NFL Nation: 2013 Week 5 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: New York Jets

October, 7, 2013

ATLANTA -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: The Jets (3-2), rebounding from an awul performance last week, moved into a second-place tie with the Miami Dolphins -- only one game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East. They scored on their first three drives for the first time since 2008 and finished it off in dramatic fashion, as rookie quarterback Geno Smith led a game-winning, field-goal drive in the final two minutes. Nick Folk kicked the winner from 43 yards as time expired. This was a huge upset, one of Rex Ryan's biggest wins in a long time. They blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, but rallied behind their rookie.

Stock Watch: Smith has arrived. After 11 turnovers in four games, Smith was flawless (no turnovers) and showed his cool in the final 1:54, completing four passes to set up Folk. This was the performance the Jets had been awaiting, absolute poise in a hostile environment. Smith completed 16 of 20 for 199 yards, throwing three touchdowns. This in no way resembled the rattled kid who stunk it up last week. Ladies and gentlemen, the Jets found their quarterback.

Night of the Tight End: The Falcons' Tony Gonzalez, a future Hall of Famer, was virtually unstoppable -- 10 catches for 97 yards. Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow are not going to Canton, but they came up huge for the Jets. Cumberland and Winslow each scored a touchdown, compensating for a banged-up receiving corps. Cumberland (three catches for 79 yards) killed the Falcons with deep seams in the first half. Winslow, who almost did not play because of chronic knee pain, was targeted only once, but it was a one-yard touchdown reception on a play-action bootleg. Winslow did a toe-tap to keep both feet in the end zone, a wily veteran delivering a clutch play in the fourth quarter.

America, meet Mo: Folks in New York know all about defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson; now the entire country does, too. Wilkerson, exploiting a suspect offensive line, staged a dominating performance. The Falcons, with a new starter at left tackle, could not block Wilkerson, who created the Jets' first takeaway since Week 1 -- a strip sack in the third quarter that set up a field goal. He felt he deserved Pro Bowl recognition last season. He may have earned a trip to Hawaii on the Monday night stage, spearheading a defensive effort that included a goal-line stand at the end of the first half.

Defensive wrinkle: Ryan changed his approach, using more two-high safety looks than usual. That's not a staple of the Ryan playbook, but he took the conservative approach on the back end with the hope of eliminating big plays. It worked, as the Jets held wide receiver Julio Jones to eight catches for 99 yards, but they got gashed underneath by Matt Ryan who completed 36 of 45 passes with 319 yards.

What's ahead: The Jets return home to face the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4), who are coming off a bye week.

Rapid Reaction: Atlanta Falcons

October, 7, 2013

ATLANTA -- A few thoughts following the Atlanta Falcons' 30-28 loss to the New York Jets on Monday night:

What it means: With the loss, the Falcons fell to 1-4 and possibly out of the playoff picture. Not to say that they can't rattle off a long winning streak, but games remaining against the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and rival New Orleans Saints will make that a very difficult task. This was far from expected from a team that finished 13-3 a year ago and fell one step shy of the Super Bowl.

Red zone remedy: Speedy running back Jacquizz Rodgers vowed to make more of an impact this week. He followed through on his promise with a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a 19-yard touchdown run in the fourth. Those scores were Rodgers’ first rushing touchdowns of the season. With Steven Jackson (hamstring) still ailing, the Falcons needed both Rodgers and Jason Snelling to step up. Snelling also had a 4-yard touchdown reception off a shovel pass from Ryan.

Stock watch: Tony Gonzalez continues to rise as he inches closer to retirement. He reached a milestone four plays into the game with his 200th consecutive game with a catch. Gonzalez ran perfect routes all night and blazed linebackers in one-on-one coverage. And he also drew a couple of penalties against the Jets. Gonzalez was Matt Ryan’s safety net on a key fourth-down conversion late in regulation.

