Dazzling quarterback play, bad calls, coaching gambles gone wrong: just another week in the NFL. We'll give you all the 2018 NFL news you can handle in under three minutes each week. (Disclaimer: You can stay longer than three minutes. Time is relative.) Here's the best of the NFL from Week 4.
East Or West, Goff Shining Like The Sun
Admit it, you were ready to write off Jared Goff as a bust practically from the moment you saw him telling the world on HBO’s Hard Knocks that he wasn’t sure which direction the sun rises and sets. There has to be a reason nobody has written a Playing Quarterback For Dummies book, right?
Sure enough, Goff, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016 out of Cal, looked overmatched as a rookie, throwing seven interceptions against five TD passes in seven starts. Yet here he is two years later, not only leading the LA Rams to a 4-0 record but drawing dizzying comparisons after some eye-popping throws in last week’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Indeed, Eric Dickerson, the Rams’ Hall of Fame running back, went so far as to say it’s appropriate Goff wears No. 16. “I started calling him Jared Montana,” Dickerson told FOX Sports' Colin Cowherd. “Those passes were like Joe Montana passes.”
Whoa. Joe Cool? Really?
Time will tell, but at least for the moment, much of Goff’s success is owed to moving on from former coach Jeff Fisher’s antiquated offense to the X’s-and-O’s genius that is football-obsessed Sean McVay. As Dickerson said, “McVay is the superstar of that team.”
In fact, you can make the case that no coach creates or exploits mismatches more brilliantly than the Rams’ 32-year old whiz kid, and Goff has blossomed under his tutelage, throwing for 11 TDs vs. 2 INTs so far, while on a pace to break Peyton Manning’s single-season record of 5,477 yards.
So apparently knowing the sun rises in the east isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for reading NFL defenses and dropping dimes. As long as McVay is drawing up the plays.
Will The Browns Ever Catch A Break?
Wasn’t that championship LeBron James won with the Cavaliers a couple of years ago supposed to have broken the Cleveland Curse? So why are the football gods continuing to torture the poor Browns?
Maybe they deserved to go 1-31 the last two seasons, but as remarkable as it sounds, they could easily be 4-0 right now instead of 1-2-1. A since-departed kicker cost them two potential wins and then last week the zebras flatout stole one from them.
Maybe you can argue about the refs’ decision to change the spot on a game-sealing first down run, but there’s no doubt the officials screwed up on the fourth-quarter fumble by the Raiders’ Derek Carr, prematurely whistling the play dead in another example of trying to over-protect quarterbacks this season.
The good news is that rookie RB Nick Chubb had a breakout 2 TD game, Baker Mayfield looked promising in his first start, costly turnovers and all, and the Browns surely are due for some good luck.
The bad news is this franchise has been waiting for that luck to change pretty much since Jim Brown retired 53 years ago.
Somebody Hide The Kicking Net
That ominous ticking sound you hear coming from the New York Giants locker room? It could be the countdown on Eli Manning’s career, but more immediately it’s a warning that Odell Beckman Jr. is about to go all-Keyshawn Johnson on anyone in shouting distance.
As in, throw him the damn ball or prepare for chaos.
The notoriously immature Beckham has been on his best behavior since signing a five-year, $90 million contract in August, but he was visibly frustrated as the Giants fell to 1-3 against the New Orleans Saints, as he went a fourth straight game to start the season without a TD.
More than once, Beckham threw up his arms in disgust, upset that the 37-year old Manning hasn’t been able to deal with a pass rush and throw deep this season. “You work way too hard for 60 minutes of football,” Beckham said afterward. “So I hate to go out and waste those 60 minutes.”
In the words of Chris Berman, tick, tick tick.
Nobody Wants A Tie, But...
Theoretically you can understand what Frank Reich was trying to do as new coach of the Indianapolis Colts, create a winning mentality, but at some point logic has to be part of the equation, right? Going for it on fourth down from his 43-yard line with 26 seconds left in overtime?
Well, leave it to former coach Rex Ryan to put it in typically blunt perspective: “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” Ryan said on ESPN. “You just gave the Texans the win.”
For once it’s hard to argue with Ryan, as Houston took over after Andrew Luck’s fourth-down pass fell short and had time to win the game with a field goal. Nobody likes a tie, but this recalls the old line about what “NFL” really stands for, as it applies to the careers of coaches who give games away:
Not For Long.
Mahomes’ Magic Act
A brilliant Monday night performance by Patrick Mahomes left NFL analysts with no choice but to break out the F-word.
Yep, in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a comeback win in Denver, Mahomes officially became the second coming of Favre. Not only did he repeatedly rifle throws into tight windows, but he even broke out a lefthanded pass on the run with Von Miller breathing down his neck for a key third-down conversion.
No wonder ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck, a former NFL quarterback, was practically giddy in comparing the kid to the legendary Favre. “If you played quarterback when Favre was in the league,” Hasselbeck said, “he would make you get up out of your seat when you would see a play he made on film. Other quarterbacks would talk about throws that Favre would make. That’s what I felt like I watched tonight. The ability to throw the ball on the move, the incredible arm strength, and then that lefthanded throw…it was all kind of Favre-like.”
Does that mean that, in addition to a Hall of Fame career, there’s an un-retirement or two in Mahomes’ future as well?
*Out-of-market games only. Select int'l games excluded.