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NFL Week 4 winners and losers: Giants show plenty of fight

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Week four seemed like a positive week, right? I mean, the Giants won in a resilient comeback fashion on the road in a hostile environment. It’s a step in the right direction, but the hole is still deep at 1-3. There was a bunch of interesting NFL action and divisional matchups in week four. The schedule has now turned to October. As the leaves start to turn colors, the clarity on playoff aspirations starts to materialize.

The Giants and Jets get their first wins of the season, as the Jaguars remain winless after almost upsetting the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. Detroit joins the Jaguars as they struggled to contain David Montgomery early in the game. Unfortunately, Montgomery left the game with a knee injury. The Chiefs get back to a five-hundred record after defeating the Eagles, on a short week, 42-30. Let’s check in on the winners & losers from this week.

Winners

Giants resiliency

The Giants were down 21-10 with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter and they found a way to win the football game. I have been very critical of the Giants offense, and their inability to generate explosive plays. Well, they generated some in their 27-21 road overtime victory over the Saints.

Daniel Jones sparked the comeback with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley (who was phenomenal) ,who did a great job evading defenders and finding the end zone. That play happened because Lorenzo Carter and Azeez Ojulari kept Alvin Kamara from converting on a third down opportunity - something the Giants defense struggled with sans Blake Martinez.

The Giants were efficient on the game-tying field goal. They had an 11-play, 54-yard drive that led to Graham Gano’s 48-yard field goal. The Giants were fortuitous enough to win the coin toss. Then Jones and the offense drove the football down the field for a touchdown, and a win. The Saints defense gave up 485-yards against the Giants. The most they have surrendered on the season was 383 against Carolina.

Daniel Jones went north of 400 yards for the first time in his career. He had never been north of 300 with Jason Garrett as his coordinator.

This was a huge win, and a great effort by Jones, Garrett, and the rest of the team. Garrett did a great job using Kadarius Toney’s skill set. Toney had six catches for 78 yards. The Giants will attempt to ride this momentum into Dallas where they’ll play the 3-1 Cowboys next week.

Trevon Diggs

Alright, it’s official...Diggs is a very good cornerback. Diggs had a turbulent rookie season where he wasn’t always in position and he would surrender big catches to talented receivers. It’s not exactly uncommon for that to happen to young cornerbacks, but he has really stabilized under the tutelage of Dan Quinn.

Diggs had an interception in each of his first three games, and he intercepted Sam Darnold twice in week four. He’s a long physical cornerback who is playing with a chip on his shoulder. He’s blossoming into a very nice player that the Giants will have to deal with for years. They’ll get an up-close and personal look at him next week.

Kliff Kingsbury

The Cardinals have an exciting offense - there’s no doubting that fact. However, head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been subjected to warranted criticism. Many pundits have pointed to his lack of experience as an issue in the NFC West - a division with Pete Carroll, Sean McVay, and Kyle Shanahan as head coaches.

Kingsbury never defeated the Rams. Before week four, the Rams were considered the hottest team in the NFL, coming off a 34-24 victory over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Kingsbury was ready for McVay and Matt Stafford; the Cardinals jumped all over the Rams and put a 37-20 beatdown against one of the scariest defenses at home.

The Cardinals sit atop the NFC West at 4-0. Seattle went into San Francisco and defeated the 49ers 28-21. The Cardinals have to be in the conversation for the top team in the NFL after this dismantling of the Rams. The Cardinals will host the 49ers in week five.

Tight Ends

Sunday was a day for big tight end performances in the red zone. The Thursday night performance of C.J. Uzomah motivated these big receiving threats. Both Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz found paydirt in the Cowboys 36-28 victory. Bills’ tight end Dawson Knox continued his excellent start to 2021 by securing two more touchdown passes from Josh Allen. Knox had five catches for 37-yards and those two scores.

Big Mo-Ali Cox secured two touchdown passes from Carson Wentz in the Colts 27-17 victory. Juwan Johnson caught a touchdown pass over Jabrill Peppers in the Saints 27-21 overtime loss to the Giants. Noah Fant had a red zone touchdown as well, as did big Maxx Williams in the Cardinals/Rams matchup. The hobbled George Kittle played, but it was Ross Dwelly that caught a first quarter touchdown from Jimmy Garoppolo. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith also scored on Sunday Night Football against the Buccaneers.

