While Saturday’s slate of college football was a bit underwhelming, Sunday’s NFL schedule was absolutely brimming with must-watch games. In the middle of it all – as has often been the case since he entered the league in 1998 – was Peyton Manning. Marching his Broncos into Dallas and looking to continue a season that’s seen him disrespect and humiliate opposing defenses, Manning would have his work cut out for him. All because of Tony Romo, who finished with one of the most impressive stat lines a quarterback can drop: 500 passing yards, five touchdowns. Only one interception.
Ahhh, but that interception. The kind that only the Tony Romos of the league can throw, Romo’s final pick set Denver up perfectly for a game-winning field goal. Final score: 51-48. Dallas is still very much in the thick of a terrible NFC East race, but that won’t erase the “what if” thoughts swimming around Cowboy Nations’ brain trust. Knocking off the still-undefeated Broncos would have been a season-defining win.
Another one of the league’s undefeated powerhouses marched into a formidable opponent Sunday, but things didn’t end well for Seattle. One of the league’s most complete teams met their first defeat in Indianapolis, at the hand of Andrew Luck. The back-and-forth match needed Luck’s late-game heroics – he led two time-consuming scoring drives in the fourth quarter to win – but when the dust settled, the Colts looked every bit the part of Eventual AFC South champion. But Seattle fans really shouldn’t worry; they’ll be in the top 5 discussion all year.
Finally, we have New England, who, like Seattle, lost their first contest. Cincinnati – looking to rebound from a loss to upstart Cleveland – held Tom Brady to his first touchdown-less game in 52 attempts, and the Bengals won 13-6. Andy Dalton didn’t throw a touchdown, either, but he did his part in moving the ball late to set up a BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown. With Baltimore and the Browns also winning this week, the AFC North is currently a clusterf*ck up top, all three sitting at 3-2.
— Matt Schaub threw his fourth pick-six in as many games, setting an NFL record for futility in the the process. And with the Chiefs, Colts, Patriots, and Broncos among their upcoming opponents, is there any hope remaining for Houston’s playoff push this season?
— Josh Freeman was unemployed during Week 5, but found himself a new home in Minnesota last night. With Christian Ponder doing his best Mark Sanchez impression and Matt Cassel iffy at best, Freeman may have a legitimate shot at becoming a starting quarterback again.
— Oakland and San Diego started the latest Sunday night game ever in the history of the NFL and the Chargers laid yet another egg. This team is running out of excuses for their mediocrity and a complete roster overhaul may just be in need (since Norv Turner is long gone, but the results are still the same).
— Detroit’s one dimensional game lives and dies at the health of Calvin Johnson. And without their best player, they really have nothing.
— [Insert obligatory annual Philadelphia quarterback controversy comment here.]
— It was down to the wire in Miami, with Joe Flacco continuing his campaign to show everyone more reason why he shouldn’t have received that hefty contract. He had another subpar day, throwing for 269 yards, no touchdowns and getting an interception returned for a touchdown. It took some last-second kicking by Justin Tucker to salvage the game.
— Don’t look now but the Kansas City Chiefs are still perfect after rallying to beat the Titans 26-17 and they’re off to their best start since 2003.
— The snoozefest in St. Louis resulted in Jacksonville getting dropped to 0-5. Can they beat a team this year or will the 2008 Lions be meeting their match?
— Drew Brees led the latest stop in the Saints revenge tour and Jimmy Graham finished his fourth straight 100 yard game (for the second time), tying the always legendary Tony Gonzalez. You’ll be hard pressed to find a QB-TE more lethal than these two. Yes, that includes Brady-Gronk.
Correction: Final score in the Denver game was 51-48, not 41-38.