Every Sunday night, Around The League takes a closer look at four of the day's most interesting games. We call it The Filthy Four ... mostly for alliteration purposes.
Last laugh belongs to Rex, after all
It was surprising when Norv Turner stepped out of character this week and took a shot at Rex Ryanin response to Ryan's comments that he'd have won a couple Super Bowls by now had he been hired over Turner as the Chargers' head coach. However, it wasn't all that surprising that Turner resembled his usual self Sunday -- which is to say he failed to deliver in a big game, as the Jets rallied for a 27-21 win over the Chargers. If you're keeping score at home, that's Rex 2, Norv 0, in head-to-head matchups now. Forgive us for saying this, San Diego fans, but that's the kind of thing that actually validates Ryan's boneheaded comments that began the feud. The guy went home Sunday night, probably had himself a nice meal, got (or gave) a foot massage, and as he reflected on the game, probably thought about how he could still win a Super Bowl with the current Chargers' roster. Look, Rex doesn't shut up even when he fails to back up his trash talk. Imagine how great he must feel having the last laugh as he rides off into the sunset of his bye week. Annoying, isn't it?
Best. Day. Ever. for Cowboys rookie
Is it great to be DeMarco Murray, or is it great to be DeMarco Murray? Seriously, no NFL player likely slept better Sunday night than the Cowboys' rookie running back. The kid busted out in the biggest way possible during Sunday's 34-7 win over the Rams, rushing for a franchise-record 253 yards and a touchdown. And as if that wasn't cool enough, Murray received a couple personal shout outs on Twitter from Cowboys Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith ("congrats to @DeMarcoMurray AWESOME job ...we needed this") and Tony Dorsett ("D.Murray congratulations on your performance today for the Cowboys"). Honestly, is there a better way of knowing you've arrived in the NFL? If there is, we'd like to hear about it.
Still think the Lions are for real?
Who's still on the Lions' bandwagon after Sunday's 23-16 loss to the Falcons? From 5-0 to 5-2 after losing two straight home games, you've got to wonder if Detroit is still among the NFL's elite teams or if they've maybe come back down to Earth. There might be room for some panic in Motown for a few reasons: A) How serious is Matthew Stafford's leg injury he suffered Sunday? B) The alleged conduct of Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril, and what that might suggest about the team's attitude; C) The offense's inability to effectively run the ball; and D) The defense's inability to stop the run. We'd say it's not quite a crisis yet, but it might be getting close. On the bright side, though, Jim Schwartz's postgame handshake with Mike Smith this week went much better than last week's with Jim Harbaugh. So at least there's that.
Just how great is Gonzalez?
Let's go beyond the fact that Tony Gonzalez is widely regarded as the greatest tight end to ever play the game. With all due respect to the likes of Hall of Fame receivers Lance Alworth, Don Hutson, Michael Irvin and Steve Largent, don't you think it's time to legitimately consider Gonzalez as potentially the greatest pass-catcher of all time next to Jerry Rice? Consider: Gonzalez's latest career milestone was achieved Sunday, when he caught five passes for 62 yards in the Falcons' 23-16 win over the Lions, giving him 1,104 career receptions to trail only Rice in NFL history (by 445, mind you). He's ninth all-time in receiving touchdowns (92) and has a decent shot at moving into the top 10 in career receiving yards before this season ends. So the numbers are obviously there, but numbers alone don't tell the story of Gonzalez. It's his legacy that puts him over the top. When you think about it, Gonzalez is responsible for the emergence of today's pass-catching tight end. There have never been so many in the league. And without Gonzalez's emergence as a rookie in 1997, there might not be Antonio Gates or Jermichael Finley or Jimmy Graham. Revolutionary figures are hard to come by. Gonzalez changed the game for good -- and for the better.