Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
After spending the past week talking about nothing except for Tom Brady’s return to New England, I have some bad news for you (or good news, depending on your point of view): We’re going to talk about it some more today and that’s because the Patriots and Buccaneers gave us a crazy game.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Brady’s return to New England actually lived up to the hype, and to be honest, it might have exceeded it. I was on the edge of my seat for four straight quarters and I almost fell off my seat when Bill Belichick decided to attempt a 56-yard field goal in the final minutes despite the fact that there appeared to be a hurricane in New England. Despite the heavy rain, Nick Folk’s kick ALMOST went in, but it bounced off the left upright, allowing Brady to escape with a 19-17 win.
We’ll be talking about that game in today’s newsletter plus every other game that went down on Sunday. We’ll also be making our picks for tonight’s Raiders-Chargers game, so let’s get to the rundown.
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1. Today’s show: Week 4 winners and losers, plus full recap
It’s Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 4, and let me just say, it’s probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 14 games from Sunday, although I have to admit, I think we spent more time talking about Tom Brady’s return to New England than we did the other 13 games combined.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday’s action. For our losers this week, Ryan Wilson is still hating on Big Ben, Brinson is hating on 75% of the AFC East and I went with the Saints.
- Winner: Kyler Murray. The Cardinals are the only 4-0 team in football right now (although the Raiders could join them with a Monday win) and a big reason they’re still undefeated is because Kyler Murray is playing at an MVP-level.
- Loser: Big Ben. Ben Roethlisberger was Wilson’s loser last week and apparently, Wilson has decided that Big Ben is going to be his loser every week until he either wins a game or gets benched for Mason Rudolph. Big Ben is also the loser because based on the face Mike Tomlin made at Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, it kind of looks like the Steelers coach is hoping that Rodgers will be his QB next year (You can see the moment they shared by clicking here).
- Winner: Rookie quarterbacks. After going 1-11 through the first three weeks of the season, the rookie quarterbacks finally showed some promise. Not only did Zach Wilson help the Jets pull off a stunning upset win over the Titans, but Justin Fields also helped the Bears beat Detroit. Not to mention, Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence both played solid even though neither guy won in Week 4.
- Loser: AFC East teams not named the Bills. Four weeks into the season, the Bills are the only team in the NFL that already has a TWO-game lead on every other team in their division. At the rate things are going, the Bills might have the division clinched by Week 9.
- Winner: Cowboys. The secret might finally be out on the Cowboys defense. Last year, they had one of the worst units in the NFL, but his year, Dan Quinn has worked a miracle because the Cowboys now appear to have one of the better defenses in the league. When you combine that with their high-powered offense, it’s starting to feel like the Cowboys might end up coasting to the NFC East title.
- Loser: Saints. In their unofficial home opener, it looked like the Saints were going to roll to a win, but then they somehow blew a 21-10 lead to the Giants over the final seven minutes of the regulation and into overtime. The defensive meltdown was definitely concerning and also, someone needs to tell Sean Payton that his two QB system isn’t working.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here.
2. Week 4 grades: Jets get an ‘A’ for upset win over Titans
Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week the most surprising grade went to the Jets, who got what I’m guessing will be their only ‘A’ of the year.
Here’s a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Jets 27-24 OT win over Titans (Click here for full recap)
- Titans takeaway: When you’re missing your two best receivers, it’s hard to move the ball, and the Titans found that out the hard way in what was easily the most embarrassing loss of the week for any NFL team. With A.J. Brown and Julio Jones both out, Ryan Tannehill’s day turned into a nightmare. The Titans QB threw 19 incomplete passes and he was pressured on nearly every pass. Derrick Henry gave the Titans a heroic performance (33 carries, 157 yards, one TD), but it wasn’t quite enough. The Titans had a chance to tie things up at the end, but Randy Bullock missed a 49-yard FG on the game’s final play. Grade: F
- Jets takeaway: It took four weeks, but the Jets finally have a win and they did it by putting together a nearly perfect performance in all three phases of the game. Defensively, Quinnen Williams led a unit that absolutely suffocated Tannehill. Williams tallied two of New York’s seven sacks, which marked the first time in three years the Jets have recorded that many sacks in a game. The Jets also finally got a breakout performance from Zach Wilson, who threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson threw a 29-yard pass in OT that helped set up a Matt Ammendola field goal that ended up being the game-winner. Grade: A
Colts 27-17 over Dolphins (Click here for full recap)
- Dolphins takeaway: Whatever the Dolphins are doing on offense, it’s not working. It didn’t work with Tua Tagovailoa and it’s not working with Jacoby Brissett. The Dolphins had less than 100 yards of offense through the first three quarters and didn’t start moving the ball until it was way too late. Defensively, the Dolphins just seemed to tire out in the second half, which is what happens when you’re on the field for more than 37 minutes like Miami’s defense was against Indy. Grade: D
- Colts takeaway: The Colts offense got off to a slow start in this game, but it didn’t end up hurting them too much and that’s because their defense absolutely shut down the Dolphins. Not only did the Colts limit Miami to just 73 yards in the first half, but they only gave up ONE drive that went for more than 7 yards during that span, which allowed the Colts offense to build a 7-3 halftime lead that Indy would never relinquish. The Colts offense did finally wake up in the second half and a lot of that was thanks to Jonathan Taylor, who had a 38-yard carry on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Taylor (103 yards on 16 carries) and Carson Wentz (228 yards and two touchdowns) helped spur the Colts to a much-needed win. Grade: B+
As for the other 24 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here.
