This week’s Handshakes are extended to the remaining undefeated teams. The Texans continue to roll, handling the Titans in dominant fashion and continuing to look the part of the best team in the league. The other two teams needed heroics after falling behind early, and both were able to come up with key plays late.
In Atlanta, it was Matt Ryan’s F-Bombing Bravado after a big completion to Roddy White to secure a late win. In Arizona, the Cardinals were out gained 480 to 295, and trailed 13-0 in the second half. They got a 61 yard fumble return from Patrick Peterson on a close play that probably would have been upheld either way depending on how it was called on the field. Kevin Kolb hit Andre Roberts for the tying touchdown in the final :30. Arizona then got the key interception of Tannehill to set up the game winner in overtime.
Plenty had to go right, and it did, for Arizona to win. That’s happened a lot recently, as they have won 11 of their last 13, but last week’s win over the Eagles is the only one by more than a touchdown, and this is the fifth overtime win over that stretch.
Brian Hartline, Out of Nowhere Into the Record Books: The biggest handshake goes to Brian Hartline, who had a game for the ages. Sorry for not having Hartline in my fantasy predictions for the week. How did we all miss that Hartline would have the 17th highest receiving yard day since 1960? How unlikely was it? Setting aside that it came against a defense that looked great through three weeks, pretty rare. Well, hindsight always changes things, but if we look at it from the point when each big game happened, the following other receivers had a monster game of 250 yards or more receiving that seemed to come out of nowhere.
- Stephone Paige had a career similar to Hartline’s when he exploded for 309 yards on the final day of 1985, the highest ever at the time and still 2nd most ever.
- Qadry Ismail was the definition of a journeyman when he did it at age 29 in 1999 with 258 yards and 3 touchdowns.
- Jerry Butler had 255 yards in his fourth career game. He was the 4th overall pick, though, so not sure that qualifies here.
- Miles Austin was the most improbable. At the time, Austin (25 years old like Hartline) had only one game with at least 50 yards receiving when he had 10 catches for 250 yards against the Chiefs in 2009. The next week, he had 171 on the way to several more big games.
Our Best Wishes to Chuck Pagano: Some bad news breaking this morning, as Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia. He will be taking a leave of absence during treatment, somewhere between 4 to 6 weeks. Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians will serve as interim coach while Pagano gets treated and hopefully has a full recovery.
Jim Harbaugh Trolls Rex Ryan by Showing Him How to Use a Running Quarterback: The Jets brought Tim Tebow in, but it appears to be more for the circus aspect, and throwing balls off helmets, than for legitimate creativity. Jim Harbaugh gets an emphatic post game handshake strong enough to start a fight with Jim Schwartz, as he came in and unveiled Colin Kaepernick, who scored on a goal line package run and ran some option. We can only assume that Kaepernick will now be on GQ. 49ers roll 34-0.
Darryn Colledge on the Cardinals 4-0 Start: They are not the prettiest girl at the dance. “We’re like a 4 or a 5, but we dance like an 8″. [via @kentsomers]
Danny Amendola Knows How to Get Open:
Blaine Gabbert, Mr. Consistent: The Bengals were playing without starting cornerbacks Leon Hall and Nate Clements, as well as first round draft pick Dre Kirkpatrick, who has yet to play this year. They were down to starting the corpse of Terence Newman and Pacman Jones, with guys off the practice squad as depth. It didn’t matter.
Gabbert is Mr. Consistent. In 18 career games, he had averaged 5.45 yards per attempt. He showed improvement on Sunday, jumping to 5.47 yards per attempt on 23 of 34 attempts for 186 yards. That’s the kind of situation that would have a competent veteran offense salivating but instead the Bengals held Jacksonville to 10 points in the convincing road win.
Patriots are in Trouble . . .Wait, Never Mind. F*** You, B****es: The Patriots were trailing 21-7 in the third quarter on the road in Buffalo. The defense had just given up a long touchdown to Donald Jones. The rest of the game, though, was a dismantling as New England wanted to remind all you bitches how good they are. 45 to 7 New England for the rest of the game. In less than a half.
