Every week, we’ll go through some of the best and worst of the notable Sunday performances and plays. Here they are for Week 4.
Offensive Player of the Week: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones was spectacular on Sunday as he broke out big time with a 12-catch, 300-yard performance. In doing so, the Alabama product became just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to have at least 300 yards receiving in a game. He’s also the first to do it since Lions wideout Calvin Johnson had 329 yards on October 8, 2013 against the Cowboys.
Jones has long been regarded as one of the league’s most physically-gifted receivers, but occasionally we’re reminded that he might be the best. Back on December 8, 2014 he torched the Packers for 259 yards a week after getting 189 against the Cardinals. Last year he broke the 100-yard mark in nine games and had more than 135 yards eight times. In the final three games of 2015 he caught a combined 27 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns. Last season he also led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,871 — besting Antonio Brown by 37 yards, while the two tied for the lead in receptions at 136.
After his explosion on Sunday, Jones leads the NFL with 448 yards so far this season. He is also averaging a ridiculous 22.2 yards per reception. So yeah, teams might want to start game-planning solely to stop him.
Jones is just 27 and starting to pull away from the pack as the NFL’s most explosive receiver now that Calvin Johnson has retired.
Defensive Player of the Week: Zach Brown, Buffalo Bills
Zach Brown (no, not that one) went off against the Patriots on Sunday during the Bills’ 16-0 win over their division rivals. Brown racked up 18 tackles (13 solo), a sack, two forced fumbles and three stuffs. He was everywhere and has developed into a force for Rex Ryan’s defense.
The 26-year-old inside linebacker was an intriguing prospect headed into the 2012 NFL Draft. A linebacker out of North Carolina, Brown was notable for his absurd combination of size (6’1″ and 244 pounds) and track-star speed (he ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the combine).
Brown largely existed in obscurity after the Titans took him in the second round of the 2012 draft. His four years in Tennessee were solid but not spectacular and he was allowed to walk in free agency after the 2015 season. He inked a one-year deal with the Bills and appears to have found a real home in Buffalo.
Most Impressive Rookie: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Zeke had a great game on Sunday. He rushed for 138 yards and a score on 23 carries, while adding 19 yards on one reception. He averaged 6.54 yards per touch during Dallas’ 24-17 win over the 49ers. On the season Elliott is already leading the NFL in rushing with 412 yards.
The rookie has hit the ground running (God I hate how punny that sounds) in the NFL. He’s leading the league with 103.0 yards per game, 27 first-down runs and four runs of 20-plus yards. Aside from his two fumbles there’s really not much to complain about from his first four NFL games.
Imagining Dak Prescott and Elliott sharing a backfield for the next decade may be enough for Jerry Jones to forego Viagra for a while.
Hottest Seat: Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers
Do I really have to explain this again? Just look at his reaction in the middle of an epic, 13-point fourth-quarter collapse that happened in the span of five minutes:
Is he even breathing? Maybe he’s like those lizards who breathe out of their eyelids?
Having McCoy in charge during a crisis scenario is like throwing gasoline on a grease fire. This is what I have to deal with on a weekly basis. Thanks, Chargers.
Someone seriously needs to put him out of my misery.
Randy Fasani Award: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This season has not been kind to the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota each could have won the Fasani Award this week, but the nod has to go to the Florida State product, who was awful in Tampa Bay’s 27-7 loss to the Broncos.
Winston completed just 17 of 35 passes (48.6 percent) for 179 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 19 yards and a score on five carries, but it wasn’t enough to make the Bucs remotely competitive against Denver.
Winston finished Week 4 with a quarterback rating of 40.1 and a Total QBR of 42.7. That brought his passer rating down to 72.9 on the year, while his QBR fell to 65.0. He now has eight interceptions to go with his eight touchdowns and his completion percentage (58.2) has regressed from last year’s mark (58.3).
The 22-year-old signal-caller should be showing marked improvement at this point, but neither he, nor Mariota have shown any development this season. That’s bad news for the Bucs and the Titans.
*The Randy Fasani Award is given weekly to the NFL quarterback who turns in the worst performance. Fasani is the award’s namesake because he had one career start and turned in a 0.0 passer rating. That makes him the worst starting quarterback in NFL history.
Worst Fantasy Beat in History:
You think you had a bad fantasy week, imagine being this guy who had both Julio Jones and Matt Ryan and still found a way to lose. That’s right, he got 89 points from two players and lost.
Most Entertaining Meltdown: San Diego Chargers
Yeah, I’m a Chargers fan, but Sunday’s epic collapse against the Saints was hilarious. For those who were lucky enough to miss it, the Chargers led the winless Saints 34-21 with 6:50 remaining and the Bolts had the ball. In less than seven minutes, they fumbled twice, surrendered two easy touchdowns and lost 12 yards on the first three plays of their final possession before Philip Rivers threw an interception on fourth and 22. Oh, and they were playing at home.
What are your feelings on that performance Coach McCoy?
That’s what I thought.
Cam Newton Helmet-to-Helmet Hit of the Week:
Since this seems to be a weekly thing we figured we’d just give it its own category.
Welcome back to the concussion protocol Cam. Take your usual seat, we’ll be right with you.
Best Hand-Eye Coordination of the Week: Jimmy Graham, Seahawks
I gotchu fam…
Worst Hand-Eye-Coordination of the Week: Jason Garrett, Cowboys:
It never works when guys try to be the “cool dad.” You’re just forcing it Jason. Just be yourself.
Holy Sh*t He’s Fast Moment of the Week: Will Fuller, Houston Texans
Holy sh*t he’s fast.
Angry Belichick Moment of the Week:
#TFW when you realize your mom bought you a Microsoft Surface, instead of an iPad:
Harambe Tribute of the Week:
A guy dressed as a gorilla wearing an “all lives matter” shirt just ran onto the field at the Bears game pic.twitter.com/QJLfuS1b1U
— Nik Gaur (@Gaur_Nik) October 2, 2016
Insult to Injury Moment of the Week:
The Giants flew all the way to Minnesota just to get slapped around by the Vikings. In the middle of that, returner Dwayne Harris muffed a punt and as he scrambled to recover the fumble he had one of his dreadlocks ripped out.
OUCH. Hey it could be worse for Harris, he could constantly have this look on his face:
Yep, compared to that having a dread ripped out actually sounds pleasant.