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Down and Out?: The Cowboys are all but out of the running for a Play-off position.
The first month of the NFL is over, and now only two teams hold an unbeaten record who funnily enough are part of the same division - the NFC North.

Those two teams are the defending Superbowl winners the Green Bay Packers and the surprise outfit this season the Detroit Lions. The Lions of who were not expected to be as strong this season are the early front runners and they continued this week with a stunning comeback victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Week 4 Highlight - Lions @ Cowboys

In the arena which hosted Superbowl XLV back in February, it hosted yet another spectacular encounter as the Lions stormed to a 34-30 victory after trailing 20-3 at half time.

The Lions are now 4-0 for the first time since 1980 and the sky really is the limit now with rising quarterback Matt Stafford and one of the best wide receivers in the league in the form of Calvin Johnson Jr. If these two remain 100% fit, then the Lions have to go down as serious contenders for the Superbowl this year.

But it was the heavily-armoured Tony Romo who threw to WR Dez Bryant for the first touchdown of the game with only five minutes played in Arlington (7-0). Romo who had been at the recieving end of a lot of punishment in recent weeks, resulting in a few broken ribs, was filmed with heavy further protection underneath the normal padded armour in the changing rooms before the game.

With no further score in the first quarter, Romo then fired another touchdown throw to Dez Bryant, with just under five minutes gone in the second quarter to put Dallas two scores ahead and looking on top. Two field goals for the Cowboys and one for the Lions made it 20-3 at Half-time.

The Cowboys and Romo were looking at their best and with only a few minutes into the 3rd quarter, Romo found tight-end Jason Witten open in the end zone to make it 27-3 and the game looking almost out of reach for the dumbstruck Lions - but then like a wounded animal, the Lions began the fightback. 

An interception soon after the Cowboys got the ball back was picked off by a former Cowboy in the shape of Bobby Carpenter who returned his first interception to the end zone and despite fumbling it, cornerback Eric Wright was on hand to make sure the Lions made a start in breaking Dallas' wall down.

It then got worse for Romo as on their very next possession, he threw another interception, this time down the throat of cornerback Chris Houston who accelerated away to return it for a touchdown to reduce the deficit to 10 points (27-17). There was a sense of de ja vu around the place as Romo began to crumble as yet again the Lions were attempting an audacious comeback.

Another field goal before the end of the 3rd quarter put the cowboys 13 points ahead at 30-17 but the game was far from over.

After the inceptions left a deep wound in the Cowboys momentum, Matthew Stafford suddenly began to show why he is one of the most highly rated quarterbacks in the NFL.

A superb 23-yard throw found Johnson Jr. who rose above Cowboy defenders on triple coverage to make it 30-24, which doesn't come as a surprise looking at his freakish frame for a wide receiver at 6ft 5". ''Megatron'' and Stafford are building a scary connection which is currently striking fear into many of the NFL's best defences.

An illegal block prevented a 1st and goal opportunity for the Lions on their next possession and had to settle for a field which reduced the defecit to three and put the Lions within touching distance of a memorable comeback.

The Lions would however recieve extra help in their comeback - yet another Romo interception. Middle Lineback Stephen Tulloch caught an underthrown effort from Romo which was his 3rd interception in 11 passing attempts.

The resulting drive led to Stafford finding his number one target, Calvin Johnson, who caught his second touchdown of the game and the match winner (34-30). The reception also made Johnson became the first player in NFL history with two or more receiving touchdowns in the first four games of a season. 

With the Lions now on 4-0, and looking impressive even when its not going their way, it will take a brave man to bet against them making at least the play-offs. If they can keep Stafford and Johnson fully fit then I don't see why they cant even be Superbowl champions this season. 

But one thing has to be remembered, they do have that team from Green Bay, who are also unbeaten, who are the defending champions, who have a quarterback in the form of his career and are also in the same division as Detroit. Hopefully, both teams can keep winning to set up a mouth-watering game come week 12.


Round Up of Week 4
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Concern: Players look on as wide receiver Andre Johnson is treated for a hamstring injury which takes him out of the game
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 Houston Texans 17
The Superbowl runners-up continue their inconsistent form as an injury-hit side crumbled under immense Texan pressure with QB Ben Roethlisberger being sacked five times. 

Buffalo Bills 20 Cincinnati Bengals 23
A field goal from Mike Nugent in the dying moments saw the Begals shock the previously undefeated Bills

Tennessee Titans 31 Cleveland Browns 13
The Titans continue their unexpected form as Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw 3 touchdowns for 220 yards

San Francisco 49ers 24 Philadelphia Eagles 23
Yet another week 4 comeback saw the 49ers edge past the under performing Eagles despite a career high of 416 passing yards from Michael Vick.

