NFL Scores Week 4: Top 25 Winners and Losers From Sunday's Action

Stephen MeyerDeputy MLB EditorOctober 3, 2010

NFL Scores Week 4: Top 25 Winners and Losers From Sunday's Action

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    It was, as always, a very wild and entertaining Week 4 in the NFL. There were shocking upsets, heart-stopping endings, critical injuries, and even moments bordering on the bizarre.

    On top of the plays on the field, there was even a Titans coordinator seen flipping the middle finger to referees in-game. There was nothing left to imagination in an unpredictable Sunday of football.

    Where does all the action stack up as far as winners and losers? We are going to take a look at the Top 25 on that list, which can be anything from individual players, teams, coaches, and even fantasy owners.

    Feel free to leave your comments and debate your opinions after the slideshow, as I would love to talk football with you all.

25. John Carney (New Orleans Saints)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    At 46-years-old, Saints K John Carney returned to the field after a lengthy layoff to kick the game-winning FG in a tight win over the Carolina Panthers.

    If this is a list of “winners,” the man who was single-footedly responsible for a win deserves to be on the list. He comes in at No. 25.

24. Mike Tolbert (San Diego Chargers)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    All of the talk heading into 2010 was about highly-touted rookie RB Ryan Matthews out of Fresno State University.

    After an injury and some underperformance, however, backup Mike Tolbert is suddenly a reliable pounder of the football out in San Diego.

    With another 100 yards rushing on 16 carries today, he has relaxed the Chargers' heart rate—as they now know they have someone to depend on even if Matthews flops in year one.

23. The Detroit Lions Quest For A Second 0-16

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Though suffering immeasurable bad luck is what I refer to as “The Immaculate Incompletion” game against the Bears, this loss takes the improving Lions to a disappointing 0-4.

    After going through the disaster of an 0-16 season in 2008, the Lions never want to head back there again.

    This is not the same team, and they have too much talent to not steal three to four games, even if Stafford doesn’t return at 100 percent.

22. Max Hall

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    It is hard to look at the scoreboard of Arizona’s game this Sunday and think anything positive for anyone on the roster.

    There is, however, one clear winner wearing Cardinals red. His name is Max Hall, rookie QB out of BYU, who replaced the ineffective Derek Anderson midway through the game.

    Hall completed 8-of-14 passes for 82 yards and looked comfortable considering the circumstances and his lack of experience.

    It may be time for a rebuilding project in Arizona, and Hall may benefit the most from that development.

    21. Arizona Cardinals Absorb Beating

    The Cardinals can't get off that easy, as they did get absolutely and entirely embarrassed by the San Diego Chargers 41-10 on the road.

    The offense was inefficient, the defense was abysmal, and the coaching staff seemed unprepared and unable to make any adjustments.

    It was an all-around nightmare for the team on Sunday afternoon, and there are no clear signs of this improving without Kurt Warner, Karlos Dansby, and Anquan Boldin in the mix in 2010.

20. Fantasy Owners of Texans WR Andre Johnson

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    This list is typically reserved for teams, players, and coaches, but like it or not we do live in a fantasy sports world.

    Where we once thought about what an amazing catch a receiver made, we now instantly calculate exactly how many points that brought in for a rival team.

    With that in mind, Andre Johnson owners were caught with their pants down on Sunday, and a “game-time decision” turned into an inactive for the nicked-up playmaker.

19. Carolina Panthers Lose Game, Superstar Simultaneously

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    It was bad enough that the Carolina Panthers lost a heartbreaking thriller at the hands of the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints.

    Add on top of that losing your star wide receiver Steve Smith to what may be the dreaded “high ankle sprain,” and Sunday spelled disaster for a team many felt were in over their heads to begin with in 2010.

    Unless they can finally get their heralded running game back on track with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, it appears that it will be a long year in Carolina.

