American Football Expert & Columnist
NFL The Final Word: Josh Allen's Buffalo Bills make a statement as CJ Stroud stars again for the Houston Texans
Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds has the final word on Week Four in the NFL, picking out his five big takeaways, player of the week and more; Week Five begins on Thursday night when the Chicago Bears take on the Washington Commanders from 1.15am live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 03/10/23 2:34pm
Week Four served up the usual drama in the NFL: there were upset wins, comeback victories and a game in London. But we start in Buffalo, where the Bills caught everybody's attention against the Miami Dolphins...
1) Bills make a statement
Statement wins delivered in October don't normally mean much by the time you get to the Super Bowl in February, but Buffalo's win over Miami was significant. Since the summer we have heard about Buffalo's Super Bowl window closing, the entire football world falling in love with the Dolphins and we've seen Josh Allen questioned in terms of committing turnovers.
Miami came in off the back of 70 points and more than 700 yards against the Denver Broncos, everybody was expecting that to continue and they couldn't keep pace with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs.
And in the end they couldn't handle that marauding defense and a raucous crowd. It was quite the statement to show the Bills are still the team to beat in the AFC East and a genuine contender.
- Allen and Bills blow away Dolphins | Nacua makes history in Rams win
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- Stream the 2023 NFL season with NOW for £21 a month for six months
2) Stroud shines again
Don't look now, but are the Houston Texans for real? Back-to-back wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers have put the Texans in more of a spotlight than they've been in some time.
It brought up consecutive wins for the first time since the 2021 season and CJ Stroud continues to impress with over 300 yards passing, two touchdowns and another game with no interceptions.
It's much more than tidy, it's dynamic and Stroud is working well with Nico Collins and Dameon Pierce among a group of weapons. There is a lot to like about the Texans in a division that is very much up for grabs.
3) Burrow struggling in Cincinnati
I felt this in the summer and I feel even more strongly about it now. And that is that the Cincinnati Bengals definitely should have sat Joe Burrow for the first couple of weeks of the season as he got over that calf injury. It's just an injury that will nag and nag without rest and Burrow is struggling.
The Bengals lost 27-3 to the Tennessee Titans and he can't move around like he normally would and the whole offense is stuck in mud because their focal point can't get going. Burrow and the Bengals have scored three touchdowns on 41 offensive possessions, that is not the Bengals we're used to seeing.
And it's hard to sit him down because they're now in a 1-3 hole. The Bengals didn't exercise caution and patience and it's come back to bite them.
4) 49ers the team to beat
There is so much drama, so much inconsistency in the NFL from week to week, you're never quite sure what you're going to get. But one thing you can be assured of is a 30-point outing from the San Francisco 49ers.
They have scored at least 30 in each of their first four games after Sunday's 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals, that's the first time in team history they have done that.
Christian McCaffrey remains the driving force after four touchdowns on Sunday, but you can pick any weapon any week and they will score points and gain yards. This is the complete team, the best team in the NFL and the team to beat a month in.
5) Jags return to London
I thought the Jacksonville Jaguars were efficient if not always exciting in their game against the Atlanta Falcons in London. The defense stood up big for them, that will be important as the offense gets up to speed.
There were flashes of Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley as they evened up their record in London to 5-5 and in the season at 2-2. They face quite the challenge now as they head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium because the Buffalo Bills, winners of three straight, are in red-hot form.
Good to have the Jags back and good to see everybody enjoying the game and lots of different jerseys. It never gets old, it's always special, onto the next one!
Player of the Week - Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
His performance shouldn't come as a surprise, he is always outstanding against the Dolphins. He went 21 of 25 for 320 yards and four touchdowns, no picks, connecting time and time again with Stefon Diggs and showing us everything to lets us know why he is an NFL star. Everything was there. The arm strength, the accuracy, actually taking care of the football, being more patient, looking like a true elite player in the NFL, and that's what he is in this form.
Play of the Week - Allen's TD pass to Diggs
Josh Allen stepped up from the pocket and delivered an absolute howitzer, you had to watch it back in slow motion to see where the ball went. I think Diggs caught it in self-defence between the defenders in the end zone. It was just a reminder of everything Josh Allen can do: pocket movement, working away from defenders with his legs and then delivered a strike with his cannon for an arm.
Coach of the Week - Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
It was good balance from his team as they beat the Bengals 27-3. They had 240 yards from Ryan Tannehill and a touchdown pass, they had 173 yards on the ground and got Derrick Henry going with over 100 yards. The defense was good with three sacks of Joe Burrow while holding the Bengals to three points.
It feels like that no matter what their deficiencies are in certain areas Vrabel was always going to have the Titans ready to be competitive, ready to play tough. They aren't the most talented, they aren't the flashiest, but here they are 2-2.
On my radar...
The future of Mac Jones as quarterback of the New England Patriots. It wasn't a great outing in Dallas as Bill Belichick suffered his biggest loss as New England head coach. Jones showed poor awareness in the pocket at times, certainly on the strip-sack that led to the touchdown return, and his ill-advised throw across the field that was picked off was absolute basics and shocking and should never be done unless your name is John Elway, Patrick Mahomes or Dan Marino.
I think he worryingly looked relieved when he was benched, I'd have rather seen him a little upset, he looked happy almost to be out of that game and I don't think he's going to be the long-term answer. It's certainly looking shaky for Jones and the Patriots.
Week Five begins on Thursday night when the Chicago Bears take on the Washington Commanders from 1.15am live on Sky Sports; Stream the 2023 NFL season with NOW for £21 a month for six months