Carolina Panthers 29 Chicago Bears 34
Devin Hester set an all time NFL record for career touchdown returns (11) and Matt Forte ran for a career-high of 205 yards as the Bears made it 2-2 this season

Washington Redskins 17 St Louis Rams 10
The Rams remain winless despite a late rally which failed to catch Washington, who now are 3-1 for the first time since 2008 and sit on top of the NFC East.

New Orleans Saints 23 Jacksonville Jaguars 10
Drew Brees threw for 351 yards with one touchdown alongside an explosive Darren Sproles who totalled an impressive 188 yards in total (rushing and catching) in a reasonably comfortable victory at EverBank Field

Minnesota Vikings 17 Kansas City Chiefs 22
The Chiefs won their first game of the season, as the Vikings slumped to yet another defeat as a Dwayne Bowe 52-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter kept the Chiefs far enough away to make sure of victory.

New York Giants 31 Arizona Cardinals 27
Eli Manning certainly loves that stadium in Arizona. Two touchdown passes from the quarterback in the space of a minute saw the Giants rally to produce a shocking comeback win against the Cardinals in the same stadium they won the Superbowl almost 4 years ago

Atlanta Falcons 30 Seattle Seahawks 28
Rookie Wide Receiver Julio Jones caught 11 passes for 127 yards off Matt Ryan as the Atlanta Falcons recorded a close victory over a resurgent Seattle team.

Denver Broncos 23 Green Bay Packers 49
The Packers remain undefeated and If Aaron Rodgers wants to be remembered as the guy who overtook the great Brett Favre, he's going the right way about it. Rodgers had a quite superb day at Lambeau Field as he threw for a career-high of 408 yards, tied a personal best of four TD passes and then ran for two more scores. Brett who?

New England Patriots 31 Oakland Raiders 19
The Patriots bounced back to winning ways after last weeks defeat with Tom Brady throwing for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to banish the nightmares from the Bills game.

Miami Dolphins 16 San Diego Chargers 26
The Dolphins remain one of the four teams without a win as Philip Rivers threw for 307 yards and one touchdown. To add insult to injury for Miami, Quarterback Chad Henne will now miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury he picked up half way through the 1st Quarter.

New York Jets 17 Baltimore Ravens 34
A turnover frenzy off Mark Sanchez saw the Ravens score three turnover touchdowns (franchise record) and dominate on defence. It was another crazy Sunday Night Football game, which also featured an NFL record of five returns for touchdowns (Two fumbles returned, Two interceptions returned and one kick-return). Coincidentally, such a great defensive performance was against Rex Ryan (Jets Head Coach) who used to be the Defensive Co-ordinator in Baltimore.

Indianapolis Colts 17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
Curtis Painter started in for the injured veteran Kerry Collins throwing for 281 with two touchdowns. But it wasnt enough to prevent Josh Freeman and LeGarrette Blount carrying the team to victory in Florida on Monday Night. Its also the first time the Colts have been at 0-4 since 1998 - which was Peyton Manning's rookie season.



Players of the Week
Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), Michael Vick (Eagles), Devin Hester (Bears), Matt Forte (Bears), Drew Brees (Saints), Darren Sproles (Saints), Eli Manning (Giants), Julio Jones (Falcons), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Gregg Jennings (Packers), Jordy Nelson (Packers), Wes Welker (Patriots), Philip Rivers (Chargers), Josh Freeman (Buccaneers) & LeGarrette Blount (Buccaneers)

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Winner of the Week - Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback (Packers)

The Superbowl MVP showed this Week why he is regarded by many as the best player in the league today - and I agree. The Quarterback has had to play under the shadow of Brett Favre for most of his time at Green Bay but with a career best day, Rodgers looks the complete player. Not only is he a threat through the air, but once again he showed how good a rusher he is and to prove that its not only Michael Vick who can run with the ball as a quarterback. 

But if last years season was the start of his break-out, this season looks like he has moved out of Favre's shadow and possibly surpassed him as a footballer. Bold statement, but we could be watching the making of a true Packers and NFL great.





Loser of the Week - Tony Romo

Yes, Tony Romo is my loser of the week...AGAIN. And it won't be the last time if he continues to play the way he has been. The superstar Cowboy Quarterback seems to just completely switch off after Half-time. Romo is throwing brilliantly at times whilst taking alot of punishment, showing why people expected him to be a Superbowl MVP almost as soon as he graced the NFL.

However, the expectations of the Cowboys making a Superbowl in the coming years are quickly disappearing and Romo regretfully is one of the reasons why. He threw three interceptions on another crash-and-burn style performance and yet it is less than what Tom Brady threw last week, but in Brady's case thats almost a once in a lifetime occurrence; for Romo its becoming weekly. For the Cowboys now, whether they like it or not, they need to start looking for a possible replacement.

 


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