NFL Week 4 Column

I have to keep this brief and skip the Monday night game because I have studying and other stuff to do.

I did okay on my picks this week. There were a lot of upsets and the only one I got correct was the Browns beating the Bengals. How about that game, though? Carson Palmer played pretty well aside from those two fumbles but those really killed him. What Palmer did do well was making the most of Terrell Owens’ matchup with Sheldon Brown as TO had 10 catches for 222 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for the Bengals to win. The Browns defense played very well against the run and took advantage of two fumbles as well as a blocked kick to win the game. Once again, their offense rode on the shoulders of Peyton Hillis, who is becoming one of my favorite players in the league. He is so good at bursting between the tackles and he’s got great speed for a guy his size.

The Ravens-Browns game was just as advertised, a defensive struggle but it was very entertaining to watch. Joe Flacco finally had a good game against a tough D while Charlie Batch was brought down to earth. It took awhile for TJ Houshmandzadeh to finally make an impact in that offense. I was impressed with how well the Ravens O-line was able to block Harrison and Polamalu when the Steelers pass rushed with them.

For overhyped games, the Redskins-Eagles was the definition of that. One whole week of hearing “LET’S SEE HOW PHILLY REACTS TO MCNABB BEING BACK IN TOWN!” and we get a 8/19 125, TD, INT line from him and yet his team still wins. “Hey look guys, I can play a crappy game and still win. Suck it!” McNabb probably did have the last laugh, though. Things might have been different if Mike Vick didn’t get hurt but McNabb’s original “replacement,” Kevin Kolb was Checkdown Charlie the entire game. I know that’s usually the case with a QB that’s thrown into the game quickly like that but Kolb’s been with the team for awhile and I assume he worked with the first team offense in the preseason. You’d think he would at least try to get the ball to DeSean Jackson. Kolb has another concussion in his future if that Eagles O-line stays in that shape. They’re lucky about 4 holds on Brian Orakpo got uncalled or Kolb would have been sacked a lot more than once. That said, the NFC East looks wide open right now after watching this but I’d like to see how the Giants do once they start playing division opponents.

I have absolutely no clue who will win the NFC West now. Rams, Seahawks and Cardinals are all 2-2 while the 49ers are 0-4. The Rams are starting to look like a good team, though. It’s strange that they’re running a passing offense with a rookie QB and one of the best RB’s in the league but it’s working now. Sam Bradford has been using all of his receivers pretty well and making the most of targets like Danny Amendola, Mark Clayton and Brandon Gibson. It’s not going to be the “Greatest Show on Turf” but the Rams have already doubled their win total of last year. At least that’s something to build on for them.

Best Team Performance: Jaguars

After looking like the worst team in the league for the last two weeks, they played a perfect game against the Colts and were able to knock them off. No turnovers, the offense played great and the defense and forced two turnovers. David Garrard was very sharp completing 17/23 for 163 yards and 2 TD’s. He also had an impressive 25 yard run for a TD early in the game. Maurice Jones-Drew also had a great game running for 105 yards and also catching 2 passes, one for a TD. Their D allowed the Colts to comeback but Garrard did just enough to set up a 59 yard Josh Scobee field goal. The only bad part was he almost threw a pick six to Jerrod Powers but he got lucky. It’s been a year full of surprises but this might be the biggest one. Well done, Jags.

Offensive Players of the Week

1. Terrell Owens, 10 rec. 222 yds, TD

Even though the Bengals lost, TO was phenomenal. It’s hard not to give him the top honors after putting on this kind of performance. Unfortunately, his great game wasn’t enough to offset the Bengals fumbling and special teams problems. At least Bengals fans will take comfort in the fact that Palmer was actually able to get him the ball.

2. Arian Foster 16 car. 131 yds TD, 3 rec 56 yds TD

This was all in one half too. Kubiak benched him for the first half but Foster more than made up for it with this showing even if it was against the Raiders. The Texans have so many playmakers on their team that even losing Andre Johnson doesn’t hurt them as much. That and they were playing the Raiders. Still a fantastic game from him.

