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Best rookie performances of Week 4: Watson carrying Texans with historic performance

Here's a closer look at how some of the top rookies fared in Week 4.

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson

Round: 1
Statistics: 25-of-34 for 283 yards, four TDs, INT; four carries, 24 yards, TD

Analysis: The Texans' rookie quarterback has improved each week since he replaced Tom Savage at halftime in Houston's season opener. He took a huge leap Sunday in the Texans' 57-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Watson threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, which tied Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton for the rookie record for touchdowns in a game. Watson was especially effective targeting wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, going 10-of-12 for 107 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Texans' offensive line showed improvement, so Watson didn't have to scramble as much, instead beating the Titans with his arm. “He can really throw the football,” head coach Bill O'Brien said. “He's a very accurate passer. ... He can really sling it, and he's a very smart runner.” -- Sarah Barshop

Buffalo Bills CB Tre'Davious White

Round: 1
Statistics: Four tackles, one pass defensed, one fumble recovery for touchdown

Analysis: As Stephon Gilmore stumbles in New England, the player tasked to replace him in Buffalo is flourishing. White has started each game this season and made perhaps his biggest play yet in Sunday's 23-17 win over the Falcons. Early in the third quarter, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes hit Matt Ryan's arm as he reared the ball back, with Ryan able to push the ball forward downfield. White made the heads-up play of scooping the ball and running 52 yards for a touchdown that was upheld upon review. White, who was named the NFL's defensive rookie of the month last week, has not looked out of place as a starter since his first practice with the team in the spring. -- Mike Rodak

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette

Round: 1
Statistics: 24 carries, 86 yards; four receptions, 59 yards, TD

Analysis: Fournette scored a TD for the fourth consecutive week and would have had a second were it not for a holding penalty that wiped out a 23-yard screen pass. That was potentially the winning TD. Fournette averaged 3.6 yards per carry and came close to breaking a couple runs but didn't have a run longer than 11 yards. The most confusing part of the day was that Fournette was not on the field when the Jaguars had first-and-goal from the 6. The Jaguars kept him on the sideline and threw three consecutive passes before kicking a field goal to tie the game and force OT. -- Michael DiRocco

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard

Round: 1
Statistics: Two catches, 63 yards, TD

Analysis: The 19th overall pick scored his first NFL touchdown -- a 58-yard catch-and-run to give the Bucs a 13-0 lead. What Howard does as a run-blocker won’t show up on the stat sheet, and he had a relatively quiet start to the season catching the ball. That all changed in the first quarter Sunday. Howard’s run blocking – which he’s done a really nice job of through three games -- was the very reason he was able to get wide open along the near sideline to make the catch. What may have been the most impressive part of the play was his ability to navigate through traffic so quickly in cutting across the field. -- Jenna Laine

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook

Round: 2
Statistics: 13 carries, 66 yards, TD; one reception, 8 yards

Analysis: Cook's left knee injury has the Vikings fearing the worst. If the rookie running back did indeed suffer an ACL tear that will keep him out an extended period of time, Minnesota will undoubtedly take a heavy hit on offense. The Vikings rely on Cook to do so much -- and not just in the running game. His abilities to stretch the field in the passing game and aid in pass protection are huge assets for an offense aiming for more balance. The rookie scored his second touchdown of the season against the Lions on a 5-yard run. If that's his last action for a while, Latavius Murray will have to carry the load. Murray, who signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Vikings in the offseason, was expected to replace Adrian Peterson months before Cook blew Minnesota away in the preseason with his talent. He might soon get his chance to pick up where Cook left off. -- Courtney Cronin

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon

Round: 2
Statistics: 17 carries, 29 yards; four catches, 19 yards

Analysis: Sunday's game against the Browns seemed like a perfect time to build off Mixon's performance last week against the Packers. Instead, Mixon and the Bengals' run game were completely ineffective as the Bengals focused more on their passing game. Mixon got the bigger share of the running back load again, but it was Giovani Bernard who stole the show with three catches for 67 yards. It was not Mixon's day to shine, as he averaged only 1.7 yards per carry.

Cleveland Browns QB DeShone Kizer

Round: 2
Statistics: 16-of 34 for 118 yards, interception

Analysis: Kizer probably had more than 118 yards passing in some of his school games. The number fairly reflected, though, the way the Browns' offense played. Kizer had three passes dropped, one by Kenny Britt as Kizer was guiding the Browns to what could have been a touchdown. That said, this was Kizer's most frustrating game, as he and the offense never got into any kind of rhythm. It's tough to recall a throw he made down the field that was memorable -- other than the third-down throw that went through Britt's hands, off his chest and to the Bengals. After the game, Kizer clearly was disappointed and frustrated, as he said over and over that all 11 players had to execute on every play for the team to be successful. Rookie quarterbacks go through days like this. How Kizer responds will tell a lot about his makeup. -- Pat McManamon

New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara

Round: 3
Statistics: Five carries, 25 yards; 10 receptions, 71 yards, TD

Analysis: Kamara's role keeps growing in the Saints' crowded backfield. He even shared the “closer” role with Mark Ingram on Sunday, when his 12-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter clinched New Orleans' 20-0 victory over Miami. Drew Brees chuckled a bit when he pointed out that Kamara had 10 catches on 10 targets Sunday. “That's pretty efficient,” Brees said. “His maturation process is going well.” Kamara likely won't evolve into a No. 1-type of back for the Saints this season because the Saints still value Mark Ingram so much as a runner, receiver and pass protector. But the two of them are leaving little room for Adrian Peterson right now, and it's clear that the Saints keep designing ways to get Kamara the ball. “Look, he's an explosive player,” coach Sean Payton said of Kamara, who is averaging 5.5 yards on 15 rushes and has 20 catches for 147 yards on the season, with one rushing TD and one receiving TD. -- Mike Triplett

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp

Round: 3
Statistics: Five catches on 7 targets, 60 yards, TD

Analysis: Kupp left Eastern Washington with basically every record imaginable and looks like a steal for the Rams. Kupp, who already has solidified himself as the team's slot receiver, has reliable hands, excellent field awareness and elite route-running ability. The 24-year-old also is proving to be a threat after the catch, as he showed a couple of times in a 35-30 win over the Cowboys. Kupp already has hauled in 14 of 21 targets for 186 yards and two touchdowns for a Rams offense that likes to spread the ball around. -- Alden Gonzalez

Chicago Bears RB Tarik Cohen

Round: 4
Statistics: Six carries, 24 yards; four receptions, 24 yards

Analysis: Cohen had only 10 touches on offense because the Bears fell behind early. Chicago prefers veteran running back Benny Cunningham as the third-down blocker, so Cohen's playing time dips when the Bears are in obvious passing situations. You can partly blame quarterback Mike Glennon for Cohen's off-night. Glennon's four turnovers took the Bears completely out of rhythm offensively. Everyone suffered, including Cohen. -- Jeff Dickerson

Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt

Round: 3
Statistics: 21 carries, 101 yards; four receptions, 20 yards

Analysis: Hunt once again did his best work in the second half. He had 77 of his 101 rushing yards after halftime as the Chiefs handed him the ball 16 times. Hunt, who leads the NFL in rushing yards with 502, has more rushing yards in the second half this season (372) than the second-leading rusher, Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams, has at any point in the game (362). Hunt is the fourth rookie in NFL history with at least 100 yards from scrimmage in four consecutive games to begin a season. Hunt failed to score a touchdown against Washington, marking his first NFL game without a score. -- Adam Teicher

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