With seven unbeaten teams remaining in the N.F.L., Week 4 may start separating the wheat from the chaff. We will be following along live as the Buffalo Bills (3-0) host the New England Patriots (3-0) while checking in with the day’s other action.
Bills March Down Field for Touchdown
A different Bills offense emerged from the locker room after halftime. Josh Allen completed all six passes on his team’s opening possession and then punched the ball into the end zone on a 4th down run, that along with the extra-point got the Bills right back into the thick of things against the Patriots, 13-10.
The 75-yard drive by the Bills took nine plays and had New England’s defense on its heels the entire time.
It was the first offensive touchdown allowed by New England this season.
Frank Gore has been incredible, Josh Allen was fairly awful, and the upstart Buffalo Bills are hanging tough at home against New England, trailing by 13-3 at halftime. Tom Brady has played far below his typical standards, completing 9 of 22 passes for 90 yards, and he threw his first interception of the season, but New England’s defense has kept the Patriots in control regardless. A missed 49-yard field goal by Buffalo in the final seconds of the half could come back to haunt the team.
Baker Mayfield has 208 passing yards to Lamar Jackson’s 34 and the Browns lead the Ravens by 10-7 at halftime. Jarvis Landry is having a huge game for Cleveland, with six catches for 126 yards, and the Browns’ defense has thus far forced the Ravens into running the ball some and not much else.
Daniel Jones has thrown two interceptions, but the Giants are still leading by 17-3 at halftime thanks to some stellar play from backup running back Wayne Gallman and the overall ineptitude of the Redskins. Coach Jay Gruden made the switch to Dwayne Haskins at quarterback but that has yet to make a huge difference.
Kyle Allen has the Panthers leading yet again. The second-year quarterback, filling in for Cam Newton, threw four touchdown passes in last week’s win, and while he doesn’t have any yet today, his Panthers are leading the Houston Texans by 10-3 at halftime.
The Lions led by 10-0 at one point, but no lead is safe against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Mahomes has yet to throw a touchdown pass, but he did have an interesting play where he broke off a huge run after staring back at an official, potentially hoping for a penalty call. The game is tied, 13-13, at halftime.
The Titans, thanks to a huge game from Marcus Mariota, are destroying the Falcons in Atlanta, leading by 24-7 at halftime. Mariota has 189 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The Dolphins are only losing by seven points at halftime! Philip Rivers of the Chargers has thrown for 197 yards and two touchdown passes, but Josh Rosen kept Miami in the game with a 34-yard touchdown pass midway through the first quarter. Melvin Gordon is active but has yet to appear in the game.
Derek Carr has two touchdown passes, Trevor Davis ran in a 60-yard touchdown, and the Raiders lead the Colts by 21-10 at halftime in Indianapolis.
Buffalo Snags Interception, Turns It Into Points
The Bills defense finally asserted itself and that got Buffalo on the board, 13-3.
After the Patriots had marched 93 yards on 15 plays, Buffalo, putting great pressure on Tom Brady, took the ball away with an end zone interception by Micah Hyde. It was Brady’s first interception of the season.
New England, which had started the drive at its own 5-yard line following a punt, kept things alive at one point by going for it on 4th-and-8 from Buffalo’s 35-yard line. The aggressiveness was rewarded when Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White, having just returned from a foot injury, was called for a 27-yard pass interference penalty.
Facing a desperate situation, Buffalo’s offense went 52 yards on six plays, and while things fizzled out, the Bills were able to capitalize on the turnover with a 46-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka.
Washington Makes Switch to Haskins
The Dwayne Haskins era is upon us. With Washington down by 14-0 in the second quarter, and with Jay Gruden potentially coaching to save his job, the Redskins pulled Case Keenum from the game, replacing him with Haskins, the 15th pick in this year’s draft. Haskins led Washington on a 34-yard drive that ended with a field goal.
Haskins, a Heisman Trophy finalist at Ohio State last season, had not thrown a pass coming in to today’s game, but he connected on his first three attempts in this game (an incomplete pass was negated by a penalty.)
With both the Redskins and Giants in the N.F.C. East, this could be the first of dozens of matchups between Haskins and the Giants’ Daniel Jones.
Break Up the Raiders?
Oakland had looked horrible since starting the season with a win over Denver in Week 1, but the Raiders are off and running in Indianapolis, leading by 21-7 early in the second quarter. Derek Carr is 11 of 13 for 102 yards and two touchdown passes while the team’s newest acquisition, Trevor Davis, delivered the biggest play of the game so far with a 60-yard touchdown run. They will play the second half without linebacker Vontaze Burfict who was ejected in the second quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle.
Patriots Cruising After One Quarter
At the close of the first quarter, this game was all Patriots. Despite not looking particularly sharp, Tom Brady barely had to break a sweat thanks to his team’s defense and New England was leading by 13-0.
Josh Allen’s no good very bad day continued late in the quarter as the Bills’ quarterback threw a second interception — this one to J.C. Jackson — and is now 1 for 8 for 10 yards in what had been predicted by some to be his chance to shine on a big stage.
Frank Gore has been terrific for Buffalo, carrying the ball six times for 43 yards, but Buffalo’s three turnovers are making this look like a blowout in the making.
Elsewhere: Wayne Gallman Up to Two Touchdowns
The Giants are leading the Redskins, 14-0, thanks to some terrific early work from Wayne Gallman. Saquon Barkley’s backup has rushing and receiving touchdowns already today and Daniel Jones has started the game by completing 9 of 11 passes for 89 yards. The Giants continue to look like an entirely different team in the post-Eli Manning era.
The Lions got off to a quick 10-0 lead against Kansas City, with Matthew Stafford fighting through a hip injury to throw a touchdown pass, and the Browns took an early 7-0 lead against the Ravens when Baker Mayfield found Ricky Seals-Jones for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
Patriots Lead Grows to 13-0 on Blocked Punt
The Bills are in big trouble at home against New England. Their offense, trying to answer New England’s touchdown, sputtered and then disaster struck when Corey Bojorquez’s punt attempt from Buffalo’s 33-yard line was blocked, recovered by Matthew Slater, and taken into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Stephen Gostkowski hit the extra point this time and New England leads by 13-0 with just over six minutes left in the first quarter.
It was the first time in eight years that the Bills had a punt blocked for a touchdown.
Patriots Take 6-0 Lead
Josh Allen of the Bills took a chance downfield with an aggressive pass and Devin McCourty made him pay for it with an interception. It was McCourty’s fourth consecutive game with an interception, tying a franchise record set by Mike Haynes in 1976. More important, it gave Tom Brady and the Patriots a short field, which they took advantage of by scoring on 4-yard run by Brandon Bolden.
Buffalo’s defense had opened the game with a strong stop of the Patriots. The Bills gave up an immediate 15-yard run to Sony Michel but proceeded to absolutely smother the Patriots, forcing a pair of incomplete passes and then stopping Michel for no gain on a third down run.
But after Allen’s mistake, the Patriots made short work of Buffalo, going 50 yards on seven plays. In a continuing concern, however, Stephen Gostkowski missed his extra-point attempt. Gostkowski is just 10 for 14 on extra point attempts this season.
Could Melvin Gordon Play Today?
Melvin Gordon, a star running back for the Los Angeles Chargers, did not end his contract holdout until Thursday, but as a result of an injury to Justin Jackson, there is a chance Gordon will play on Sunday in his team’s road game against the bottom-feeding Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m., Eastern time.
“We understand that Melvin’s been back for a day and a half, so we have to be careful if he plays, how much he plays and even if he plays at all,” Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn said on Friday.
Gordon, who averaged an eye-popping 5.1 yards a carry in 12 games last season, has long been one of the most talented running backs in the N.F.L., but he engaged in a fruitless standoff with his team in hopes of securing a hefty raise. In contrast to Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, whose holdout netted him a new contract with $50 million in guaranteed money, Gordon’s holdout cost him about $1 million and he is still playing on his original deal.
The Chargers have gotten terrific production from Austin Ekeler in place of Gordon, but with Jackson having been ruled out with a calf strain, Los Angeles is thin at running back, which resulted in Gordon’s being declared active on Saturday.
Gordon told reporters on Friday that he would be ready.
“It’s not like I’ve been sitting around and I’m coming in overweight or anything like that,” he said. “But it’s not like I get a preseason game to get warmed up. You kind of get in and get right in the fire.”
What to Look For in Week 4
The Patriots have been absolutely incredible on both sides of the ball, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 106-17. That has come with an asterisk, however, as those opponents have combined to go 0-9 this season. Is Buffalo up to giving New England a real challenge? The Bills’ defense has been formidable for two seasons, and should give Tom Brady the most resistance he has seen in a while, but the wild card in the matchup is how Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense can do against a Patriots defense that has been suffocating its competition.