Quarterback Aaron Brooks, an outspoken proponent of the Williams trade because, he says, "we needed more playmakers in our offense," has benefited from the addition of rookie wideout Donte' Stallworth, a burner from Tennessee who already has touchdown receptions of 41 and 34 yards and has averaged an impressive 15-3 yards a catch. Stallworth's emergence has also eased the suffocating pressure that Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn felt a year ago; thus far, Horn has caught 14 passes for 228 yards. With all his new toys, it's no wonder Brooks looks vastly more confident than he did a year ago.
The Saints now travel to Chicago for a suddenly titanic tilt with the 2-0 Bears. A win would put New Orleans in the catbird seat in the NFC, which, for a team so accustomed to plodding, would be a most improbable leap.
Bledsoe Shows His Grit
The Bills' Drew Bledsoe set a franchise record with 463 passing yards in a 45-39 overtime win over the Vikings, but he impressed his teammates more with his toughness. "Once, he came back to the huddle with a staple in his neck, a piece of metal holding a cut together," said fullback Larry Centers. "His lip was bleeding, but he was in the huddle, calling plays and getting everyone going. I had no idea the type of player he is."...
Not only did the Broncos stifle the Rams' vaunted attack in Week 1, but they also allowed only one meaningful touchdown to the high-powered 49ers in a 24-14 win on Sunday. San Francisco's longest pass play went for 15 yards. "I'm not used to this," said Broncos linebacker John Mobley. "Usually the offense has to carry us. But now the defense is good enough to do that."...
Pittsburgh's defense, the NFL's top-ranked unit last season, must find a way to deal with spread offenses and the no-huddle. The Steelers have already seen the schemes twice this season, giving up a total of 649 passing yards in losses to the Patriots and the Raiders, as well as 30 points to each team. Last season Pittsburgh never gave up more than 26 points in a game, and only three teams scored as many as 20.