1. I'm sorry, Drew Brees fans, there is nobody playing quarterback better than Peyton Manning. The guy has nine touchdown passes, no losses and four consecutive 300-yard passing games for the first time in his career. I feel another MVP campaign getting started.
2. Gutsy, gutsy, gutsy. In a season where too many coaches play not to lose, Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis stands out for taking a chance -- and I mean spitting in the face of everything we're told about conventional coaching. Believe me, with fourth-and-11 at the Cleveland 41 and a minute left in OT, there are plenty of guys who would've punted and settled for the tie. Not Marvin. Maybe it's because he tied Philadelphia last season, or maybe it's because he just ran out of patience. All I know is that he and the Bengals are tied for first in the AFC North, with a win next week putting them alone at the top.
3. And that, Dallas, is what you deserve for going at Champ Bailey. Twice in a row, no less.
4. One season after Detroit ran the table, we could have a state that goes winless. Honest. Someone tell me where Kansas City or St. Louis gets a victory. The two not only are 0-4 this season, they have won four of their past 48 starts.
5. Here's a suggestion, Jim Zorn. Shake up your first-half routine and shuffle the playbook. Whatever you're doing now isn't working, so find something new. The Redskins have been outscored 40-13 in the first halves of four games, producing their only touchdown on a fake field goal. Bad? No, that's pathetic. In 18 series, they have three interceptions, three fumbles, two field goals and one touchdown. Maybe it's time Capitol Hill considered bailing out the home team.
6. So the Jets lost. They're not going away, and I'll tell you why: the schedule. The Jets won't play an opponent with a winning record until Nov. 15 when they go to New England. In the meantime, their next six weeks look like this: Miami, Buffalo, Oakland, Miami again, bye and Jacksonville. Then look what happens after the Patriots. It's Carolina, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. Yes, Fireman Ed, there is a Santa Claus, and he works at 280 Park Ave.
7. When Dallas rolled up a zillion yards rushing on them two weeks ago, the New York Giants wondered how they plug the holes Dallas exploited. Well, they did it, and here's their secret: drawing Tampa Bay and Kansas City in back-to-back weeks. In the first halves of their past two games, the Giants outgained their opponents 479-107, had 29 first downs to their three and outscored them 31-3. Check, please.
8. So New England caught a break, thanks to Mark Clayton's scissorhands. The Patriots wouldn't have made their last-second stand if rookie defensive back Darius Butler hadn't made two marvelous plays on Derrick Mason.
9. Somebody tell me what it means when a receiver has "three feet down," and when you find the answer, pass it on to referee Alberto Riveron. That was his call on a Mike Sims-Walker TD catch, and I'm still waiting for the interpretation.
10. Turk Schonert was wrong. That Pop Warner offense is in Oakland.
11. Congratulations, Derek Anderson. In one game, he produced one more offensive touchdown than the Browns had the previous nine starts.
12. When Brett Favre told reporters that Monday's game with Green Bay "is not about revenge," it reminded me of something George Young once said. "When they say it's not about the money," Young said, "it's definitely about the money." Sorry, Brett. I don't believe.
13. My nephews keep reminding me how wrong I am about Jay Cutler and how much better the Bears are with him in the lineup. Maybe. But I ask them ... and you ... to check out what Kyle Orton has done in Denver. He hasn't lost, he's 7-1 over his past eight starts, he has five TDs and hasn't been intercepted. Plus, his 97.7 passer rating is better than you know who. Trust me, Denver did not get short-changed in the deal.
14. The Baltimore Ravens literally can’t afford to keep playing New England. The last time these two met, three Ravens were fined $15,000 each for criticizing officials, while then-Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott was docked $25,000 for throwing an official’s flag. Now, it’s linebacker Ray Lewis' turn to start writing checks. Trust me, when you call the officiating "embarrassing" you’re going to pay.
15. Tell me again why special teams aren’t important. Two clubs fumbled the opening kickoff Sunday, and each lost. After Baltimore’s Chris Carr dropped the ball, New England converted the turnover into a field goal. When Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles fumbled, the Giants turned it into a touchdown … and Bryan Kehl, take a bow. It’s not often a linebacker winds up with the opening kickoff of each half, but he recovered Charles’ fumble and Kansas City’s onside kick to start the second half.
Five things I like
1. The Mannings. Peyton and Eli are among the league's top-ranked quarterbacks, with 17 touchdowns, five interceptions, 2,375 yards passing, four sacks and no losses.
|JaMarcus Russell has another dreadful game in Week 4. (US Presswire)|
3. That video tribute to Edgerrin James at Indianapolis. James is with the Seahawks now, but it was a class way of saluting one of the team's standouts. Of course, it didn't hurt that the Colts were up by 25 at the time.
4. Darrelle Revis and the Jets pass defense. Each week, Revis holds an elite receiver to season-low numbers, and this week it's Marques Colston who goes to the back of the class with two catches for 33 yards. All the Jets D has done is check opposing quarterbacks to one touchdown pass, four interceptions and a completion rate of 51 percent.
5. Anybody against JaMarcus Russell. As bad as he was against Houston, and he was dreadful (he hit 12 of 30), he hit a season high in passer rating. It was -- get this -- 48.5, and that, Raiders Nation, is what Jeff Garcia was talking about when he said this team had no pulse.
Five things I don't
1. Chuck Cecil's Q rating. The poor guy is getting a ton of heat after taking over the Titans defense from Jim Schwartz, but Tennessee lost more than Jim Schwartz. All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is gone, too, and that will handcuff any defensive coordinator.
2. The futures of Trent Edwards and Dick Jauron if the Bills lose to Cleveland next week.
3. The St. Louis Rams offense ... and I use that term loosely. The Rams were shut out for the second time in four weeks and have 24 points for the season -- or three fewer than Jacksonville had in the first half vs. Tennessee. I feel for Steven Jackson. He's the only playmaker in that huddle, and opponents know it.
4. Dallas taking its last two shots with ... Sam Hurd ? When you have one or two plays you must put the ball in the hands of your playmakers. So where was Jason Witten? Patrick Crayton? Marion Barber?
5. Jay Cutler running interference. He almost got called for another crackback block against the Lions. Maybe it's time to leave the blocking to the offensive line, Jay.
Just asking but ...
• Still too early to hyperventilate over Denver?
• Coach-of-the-Year frontrunner -- Jim Caldwell, Sean Payton or Josh McDaniels?
• Peyton or
• Willie Parker or
• Which is the bigger disappointment -- Carolina or Tennessee?
• 0 -- TD passes allowed by Denver
• 0 -- Rushing TDs allowed by San Francisco
• 2 -- Straight games Drew Brees failed to throw for 200 yards
• 3 -- Forced fumbles by Robert Mathis this season, including two vs. Seattle
• 10 -- Consecutive Cleveland losses, one short of the franchise record
• 16 -- Yards rushing for San Diego
• 39 -- Consecutive games without Baltimore allowing a 100-yard rusher
• 39.8 -- JaMarcus Russell's completion percentage for the season
• 14-0 -- Pittsburgh's regular-season record vs. San Diego
• 18-3 -- New York Giants' record in its past 21 road games
My top five
1. N.Y. Giants
3. New Orleans
5. New England
My bottom five
32. St. Louis
31. Kansas City
29. Tampa Bay
Next weekend's three best game
Cincinnati at Baltimore ... Winner assumes first place in AFC North.
New England at Denver ... Belichick Sr. vs. Belichick Jr.
Atlanta at San Francisco ... Another litmus test for 49ers.