Mandatory Credit: Photo by Adrian Kraus/AP/Shutterstock (13403804o) Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) looks to throw a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, in Orchard Park, N.Y Titans Bills Football, Orchard Park, United States – 19 Sep 2022
Vikings 28, Saints 25
The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints got NFL Sunday going early from across the pond, both teams with rookie head coaches looking for an important early season win. New Orleans’ offense entered the game missing several crucial pieces, including quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Alvin Kamara, and wideout Michael Thomas. The Saints’ defense kept them in it through most of the morning, stalling several promising Vikings’ drives to keep them within range despite being outgained through three quarters. Minnesota kicked their fourth field goal of the game to begin the fourth quarter, giving them a 19-14 lead with 14:15 to go. Despite missing tons of offensive production, New Orleans would continue to find ways to score. Taysom Hill punched in a touchdown with just under 10 minutes to play and starting quarterback Andy Dalton connected with Jarvis Landry on a 2-point conversion to put the Saints ahead 22-19. The final minutes of the game were a frenzy of offense – after Minnesota drove down field to take a 25-22 lead, Wil Lutz connected on a career long 60-yard field goal to tie the game at 25 with less than two minutes left. Minnesota would quickly push downfield to retake the lead at 28-25, leaving Andy Dalton and the Saints with 24-seconds to mount another comeback. New Orleans would do all they could, but Wil Lutz’s second attempt at a career-long field goal would careen off both the upright and crossbar, missing as time expired to preserve a 28-25 Vikings victory. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson had another ridiculous performance, catching 10 passes for 147 yards and adding a rushing touchdown.
Next Week: Minnesota: vs Chicago, New Orleans: vs Seattle
Falcons 23, Browns 20
The Cleveland Browns headed on the road to Atlanta for a Week 4 matchup with the 1-2 Atlanta Falcons. The Browns notably learned this week that they would be without defensive end Myles Garrett for multiple weeks following a car accident, and felt the void he left almost immediately as the Falcons jumped out to a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Cleveland’s defense would step up with time, holding the Falcons in place while Jacoby Brissett led a few strong drives to tie things up before half. Both teams entered Sunday accustomed to close games, having five of their combined six games so far this season decided by fewer than four points. Cleveland and Atlanta would exchange haymakers as the second half went along, but it was Dee Alford’s interception in the final minute that sealed the Falcons’ 23-20 win. Nick Chubb’s Georgia homecoming was a statistical success in the loss, finishing the afternoon with 118 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Next Week: Atlanta: at Tampa Bay, Cleveland: vs LA Chargers
Seahawks 48, Lions 45
Both the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions entered Sunday desperately looking to move to 2-2, hoping to be competitors in their respective NFC divisions. The Lions entered the day severely handcuffed, missing running back D’Andre Swift and each of their top two wide receivers in Amon-ra St. Brown and DJ Chark. Seattle would strike early, scoring more points in the first half of Sunday’s game (24) than they had in any full game so far this season. Seattle extended their lead to 31-15 immediately in the third quarter, intercepting Jared Goff’s first pass of the second half for a touchdown. Both defenses continued to struggle as the second half wore on, and the Seahawks led 38-23 before the third quarter ended. The flurry of scoring continued relentlessly in the fourth quarter, but the Lions’ defense never did manage to give Jared Goff and the offense a chance to catch the Seahawks. Seattle and Detroit combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense, but it was the Seahawks who picked up a huge road win while more than doubling their previous scoring high.
Next Week: Seattle: at New Orleans, Detroit: at New England
Titans 24, Colts 17
As difficult as the beginning of the 2022 season has been for the Tennessee Titans, Mike Vrabel’s team has become very comfortable against the Indianapolis Colts in recent years. The Titans won both matchups last season, and punished the Colts out of the gate with a bruising run game and efficient first half by Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee would lead by as many as 21, and looked capable of blowing out the Colts in the second quarter. Indianapolis would eventually awaken, scoring 14 unanswered points en route to a deficit of just 24-17 as the fourth quarter began. Indianapolis would settle for a surprising field goal attempt with just over two minutes to play, missing it badly from 51 yards out and setting up the Titans with an opportunity to ice the game. Derrick Henry gave Tennessee a vintage performance in the win, finishing with 114 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Next Week: Tennessee: at Washington, Indianapolis: at Denver
Giants 20, Bears 12
The Chicago Bears and New York Giants entered Sunday’s action a combined 4-2, two of the most surprising stories of the early NFL season. Both endeavored to prove their legitimacy Sunday, with Chicago having the opportunity to take first place in the NFC North – at least for a few hours – with a win. The Bears moved the ball well early but struggled to finish drives, settling for three first half field goals. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones punished Chicago on the ground, rushing for two scores en route to a 14-9 halftime lead. Daniel Jones would later leave the game with an injury as the fourth quarter began, replaced by veteran backup Tyrod Taylor. Jones returned after only a few minutes, but both offenses were quiet for much of the second half. New York would add their second field goal with six minutes remaining, pushing their lead to 20-12 heading into the game’s quiet final stanza. Giants running back Saquon Barkley had another huge day, leading the way with 146 yards on the ground in another New York win.
Next Week: New York: at Green Bay (London), Chicago: at Minnesota
Eagles 29, Jaguars 21
Philadelphia Eagles fans are well aware of how effective Doug Pederson is as a head coach, and greeted him loudly Sunday afternoon as they hosted Pederson’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville made an early statement, intercepting Jalen Hurts for a touchdown to start the game and adding another early score to build a solid lead. Philadelphia would climb back into the game quickly, marching up and down the field for three touchdowns to take a 20-14 halftime lead of their own. The wet and windy weather intensified as the second half began, leading to a scoreless third quarter and setting the stage for a potentially exciting finish. Philadelphia would not relent, though, scoring 10 consecutive points in the fourth to all but put the game away. Miles Sanders dominated the day on the ground for the Eagles, eventually finishing the day with 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Jacksonville would add a touchdown to pull within a score late, but the Eagles defense would do enough in the final minutes to secure the win.
Next Week: Philadelphia: at Arizona, Jacksonville: vs Houston
Jets 24, Steelers 20
The New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers entered Sunday’s contest with rather low offensive expectations, despite the return of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson from injury. Things got off to an unsurprisingly slow start, but it was the Jets who would score the first half’s only touchdown and lead 10-6 at the break. As the second half began, head coach Mike Tomlin made the decision many Steelers fans were begging to see for weeks: he benched quarterback Mitch Trubisky, replacing him with rookie Kenny Pickett. Pickett was intercepted on his first drive but would quickly pick up his first career rushing touchdown moments later to give the Steelers a 13-10 lead. Pickett would complete his next six consecutive passes and run the ball into the end zone for a second time to extend Pittsburgh’s lead early into the fourth quarter. Zach Wilson would engineer a touchdown drive of his own, pulling New York back within a field goal with just over seven minutes remaining. After a huge defensive stop by the Jets gave Zach Wilson and their offense back the ball, Wilson would meticulously drive his team downfield, going 6 for 6 through the air en route to a game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds left. Both teams blew 10-point leads Sunday afternoon, but it was ultimately the Jets who would prevail in an exciting back-and-forth battle.
Next Week: New York: vs Miami, Pittsburgh: at Buffalo
Bills 23, Ravens 20
The Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens met in rainy Baltimore on Sunday afternoon for one of the most anticipated matchups of the NFL’s Week 4 slate of games. The Bills would struggle to take care of the football early on, turning it over twice as the Ravens pounced for an early 20-3 lead. Buffalo’s high-powered offense would eventually get going though, scoring 17 unanswered points capped off by a Josh Allen run that tied the game at 20 late in the third quarter. Both defenses would make countless big plays as the rainy second half went along, but it was the Buffalo Bills who would break through on the game’s final drive, setting up a game-winning chip shot field goal. It was far from a vintage afternoon for Josh Allen, who passed for only 213 yards but made every big play Buffalo needed down the stretch. Buffalo had previously lost 39 straight games when trailing by 17 or more, and Josh Allen had never engineered a 17-point comeback in his young career. Now 2-2, Baltimore is left wondering what could have been after turning the ball over twice and failing to score in the second half.
