2011 NFL Season: Week 4 Remix by Lloyd Vance

After leading Green Bay to a dominating win over the Denver Broncos, 2011 first quarter MVP and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers  gets my Game Ball for Week 4 of the 2011 NFL season

One quarter of the 2011 NFL’s “Back to Football” season is already in the books with the recent close of Week 4 around the league.  Before we start recapping Week 4’s action on the field, I have to commend the NFL for their great work this week in supporting the fight against breast cancer with their “Crucial Catch” campaign.  As someone whose family has been personally affected by the disease, it is great to see the NFL getting involved in trying to find a cure. 

There was a “pink” everywhere in NFL stadiums including NFL coaches’ hats, fan jerseys, goalpost pads and ribbons on NFL personnel — really like Tampa Bay Bucs QB Josh Freeman rocking some pink cleats on Monday Night Football for the cause.  For a very good cause, “tough” NFL players thumbed their nose at stereotypes by wearing pink uniform attire including Saints QB Drew Brees, NY Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco and others.

I can totally understand why NFL fans are flocking to TV’s everywhere as the storylines are plentiful around the league.  Last week NFL games topped many local ratings markets, beating several shows on the networks including ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.  Week 4 was another exciting week filled with Revenge (Former Eagles and current Niners kicker David Akers kicking a game-winning extra point against his old team at Lincoln Financial Field ); “Normalcy” (Aaron Rodgers throwing for over 300 yards in another victory, Bucs QB Josh Freeman leading his team to another tough comeback win over the winless Colts and the Saints steamrolling the hapless Jaguars); “Surprises” (Bengals showing their toughness by handing the Buffalo Bills their first loss of the season; The Niners coming back from 20 points down to beat the “Dream Team” Eagles in the Linc; and the Redskins easily knocking the Rams ), and “Heartbreakers” (NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez playing terrible in a bad loss to the Ravens, Dolphins moving closer to a new head coach as Tony Sparano’s winless team didn’t show-up in San Diego, and the Cowboys losing a 24-point lead to the surging Detroit Lions, who are 4-0 for the first time since 1980.

But the overall theme I see is that the NFL is the wackiest league on Earth.  Just when you think you know, something happens to show you that you really don’t know squat.  Please tell me who thought before last week that the Bengals would halt the Bills win streak with a rookie quarterback at the helm and the Lions beating the mighty Cowboys after trailing by 24 points during the contest… The answer to this rhetorical question is no one.

There is still a long ways to go, but one team that seems to have found the right success formula up to this point is the Green Bay Packers.   The 2010 Super Bowl Champs are click on all cylinders and now only 1 of 2 teams still undefeated along with the surprising Detroit Lions.  The Packers lead the NFL in scoring with 148 points (average of 37 points per game) and their defense is making DC Dom Capers look like the master of the 3-4 defense.

 
Some Lloyd’s Leftovers from Week 4 include:

The Odd Couple – To honest with you, most of us did expect the Green Bay Packers, who just happen to be the 2010 NFL Super Bowl Champions, to be at the top of the NFC North and undefeated at (4-0).  But no own could have predicted that the formerly lowly Detroit Lions (4-0), who were 0-16 only three years ago, would be tied with the Packers at the top of their division.  The Lions have quickly become America’s darling underdog as they have comeback from huge deficits the past two weeks to come away with victories.  In Week 4, the Lions spotted the Cowboys a 24-point lead then came back via two Pick-6’s and the lethal connection of Stafford to Megatron Johnson

Injuries still a factor around NFL— The scariest moment of this week’s action occurred when Indianapolis Colts DT Ed Foster suffered a gruesome leg injury that ESPN would not even show on Monday Night Football.  To his credit, Foster as he was being carted off the field, “Thanked” the crowd and both the Bucs and his Colts teammates for their support. Other injuries of note happened to the following players:

Eagles QB Michael Vick (dislocated finger on right hand)
Eagles OT Jason Peters (hamstring)
Eagles DT Antonio Dixon (torn triceps)
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (left foot)
Browns CB Joe Haden (knee)
Atlanta WR Roddy White (thigh bruise)
Texans WR Andre Johnson (right hamstring)
Browns center Alex Mack (appendectomy)
Dolphins QB Chad Henne (left shoulder)
Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring)
Texans RB Ben Tate
Steelers LB James Harrison (eye)
Steelers DE Aaron Smith (foot)

