NFL Week 4 loser: Chase Claypool
The Chicago Bears granted Chase Claypool's trade request after his combative Week 3 comments to the media. The deep threat has been entirely ineffective in the Bears' offense (four receptions on 14 targets) and he was quick to blame the coaches.
A Week 4 battle with the equally ghastly Denver Broncos isn't the best litmus test, but the Bears' first week without Chase Claypool went rather swimmingly on offense. The team managed 471 total yards, with Justin Fields completing 28-of-35 passes for 335 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Addition by subtraction?
Claypool has tainted his reputation in league circles and the offense — coincidentally or not — looked a thousand times better as soon as he was left on the inactive list. The Bears still managed to choke away the lead and drop to 0-4, but at least the offense showed signs of life.
NFL Week 4 winner: C.J. Stroud (and Texans' defense)
C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans are 2-2 after a stunning and unexpected blowout of the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are other factors at play, including a Kenny Pickett injury in the second half, but the Texans are looking increasingly threatening under new head coach DeMeco Ryans.
Stroud has been the best offensive rookie in football. He completed 16-of-30 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns, finding a fruitful connection with Nico Collins (seven receptions for 168 yards and two scores). All the hubbub about that football I.Q. test looks mighty ridiculous in hindsight. It's still early, yes, but Stroud has strung together four admirable performances out of the gate. That's not common for a rookie QB.
Houston's defense also held the Steelers to six points. Most of the blame will fall on Pittsburgh OC Matt Canada, but the Texans' defense put constant pressure on the QB after a week of conversation around how much pressure Stroud would face from Pittsburgh's front line. How the tables turn...