From No Good To Very Bad: The Worst Of Week 4 In The NFL
Week 4 kicked off the bye weeks in the NFL and the Patriots and Titans were the first to get a week of rest, although there were certainly a few other teams that looked as though they needed the break.
To start out on a positive note, of the four win-less teams from Week 3 the only one that has yet to notch their first win of the season in Week 4 is the Detroit Lions, who are currently playing Monday Night Football. The outlook for that game is bleak though, as they have to play at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
The Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints all managed to put together some ugly wins, keeping them in hopeful contention for at least a few precious weeks longer. So you could say it was a triumphant week overall for some of the NFL's saddest teams. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the kickers of the NFL.
Sunday's afternoon games featured a stunning 11 missed field goal attempts as part of the 18 total missed field goals/extra point attempts for the week (not including the MNF game.) What's worse is that many of these missed field goals were the deciding factor in intra-divisional games that could have a significant bearing on playoff standings down the line.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' Josh Scobee missed two fourth-quarter field goal attempts in the fourth quarter of their AFC North game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Jacksonville Jaguars' rookie kicker Jason Myers missed what would have been the game-winning field goal on two occasions in their game against their AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts; once at the end of the fourth quarter and then again in overtime. Then Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis missed an extra point and a 33-yard field goal attempt in their three-point loss to the Washington Redskins, who are now on top of them in the NFC East.
Those losses all have the potential to be extremely consequential, and long-time NFL kicker Jay Feely believes that the increased pressure that kickers face with the new 33-yard extra point has begun to effect their confidence when attempting field goals.
"It just helped in general to have no pressure, to have a play where you can go out there and not worry about the result and focus on your form" Feely told Fox Sports on Sunday, in reference to the former 20-yard extra point. "That helped you get grooved in because you have to do something terrible to miss it...It reminds me a lot of the play-calling for a quarterback at the beginning of a game when you try to get him in a groove and you throw a couple of slants or screens or different things like that to allow him to get comfortable in the game...But now, it's not like that at all. There's pressure on that kick, so you can't relax at all and you can't take that in-game practice to get comfortable."
Feely may be right, as it's obvious that kickers are struggling to start out the season and it makes sense that such a drastic difference to their in-game kicking would affect them. But if you look around the league, the best kickers over the last few years - Justin Tucker, Stephen Gostkowski, Dan Bailey and Sebastian Janikowski to name a few - are still as good as ever. So perhaps if these younger and/or struggling kickers can get over their nerves and develop a rhythm, then this too shall pass.
Speaking of people who are definitely going to want to put Week 4 behind them, here are a few others who had a really rough time.
Worst Week 4 Completion Percentage
Ryan Tannehill (MIA): 43.2 %
Lowest Passer Rating
Ryan Mallett (HOU): 46.8
Most Sack Yards Lost
Teddy Bridgewater (MIN): 57 yards
Fewest Rushing Yards (Min. 10 attempts)
Joseph Randle (DAL): 26 yards on 11 attempts (2.4 yards per carry)
Fewest Receiving Yards (Min. 10 targets)
Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG): 5 receptions for 38 yards on 12 targets
Lowest Kickoff Average
Robbie Gould (CHI): 54.7 yards
Fewest Total First Downs
San Francisco 49ers: 8 total first downs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 turnovers
Most Penalty Yards
New York Jets: 163 penalty yards
Lowest Time of Possession
Philadelphia Eagles: 18 minutes, 52 seconds
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