Game Balls

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – “Robo-Quarterback”, as I like to call him,  was at his best in the Packers dominating s 42-29 victory over the Broncos. Rodgers was masterful as he ran for 2 TDs and passes for 4 TDs in “easy” win (408 passing yds and 36 rushing yds)

Honorable Mention: Panthers WR Steve Smith, Bears WR/KR Devin Hester, Niners RB Frank Gore, Lions LB Bobby Carpenter, Lions WR Calvin Johnson, Patriots WR Wes Welker, and Packers DB Charles Woodson

Lloyd’s Lackey

New York Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez – Had two of his fumbles returned for touchdowns.  In the bad SNF loss to the Baltimore Ravens, his final QBR was under 1 point.  It doesn’t get any easier for Sanchez and the J-E-T-S as they will play the Patriots in a Week 5 in a Playoff Revenge Game.

Dishonorable Mention: Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, Pittsburgh Steelers O-Line, NY Jets O-line, Philadelphia Eagles rookie K Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Hank Williams Jr and Philadelphia Eagles DC Juan Castillo

Week 4 Games

Sunday  October 2

49ers (3-1) over Eagles (1-3), 24-23… Jim Harbaugh’s young team fights the end…Eagles have a hard time tackling Niners runners… Alex Smith (21-33, 291 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) looks to finally be showing his first round pedigree…Niners defense is opportunistic especially in the redzone… Michael Vick (416 passing yds and 2 TDs w/ 75 rushing yds) has a career day throwing the football, but Birds lose… Former Eagles kicker David Akers gets his revenge by kicking the game-winning XP (only 1 for 3 on FGs, missed from 44 and 45 yards)…Eagles rookie kicker Alex Henery misses 2 big field goals (39 and 33 yards, both in 4th qtr) in a close loss… Eagles head coach Andy Reid is on the hot seat…veteran RB Ronnie Brown makes the worst bonehead mistake by throwing an ill-advised lateral pass after being stuff at the goalline…Vick hits D-Jax downfield for several big plays, but Birds stall in redzone over and over (2 for 7)… Vick talks tough ‘Over my dead body’ and ‘Gut check’ time…Eagle DE Jason Babin (career high 3 sacks making 5 for season) a bright spot… Cole (calf), Peters (hammy), and Dixon (triceps) all injured….PHI has been outscored 36-0 in the 4th quarter of its last three games, all losses.

Bengals (2-2) over Bills (3-1), 23-20… The magic undefeated carpet ride of the Bills comes to an end…Fitzpatrick looks average against his old team…Bengals defense was stifling in a good home win…rookie QB Andy Dalton (18-36, 298 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs) is not playing like a “rookie”…While waiting on his suspension appeal, RB Cedric Benson has a strong game…Bengals kicker Mike Nugent kicks 43-yard game-winner with no time left on the clock

Lions (4-0) over Cowboys (2-2), 34-30… Another historic comeback for the resurgent undefeated Lions… 2nd straight week that Lions comeback from a 20-point or more deficit — NFL Record.  This time it was 24 points down….DET (4-0) for the first time since 1980…Stafford comes home to Texas and gets a big win… Game-winner is Stafford to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson (scored 2 TDs in 4th straight game) as the NFL’s best receiver “high points” an alley oop pass over smaller CB Terrence Newman… DAL QB Tony Romo has some bad INTs (3) that open the door for the Lions…Former Groomman DET LB Bobby Carpenter has a big INT of DAL QB Tony Romo…DET will be test on MNF in Week 5 on the road in Chicago… DAL gets Bye in Week 5 to get healthy

Bears (2-2) over Panthers (1-2), 34-29….. CHI shows that they can be a power team too…Career day for Bears RB Matt Forte (25 Rushes for 205 yds, 1 TD — 17 yds — w/ 23 rec yds) …. Bears OL does a good job protecting QB Jay Cutler… KR Devin Hester adds further to his ridiculous kick/punt return legacy with his 11th punt return TD in his short career…rookie QB Cam Newton (374 passing yds, 35 rushing yds and 3 TDs combined) and WR Steve Smith (181 rec. yds) have another big day, but CHI gets the win