Vince Wilfork destroyed Donald Jones during that run, Wilfork’s wife was pleased, and Tom Brady joins Matt Ryan in teaching us that quarterbacks–and player’s wives–have potty mouths.
Detroit Special Teams, Woof: Why would Jim Schwartz ever choose to kick? (see Fourth Down log below). The Lions gave up a kickoff return on the opening kick to Percy Harvin, then had this punt returned for a touchdown at the start of the second half. They lost at home 20-13, and while Christian Ponder will continue to get praise, almost all the points in this one are on the Detroit coverage units and the Minnesota returners.
Denver Broncos Roll as Peyton Lights Up Raiders: So, apparently having losses to Houston and Atlanta isn’t a bad thing for predicting your future. Most teams in the league would have two losses there. The Broncos exploded, even without Demaryius Thomas hanging on to the ball, for an emphatic win over the Raiders 37-6. Denver, and not San Diego, should be your AFC West favorites after four weeks even though the Chargers stand one game ahead in the loss column. The Chargers beat the Titans, Chiefs, and Raiders, and got destroyed by Atlanta at home, while Denver was more competitive with Atlanta and beat the Raiders far more convincingly.
FOURTH AND ONE WEEKLY LOG
We continue the weekly log, and again, in immediate retrospect, the decisions to go for it were better than kicking. Some worked but didn’t matter, others were key, including calls for Carolina, and less notably but just as important, Detroit. Green Bay and Washington used key decisions that were the difference in winning, while the Dolphins got to overtime with a chance based on playing for the touchdown early.
1. Carolina at Atlanta 45, 1:51 remaining, up by 1. Panthers took a delay of game and punted to Atlanta 1. Atlanta won. This would be an arguable case of going for it: The Falcons only needed a field goal, but would have just over a minute left and no timeouts. Were the chances of the Falcons getting that FG less than 25%? If they weren’t going for it would have been a chance worth taking with the Panthers secondary and the Atlanta wide receivers.
2. Detroit at own 40, down 10-3 in 2nd Q. Punted, and Minnesota went on long field goal drive to make it 13-3.
3. Detroit at MIN 40, down 20-6, early 3rd Q. Punted (!!!), nobody scored in 3rd quarter, Lions lost 20-13.
4. Miami at ARI 1, 2 minutes left first half. Dolphins go, and score to make it 10-0. Eventually lose in OT.
5. Both New Orleans and Green Bay punted on 4th and 1 deep in own territory, something I wouldn’t normally note because no one goes there early in games. GB, though, faked a punt later on 4th and 1, converted, and went and scored a touchdown in what was a 28-27 win eventually.
6. Washington at TB 26, up 7-3 in 2nd Q. Went for it, converted on Alfred Morris run, and went on to score TD for 14-3 lead in a game they eventually won 24-22 on last second field goal.
7. NY Giants at PHI 40, end of 3rd Q, down by 3. Manning hit Cruz for 30 yard gain to set up first and goal. He threw interception on next play, ending drive at PHI 9. Giants lost by 2. Later, Giants also had to go on 4th and 1 at their own 44 on last drive, and that was the conversion due to the Rodgers-Cromartie interference call.
OTHER NFL CONTENT THIS WEEKEND:
Previously: Eagles Beat Giants 19-17, Surviving Late Tynes Field Goal Attempt
Previously: Jeff Triplette Screaming at Clay Matthews? Yes, it Was Comical
Previously: Jamaal Charles Touchdown Run: Incredible Score, the Kind of Thing You See in Tecmo Bowl
Previously: Tim Tebow Flips Aldon Smith: No QB Picks Up a Blitz Like Tim Tebow
Previously: Matt Ryan Drops F-Bomb After Falcons Beat Panthers, 30-28
Previously: Danieal Manning Pick-Six Touchdown Highlighted by This Incredible Johnathan Joseph Block
Previously: Vince Wilfork Destroys Donald Jones, and His Wife Approves
[photos via US Presswire]