Through four weeks in the National Football League, three unbeaten teams remain: the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. Six winless teams also remain. Who impressed and who disappointed this week? Tyler, Anthony, and Austin once again bring you their picks for offensive and defensive player of the week, breakout player of the week, disappointment of the week, as well as some storylines you should be following.
Offensive Player of the Week
WR Chris Godwin (12 receptions, 172 yards, 2 TD)
Godwin has been quite the surprise for the NFL this season as he has already racked up four touchdowns and 26 receptions for 386 yards. This emergence gives the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a deadly one-two punch with O.J. Howard. Plus, Ronald Jones has developed more this season and provides the Bucs an efficient running game as well. Godwin had his way with the Rams secondary and we can fully expect this type of production from him moving forward.
QB Jameis Winston (28-41, 68.29%, 385 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT)
Going into the season, one of the biggest question marks for this team was, once again, whether Winston was ever going to be the Buccaneers’ franchise quarterback. On Sunday against the Rams in Los Angeles, Winston took a big step in showing that he just might be that guy. After the first three weeks, there was still uncertainty that not even the great Bruce Arians could fix him. This week, Jameis looked a lot more comfortable behind a still questionable offensive line. Although he threw a pick-six, Jameis led the Bucs to 55 points and looked like the present and future for Tampa Bay.
RB Nick Chubb (20 attempts, 165 yards, 8.3 YPC, 3 TD)
Chubb is often lost amidst the rest of the talent on the Cleveland Browns, but this past weekend, he was a terror for the Baltimore Ravens. With a career-high rush of 88 yards, Chubb reminded fans that he is not just a third or fourth option on the Cleveland offense. Chubb will be a key factor throughout the season as teams continue to key in on Baker Mayfield.
Defensive Player of the Week
EDGE Harold Landry (4 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL)
Landry had a great day with the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He was consistently in the backfield and creating pressure. Some of his plays will not show up on the stat sheet, but they stick on film and he respectfully has the attention of offensive coordinators around the league. This is a guy that needs to be game-planned around.
LB T.J. Watt (1 tackle, 1 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits, 1 fumble recovery)
After years of throwing high picks at outside linebackers, the Steelers have found their guy with Watt. He has been a force rushing the passer for the Steelers, accumulating 22.5 sacks 4 games into his third NFL season, including dominating the Bengals on Monday night. In getting 1.5 sacks against a poor offensive line, Watt was great at converting speed to power and dominating Bobby Hart. If Bud Dupree can ever live up to his first round billing, the Steelers will be able to focus solely on fixing a below average defensive backfield.
EDGE Shaquil Barrett (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble)
What a season Barrett is having so far. With nine sacks through four weeks, Barrett tied the NFL record for sacks through the first quarter of the season. He harassed Jared Goff time and time again, disrupting passing lanes and forcing turnovers. Barrett only signed a one-year, $4 million deal with Tampa Bay as he looked to get playing time as a starter, but he is in line for a massive contract in the offseason if he keeps this up.
Breakout Player of the Week
A.J. Brown (3 receptions, 94 yards, 2 TD)
Brown had himself quite the game and a true welcome to-the-NFL type of game on Sunday. When two of your three receptions are touchdowns, it’s easy to say that. The best part of Brown’s touchdowns was his effort to keep the play alive and finding his way to the endzone. The Titans looked a lot better throwing the ball Sunday and if they want to build off it, Brown will need to be a big part of it.
WR Chris Godwin (14 targets, 12 receptions, 172 yards, 2 TD)
Going into the 2019 season, there was a lot of hype, especially in the fantasy community, surrounding Godwin. Most believed that under new head coach Bruce Arians, Godwin would flourish opposite Mike Evans and they were right. With Evans not having a major impact for most of the game, Godwin was able to take over and dominate the Rams defense. If Winston can be any kind of consistent the rest of this season, Godwin and Evans can make a case that they are the best WR duo in the NFL.
QB Mason Rudolph (24-28, 85.6%, 2 TD, 0 INT)
Is it too early to think about a quarterback controversy in Pittsburgh? Rudolph has been fortunate enough to sit behind future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger after being drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, giving him time to develop and adjust to pro football. After Big Ben’s season-ending injury, Rudolph was abruptly pushed into action, and against a better-than-advertised Cincinnati Bengals team this week, he delivered Pittsburgh their first win of the season. Rudolph is not a finished product by any means but showcased athleticism, pocket awareness, and efficiency. If he continues to build upon this, Pittsburgh may already have their quarterback of the future.
Disappointing Performance of the Week
QB Kirk Cousins (27-36, 75%, 233 yards, 0 TD)
The issue surrounding Cousins has been his inability to step up and make the play his team needs to win. He is not even able to get them a shot at winning with his decision making. He is missing wide open guys and not because of throws. He is missing them by not looking in their direction. He arguably has one of the best receiving cores in the NFL and is not taking advantage of that. At all. A fully guaranteed contract from the Vikings is looking worse and worse with each disappointing performance.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (7 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards)
The chemistry just has not been there so far this season between Baker Mayfield and OBJ and this game is another prime example. After four games, OBJ only has 21 catches for 308 yards so far this season and there aren’t any major signs to show us that things will change. Unlike what we saw with the Giants and Eli Manning, Baker and the Browns offense don’t have the desire to force feed Odell. In this offense, Beckham Jr. is going to have to be patient, and with his history of showing frustration, this will be something worth monitoring moving forward.
QB Jared Goff (45-68, 66.2%, 517 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 2 sacks)
When Goff throws for 517 yards and two touchdowns (albeit on nearly 70 attempts), and loses, one might wonder if the blame is really on him. Poor decision making and pocket presence are the reasons Goff is here this week. Per Gregg Bell, Goff has accounted for six touchdowns, six interceptions, and four fumbles since signing his mega-extension with the Los Angeles Rams. That type of performance will not lend itself to another Super Bowl appearance.
Under-the-Radar Storyline of the Week
The Denver Broncos
The Broncos are a team that looked to have some potential before the season started. Their defense returned some stars and the offense added a quarterback that makes defenses cover every blade of grass. Then, they drafted a tight end to go along with a one-two running back and wide receiver duo. It made sense for Broncos fans to be excited for the year, but it has been the exact opposite. They have lost every game so far this year and looking at their schedule doesn’t make it any better. The Broncos could very easily lose every game this season unless they figure out their play-calling and find ways to win soon. The month of October is looking very scary for the Denver Broncos and is a storyline I will be following.
When Will Enough Be Enough With Bill O’Brien?
After running out two general managers and making three really questionable trades, it is very surprising that O’Brien is still the head coach of the Houston Texans, and we haven’t even talked about how inconsistent the offense has been during his tenure. After a 2-2 start where his offense laid an absolute dud against the Panthers, his seat should be red hot right now. If they are at .500 or less after week 13, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Houston do the same thing Green Bay did last year when they fired Mike McCarthy during the season. Any young offensive mind (Lincoln Riley perhaps?) would and should jump at the chance to get their hands on the talent on this offense.
Can Bruce Arians Actually Fix Jameis Winston?
Prior to Arians taking over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many wondered about the future of Winston. The top overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston and his inevitably linked counterpart, Marcus Mariota, have both been incredibly underwhelming considering both were considered true franchise-changing quarterbacks coming out of college. However, this past Sunday may have shown that Arians can get something out of Winston. Long-hailed as a QB whisperer, Arians has his work cut out for him if he is to turn Winston into a bonafide franchise quarterback.
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