Jameis Winston was the NFL Rookie of the Year, and the Bucs improved his offensive line in the offseason. And yet, through four games, he’s been wildly inconsistent, and once again, turnover prone. Winston’s problem in 2015? Turnovers. He had 15 interceptions and three fumbles. He’s well ahead of that pace this year: eight interceptions and two fumbles.
Marcus Mariota, the #2 pick in 2015, and he might have captured Rookie of the Year, but an injury limited him to 12 games. He had 18 turnovers like Winston (10 INTs, six fumbles), but unlike Winston, he had a vastly inferior group of WRs/RBs. While Tennessee upgraded his RBs (DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry), they’ve got some of the worst WRs in the league. Mariota through four games this year: 4 TD, 5 INT, 2 fumbles.
Both teams are 1-3, but at least Mariota faces the Dolphins and Browns next. Winston has the Panthers and 49ers on the horizon.
San Diego is only 1-3, but the three losses are by a combined 11 points. Worse yet, they led during all three of those losses in the 4th quarter. And yes, it gets worse: The Chargers led by 13+ points in two of those losses.
San Diego led Kansas City 27-10 in the 4th quarter before totally collapsing and losing in overtime. Sunday, the Chargers led the Saints 34-21 with five minutes left … and lost.
This is probably one reason that some people want Mike McCoy fired.
SHHHH, A YOUNG QB IS DEALING
Derek Carr and the Raiders are 3-1, the first time they’ve been two games over .500 in five years. It hasn’t been easy, with two 1-point wins, and against Tennessee, they got lucky the Titans blew the final few plays in the red zone. Carr has been tremendous: 9 TDs and just one interception, and he’s among the Top 5 of QBs in completion percentage (making much safer throws than last year, which has cut down his YPA) and QB rating and he’s 6th in Total QBR.
With the win over the Ravens, the Raiders have four very winnable games ahead before a showdown with Denver in November: vs 1-3 San Diego, vs 2-2 Kansas City, at 1-3 Jacksonville, at 1-3 Tampa Bay.
Quick reminder: The Browns passed on Derek Carr to draft Johnny Manziel in 2015.
CAN’T STOP OR CONTAIN HIM
Julio Jones shredded the Josh Norman-less Carolina secondary for a career-high 300 yards (on 12 catches). His 300 yards are the 6th highest total in NFL history. The best? Flipper Anderson of the Rams caught 15 passes for 336 yards against the Saints. Your move, AJ Green.
PLEASE SEND HELP
I firmly believe Andrew Luck is the best young QB in the NFL, the guy I’d want if I’m starting a team. But he continues to be battered by his inept offensive line. The Jaguars hit Luck 13 times in London and sacked him six times in the 30-27 win. Luck did rally the Colts with 21 4th quarter points- that’s becoming a weekly thing – but ultimately it isn’t going to matter if the line can’t protect Luck. He’s been sacked 15 times through four games, tops in the NFL.
FINDING POSITIVE IN 0-5
The Browns gagged away another 2nd half lead and lost to the Redskins, 31-20. If you’re looking for a silver lining: LB Cam Johnson. He’d played in 13 games in his young career (7th round pick in 2012 by San Francisco), and recorded no meaningful stats. Sunday against Washington: Two sacks, two tackles for loss and three QB hits.
SUPER BOWL LOSER’S CURSE
The Super Bowl loser’s curse is a real thing, and at 1-3, good luck climbing out of the hole. Carolina’s defense is in shambles. It was 3rd in the best in opponent yards per play last year (4.9) and that number has ballooned to 5.8 this season. Starting two rookie cornerbacks after losing Josh Norman can’t help.
It gets worse: Under the current playoff format, the Panthers are the 8th team to start 1-3 after appearing in the Super Bowl. Only one of those seven teams made the playoffs (the 1996 Cowboys, who lost Emmitt Smith to injury in Week 1, and didn’t have Michael Irvin for the first five weeks due to suspension).