The NFL's unbeaten teams stayed that way this weekend, keeping things top heavy in a parity-driven league.
The Patriots rolled over the Cowboys behind another efficient day from Tom Brady. Despite an uncharacteristic three-turnover day from Aaron Rodgers, the Packers held off a tough Rams squad. The Falcons got a walkoff pick-six in overtime from Robert Alford to get by Washington. Chris Harris' pick-six helped the Broncos escape Oakland with a win.
Finally, the Bengals mounted a 17-point comeback to beat the Seahawks at home in overtime. A clutch, fearless, dime-throwing Andy Dalton looks like a new man, ready to lead the Bengals deep into the playoffs.
Meanwhile, things aren't going so well in Detroit, the league's only winless team after a blowout by the high-flying Cardinals. The surprisingly lackluster Ravens and Chiefs both lost again, and it's dire straights in Kansas City with the fear that Jamaal Charles is lost for the year with a torn ACL.
At the same time, things are looking up in Cleveland and Chicago, after both teams won road games as heavy underdogs -- the Browns covering (and beating) a 6.5-point spread, and the Bears a 9.5-point spread.
The Eagles finally looked like the team that many thought they'd be in the preseason as they blew out the Saints. The Bills got back on the right track by skating by the Titans, and the Giants' late-game heroics helped them move to 3-2.
Win the Water Cooler
Arm yourself with a few interesting tidbits from Sunday's action so you can impress your coworkers around the water cooler.
The Patriots are sure glad that Tom Brady didn't miss his first four games
The DeflateGate suspension would have ended this week if it hadn't been reversed. There's no telling what Jimmy Garoppolo would've done in relief, but it's safe to say that Tom Brady was the clearly better option.
Brady's started off the season connecting for 72.5 percent of his passes for 1,387 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions as the Patriots have easily run to a 4-0 record.
The 38-year-old Brady is on pace for a season that would make you do a double-take: 5,548 yards, 44 TDs, 0 INTs. Deece.
A 17-year draft class reunion
Three players from the 1998 NFL Draft are still active in the NFL today and two of them faced off against each other in Oakland on Sunday. Peyton Manning (No. 1 overall) and the Broncos ended up with the win, and Charles Woodson (No. 4 overall) picked Manning off for the first time in his illustrious career in the closing seconds of the first half. Then he did it again in the third quarter. Woodson -- who won the Heisman Trophy over Manning back in '97 -- moved to sixth all-time on the NFL interception list with his double-pick day.
Manning, obviously still hurting over losing the Heisman 18 years ago (jokingly) said after the game, "Took him 18 years (laughs). Probably offsets the two TDs I threw on him last year. Call it a wash." Pretty good, Peyton.
As for the third player from that 1998 Draft class ... this may have happened on Thursday, but the 187th overall pick that year, 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, helped lead his Colts to victory over the Texans. Not a bad little weekend for a trio of Ironmen.
Josh McCown is ... uh, holy crap ... really good?
Where were you when Josh McCown became elite? It's probably something that we'll all tell our grandchildren someday.
McCown, a career 59 percent passer with a 78.3 quarterback rating over 13 years in the NFL, passed for 457 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Browns to a win over the division rival Ravens in Baltimore. McCown, now among the NFL's elite signal callers, *cough* has passed for 300-plus yards in three straight games for Cleveland -- his 1,154 passing yards over a three-game period is a Cleveland franchise record, by the way -- and his play has silenced cries from fans for Johnny Manziel to start. For now.
Credit to the Browns for making the call to start McCown, and hey, credit to McCown for playing so well. His last two games have been impressive and he's given Cleveland a little bit of new life on offense. Hopefully he can keep it going.
Falcons are the comeback kings, Seahawks are the opposite
The Falcons won with fourth-quarter comebacks in their first three games this year before blowing out the Texans in Week 4. They got back to their standard operating procedure on Sunday by coming from behind once again against Washington. They're the first team in NFL history with four fourth quarter comeback wins in their first five games, and while that's a fairly meaningless and obscure stat on the surface, the ability to finish is anything but a bad thing.
If you drew up a list of surprising teams for this season, Atlanta might be near the top. The pre-season projections back that up, too -- according to ESPN Stats and Info, their FPI metric gave the Falcons a 2.7 percent chance to win their first five games this year, lowest probability of any the undefeated teams.
They're having success through the air -- Julio Jones is on a torrid pace -- and their run game ain't shabby either. Second-year pro Devonta Freeman became the third player with eight rushing touchdowns through five games of a season since 2005 -- marks set by Shaun Alexander (8) and LaDainian Tomlinson (9).
So, while former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn enjoys success with his new team, his old team has struggled to find that killer instinct after their devastating loss in the Super Bowl last February. Seattle has now lost fourth quarter leads in all three losses this year, and this one is by far the most demoralizing.
Prior to giving up a 17-point lead in Cincy, the Seahawks had been 71-0 over their 39 seasons as an NFL franchise when leading by 17 or more going into the fourth quarter, according to Pro Football Reference. Carroll was 9-0 with in those situations. It's a kick to the gut, as it would've been a huge win for a team that's struggled to re-find their identity. They've got to find it next week at home against an unbeaten Panthers team.
Tampa Bay finally won at home
The Buccaneers finally won a home game, snapping an 11-game losing streak in Raymond James Stadium. That's all.
Matt Stafford ... woof
Matt Stafford has had better days. After throwing two picks in the first half and helping the Cardinals jump out to a 28-7 lead, Jim Caldwell told the Lions' struggling quarterback that he'd get the hook if he threw another one. He did. Caldwell kept his promise.
Stafford's benching is temporary -- more akin to yanking a starting pitcher when he's having an off-day, as Caldwell put it -- but it's seriously disconcerting for a team that has tons of weapons on offense but hasn't been able to get anything going. He was replaced by Dan Orlovsky, who didn't fare a whole lot better. Caldwell was so confident in his backup that he kicked a field goal from the Arizona 22-yard line with 11:56 remaining in the game ... down 28 points.
Aaron Rodgers is human, almost
Speaking of absurd passing records, one ended in Green Bay today as Rodgers' streak of 586 passes at home without an interception ended. Rodgers tossed two picks and lost a fumble, but in the end it didn't matter as the Packers improved to 5-0 on the year with a victory over the Rams.
Just like we all predicted
Hey, let's take a quick gander at the NFL's rushing leaders:
1) Matt Forte, 438 yards
T2) Devonta Freeman, 405 yards
T2) Chris Johnson, 405 yards
T2) Doug Martin. 405 yards
This is why I have a love/hate relationship with fantasy football.
Here's the full list of scores from Sunday:
Colts 27, Texans 20 (Thursday)
Bengals, 27, Seahawks 24 (OT)
Bears 18, Chiefs 17
Falcons 25, Washington 19 (OT)
Browns 33, Ravens 30 (OT)
Packers 24, Rams 10
Eagles 39, Saints 17
Buccaneers 38, Jaguars 31
Bills 14, Titans, 13
Cardinals 42, Lions 17
Patriots 30, Cowboys 6
Broncos 16, Raiders 10
Giants 30, 49ers 27
Steelers @ Chargers, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN (Monday)