M.A.S.H. unit: No matter the outcome Monday night, the Falcons suffered a few losses. Receiver Roddy White, who entered the game still recovering from a high-ankle sprain, exited with a hamstring injury and never returned. White caught four passes for 45 before leaving. Also, Snelling left with a concussion.

Decimated defense: The Falcons had a few moments on defense, but they still surrendered too many big plays. They gave up a 47-yard pass play from Geno Smith to tight end Jeff Cumberland in the first half. It was the eighth play of 40-plus yards given up by the defense this season. Then the defense absolutely fell apart on the Jets’ final drive, allowing the rookie Smith to drive his team down with ease to set up Nick Folk’s game-winning 43-yard field goal.

What’s next: The Falcons have a much-needed bye in Week 6, which should allow them to get somewhat healthy. Maybe Jackson returns for Week 7 as the Falcons face NFC South foe Tampa Bay (Oct. 20). But will it really matter now?
OAKLAND -- A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers27-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

What it means: The Chargers dropped into the AFC West cellar with a loss to the Raiders in the team’s first divisional game. San Diego was the favorite heading into a contest for the first time this season but failed to play with the urgency needed to win on the road.

Blunders and miscues reign: The Chargers turned the ball over five times, and the Raiders converted those miscues into 17 points. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw three interceptions, including one on the opening series, which Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor quickly converted into a 44-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater. Eddie Royal's muffed punt was recovered by Oakland’s Chimdi Chekwa and converted into a 47-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal in the second quarter. And Charles Woodson scored a touchdown on a 25-yard fumble return when linebacker Kevin Burnett jarred the ball loose from Danny Woodhead on a big hit in the third quarter. The Chargers also had a field goal try blocked. San Diego’s defense failed to contain Pryor, who finished 18-of-23 passing for 221 yards and two touchdowns.

Offense sputters: San Diego’s offense had been purring through the first quarter of the season heading into Sunday’s contest, but Rivers and the rest of the offense sputtered against the Raiders. The Chargers were shut out in the first half for the first time this season. They finished with more than 400 yards of offense but just 32 rushing yards. The Chargers played most of the contest without their leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, who left the game in the first half with a concussion.

Young receivers play well: Vincent Brown has his best game of the season, finishing with eight receptions for 117 yards, including a long of 51 yards, and rookie Keenan Allen had his second straight productive game, finishing with six catches for 115 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown.

What’s next: The Chargers return home to Qualcomm Stadium to face the Indianapolis Colts next Monday night.

Rapid Reaction: Oakland Raiders

October, 7, 2013

OAKLAND -- A few thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers:

What it means: The Raiders rode an emotional wave early, thanks in part to the late start time (8:35 p.m. PT) and had just enough to hold off the Chargers. A running attack behind a patchwork offensive line and featuring Rashad Jennings early and Marcel Reece late kept San Diego’s defense honest, and the Raiders’ defense pitched a first-half shutout and had just enough to hold on. Five takeaways -- including their first three interceptions of the season -- by Usama Young, D.J. Hayden and Charles Woodson -- helped the Raiders overcome injuries and personnel shortcomings and to hold on after leading 24-3 entering the fourth quarter.

Stock watch: Rising: Terrelle Pryor. His improvement from week to week as an NFL quarterback has been stunning. Pryor, playing for the first time since suffering a concussion at Denver two weeks prior, completed his first 10 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard scoring strike to Rod Streater on the Raiders’ first offensive play of the game. He seemed to be playing backyard football in the first half, when he had a perfect passer rating of 158.3. In the second half, though, with the lack of a credible running attack, he fell victim to three sacks. Until their late scoring drive, the Raiders had only one second-half first down … on the first play after halftime. Pryor’s ability to make plays while rolling to the right was the difference.

C-Wood makes history: Woodson was signed not just for nostalgia; he was supposed to provide leadership and a blueprint for professionalism. Five games in, he’s the Raiders’ best player. Period. His 25-yard fumble recovery late in the third quarter not only gave Oakland a 24-3 lead, but it was his 13th career defensive touchdown, tying him with Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for the most in NFL history.

