NFL Analysis: Week 4 Recap

Denver looks unstoppable, New England, Seattle and New Orleans stay unbeaten, and surprising Kansas City is also in the 4-0 club. TheSportsNotebook’s NFL analysis closes out Week 4 with a run through all 15 games…

Denver 52 Philadelphia 20: This was a competitive game at half, only 21-13, before the Broncos blew it open in the third quarter. While Peyton Manning’s 28/34 for 327 yards is certainly the story, don’t overlook that Denver committed just two penalties. This is a team playing very clean, disciplined football right now.

Seattle 23 Houston 20 (OT): It was a rough day for both quarterbacks, as Russell Wilson and Matt Schaub were both repeatedly pressured, hit and sacked. Both teams ran well, with Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster having good days. Ultimately though, Matt Schaub has established that he’s ill-suited to win these kinds of games, throwing two interceptions including a bad one that Richard Sherman took to the house and tied the game late in the fourth quarter.

New England 30 Atlanta 23: Two weeks was the amount of time it took Tom Brady to get comfortable with his new receivers. Kenbrell Thompkins has joined Julian Edelman as a reliable target and the Patriot quarterback went 20/31 for 316 yards with zero interceptions. New England also ran the ball well, getting 132 yards on the ground. Atlanta drops to 1-3 and is staring at a big deficit in the NFC South.

New Orleans 38 Miami 17: A Monday Night battle of unbeatens saw Drew Brees looks razor-sharp. But the Saints defense continues to look Super Bowl-caliber, intercepting Ryan Tannehill three times and getting pressure all night.

Kansas City 31 NY Giants 7: Other than a 69-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, the Giants’ offense did absolutely nothing as they sunk to 0-4. It was a fairly sloppy game, with three turnovers each way. Perhaps that demonstrates how far the Chiefs have come–now they win big even if they don’t play well.

Detroit 40 Chicago 32: Chicago needs to do a much better job stopping the run. Reggie Bush ran for 139 yards,  and the Bears aren’t going to beat decent teams if they don’t get turnovers. And they won’t get turnovers if opponents are comfortable just running the ball.

San Diego 30 Dallas 21: Don’t pin this one on Tony Romo. The Cowboy quarterback was 27/37, and while that only produced 244 yards, there none of the usual Romo mistakes. But the Dallas defense was lit up by Philip Rivers for 394 yards passing. Good thing Jerry Jones scapegoated defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after last year and Ryan ended up in New Orleans…who is playing great defense.

Washington 24 Oakland 14: This was not a great performance for RG3, but it was a clutch one. The Redskin quarterback made several big throws on the move and with razor-sharp accuracy when he had to. This was a battle between an 0-3 team and another whose only win was over Jacksonville, and the caliber play lived up to those “stakes.” But no one in Redskin Nation is complaining.

Tennessee 38 NY Jets 13: The Titans are now 3-1 and are a team, along with the Chargers, that we can’t sleep on. But this game was about how careless Geno Smith was with the football. The Jets’ quarterback threw two picks and fumbled it away another time.

Indianapolis 37 Jacksonville 3: Games with the Jaguars are just a team to tune things up and to be treated like a glorified scrimmage. Trent Richardson got integrated into the running game and carried 20 times for 60 yards.

San Francisco 35 St. Louis 11: Frisco saves their season, or at least their shot at staying with Seattle in the NFC West with a win that moves to the 49ers to 2-2. San Francisco did it the old-fashioned way, pummeling the Rams on the ground with Frank Gore, who had 153 yards. And they sacked Sam Bradford five times.

Buffalo 23 Baltimore 20: Joe Flacco’s five interceptions were inexcusable, but the 203 rush yards that Buffalo pounded away for were positively unexplainable. What is going on in Baltimore? I know C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are good backs, but this was a defense supposedly more talented than last year’s. I’m getting a better understanding of why oddsmakers aren’t giving the Ravens a lot of respect right now.

Cleveland 17 Cincinnati 6: This was a positively disgraceful showing from the Bengals. Even allowing Cleveland great credit for their second straight win, the big takeaway here is that we can’t look to elevate Cincinnati any higher than a borderline playoff team, like they’ve been the last two years.

Minnesota 34 Pittsburgh 27: Turnovers were the difference over in London. Minnesota didn’t commit any, with Matt Cassel going an efficient 16/25 for 248 yards and repeatedly targeting Jerome Simpson. That kind of passing game efficiency is made easier when you control the line of scrimmage on both sides. Adrian Peterson ran for 140 yards and there was no Steeler pass rush. On the flip side, the Vikes got after Ben Roethlisberger and stopped the run.

Arizona 13 Tampa Bay 10: The Bucs had all the problems you would expect of a team starting a rookie quarterback in Mike Glennon. But it sheds a very poor light on the Cardinals that they needed to rally from 10-0 down in the fourth quarter to win this game.