Today's NFL is referred to as a 'passing league' as rule changes have made it harder for defences to stop a good passing attack, however this week was a great reminder of how important a good running game is for a team to win consistently. After a quarter of the season, only two undefeated teams remain, both from the NFC North. Check out this week's action!
Chicago Bears 34 defeated Carolina Panthers 29 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpoztTWYigk Quick Analysis: Chicago jumped out to a 14 point lead in the second quarter when Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown for a record 11th time in his career. The Panthers fought back to be within a touchdown by halftime, but could not add to their win total, falling short in the final quarter. Player of the Game: Matt Forte (Bears). Move over Darren McFadden (for this week), Forte rushes for 205 yards and a touchdown to help the Bears pick up the win.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 defeated Buffalo Bills 20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAV_ZrQW3gA&feature=related Quick Analysis: After the emotional high of finally beating New England last week the Bills took an early lead in the second quarter behind strong running from Fred Jackson but couldn't hold firm as Andy Dalton led the Bengals to their second win of the season. Player of the Game: Andy Dalton (Bengals). Made up for a poor first half by outplaying Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second.
Tennessee Titans 31 defeated Cleveland Browns 13 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSwuYgE2YZ8&feature=channel_video_title Quick Analysis: A surprisingly good team to start the season the Titans recorded a comfortable victory over the Cleveland Browns. QB Matt Hasselbeck has to be up there as one of the top free agent signings over the first quarter of the season and he was instrumental in this win. Player of the Game: Matt Hasselbeck (Titans). I haven't given him the credit due over the first quarter of the season. He has the Titans in a good position after 4 games.
Detroit Lions 34 defeated Dallas Cowboys 30 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQMWT5OEWls&feature=channel_video_title Quick Analysis: Speaking of surprise teams, the Lions have definitely surprised a few people this season. The undefeated Lions looked headed for their first loss as the Cowboys opened up a 24 point lead behind Tony Romo's 3 TDs, but the Lions put up 30 points in the second half to steal the win in the final minutes of the game. Player of the Game: Calvin Johnson (Lions). 'Megatron' was huge for the Lions in the second half pulling in 2 TDs from QB Matt Stafford.
Houston Texans 17 defeated Pittsburgh Steelers 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSkflO-HBC4&feature=related Quick Analysis: Houston dominated the Steelers on both sides of the ball in the first half leaving Pittsburgh trailing by 10 at halftime. The Steelers made a game of it in the second but Arian Foster ran the Steelers out of the game. Player of the Game: Arian Foster (Texans). Another good performance from a RB as Foster ran for 155 yards and scored a touchdown.
New Orleans Saints 23 defeated Jacksonville Jaguars 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiKbhceSY2w&feature=channel_video_title Quick Analysis: Despite the Jaguars' homefield ground markings pointing the wrong direction the Saints quickly found their groove to lead at halftime. The Saints will be disappointed with their second half which was rather lethargic and made the game closer than it needed to be. Player of the Game: Will Smith (Saints). For recording two sacks in the comfortable win by the Saints.
Kansas City Chiefs 22 defeated Minnesota Vikings 17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1XT1p59JD4&feature=related Quick Analysis: Two struggling teams met in what could be dubbed the 'Disappointment Bowl' for 2011. Neither side could really get on top as both offenses had to settle for FGs on a number of drives. Matt Cassel found receiver Dwayne Bowe in the fourth quarter to finally break away from the Vikings and hold on for their first win of the season. Player of the Game: Tamba Hali (Chiefs). Another two sack performance in this game which was just enough for the Chiefs to hold the Vikings to 17 points.
San Francisco 49ers 24 defeated Philadelphia Eagles 23 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbi7ZpR6o6g&feature=related Quick Analysis: The Eagles looked like a dream team in the first half, skipping out to a 20 point lead. However the dream turned to a nightmare as the 49ers stormed back to take the game. QB Alex Smith (291 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Frank Gore (127 yards, 1 TD) sparked the second half point-scoring outburst as the 49ers move further ahead in the NFC West. Player of the Game: Alex Smith (49ers). The maligned QB put together a terrific second half to lead the 49ers past the dysfunctional Eagles.