What's next: The Raiders (2-3) travel to Kansas City to take on the unbeaten and untied Chiefs (5-0). Oakland has won eight of the past 11 meetings, including six straight in Kansas City.

Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

October, 6, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few thoughts from the Houston Texans' 34-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

What it means: OK, now it's time for the Texans to panic. It is possible to win with a quarterback who isn't great, but it isn't possible when he struggles as much as Matt Schaub did on Sunday in San Francisco. The mental state of a quarterback who was given an extension worth $69.7 million before the start of the 2012 season has to be a major concern for Houston going forward.

Stock watch: Schaub's stock bottomed out on Sunday. He threw a pick-six on his first throw of the game and became the first player since the 1970 merger to throw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in four consecutive games. There was the occasional sharp throw sprinkled into a game in which just about nothing went right for the Texans and especially Schaub. Briefly, he looked broken. It was the right move to give Schaub a chance to redeem himself after last weekend's loss to the Seattle Seahawks. But given that chance, Schaub struggled so heartily that by the time he was benched in favor of T.J. Yates, he had 19 completions for 173 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. 49ers safety Eric Reid should have caught a fourth interception, but he dropped it.

What happened to the defense?: Can't pin this loss on the defense even a little bit. They were put into bad positions by their offense frequently. They needed to be perfect if the Texans were to have a chance with their offense struggling, and they weren't. As Yates warmed up on the sideline, the Texans' gave up a 64-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Vernon Davis, but the 49ers quarterback didn't otherwise have many passing yards.

What's next: The Texans get a reprieve after facing the Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers in consecutive weeks. But they have a lot of questions to answer before playing the St. Louis Rams next weekend.

Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers

October, 6, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- A few thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' 34-3 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday night:

What it means: The 49ers are making folks forget about their follies of losses to Seattle and to Indianapolis in Weeks 2 and 3. They were outscored 56-10 in those games. Since then, the 49ers have outscored the Rams and the Texans 69-14 and at 3-2 looking like a serious playoff threat. Sunday was a great all-around day for the 49ers. Not only did they dominate a strong AFC team, but Seattle lost to Indianapolis to fall to 4-1. So, the NFC West race just got tighter.

Stock Watch: Tramaine Brock has found himself a gig as the 49ers’ No. 3 cornerback. He played well last week against the Rams with Nnamdi Asomugha out with a knee injury. Sunday night, he had two interceptions, including one he returned 18 yards for a score on the first drive of the game. There is no way Asomugha is going to regain his job anytime soon. Brock is a keeper.

Another hit on defense: Standout defensive lineman Ray McDonald left with a biceps injury. If McDonald has to miss extended time, the 49ers will miss him dearly. They are already without starting nose tackle Ian Williams. Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial will be off the PUP soon. The 49ers have talked to free agent Richard Seymour and they could revisit talks if McDonald’s injury is serious. But Seymour wants a lot of money.

What’s next: The 49ers are navigating to the easier part of the schedule. They host Arizona on Sunday, then are at Tennessee and then play winless Jacksonville in London before the bye. Going from 1-2 to 6-2 at the halfway point is very feasible.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

October, 6, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos' 51-48 win over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium:

What it means: The Broncos were forced to adapt and overcome Sunday. The Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead, Peyton Manning threw his first interception of the season and the Broncos lost three more starters on defense to injuries: cornerback Chris Harris (concussion), defensive end Robert Ayers (shoulder) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (shoulder). It was all in the pile of trouble for the Broncos, yet they still came away with a win.

Stock watch: It had to happen at some point, but the Broncos' defense has taken some hits on the stat sheet this season with Von Miller and Champ Bailey yet to play in ‘13. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo feasted on the linebackers in coverage throughout the day, and he repeatedly targeted cornerback Tony Carter, who was in the game far more than planned because of Harris’ injury.

