words // Brandon Richard
Though the 2012 NFL season is still fresh, the return of the regular referees stole Week 4 headlines after an agreement was reached last Wednesday. Following the Monday Night debacle in Green Bay last week, Commissioner Goodell, the league’s owners and officials worked out a new deal in time for Thursday’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Needless to say, players, coaches and fans were happy to see the real deal back on the field.
While refs may not be perfect, the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals entered the weekend with unblemished records and were hopeful that they’d stay that way. The Texans had a relatively easy time accomplishing that feat, but it came down to the final ticks for the Falcons and Cardinals.
With another stifling defensive performance, Houston rolled over the division rival Tennessee Titans 38-14. Quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson returned interceptions for touchdowns to help the Texans ease their way into a 4-0 start.
How do you overcome three Cam Newton touchdowns and a late-game deficit? Try Matt Ryan, Roddy White and a little perseverance. Down 28-27 with less than two minutes to play, the Falcons forced a running Newton to fumble on 3rd and 2, preventing him from picking up a game-clinching first down. Then, pinned back at his own 1-yard line, Ryan led a signature drive that left the Cats stunned. The key play on the drive was a 59-yard bomb to White, which help set Atlanta up for a game-winning 40-yard Matt Bryant field goal. Ryan completed 25 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were caught by Roddy.
Lastly, there were the unpredictable Cardinals, who showed the fight of a team with playoff aspirations on Sunday. Down 13-0 at halftime, the Birds rallied in the second half to force overtime. In the extra frame, Jay Feeley booted a 46-yarder to keep Arizona perfect. Kevin Kolb threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns, while Andre Roberts continued to turn heads with a 118-yard, two touchdown reception day.
In other Week 4 games, the New England Patriots scored 45 second half points to comeback and blast the Buffalo Bills 52-28; Minnesota’s special teams proved to be the difference in a 20-13 upset victory over the Detroit Lions; San Francisco may have ushered in a new era of Tebowmania by blanking the New York Jets 34-0; Peyton Manning got back on track by guiding the Broncos past the rival Oakland Raiders 37-6; Green Bay shook off another unfortunate ref call to top the winless New Orleans Saints 28-27; RG3 and Billy Cundiff helped the Washington Redskins hold off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-22; Lawrence Tynes missed a late field goal in a 19-17 Giants loss to the Philadelphia Eagles; and the Dallas Cowboys’ woes continued with an ugly 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears last night.
images courtesy of Yahoo
Roddy White makes a grab in Zig Blaze Reebok football cleats.
Patrick Peterson dives in the Nike Vapor Pro Low TD.
Andre Johnson warms up in his PE Jordan Super.Fly cleats.
Steven Jackson carries in a PE colorway of the Nike Lunar Superbad Pro TD.
James Jones catches a pass in the Under Armour Blur.
Demaryius Thomas looks on in Lunar Superbad Pro Low TD Nike football cleats.
Robert Griffin III says a pre-game prayer in the adidas adiZero 5-Star.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis finds running room in the Nike Lunar Superbad Pro TD.
Eddie Royal scores in the Nike Vapor Pro Low TD.
Adrian Peterson avoids a tackle in Super Speed 3/4 Nike football cleats.
Brian Dawkins returned to Philly for his jersey retirement ceremony in Vapor Pro Nubby Nike football cleats.
Devin Hester scores a touchdown in a Breast Cancer Awareness colorway of the Nike Vapor Pro Low TD.
Torrey Smith makes a touchdown grab in the Under Armour Nitro Diablo.
Tom Brady looks downfield in Under Armour football cleats.
Frank Gore breaks through the line in the adidas adiZero 5-Star.