Redskins (3-1) over Rams (0-4), 17-10… WAS dominates the overmatched Rams in a game that got close at the end…Grossman looking comfortable in pocket…WAS back Tim Hightower and Ryan Torain ran the ball with authority….Redskins underrated defense is producing turnovers and sacks (7)…The surprise Redskins are tied with the NYG for first in the “crazy” NFC East….STL gets a much-needed Bye in Week 5… WAS looking good heading into Bye Week

Saints (3-1) over Jaguars (1-3), 23-10 …. This one was a laugher early as the high-scoring Saints piled up the points on the reeling Jags…Brees has another 300-yard passing game… TE J. Graham looks like a Pro Bower (10 Rec, 132 yds, 1 TD)… Saints defense is opportunistic…Jags rookie QB Blaine Gabbert makes some plays, but his completion percentage was awful

Texans (3-1) over Steelers (2-1), 17-10… We are starting to see that 8-8 is not got good enough for the Texans…. Even without WR Andre Johnson for much of the game, Texans still have enough offense…Big Ben injured (Ankle, in walking boot after game)… Schaub makes some timely throws and Arian Foster (30 Rushes for 155 yds, 1 TD ) came back strong from his hamstring injury… Steelers O-line still having problems as Big Ben was constantly hit (Sacked five times)… Steelers defense, other than Polamalu, continues to look “old”… PIT looks like the Super Bowl runner-up curse will continue… Where is the Steelers Running Game and Staunch Defense?… Danieal Manning’s penalty wipes away a Pick-6 TD for HOU late in 4th, but it doesn’t matter

Titans (3-1) over Browns (2-2), 31-13 … Don’t look now, but the Titans maybe the real deal…Hasselback continues to show veteran leadership and play…CJ2K finally gets going to make the boxscore (101 rushing yards)…TE Jared Cook has a good game catching the ball over the middle (93 rec yds)… Led by safety Michael Griffin, the Titans D harrasses overmatched Browns QB Colt McCoy…Browns CB Joe Haden hurts his kn

Chiefs (1-3) over Vikings (0-4), 22-17… Another week, Another blown lead in a bad loss for MIN… HC Leslie Frazier’s Defense has trouble bottling up Chiefs QB Matt Cassel… McNabb plays “okay” in a close loss (Ponder Time??)…Peterson shutdown by Chiefs, who play with heart in a their first win of the season… McNabb duels former understudy Kevin Kolb in WK 5

Falcons (2-2) over Seahawks (1-2), 30-28… Surprisingly this was a closer game than expected… Falcons QB Matt Ryan gets back on track…Big game for rookie WR Julio Jones… Seahawks QB Tavaris Jackson (25-38, 319 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) is starting to make some plays with his arm and legs… Falcons RB Michael Turner turns in a workman performance (76 rushing yards and 2 TDs)… Falcons D makes plays when it matters most…Valiant 2nd half comeback try by SEA

Giants (3-1) over Cardinals (1-3), 31-27… The G-Men return to the site of their 2007 SB triumph and shock the Cardinals in a comeback win… Giants put up 21 fourth quarter points…Victor Cruz non-fumble call a huge play in game…Eli Manning (27-40, 321 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) hangs in there to throw the game winner to Hakim Nicks… Cardinals jump out to an early lead as RB Chris Beanie Wells (27 Rush, 138 yds, 5.1 ypc, 3 TDs) has a career day running the football

Packers (4-0) over Broncos (1-3), 49-23…. This game was a Lambeau Leap Laugher from its outset…Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is masterful as he runs for 2 TDs and passes for 4 TDs in “easy” win (408 passing yds and 36 rushing yds)…Orton is constantly harrassed as he turns the ball over… Driver gets hurt and comeback to catch a TD…Champs stay unbeaten and show they are willing to take chances (successful onside kick)… Tebow gets in the game at the end fueling speculation (Fox sticking with Orton)…GB faces ATL in WK 5 which is a rematch from the 2010 NFL Playoffs

Chargers (3-1) over Dolphins (0-4), 26-16… This game was close for a while until Rivers (21-31, 307 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs) and Matthews closed it out… SD receivers (V-Jax and Floyd) make a ton of big plays as Chargers take control of AFC West…Henne hurt in loss… Reggie Bush only 50 yds rushing then spotted partying in LA…Going into their WK 5 bye, Sparano given the dreaded vote of confidence from MIA management

