For one reason or another, Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning was not dubbed Monday night worthy. And for about a good three and a half quarters, it wasn’t. Fact of the matter is Brady has actually gotten the best of his future Hall of Fame counterpart more often than not and with a 31-7 tucked away quite nicely, everything seemed to be in the books sans what time the Broncos would be reaching the airport.
A turnover here, a turnover there and before anyone realized what was going on Peyton Manning and the Broncos cut the lead to 31-21 and were in the redzone threatening to cut the deficit to within a field goal. Any hope of one of those fourth quarter comebacks for the ages were kicked in the balls following a Willis McGahee fumble. Manning won the stats battle – 31-44 for 345 yards and three TD’s – but Sir Thomas Brady walked away with the only thing that matters; a 31-21 win. Something of note about the Pats though. When they want to, they can appear like the most dominant force in football. They’ve even got a legit running game now led by Stevan Ridley, who tallied 151 yards on 28 carries on Sunday. And what’s even better? Eli Manning isn’t anywhere on the schedule. Yet.
The Chipper Jones era in Atlanta sports is over. And while it will take ATliens quite some time to turn the corner in that regard, they’ll find solace knowing they’re fans of one of the hottest teams in football and one of two remaining undefeated squads. Led by a 17-point fourth quarter, the Falcons moved to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history highlighted by Matt Ryan’s 345 yards and two touchdowns beating the Redskins 24-17.
Not to be spoken of much in terms of sports’ better executive decisions, Atlanta moving up take Julio Jones in the 2011 draft is paying off serious dividends. It’s almost unfair they can line up Roddy White and Julio (who could dunk on a 14 foot rim) on both sides and Michael Turner in the backfield. Not to mention Tony Gonzalez is still putting up numbers at the tight end position, too (13 grabs for 123 and a touchdown yesterday). The only way Atlanta loses this division is if Big Boi and Three Stacks suddenly begin dissing one another like they’re names are Havoc and Prodigy.* I digress though.
For Washington, a loss is never fun to start the work with. Having said that, it’s probably safe to say every Redskins fan nationwide is more concerned about the health of their franchise quarterback/savior, Robert Griffin III, who suffered a concussion following a brutal hit from Sean Weatherspoon in the third quarter. Expect every sports talk radio show in the DMV to lead their shows begging RG3 to learn how slide/get out of bounds. And truth be told, they’re right.
— Tennessee Titans defense, meet Percy Harvin…or try to anyway. After beating the Titans 30-7, Harvin Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings are 4-1. Raise your hands if you saw that coming and Green Bay being 2-3 through Week 5.
— The Browns made things interesting early on, but Eli Manning and Victor Cruz connecting for three touchdowns pretty much insured Cleveland remains with a goose egg in the win column.
— Marvin Lewis elected to go for a field goal down four with three minutes left on Miami’s 23-yard line. What happened next? The Bengals fall to 3-2 on the season following a 17-13 loss to Miami. Don’t look now, but the Dolphins may not mean much in terms of the bigger playoff picture, but they’re a scrappy team who could easily be 4-1 right now had it not been for two straight overtime losses.
— Lost in the RG3 hysteria, Andrew Luck has the Colts at 2-2 and helped orchestrate a 27-6 run to beat Green Bay 30-27.
— The Chiefs fell to the Ravens 9-6, but the most intriguing moment came from tackle Eric Winston who spoke on Chiefs fans actually cheering when Matt Cassel went down with an injury. He was 100% spot on, too.
— The Steelers return to .500 following a 16-14 win over in-state rivals, Philadelphia. For those keeping count, Michael Vick turned the ball over two more times Sunday giving him 11 for the season. Yet somehow they’re in every game. I don’t get it.
— Following a 16-12 loss to Seattle where he went 12-29 for 141 yards, it may be safe to say Cam Newton has hit his sophomore slump. Expectations are a bitch.
— The Chicago/Jacksonville game is exactly what happens whenever you put a goldfish in a shark tank. Chicago only won by 38 points (41-3). Brandon Marshall is having himself one hell of a season so far if you’re keeping tally at home.
— With Sean Payton in attendance, Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas’ record for consecutive games with a touchdown (48 straight…and counting) and the Saints ended their four game losing streak to start the season. This Payton for COTY of the year thing may have some legs.
— Going back to Minnesota/Tennessee for a moment, Chris Johnson had 15 carries for 24 yards. I couldn’t trade this guy in fantasy football right now if it came with a free iPhone 5.
— Here’s a fun fact. After their Week 3 hiccup against the Vikes, San Francisco has beaten their last two opponents 79-3, including a 45-3 first degree assault on the Buffalo Bills. Granted, it was against Buffalo’s defense and the Jets’ offense, but whatever. Oh, and Alex Smith’s numbers? How’s about 18-24 for 303 yards and three touchdowns. That’s one hell of a “game manager.”
— In case you missed it, the Rams beat the Cardinals 17-3 on Thursday night in what was an ugly, ugly game.
* – This was more than likely the kiss of death for the Falcons.