Falcons 32, Cardinals 10The Matt Leinart Era has begun in Arizona and, sadly, it bears a striking similarity to the Kurt Warner Era. And the Josh McCown Era, the Jake Plummer Era and the Boomer Esiason, Dave Brown, Chris Chandler and Stoney Case Eras. After a third straight game of being driven face-first into the turf within half a second of taking the snap, Warner was demoted to back up, but holds no grudge against his rookie replacement, who will start next week in Kansas City.
"I'm going to do whatever I can to help him," Warner vowed. Unfortunately, salary cap rules prevent Warner from purchasing an entire new offensive line, so instead he'll opt to scream, "Look out, Matt! Here they come again!" on every play.
Cowboys 45, Titans 14Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens broke his hand in his last game and-depending on which report you want to believe-either survived a suicide attempt or an accidental overdose. But none of that would keep him off the field with a trip to Tennessee on the schedule. With the terrible Titans' secondary focusing all its attention on stopping Owens, Drew Bledsoe found Terry Glenn open for a pair of touchdowns.
"It was like they forgot he was even on the field," Bledsoe said. "I hope Terrell tries to kill himself every week! Um... I mean that in a good way."
Colts 31, Jets 28The cult-like mass suicide of Peyton Manning fantasy owners was narrowly avoided thanks to a flurry of scoring-three touchdowns in the final two and a half minutes. For most of the first half, Manning had just nine passing yards. Late in the third quarter, hospitals were put on alert and on-call 911 operators were brought in to handle the anticipated influx of calls. Fortunately, however, Manning both threw one TD and ran another to secure the Colts win, averting the crisis.
The game ended with the Jets taking one last stab at winning, lateraling the ball repeatedly after time expired, which led ESPN's Chris Berman to hyperventilate. "So... many... WHOOPs!" Berman groaned as he regained consciousness.
Texans 17, Dolphins 15Every father knows that when playing games with kids, you have to let them win a few to keep them from getting too discouraged. You have to pretend your finger slipped off the switch on the Hungry, Hungry Hippo's back or that you were caught by surprise when he ran past you without dribbling to dunk a basketball on a three-foot hoop. That's called being a good parent, and you have to admire Dolphins coach Nick Saban for giving the Texans the same kind of encouragement, even letting No. 1 draft pick Mario Williams get the first sack of his career.
Oh, wait-upon further review, it's come to our attention that the Dolphins just suck too.
Browns 24, Raiders 21It's hard to label Cleveland a "winner" after knocking off still-winless Oakland to raise its record to 1-3, but bouncing back from an 18-point deficit isn't easy against anyone (though it's probably easiest against Oakland). Browns quarterback Charlie Frye led the team back with three touchdown passes, but nearly erased that rally when he threw an ill-advised pass into the end zone with three minutes remaining.
"It was a boneheaded by me. I forced it," Frye admitted. "I was really worried until I remembered we were playing against the Raiders and they were as likely to eat the football as they were to complete a pass with it."
Panthers 21, Saints 18New Orleans slipped from the ranks of the undefeated, dropping their first contest to Carolina. As the clock wound down to end the game, Saints coach Sean Payton threw a red challenge flag to protest the final score.
"I know our team's not very good," he pleaded, "but didn't you see all that footage on CNN after the hurricane? I thought we were getting a free pass this year because everyone felt sorry for us. What was all that 'throwing to Steve Smith' stuff? You know we can't defend him!"
Ravens 16, Chargers 13Baltimore extended it best start ever, going to 4-0 for the first time in team history in a game that pitted two of the league's top defenses against one another. At least that was how CBS hyped it, jumping to the conclusion that statistics derived from a San Diego playing two games against two of the league's worst teams then having a week off made a legitimate case for their being "the NFL's best defense."
Steve McNair led the Ravens to the victory and was widely praised as Baltimore's savior by his teammates until someone stopped to notice that the guy barely completed 50 percent of his passes, threw as many interceptions as he did touchdowns and struggled to surpass the 150 yards passing.
"On second thought," deduced tight end Todd Heap, "maybe he's not so great. Just that compared to [former Ravens starter] Kyle Boller he looks like the second coming of John Elway! It' like jumping into a cold pool right after you get out of the hot tub!"
Chiefs 41, 49ers 0With an extra week to prepare, Damon Huard's Kansas City Chiefs looked much more like the team fans have come to expect when they visit Arrowhead Stadium. The quarterback threw for two touchdowns, but more importantly kept the defense honest, opening up room for Larry Johnson to run for 101 yards and two scores of his own.
"I have a much better grasp of the offense," Huard smiled. "I'm looking forward to spending the next two weeks getting ready for our next game." Huard later learned that every team only gets one bye week per season and that he'd be back on the field next weekend, prompting him to borrow a prescription pill bottle from Terrell Owens.
Bills 17, Vikings 12The Associated Press says that "Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman did just enough to hold off another comeback by the Minnesota Vikings."
Translation: "I don't have anything necessarily bad to say about J.P. Losman, but I don't really have anything particularly good to say about him or-for that matter-anyone else involved in this horribly boring game."
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The NFL announced that if the Oakland/Minnesota American League Divisional Series goes to Game Five, the Lions/Vikings game scheduled for October 8th will be played on the 9th. Presumably, this means the NFL thinks someone cares about a Lions/Vikings game.
Redskins 36, Jaguars 30Washington receiver Santana Moss only caught four passes, but made the most of them by scoring three touchdowns.
"I knew I should have started him," agonized the guy in your league who drafted Moss. "I just thought that against the Jaguar's defense"¦ What was I thinking?! I should have known Troy Williamson wasn't going to do anything!"
Bears 37, Seahawks 6MVP running back Shaun Alexander, out with a broken bone in his foot, may have his case for winning the award again this year. Undefeated and able to score virtually at will with Alexander in the lineup, the Seahawks managed just two field goals and spent the majority of Sunday night's game curled into a ball, rocking and muttering gibberish. Considering Alexander is taking prescription painkillers like T.O., Seattle is duly concerned. After giving their leading rusher a $62 million contract in the off-season, the Seahawks created a contingency plan for just such an occurrence.
"Maurice Morris and Mack Strong will carry Shaun's corpse around the field in a hilarious Weekend at Bernie's-esque farce," explained coach Mike Holmgren. "I'm looking forward to the part where they try to take him waterskiing."
Rams 41, Detroit 34St. Louis welcomed back its old head coach by playing like he was still calling the shots. In honor of Mike Martz's return to the home of "The Greatest Show on Turf," both the Lions and Rams agreed to give their defensive coordinators the day off. The two teams combined for 75 points and more than 800 yards of total offense. The loss dropped the Lions to 0-4 and gave critics of the team's front office more fuel.
"You people are so fickle," shouted an angry Matt Millen, the Lions' GM. "We score just six points and you complain. We score 34 points, you complain. What's it going to take to shut you up, with the exception of scoring more points than our opponents? Because I don't see that happening any time soon."
Jake Bell is a former NBC sportscaster and head writer for Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge.