2018 NFL Week 4: The Trubisky arrival and other quick takes

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears runs off of the field after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 at Soldier Field on September 30, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears runs off of the field after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 at Soldier Field on September 30, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The 2018 NFL week 4 didn’t disappoint in terms of its shocks and surprises. There were a ton, including some major shifts in the playoff picture.

Did anybody believe for a second that teams like the Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, and Tennessee Titans would be leading their divisions after the first quarter of the season? This is why the NFL is so great, despite its flaws. Always expect the unexpected. So what are some takeaways from the Sunday action this week? It starts with a young QB getting a monkey off his back.

Mitch Trubisky uses Bucs as a punching bag to vent his frustration

One week it was Deshaun Watson. The next it was Patrick Mahomes, then Jared Goff, then Baker Mayfield. Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky has heard it for months about how these others guys are playing well. Why can’t he be more like them? To his credit, he never showed frustration or got snippy in interviews. He simply continued the process and kept working. At last he got his chance to shut everybody up with six touchdown passes on the beleaguered Tampa Bay Buccaneers, five of them in the first half. It was a clinic and the first glimpse of how special he can be.

The Patriots put Miami back in their place

Everybody was shocked that the Dolphins went to 3-0 on the season. Could they be the surprise team of 2018? A game in Foxborough against the Patriots, as always, would tell the story. Per usual, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick reminded them of where they belong in the pecking order. New England smothered Miami in a 38-7 rout. Ryan Tannehill again looked human and the defense, so good the first three games looked completely baffled at times. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tennessee may lack polish but they have tons of grit

Nothing about what the Titans have done through the first month of the season has been pretty. They’ve indeed mastered the art of winning ugly after a gutty 26-23 win in overtime against the defending champion Eagles. Marcus Mariota was superb under difficult conditions and delivered with multiple 4th down conversions on the winning drive of the game. Head coach Mike Vrabel deserves plenty of credit for having this team so mentally prepared.

Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys offense. All of it

Where in the world would Dallas be without Ezekiel Elliott? The young running back basically put the entire offense on his back this week and carried them to victory. Not only did he rush for 152 yards against the Lions, he also caught four passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Detroit had no answers for him and in the end, it cost them the game in a 26-24 heartbreaker. Dallas may be an imperfect team but they’ve got a genuine star in Elliott.

Frank Reich lost the battle but may have won over his players in loss

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Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich was heavily criticized for going for it on 4th down in overtime rather than punting the ball to back up the Houston Texans. Indeed the decision backfired as Deshaun Watson drove his team down to get the game-winning field goal. It was a tough loss for Reich, but he didn’t seem the least bit apologetic about his decision. He stated the reason he did was that he coaches to win. That may not seem like much, but his players will appreciate that.

Jon Gruden got his win but continues search for his defense

Derek Carr deserves the game ball in so many ways because he pulled Jon Gruden’s butt out of the fire with a 45-42 thriller victory over the Cleveland Browns. Otherwise the veteran coach might’ve been further crucified for his baffling decision to trade Khalil Mack who continues to dominate in Chicago. Without him, the Raiders defense only seems to get worse as the season goes on. Gruden better hope they can somehow get it fixed or at least stop the bleeding.

Saints now look like the NFC favorites

For a second it looked like the New Orleans Saints were regressing to their old habits of great offense and second-rate defense. However, it seems they’ve steadied themselves and have morphed back into the team that looked so dangerous last season. They proved it again with a dominant win over the Giants in the Meadowlands. Their offense was great as usual while the defense stymied Eli Manning most of the afternoon. They’re in a groove and suddenly in the NFC driver seat.