Not the usual: The Cowboys' beleaguered secondary, which had surrendered two 400-yard passing games to opposing quarterbacks before the Broncos arrived, was able to limit Denver's ability to get the ball to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for much of the day. By the time the fourth quarter began, Thomas still had just two catches for 13 yards until he had a well-timed, drive-saving 26-yard reception late in the game to go with another leaping grab with just 1:49 to play.

Bumps and bruises: The Broncos kept 11 defensive backs coming out of training camp -- a rare move for any team (they kept nine out of camp in 2012) -- and they have now needed every one of them. They have kept Bailey on the roster rather than designating him for return from injured reserve now five games into the season, and Harris will have to pass concussion protocol to even return to practice. Suddenly, Quentin Jammer and second-year cornerback Omar Bolden could become extremely important to the Broncos’ defensive plan.

What’s next: The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Sunday’s game as the league lowest-scoring team with 31 points in their first four games -- 13 fewer points than the idle 0-4 Buccaneers had scored in their first four games. Things did not get better as Jacksonville scored 20 Sunday but finished with a pile of injuries for its troubles. The Jaguars will arrive in Denver to find an irate team which narrowly escaped against the Cowboys.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys

October, 6, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

What it means for the Cowboys: For the third straight season, the Cowboys are 2-3, and they have never recovered from so poor a start to make the playoffs since Jerry Jones took over as owner and general manager in 1989.

The difference-maker was a Tony Romo interception with 1:57 to play at the Dallas 24-yard line, which ruined what had been one of the best games of his career. He finished with a franchise-record 506 passing yards, but it was the mistake when it mattered most that doomed his game and the Cowboys’ chance to knock off the undefeated Broncos.

Peyton Manning was able to bleed the clock after converting two first downs to set up Matt Prater's 28-yard field goal to win the game as the clock expired.


Which quarterback played better Sunday?


Discuss (Total votes: 17,416)

Stock watch: Falling -- Monte Kiffin. He was brought in to change the defense, and, so far, it just has not happened. The Cowboys are forcing more turnovers and came up with the first interception of Manning on the season, but the 51 points allowed is the most points they have ever allowed in a home game in team history. The Cowboys allowed 500 yards for the second straight game, with Denver picking up 517 after San Diego put up 506 last week.

Airing it out: Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten all had touchdowns, and all had more than 100 yards receiving on Romo's 506-yard day.

A week after his fumble at the goal line cost the Cowboys at least a field goal,if not a touchdown, Williams responded with an 82-yard touchdown and 151 yards. Bryant scored a touchdown for the fourth straight game and had 141 yards, but he also had a crucial fumble in the first half. Witten caught seven passes for 121 yards and had a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave the Cowboys a brief lead.

Alas, it was not enough for the Cowboys or Romo, whose mistake cost the Cowboys a chance at victory.

Claiborne rebounds, sort of: Morris Claiborne has been maligned for his play this season, but the second-year cornerback was responsible for two takeaways that led to 14 Cowboys points.

Claiborne recovered a fumble on the Broncos' first drive of the game that ended in a DeMarco Murray touchdown, and his interception of Manning in the third quarter led to a Witten touchdown that gave the Cowboys a 41-38 lead.

It wasn’t perfect. He was beaten by Eric Decker for a 57-yard catch and a touchdown, but it was at least a sign of fight from Claiborne.

What’s next: The Cowboys play their second NFC East game of the season with the Washington Redskins visiting AT&T Stadium. Robert Griffin III completed 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns in the Redskins’ 38-31 victory in Arlington on Thanksgiving last season. The Cowboys opened this season with a 36-31 win against the New York Giants.

Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals

October, 6, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. – A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 22-6 win over the Carolina Panthers.

