Tara O’Leary, Staff Writer |
Week Four of the NFL season was littered with injuries, including a gruesome one for Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert. The 28-year-old was awkwardly dragged to the ground by a Falcons defender following a third quarter reception. His ankle can be seen twisting under the defender. Eifert was put in an air cast on the field and carted off on a stretcher. The tight end will undergo surgery for a broken ankle and his season is likely over. Eifert tweeted a statement Sunday evening briefly expressing how crushed he was about the injury, trying to remain positive, “This was the hardest I’ve worked to put myself in a position to help this team succeed…The only thing to do is move forward with optimism.” The Bengals went on to defeat the Falcons 37-36.
Seahawks defender Earl Thomas also suffered a disappointing injury on Sunday. In the fourth quarter of his team’s game against the Cardinals, Thomas went down with a leg injury. The safety was carted off and taken directly to the X-ray room. “It was a lower-leg fracture,” Head Coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. The injury comes with a lot of questions as Thomas had previously been holding out for a new contract. When the Seahawks didn’t cave, he eventually did, reporting to the team in time for the start of the regular season. Now Thomas will be out for the remainder of the year before likely heading into free agency. There has been some bad blood between Thomas and the Seahawks over his holdout, and that showed again on Sunday. As he was being carted off the field he could be seen with his middle finger raised towards the Seattle sideline. Fellow Seahawks defender Bobby Wagner gave some perspective on the holdout situation, “if he doesn’t come then he’s not a team player. If he does come and gets hurt, then it’s ‘he shouldn’t have came’…If I was him, I’d be pissed off.” Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell, who is currently in the middle of his own holdout, also weighed in on the issue, “Get right bro,” commenting on an Instagram post that featured Thomas, “I’ll continue to be the ‘bad guy’ for ALL of us.”
Without Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh has certainly struggled. Following a Week Four loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers now have a record of 1-2-1. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 224 yards and led three scoring drives in the first half, but in the second half threw for just 50 yards and had zero touchdowns. Roethlisberger took the blame after the game, telling reporters, “I’m not on the same page as anybody right now. I’m not playing well enough.”
Meanwhile in Tampa Bay, Fitzmagic has officially come to an end. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was replaced with Jameis Winston halfway through Sunday’s game against the Bears. Just last week Fitzpatrick became the first player in NFL history to throw for 400-plus yards in three consecutive games to start the season. He was electric in the first two games, but that started to dwindle a bit in Week Three, and after a rough start on Sunday he was benched for Winston. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter announced on Monday that Winston would start in Week Six, following the team’s bye week. When asked about the decision Fitzpatrick seemed to be aware of his ups and downs saying, “I told my dad I was either going to be the MVP or on the bench.”
Perhaps the most intense game of the week was Oakland’s 45-42 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. Baker Mayfield was making his first career start for Cleveland and almost led them to victory. With the lead late in the fourth quarter, Browns running back Carlos Hyde had what was initially ruled a first down, but replay officials overturned the call. Following the controversial call, Oakland tied up the game, sending the game into overtime, and eventually won. The victory marked Jon Gruden’s first head coaching win in almost a decade. While Oakland celebrated, the loss was disappointing for Cleveland.
“They’re frustrated by it,” said Cleveland coach Hue Jackson when asked how the team felt about the call, “What we understand is, let’s take it out of the officials’ hands. Let’s play well enough and put ourselves in the best situation so it’s not even questionable about a call.”