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Rookies Make a Splash as NFL Rolls into October

Tank Dell's journey to the NFL started with a nickname, a playful nod to his hard-hitting potential. Last week, he transformed that moniker into a reality when he showcased his talents as Houston's offensive aerial threat.

The rookie, a third-round pick, left a lasting impression by hauling in five passes for 145 yards, including a touchdown, during an impressive road victory. His teammate, C.J. Stroud, the second overall pick in the draft, etched his name in history as only the third player ever to amass 900 passing yards in his first three NFL games. The next player drafted, Will Anderson, became the first Texans rookie since J.J. Watt in 2011 to block a field goal.

Rookie center Jarrett Patterson, a sixth-round pick, played a vital role in giving Stroud the time he needed in the pocket. Meanwhile, fifth-round pick Henry To'oTo'o led the team with 20 tackles, showing his prowess on defense. Even the Texans' punter and holder, Ty Zentner, an undrafted free agent, contributed significantly in last week's win.

Coach Demeco Ryans, himself a former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, emphasized that it doesn't matter where the rookies were drafted; what matters is if they play football the "Texans way." For Ryans, the emphasis is on playing the game right.

In Miami, De'Von Achane made a name for himself with his blazing speed. The rookie, a third-round selection, achieved a remarkable feat in the Dolphins' 70-20 victory, becoming just the second NFL player ever (and the first since John F. Kennedy's presidency) to record 200 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and two touchdown receptions in a single game.

Over in Philadelphia, Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, both recent national champions from Georgia, have quickly become integral parts of the Eagles' defense. Their contributions have propelled the Eagles to lead the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 48.3 yards per game, and tie for the league lead with four fumble recoveries.

Rookies are making their mark all across the NFL, and as the league enters October, they are starting to adapt to the pace of the game. The 2023 NFL season is off to an explosive start, with these fresh faces making headlines and turning heads.

The Starting 11 Entering Week 4

1. Dolphins and Bills on a Collision Course: Miami (3-0) is riding high after one of the most explosive offensive performances in NFL history and seeks its first 4-0 start since 1995. However, standing in their way is the formidable Buffalo Bills (2-1), who have the league's best home record since 2020.

2. Number of the Week – 18: Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta has made a historic start to his career, surpassing the previous record for receptions by a tight end in his first three games.

3. Thursday Night Football: Detroit (2-1) and Green Bay (2-1) kick off Week 4 on Thursday Night Football in Lambeau Field. The Lions aim for their best start in years.

4. London Calling: The NFL returns to London with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) facing the Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at Wembley Stadium. This marks the first of three consecutive weeks of London games.

5. Spotlight – Individual Matchup: Center Creed Humphrey and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams are set to face off as Kansas City (2-1) meets the New York Jets (1-2) on Sunday Night Football.

6. Spotlight – Team Matchup: Cleveland's impressive defense, which leads the NFL in both fewest yards and points allowed per game, faces Baltimore (2-1), making for a compelling showdown on Sunday.

7. Did You Know?: Several Week 4 matchups feature teams with 2-1 records, and recent history shows that the team winning in Week 4 has a better chance of making the playoffs.

8. Under-the-Radar Storyline: Several players return to their old teams this week, creating intriguing matchups and storylines to watch.

9. Trend Time: The NFL enters October, a crucial month for playoff hopefuls, with a statistic showing that 3-1 teams have a significantly higher chance of making the postseason.

10. Next Gen Stats Note of the Week: The Miami Dolphins own the top five ball-carrying speeds in the NFL this season, showcasing their blazing speed on the field.

11. And Last But Not Least: The Philadelphia Eagles aim to start 4-0 for the second consecutive season, a feat only achieved by a few teams this century, as they face the Washington Commanders (2-1) on Sunday.

As the NFL season progresses, rookies and veterans alike continue to shape the narrative of an exciting and unpredictable season.


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