1. It's official: The Washington Redskins are better than expected, and that convincing defeat of Dallas -- minus Jason Taylor -- is the proof. But it's not the defense that has driven Washington's three-game winning streak; it's Jim Zorn's offense. The Redskins have had one turnover all season, and to appreciate how tough that is, look at what happened to Arizona on Sunday: The Cards had five in the first half. Quarterback Jason Campbell is the catalyst, with six touchdown passes, and you have to believe Zorn has something to do with it. Shortly after he was hired, he huddled immediately with Campbell and the two spent weeks working together. Now it's paying off.
3. Here's why no one cares what Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco calls himself: He has no game with more than 37 yards receiving.
5. Herm Edwards' critics can sit down. Edwards never was in danger of losing his job -- not this year, when he opened the season with six rookie starters. Edwards and the Chiefs have it right: If you're going to struggle, do it with young guys, not old guys. Trust me, Kansas City will be vastly improved by November as their players begin to mature -- and that's a warning to Denver. The Broncos play them Dec. 7.
7. Kerry Collins is the perfect fit for the Titans because, as one NFL assistant told me, "While he doesn't make a lot of big plays, he doesn't make a bad play worse." Translation: He doesn't screw up much, and that will keep Vince Young on the bench.
8. I'm sorry, but I still don't buy into the Bucs' switch to Brian Griese at quarterback. I know they're 3-0 with him, but he has six interceptions in the past two games. Jeff Garcia didn't have six last season. Griese can't rely on Tampa Bay's defense bailing him out, not with Carolina and New Orleans battling the Bucs for first place in the NFC South.
9. Full Metal Jacket is what the 49ers should buy J.T. O'Sullivan. I'm not talking about the movie; I'm talking about the outfit. The guy has been sacked 19 times and won't make it to Thanksgiving without a wheelchair if the 49ers don't find someone who can pass block.
10. Don't say you weren't warned about Denver. That's three consecutive games where the Broncos surrendered 30 or more points. That puts way too much pressure on the offense to keep up.
12. Tennessee might be the most complete team in the AFC, but I'm not convinced the Titans will win their division. Not yet, and here's why: The way I see it, September is the last month of the preseason for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. With offensive linemen returning and Manning recovered from knee surgery, the Colts are ready for takeoff. Circle that Oct. 27 date in Tennessee as a barometer of their progress.
|Week 4: Keeping up with Brett, Chad and Aaron|
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13. There were six quarterbacks 35 or older who started Sunday, including head-to-head in two games (Arizona-N.Y. Jets, Minnesota-Tennessee). They were 3-3.
14. Don't tell me Minnesota wasn't jobbed on a critical goal-line call late in the second period. It was fourth-and-2 at the Vikings 3 when Kerry Collins hit Justin Gage in the flat before he disappeared in a pile of purple jerseys. There is no way he made it farther than the 1 1/2-yard line, but officials spotted it a yard ahead -- good enough for a first down, which led to a TD. Brad Childress challenged the call and lost. My question: How?
15. Bon voyage, Jerry Magee. The San Diego-Oakland game was Magee's last as a Union-Tribune writer and how appropriate that his career ends with two former AFL clubs. Magee, 80, started covering the league when the Chargers moved to San Diego in 1961 and hasn't stopped until now -- witnessing 40 Super Bowls in the process. Here's hoping the next 40 are as good to you as the last, Jerry.
Just asking but ...
• Which hole is bigger: The one in Texas Stadium or the one in the Arizona secondary?
• Think Al Davis wishes he had Norv Turner back?
• How does Marion Barber get only eight carries?
• Time to give Ed Hochuli an eye exam?
• Does Ryan Grant need a sherpa to find the end zone?
Five things I like
1. Matt Bryant making the game-winning kick. Maybe, just maybe, it took his mind off his family tragedy for a nano-second.
2. Rookie Leodis McKelvin's first game as a contributor to Buffalo's defense. Did you see that hit on Dane Looker? No? Neither did Looker.
4. Jim Schwartz's Tennessee defense. Schwartz should be on somebody's head-coaching radar with this unit. It has 12 takeaways, including four against Minnesota, and is the reason the Titans are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
5. Chicago's goal-line stand to hold off Philadelphia. It's about time the Bears defense closed out an opponent.
Five things I don't
1. Warren Sapp on NFL Network. I seldom met a less cooperative or more disrespectful player, and now the league employs the jerk? Terrell Owens, you have a future after Dallas.
2. The helmet-to-helmet hit that left Anquan Boldin unconscious.
3. More T.O. whining. He said he should've gotten the ball more. Imagine.
4. The last play of the first quarter at Oakland. It happened after the clock expired, and it wasn't even close. Cue the replay. I had the snap at "three one-thousand" after the clock wound down.
5. The playmaking in Ohio. A year ago, Cleveland and Cincinnati combined for 96 points in one game. This season they combined for 98 ... in four starts.
Numbers, numbers, numbers
6 -- Kurt Warner turnovers.
10 -- Consecutive Arizona losses in the Eastern time zone.
10 -- Consecutive Oakland losses to San Diego.
21 -- LaDainian Tomlinson touchdowns against Oakland. He has also thrown for three.
34 -- Second-quarter points for the New York Jets.
4-12 -- Mike Shanahan's record in Kansas City.
So it's early. They hang Christmas ornaments at the local Mervyn's by October, too. Get over it. Four games into the season, here are my leaders:
1. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago ... He runs, he catches, he scores.
2. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee ... He gains over five yards per carry.
3. DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia ... The playmaker Donovan McNabb has been missing.
4 Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina ... A perfect complement to DeAngelo Williams.
T5. Chris Horton, S, Washington ... Three interceptions in two starts.
T5. Eddie Royal, WR, Denver ... He's been an excellent complement to Brandon Marshall.
Next week's three best games
Washington at Philadelphia ... More NFC East bloodshed.
Tennessee at Baltimore ... Defense, defense, defense.
Tampa Bay at Denver ... Griese vs. the team he could've led.
My top five
1. N.Y. Giants 2. Tennessee 3. Buffalo 4. Washington 5. Dallas
My bottom five
32. St. Louis 31. Detroit 30. Cincinnati 29. Houston 28. Cleveland