3. Tom Brady’s return to New England lives up to the hype
In his return to Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady’s Buccaneers edged the Patriots 19-17 in a game that wasn’t decided until Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal attempt missed after bouncing off the left upright with under 60 seconds left to play.
It was a crazy finish to a crazy game that included SEVEN lead changes, which is a ridiculously high number for a game that ended with a 19-17 final score.
Here are a few nuggets from the Buccaneers win:
- Tom Brady wasn’t great, but he was great when he needed to be. The Buccaneers QB put up pedestrian numbers (22 of 43 for 269 yards), but he came through every time Tampa Bay needed him. The Buccaneers trailed two different times in the fourth quarter — 14-13 and 17-16 — and in both instances, Brady responded the next time he touched the ball by leading Tampa Bay downfield for a Ryan Succop field goal. Succop’s final kick, a 48-yarder, came with just 1:57 left to play.
- Buccaneers run wild. After the first few minutes of the game, it became pretty clear that Bill Belichick had devised a game plan that revolved around one thing: He wasn’t going to let Tom Brady beat him. To win this game, the Buccaneers had to run the ball and run the ball they did. Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones combined for 116 yards on 26 carries (4.5 yards per carry). In a wild twist, Tom Brady actually ended up finishing with more rushing yards (three) than the Patriots did as a team (-1).
- Mac Jones had a breakout game. Although there was a lot of pressure on Brady in this game, there was also some serious pressure on Jones and somehow, he seemed to play through it. The rookie QB threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and had a much better night throwing the ball than Brady did.
- High drama at the end. With 59 seconds left to play, Belichick had to make a big decision: Go for it on fourth-and-3 from Tampa Bay’s 37-yard line or attempt a 56-yard field goal. Despite a torrential downpour, Belichick elected to kick the field goal. In one of the most dramatic moments you’ll ever see in a regular season game, the kick, which would have given the Patriots a 20-19 lead, ended up bouncing off the left upright.
- Brady breaks a big record. Going into the game, Brady needed just 68 yards to break the NFL record for most career passing yards and he didn’t waste any time passing Drew Brees in the record book. Brady got the record with a 28-yard pass to Mike Evans midway through the first quarter. With the win, Brady also became just the fourth QB in NFL history to defeat all 32 teams (Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre are the others).
- Belichick and Brady meet up after the game. During the postgame scrum on the field, Brady and Belichick only met up for a split-second, which made it look like they weren’t really fond of each other. However, later in the night, Belichick went to the Buccaneers locker room and ended up spending more than 20 minutes having a private conversation with Brady.
As crazy as the game was, I’m sure both guys are happy to finally have it out of the way.
4. Five crazy facts from Week 4
Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are five crazy facts about Week 4:
- Texans suffer worse loss in franchise history. Houston’s 40-point loss to the Bills was the worst loss in Texans franchise history. It was also the second-biggest win ever for the Bills (The only one bigger came back in 1990 when they beat the Browns 42-0). This game marked the Bills’ second shutout through the first four weeks. Over the past 30 years, the only two teams to pitch two shutouts over the first four weeks ended up winning the Super Bowl (1991 Washington, 2000 Ravens), which seems like a good sign for the Bills.
- Ravens tie all-time rushing record. The Ravens finished with 102 rushing yards on Sunday, which means they’ve now rushed for 100 or more yards in 43 consecutive games, tying the 1974-77 Steelers for the most in NFL history. However, it should be noted that the Ravens’ record definitely comes with some controversy. With three seconds left to play, the Ravens only had 97 rushing yards. At that point, they could have kneeled down and ended the game, but instead, they had Lamar Jackson rush for five yards so that they could keep the streak alive. The Broncos were justifiably upset by this.