Next Week: Buffalo: vs Pittsburgh, Baltimore: vs Cincinnati
Cardinals 26, Panthers 16
The early portion of this season has not gone the way either the Arizona Cardinals or Carolina Panthers imagined, leaving both teams in dire need of a win to get their campaign back on track. Carolina has beaten Arizona each of the last three seasons, scoring at least 31 points each time. The Panthers would strike first on Sunday afternoon, as Frankie Luvu returned a Kyler Murray interception for a touchdown to start the scoring. Kyler Murray would eventually find Zach Ertz in the end zone for a third quarter touchdown, tying the game 10-10. Baker Mayfield’s sloppiness eventually did the Panthers in, as Arizona took control in the second half. Mayfield was picked off twice and finished with just 197 yards passing on the day and being booed off the field by fans on multiple occasions. Kyler Murray finished the day with three total touchdowns, all in the second half to lead the Cardinals to a 2-2 record and back into contention in the NFC West.
Next Week: Carolina: vs San Francisco, Arizona: vs Philadelphia
Packers 27, Patriots 24 (OT)
The New England Patriots thought they’d be turning to Brian Hoyer with Mac Jones injured, hoping the veteran could pull off the surprising upset on the road at Lambeau Field. Hoyer would lead the Patriots to a 3-0 lead but exited not long after with an injury of his own. Fourth round pick and rookie Bailey Zappe took over for the Pats, taking his first career snap from inside his own five-yard line on. The Packers eventually jumped out to a 7-3 lead but struggled to extend drives as the Patriots’ defense proved stout through the duration of the first half. Rookie defensive back Jack Jones had an unbelievable first half for the New England, forcing and recovering a fumble then running an Aaron Rodgers interception back for a touchdown to give New England a 10-7 halftime lead. The teams would trade leads in the second half, with Bailey Zappe and Aaron Rodgers both passing for touchdowns. After Green Bay tied the game at 17 with a field goal, Bailey Zappe led a crisp, efficient drive leading to a Damien Harris touchdown to give the Patriots the lead in the fourth quarter. Rodgers and the Packers would respond in kind, as Rodgers connected with rookie Romeo Doubs in the end zone to tie it up with six minutes left to play. Doubs was targeted to catch another touchdown in the closing minutes but couldn’t control the ball as he hit the ground, sending the game to overtime, 24-24. Green Bay won the coin toss, but both defenses would hold for three-and-outs to begin the extra period. Given a second chance, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wouldn’t falter again – this time converting for a game winning Mason Crosby field goal as time expired.
Next Week: Green Bay: vs NY Giants, New England: vs Detroit
Raiders 32, Broncos 23
The Las Vegas Raiders have owned the Denver Broncos over the last two years, winning four straight entering Sunday afternoon’s meeting. Sitting at 0-3, Vegas desperately needed to make it five in a row Sunday if they were going to have any chance at competing in a tough AFC West division. Las Vegas’ defense came up huge in the first half, returning a fumble for a touchdown for the first time since 2014. The Raiders would head into halftime with a 19-16 lead, despite being outgained by a small margin in the early going. Las Vegas would add two field goals as the second half wore on, extending their lead to 25-16 early in the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson and the Broncos would respond with a touchdown of their own to pull within two, but the defense couldn’t get the stop when they desperately needed it ultimately falling to the silver and black. Josh Jacobs had an incredible day running the football for the Raiders, finishing with 144 yards and two huge touchdowns.
Next Week: Las Vegas: at Kansas City, Denver: vs Indianapolis
Chiefs 41, Buccaneers 31
A home game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers felt less than likely earlier in the week, but Sunday night’s Chiefs-Bucs showdown would end up starting at the time and place originally scheduled. It was a long week for the state of Florida, dealing with destruction and tragedy in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and many others associated with the NFL are donating generously to relief efforts, joining the likes of philanthropists like Jim McIngvale of Gallery Sports in support of Florida’s rebuild. The game got off to an awful start for the Buccaneers, who fumbled the opening kickoff leading to a quick Chiefs touchdown. Kansas City would score at will throughout the first half, leading 28-17 at the break behind two Patrick Mahomes touchdown passes. Kansas City continued to press the issue as the night went on, pushing their lead to 41-24 by the middle of the fourth quarter. Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes each passed for three touchdowns, but the early Bucs turnover and a complete inability to run the ball kept Tampa from having a chance in this offensive onslaught.
Next Week: Kansas City: vs Las Vegas, Tampa Bay: vs Atlanta