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Week 4 Judgements: Sanchez earning pilot's license for Jets

by | Senior Writer

1. Here's why the AFC East should start worrying about the New York Jets: Over his last three games, Mark Sanchez has eight touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 117.78. If there was a hole in this team it was supposed to be its young quarterback. Uh, maybe not.

2. It's official: The St. Louis Rams are back in the NFC West race. In fact, based on what I've seen, they may be the early favorite.

3. Quick now, name the Rams' defensive coordinator. Yeah, I know, it's Steve Spagnuolo's scheme, but he's the head coach. So who's the coordinator? You might need to know. With Sunday's win the Rams have allowed four touchdowns in four games, including none in the last six quarters, and, take a bow, Ken Flajole.

4. I want to know who in Denver thought it was a good idea to trade Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn. Nope, check that. I want to know who thought it was such a good idea the Broncos threw in two draft choices before signing off.

5. Some people say Michael Vick reminds them of Steve Young, and I'll join the chorus now. Because the hit Vick absorbed at the goal line was reminiscent of the hit Young took at the goal line on a scramble up the middle in the 1996 playoffs against Philadelphia. Young wound up with broken ribs, and it wouldn't surprise me if Vick broke something, too.

6. Um, on second thought, scratch those reports that Trent Edwards is 2-3 weeks away from starting in Jacksonville.

7. Pardon Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for applauding another Raiders loss, but there's a good reason: The more the Raiders lose the better New England looks. That's because the Raiders' first draft pick next year isn't theirs at all. It belongs to New England, thanks to the Richard Seymour deal.

8. Repeat, Chicago doesn't have a running game ... and that will cripple the Bears when the wind starts blowing and the temperatures drop in November and December.

9. Don't look for a quarterback controversy in Cleveland. The minute Jake Delhomme is cleared for take-off he quarterbacks the Browns, which I suspect is next weekend.

10. OK, I get it. It really doesn't matter who quarterbacks the Bills. Time to start talking Sabres, Buffalo.

11. San Diego's history of 2-3 starts under Norv Turner should stop next weekend, and I'll tell you why in one word -- Oakland. The Bolts have a 13-game winning streak against the Raiders, and I saw nothing from either side Sunday to believe that run is about to end.

12. Forget his seven receptions. Roddy White's best catch of the afternoon was running down Nate Clements from behind after the 49ers' cornerback intercepted Matt Ryan ... then stripping him of the football. Afterward, people were talking about Ryan's last-minute, game-winning drive, but it doesn't happen without White forcing the turnover.

13. That was a nice victory for Denver, but does anyone really believe the Broncos can keep winning with Kyle Orton throwing 53 or 54 times a game? The poor guy won't last. He has 107 attempts the past two weeks, and he paid for it Sunday with six sacks. I think that tells you more about the Broncos' running game than it does Orton.

14. Just as we expected, after four weeks Kansas City is the only undefeated team.

15. Yeah, sure, Ryan Clark, the Baltimore Ravens are "just another football team" ... just another football team tied for first. Next time, Ryan, remember what your parents told you: If you don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say it ... especially when that someone is Baltimore.

Five things I like

1. Hillis' 1-yard run for a third-down conversion with just under three minutes to go. It ended an 0-for-10 drought by the Browns on third-down conversions in the fourth quarter this season.

2. Ryan Torain running over Eagles safety Quintin Mikell. I haven't seen collisions that violent since Demolition Derby.

3. Eric Mangini's decision to accept an offensive pass-interference call after Cleveland stopped the Bengals on third–and-3 at the Browns' 31 late in the fourth quarter. The move was a gamble, especially with Carson Palmer taking apart the Browns' secondary, but it paid off when Matt Roth sacked the Bengals' quarterback. Cincinnati never got the ball back. What Mangini did was demonstrate to his defensive players that he believed in them to make a crucial stop. And they responded.

4. Baltimore's T.J. Houshmandzadeh setting up cornerback Bryant McFadden for his game-winning touchdown catch. One play after running a sideline pattern, Houshmandzadeh runs an out and up ... and leaves McFadden behind.

5. Philly fans standing and cheering Donovan McNabb when he was introduced. Congratulations, people, you got it right.

Five things I don't

1. It's not a good idea to make an obscene gesture to anyone, but it’s worse to have it recorded by TV cameras and witnessed by millions of viewers. Take it from me, Chuck Cecil … no, better yet, take it from the Jets’ Rex Ryan … you’re going to be fined heavily for signaling who's No. 1.

2. Anything about Chicago's offense. Jay Cutler. Todd Collins. Judy Collins. It wouldn't have made a difference who quarterbacked these guys. They didn't have a chance.

3. Philadelphia's clock management. Believe it or not, the Eagles took a delay-of-game penalty coming out of a timeout on fourth-and-goal at the Washington 1 at the end of the first half. They had planned to go for the touchdown, but not after coach Andy Reid huddled too long with Kevin Kolb on the sideline. "The whole thing is my fault," said Reid. "You have to be aware of when the play clock starts. The point is that we had a play called for (first and) inches, and the inches weren't inches when the play clock started. I had all of the time (during an official replay review) to go over exactly what we wanted done, and then the position of the ball wasn't good. I can't question the officials or anybody else, and I'm not going to do that. I goofed."

4. Keyaron Fox's hold on Pittsburgh's last punt. Bad enough that it cost the Steelers 10 yards; worse, it put Baltimore in business at the Steelers 40.

5. Philadelphia's tackling. Maybe the Eagles should hire El Cordobes to coach their defense.

Just asking ...

  What is going on with LaDainian Tomlinson?

  What's wrong with New Orleans?

  Derek Anderson or Max Hall?

  Who wins first: San Francisco, Carolina, Detroit or Buffalo?

  Will John Carney be kicking when he's 50?

Significant numbers

  4 -- Consecutive games with a Peyton Hillis TD

  6 -- San Diego lost fumbles this year, one less than all of last season

  9 -- Consecutive blackouts for the Oakland Raiders

  10 -- Sacks of Chicago quarterbacks

  22 -- Chicago first-half yards

  23 -- Consecutive road losses for Detroit

  273 -- New York Jets' rushing yards vs. Buffalo

  817 -- Kyle Orton passing yards the past two weeks

  0-for-13 -- Chicago on third-down conversions

My top five

1. Baltimore
2. Pittsburgh
3. Green Bay
4.New York Jets
5. Atlanta

My bottom five

32. Buffalo
31. Carolina
30. San Francisco
29. Detroit
28. Oakland

Next weekend's three best games

Kansas City at Indianapolis ... Chiefs' undefeated record under attack

Denver at Baltimore ... Orton's 300-yard games stop here.

Minnesota at N.Y. Jets ... Welcome home, Brett! Naaah, just joking.


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