Cam Newton had 46 total rushing yards in the first three games. In the new Carolina offense, the Panthers want the 2015 NFL MVP in the pocket. But against the Patriots, we saw more glimpses of the old Cam Newton: eight carries (a season-high), 44 yards, plus a touchdown. Passing, he was excellent: 22-of-29, 316 yards, three TDs and one INT. He’s not officially back, given the Patriots were the worst defense in the NFL coming into the game, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Todd Gurley has heard a lot about how Ezekiel Elliott is now the best running back in the NFL, but Sunday in Jerry World, it was the Rams ball carrier who looked like the brightest star: Gurley rushed 23 times for 121 yards (5.3 ypc) and had another seven catches for 94 yards and a TD. He was the most-targeted Rams receiver. That’s two weeks in a row with over 30 touches for Gurley; he didn’t hit 30 touches in a game last year, and only did once as a rookie.
The Seahawks looked sluggish in the first half against the Colts Sunday night, an embarrassing performance in which they trailed at home to Jacoby Brissett, 15-10. It took a little while, but Seattle grabbed control in the 3rd quarter, and proceeded to drop 36 points on Indianapolis in the 2nd half, setting a franchise record for margin of victory in a half (33).
The Los Angeles Chargers have lost an unbelievable 12 one-possession games in a row. Three of them have come this season (24-21 in Denver; 19-17 at home vs Miami; and 26-24 Sunday vs Philadelphia). At 0-4, the season is shot, especially with Kansas City 3-0 and Denver 3-1 in the division. The good news is, the Chargers play at the Giants next week, and both teams are winless, so somebody will pick up a W.
For the first time in his career, JJ Watt has gone five games without a sack. Is he not 100% healthy? Are teams double-teaming him more? Are the injuries and surgeries in recent years catching up with him? Watt is only 28-years old. The Texans are 3-1, were dominant defensively agains the Texans, and this season, their star is Deshaun Watson.
Adrian Peterson had four carries for four yards in the Saints’ 20-0 destruction of the hapless Dolphins. Peterson’s 32. Besides the wear-and-tear on his body, he’s only the 3rd best back the Saints have. When players like Elijah McGuire (Jets) and J.D. McKissic (Seahawks) can come out of nowhere and make a difference, you wonder if Peterson’s days are numbered.
Matt Ryan had three turnovers for the second straight week, but this time, the Falcons didn’t escape with victory thanks to referees. Ryan was picked off three times last week in a lucky win over Detroit; he was intercepted twice and fumbled once (returned for a TD) against Buffalo Sunday. The Falcons may be 3-1, but here’s mild cause for concern: Ryan had 10 turnovers last year (7 INT, 3 fumbles); he’s got six already this year.