Home > Sublime and Ridiculous > The Sublime and the Ridiculous: Week 4 in the NFL

The Sublime and the Ridiculous: Week 4 in the NFL

The games at Dallas and Philadelphia on Sunday past both flitted seamlessly between the sublime and the ridiculous, but there was plenty else to catch the eye as the NFL regular season hit the quarter-way point.

From the sublime…

It was another exemplary performance from Aaron Rodgers and the packers on Sunday. This time the Denver Broncos bore the brunt. Rodgers threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another two to help Green Bay to another facile 49-23 victory. I mentioned last week that these Packers have been near faultless so far, and Sunday was another example of how difficult they will be to stop this season. There are some question marks hanging over their defense, with 97 points conceded in four games, but the offense is absolutely purring, and at the minute they are quite rightly the clear favourites to win the Lombardi trophy in back to back seasons.

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Last week the Chicago Bears were castigated for only producing 13 (thirteen) rushing yards in a 10 point loss to Green Bay. It was a game that had remained reasonably close throughout, but the Bears appeared to shoot themselves in the foot. Fast forward seven days and Chicago put up a 34-29 win over the Panthers with running back Matt Forte racking up 205 yards, a career high. That is some production. But hey, Lovie Smith… what took ya so long?! Probably the happiest man on Soldier Field was Jay Cutler. He only got sacked once. Bet there weren’t as many painkillers required for him on Monday morning past. Cutler will have a better chance to be more productive for Chicago if the Bears can get their running game together, and Sunday was a good start. Okay, it was only the Panthers, but the Bears are still hanging around. Oh, and it helps when you have Devin Hester returning punts!

The Patriots are still hanging around also. Apparently last week’s defeat to the Bills didn’t finish their season after all. 4 interceptions last week in Buffalo, zero this week in Oakland. That’s how Tom Brady’s offense responds to defeat. They right the wrongs and win without their opponents even sniffing victory. It may have been less spectacular than some of New England’s recent wins, with Brady throwing for just (!) 226 yards, but this was an excellent team performance from the Patriots. They were blemish free. One man that caught the eye, and almost everything else was Wes Welker. Still Brady’s go-to man, Welker had 158 receiving yards, and looks as good as ever. At least 30 points for 12 consecutive games, the Patriots are going nowhere for a while yet.

To the ridiculous…

The ‘Victor Cruz thing’ in the Giants victory at Arizona still isn’t making any sense. It’s difficult to understand what the umpires were thinking of when they ruled that Cruz had given himself up and was therefore down. This was an instrumental play in the game and it ultimately decided it’s outcome, but that should be immaterial. No matter what point in the game the play came, the umpires just have to see that Cruz tripped, stumbled and fell and promptly disregarded the football without having been touched. It’s even more difficult to rationalise what Cruz was at. A horribly careless play from the wide receiver, and the very least it deserved was to cost the Giants the game. The only thing I can think of was that Cruz thought he was playing in a college game. He might not get so lucky the next time.

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Baltimore’s win at home to the Jets was a sight for sore eyes. And tired eyes, if you stayed up to watch the outcome of this one on Channel 4. Or maybe you found it funny. It was slapstick quarterback play at it’s best. Or worst. With Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez resembling Laurel and Hardy in an error-strewn game for both. They had a grand total of zero touchdowns between them. Flacco was 10-31 and threw 2 interceptions, while Sanchez was reduced to a stumbling mess. He was 11-35, but it was his three turnovers – each returned for touchdowns by the Ravens – that really cost the Jets in this one. According to Jets coach Rex Ryan, Sanchez “struggled mightily”. So did the Jets… and it’s the Patriots up next.

Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount will be happy to learn that he’s made it into this particular part of the column for all the right reasons. In fact he should probably be in both the sublime and ridiculous sections, for his performance against the Colts during the Bucs 24-17 victory on Monday night. Blount ran for 127 yards and a touchdown as Tampa eventually ground down a spirited Indianapolis challenge. He was the match winner in a game that never truly settled, and the Colts just could not stop him. The ridiculous part: there was a play at the end of the game when Blount ran for about ten yards after contact, with no less than 4 Colts hanging off his legs. This man just won’t go down, and he may prove to be the perfect foil for the ever-impressive Josh Freeman.

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