3. Antonio Gates 7 rec. 144 yds 2 TD

I don’t know how the Cardinals managed to leave him so wide open on every play. You’d think that defenses would gameplan for him since he’s the 2nd best tight end in the league right now. Congrats to him on being the 7th tight end to reach 500 career receptions, too.

4. Ladanian Tomlinson 19 car. 133 yds 2 TD

I would say that he’s locked up the #1 RB spot for the Jets but Shonn Greene had 117 yards on the ground, too. Then again, it was against the Bills. LT gets the POTW honors for the two TDs and for passing Tony Dorsett on the All-Time Rushing list. The Jets now look scary to play against.

5. Kyle Orton 35-50 341 yds 2 TD, INT

Left him off last week because he didn’t win but I guess I have to give him a spot this week. The Broncos have been passing like crazy but Orton’s been at getting the ball downfield. Also helps that he can make the most out of Eddie Royal and Brandon Lloyd. Both of them had 100+ yard games again. If he can win a few more big games then I will start to call him a great QB. He’s been very, very good this season, though. Leads the league in passing yards and 5th in completion percentage.

Honorable Mentions: Maurice Jones-Drew, Eddie Royal, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Ahmad Bradshaw, Zach Miller, Joe Flacco, Reggie Wayne

Defensive Player of the Week: Justin Tuck, 8 tackles, 3 sacks, forced fumble

I basically took my pick from anyone in the Giants game who had a sack. More on that game later.

Honorable Mentions: James Anderson, Osi Umenyoria

Worst Team Performance: Seahawks

Like I said earlier, this team is completely different on the road than they are at home. I kind of expected them to handle the Rams, though since well.. they’re the Rams. They were embarrassed, though. Only 3 points, Hasselbeck picked off on a horrible looking pass, that dropped ball from Mike Robinson on 4th down and that terrible fake field goal. Pete Carroll’s decision making was just baffling in most of this game, too. Hey, at least Earl Thomas got another pick!

Dishonorable Mentions: Cardinals, Bears

Worst Offensive Player: Laurence Maroney 11 carries 5 yards

This honor was going to go to Jay Cutler but I’m going to talk plenty about him later. How the hell does someone get 11 touches and not get at least one yard a carry out of it? Maroney wasn’t even that bad in New England. Broncos are going to be wanting their draft pick back soon.

Dishonorable Mentions: Bills running backs, Jay Cutler, Louis Murphy, Derek Anderson, Jeff Reed

Worst Defensive Player: Michael Huff

Okay, maybe that’s a little unfair but his attempts at wrapping up Arian Foster and Derrick Ward were hilarious and I couldn’t think of anyone else to put here.

Surprise of the Week: Jaguars upsetting Colts

See what I wrote about the Jaguars above. Definitely a huge shocker. The AFC South is now wide open.

Game of the Week: Colts-Jags

Hate to feature the same thing twice but this was definitely the best game this week. Huge upset, great last minute comeback by the Colts and a last second GW field goal. So great to watch.

Runner up: Ravens-Steelers

Worst Game of the Week: Bears-Giants

This game was just a comedy of errors. Both teams defenses played great but everything else was complete garbage, even the special teams. There was Jay Cutler getting sacked 9 times and not even half of them were the line’s fault. They could have been better, yes but Culter was holding onto the ball way to long. He was refusing to go to his shorter routes and kept looking for the big play even though all of his downfield options were covered. I thought this issue was fixed two weeks ago? Looks like it’s back again. He also fumbled three times. Things didn’t get any better once Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie came in. How the Bears offense had 110 net yards is beyond me. We also saw Collins knocked out of the game. Then there was the Giants with Eli Manning fumbling twice and Ahmad Bradshaw getting the ball knocked out of his hands on the goal line. Punter Matt Dodge might be my favorite player on the Giants because watching him punt is hilarious. Usually punts are boring but watching him kick line drives and drop snaps is highly entertaining. Painful game to watch, overall.

Idiot of the Week: Nate Clements

He had the game-ending interception in his hands and he tried to take it back for a TD. While he was trying to do that, Roddy White knocked the ball right out of his hands. The Falcons recovered, drove downfield and won the game on a Matt Bryant field goal. You’d think Clements would be smart enough to just kneel down and seal the win with that much time left.

Runners up: Chuck Cecil, Andy Reid

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