Washington Redskins 17 defeated St Louis Rams 10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIPXy_T9L64&feature=related Quick Analysis: Washington confidently picked apart the Rams through three quarters to lead by 17. The lead was enough to prevent the Rams recording their first win of the season in spite of a fourth quarter surge. Rex Grossman put the Redskins in a precarious position after his interception late in the game, but the Redskins defence was able to make up for their QB's mistake. Player of the Game: Brian Orakpo (Redskins). Records 2.5 sacks in the game including a big one late in the fourth quarter.
New York Giants 31 defeated Arizona Cardinals 27 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qqcHoGxGk8&feature=related Quick Analysis: The Cardinals benefitted from a massive day for RB Beanie Wells as they took a 10 point lead into the final quarter. The Giants managed to scramble late in the game as QB Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes in the final four minutes of the game to stun the Cardinals at home. Player of the Game: Beanie Wells (Cardinals). It wasn't enough to get the win, but 138 rushing yards and three touchdowns is still a noteworthy performance.
Atlanta Falcons 30 defeated Seattle Seahawks 28 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmrtLtJWHxY&feature=related Quick Analysis: The Falcons dominated the Seahawks in the first half in this matchup. Michael Turner rushed for 2 TDs early as the Falcons led 24-7 at the main break. Seattle gave Atlanta a real scare in the second half as QB Tarvaris Jackson threw three touchdown passes only to fall by two points in the end. Player of the Game: Michael Turner (Falcons). Two first half touchdowns were enough for the Falcons to hold on for their second win.
Green Bay Packers 49 defeated Denver Broncos 23 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mandp0F9rLk&feature=related Quick Analysis: Green Bay came out blazing in the first half to lead by 11 after the first quarter. The Packers scored 5 more touchdowns after the first quarter in this impressive dismantling of the Broncos. The best team in the NFL shows no signs of slowing down soon. Player of the Game: Aaron Rodgers (Packers). A ridiculous day for Rodgers as he finishes with 4 passing TDs, 2 rushing TDs and 408 passing yards.
New England Patriots 31 defeated Oakland Raiders 19 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui6BXPsbxkI&feature=relmfu Quick Analysis: The Patriots rarely lose two games in a row but the Raiders kept them honest for most of the first half. QB Jason Campbell threw the easiest interception Patrick Chung will ever get and the Raiders never recovered. Tom Brady didn't need to light the Raiders' secondary up as he got excellent contributions from RBs BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead. Player of the Game: Wes Welker (Patriots). Welker is Brady's 'Go-to-man' whenever he needs to move the chains. Welker has Jerry Rice's 1800 receiving yard record in sight through the first part of the season.
San Diego Chargers 26 defeated Miami Dolphins 16 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o7_P-xcFzA&feature=related Quick Analysis: Miami lost their QB in the first quarter, their fourth game of the season and may lose their coach before too long. The Dolphins started strongly behind backup QB Matt Moore, but San Diego did enough to pull out their third win of the season and keep pace at the top of the AFC. Player of the Game: Vincent Jackson (Chargers). Only caught three passes, but sparked the Chargers' offense with his 55 yard TD catch in the first quarter.
Baltimore Ravens 34 defeated New York Jets 17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJnwCzxv8Qs&feature=related Quick Analysis: Jets' QB Mark Sanchez fumbled the football as he was sacked on the very first Jets' possession and the Ravens turned it into a touchdown. The day only got worse for Sanchez. He fumbled the ball two more times one of which was returned for a touchdown again. In the second half the defensive domination continued as Sanchez threw an interception that was also returned for a touchdown and the Ravens didn't look back. Player of the Game: Ravens' defence. Hard to single out one player as the whole unit contributes 21 points to the Ravens' 34 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 defeated Indianapolis Colts 17 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uue4LzqEK6k&feature=channel_video_title Quick Analysis: It is an understatement to say that the Colts are missing Peyton Manning, but his replacement Curtis Painter did enough through three quarters to have the Colts leading away from home. Hall of Fame kicker, Adam Vinatieri, missed a 43 yard field goal that would have put the Colts ahead in the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers pounced and LeGarrette Blount scored to win the game. Player of the Game: Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers). Comes up with a big sack in the fourth quarter to force Vinatieri's missed FG.