Patriots (3-1) over Raiders (2-2), 31-19… Pats rebound from first defeat by having a good road win over OAK…NE avoids turnovers….Brady (16-30, 226 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) was efficient and deadly…Welker (158 rec yards and 1 TD) continues to be Brady’s bread and butter target-wise…NE defense comes up timely turnovers…Run DMC bottled-up…. Patriots have perfect 30:30 run / pass mix… rookie Stevan Ridle taking over as Belichick’s featured RB…NE completes a solid business trip and next up is their main AFC East Rival, the New York Jets

Ravens (3-1) over Jets (2-2)…. 34-17… Sunday Night Football had the rise of the Ravens and the fall of the NY Jets… NYJ QB Mark Sanchez turns the football over 4 times including 2 fumble returns for TDs… NYJ having trouble running the football… Aging NYJ receivers having trouble getting open…Another big game for Ravens RB Ray Rice…BAL defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis and NT Haloti Ngata, is stifling again… Ravens out-physicalled the “mouthy” NY Jets… BAL gets a Bye Week to savor win…NYJ season on the line against NE in WK 5

Monday, October 3

Buccaneers (3-1) over Colts (0-4), 24-17… In game that was at times “sloppy”,  the young Bucs overcame their own mistakes and the scrappy Colts to win on Monday Night Football… TB soldout their stadium for the 1st time in ’11 and are now tied for first in NFC South…Bucs QB Josh Freeman is a gamer as he made crucial plays with his arm and legs….Bucs broke-out the option with backup QB Josh Johnson on a crucial 4th down play… Colts starter Curtis Painter was better than advertised….Painter hit WR Pierre Garcon for some big plays…. Colts WR Reggie Wayne was in the blocking mood… Bad play by Freeman before halftime took 3 points off the board…Bucs need to work on compsure, especially volatile TE Kellen Winslow… Bucs had 12 penalties in their win
8 Road Teams won (TEN, NO, NE, WAS, SF, DET, ATL, NYG)

 
Standings Breakdown

2 Teams ….4-0 —  Lions, Packers
11 Teams…. 3-1 — Bills, Texans, Patriots, Redskins, Titans, Niners, Saints, Chargers, Ravens, Bucs, NY Giants
8 Teams …..2-2 —  NY Jets, Falcons, Bengals, Bears, Cowboys, Browns, Steelers, Raiders
7 Teams …. 1-3 — Eagles, Cardinals, Broncos, Panthers, Seahawks, Jaguars, Chiefs
4 Teams…..0-4 (AKA… Andrew Luck Sweepstakes) —  Colts, Vikings, Rams, Dolphins

13 Teams with winnning records including surprises (Bills, Bucs, Lions, and Niners)

11 Teams with losing including surprises (Eagles, Cardinals, and Colts)

Remember 11-5 (2008 New England Patriots) or 10-6 (Bucs and NY Giants in 2010) is not a guarantee to make the playoffs

Division Leaders

AFC North — Ravens (3-1)….Rest of division (PIT, CIN, and CLE) are all even at 2-2
AFC South — Texans and Titans are tied at (3-1)… Then the very bad Colts and Jags
AFC West — SD continue regular season dominance at (3-1)
AFC East — Bills and Patriots tied at top (3-1) with BUF holding tiebreaker

NFC North — NFL last two undefeated teams, Lions and Packers, are tied at (4-0)… Up-and-Down Bears (2-2)…Bad Vikings (0-4)
NFC South — TB and NO tied at (3-1)… ATL (2-2) and the young CAR are (1-3)
NFC West — Niners  (3-1)…. Harbaugh has these guys believing… Cardinals and Seahawks (1-3) and then hapless Rams (0-4)
NFC East — Giants and Redskins (3-1)… Cowboys 2-2) then the Dream Team Eagles living a nightmare in the basement (1-3)

How 2010 NFL Playoff Teams are Faring
**Remember for 15 straight seasons there have been at least 5 new playoff teams**

AFC
Patriots (3-1)
Ravens (3-1)
NY Jets (2-2)
Steelers (2-2)
Chiefs (1-3)
Colts (0-4)

NFC
Packers (4-0)
Saints (3-1)
Falcons (2-2)
Bears (2-2)
Eagles (1-3)
Seahawks (1-3)

