NFL News & Notes: Week 4

October 7, 2009

Last week's NFL action revealed some separation between the elite teams and their weaker peers in what has thus far been a completely unpredictable and thoroughly entertaining football season. Here's a quick look back at some notable action from Week 4 in the NFL:

Indy 34 Seattle 17

Peyton Manning demonstrated yet again why he is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, as he completed 31 of 41 passes, and threw for 353 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Seahawks.

Seattle's Seneca Wallace replaced starter Matthew Hasselbeck for the second straight week, going 33 of 45 for 257 yards and one TD. Despite guiding the 'Hawks into the endzone twice in the game's final three minutes, Wallace was not able to lead Seattle to the upset, as he lost a costly fumble and was sacked five times -- thrice by Robert Freeman.

NYG 27 KC 16

The G-Men improved to 4-0 on the year, and were paced by Eli Manning who went 20-for-34 for 292 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Manning's favorite target was wideout Steve Smith, who led all players with 11 receptions for 134 yards and a pair of scores. Manning would eventually have to leave the game late in the second half due to an acute case of plantar fasciatis. Manning's last pass of the day was a short hitch that rookie receiver Hakeem Nicks turned into a 54-yard touchdown.

MIA 38 BUF 10

Miami's commitment to the running game eased the pressure off QB Chad Henne, who was making his first career start under center. Dolphins' backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined to rush for 200 yards on 36 carries and 3 scores.

For the Bills, not even the return of starting running back Marshawn Lynch from a 3-game suspension was enough to overcome the three interceptions thrown by quarterback Trent Edwards.

Terrell Owens caught three balls for 60 yards, after being held without a catch last week.

Bears Dominate Second Half Versus Lions

Bears rookie wide receiver Johnny Knox broke a 21-21 tie, taking the opening kick off of the second half 102 yards for the first touchdown return of his career. The speedy Knox also had five receptions for 31 yards.

Jay Cutler threw for a rather pedestrian 141 yards on 18-for-28 passing, but did have two touchdown tosses and one highlight-reel rushing score. Matt Forte also had his strongest outing to date, amassing 121 yards on just 10 carries.

Lions starting QB and #1 overall draft pick Matthew Stafford suffered an apparent knee injury and limped off the field after a sack in the fourth quarter. Stafford twisted his knee awkwardly, with early reports out of Detroit indicating that he suffered a dislocated kneecap on the play.

San Francisco 35 St. Louis 0

Mike Singletary's 49ers defense continued to impress, holding an inept Rams offense to just 177 total yards in the shutout. The 'Niners defense also scored two touchdowns off turnovers.

Glen Coffee had a solid game filling in for the injured running back Frank Gore, as he gained 106 total yards (74 on the ground).

Off the field, the 49ers may have secured another win, as numerous published reports indicate that rookie wideout Michael Crabtree has ended his holdout and agreed to contractual terms with the team.

CIN 23 CLE 20 (OT)

The Bengals improved to 3-1 and slid into a tie for the top spot in the AFC North after another come-from-behind victory.

Wideout Chad Ochocinco caught just three balls, but two of them were TD grabs, including a spectacular one-hander. Kicker Shayne Graham nailed a 31-yard field goal during the final seconds of overtime to secure the win. Quarterback Carson Palmer went 23-44 for 232 yards and 2 TDs.

WAS 16 TB 13

The struggling 'Skins offense had just enough juice to overcome a turnover-filled performance by Jason Campbell.

Despite being picked off 3 times by Bucs' cornerback Aqib Talib, Campbell managed to find Chris Cooley for a 17-yard TD pass that sealed the deal for the 2-2 Redskins.

New Orleans 24 New York Jets 10

For the second week in a row, the Saints didn't have to rely solely on its high-powered offense to put points on the board, as its defense proved up to the task by stifling the Mark Sanchez-led Jets offense, and scoring twice themselves.

The suddenly stingy New Orleans D harassed Sanchez into his worst outing as a pro, forcing him into 4 turnovers. Sanchez had turned the ball only 3 times in his first three career starts. Of his 4 turnovers, 3 were interceptions, with 2 of those picks coming courtesy of veteran safety Darren Sharper. Sharper tied an NFL record by returning one of those picks 99 yards for a touchdown.

Although he did not throw a TD pass, Drew Brees had an effective afternoon managing the game, as he went 20-for-32 for 190 yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers 38 San Diego Chargers 28

Big Ben Roethlisberger put together his best start of the year, completing an efficient 26 of 33 passes, for 333 yards and two touchdowns.

The Steelers were able to overcome a strong game by counterpart Phillip Rivers (21-for-36, 254 yards, 3 touchdowns) due to the hard running of Steelers backup RB Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall proved -- at least on this day -- to be a more-than-capable backup to starter Willie Parker, compiling 165 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, each of which established career best marks for the second-year runner out of Illinois.

Denver 17 Dallas 10

The undefeated Broncos remained atop the AFC West thanks to their top-rated defense effectively stifling Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense. In addition, wideout Brandon Marshall showed why he remains one of the most dangerous players in the game with a breathtaking 51-yard catch-and-run that put the Broncos up for good with 1:46 remaining.

In shutting the 'Boys out for the game's final three quarters, Mike Nolan's surprising defense harassed Romo to the tune of 5 QB sacks, a costly red zone pick, and a forced fumble.

Despite cries to the contrary coming out of Big D, the offense's ineptitude was not solely due to Romo's decision-making, as Dallas' league-best rushing attack was held to just 74 yards on 25 attempts. The Cowboys' ground struggles partly resulted from two injuries to their dynamic running back trio, as Felix Jones did not play, and a gimpy Marion Barber saw limited action.

The conservative playcalling of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett certainly did not help the Cowboy cause either.

However, Romo was rightfully second-guessed over his insistence on testing Denver cornerback Champ Bailey. Romo threw to Bailey's side numerous times throughout the game, and the results -- four passes broken up and an interception (career number 44) -- seemed to indicate that Romo would have been better off targeting his throws elsewhere.

Patriots 27 Baltimore 21

Mark Clayton flat-out dropped a fourth down pass that would have surely given Baltimore a first down on their potential game-winning final drive, causing the Ravens to come up short in their bid to remain undefeated.

According to the Ravens and Ray Lewis, the calls made by the game officials had just as much to do with the New England win as did any plays executed by the Pats themselves.

Most notable were a pair of dubious roughing-the-passer calls against Raven defenders, who appeared to just barely breathe on Pats' Golden Boy Tom Brady.

Nevertheless, the Ravens, now sitting at 3-1 figure to have at least one more opportunity to earn bragging rights over New England -- that is, if the refs allow them to play tackle football.

Minnesota 30 Green Bay 23

Twenty months after playing his last game in the Packers Green and Gold, Brett Favre finally got his chance for revenge against his old team.

Favre completed 24 passes and threw for 3 touchdowns in the first of two regular-season meetings against the team with which he enjoyed his greatest success as a professional. In doing so, he also became the first quarterback in league history to boast a victory over each of the 32 NFL teams.

Meanwhile, the Vikings D made sure that Favre's counterpart and successor in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers, was not able to enjoy the same kind of production.

The Vikes were in Rodgers face all night, sacking him 8 times, and picking him off once. Defensive end Jared Allen picked up 4 1/2 of those sacks himself, in one of the more memorable Monday night performances in recent history.

Rodgers (26-for-37, 384 yards) and the Pack did manage to mount a bit of a rally, but in the end, it was too little, too late.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for

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