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Sun Devils in the NFL: Burfict's Return Ignites Bengals Defense

Here is your update for Sun Devils in the NFL from Week 4.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Burfict’s return jumpstarts Bengals defense


Whether directly or indirectly, it’s pretty clear that linebacker Vontaze Burfict elevates the game for the rest of his teammates on the Bengals defense.

Prior to his return to the lineup, Cincinnati’s defense surrendered over 20 first downs per game. In his first game back, Burfict and the Bengals allowed just eight.

And that’s not just an indictment of the Dolphins. In the two weeks prior to facing Cincinnati, Miami gained 23 first downs against the Patriots and another 23 against the Browns.

https://twitter.com/pauldehnerjr/status/781649684205101064

The Bengals’ defense graded poorly in Pro Football Reference’s approximate value grade through three weeks, with grades of -6.23, -3.03 and -6.41 in its first three matchups. But with Burfict back in Week 4, Cincinnati’s defense earned a 13.03 grade, which is the second-best outing by the defense throughout the past two seasons, behind the Bengals’ 24-14 win over the 49ers last year.

Burfict didn’t have eye-popping stats, but the Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from his return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

Osweiler leads Texans to win, throws two more interceptions.



On the surface, it appears Brock Osweiler has led the Houston Texan’s through the first quarter of the season without many hiccups. The Texans are 3-1 with a two-game lead in the AFC South, including a 27-20 win over the Titans on Sunday.

However, if you look at the quarterback’s workload more closely, there is still plenty Osweiler needs to work on before Houston travel to Minnesota next weekend. Osweiler has thrown six interceptions in the first four games of the season, including two on Sunday.

https://twitter.com/MichaelDavSmith/status/780363310818529280


Osweiler and his primary target, DeAndre Hopkins, have also been struggling with their chemistry, on Sunday they only hooked up once for four yards on six targets. The Pro Bowl receiver’s stats are a far cry from the performance he put up the past season. Through the first four games, Hopkins has 17 catches on 33 targets for 227 yards. In the first four games last year, he had 31 catches and 60 targets for 409 yards and three touchdowns.

When Osweiler was asked about these criticisms he said they we ‘hilarious’ and that he’s focused on winning games, and he is. Osweiler completed 25 of 37 and threw for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Rookies

Name/Position/Number

Team

Selected

Standing

This Week's Stats

Christian Westerman, OG - No. 63

Cincinnati Bengals

5th round, 24th pick

Second-team right guard

N/A

D.J. Foster, RB - No. 27

New England Patriots

undrafted

Third-team running back

N/A

Other Alumni on Active Rosters

Name/Position/Number

Team

Years at ASU

Standing

This Week's Stats

Lawrence Guy, DT - No. 93

Baltimore Ravens

2008-10

Starting defensive end

1 tackle, 1 Fumble Recovery

Terrell Suggs, LB - No. 55

Baltimore Ravens

2000-02

Starting outside linebacker

3 tackles

Will Sutton, DT - No. 93

Chicago Bears

2009-13

Second-team nose tackle

N/A

Vontaze Burfict, LB - No. 55

Cincinnati Bengals

2009-11

Suspended

3 Tackles

Marcus Hardison, DL - No. 91

Cincinnati Bengals

2013-14

Placed on injured-reserve (Sep. 3)

N/A

Damarious Randall, CB - No. 23

Green Bay Packers

2013-14

Starting left cornerback

Bye

Brock Osweiler, QB - No. 17

Houston Texans

2009-11

Starting quarterback

25/37, 254 yd, 2 TD, 2 INT

Jaelen Strong, WR - No. 11

Houston Texans

2013-14

Second-team left wide receiver

5 rec. 31 yds.

Shawn Lauvao, LG - No. 77

Washington

2005-09

Starting left guard

N/A

Rashad Ross, WR - No. 19

Washington

2011-12

Second-team left wide receiver; starting KO RET

N/A

Notes

If there's one thing that Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall possesses, it's a short memory.

Sure, the second-year corner has been beaten - and pretty badly, too - by the opposition's top receivers over the past few games. However, as he revealed this week, he had a minor physical limitation that may have affected his ability to play his game properly in those two contests and he should be back to normal this week.

Randall told reporters he banged his thumb in Week 2 against Minnesota, which limited his ability on press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs preceded to have a career night with nine catches for 182 yards and a touchdown, much of the damage coming against Randall.

Randall hopes to keep the New York Giants three-headed monster of receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard under control, after a bye week which gave him a week to heal his thumb, on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.