Upcoming schedules

NFC

ARZ (1-3) —  @MIN, BYE, PIT, @BAL
ATL (2-2) —  GB (SNF), CAR, @DET, BYE
CAR (1-3) — @ NO, @ATL, WAS, @MIN, BYE
CHI (2-2) —   @DET (MNF), MIN (SNF), @TB, BYE
DAL (2-2) —   BYE, @NE, STL, @PHI (SNF), SEA
DET (4-0) —  CHI (MNF), SF, ATL, @DEN, BYE
GB (4-0) —   @ATL (SNF), STL, @MIN, BYE
MIN (0-4) —  ARZ, @CHI (SNF), GB, @CAR, BYE
NO (3-1) —  CAR, @TB, IND (SNF), @STL, TB, ATL, BYE
NYG (3-1) — SEA, BUF, BYE, MIA, @NE
PHI (1-3) —  @BUF, @WAS, BYE
SF (3-1) —    TB, @DET, BYE, CLE, @WAS, NYG
SEA (1-3) —  @NYG, BYE, @CLE, CIN, @DAL
STL (0-4) —  BYE, @GB, @DAL, NO
TB (3-1) —   @SF, NO, CHI, BYE
WAS (3-1) —  BYE, PHI, @CAR

AFC

BAL (3-1) — BYE, HOU, @JAX (MNF), ARZ, @PIT (SNF)
BUF (3-1) — PHI, @NYG, BYE
CIN (2-2) — @JAX, IND, BYE, @SEA, @TEN
DEN (1-3) — SD, BYE, @MIA, DET, @OAK
CLE (2-2) — BYE, @OAK, SEA, @SEA, @SF, @HOU
HOU (3-1) — OAK, @BAL, @TEN, JAX, CLE, @TB, BYE
IND (0-4) —  KC, @CIN, @NO, @TEN, ATL, JAX, BYE
JAX (1-3) — CIN, @PIT, BAL (MNF), @HOU, BYE
KC (1-3) —   @IND, BYE, @OAK, SD (MNF)
MIA (0-4) — BYE, @NYJ (MNF), DEN, @NYG
NE (3-1) —  NYJ, DAL, BYE, @PIT, NYG, @NYJ (SNF)
NYJ (2-2) — @NE, MIA (MNF), SD, BYE
OAK (2-2) — @HOU, CLE, KC, BYE
PIT (2-2) — TEN, JAX, @ARZ, NE, BAL (SNF), @CIN, BYE
SD (3-1) —  @DEN, BYE, @NYJ, @KC (MNF), GB
TEN (3-1) — @PIT, BYE, HOU, IND, CIN, @CAR
  
Week 4 Leaders
 
Passing   
1. M. Vick PHI  416 yds
2. A. Rodgers GB  408 yds
3. C. Newton CAR  374 yds
4. D. Brees NO  351 yds
5. C. McCoy CLE  350 yds
 
Rushing
1. M. Forte CHI  205 yds
2. A. Foster HOU  155 yds
3. B. Wells ARI  138 yds
4. R. Torain WAS  135 yds
5. F. Gore SF  127 yds
 
 
Receiving
1. S. Smith CAR  181 yds
2. D. Jackson PHI  171 yds
3. H. Nicks NYG  162 yds
4. W. Welker NE  158 yds
5. P. Garcon IND  146 yds 
6. B. Lloyd DEN  136 yds
 
 
 TDS   
1. A. Rodgers GB  6 TDs
2. C. Newton CAR  3 TDs
2. M. Hasselbeck TEN  3 TDs
2. T. Jackson SEA  3 TDs (tied with 3 others) 
 
Looking Ahead to Week 5 Games

Sun, Oct 09 

NO @ CAR  1:00 PM (ET)  (FOX)
TEN @ PIT  1:00 PM (ET)  (CBS)
ARI @ MIN  1:00 PM (ET)  (FOX)
OAK @ HOU  1:00 PM (ET)  (CBS)
KC @ IND  1:00 PM (ET)  (CBS)
SEA @ NYG  1:00 PM (ET)  (FOX)
PHI @ BUF  1:00 PM (ET)  (FOX)
CIN @ JAC  1:00 PM (ET)  (CBS)
TB @ SF  4:05 PM (ET)  (FOX)
NYJ @ NE  4:15 PM (ET)  (CBS)
SD @ DEN  4:15 PM (ET)  (CBS)
GB @ ATL  8:20 PM (ET)  (NBC)

Mon, Oct 10 
CHI @ DET  8:30 PM (ET)  (ESPN)
 
Byes: Ravens, Browns, Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams, Redskins

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