NFL Week 4 Hangover


When you go to an L.A. sports bar on a Sunday morning in the fall, you’ll find a veritable rainbow of jerseys because there’s no home team to root for.  Southern California is a sports mecca for all major sports but the NFL.  We have two NBA teams, three MLB teams, two NHL teams, and even two MLS teams (that’s soccer).  But we only have one NFL team, and for most So Cal Sports fans, they aren’t the home town favorite anyway.  So in order to cover the NFL for So Cal Sports Hub, the only way to do it that makes sense is to look at the league the way most So Cal fans do: checking out the highlights and fantasy football.  In that spirit, here’s the dirt from Week 4.

New Orleans Saints 24, New York Jets 10

You didn’t really think Mark Sanchez was going to lead the Jets to an undefeated season, did you?  Sanchez’ perfect start to his NFL career came crashing to the turf and it sounded a lot like the Saints scoring two defensive touchdowns on returns after his own turnovers.  That said, the Jets held the undefeated Saints’ offense to just 10 points and are still the leaders of the AFC East.

Fantasy Studs: Pierre Thomas (19 carries, 86 yards, 1 touchdown), Saints’ defense (2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)

Next Week: New York Jets (3-1) at Miami (1-3), Monday 5:30 PM; New Orleans (4-0) – bye

Chicago Bears 48, Detroit Lions 24

The Lions winning streak was cut short (at 1 game) by a second half surge by the Bears.  Jay Cutler seems to have completely shed the weight of his Week 1 disaster, as well as some of the gun-slinging mentality that led him being run out of Denver with an “Underachiever” tag pinned to his jersey.  The Bears running attack took it to the Lions, with three different players scoring touchdowns and Matt Forte having a breakout game.

Fantasy Studs: Matt Forte (12 carries, 121 yards, 1 touchdown), Kevin Smith (19 carries, 30 yards, 2 touchdowns), Jay Cutler (18/28, 141 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 carries, 8 yards, 1 touchdown), Calvin Johnson (8 receptions, 133 yards)

Next Week: Pittsburgh (2-2) at Detroit (1-3), 10 AM; Chicago (3-1) – bye

New York Giants 27, Kansas City Chiefs 16

Steve Smith is likely the best receiver in the NFL right now, just not the Steve Smith you think.  The former Trojan added to his NFL-leading reception and yardage totals as Eli Manning continued his best season at quarterback, picking apart the suspect Chiefs secondary.  This was the Giants 2nd consecutive game where the starters sat for the fourth quarter, and they’ll likely have another next week (hosting Oakland).  Defenses had better beware of a very well-rested Brandon Jacobs as the season roars on.

Fantasy Studs: Eli Manning (20/34, 292 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble lost), Steve Smith (11 receptions, 134 yards, 2 touchdowns), Giants’ defense (16 points allowed, 5 sacks, 5 fumbles forced)

Next Week: Oakland (0-4) at New York Giants (4-0), 10 AM; Dallas (2-2) at Kansas City (0-4), 10 AM

Cincinnati Bengals 23, Cleveland Browns 20 (OT)

The artist formerly known as Chad Johnson didn’t get the ball much, but he made it count when he did, scoring 2 touchdowns on 3 catches, one in spectacular fashion with 1:55 in the fourth to tie the score.  The Browns were amazingly able to block that extra point to preserve the tie, but weren’t able to pull off the trick again on Shayne Graham’s short game-winning field goal with four seconds left in overtime.  Cleveland coach Eric Mangini passed up a potential game-winning 57 yard field goal late in the fourth, choosing to punt instead.

