NFL Week 4: Over & Under Reactions

By Steve Moyse

Every now and then, throughout the course of an NFL season, you’ll have a week that makes you sit back and ask “What on earth is going on?”

Week 4 was that week. The Texans humiliated the Steelers, the NFC and AFC Champs were taken down to the wire and both Justin Fields and Zach Wilson almost looked like they knew what they were doing.

As we try to get our heads round Week 4, let’s break down another edition of over and under-reactions

Overreaction: The Chiefs Are Running It Back In 2023

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On paper, the 2023 Chiefs look as good as ever. Top of the AFC West, 3-1 record, 3 game winning streak etc. But, when you break down those 3 wins, you’ll start to see some cracks in the armour that, if I were a Chiefs fan, would be a tad concerning.

First, you put up just 17 points against the Jaguars, a team who gave up 37 to the Texans and 21 to the Colts, only being saved by atrocious red-zone execution from Jacksonville.

Then, you face the Bears and, fair enough, dominate them, 41-10. But it’s the Bears – a team who now sit at 0-4 after giving up a 21 point lead, in one of the easiest match-ups they’ll face all year.

To top it all off, you are then taken down to the wire by a Rodgers-less New York Jets team. In fact, there’s an argument that Pat Mahomes should have had a 3rd pick, if not for a controversial flag, and set the Jets up for a game-winning drive.

Suddenly that 3-1 record is a couple of plays away from being 1-3 – not exactly the sign of a team destined to run it back in 2023.

Overreaction: Darren Waller Was A Waste Of Draft Capital

When the Giants traded a 3rd round pick to the Raiders in exchange for star TE Darren Waller, the hope was that he would be the final piece of the puzzle for their Offense.

4 weeks into the season and Waller hasn’t exactly lived up to those expectations. Currently in 2023, he has only recorded 15 receptions for 153 yards. Naturally then, given the New York media, this has prompted countless reports that trading for the 8 year man was a waste of time.

For me though, the issue doesn’t lie with Waller. The issue lies with the Giants’ inability to protect Daniel Jones.

How can this Offense be expected to get anything going when their Offensive Line has given up 23 sacks in 4 games – making them the 31st ranked unit in the NFL.

While Waller’s average yards per reception is the lowest it’s been since 2016, with 10.2, I’d actually say that’s pretty efficient, considering the atrocious O-Line play has resulted in the majority of Waller’s receptions coming in the flat or as a check down.

Fix the Offensive Line and watch Waller’s numbers sky rocket.

Overreaction: Geno Smith Is A Top-10 QB

No one can deny that the complete 180 by Geno Smith last season was one of the most exciting, yet completely unexpected, turnarounds by any player.

With the Seahawks sitting at 3-1 on the season, some have now pointed to Geno’s near 100.0 QB rating as evidence of him being a top 10 QB in the NFL.

While I’d agree that Geno is a top QB in the NFC, the talent in the AFC is such that it’s hard to place Geno in the top 10 overall. Particularly since he currently sits below Justin Fields in both Yards and Yards per attempt, and below Daniel Jones in completion percentage – 2 Quarterbacks who wouldn’t appear on anyone’s 2023 top 10.

Even on Monday Night against the Giants, a game which the Seahawks completely dominated, Geno averaged only 6 Yards per attempt – worse than Aidan O’Connell in his first start of the year.

All told, Geno deserves a lot of credit for the Seahawks’ record. But a top 10 QB? Not quite!

Under-reaction: The Falcons' Defense

The first UK based game of 2023 wasn’t quite the ‘hop across the pond’ that the Falcons were hoping for, losing 23-7 to the Jaguars.

While the Falcons’ Offense might as well have been called ‘Bijan Robinson and co’, the Falcons Defense quietly put together a very solid performance – only directly allowing 16 points, consistently generating pressure and holding all 3 Jag’ Running Backs to sub 3.5 yards per carry.

You could even argue, that if it wasn’t for QB Desmond Ridder throwing 2 Interceptions, this could have been a game with everything still to play for in the 4th quarter. In fact, even after Ridder’s second Interception, the Falcons’ Defense were still able to force a Turnover-on-downs and give their team another shot.   

Despite what the scoreboard may suggest, the Falcons’ Defense definitely aren’t to blame for this one. As they head into Week 5 against the Texans, the pressure will be on the Offense to bounce-back and put on a show.

Under-reaction: The Buccaneers' Playoff Potential

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What do you get if you bring together a Head Coach and starting QB who were both let go from their first jobs in their respective roles?

According to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – a 3-1 record.

Between their star defensive players getting older, Tom Brady retiring and an unpredictable Baker Mayfield taking over as QB1, fans and experts alike were ready for the Bucs’ to struggle in 2023.

4 weeks into the season, and Tampa Bay are doing a lot better than anyone expected. Baker Mayfield has a 7:2 Touchdown to Interception ratio and ranks 8th in Completion Percentage (min 100 att.). While HC Todd Bowles has the Defense sitting 8th in the NFL, according to Pro Football Network’s overall defensive rankings.

Yet still, they aren’t getting the credit that they deserve.

Considering how weak their division is, I fully expect the Buccaneers to build off of their impressive start to the season and be Playoff bound come January.

Under-reaction: The Dolphins' First 'L'

Normally, when a team that’s been overwhelmingly dominant takes their first L, I’m here telling people not to overreact – that it’s simply a bump in the road. However, with the Dolphins losing to the Bills in Week 4, it’s the complete opposite.

But why do I think we’re all under-reacting to the Dolphins first loss?

There’s an old expression that you’ve probably heard: “Offense wins games. Defense wins Championships.”

So far, Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins have relied on Offense – outscoring opponents by capitalising on Tua’s accuracy and their Olympic Sprinter-esque group of Receivers.

However, when the Bills ripped through the Dolphins’ Offensive line on Sunday, Tua was left without the necessary time to get the ball into his playmaker’s hands. Putting the pressure on the Defense to save the day…

But instead of saving the day, they allowed Josh Allen to go 21/25 for 320 yards and 4 TD’s, as the Bills hung a massive 48 points over the Dolphins.

Now don’t get me wrong, in no way am I saying that the Dolphins aren’t an incredibly dangerous team. Week 4 has simply shown us that, unless the Offense are on top form, the Dolphins aren’t as invincible as we first thought.

Steve Moyse

NFL Analyst

Steve Moyse is a Writer, Podcaster and long suffering New York Jets fan. Stay tuned with his content via Twitter – @steve_moyse