The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers will wrap things up in Week 4 on Monday Night Football, but between the back-and-forth Thursday Night Football game and all of Sunday's surprising upsets, we already have a lot to discuss. Week 4 in the NFL tends to typically be the week where everything we think we know about teams gets flipped on its head and that's exactly what happened.
Patrick Mahomes was supposed to put up video game numbers in his first career NFL game in a dome, the Los Angeles Rams defense was supposed to dominate Jameis Winston so badly the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have to consider a quarterback change, and young quarterbacks Daniel Jones, Kyle Allen, and Gardner Minshew were supposed to come back to earth in losing efforts for their respective teams. None of that actually happened.
So let's break down the 10 most surprising performances from Week 4.
1. Mahomes comes up one shy of Peyton Manning
Going into Week 4, this was the narrative surrounding Mahomes and the Chiefs: How many touchdowns would he throw in his first career NFL game inside a dome? It was a fair question to ask after Mahomes tossed up four touchdowns in one quarter earlier in the season and 10 through his first three games. Mahomes was also looking to tie Peyton Manning's streak of 15 straight games with multiple touchdown passes. Instead, the Lions' underrated pass defense held its own -- a common theme for Detroit through the first quarter of the 2019 season. Mahomes did not throw a single touchdown pass.
Chiefs fans can take solace in the fact that Kansas City was able to win a road game against a previously unbeaten team without a single touchdown from Mahomes. The third-year quarterback's consolation prize -- he's now only two games away from tying Kurt Warner and Steve Young for the most consecutive 300-yard passing games to start a regular season.
A wild Week 4 is nearly in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately, Jason La Canfora, Ryan Wilson and John Breech break down the Monday night game and more on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here to get daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
2. Winston could be Bruce Arians' next success story
After the first two weeks of the season, some fans had already ruled out the Winston-Arians revival narrative. When the Buccaneers hired Arians this offseason, the idea was for him to help revive Winston's career as he did with Carson Palmer in Arizona. By the time Week 2 rolled around, Week 1 overreactions took over following Winston throwing multiple pick-sixes in his regular-season debut. Week 4 was a potential breaking point for Winston after a close home loss in Week 3 and against one of the NFL's best pass defenses through the first three weeks: the Los Angeles Rams on the road.
Winston responded by becoming the first quarterback to torch the Rams this season with 385 passing yards and four passing touchdowns -- his fifth career game with 375 passing yards and three touchdowns -- tying a milestone held by Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo. Winston and the Buccaneers scored 55 points, the most ever allowed by the Rams since they drafted perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald in 2014.
After completing just 59% of his passes for 402 passing yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions over his first two games, Winston has responded by completing 65.4% with 765 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions over his last two games.
3. Young, unheralded quarterbacks continue to find success
Kyle Allen, Daniel Jones, and Gardner Minshew all made starts in Week 4 -- including two on the road -- and all three quarterbacks came away victorious. At one point or another, all three have been doubted by the NFL media, among others. Jones went No. 6 overall in a decision that was bashed by just about every NFL analyst and fan for what seemed like months until the first preseason game. Allen was passed on by every team in the 2018 NFL Draft before he signed as an undrafted free agent. Minshew fell all the way into the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, where the Jaguars scooped him.
After Week 4, Jones became the second quarterback in Giants history (joining Phil Simms) to go 2-0 in his first two career starts. Allen became the first quarterback in Panthers history to start 3-0. Minshew had his first career game-winning drive and now has a 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
4. Gore continues to defy the typical RB life span
In Week 4, the ageless Frank Gore Gore became the first 36-year-old running back to eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark (109) in a single game in 41 years. In the process, Gore broke the 1,500-yard career rushing mark. And it's not like Gore is just doing so because he's receiving heavy volume. Gore has averaged 4.5 yards per carry through the first four games of the 2019 season. The best part? Gore has no intention of hanging up his cleats anytime soon.
"Now I just want to keep playing ball," Gore told the Bills' official website after Week 4.