Fantasy Studs:Jerome Harrison (29 carries, 121 yards, 1 fumble), Chad Ochocinco (3 receptions, 24 yards, 2 touchdowns), Mohamed Massaquoi (8 receptions, 148 yards)

Next Week: Cincinnati (3-1) at Baltimore (3-1), 10 AM; Cleveland (0-4) at Buffalo (1-3), 10 AM

Indianapolis Colts 34, Seattle Seahawks 17

Peyton Manning continued his methodical dominance this season, helping Indianapolis jump out to a big lead early and forcing the Seahawks to throw the ball the catch up.  Missing their starting quarterback, that was not in the game plan for Seattle, andthey never could get their running game going, though Seneca Wallace did have another decent game behind center.

Fantasy Studs:Peyton Manning (31/41, 353 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (8 receptions, 103 yards), Dallas Clark (8 receptions, 80 yards), Reggie Wayne (6 receptions, 74 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week: Jacksonville (2-2) at Seattle (1-3), 1:15 PM; Indianapolis (4-0) at Tennessee (0-4), 5:10 PM

 Washington Redskins 16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

There aren’t many former I-AA football players in the NFL.  Even fewer from non-scholarship programs.  Far fewer ever get to start a game, but that is exactly what former San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson did Sunday for the Bucs.  Johnson, the NCAA career passer efficiency leader played well but came up just short as Jason Campbell andthe ‘Skins found just enough left in the tank to pull out an ugly win.

Fantasy Studs:Clinton Portis (25 carries, 98 yards), Santana Moss (2 receptions, 74 yards, 1 touchdown), Chris Cooley (5 receptions, 65 yards, 1 touchdown), Redskins’ defense (13 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery), Buccaneers’ defense (16 points allowed, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)

Next Week: Washington (2-0) at Carolina (0-3), 10 AM, Tampa Bay (0-4) at Philadelphia (2-1), 10 AM

Jacksonville Jaguars 37, Tennessee Titans 17

The Jags jumped out to a 10-0 lead through the first quarter, and continued to outpace the Titans in the second, going into halftime up 27-3.  Tennessee’s nightmarish season continued with a blowout loss in Jacksonville.  The Titans had a decent offensive day, but their defense was simply no match for David Garrad and Mike Sims-Walker in the air.

Fantasy Studs:David Garrard (27/37, 323 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 fumble lost), Kerry Collins (29/48, 284 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 1 rushing touchdown), Mike Sims-Walker (7 receptions, 91 yards, 2 touchdowns), Nate Washington (7 receptions, 66 yards, 1 touchdown), Marcedes Lewis (4 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown), Josh Scobee (3 PAT, 3 FG – 22 yards, 50 yards, 33 yards)

Next Week: Jacksonville (2-2) at Seattle (1-3), 1:15 PM; Indianapolis (4-0) at Tennessee (0-4), 5:10 PM

Houston Texans 29, Oakland Raiders 6

The good news for Raiders fans is that the season is one-quarter complete.  The bad news is that starting runningback Darren McFadden needs knee surgery and could miss four games, and head coach Tom Cable may be arrested and would likely be done for the season, if not longer.  Cable’s expected arrest will come because of an incident in which he allegedly broke the jaw of an assistant coach, not because his coaching is actually, literally criminal.

Fantasy Studs:Steve Slaton (21 carries, 65 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 24 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 fumble lost), Texans’ defense (6 points allowed, 1 safety, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 sacks)

Next Week: Oakland (0-4) at New York Giants (4-0), 10 AM; Houston (2-2) at Arizona (1-2), 1:15 PM

New England Patriots 27, Baltimore Ravens 21

Mark Clayton dropped an easy pass late in the game that would have kept alive a Baltimore drive, but as the ball slipped away from Clayton, so the game did from the Ravens.  Tom Brady seems to be regaining his Tom-Brady-ness, and still without any running game to speak of, the Patriots are working themselves back into the chase for a top spot in the AFC.  Ray Lewis and other Ravens complained after the game about perceived favoritism from the officials towards New England, but the most complained about play was one in which Raven Terrell Suggs took two falling steps forward after a play ended, and dove head first into the knees of Tom Brady, throwing his arm into Brady as he fell.  That’s illegal.

