ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys gets knocked to the turf against the Detroit Lions at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Detroit Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-30. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
MC Hammer said it best when he rapped, "Don't call it a comeback!" No? It wasn't MC Hammer? Was it Run DMC? It couldn't have been that guy who's hat is like a sharks fin. So forget Oreos eat Cool J cookies, he's bad. I mean really bad. Well, whoever it was that was the theme of week 4 in the NFL. The Bengals came back from a 17-3 deficit against the Bills, the 49ers came back after being down 23-3 against the Eagles, and the coup de grace came when the Lions overcame a 27-3 deficit against the Cowboys and Tony "I'm no longer a choke artist, oh yes I am" Romo. And that's not even taking into consideration the Cardinals who blew a 10 point lead with only 5 minutes to play or the Seahawks who almost came back after being down 27-7 but came up just short after they realized their kicker wasn't Sebastian Janikowski. With that in mind let's recap all the games from week 4.
This game started out close but with the Raiders trailing 14-10 with a little over 2 minutes to play in the first half, and with a 2nd and goal at the Patriots 6 yard line, Jason Campbell decided he didn't really want the ball after all so he threw it straight at Patrick Chung for the interception. To get an idea just how bad the throw was, the nearest Raiders player was so far away Chung had time to pull out his cell phone and send out a tweet about his interception before finally being tackled. "It was just a bonehead play," Campbell said. At least he's honest. After that it was all Patriots led by Tom Brady's 2 TD passes, putting him ahead of Joe Montana on the all time list, and Wes Welker who had 50 catches for 500 yards, or something like that. Rumor is the Catholic church wants to make Welker the patron Saint of small white kids who dream of making it in the NFL.
Devin Hester set an NFL record with his 11th punt return for a TD while Matt Forte became the first Bears running back to rush for over 200 yards in a game since Walter Peyton, going for 205 yards and a TD. Turns out the Bears needed every bit of it to sneak past Cam Newton and the Panthers. Newton threw for 374 yards and a TD while also running for two more scores, and he now holds the NFL record for most passing yards in a quarterbacks first four career starts moving past Billy Volek. Wait, what? Volek is second on this list? Who's in 3rd, Romo? Oh, I guess he is. But this game was really all about Forte. "The holes were huge out there," said Forte. "We just kept on pounding and pounding them." And if you thought the same thing I did after reading that, you're all a bunch of perverts.
Bills 20, Bengals 23
After overcoming a 21 point deficit last week against the Patriots, the Bills returned the favor by blowing a 14 point halftime lead this week against the Bengals. Rookie Andy Dalton threw for 298 yards and a TD, and also ran in the tying TD to lead the Bengals in their last second win. Mike Nugent kicked the game winning 43-yard FG as time expired and the 23 fans that stayed until the end of the game went wild. "I've been through a lot," Dalton said. "You can't get too high, you can't get too low. If you're too high, it can hurt you." Seriously, you couldn't have told me this before my 3 day coke binge in Vegas?
Matt Hasselbeck has found the fountain of youth in Tennessee. Too bad he didn't find it before the recent "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie so I could have those two hours of my life back. Through the first four games of the season Hasselbeck has been averaging 288 yards and 2 touchdowns per game, including 3 more against the Browns. Of course it helped that the Browns only handed the ball to Peyton Hillis 10 times for 46 yards while asking Colt McCoy to throw it a franchise record 61 times, one of which was intercepted and returned 97 yards for a TD by Jordan Babineaux. "That's why we called him ‘Big Play Babs' in Seattle," Hasselbeck said. Well, I must say that makes a lot more sense than the reason I thought he was called that.
Lions 34, Cowboys 30
Coming back from a 20-0 halftime deficit against the woeful Vikings is one thing, but to do it after being down 27-3 in the 3rd against the Cowboys is another thing all together. Then again, Tony Romo is still the Cowboys quarterback so maybe it shouldn't be that surprising after all. With the Cowboys up with just over 10 minutes to play in the 3rd, Romo decided he needed to make the game closer to help with ratings so he threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions that were returned for touchdowns, turning a 27-3 laugher into a 27-17 contest. The last Cowboys quarterback to throw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in one game was, wait for it...Ryan Leaf. Ha, ha, ha, ha!! Romo then caped it all off by throwing a 3rd interception that the Lions turned into the game winning TD when Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson in the endzone , and by "found Calvin Johnson" I mean he threw it up in the air and said, "See if you can jump higher than the guy defending you." After having never blown a 10 point 4th quarter lead in the history of the Cowboys franchise, they've now done it twice in 4 games. But Jerry Jones hasn't given up on Romo. "I have a lot of faith in Romo," Jones said. Well, along with Romo's mom, that makes 2 people.