He's arguably one of the best running backs in NFL history due to his longevity alone.
5. Barrett continues historically hot start to 2019
Shaq Barrett signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Buccaneers this offseason and through the first four weeks he has done exactly that. Barrett had another sack in Tampa's win over the Rams. He also impacted the game with a forced fumble and an interception, in addition to 4 tackles. Barrett is now up to 9 sacks on the 2019 season through four games -- he's tied for the most sacks by any NFL player through his first four games since they started tallying the statistic in 1982.
Barrett has already cemented himself in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, and at this rate, he could very well be the most highly-sought free agent this offseason -- assuming the Buccaneers don't use the franchise tag to keep him from hitting the open market.
6. Godwin takes over a game like an elite WR
Everything came up Buccaneers in their defining Week 4 victory that put them right back in the playoff picture. In addition to Winston and Barrett, it was also a defining day for third-year wide receiver Chris Godwin. The 2017 third-round draft pick set career highs with 12 receptions for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns after nearly missing the game with a hip injury. Godwin is now up to 386 receiving yards and four touchdowns through his first four games. He has caught nearly everything that has come his way: 26 receptions on 33 targets. The third-year pro is emerging as a second elite wide receiver for Winston to throw to.
7. Browns offense operates best through Chubb
The Browns struggled to find their identity on the offensive side of the ball for the first three weeks of the season, and then Nick Chubb happened. With a must-win game on the slate on the road against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4, the Browns flipped the offensive game script and leaned on Chubb. The second-year running back totaled 165 rushing yards with three touchdowns and become the first player in NFL history to rack up 150 rushing yards or more and three touchdowns against the Ravens defense.
The Browns changed their offensive game plan and leaned more often on heavy personnel packages -- specifically in 12 personnel (two tight ends) -- to help make Chubb the focal point on offense. Chubb combines an efficient running style between the tackles with breakaway ability. Chubb's 88-yard rushing touchdown makes him one of five players in Browns history to score two rushing touchdowns of 80-plus yards in his career (he had a 92-yard score in 2018).
Saquon Barkley was the talk of the 2018 running back class, but don't get it mistaken -- Chubb is a special talent and he is going to make a massive impact in the NFL.
8. Gallman picks up the post-Barkley slack
Speaking of Saquon Barkley, Week 4 was the first of several weeks he will be sidelined with a high-ankle sprain. Before the game, Barkley tweeted that Wayne Gallman was about to go off, and in the Giants' 24-3 victory over the Redskins in Week 4, he was very effective on a per-touch basis. Gallman entered the game with three career touchdowns in 31 games, but he found the end zone twice in the first half against the Redskins. Gallman finished with 63 rushing yards on 18 carries. More importantly, he was a weapon in the passing game. Gallman caught 6-of-7 targets for 55 yards including a nifty screen pass on third and long to keep a Giants possession alive.
9. Flacco finally finds consistent success in the passing game
Most Broncos fans had given up on their passing game and Joe Flacco entering Week 4, but he finally came alive and showed a much-improved rapport with wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton. Flacco eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark for the first time this season with 303 yards, three passing touchdowns and one interception. He was able to find consistent success in the intermediate and short passing game while also connecting on longer passing plays. Most importantly, he cashed in during Denver's red zone trips. Ultimately, the defense let the Broncos down in this game. The Broncos will need their passing game to carry the more now than ever after losing Bradley Chubb to a torn ACL in Week 4.
10. Fournette just misses making Jaguars history
It had been a very rocky season for Leonard Fournette through the first three weeks, and with the exception of one long run against the Titans in Week 3, he almost made history for finishing a game with negative rushing yards. In Week 4, that all changed. Fournette totaled 225 rushing yards -- the second-most in team history. He came 10 yards shy of breaking Fred Taylor's all-time single-game rushing record. Fournette also racked up his first 100-plus rushing game since 2017. The Jaguars have won two straight and Fournette played a key role in helping steal a road victory in what is historically one of the toughest places to play on the road in September -- in Denver.