NFL showing signs of parity again
NFL Week 4: What we learned
When the dust settled after Sunday, there was just one unbeaten NFL team left, and it probably helped that they didn't suit up at all.
The idle Kansas City Chiefs, a doormat in recent years, are alone in the undefeated ranks with a 3-0 record after the Chicago Bears were battered all night long by the New York Giants. The Chiefs will be tested Sunday in Indianapolis.
That's a contrast to recent years, when the long-loved Pete Rozelle principle of parity seemed to giving way to dominant teams and new standards in haplessness. New England was the first 16-0 team, presaging very lengthy unbeaten runs by the likes of Indianapolis and New Orleans. Detroit, meanwhile, became the first 0-16 team.
While it's still too early to call it definitively, and the Buffalo Bills are doing their darndest to disprove it, there are signs that there could be a good many teams falling between seven and nine wins at season's end.
Barring a tie in Monday night's game between New England and Miami, there will be 13 teams with a 2-2 record. That's far and above the number in recent years:
After Week 4: Recent history
|AFTER WEEK 4||Unbeaten||Winless||.500|
|2010||1||3||12 or 13|
Jacksonville and Atlanta won on last minute kicks. They were also fortunate to be in that position.
Jaguars quarterback David Garrard threw a pass that had Kelvin Hayden of the Colts thinking about running down the sidelines for an interception return touchdown. Unfortunately for Hayden, he forgot to concentrate on catching the ball first.
The Unsung Heroes
|Chris Ivory||New Orleans|
Falcons pivot Matt Ryan threw what looked to be a game-killing interception, but veteran 49ers cornerback Nate Clements decided to get the best possible return from his pick.
Clements had the ball stripped away by Roddy White, and the Falcons were able to re-load for a 67-yard drive that led to Matt Bryant's winning field goal.
Arizona decided to dump Matt Leinart before the start of the season, but Derek Anderson has been largely abysmal since.
Anderson threw two interceptions against San Diego and was benched in favour of Max Hall. The Cardinals are .500 only because of a missed kick last week against Oakland.
|Osi Umenyiora||N.Y. Giants|
Speaking of the Raiders, they doled out cash and picks to land Jason Campbell, and benched him after Game 2 in favour of Bruce Gradkowski.
Gradkowski has a much better career record at home than on the road, but in his first start in Oakland he threw a late third quarter interception that the Texans converted into an insurmountable 31-10 lead.
Buffalo drafted running back C.J. Spiller in the top 10 in April and proceeded to not trade either Marshawn Lynch or Fred Jackson in the off-season.
On Sunday, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had seven runs for 74 yards.
Spiller-Lynch-Jackson carried nine times total for 40 yards.
The following are the week's eye-popping numbers. The first three are season totals, the next three came in Sunday's games.
|Kyle Orton, Denver||1,419 passing yards|
|Mark Sanchez, N.Y. Jets||8 TD passes, 0 INT|
|LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets||341 rushing yards|
|Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis||15 catches, 196 yards|
|Brandon Lloyd, Denver||11 catches|
|Terrell Owens, Cincinnati||10 catches, 222 yards|