Before the game Aaron Rodgers went into the Broncos locker room and personally insulted each player, as well as all their friends and family, before toping it all off by cursing all their dead scummy relatives. He then went out onto the field and continued to abuse them for the entire game throwing for 408 yards, 4 touchdowns, and rushing for 2 touchdowns. In fact, the only Packers TD he didn't play a part in was when Charles Woodson returned an interception 30 yards for a TD giving him 11 for his career, one short of the NFL record held by Rod Woodson. Meanwhile the Broncos offense did seem to be able to move the ball except for the 4 times they turned it over. "I thought our offense was very impressive, other than the turnovers," Denver coach John Fox said, which is a bit like telling a girl, "That dress looks great on you other than it makes your butt look fat."
Giants 31, Cardinals 27
After Beanie Wells scored his 3rd rushing TD, putting the Cardinals up 27-17 with 5:16 to play, things were looking good in Arizona. But in the span of 58 seconds their 10 point lead turned into a 4 point deficit. Eli Manning first found Jake Ballard for a 2-yard TD with 3:37 to go and then found Hakeem Nicks on a 29-yard TD with just 2:39 to play. Of course, the second TD came right after Victor Cruz's fumble that was really not a fumble. Apparently the rule states that if a player goes down of their own free will and doesn't try to advance the ball they've given themselves up and the play is dead. Considering Cruz only dropped the ball because he thought he was touched first, the Giants have to feel at least a little lucky even if it was technically the right call. "It hurts because we thought it was a fumble and it should be our ball, and then we probably win the game," defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. "Then you get caught up in the emotions and they line up and throw a deep ball. They took advantage of our emotions." I hear you man. Just the other day a 21 year old cocktail waitress took advantage of my emotions to get a better tip.
Falcons 30, Seahawks 28
After all the huge comebacks that had already taken place, you almost got the feeling you were seeing another one in this game. After the Falcons took a 27-7 lead in the 3rd quarter, the Seahawks came storming back to cut the lead down to 2. They then got the ball back and put themselves in position to win on a last ditch 61-yard FG attempt with 13 seconds remaining, but the kick went wide left. Not that it would have mattered if it went right down the middle since it fell short anyways, but there was that moment of doubt for the Falcons. "It was definitely makeable, but it was a tough kick," said kicker Steven Hauschka who's career long is 54 yards. "At altitude or in warm weather, that's a different kick than it was today. It was definitely makeable, and I'm glad we got a shot to win the game there at the end, and the next time we'll make it." What's this "we" stuff. Speak for yourself Steven.
Can the Jaguars just move already? When your own field crew paints several of the arrows on the field pointing towards midfield instead of the endzone you know it's officially time to get out. Maybe it was just a case of reverse psychology by the grounds crew figuring if they paint the arrows going the wrong way the offense will actually start to move it the right way. Blaine Gabbert made his home debut and completed only 16 of his 42 passes. I guess Jack Del Rio didn't get the memo that a good ground attack is a young quarterback's best friend considering they only attempted 15 running plays. But perhaps the most mystifying part of the game came when the Jaguars went for it on 4th-and-6 from the Saints 38 yard line on their opening possession. You're all but admitting you don't think you can hang with them offensively so you better go for as many points as you can even if it's risky. Anyone want to guess what happened? The Jaguars failed to convert and Drew Brees took advantage of the short field by driving the Saints down for a TD and an early 7-0 lead. At least the weather's nice in Florida.
The scoreboard said this game was close but it didn't feel that way to anyone who watched it. The Texans punched the NFL's oldest team squarely in the face, rushing for 180 yards thanks in large part to a finally healthy Arian Foster who finished with 155. On the other side of the ball the Texans defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger 5 times and limited him to a 61.3 passer rating. Truthfully, the tone of the game was set on the Texans first drive when they took the opening kickoff and methodically marched down the field with a 19 play TD drive that consumed almost 11 minutes, both Texans records. In the Steelers defense, they were missing several players due to injury but that didn't matter to James Harrison. "I'm not happy with any of it," Harrison said. "It's a loss. I'm not trying to look for a silver lining in any of it. We played like garbage. Period. We stink right now." But seriously James, why don't you tell us how you're really feeling.
