Every Sunday night, Around The League takes a closer look at four of the day's most interesting subplots. We call it "The Filthy Four" ... mostly for alliteration purposes.
Give the game away, why don't cha?
The Ravensdismantled a disheveled Jets team Sunday night, but we're still scratching our heads trying to figure out the stubborn gameplan put in place by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Baltimore's defense terrorized Mark Sanchez, but Cameron's decision to keep passing with an ineffective Joe Flacco (10 of 31 for 161 yards and a pick six) nearly let New York get back in the game. We swear Ray Lewis was one more Flacco turnover away from dropping Cameron with a forearm shiver, then doing that ridiculous Ray Lewis Dance as his teammates celebrated around the coordinator's writhing remains. As for the Jets, we agree with Rex Ryan that Joe Namath isn't close enough to the team to question its preparation level. That said, the Jets looked, well, unprepared for Baltimore's swarming attack of New York's makeshift offensive line. Something is off with that team right now, and it goes beyond injuries.
For once, let's be positive
Everyone wants to focus on the 1-3 Eagles and how the "Dream Team" (still Vince Young's only tangible contribution in Philly) has fallen on its collective face. It's already a tiresome narrative to us, so we'll focus on the positive and congratulate the 49ers, who might have clinched the NFC West title with their third victory. And while we're on the topic of underdogs, we salute Eli Manning, who led the Giants -- with a little help from the rulebook -- to a come-from-behind win over the Cardinals. No, Eli will never be his big brother, but his performance in the past two weeks proves once again he's far better than he gets credit for.
Texas Romo Massacre
Even Tony Romo's biggest fans (we assume you guys are in a bomb shelter with Wi-Fi right now) will find it hard to defend the Cowboys quarterback after his latest meltdown. Let's face it: Romo deserves at least as much credit as Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson for the Lions' incredible 24-point comeback in Dallas. Romo's overall performance was a perfect microcosm of what he's all about. He's never as good as his best moments (three first-half TDs) and never as bad as his worst (three second-half INTs). He's somewhere in between, and we're not sure that'll ever be good enough.
'Madden' comes to life
Projecting stats based on small samples is usually pointless, but in the case of Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, it's too fun not to. If Johnson keeps up his pace of the first quarter of the season, he'll finish the year with 96 catches for 1,284 yards and 32 touchdowns. These are video game numbers, which means Cris Carter might've been making sense in a roundabout way, after all (not really). By the way, the NFL record for receiving touchdowns in a season is 23, set by Randy Moss in 2007. If Moss is a guy who worries about his place in the record book, we seriously suggest he invests in a Megatron voodoo doll. Doubt it will help, though.