NFL Week 4 winners and losers: Eagles pass tough test; Ravens can't finish games

We're already one month into the 2022 NFL season so storylines and team identities are starting to crystalize.

For one, it's clear a couple of teams in the AFC are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack: the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills each picked up massive victories Sunday, while the Baltimore Ravens — the team Buffalo toppled — blew another big lead. Still, there is only one undefeated team left standing: the Philadelphia Eagles, who had to overcome a sluggish start to get to 4-0.

Elsewhere, the Carolina Panthers have continued their fall to irrelevance and may be the first team to make a coaching change as Matt Rhule's seat gets hotter.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown reacts after a first down catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown reacts after a first down catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Here are the winners and losers from Sunday's Week 4 action.

WINNERS

Peak Chiefs: activated

When Kansas City's offense is rolling like this, it's tough to see any team in the entire NFL being better. The Chiefs (3-1) rolled over the Buccaneers (2-2) in a rematch of Super Bowl 55. And in the process, they look just like the prolific squad from the 2019 season that won it all.

Part of what makes Kansas City so difficult to defend is the creativity it uses when designing plays, especially in the red zone and goal-to-go situations. The 1-yard touchdown sneak by tight end Noah Gray, in particular, was masterful. The Chiefs shredded the Buccaneers to 12-of-17 third-down conversions. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three scores. Kansas City scored touchdowns in five of six trips inside the red zone. All against a solid Buccaneers defense and all to say that last week's loss against the Colts looks all the more baffling.

The come-from-behind Eagles

Prior to Week 4, Philadelphia had faced only one deficit all season long: in the opener against the Lions, after Detroit scored a touchdown on the first series of the game. On Sunday against the Jaguars, however, the Eagles fell into an early, two-touchdown hole. It was their toughest test to date and they overwhelmingly passed.

Philly ripped off 29 unanswered points, starting with a tone-setting, physical fourth-and-goal touchdown rush in the second quarter from quarterback Jalen Hurts. While the Jaguars are still finding their identity, they're much improved so the comeback should be weighed appropriately. But it was a complete effort, with the Eagles defense forcing Trevor Lawrence into five turnovers after Jacksonville rushed out to a 14-point lead. The Eagles (4-0) are the NFL's lone undefeated team. Responses like the one they had Sunday showed they can keep the streak going.

Forgetting Russell Wilson

It's time to acknowledge just how good Geno Smith has been for the Seahawks in the post-Russell Wilson era. Smith, 31, is shining in his second chance as a starting quarterback and put up monster numbers (23-of-30 with 369 total yards and 3 total touchdowns) in a shootout over the Lions.

The Seahawks (2-2) have been a revelation on third downs this season (55.32%) after they converted 9-of-12 against the Lions. That ranks them second, trailing the Bills (55.77%) by only a fraction of a percentage point. That hasn't necessarily translated to consistency in scoring, but Smith is connecting with receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. His 77.3% completion rate is highest in NFL history through a quarterback's first four games. His QB rating of 108 ranks third in the NFL. Given Wilson's slow start in Denver, and the discount with Smith's contract, he has made it clear Seattle was right to move on.

More than just Aaron Rodgers

It's the mark of a solid squad when the reigning, two-time MVP struggles but other players step up. In Green Bay's 27-24 overtime victory against a banged up Patriots team, it was the running back tandem of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion who combined for 183 rushing yards on 33 carries and powered the Packers to the victory.

Even a wide receiver got involved in Green Bay's ground attack, with rookie Christian Watson scoring on an early jet sweep, a drive in which all six plays were rushes. The Packers (3-1) averaged 5.7 yards per carry against the Patriots and racked up 199 rushing yards. But the construction of the running back room, with Jones being the starter and home run hitter and Dillion being the bruiser who can finish drives (and games). It has become rare for Rodgers to struggle. But if and when he does, the offense showed it has pieces to make up for it.

LOSERS

The Ravens have a problem finishing games

Baltimore suffered its fifth consecutive home loss against the Bills after it held a 17-point lead deep in the second quarter. Its previous home defeat? Week 2 against the Dolphins, when Baltimore (2-2) blew a 21-point fourth-quarter lead.

On Sunday, the Ravens were shut out in the second half. They yielded 20 unanswered points to end the game. And, once again, there wasn't much help for quarterback Lamar Jackson, who paced the Ravens in rushing yards for the third time this season. And when Buffalo chipped away at the lead, Jackson appeared to press and force throws. Many will condemn coach Jon Harbaugh's decision to go for it late in the fourth, but that's not the problem. In the first half, Baltimore converted 4-of-7 third downs. In the second, however, it converted just 2-of-6 attempts. In fact, the offense stalled so much on early downs that the Ravens faced an average of 8.83 yards to gain.

The Matt Rhule era in Carolina

It's time for Panthers owner David Tepper to admit his mistake and fire Matt Rhule. The Panthers (1-3) have lost any semblance of competence on offense, Rhule's supposed area of expertise. Whether it has been Sam Darnold or P.J. Walker or, now, Baker Mayfield, Rhule has shown he cannot develop quarterbacks, or at least get them to improve. Star running back Christian McCaffrey, who admittedly has had injury issues, has nonetheless been a shell of his previous self under Rhule.

Worse yet, Rhule has also shown he cannot manage a coaching staff. He fired promising offensive coordinator Joe Brady in December after he was placed in a difficult position with revolving personnel at quarterback last season. Now, Brady is making an impact in Buffalo as the quarterbacks coach and the Panthers have lost eight of their last nine games since the firing.

The Mitchell Trubisky era as a starter in the NFL

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Pittsburgh "needed a spark" so he benched Trubisky for rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett. The Steelers still lost to the Jets. And after the game, Tomlin said he wasn't ready to name a starter for Week 5's game against the Bills. But even if the Steelers (1-3) opt to start Trubisky, his time as a starting passer in this league is coming to an end.

Trubisky, 28, is on his third team in as many seasons and has shown he's incapable of moving an offense. He completed 7-of-13 passes for 84 yards with an interception but Pittsburgh entered Sunday ranked 30th in first downs and dead last in time of possession. Pickett (10-of-13 for 120 yards) did throw three picks Sunday and the key for him will be to better protect the ball. But he scored two rushing touchdowns and gave the Steelers something they haven't had all season — energy — with Trubisky under center.

Panic time in Indy?

Most of the things that made the Colts a decent team last year — a sound offensive line, a dominant rushing attack, a team that was tied for the best turnover differential in the NFL — are no longer part of their identity. And after yet another slow start in a listless loss to the AFC South rival Titans, Indianapolis (1-2-1) doesn't look like a team that retooled for a playoff run but one that doesn't know what it is.

The Colts have been outscored by a margin of 65-23 in the first halves this season. They are tied for 30th in turnover differential (-6). Matt Ryan has misfired on passes he would normally complete with ease. All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor (20 carries for 42 yards Sunday) has been a non-factor. The saving grace for the Colts is that the division is the weakest in the NFL, so despite the languid start, they still may not be out of it.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL Week 4 winners, losers: Eagles and Chiefs impress; Ravens regress