I know I said by Week 4 you know what teams are and what they’re not, but some teams tend to defy the logic and, accordingly, are more difficult to figure out.
The Buffalo Bills certainly fit that description, and to an extent so do the Oakland Raiders, but no team is more enigmatic than the St. Louis Rams. They started the season by knocking off the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks, and in the process put up 34 points against one of the most ferocious and feared defenses in the NFL in the last decade.
They followed that up with a loss to a Washington team that is shooting blanks on offense, and then only managed to put up 6 points in a loss to a Steelers team with a dreadful defense. At that point, the Rams looked like a team that won one game by fluke and was headed for the second tier of the NFC, right up until they were able to out-duel an Arizona Cardinals team that was one of the three hottest teams in the NFL 24-22.
I’m not sure what to make of the Rams, but if I base it on their season so far, they’ll win next week at Green Bay before losing consecutive home games to the Browns and 49ers. Here are my NFL Week 4 random thoughts!
Ai yi yi!
This Week’s Sucked And Won
Peyton Manning: Who’d have thought the Broncos could win a game where Manning threw two picks and had a passer rating of just 68.9? Let this be a lesson, however. Denver’s defense is among the best in the league, and at the end of the game, Peyton did lead his team on a nine-play scoring drive. Don’t look past the Broncos, who have discovered multiple ways to win.
Once again, thank goodness for NFL Redzone. For its afternoon game of the week, Fox inexplicably decided to show a blowout waiting to happen in the Packers vs. 49ers instead of the much more interesting matchup of Vikings vs. Broncos.
I get that Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the NFL and therefore a big draw, but watching him pick apart a crap defense that’s come close to giving up 100 points in two weeks is definitely not a better draw than the rising Vikings led by second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater vs. perennial playoff bound Denver led by the game’s senior grand master Peyton Manning. And while these games may not have unfolded the way you might have expected, it is clear that the Minnesota/Denver game was the better contest.
Luckily NFL Redzone gave me a better option than sitting through a game I had no interest in.
Shocking realization of the week:
Kansas City scored 21 points this week on nothing but field goals. Kicker Cairo Santos went 7 for 7, one shy of the NFL record. This happened on a week when most NFL kickers were struggling with misses right and left (the other exception: Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro who went 5 for 5).
If there’s a play I hate more than the douchey time out right before a field goal attempt I don’t know what it is. Consequently, there’s nothing I love more than seeing a kicker miss the field goal only to see him get another shot at it because of that idiotic time out play. This week’s dumb-ass award goes to the Colts’ Chuck Pagano. I only wish Jaguars kicker Jason Myers could have made the second try to send the Colts home losers.
Are the Panthers aiming to get the best highlight every single week? Surely there was none better this week than TE Ed Dickson’s recovery of a Jonathan Stewart fumble that got tipped into the air and into Dickson’s waiting arms, resulting in a 57 yard “fumble return” for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Panthers win over Tampa Bay.
This Week’s Great But Lost
Josh McCown, QB (CLE): 32 for 41 (a 78% completion percentage) for 356 yards, 2 TDs and a passer rating of 119.1. Possibly the best day of McCown’s career, and he did it despite getting sacked 4 times and getting hit a bunch more by a determined San Diego pass rush.
There’s good news and bad news for Eagles fans. Sam Bradford had a truly great game, leading to the conclusion that trading for him was not as incredibly idiotic as the rest of the Eagles’ offseason moves. The bad news? There’s plenty, but how about starting with the fact that Philadelphia’s offense is predicated on the run, and the Eagles can’t run to save their lives. As an aside, officiating in this game was absolutely awful and even though it favored the Eagles, I hate seeing bad and especially inconsistent refereeing. Bad calls are bad calls. Even if they help your team, you shouldn’t want to see them.
Thursday Pick: Indianapolis (+2) @Houston (William Hill)
The Colts have looked like garbage this season, and you might be tempted to think that Indianapolis’ terrible offensive line will be in big trouble facing Houston’s supposedly great defensive line. Well, think again. Houston has looked worse than garbage this season, and I’m actually wondering how they even managed to win one game. Historically, the Colts have only lost to the Texans four times ever. You think THIS Texans team is going to reverse that trend. I hate this game because I hate both of these teams this year, but I’m not taking Houston for all the tea in China.
Indianapolis 27 Houston 24
“This has been the most awesome period of my life. I’m a Dallas Cowboy. Dream come true.” – Cowboys DE Greg Hardy. Hardy will play his first game as a Cowboy next week after serving a four game suspension to start the season.
“I think it’s crap that people are giving him crap.” – Browns LB Craig Robertson, defending CB Joe Haden, who sat out Sunday’s game against the Chargers because of a broken finger.
“Why do I like blitzing? Because I am good at it.” – Broncos safety TJ Ward. Ward is fourth on the team in tackles, and has two sacks and a forced fumble from the safety position through four games.
“It’s a bad feeling. I wish I had been able to come through.” – Steeler K Josh Scobee, who missed two field goals in Thursday’s loss to the Ravens, including the potential game winner. Scobee has since been cut by Pittsburgh.
“His world is based on hype and that one catch.” – Bills CB Stephon Gillmore, referring to Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. Various Bills players complained that Beckham was a prima donna and a cheap shot artist after their game on Sunday.
“I hate it. They’re the only team in the league that does it that way, and the reason they’re the only team in the league that does it that way is because they’re stupid.” ESPN analyst and former offensive lineman Mark Schlereth, on the Eagles run blocking schemes.
“It was a fun plane ride back for the guys who were able to stay awake.” – Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, on the flight back from London after the Jets defeated the Dolphins.
“I don’t care what the Cubs fan say, this is more painful.” – Actor (and Detroit Lions fan) Jeff Daniels, after the Lions loss to the Bears dropping Detroit to 0-4.