- Russell Wilson becomes fastest QB to reach 100 wins. The Seahawks QB won his 100th career game on Sunday and he did it in just 148 starts, which is a new NFL record. Wilson also has a chance to break the record for most wins through 10 seasons, which is currently held by Peyton Manning, who won 105 games during his first 10 seasons (Wilson needs six wins over Seattle’s final 13 games to break the record).
- Chiefs’ win over Eagles features NFL rarity. The punters got the day off in Philadelphia on Sunday and that’s because there were ZERO punts in Kansas City’s 42-30 win over Philly. This marks just the fourth game in NFL history where there was no punts and it’s the first time it’s happened since 2014. The game also featured Andy Reid picking up his 100th career win with the Chiefs, making him the only coach in NFL history to earn 100 career wins with multiple franchises. Fittingly, the record came against the team that once fired Reid.
- Giants and Jets pull off NFL first. For the first time in NFL history, the Giants and Jets both won a game in overtime on the same day. The Jets came back from seven points down to beat the Titans, which is notable, because the Jets had lost 26 straight games when losing by seven or more points.
It was a big win for both teams, but I’ll be shocked if there’s another week this year where the Giants and Jets win on the same day.
5. Monday preview: Prepping you for Raiders at Chargers
There is only one undefeated team left in the AFC and that team will be playing tonight when the Chargers host the Raiders. The Chargers will be gunning to hand the Raiders their first loss of the season and if that happens, that will create a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West.
My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Raiders can win: Derek Carr has been playing at an MVP-level and if that continues tonight, it’s hard to see the Raiders losing. One thing that’s different about Carr this year is that he’s actually throwing the ball downfield. If he can do that against the Chargers, it could turn into a long night for Los Angeles.
- Why the Chargers can win: Although the Raiders are 3-0, their defense hasn’t been great and that’s one thing that the Chargers should be able to take advantage of. The Chargers have weapons all over the field in guys like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler and it’s going to be nearly impossible for the Raiders to stop them all.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.
Dubin’s pick: Chargers 31-27 over Raiders.
My pick: Chargers 34-31 over Raiders.
If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Hunter Renfrow OVER 4.5 receptions (-130): “Renfrow has gone over this total in all three of his games played this season and is currently second on the team in targets, second only to Darren Waller.”
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Derek Carr OVER 36.5 passing attempts (+100): Not only has Derek Carr gone over this total in each of the Raiders’ first three games, but he’s averaging 45.3 pass attempts through the first three weeks. The Raiders offense has revolved completely around Carr this season and if they’re going to win on Monday night, they’re likely going to need a huge effort from him.
You can check out Sullivan’s full gambling preview by clicking here.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
It was a busy weekend in the NFL and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Jimmy Garoppolo could miss multiple weeks. The 49ers QB injured his calf on Sunday and said after the game that he’ll likely miss a few weeks, which means Trey Lance is almost certainly in line to make his first start of the season on Sunday in a game against the 4-0 Cardinals. The 49ers are also dealing with injuries to left tackle Trent Williams and kicker Robbie Gould.
- Teddy Bridgewater suffers a concussion. Drew Lock saw his first action of the season on Sunday after Bridgewater went down. It’s not clear how serious the concussion is, but if Bridgewater can’t play this week, that means Lock will get the start against the Steelers.
- David Montgomery could be out for the season. The Bears running back injured his knee on Sunday and the initial diagnosis is that he tore his ACL, according to ESPN.com. If that’s the case, that’s a huge loss. Montgomery was so good against Detroit — he rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns — that he took a lot of pressure off Justin Fields, allowing the rookie QB to succeed. Despite Fields’ success, Matt Nagy is planning to start Andy Dalton in Week 5 if he’s healthy enough to play.
- Rob Gronkowski’s injury more serious than originally thought. Although we knew Gronk was dealing with a rib injury, we didn’t know how bad it was, but now we do: Not only does Gronk have four cracked ribs, but he’s also dealing with a punctured lung. It was going to take a lot to keep him from playing against the Patriots and that definitely qualifies as a lot.
- Urban Meyer apologizes for viral video. The Jaguars coach was caught on video in a compromising situation over the weekend and apparently, he has an explanation for what happened. Meyer said he was at an event where people tried to get him on the dance floor and that he should have made better judgements. If you haven’t seen the video, you can check it out by clicking here.
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