Not much was expected out of these teams, except the Giants. But that doesn’t mean they were all projected to be 0-4 after the first month of the season. The Browns were supposed to make strides after picking up young talent in the draft. The 49ers started a rebuild by hiring John Lynch as their new general manager and Kyle Shanahan as head coach. The Chargers, well, we just didn’t think would be this bad.
Here’s a ranking of the most painful losses each team took on Sunday.
4. Browns just got beat up by the Bengals
The Browns get the least of my sympathy. They got straight mollywhopped by the previously winless Bengals, which for me is much less painful than blowing a huge lead or losing a close game.
DeShone Kizer got pulled late in the game for Kevin Hogan after going 16-of-34 for 118 yards and an interception in the 31-7 loss. The ground game was absent, and the defense got torched by Andy Dalton, who completed 25 of 30 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns. The Browns’ lone score came with under two minutes to go: a Duke Johnson 1-yard run.
After the game, Browns coach Hue Jackson said that Kizer would still be the starter and that he didn’t want to risk the rookie quarterback getting injured.
Adam Jones, who plays for the Bengals and was with the team when Jackson was the offensive coordinator, offered up sympathy.
“As people know I’m a fan of Coach Hue,” Jones said, via Zac Jackson of The Athletic. “I know you say they’re getting a lot of talent, but I don’t know. From watching today and watching film, I probably shouldn’t say this but it’s going to be hard to win with that group. I’m just saying all around football, I don’t know if Hue has enough to win.”
He added, “He only can get so much out of the group that he has.”
He didn’t get a whole lot out of them Sunday, that’s for sure.
3. Chargers’ home field doesn’t feel like home
The Chargers lost 26-24 against the Eagles this week and never led during the game. But the most painful part was how the Eagles beat them.
The Chargers haven’t had much of a home-field advantage this season. They’re playing games in the StubHub Center, which holds 27,000 people, until the new Los Angeles stadium is completed in 2020. As the first three home games have indicated, the visiting team actually has the advantage.
Late in the game, the Eagles were able to rally the crowd to make noise on a crucial third down.
“I do know that our fans do travel well, and they are all over the country and I would expect probably a good turnout for Eagles fans this weekend,” Doug Pederson told the AP earlier in the week.
They had a good turnout, and a good result. Basketball season is coming up, and with a young phenom in Lonzo Ball, the Chargers might have growing concerns on whether or not sports fans in LA will spend their money on the football team.
The heartache is becoming a normal thing for the Chargers and their fans. Dating back to last season, they’ve lost 12 one-possession games and currently hold the longest losing streak in the NFL, at nine.
2. 49ers ate up a ton of clock in overtime, only to lose
Overtime periods are now 10 minutes, after changes were made in the offseason. The 49ers took the Cardinals into overtime on the road at 12-12 and chewed up 7:36 of the clock on a 17-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a field goal.
The Cardinals then got the football and never faced a third down. John Brown nearly ended the game with a wild touchdown catch, but it was ultimately Larry Fitzgerald who would (fittingly) seal the deal for Arizona with just 32 seconds left in overtime:
That touchdown was the only one of the game. Up to that point, the teams had exchanged nothing but field goals in what was a drag of a game until the final three minutes of overtime.
The Cardinals haven’t exactly looked hot this season, and to lose to them in this fashion, even on the road, has to be painful for Shanahan’s team.
1. Giants lost on a field goal to a team that doesn’t have a good kicker
Not only did the Giants lose a very winnable game to the Buccaneers by a 25-23 score, but they lost on a field goal to a team that has had some serious field-goal struggles the past two seasons.
The Bucs cut 2016 second-round pick Roberto Aguayo during training camp because he simply never got over his yips.
He was replaced with Nick Folk, who didn’t have a good game leading up to his final kick of the day. He was only 1-for-3 before that and had also missed one extra point.
The game-winner was 34 yards, one yard longer than an extra point, and it barely got in.
The Giants made the playoffs last year and were expected to contend in the NFC East this year. But head coach Ben McAdoo said it best after the game:
Ben McAdoo was asked about the possibility of even thinking about making the playoffs at 0-4: "We need to win a damn game."— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) October 1, 2017
If the Giants keep this up, though, we could be in for some great Manning faces during these next 12 weeks.