What it means: The Arizona defense solidified its place as a premier unit in the NFL. It sacked Cam Newton seven times -- including once for a safety – and intercepted him three times. With the offense continuing to struggle to find any rhythm, Arizona's defense -- which just got better with linebacker Daryl Washington's return -- shouldered the load Sunday. But this is a slippery slope because when the defense has an off game and the offense is still finding its way, it can be a long day. Just look back to 2012.

Stock watch: Bradley Sowell came in and showed the Cardinals what life without Levi Brown could look like, and it wasn't a bad thing. He played well in his first NFL start, slowing down the outside rush and even pancaking his college teammate, Greg Hardy, a couple times. The Cardinals' brain trust must be feeling good about its decision to entrust Sowell with Carson Palmer's blind side.

Washington returns: What were the Cardinals missing without Washington? Oh, just two sacks and an interception … and sideline-to-sideline speed that can bring down a running back. His impact was felt on the Panthers' first offensive play when he chased Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams out of bounds. Washington's presence opened gaps for Karlos Dansby, who also had two sacks and an interception, but as the game progressed, Washington started doing what he wanted at will.

Drives derailed: As good as Arizona's defense is, the offense is not. They are forcing the defense to play more snaps than it should. Palmer threw three interceptions, two of which were picked off in the end zone and killed productive drives at times when the Cardinals desperately needed rhythm. The boos rang down on Palmer after his third, which, again, like the other two, was thrown inside Carolina territory. Sustaining drives has been an issue all season, especially on third down, but Palmer single-handedly ended three.

What's next: The Cardinals face their second NFC West foe when they travel to San Francisco on Sunday to play the 49ers at 4:25 p.m. ET for the last time at Candlestick Park.

Rapid Reaction: Carolina Panthers

October, 6, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Carolina Panthers' 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: That any momentum gained in a 38-0 victory against the New York Giants was wasted, that it was a catalyst for nothing. This was a poor performance against an average football team. The Panthers shot themselves in the foot more times than Arizona did, which took some doing. The defense played well enough to win -- as it has in each game -- but the offense was, to borrow a word from Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, putrid. For the fifth straight season, the Panthers have been unable to win more than one of their first four games. If general manager Dave Gettleman hasn't started looking at potential coaching candidates, as he says he hasn't, perhaps it's time.

Stock watch: On the way down, quarterback Cam Newton had his most inconsistent game of an inconsistent season. He threw three interceptions, had way too many other poor throws (once hitting the official), fumbled once and held the ball too long countless times. He did have two tackles, though, which isn't a good thing. On the way down Part II -- cornerback Josh Norman went from being in on 63 plays in Week 2 to inactive. On the rise, Ted Ginn Jr. continues to prove he's more than a kick returner. The Panthers need to find a way to get him the ball more.

Dropped and drops: Putrid begins here. The offensive line gave up seven sacks, including one for a safety. Receivers didn't do Newton any favors by dropping four passes, one by Steve Smith that would have been a first-half touchdown and another by Brandon LaFell that would have been a first down deep in Arizona territory when this was still a close game. Newton deserves some of the blame, too.

Early Pro Bowl consideration: That would be kicker Graham Gano. He is 6-for-6 on field goals, including a 51-yarder to end the first half. Opponents have returned only one kickoff all season.

What's next? The Panthers travel to Minnesota. The Vikings hold a 6-4 advantage in the series, last winning 24-21 in Charlotte, N.C., in 2011.

Rapid Reaction: Tennessee Titans

October, 6, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Reaction from the Tennessee Titans' 26-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at LP Field.

What it means: The Titans couldn’t complete a sweep of their three-game homestand. They fell behind 13-0 after a bad first half, rallied for a 17-13 lead, then gave up a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to lose it. Ryan Fitzpatrick was down, then up, then back down with a late interception that basically sealed it. At 3-2, the Titans are still in better shape than many expected after five games. But this is one game they could have had.

