead lost. That’s six consecutive losses in which Detroit has held a double-digit lead — an NFL record according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It’s been the same thing time and again under Matt Patricia, who has lost 14 of his last 16 games as the head coach in Detroit. The Lions now enter the bye week at 1-3. Detroit’s schedule eases up after the bye, but its lack of consistency anywhere except at punter and kicker have left the franchise with way more questions than answers. — Michael Rothstein

Next game: at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 18)


Standout performer for LAC-TB: Tom Brady, 369 passing yards and 5 TDs

Everything you need this week:
Full schedule » | Standings »
• Depth charts for every team »
• Transactions » | Injuries »
• Football Power Index rankings »
More NFL coverage »

After two weeks of fast starts and little offensive production in the second half, Brady overcame a first-quarter pick-six and a 17-point deficit to beat the Chargers and improve to 3-1. It was the second-largest comeback in team history for a franchise that had lost 42 consecutive games when trailing by 17 or more points. “We knew we played poorly. It was just a show of character. I can honestly say, had this been last year, we would have gotten our a– beat by 20. This team has a ton of character and playmakers,” coach Bruce Arians said, crediting the leadership of his captains. “[With] Tom — he’s never behind in his mind, so we can always make plays to win games.” — Jenna Laine

Next game: at Bears (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Justin Herbert, starting his third straight game since Tyrod Taylor went down with a punctured lung, battled valiantly for much of the game. He staked the Chargers to a three-score lead without his go-to guy in running back Austin Ekeler, who injured his hamstring in the first quarter. But his youth, and the youth of the Chargers, also had some rough moments. Rookie running back Joshua Kelley fumbled the handoff deep in Chargers’ territory just before halftime with the Bolts up 24-7, changing the momentum the Chargers had built. And Herbert threw an interception to Carlton Davis with 2:35 left in the game as he was attempting to lead the Chargers to a game-winning touchdown. — Shelley Smith

Next game: at Saints (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 12)


Standout performer for MIN-HOU: Dalvin Cook, 130 rushing yards and 2 TDs

The Vikings’ offense has discovered its blueprint for how to win games: Feed Cook early and often to set the tone and then strike with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Minnesota’s win in Houston was the first time the Vikings had two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher in a game since Nov. 19, 2000 (Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Robert Smith). The Vikings finally controlled time of possession and were able to respond any time Houston got within striking distance. What we’re seeing with Cousins is a level of comfort and trust in his playmakers that hasn’t always been there. That will be the key to the offense’s success moving forward in being able to carry the rest of the team and close out games. — Courtney Cronin

Next game: at Seahawks (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Texans fell to 0-4, effectively ending their playoff hopes. Houston’s offense has been inconsistent, the secondary has given up big plays and the defense again could not stop the run, surrendering 162 yards on Sunday. After a tough three games to start the season, Houston’s schedule got easier with the Vikings, but it didn’t change the outcome for this still winless team. — Sarah Barshop

Next game: vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for ARI-CAR: Teddy Bridgewater, 276 passing yards and 2 TDs, 32 rushing yards and 1 TD

Don’t look now, but the Panthers could be a factor in the NFC after Sunday’s victory over Arizona evened their record at 2-2. The reason? Bridgewater and the offense are stressing defenses with offensive coordinator Joe Brady getting into a groove with his playcalling, and the defense is pressuring quarterbacks in ways that didn’t seem possible in the first two games. They’re playing complementary football the way first-year coach Matt Rhule envisioned when he took over this rebuilding project. And all this without their biggest star, Christian McCaffrey, who remains out with an ankle injury. — David Newton

Next game: at Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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Teddy Bridgewater throws two touchdown passes and runs in another score, as the Panthers beat the Cardinals and snap a two-game losing streak.

The Cardinals’ woes continued for a second consecutive week with another loss thanks in large part to a defense that simply got outplayed by the Panthers’ mediocre McCaffrey-less offense. But Arizona didn’t get help from its star quarterback, Kyler Murray, who threw for just 133 yards, or its two star receivers, DeAndre Hopkins (41 yards) and Larry Fitzgerald (4 yards). Losing to the Lions and Panthers in back-to-back weeks doesn’t bode well for another road trip next week to the hapless Jets. — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for JAX-CIN: Joe Mixon, 151 rushing yards and 2 TDs, 30 receiving yards and 1 TD

Joe Burrow made history on Sunday, becoming the first rookie quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in three consecutive games. He was able to help the Bengals shake off a rocky first half and pick up their first victory of the season. Burrow and the rest of the offense were in lockstep throughout the day. Mixon was used often and ended up with 181 total yards and three touchdowns. “How we did today on offense, that’s the standard and that’s what it should be every week,” the running back said. — Ben Baby

Next game: at Ravens (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Jaguars have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. After surrendering 505 yards and 33 points in a loss to the Bengals, the Jaguars are giving up an average of 399.5 yards and 29.3 points per game. They couldn’t get to Burrow despite the fact that the Bengals led the NFL in sacks allowed (14) and had given up 31 QB hits heading into the game. The Jaguars hit Burrow just five times on 36 dropbacks. Considering the QBs the Jaguars still have to face — Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins — things are going to get even worse. — Mike DiRocco

Next game: at Texans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for DEN-NYJ: Tim Patrick, 113 receiving yards and 1 TD

Newton: Joining Patriots a ‘business trip’
• Browns’ passing attack looking for more
• Allen, Bills will be tested by schedule
• Jefferson’s breakout sign of things to come
• Brady made ‘great decision’ to join Bucs

With Brett Rypien making his first start at quarterback on a short week, the Broncos overcame an early Jets touchdown, three Rypien interceptions and — yes — additional injuries to tight end Noah Fant (ankle) and wide receiver KJ Hamler (hamstring). There were plenty of moments in the game when the Broncos could have shown some fragility, including when both Justin Simmons and Alexander Johnson missed tackles on Sam Darnold’s 46-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game. But the Broncos hung in, Rypien rose to the occasion with two touchdown passes and they closed out their first win. — Jeff Legwold

Next game: at Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Jets were an undisciplined mess, committing 11 penalties (including six personal fouls). That reflects directly on the coaching, and it doesn’t help Adam Gase’s cause. His job security is tenuous after a second consecutive 0-4 start. His team was more competitive than in previous losses, but the Jets hung around long enough to beat themselves. — Rich Cimini

Next game: vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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