Here are 10 thoughts after watching the Week 4 games from Sunday.
1– You want some blood and guts? Don’t get on Steve Smith’s bad side. Even though he tried to downplay this game, we all knew that the first game against his old team was going to be a big deal for him. And it was. Just take a look at this big play. Lucky? Sure. But he was aware and caught it and scored. The Panthers had no chance and it appears that the team has lost some of its swagger from last year. The Panthers defense isn’t as strong as I thought and the lack of strong offensive weapons is hurting them bad.
Smith on the other hand has been a fantastic addition to the Ravens and the team has a gem in him. He may be 35 but he’s playing a huge role for the offense. I think Justin Forsett is finding more opportunities to run the ball and that may very well mean the end of Bernard Pierce’s time as the starter. Unless coach Harbaugh flips it around, look for this Ravens offense to stick with Forsett as the the top back going forward.
2– Aaron Rodgers is happy. He’s passing the ball and his receivers are making the big catches. Two touchdowns for Randall Cobb. Two for Jordy Nelson. Even Eddie Lacy had a score too. The Packers offense was the main reason why I felt that they could be champions this year and it looks like they’ve found their groove.
The Bears played well early but couldn’t keep up. I think that the offense is still trying to find its way but the defense did them no favors today. Fortunately the Bears are in a division where the other two teams aren’t as good, so this isn’t panic time just yet. But they can’t afford to wait too long to figure it all out.
3– J.J. Watt, at this pace, a lock for Defensive Player of the Year.
4– The Lions are in big trouble. I am not sold on their running game and I am really concerned about Calvin Johnson. He was in and out of the game and wasn’t really used much. The entire offense relies on his ability to help stretch the field. The times when he is not on the field, the offense is vulnerable. It may still be early, but this is a bad sign of how this team really has no strong identity on offense if one player is out.
5– Speaking of one player, Frank Gore is back. After he was seldom used last week, he eclipsed 100 yards rushing and helped the 49ers offense get back on track. The 49ers still didn’t have it all going today, but since their offense was able to shutdown the Eagles, I think this week they get a pass. However, the special teams woes were not great. They need to get that fixed soon.
The Eagles are back to reality. The 3-0 start was good but today we saw how easily they can be shutdown. Perrish Cox had a stranglehold on Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy was ineffective. The time of possession never gave the Eagles offense a rhythm and that could hurt a team that thrives on rhythm.
6– Everything that went wrong for the Steelers went wrong on that final sequence. Somehow playing too conservative in the end and having the secondary just give up this game-winning drive was embarrassing. The Buccaneers are not good but just letting them stay close was very bad. The Buccaneers saw Mike Glennon and Mike Evans shine in this game. These two young players are the future for this team.
Side note: I don’t like the Buccaneers uniforms much, but this combo is the best out of the bunch.
7– Ryan Tannehill played like a baller today. After a week of uncertainty, he was on fire and the London crowd was treated to a great offensive performance. The Raiders, however, continue to struggle and Dennis Allen’s job is up in the air it seems.
8– Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are two rookies that got their first starts on Sunday and I was impressed with both. Bortles looked like he had full control of the offense. Even though limited with talent, Bortles already looks like he was poised and had a good grasp of the offense.
Bridgewater, with the help of the running game, won his first start. The footwork and the smart decisions in the pocket allowed the Vikings to come away with a win. Both these teams are going to stick with their rookies going forward and it’s a good thing. These guys look to be stars in the making.
9– Philip Rivers is in the running for MVP this year. He is leading this Chargers passing attack to new heights. Eddie Royal is catching touchdowns left and right. Keenan Allen finally had a big game. This Chargers team is for real. There may be a chance that they could end up winning this division.
10– Tony Romo at his best is pretty good. However, we don’t see his best all the time. But tonight he had everything going for him. It looked like the Cowboys were just a completely different team than the one we saw in Week 1. Still, the Cowboys are just average overall but today, they had everything going for them.
The Saints did not have it all going and struggled to keep their offense moving. With their defense struggling, it forced Drew Brees and company to try to keep up with the Cowboys. It didn’t work out and it led to these poor decisions.
Lots of teams on the bye week this week. And fortunately, no major injuries. I am still interested to hear about what happens with the Raiders. There was an initial report of Dennis Allen getting fired before that report was retracted. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it did happen eventually.