The Games that Shaped the 2019 Season: Week 4

The 2019 season began on September 5th 2019 and culminated at Super Bowl LIV on February 5th 2020. However, in between those games at Soldier Field in Chicago and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the season took a number of twists, all of which impacted the path to Super Bowl LIV for many teams. In this series we will take a look back at the games that shaped the 2019 NFL season, with this article focusing on Week 4.

Week 4 brought the first quarter of the season to a close for the vast majority of the NFL teams. For the Jets and the 49ers, they would have to wait another week as they kicked off the byes for the 2019 season in very different circumstances. The 49ers headed into their bye week at 3-0, while the Jets were left gasping for air at 0-3.

For the rest of the NFL, Week 4 presents a chance for teams to finish off the first month of the season with a strong result. An 0-3 or 1-2 start is not ideal but a win in Week 4 can at least leave teams gasping for air.

Kansas City Chiefs 34 - 30 Detroit Lions

This game was expected to be an exciting one, with both teams having been involved in games which saw over 50 points scored in Week 3. The game lived to up to expectations with 64 points, including 38 in the second half.

What was not expected was the way this game see-sawed throughout the four quarters. The Lions jumped out to a 10-point lead, but twice the Chiefs came back to make the game a 13-13 tie at half time. 

The third quarter had arguably the most incredible moment, as Bashaud Breeland pulled a Lions’ fumble from a pile of bodies and returned it 100-yards for a touchdown to give the Chiefs a 20-13 lead. After that the game went back and forth, before the Chiefs clinched the game with 23 seconds remaining.

What was the games significance?

This was a tough game for the Lions to lose having had a really impressive opening month of the season. They had beaten the Chargers and Eagles in Week’s 2 and 3 while letting a healthy lead slip in Week 1 to tie with the Cardinals. A 3-1-1 start would have been a massive boost in their chances of making the NFC playoffs. Instead, the Lions would go on to win just one more game all season.

As for the Chiefs, this game continued their strong start and put them in prime position to compete for a bye week and potentially home field advantage. A loss here would not have been catastrophic at the time, but it would have had huge ramifications down the line.

New England Patriots 16 - 10 Buffalo Bills

Games that shaped the 2019 season week 4

This was the first of two important matches between the Patriots and Bills in the 2019 season. This Week 4 clash would see the two teams come into it at 3-0, with the winner getting an early boost in their hunt for the division.

The Patriots jumped out to an early 13 point lead thanks to Brandon Bolden and a Matthew Slater punt block touchdown.  The Bills’s fought back to make it 13-10, before Stephen Gostkowski put the Patriots up 16-10 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.

The Bills hopes of a comeback were dealt a blow when they lost Josh Allen to the concussion protocol early in the fourth. Barkley would lead the Bills down to the Patriots goal line, before failing to punch the ball in on a fourth down attempt. He would never get closer than the Patriots 39-yard line as the Bills lost their first game of the season.

What was the games significance?

For the best part of the past 20 years the path to the AFC East has run through the New England Patriots. Therefore, for the Bills to challenge for the division in 2019 an early opportunity to lay down a marker against the Patriots was a golden one. After two close wins in the first three, they could have cemented themselves as potential front runners with a 4-0 start.

Ultimately, it was not to be, but the challenge they provided the Patriots was a good indicator that their 3-0 start was not a lucky one. The Bills had a real shot to win this game and had Allen been on the field through the fourth quarter, they may very well have managed it.

From the Patriots point of view, this was the first chink in the armour. They has steamrolled through the first three weeks, outscoring their opponents 106-17. However, this game demonstrated their offensive vulnerabilities that would come to be a hall mark of the second half of the 2019 season.

Dallas Cowboys 10 - 12 New Orleans Saints

Week 4’s Sunday Night Football saw two 2018 playoff teams match up in New Orleans, in a game billed as a potential 2019 playoff preview. These two teams fought to a low scoring 13-10 affair the previous season, with the Cowboys coming out on top at home.

2019’s meeting was a slow burner, as all four quarters saw just one of the teams put points on the board. Even with the memory of the 2018 game, it was still somewhat of a surprise to see two high flying offenses battle to 12-10 game, where just one touchdown was scored.

The Saints would take that 12-10 lead with over 13 minutes of the fourth quarter remaining. The Cowboys’ had three chances to find the winning points, but never even got onto the Saints side of the field, before Dak Prescott was intercepted going deep on the final play of the game.

What was the games significance?

This game was especially important for the Saints, who came into it at 2-1 with backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under centre. If the Saints wanted to keep their hopes of chasing a playoff bye week alive then a victory against Dallas to avoid sitting at 2-2 was crucial. While it was not pretty they ground out a narrow victory in prime time, setting them up at 2-0 with Bridgewater as a starter.

As for the Cowboys, this game was frustrating, but a loss in New Orleans is not a negative against a team by any means. Unfortunately, this was the first of six games lost by a one-score margin in the 2019 season, that was headlined by their inability to come through in the clutch. This would also be the first loss of a three-game skid that would leave them at 3-3 after six weeks of the 2019 season.

 

Ben Rolfe

Head of NFL Content

BEN IS THE HEAD OF NFL CONTENT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. YOU CAN ALSO FIND HIS WORK AT; ODDSCHECKER US, ACTION NETWORK, PRO FOOTBALL NETWORK & ROTOBALLER. FOLLOW BEN @BENROLFE15 ON TWITTER.

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Image credit: Jill Toyoshiba KC Star & Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports