I don't know if week 4 will go down quite as memorably as week 3 did (and who remembers specific weeks of a season?) but we do know this: REAL REFS! And they made some mistakes, what a surprise. But the overall feeling was that this group was confident and knew the rules, even if they blew a few calls.
Let's all just be grateful that the Seahawks got that win and that will be the last memory of REPLACEMENTS 2012!
There were some big performances in week 4, some injuries, and just some really bad performances. They weren't even all done by the Raiders! Here is a break down of the biggest impacts, whether good or bad:
It's not that Brady has been bad this season, but expectations in New England are "perfection" and the Pats were 1-2 with a whelming performance by the offense so far. The best cure for that is apparently "the Bills" because the Patriots got ridiculous in a 52-28 win. The most ridiculous part of all being that this game was tied 21-21 going into the fourth quarter. Tom and company took a page from Geno Smith and West Virginia, with Brady finishing the day 22-of-36 for 340 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT and a rushing score. This is the Tom (and the Bills) that we are used to, and he did without Aaron Hernandez or Julian Edelman.
The Pats get Denver at home next week, a team that Brady threw six touchdowns against in the playoffs last year. (I wouldn't expect the same, but I wouldn't expect bad.)
Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Patriots (AND THIS IS THE FITZPATRICK/PATS DEFENSE THAT WE'RE USED TO)
Despite the loss, Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns, 350 yards... and four interceptions. Fitzpatrick threw his third touchdown early in the third quarter to make it a 21-7 Buffalo lead, but it all fell apart from there. He now has 12 touchdowns through a quarter of the season, but also seven interceptions. This is the give-and-take you'll get with Fitzpatrick all year long, and he'll mostly just take.
Cam Newton against the Falcons (PARTY LIKE IT'S 2011)
Newton was the talk of the town in 2011 when he scored 35 total touchdowns as a rookie for the Panthers, but he had struggled through three games of this season with two touchdowns and five interceptions. However, he broke out for a nice game against the top team in the NFC, the Falcons, for 215 yards passing, 2 TD/0 INT, with 86 yards rushing and another score.
So what can you expect going forward? Perhaps similar to what you saw last season, since Newton had three games with three or more interceptions in 2011, but will also have those big games. He draws a difficult matchup against the Seahawks in week 5.
Matt Ryan against the Panthers (MVP?)
Since when did the NFL MVP talk start to build up so early like it's the Heisman? Well, it started for Ryan after three weeks and it's not going to stop now after he moved Atlanta to 4-0 with 369 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT. He has 11 TD, 2 INT and over 1,100 yards passing a quarter through the season. He could have a huge game against the Redskins in week 5.
I was asked last week why I didn't bring up Ponder and I guess I didn't have too good of an answer, but he didn't make me look like much of a fool in week 4. Despite the fact that the Vikings won and moved to 3-1, Ponder wasn't the breakout fantasy QB that many were calling out against the Lions. He was 16-of-26, 111 yards, 0 TD and 0 INT. (It wasn't much better across the field where Matthew Stafford had 319 yards passing but on 51 attempts without a score.) I don't think anyone will claim that Ponder isn't doing good, but for fantasy he only has four touchdowns in four games.
He can try to prove something again next week against the pretty-terrible Titans.
This is the one that's known by everyone, and it's Matt Flynn. As a Seahawks fan, I can't tell you how many people have asked me about Flynn and for how long, but it's a lot and awhile. I guess I can tell you, I just can't be specific. Either way, I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. Did Wilson throw three interceptions today? Yes, on paper, but his throwing hasn't really been inaccurate (Anthony McCoy fell down on the last interception, Doug Baldwin dropped the first interception that fell into the lap of the defense, Wilson's arm was hit on the other interception) and there's no telling that Flynn could do better with this pass protection.
Either way, there won't be any fantasy QB in Seattle this year.
Haha, your other option is Tim Tebow. Sanchez was 13-of-29, 103 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT. He's completed just 44 of his last 101 attempts and 5.41 yards per attempt.
I write that headline joke knowing that it's probably unoriginal but I haven't read any headlines on Locker's injury yet so I claim ignorance. Probably doesn't excuse how bad it is though. Locker hurt his shoulder for the second time this season after only two attempts. Matt Hasselbeck was decent in relief against a tough defense, going 17-of-25 for 193 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT. You couldn't rely on Hasselbeck as a fantasy option, should he have to fill-in for any amount of time.
I mean, you could... but why?
Peyton Manning against the Raiders (OH DAMN)
Three's and eight's, baby. Manning was 30-of-38, 338 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. Manning is over 1,100 yards for the year with 8 TD and 3 INT and any claim that he can't do it anymore should be debunked now. The Broncos were 1-2 going into the game but with close losses to the top two teams in the NFL, Houston and Atlanta. They embarrassed the Raiders and proven to be an AFC contender, with Manning justifying his big free agent deal so far.
Don't forget that everybody is passing for a lot of yards these days. Tannehill threw for a career-high 431 yards against Arizona on 41 attempts, but also threw two picks. That puts him on pace for over 4,000 yards on the season, but he has two touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Dolphins, though, are better than I expected after back-to-back overtime losses. I did not expect them to make it to many overtime games. But Tannehill has much work to do before being a fantasy option.
I also got crap for not talking about Dalton, so here you go: The Bengals are 3-1 and still a surprise to some people despite a playoff run last year and a great draft. Dalton was 20-of-31 on Sunday against Jacksonville with 2 TD, 1 INT and 244 yards. That puts him at eight TD on the season, all coming in the last three games, with four interceptions. Cincinnati gets the Dolphins, Browns, and Steelers in the next three games. Is Dalton actually the breakout QB of 2012?
Pre-season this sure looked like a game that would have been against two of the top teams and quarterbacks in the NFC, but both came in at points unexpected, while coming for only one win between them.
With seven TD (but five INT) on the year, Brees was 35-of-54, 446 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT.
With only three TD on the year with two picks, Rodgers was 31-of-41, 319 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT.
Nobody was doubting the ability of these quarterbacks, but they probably felt a little easier after seeing them both have big games. And at least the Saints can start planning for 2013.