Ravens, Jets rise in AFC, Saints look sloppy, more Snaps
• Not to put too fine a point on it, but everywhere the Baltimore Ravens hope to go this season started with that
Let's face it, Baltimore absolutely had to have this one. If the Ravens had started 2-2 and already trailed the Steelers by two full games and a head-to-head tiebreaker just a month into the season, they would have been closer to pretenders than contenders in the AFC. Especially since Pittsburgh would have been 4-0 without quarterback
But now, at 3-1, and having knocked the Steelers from the ranks of the unbeaten, the Ravens are tied with Pittsburgh for first place in the AFC North and actually hold the edge thanks to their head-to-head win. That's a huge swing of momentum Baltimore's way, and I expect the Ravens to build on it as they approach the guts of their schedule. With wins at the Jets and Steelers already under their belts, the Ravens have beaten a pair of likely AFC playoff qualifiers and now get to play five of their next eight games at home, without returning to division play until hosting the Steelers in early December. Oh, and did we mention the
The comeback win was also a significant hurdle cleared for Ravens quarterback
The Steelers obviously can't be too disappointed to go 3-1 during Roethlisberger's four-game suspension, but a win on Sunday would have given
While we're at it,
• A month into the NFL's regular season, honesty compels me to admit I was utterly wrong about
But it has, and Tomlinson clearly has some juice left in those legs.
Tomlinson is running with something to prove this season, and the Jets are benefiting. With both Tomlinson and second-year back
Through four games, L.T. has rushed for 341 yards on just 56 carries, an eye-opening 6.1 per rush. That'll get it done. Especially since he's starting to add the big gainer to his repertoire. Tomlinson both opened and closed New York's scoring against the Bills, burrowing in from one yard out in the first quarter, and breaking off a 26-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
• Don't look now, but the Jets just blew through the entire AFC East over the course of the past three weeks, beating the Patriots, Dolphins and Bills in fairly convincing fashion. It's New York's first 3-0 start in the division since 2000, and the Jets don't have to worry about another game against an AFC East opponent until Week 13, when they travel to Foxboro.
And one more sobering caveat for Jets haters: They're about to get
Maybe for once the hype was right.
• Tomlinson wasn't the only old guy to have a big Week 4. Saints 46-year-old kicker
• Just asking, but when exactly will Steelers kicker
I know Heinz Field is the Bermuda Triangle for NFL kickers, but Reed has made just three of seven field goals at home this season, and that's usually a very bad career move. Reed missed only four field goals at home all of last season.
• What a unforgivable brain cramp by 49ers cornerback
And the 49ers season of self-destruction continues unabated.
• Line of the day:
But in a
But Orton's 341 yards passing came with a downside: He was hit repeatedly and sacked six times by Tennessee. As good as he's playing, Orton won't last the season if he has to take that kind of pounding due to the lack of a Denver running game. And I'm guessing McDaniels knows that.
• Let's settle down there,
• Carolina receiver
• It didn't help produce a victory for the Seahawks, but Seattle rookie safety
Thomas, the 14th overall pick in the draft last April, read Bradford's eyes as the quarterback locked in on receiver
• With a touchdown in a third consecutive game,
Amazing how the final year of your contract can help focus a player's mind and game.
• Can you believe the Browns got running back
• We might all overdose on
Now that's a sound bite.
• If anyone out there has the 2-2 Seahawks figured out, let me know. Are they the team that dismantled San Francisco and upset San Diego, or the club that looked bad in losing to Denver and St. Louis?
Maybe it's as simple as this: Seattle's a pretty brutal road team and a pretty good club at home.
• I don't really know what to think about the Packers, my pick for NFC champions, either. Green Bay (3-1) looks like the kind of team that can't really stand prosperity, and believes it can just turn it on and off at its own discretion. The
• The Rams (2-2) are clearly a much improved team, and have already doubled their 2009 win total through the season's first four weeks. That's what quality quarterbacking can do for an entire team, make it instantly competitive. Bradford has my NFL Offensive Rookie of Year vote so far. As good as Detroit running back
St. Louis just won back-to-back home games (against Washington and Seattle) for the first time since 2006, and consecutive games anywhere since 2008.
• The Saints got to 3-1 with that squeaker over Carolina, but the defending champs sure look sloppy these days. There are way too many dropped passes in New Orleans, and the ball security exhibited by the Saints is almost laughable. It looks like very little is going to come easily for New Orleans this year, and