Stock watch: Chris Johnson just couldn’t get it going, again. Johnson appeared to have a favorable matchup against some smaller, but very athletic guys in a 3-4 front. He entered the game with a 3.3-yard rushing average. Against the Chiefs, that figure dropped as he had 10 carries for 17 yards. I didn’t understand why the Titans didn’t try to run it outside more. Johnson did take a little flip from Fitzpatrick that he ran for a 49-yard scoring pass.

Injury issues: Nickelback Coty Sensabaugh was knocked out with a concussion as Alterraun Verner shifted inside and Tommie Campbell took over Verner’s usual spot outside. Patrick Bailey, a linebacker who is a special teams captain, and rookie linebacker Zaviar Gooden, who was also playing on special teams, both left early with hamstring issues.

Waited too long: Against a good opponent like the Chiefs, the Titans are not good enough to get away with a scoreless and unproductive first half.

What’s next: The Titans take to the road and make the toughest trip in the NFL -- to Seattle. The Seattle Seahawks have already beaten the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars from the AFC South. The Colts beat Seattle in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: New York Giants

October, 6, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' 36-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

What it means: If you were holding out any hope that the Giants could save their season (and goodness knows, I was trying to tell you otherwise), you may now give it up. The Giants are 0-5 and quite clearly one of the worst teams in the NFL. They came to life in the third quarter and looked good on both sides of the ball, but the other three quarters were a mess of penalties, bad and/or dumb plays and, yes, three more Eli Manning interceptions. This was to have been the Giants' get-right game, at home against a team that appeared to have had as many problems as they do. And while they'll say they were in it late, again, they ended up getting crushed, again. No team has ever started 0-5 and made the playoffs.

Stock Watch: Rising -- Rueben Randle and Jason Pierre-Paul. Manning has struggled throwing the ball to Randle this year, but he found a rhythm with him in this game to the tune of six catches for 96 yards and the two touchdowns that brought the Giants from behind to take their third-quarter lead. And Pierre-Paul looked explosive and disruptive for the first time all year. Falling -- star-crossed running back David Wilson, who started out great by scoring the game's first touchdown but left at the end of the first quarter with a neck injury.

Rough game for the coach: Tom Coughlin raised eyebrows by accepting a holding penalty in the first quarter and putting the Eagles in third-and-20 instead of fourth-and-4 at midfield. The Eagles converted the third down with a 34-yard Michael Vick run, and ended up kicking a field goal. Later in the game, with 12:40 left in the third quarter, Coughlin burned two timeouts on one failed replay challenge (one to get the time to challenge, the other when it didn't go his way).

What's next: Quick turnaround for the Giants, who play at 8:25 p.m. ET on Thursday in Chicago against the Bears, who have lost two in a row following their 3-0 start.

Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles

October, 6, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few observations from the Philadelphia Eagles' 36-21 victory over the winless New York Giants on Sunday:

What it means: The NFC East really is as terrible as it looked while the Eagles were enduring that three-game losing streak against AFC West teams. The Eagles are 2-3 overall, but 2-0 within a division that could be won with an 8-8 record. They dropped the sloppy Giants to 0-5 despite losing starting quarterback Michael Vick with a hamstring injury late in the first half. After the Eagles blew a 19-7 halftime lead, Nick Foles directed three scoring drives to secure the win. Mychal Kendricks came up with a game-turning interception to set up Foles' fourth-quarter, 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brent Celek.

Vick vs. Foles: Vick ran the ball seven times for 79 yards before injuring his hamstring. He had completed just 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards, and the Eagles' red zone issues continued while he was in the game. Foles took over with 1:25 left in the half and the ball on the Eagles' 7-yard line. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 68 yards to drive for a late field goal, then threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach. The run game wasn't as effective without the threat of Vick running, but Chip Kelly adjusted and got Foles into a rhythm, and the Eagles finished with a season-high 36 points. Durability is always an issue with Vick, and now his inevitable injury may have opened the door for Foles.

Stock Watch: Rising -- Eagles defense. It looked like another disaster in the making when Eli Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for 49 yards on the Giants' third play from scrimmage. But the Giants lost running back David Wilson to a neck injury and Manning started throwing the ball to the Eagles, when he wasn't intentionally grounding it, in the second half. The three fourth-quarter interceptions were the Eagles' first since Week 1 against Washington. They set up two Eagles touchdowns and changed the entire tone of the game.

What's next: There will be a lot of discussion about Vick's hamstring and whether it allows him to practice for next Sunday's game against Tampa Bay -- the Eagles' second consecutive game against an 0-4 team. If Vick can go, the guess here is that he will start. Kelly made a point of saying Vick would not have to look over his shoulder after he won the starting quarterback job in the preseason. But if Vick can't play, Foles will get a chance to show what he can do with a full week of practice against a not-particularly-good team.

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

October, 6, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 26-17 win over the Tennessee Titans at LP Field:

What it means: The Chiefs, after leading 13-0 at halftime, survived, but only after a frantic fourth-quarter touchdown drive that was aided by a questionable late-hit penalty against the Titans. Until then, they were miserable in the second half, a collapse so steep that it’s logical to wonder whether the Chiefs were good in the first place. The Chiefs had everything going for them in a lopsided first half but had trouble holding off the Titans, who were playing without injured starting quarterback Jake Locker.

Stock watch: Quarterback Alex Smith had by far his worst game of the season -- throwing a horrible pass in the third quarter that was intercepted. The Titans then went on to score the go-ahead touchdown off the turnover. Smith went on to lead a big fourth-quarter touchdown drive that put the Chiefs ahead for good. Wide receiver Donnie Avery had two big catches of 40-plus yards. Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper scored a touchdown when he recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone and later had a fourth-quarter interception. Ryan Succop made all of his four field goal attempts, including a 48-yarder with 2:12 to go that put the Chiefs ahead 26-17.

Defensive collapse: The Chiefs allowed the Titans and backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick 153 yards in a dismal third quarter. The Titans climbed to within 13-10 by the end of the period. The Chiefs redeemed themselves with a goal-line stand that featured four plays from the Kansas City 1. They also intercepted Fitzpatrick twice in the fourth quarter.

What’s next: The Chiefs begin a three-game homestand next Sunday when they play the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in each of the past six seasons.

Rapid Reaction: Indianapolis Colts

October, 6, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 34-28 victory against the Seattle Seahawks:

What it means: Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck and Seattle’s Russell Wilson, the two best quarterbacks in the 2012 draft, didn’t disappoint. Wilson was creative with his arm and also with his feet, giving the Colts headaches all day. But in the end, it was Luck, the best quarterback taken since Peyton Manning in 1998, who made the necessary plays to send the Seahawks to their first loss of the season. Luck shook off three straight three-and-out possessions to open the game, leading the Colts on three scoring drives in the second half to help make up for a 19-17 halftime deficit. Luck was 11-of-16 for 132 yards and a touchdown in the second half. Wilson finished with 15-of-31 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Stock watch: Receiver T.Y. Hilton was the lucky one on the other end of Luck’s passes. The second-year receiver caught five passes for a career-high 140 yards and two touchdowns. Hilton caught a 73-yard touchdown pass from Luck in the first half, giving him four touchdowns of at least 60 yards in his short career. Only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson has more touchdowns of at least 60 yards since 2012. He has six.

Mathis gets 100: Colts linebacker Robert Mathis became the 30th player in league history to get 100 sacks when he sacked and stripped Wilson on the final play of the first half. Mathis, who has been out to prove he can be effective without playing alongside former Colts star pass-rusher Dwight Freeney, finished with two sacks, giving him 9.5 this season.

What’s next: The Colts head out west for the second time this season when they play at San Diego on Oct. 14 in their lone Monday night game of the season.