Tyreek Hill

For two straight weeks, defenses were able to contain the Cheetah. The Ravens and the Chargers focused their defenses on stopping Hill and they both earned upset victories against the Chiefs. Many speculated if the Eagles would replicate the blueprint, since they’re mainly a two-high, don’t get beat deep, defense - as we saw against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Hill had eight catches for 70 yards in those two losses. He bounced back in a big way. Hill had eleven catches on twelve targets for 186-yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles were consistently defeated by Hill and the arm of Patrick Mahomes. Tyreek Hill is one of the best receivers in the league and he just had a performance similar to his dismantling of the Buccaneers secondary in the Chiefs 27-24 Week 12 victory last season.

Losers

Tennessee Titans

Losing on the road isn’t uncommon, especially when you’re as dinged up as the Titans are at receiver, but the Titans had several opportunities to win this football game, yet they failed to do so leading to Zach Wilson’s first win in the league. Tennessee somehow brought this game to overtime after an 11-play, 74-yard touchdown drive as time expired.

It appeared like this would be a very “Jet like” loss. The Jets received the ball in overtime and settled for a field goal at the four yard line - a definite win for the Titans’ defense. The Titans then drove the football down the field and gave their kicker the opportunity to essentially settle for a tie, but he missed his 49-yard field goal.

Losing to the 0-3 Jets with a rookie quarterback and head coach is painful. This is the NFL - it’s very competitive. However, watching the Colts go on the road and soundly earn a win against a respectable, albeit Jacoby Brisset led, Dolphins team, just to see your own team falter against the Jets is, well, disappointing.

The AFC South is struggling this year, and it’s really a two-team race between the Titans and the Colts. This loss stings, but the Titans will have to regroup on the road against the Jaguars who will have extended rest. Hopefully they’ll have Julio Jones back for this game. Corey Davis going north of 100 yards and a touchdown was just salt in the wound for Mike Vrabel.

The Vikings hopes

The Vikings could have realistically been undefeated after beating the Seahawks 30-17 last week at home. A late Dalvin Cook fumble cost them in week one against the Bengals, and a Greg Joseph missed field goal prevented them from defeating the Cardinals. They’re still well in playoff contention, and their roster is fine, but many anticipated a better game against a very good Cleveland Browns opponent.

Cleveland has the ability to control the ball and keep opposing offenses on the sideline - they did just that against the Vikings. Minnesota struggled with the Browns pass rush, dealt with a dinged up Dalvin Cook, and just couldn’t get much going other than their touchdown drive to Justin Jefferson.

Many hoped the Vikings offense would counterbalance the Browns offensive approach, but Kirk Cousins failed to stay hot. He went 20 of 38 for 203-yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Browns defense isn’t a joke, but many expected more from this offense at home.

The Falcons second half

Starting the second-half by allowing a kick return touchdown is never a recipe for success.

It’s disappointing for everyone else in the NFC East to see the Washington Football Team defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense could only possess the ball for eight plays in the fourth quarter before their final five-play drive that ended before Younghoe Koe had the opportunity to kick the game-tying field goal.

Washington had two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to propel themselves to 2-2. They had a 10-play, 70-yard drive, and a 7-play, 75 yard drive that were finished with Terry McLaurin and J.D. McKissic touchdown receptions. McLaurin had two on the day, and Washington failed on both two-point conversions.

Similar to their Week 2 win over the Giants, the Washington offense found a way to overcome and secure a late-game victory. Cordarrelle Patterson’s three touchdowns failed to propel Atlanta. The Falcons now fall to 1-3 - their only win being last week against the Giants.

Ty’Son Williams

Undrafted rookie out of BYU Ty’Son Williams was presumably a healthy scratch for the Ravens’ Week 4 23-7 victory in Denver. The tea leaves suggested that Williams may be in trouble. He was hardly used, in terms of touches, in Baltimore’s week three come from behind 19-17 victory over the Lions.

Williams played over 50 percent of the snaps, but only saw five touches. Williams made several rookie type of mistakes early in the season. A couple blown pass assignments resulted in the Lamar Jackson fumble which led to the Raiders win in Week 1. Williams provides juice and youth to the Ravens hobbled backfield - a backfield that lost JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. John Harbaugh elected to roll with Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell over Williams in Week 4. If he was a healthy scratch, that’s not a good sign.

All NFL running backs

Sam Darnold leads the league in rushing touchdowns. Darnold added two rushing touchdowns in the Panthers’ Week 4 loss to Dallas. Darnold has five touchdowns; Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliot have four touchdowns. Taysom Hill has three, two were against the Giants. I’m obviously writing this in jest, but it’s still crazy to think Darnold leads the league in rushing touchdowns through four games.