What We Learned From Week 4 of the N.F.L. Season

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Totally dismantling a Carolina Panthers defense that has dominated the rest of the N.F.L. this year, Dak Prescott looked like a Tremendous Bowl-caliber quarterback that Jerry Jones doubted he at any time would be.

Right after all, it was Jones who experienced initially desired Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook to Prescott in the 2016 draft. The Dallas Cowboys owner was apoplectic when the Cowboys failed to trade into the initially spherical for Lynch. That weekend, Prescott was tiny far more than a consolation prize, and there had been even customers of the Cowboys’ entrance office who didn’t even look at Prescott as a draftable player then.

Jerry’s Entire world is a wacky put, in truth.

Prescott gained — promptly — and was forced to hold out six yrs to get paid.

Just after utilizing the franchise tag on Prescott in 2020, Jones finally gave the quarterback a extended-term offer in advance of this 2021 year. Now, Prescott seems prepared to reward the Super Bowl-starved Jones. The greatest takeaway from 7 days 4 in the N.F.L.?

Against a Carolina protection that has been suffocating offenses — No. 1 in sacks, No. 1 in quarterback hits, No. 2 in factors permitted by means of three weeks — Dallas’s new $160-million-dollar gentleman coolly concluded 14 of 22 passes for 188 yards with 4 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 130.3 passer rating in a convincing 36-28 acquire.

Granted, the period is younger. There is however time for both Jones or Mike McCarthy to meddle with what is operating, by way of a bizarre trade in the center of the period or brain-boggling clock mismanagement. Both are able of sabotaging a potential winner, as we’ve noticed. But a single is in the booth and a person is on the sideline. It is Prescott with the ball in his fingers each and every engage in and Prescott totally offers the Cowboys a authentic shot at ending a 25-12 months championship drought.

With the rating tied, 7-7, at the conclusion of the initially quarter, on fourth-and-1 near midfield, the Panthers had all of Dallas’s receivers blanketed. Prescott did not wait. He noticed a crease and took off for 21 yards to continue to keep the drive alive. A few snaps later, he knifed an 18-garden touchdown to restricted finish Blake Jarwin.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold ran in for his 2nd speeding landing to thrust Carolina ahead, 14-13, Carolina skipped a area-target attempt on its first push of the 3rd quarter and Prescott struck all over again.

With Carolina deploying a single-significant safety, Prescott was decisive yet again.

Planting his ideal foot at the Panthers’ 44-garden line, he rainbowed a elegance to Amari Cooper for a touchdown that set Dallas in advance, 20-14. Few defenses in today’s N.F.L. ever cede a one-on-a person prospect together the boundary like that. Prescott read it and pounced on just the kind of throw these Cowboys need to have to continually make from elite defenses. Even more, the Cowboys’ offensive line did an exceptional work finding up the unique blitz.

Dallas never ever appeared back again, ultimately extending its direct to 36-14.

Even in a league complete of quarterbacks married to the sport, Prescott’s maniacal get the job done ethic stands out as scarce. Given that 2016, he has greatly improved each facet of his game: precision, athleticism, arm energy. If he was a caretaker as a rookie, he’s indisputably just one of the finest playmakers in the N.F.L. nowadays.

And the just one factor of his sport that hardly ever wavered? His management. By most accounts, Prescott endeared himself to veterans, rookies and team staffers from Working day 1. And his 1st coordinator in Dallas, Scott Linehan, the moment advised me that even with Tony Romo however roaming the backfield, “When Dak was in the building, you realized he was the experience of the franchise.”

And now he’s grown into a franchise leader who can have interaction in a shootout with Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson, if necessary.

In a period-opening reduction to Tampa Bay, Prescott threw for 403 yards on 58 tries. But because then, the Cowboys have struck a a lot more sustainable system — they are leaning on the ground recreation. With both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard pounding away, Quinn has been able to retool what was a historically lousy defense final year. The Cowboys’ offense is complementing its defense and Sunday delivered evidence that the Elliott who was also handed massive income has returned.

Halfway by way of the third quarter, Elliott hesitated at the line, enable a hole establish and strike a top rated-end velocity that Dallas hasn’t viewed in ages for a 47-lawn carry.

Jones manufactured it apparent in training camp that he would “do everything recognized to man” to acquire a Tremendous Bowl. Actually, that’s been the case considering that he acquired the staff — and has typically resulted in lousy decisions.

Jerry Jones may well under no circumstances have actually wished Prescott, but Prescott is proving that he’s able of providing Jones what he has constantly been immediately after.

By way of the Giants’ very first 3 losses this time, it has been considerably way too uncomplicated to pin all blame on the two players handpicked by Typical Manager Dave Gettleman to convey the crew again to glory. But the fact is that quarterback Daniel Jones was taking part in perfectly fantastic — not excellent, but not horrid, possibly — and operating again Saquon Barkley, meanwhile, appeared fine in the early phases of screening his rehabbed appropriate anterior cruciate ligament.

In Sunday’s 27-21 comeback acquire over the New Orleans Saints, each Jones and Barkley ended up unquestionably distinctive.

Their figures were being remarkable: Jones threw for a job-substantial 402 yards and Barkley had 126 yards from scrimmage. But the enjoy that totally transformed the complexion of this sport in the generally-deafening Superdome had to have to supplied the organization authentic hope that the pair could however be the franchise-carrying talents they were envisioned to be when they had been drafted.

Down 21-10, with 7 minutes to go, Barkley break up broad still left and burned Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore for a 54-garden touchdown catch. Barkley pointed out afterward that he and Jones experienced talked about the coverage during the match: Seeing that Lattimore was sitting down on an out route, Barkley realized he could merely go deep.

