Biggest meltdowns of NFL Week 4
Week 4 of the NFL season has come upon us. After the first quarter of the season, we have learned some things: Chris Johnson really needs practice, Tom Brady’s power was not contained in his hair, and this Aaron Rodgers kid might be pretty good (you heard it here first). With the weekend of triumphs and great performances, there were also the requisite bone headed plays and team meltdowns that we have come to expect from professional footballers. This week, the Falcons make the Seahawks offense look compotent, the Cardinals show off their appreciation for history, Mike Vick doesn’t want to talk about his feelings, the Bills learn what it’s like, and the Cowboys get Romo’d…hard.
5. Atlanta tries to catch earlier flight home, nearly let the Seahawks rally
The Falcons came into this season with high hopes for the season. They were embarrassed in the playoffs at the end of last year, so they went out and traded away a large portion of their draft in order to get Julio Jones and upgrade the explosiveness of their offense and take the next step toward further postseason success. Things haven’t quite worked out that way, though. Entering Sunday, the Falcons were 1-2, tied with Carolina for last place in the NFC South. They hoped a trip to Seattle, who they beat 38-10 last time they went west, would help them get moving in the right direction. In the first half, it looked like they would. Michael Turner was running effectively and Matt Ryan was dealing, giving the Falcons a 24-7 halftime lead.
In the second half, after kicking a field goal to extend their lead to 27-7, the Falcons started to break down on defense. Tarvaris Jackson (pictured) led the rally, throwing for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns, two of those in the second half. The Falcons were outscored 21-6 in the second half by the previously hapless Seattle offense, giving up 234 yards of offense after halftime. The Seahawks pulled within 2 points on a Jackson to Ben Obomanu touchdown with 8:13 left. The Falcons were able to run most of the clock, but were forced to punt it away with 1:49 left, and held on as Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka just missed a 61 yard field goal attempt. While the Falcons were hoping to make some noise this offseason, they may want to spend some quiet reflection figuring out how they let Tarvaris Jackson throw for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns before they have to face the Saints and Drew Brees hangs 100 on them.
4. Arizona liked watching Eli win his Super Bowl so much, they staged a re-enactment
Eli Manning was involved in a pretty exciting game once at University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Cardinals play their home games. In 2008, Super Bowl XLII was held there and the Giants pulled off a stunning upset of the previously undefeated New England Patriots with a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining. The Arizona Cardinals, who are huge history buffs, enjoyed that Super Bowl so much, they wanted to see it happen first hand, giving up a late touchdown down the sideline to Hakeem Nicks.
The touchdown capped a 21-point 4th quarter for the Giants, who rallied from a 10-point deficit, 27-17, with 5:16 to go in the game. Eli Manning came through with two touchdown passes just under a minute apart to rally the Giants and send the Cardinals to a 1-3 record. Arizona squandered a career day for running back Beanie Wells, who rushed for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns, which is rude to punish a guy whose name is already ‘Beanie,’ but that’s a whole other topic. The bright side for Arizona after this deflating loss is that they’re only in 3rd place in their division and still have two games against 4th place St. Louis (0-4). Does anybody know the process of contracting a division?
3. The Buffalo Bills now know what it’s like to be Oakland and New England
The Buffalo Bills came into Sunday as one of three undefeated teams in the NFL. They had engineered dramatic comebacks in back-to-back weeks against Oakland and New England, putting themselves in first place of the NFC East. Traveling to Cincinnati this week, the Bills were confident that they would be able to fix the issues that caused them to have to mount such dramatic rallies, and they would able to have a smooth victory. Well, they ended up being half right.
The Bills came out and played well enough early, capitalizing on Bengal quarter Andy Dalton’s poor first half to post a 17-3 halftime lead. However, the offense struggled to move the ball, as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for less than 200 yards and Fred Jackson rushed for only 66, which allowed the rookie Dalton to rally the Bengals, including a 3-yard touchdown run by Dalton to tie the game with 4:09 to go. The Bengals capped the rally and officially Bill’d the Bills with a Mike Nugent field goal as time expired. Now realizing the feeling of letting a team you historically dominate (the Bengals had lost 10 straight against Buffalo), the Bills now feel a closer bond to New England than they ever have before. It’s kind of grossing them out.
2. Dream Team, minus the Dream part, leaves Vick without words for his feelings
Everyone knows what Philly was supposed to do this season after going out and seemingly signing everyone in free agency. They were supposed to steamroll the NFL, dominating the NFC East, and destroying opponents en route to the Super Bowl. Yeah, about that…at 1-3, the Eagles are currently 4th in their division, and their 3-game losing streak has created more questions than confidence: Where did Philadelphia find this offensive line? Who is in charge of tackling on their defense? How quickly can he be fired? What does Mike Vick feel about this?
The last question was asked of Vick after the game, and he was visibly upset. “You want me to answer that? …I’m frustrated, there’s no words for it,” he said, obviously censoring himself. He had plenty of reason to be upset about this loss. Vick was quite good in this game, throwing for 416 yards and rushing for another 75 on his way to building a 23-3 lead before watching his defense flush it away. Alex Smith went 13 of 17 for 201 yards in the second half, throwing two touchdowns along with Frank Gore’s 127 yards rushing and the game winning touchdown to complete the rally and send the Eagles to the cellar of the NFC East looking for answers…and new offensive lineman and defensive players who can tackle.
1. The Cowboys make history for all the wrong reasons
Tony Romo has had a pretty up and down year already this season. He went from goat in Week 1, throwing the late interception to the Jets which led to the game winning field goal, to hero in Week 2, when he rallied the Cowboys to an overtime win on the road with a cracked rib. This week, against the Lions, he mad the transition at halftime as he led the Cowboys to the biggest collapse in team history. This is probably one of those records Tony should have avoided breaking.
In the first half, the Cowboys came out clicking. Romo led the Cowboys up and down the field while the Lions sputtered, dominating play and building a 27-3 lead in the third quarter. Then the Cowboys got Romo’d, as Tony threw a pick six to Lions defender Bobby Carpenter, a former Cowboy and groomsman in Romo’s wedding. I support giving gifts to the members of your wedding party and all, but this was a bit much. Romo followed that interception with a second, this one also returned for a touchdown by Chris Houston. Just like that, the Lions had cut the lead down to 10 points, 27-17.
In the fourth quarter, Matthew Stafford took over, throwing two touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson, the second for the lead with 1:39 seconds to play, during a 17-0 Lions run to end the game. Romo threw another interception to Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch, and the Cowboys offense could find no spark. The Cowboys last offensive play went the same way the Cowboys’ offense had gone in the second half: confused and disappointing. On 4th and 20, Romo dumped the ball short to Felix Jones, who avoided a tackle and ran out of bounds for an 8 yard gain. Nobody on the offense seemed to realize it was 4th down. With that last bone-headed mistake, the Cowboys capped their biggest meltdown in history, and they head into a bye week to sit around and think about how hard they just got Romo’d.