Kirk Cousins broke out of an early-season slump, roasting the Raiders for 365 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Washington defense also did a stellar job shutting down Oakland’s high-flying offense, holding Derek Carr to 118 yards and picking him off two times.
Washington still has plenty of injury question marks. Tight end Jordan Reed missed Week 3 with shoulder, toe, and chest injuries, and will likely be questionable once again. Running back Rob Kelley also sat out with a rib injury, but he should return on Monday night.
Of course, it’s not just Hunt that’s driving the Chiefs’ offense. Alex Smith is playing some of the best football of his career, throwing for 774 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions. He’s quickly squelched any talk of a quarterback controversy, with rookie Patrick Mahomes sitting and learning as planned. The Chiefs’ defense is also top-notch despite the loss of Eric Berry, with Justin Houston putting up four sacks so far.
That puts pressure on a position group that’s been mostly invisible in 2017. Matthews, the team’s top wideout, ranks third on the roster in receiving yards behind tailback LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay. With four catches and 57 yards, rookie Zay Jones is the team’s next-most effective receiver. That is dire.
Buffalo’s inability to stretch the field with its wideouts has played a major role in Tyrod Taylor’s slow start; the QB has thrown for only 186 yards per game to begin season. Fortunately for the Bills, his accurate passing and the team’s stout defense has kept them afloat.
Almost no one expected the Raiders offense to look this bad.
The guy throwing Garcon the ball figured to be in this position at this time last year, although he took a circuitous route to get here. Beathard was ranked as the top quarterback by some scouts before his senior season at Iowa, but he slid down draft charts as the year progressed.
Instead of going early in the draft, Beathard saw five other quarterbacks picked ahead of him before the 49ers called his name in the third round. He will become the fourth rookie quarterback to start a game this year.
Many demonstrations during the national anthem have taken place since President Donald Trump made comments at an Alabama rally in September. Trump said that NFL players who kneeled for the anthem were sons of bitches that needed to be fired by owners.
Then again, one could make the case that the Cowboys’ defense hasn’t exactly carried its share of the load. Dallas allowed at least 35 points in all three losses, failing to make the game-saving stop in the last two minutes two weeks ago against the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
Dallas will have two new starters on defense this week — one by choice, the other by surprise. After cutting cornerback Nolan Carroll, the Cowboys saw nose tackle Stephen Paea retire.
Here’s part of what Reid wrote:
I approached Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platform, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to speak for those who are voiceless.
Keenum played through the entire second half, and not coincidentally, the Vikings’ offense woke up a little. He led a touchdown drive to start the third quarter and played a big role in the finish, moving the Vikings into range to set up a game-winning field goal. Keenum is not a great quarterback by any means, but it’s striking how much of a difference he made compared to a hobbled Bradford.
Peterson downgraded significantly in his intra-conference move, trading in New Orleans’ 11th-ranked run blocking unit for a Arizona group currently ranked 24th. While he’ll get more touches, he’ll also see defenders earlier and more often as his holes close up with regularity. That’s something a 24-year-old Peterson could overcome. At 32, he’ll have plenty to prove:
New Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson: I have so much left. I look to play four or five more years.
But the Falcons are losing? At home? To the DOLPHINS?!!? But they were up 17-0 at the half! What in God’s name is going on here? And why are the Falcons rushing to get plays off? WHOA THERE’S ONLY A MINUTE LEFT! That was a good nap!
Schraeder was cleared from the concussion protocol this week, and Jones returned to practice Wednesday.
And even though the Dolphins’ defense isn’t an easy test for this offense, Atlanta is still ranked fourth in the league with 28 points per game and seventh in passing yards per game with 262.5. The Falcons have managed that despite a couple of mistake-prone games from Ryan.
The race for the NFC South is going to be tight this year, with the Panthers bouncing back and the Bucs and Saints flashing plenty of potential. A rebound from Ryan this week will help the Falcons stay in the mix for the top spot.