I know. I know. It’s still early. We’ve only gotten through a quarter of the season, so it’s way too soon to talk about perfection. Still, it’s hard to not at least consider the possibility while Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense continues to make mincemeat out of every opposing defense. We’re not just talking about Denver rolling to four straight wins. With a 22-point average margin of victory, we’re talking about four straight Mile High Massacres.
The Broncos’ historically efficient offense is putting up Madden on “rookie” numbers, with no signs of slowing down. Denver has scored 179 points through four games. Only the the 1966 Dallas Cowboys managed to top that number. Yes, it’s still early, but the remaining members of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins should keep a close eye on this team, and wonder if their yearly champagne celebration might be in danger.
This week, the Philadelphia Eagles found themselves on the business end of a 52-20 drubbing. Peyton Manning finished his record-breaking September by completing 82% of his passes for 327 yards in only three quarters of play. Special teams pitched in two more touchdowns, allowing the eldest Manning brother to take a breather in the fourth quarter as his team cruised to victory.
In the NFC, the Seahawks had a tougher day but were still able to get another impressive win to continue their undefeated start to the season. The Houston Texans held a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter when All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman picked off a Matt Schaub pass meant for Owen Daniels and took it back 59 yards for a game-tying touchdown. In overtime, the Seahawks were able to stop the Texans on two separate offensive possessions before Steven Hauschka connected on a 45 yard field goal for the win.
While the leader of Seahawks’ typically suffocating defense was able to make a big play to send the game to overtime, the Texans’ offense generally dominated. Matt Schaub threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns, Arian Foster ran for over 100 yards, and Andre Johnson looks to have recovered well from his shin injury with a nine-catch, 110-yard performance. Still, the Seahawks D made plays when it counted by forcing three takeaways.
The Houston Texans put up all 20 of its points in the second quarter, and were shut out of the second half and overtime. Despite playing poorly for three quarters, Seattle did what great teams do, and pulled out a victory against a good team in spite of not playing their best game. With their legendary twelfth man making them nearly impossible to beat at home, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch leading a potent offense, and the best defense in football, Seattle is off to its first 4-0 start in the team’s history.
— The Vikings handed the Steelers tea, crumpets and a 0-4 record (their worst in 45 years) following 34-27 loss across the pond in London. Adrian Peterson returned to form with two touchdowns and 140 yards. Meanwhile, Matt Cassel at least earned himself another start next week. And Big Ben just labelled his team the “worst team in the league.” Don’t be so hard on yourself, Benjamin. There always that team in Jacksonville. Speaking of…
— The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead on a Josh Scobee field goal about halfway through the first quarter. They never scored again. The Colts moonwalked to an incredibly easy 37-3 victory behind, well, whatever they pretty much pleased.
— The Dallas Cowboys gon’ Cowboy. With an opportunity to take an even more commanding lead in the NFC (L)East, Dallas squandered a 21-13 halftime lead to lose 30-21. Phillip Rivers was in vintage form as he went 35-42 for 401 yards and three touches – 136 of which went to security blanket Antonio Gates on 10 catches and the backbreaking fourth quarter touchdown.
— Don’t look now but the Titans and Chiefs may be for real. The season is still early but both teams pulled out convincing wins yesterday as Tennessee dumped the Jets and KC steamrolled over the Giants. And next week, the two squads face each other in a head-to-head matchup that could very well end up being entertaining.
— Chicago scored 16 in the fourth quarter to make things interesting, but the Lions handed the Bears their first loss of the season 40-32. On a day where USC made the news for all the wrong reasons, Reggie Bush made Trojan fans proud totaling 173 yards and a touchdown (139 on the ground).
— The story of this game for most will be Robert Griffin finally getting his first win of the season, but it wasn’t quite a return to form for RG3. He looked slow running on his surgically repaired knee still, but made big throws late when his team needed them, never turned the ball over and somehow managed to only be sacked once. Matt Flynn tried his hardest to be the story, with a pick six, a lost fumble, a failed quarterback sneak on 4th and inches and by checking down to backup RB Rashad Jennings for eight catches (Raiders receivers had five catches total).
— The Brian Hoyer Era in Cleveland is batting 1.000 – appropriate because the Indians are in the playoffs. Hoyer found Jordan Cameron 10 times for 91 yards and a touchdown in a 17-6 victory over in-state rival Cincinatti. And lost in everything, this Browns defense is pretty damn tough. Linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Craig Robertson both had 10 tackles.
— New quarterback for Tampa Bay in Mike Glennon, same result. Arizona improved to 2-2 on the season with a 13-10 road victory which found the Cards scoring all 13 in the final frame.
— While the Falcons made it extremely touch-and-go in the fourth, New England is still New England which means they’re shuffling right along at 4-0 after beating Atlanta in the Georgia Dome 30-23. Even in defeat, Tony Gonzalez deserves a bit of recognition. The 17-year pro hauled in 12 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. All these years and he’s still clearly got it.
— Who knows how long it’ll last, but the Bills are 2-2 with their two losses being dogfights. EJ Manuel struggled (10-22, 167 yards and two picks), but was saved by a total of 203 rushing yards, 164 coming from CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. On the flip side, Baltimore had a total of nine rushes. No wonder Joe Flacco threw five interceptions.
— Behind 153 yards from Frank Gore, the Niners halted a two-game losing streak on Thursday by beating divisional foe – and a team that gave them all types of fits last season – St. Louis 35-11.
— Not sure if talking head Chris Collinsworth is serious or not here with his assessment of the Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Is he on New England’s payroll?
Photos: Getty, KSK