Scully's NFL notebook: Tom Brady continues to defy Father Time
Week 4 in the NFL didn’t feature the most compelling matchups, and Philadelphia's defeat of San Francisco as an eight-point underdog was the only significant upset.
There will be opportunities for underdogs in Week 5, with eight teams favored by at least a touchdown.
Here are three takeaways from Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season.
Brady shines in Tampa comeback
Sunday’s comeback win will be a signature moment for Tom Brady, if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make a deep postseason run. The 43-year-old quarterback lived up to his "G.O.A.T." reputation as Tampa erased a 17-point deficit.
Brady finished with 369 yards passing and threw touchdown passes to five different receivers, but he helped put Tampa in a hole when he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter. The Chargers led 24-7 late in the first half, before Brady found his groove.
After he cut the halftime deficit to 10 points, with a touchdown pass to Mike Evans, Brady went 15-for-17, for 263 yards and three touchdowns, in the second half and compiled a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
And he did it all without dynamic receiver Chris Godwin, who was nursing a sore hamstring. Brady extended his record with a 34th comeback win from a double-digit deficit, and he tied Peyton Manning for the second-most 300-yard passing games (93).
With Chicago up this week, Tampa Bay should be 4-1 heading into a home showdown against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 18.
Who will win the NFC South?
Beckham emerges, Browns have it rolling under Stefanski
Odell Beckham Jr. reminded us why he’s an elite player. He logged 154 total yards and three touchdowns on seven touches against Dallas in Week 4.
He opened the scoring for the Browns, with a 37-yard reception from wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Beckham added another a few minutes later, on a short touchdown reception from Baker Mayfield, which helped Cleveland jump out to a 31-14 halftime lead.
Beckham shut the door on a desperate comeback attempt by Dallas late in the game, when he eluded multiple tacklers on an amazing 50-yard touchdown run to seal the 49-38 victory.
The early returns with new coach Kevin Stefanski are encouraging. Cleveland, which rushed for 307 yards against Dallas, easily leads the league with 204.5 rushing yards per game.
Running back Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury Sunday, and while team officials are optimistic the MRI won’t reveal significant damage, the Browns have arguably the best depth at running back in the NFL.
Mayfield isn’t being asked to do too much. He is only averaging 28 passing attempts per game since the Browns lost the season opener, and the they have averaged nearly 40 carries per game during their three-game win streak.
No home field advantage
Teams must still travel to play in empty or limited-attendance stadiums, but last week served as a prime example of how meaningless home field is in a 2020 season affected by COVID-19.
Road teams went 9-6, and 10-4-1 against the spread in Week 4. On Sunday, road teams won eight of the 12 games.
Home teams are 31-31-1 this season and 28-34-1 ATS.
Dallas and San Francisco have been the main home disappointments this season.
Considering the Cowboys have no margin for error with a suspect defense, they are being doomed by offensive miscues in the first half of home games. They fell behind, 29-10, to Atlanta at halftime, after multiple turnovers, and Cleveland converted a pair of lost fumbles into touchdowns in the first half last week.
Still relatively healthy when it lost the home opener to Arizona as a 7.5-point favorite, San Francisco sustained a rash of injuries over the next two games, and it dropped to 0-2 at home with a 25-20 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday night.
Despite the injuries, there was still no excuse for the latest loss. The Eagles, who were missing top running back Miles Sanders, along with receivers DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Quez Watkins, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, were arguably more banged up than the Niners, and Philadelphia lost a pair of defensive starters in the first half.