Jones ran in the 2-stage conversion, and a subject objective on the Giants’ following push tied the recreation at 21. Barkley’s 6-garden touchdown run in overtime finished the game.

The Giants are now 1-3 with renewed self confidence suitable in the tooth of their schedule.

Blame Kirk Cousins. Blame an anemic offensive line.

Possibly way, the Minnesota Vikings’ 14-7 decline at house to the Cleveland Browns was as demoralizing as it gets for an offense that could do no incorrect in September. For three weeks, Cousins tore up a few subpar secondaries. He didn’t toss an interception, nor did he clearly show a tick of panic in the face of any go hurry. Statistically, he was playing as properly as any quarterback in the N.F.L.

From the best protection he’s faced to date, Cousins once more turned back again into a pumpkin.

That has been the rap on Cousins more than his profession: Against inadequate defenses, he’ll toss for 300-as well as yards and a few touchdowns with simplicity. But add a stingy pass hurry and sprinkle on bigger stakes, and be completely ready to be underwhelmed. Heading into this period, Cousins was 7-35 against teams that finished the period with a winning file.

The Vikings want to consider he’s the answer. Normal Manager Rick Spielman and the entrance workplace did wage cap gymnastics to signal Cousins to a deal extension heading into the 2020 period.

Sadly, this is who he’s been considering the fact that getting into the league nine yrs ago.

The Browns finished with 10 hits on Cousins, 4 from Myles Garrett by yourself. Nonetheless, this was a 4-position game for three quarters and 1 significant enjoy could have busted things open up. Just a single. That throw deep to Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen never ever produced. Soon after Cleveland kicker Chase McLaughlin hit a 53-property subject target to put the Browns up, 14-7, with six minutes remaining, Cousins’s deep shot the subsequent possession was quickly intercepted by cornerback Greedy Williams. The Vikings acquired the ball back two times more but fell quick on each and every push.

Cousins will get the Detroit Lions up coming, but that’ll most most likely provide as practically nothing but a pair of supplements of Advil with the Vikings then experiencing 6 genuine contenders in a row.

And at some place, the Vikings should request on their own precisely how much Cousins can acquire them.

Cardinals 37, Rams 20: It’s time to stop sleeping on the Cardinals, who smacked all-around a workforce that appeared borderline invincible to begin the period. Kyler Murray did not flip the ball over, Arizona rushed for 216 yards and, now, the Cardinals are in whole command of the N.F.C. West. The issue now is if Coach Kliff Kingsbury can keep this offense buzzing and stay away from a slide comparable to past season’s, when Arizona started off 5-2 and went 3-6 the relaxation of the way.

Seahawks 28, 49ers 21: You can not permit Russell Wilson dangle around. With each individual option to bury Seattle early, San Francisco’s offense held quick-circuiting. And as he’s completed his full career, Wilson turned it on when desired, scoring 14 of the Seahawks’ 21 second-half details.

Packers 27, Steelers 17: Anything for Pittsburgh turned on an offsides penalty prior to the 50 %. Officers dominated that cornerback Joe Haden jumped just before the snap, negating a blocked area purpose-try that Minkah Fitzpatrick returned for a touchdown that would have supplied the Steelers a 17-14 lead. Alas, Ben Roethlisberger was compelled to play from at the rear of. As we’ve figured out as a result considerably in 2021, that’s not a fairly sight.

Ravens 23, Broncos 7: Dealing with the best protection he’s found this season, Lamar Jackson finished with 316 yards and a touchdown as a result of the air and ran the ball only seven times to hand Denver its to start with decline of the time.

Washington 34, Falcons 30: One of the biggest shocks of this period is how negative the Washington Soccer Team’s defense has executed. Of course, it did not subject towards an equally porous Falcons defense. Running back again J.D. McKissic supplied the heroics by likely airborne at the goal line with 33 seconds still left.

Bears 24, Lions 14: When hysteria reaches its fever pitch at Halas Hall, it looks like the Bears often have a get-correct sport on the routine. The rebuilding Lions have been the ideal medicine, and operating again David Montgomery (106 yards, two touchdowns) ongoing to bludgeon linebackers as just one of the very best gamers we really don’t chat just about enough about.

Costs 40, Texans : One day, there will be a “30 for 30” documentary penned entirely on how the 2021 Texans managed to win a football match. Not this week, however.

Colts 27, Dolphins 17: Jonathan Taylor was a power on the ground (103 yards, landing), Carson Wentz was productive plenty of on these two undesirable ankles (24-of-32 passing with two touchdowns) for Indianapolis to get a significantly-essential acquire right after 3 emotionally taxing losses.

Giants 27, Saints 21 (OT): Misplaced in the Giants madness this season is the actuality that Daniel Jones has taken an evident stage forward. He’s not committing the backbreaking issues of 2020 and, on Sunday, he begun getting much more shots downfield, ending with 402 yards and two touchdowns.

Chiefs 42, Eagles 30: Andy Reid certainly understands he requirements to clean up his rickety protection. Kansas Town again gave up yards and factors in chunks. But as long as Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill exist, this Chiefs offense can outscore any team in the league. On 12 targets, Hill caught 11 passes for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Jets 27, Titans 24 (OT): Alright, so Titans receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown were each sidelined. Jets Mentor Robert Saleh nevertheless obtained his to start with N.F.L. get guiding a defense that hit Ryan Tannehill 14 instances and a rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, who played with the swagger the staff has been missing.