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Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears

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We’re almost a quarter of the way through the NFL season already and we’re starting to see some teams really separate themselves from the pack a lot of middling teams and some woefully inept teams. Before the Seahawks and Giants put a bow on Week 4 tonight, let’s take a look at some of the biggest highs and lows of Sunday’s action.

Bad Scary: Matt Eberflus Is In Way Over His Head

I have been trying not to make the Bears a weekly staple on this list, but then again, it’s their fault for not getting themselves off of it.  The Chicago Bears carried a 28-7 lead over the Denver Broncos, Justin Fields had a career day, including setting the franchise record for consecutive completions and yet Eberflus found a way to put them back in the loss column.  For some reason, the Bears took their foot off the gas after halftime and let the Broncos storm back into the game.  Matt Eberflus then made multiple baffling decisions in the most critical part of the game.  On 4th and 1 and a chance to kick the go-ahead field goal, Eberflus elected to burn a timeout by trying to get the Broncos to jump offsides (they didn’t) and then still elected to send the offense out there in the shotgun and hand it off in a play that was D.O.A.  The Broncos took the ball and kicked the go-ahead field goal and the Bears fell to 0-4 and have lost 14 straight games.

You may be saying “Ebeflus doesn’t call the offensive plays, so how is that 4th and 1 call on him?”.  To that I respond with he’s electing to go for it instead of kicking the field goal because he didn’t trust his defense (the defense HE CALLS PLAYS FOR BY THE WAY) could stop the Broncos offense.  How any defensive player in that locker room feels any sort of good about their coach after that is beyond me.  He’s in over his head.  He was a bad hire to begin with and it’s a matter of time before the plug gets pulled on yet another failed Bears coaching hire.

Good Scary: Baker Mayfield & The Bucs….Are Good?

It sure seems that way.  The Buccaneers looked to be in a reset mode with Tom Brady retiring last season, but they look almost rejuvenated at this point.  At 3-1, they lead the NFC South and are one of the surprise teams of the early season.  Baker Mayfield has had a phenomenal start to the season, throwing for seven touchdowns with only two interceptions and a completion percentage just shy of 70-percent.  The defense has been really good as well and they now head into their very early bye week feeling really confident.  The tests will be coming though.  The Lions are up next in Week 6 and games against the Bills and 49ers aren’t far behind after that.  It’s been fun so far.

Bad Scary: The Cincinnati Bengals Are In Trouble

What on Earth is going on in Cincinnati?  The Bengals got waxed by the Titans on Sunday in a 27-3 rout and fell to 1-3 on the season.  It’d be one thing if it was just a couple of things that didn’t go their way but THIS version of the Bengals?  This looks like their season is hanging in the balance unless they can turn it around quick.  Joe Burrow got a fat pay raise ahead of the season and while he may be a bit banged up, he has looked nothing like the Joe Burrow we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.  Through four games, Burrow’s thrown for just two touchdowns, both of which came in their Week 2 game against the Ravens.  Ja’Marr Chase seems to be getting frustrated, Tee Higgins is injured, and the defense got rolled by Derrick Henry.  They hit the road against the Cardinals in Week 5 and that game looks more daunting now than it ever should have.

Good Scary: The Buffalo Bills Are Taking Names

So much for the Miami Dolphins walking through the AFC East, huh?  The marquee matchup on the Week 4 slate saw the Buffalo Bills manhandle the Dolphins 48-20.  Fresh off of putting 70 on the Broncos, all eyes were focused on Mike McDaniel and company to see what they did for an encore and the answer was a resounding: not much.  The Bills, specifically Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, dominated the Dolphins defense through the air.  Allen threw four touchdown passes, Diggs caught three of them and the defense got to Tua four different occasions.  The Bills were going under the radar a bit in the AFC with the Dolphins and Chiefs but that wasn’t the case on Sunday.

Bonus Good Scary: The Toy Story Simulcast

Yes, I watched the Toy Story simulcast of Falcons-Jaguars on Sunday morning.  More importantly, my three daughters sat and watched the Toy Story simulcast with me and were as into it as I am during a normal football game.  There were early glitches and I got worried that this was going to be a crash and burn situation for Disney+ but they had plenty of distractions to make up for the early hiccups.  The broadcast was fascinating to watch with the regular game on a separate TV to compare and contrast.  How would they handle this?  How would they handle that?  They had shorter commercial breaks than the normal broadcast with a large chunk of commercials dedicated to Toy Stoy and NFL trivia for families to play along to.  They had a halftime show featuring Canada’s most famous stuntman, Duke Caboom, as he launched over five double-decker buses and the claw from the crane game helped spot the ball while Slinky Dog was used as the first down yardage marker.  It was a fun and fascinating experiment that I hope they do again.  On top of all that, my daughters sat through an entire football game and weren’t asking to watch something else at any point. That’s a major win in my book.

-Marc Dykton

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