Snap Judgments (cont.)
Can we just all admit this Giants team is vastly superior to last year's Super Bowl-winning club? New York can do virtually whatever it wants these days, witness the 523 yards of offense against Seattle.
Eli Manning had 224 yards passing in the first half, en route to a 267-yard day, and the Giants' running game steamrolled the Seahawks for 254 yards, led by Brandon Jacobs (136 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries). New York is 4-0 for the first time since 1990 and clearly the best team in the league through Week 5. Dare we say it? The Giants repeating as Super Bowl champions is suddenly anything but far-fetched.
I know I'm not breaking this story, but the Bob Sanders-less Colts can't stop the run again. The Texans rushed for 156 yards against Indy on Sunday, with rookie Steve Slaton gouging them for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And that rated as "improvement" for Indy, which entered Week 5 allowing an AFC-worst 199.3 rushing yards per game.
Of course, the last time the Colts really struggled to stop the run was late in the 2006 season. And you know how that season ended for them. With the big on-field confetti shower in Miami.
Speaking of the Colts, they're now 2-2, with both wins being the rabbit-out-of-a-hat variety. I thought it was remarkable enough when Manning and Co. pulled out that 18-15 win at Minnesota in Week 2, but Sunday's comeback at Houston takes the cake. Trailing 27-10 late in the final quarter, the Colts scored 21 points in a span of 2:10, stunning the winless Texans 31-27.
By all rights, the Colts should probably be 0-4. Juxtapose them with the Bears, who won at Detroit to improve to 3-2 on Sunday. Chicago blew fourth-quarter leads at Carolina and home against Tampa Bay in Weeks 2-3, meaning the Bears are closer to 5-0 than any of us are probably willing to admit.
This direct-snap craze is getting a bit out of hand in the NFL. If Miami's Ronnie Brown keeps this up, his agent will probably suggest to the Dolphins that his client should be paid as a quarterback rather than a running back.
This is nothing if not a copycat league. At one point on Sunday, the Texans direct-snapped to running back Ahman Green on a third-and-nine from the Colts' 20. Green gained just one yard, and Houston wound up kicking a 37-yard field goal to tie Indy at 10-10. Third and nine?
Tough times for West Coast teams heading east, no matter where they end up staying. Last week it was the Cardinals getting routed at the Jets despite the "benefit'' of not having to cross three times zones to get to the game. This week the Seahawks flew cross-country just to get humiliated 44-6 by the Giants, and the jet-lagged-looking Chargers jetted all the way to Miami to lose 17-10 to the improved Dolphins.
Seems like there are a lot of good Comeback Player of the Year candidates, but I do believe Ronnie Brown has my vote so far. Mr. Direct Snap himself had another big rushing day with 125 yards and a touchdown.
So much for the notion of the Lions rallying around Rod Marinelli after their bye. Sunday's 34-7 egg-laying at home against the Bears didn't do much to convince anyone the end of the Matt Millen era lifted the black cloud that has hovered above the organization since 2001.
With Detroit at 0-4 and about to hit the road for three of the next four weeks, I'd say Marinelli may be giving Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis a run for the top spot on my current Hot Seat rankings for coaches.
C'mon, wouldn't you kill to know what Millen did with his first NFL Sunday off in many a year? I'm ruling out any chance he went to a Detroit-area sports bar to watch the Lions game. Call it an informed hunch.
Don't look now, but Kyle Orton is 14-5 in his last 19 games as the Bears starting quarterback. It's pretty apparent that Chicago head coach Lovie Smith made the right preseason call with his quarterback question, going with Orton over the turnover-plagued Rex Grossman.
But Lovie, as a Bears fan might be tempted to ask, what took you so long? By the way, Orton set career highs in passing yards (334), completions (24) and passer rating (121.4) on Sunday. But what else is new against the Lions?
You get the feeling the Texans are this year's team of misfortune? First, their Week 2 home opener against Baltimore is postponed by Hurricane Ike, which damaged Reliant Stadium. Since then, the roof has really caved in on Houston, which fell to 0-4 with Sunday's fourth-quarter meltdown against the Colts. Oh, and just when starting quarterback Matt Schaub played an encouraging game last week at Jacksonville, he was forced to miss Sunday's game when he was hospitalized Saturday night with a virus.
After watching the Chiefs fall meekly at Carolina, which won 34-0, you think the Broncos are wondering how on earth they lost 33-19 at Arrowhead last week? Kansas City had just 127 yards of offense against the Panthers, who rushed for way more than that (205 yards), winding up with 441 yards of offense and 38:54 of possession time.
Can you say "butt-kicking?''