Vikings 17, Chiefs 22
Not only had the Chiefs lost their first three games, they hadn't even managed so much as a lead in any of them. That changed quickly in this game as the Chiefs were the ones to jump out to the early lead and hold on for their first win on the season. Of course it helps to be playing against Donovan McNabb who's now gone 1-9 over his last 10 starts. Matt Cassel threw for 260 yards and a TD while last season's #1 rushing attack, which has been severely diminished with the season ending injury to Jamaal Charles, still managed to ground out 103 yards. Meanwhile, the Vikings are one of only 4 winless teams, but it's not all bad news. At least now they hold essentially a 2 game lead over the Chiefs in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
The Redskins ran all over the Rams, rushing for 196 yards led by Ryan Torain who finished with 135 yards and a TD. The Redskins defense also put a beat down on the Rams. They sacked Sam Bradford 7 times, hit him 10 more times, had 7 tackles for a loss, and held the Rams to only 45 yards on the ground. It's a good thing they did all that since Rex Grossman had a thoroughly Grossman like day completing only 15 of his 29 throws for 143 yards, 1 TD, and 2 interceptions. The second interception in particular really could have cost the Redskins the game since it gave the Rams the ball at the Redskins 19 with just over 5 minutes to play. But 2 sacks and a penalty later the Rams had a 4th-and-30 and had to punt. "I thought we were going to score," Bradford said. "I thought we were going to tie the game. I thought our defense was going to get another stop, and I thought we were going to win the game in a two-minute drive." Well I thought I was going to become a star running back in the NFL, marry a playboy playmate (supermodels are for wimps), and then go on to become a huge action movie star when my playing days were over but things don't always go the way you think they will. Well, except for the playboy playmate part.
Believe it or not, this is the first time in the five years Norv Turner has been the head coach in San Diego that they've started the season at least 3-1. In the previous four years they've starter 1-3, 2-2, 2-2, and 2-2. Who knew? Philip Rivers completed 21 of his 31 passes for 307 yards and a TD, while his counterpart on the other side, Chad Henne, got knocked out early in the game thanks to a blown play. It was the second straight home win against a winless team for the Chargers. Now if they can just play 12 more home games against teams without a win, they'll be set. But in spite of the lack of style points Turner was still impressed with his team. "There wasn't anything blah-blah about anyone on our side," the coach said. How about bland-bland, humdrum-humdrum, or meh-meh?
For the last two seasons Jets head coach Rex Ryan has relied on a pounding running attack, stout defense, and just enough from Mark Sanchez to keep the opposing defenses honest without giving him too many chances to blow the game. And for the last two seasons it's worked as the Jets have gone to back-to-back AFC Championship games and had a chance to win both of them. Now he's letting Sanchez loose and the casual fan is starting to learn what lots of people, myself included, have been saying about Sanchez from the beginning. All together now, "Over-Rated!" Ryan watched in growing dread as he saw the defense he helped to shape outscore his offense 21-3. If not for a defensive and special teams score of their own the game would have been worse than it already was for Jets fans. Sanchez completed only 11 of 35 passes for 119 yards and an interception while the Ravens Joe Flacco wasn't much better completing 10 of 31 passes for 163 yards and an interception. "He struggled mightily, there's no question about it," Ryan said of Sanchez. "It wasn't his best day, that's for sure, but he's our quarterback and I believe in him." Of course he's going to say that. What's he supposed to say? "He blows and I'm going to replace him with Mark Brunell." I know right. Who knew he was still playing.
The Colts are getting a first hand look at what life after Manning could look like and it's not pretty. Sure they've been competitive in their last two games, but that and $5 will buy you a Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks. You know the one that's topped with a buttery caramel drizzle and a sprinkle of sugared sea salt. Starbucks is becoming one of our sponsors here at NN aren't they? Josh Freeman threw for 287 yards and a TD and LeGarrette Blount rushed for 127 yards and a TD as the Bucs came from behind to win at home Monday night. As for the hard luck Colts, they couldn't run it, Curtis Painter had about 5 interceptions dropped, and the only reason his numbers look halfway decent is thanks to two long touchdowns by Pierre Garcon, one of 87 yards and one of 59 yards. But the Colts aren't using injuries as an excuse. "I think you have to deal with injuries in this business," Colts head coach Jim Caldwell said. "That's what we talk about - the next man up. Somebody has got to fill in and be ready to play." True, but replacing Peyton Manning with Curtis Painter is about the same as replacing Daniel Day-Lewis with Keanu Reeves. I can just hear Keanu trying to do this line now, "Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I'm so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's the straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches acrooooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake. I...drink...your...milkshake!"
49ers 24, Eagles 23
So this is what a West Coast offense is supposed to look like. Don't look now but Alex Smith has the 8th best passer rating in the NFL and his performance on Sunday was the best statistical game of his career, finishing with a 112.1 QB rating. That's the good news. The bad news is Aaron Rodgers has the best passer rating in the NFL and it's 124.6 for all four games. Yah, I know. If Smith was able to sit and learn behind Favre for three years and Rodgers had a different offensive coordinator every year, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. You can't see me know but I'm holding my fingers up in the shape of a "W". Still, there's reason for hope. As for the Eagles, they can find comfort in knowing the Heat also struggled early on before finally getting things together, so they can still look forward to losing in the Super Bowl.