Fantasy Studs: Tom Brady (21/32, 258 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 rushing touchdown, 1 fumble lost), Joe Flacco (27/47, 264 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception), Ray Rice (11 carries, 103 yards), Derrick Mason (7 receptions, 88 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week: Cincinnati (3-1) at Baltimore (3-1), 10 AM; New England (3-1) at Denver (4-0), 1:15 PM

Miami Dolphins 38, Buffalo Bills 10

No Chad Pennington?  No problem for the Dolphins who rolled to an easy win over divisional rival Buffalo behind Chad Henne, making his 1st career start at quarterback.  Henne’s main job was to hand the ball off and get out of the way (8 Dolphins had at least 1 carry, totalling 250 rushing yards), but he was efficient and effective when called on the throw as well (8 Dolphins had at least 1 reception).

Fantasy Studs: Ronnie Brown (20 carries, 115 yards, 2 touchdowns), Ricky Williams (16 carries, 85 yards, 1 touchdown), Dolphins’ defense (10 points allowed, 6 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 1 forced fumble)

Next Week: Cleveland (0-4) at Buffalo (1-3), 10 AM; New York Jets (3-1) at Miami (1-3), Monday 5:30 PM

Denver Broncos 17, Dallas Cowboys 10

All seems well in Denver as Brandon Marshall seems to have been able to put his off-season grumbling behind him as easily as he put the Cowboys’ secondary behind him in his game-winning, fourth quarter, globe-circumnavigating touchdown run.  Denver and new coach Josh McDaniels have roared out to a 4-0 record and basically clinched the AFC West already thanks to the Chargers stumbling out of the block and the Raiders and Chiefs not really being NFL-caliber teams.

Fantasy Studs: Kyle Orton (20/29, 243 yards, 2 touchdowns), Brandon Marshall (4 receptions, 91 yards, 1 touchdown), Broncos’ defense (10 points allowed, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 5 sacks)

Next Week: Dallas (2-2) at Kansas City (0-4), 10 AM; New England (3-1) at Denver (4-0), 1:15 PM

San Francisco 49ers 35, St. Louis Rams 0

St. Louis did a decent job of keeping the 49ers offense quiet, but their own offense simply couldn’t move the ball and couldn’t keep their hands on it either.  The 49ers forced three turnovers and returned all three for touchdowns.  Vernon Davis continues to impress at tight end with his 3rd touchdown in two games.

Fantasy Studs: Shaun Hill (14/24, 152 yards, 2 touchdowns), 49ers defense (0 points allowed, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries, 5 sacks), Vernon Davis (3 receptions, 43 yards, 1 touchdown) 

Next Week: Atlanta (2-1) at San Francisco (3-1), 1:05 PM; Minnesota (3-0) at St. Louis (0-4), 10 AM

Pittsburgh Steelers38, San Diego Chargers 28

When one team controls the ball for over 2/3 of the game and at one point has a 28 point lead, you wouldn’t expect that game to be a nail-biter, but that’s just what this one was.  Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall were nearly perfect all night as Pittsburgh jumped out and made this one look like a laugher (as evidences by Hines Ward laughing after every single play), but Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates didn’t seem to get the joke.  The Chargers, without any help from LaDainian Tomlinsonwho was nowhere to be found once again, roared back into the game late but simply didn’t have enough time (or defense) to catch up.

Fantasy Studs:Ben Roethlisberger (26/33, 333 yards, 2 touchdowns), Phillip Rivers (21/36, 254 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 fumble lost), Rashard Mendenhall (29 carries, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns), Mewelde Moore (1 passing touchdown, 1 receiving touchdown), Antonio Gates (9 receptions, 124 yards, 2 touchdowns), Hines Ward (8 receptions, 113 yards), Heath Miller (8 receptions, 70 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Next Week: Pittsburgh (2-2) at Detroit (1-3), 10 AM; San Diego (2-2) – bye