18. Terrell Owens’s Narcissism

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Normally losing a 23-20 contest to the winless Cleveland Browns would be a crushing loss for any team with playoff aspirations.

    The difference here is that Terrell Owens doesn’t care about the team, and is only fueled by personal statistics and setting records.

    All Owens needed to see was the 10 catches, 200 yards, and touchdown in the box score and he was all smiles. The TO experiment might be a success on an individual level thus far, but the Bengals have struggled.

17. Darren McFadden

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    Thearon W, Henderson/Getty Images

    After putting up a solid game involving six catches, 82 receiving yards, and another 47 rushing, McFadden continued to shine in an otherwise dim offense.

    He was far from a winner on Sunday, though, as his hamstring gave out on him while running down the sideline. Unable to return to the game, McFadden is now a question mark moving forward.

    The Raiders can’t afford to lose their only true weapon other than TE Zach Miller for an extended period of time, but hamstring injuries can be very tricky.

16. The Buffalo Bills

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Once a proud franchise with a lot to appreciate, the Buffalo Bills have become one of the prime laughing stocks of the NFL.

    They can’t throw the ball, they can’t run the ball, they can’t defend, their coaching is horrendous, and they fail in virtually all facets of the game.

    Yet another blowout loss, 38-14, at the hands of the Jets sealed yet another playoff-less season in Buffalo, and no word best describes them other than “losers.”

15. Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams)

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    A rookie QB who should be overwhelmed by the situation in front of him, Sam Bradford has been anything but timid for the Rams in 2010.

    In throwing for 289 yards on 23-of-41 passing and two TDs, Bradford led his team to a big 20-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. He may have to lean on Steven Jackson a bit more to save his body, but he has been beyond impressive.

    He is not going to have a rookie year with the team success of the recent past (Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan), but individually he has all the tools to have a respectable year in St. Louis.

    14. St. Louis Rams Pass Last Year’s Win Total

    Bradford and the Rams defense each had big days to improve the Rams to 2-2 on the year—one more win than all of 2009.

    They could hang up their cleats and forfeit the remainder of the season, and they would still have been deemed an improvement.

13. Baltimore Ravens

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Ravens were winners on two separate fronts on Sunday.

    First off, they were able to prevent division rival Pittsburgh from starting 4-0 before the return of Big Ben—which could have ended their hopes of matching them from here on out.

    Secondly, they watched the Bengals lose to the Browns, which prevented a three-way tie at the top at 3-1. All in all it was a great day for Joe Flacco and his Ravens.

12. Peyton Manning, Colts Lose to Jacksonville

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Peyton Manning had his usual solid game, but the defense allowed 31 points to a struggling Jaguars team in a tough loss.

    David Garrard may have been one bad game away from being replaced, but the Colts made their offense look plenty efficient enough to go up and down the field.

    Sitting at 2-2 for the first time seemingly since Manning’s rookie year, the Colts are now a game behind the Texans in the standings and struggling to put it all together.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Steelers are losers in Week 4, mainly because they missed out on a chance to bury the Bengals two games back and sit atop the division at 4-0.

    They are still in an incredible position at 3-1 without having their starting QB for even one down, but they missed a chance to make a stinging statement to the rest of the AFC North.

    If they could go 4-0 without Big Ben, it would suck the confidence out of the other teams in the division knowing he will be back on the field before they can blink their eyes.

10. Dallas Cowboys “Win” On Bye Week

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Rarely does a team get to enjoy a bye week as much as the Dallas Cowboys did this weekend.

    Not only did they just come off of a must-win beating of the Houston Texans on the road to prevent going 0-3, but the Eagles were upset by the Redskins.

    A team that was staring 0-3 and plenty of family time come January in the face is suddenly one win away from being right at the top of the NFC East again. They have truly dodged a bullet early in 2010.

9. LaDainian Tomlinson

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The former superstar left for dead by his former team after 2009 has been rejuvenated in New York, and showed exactly how much so on Sunday.

    Tomlinson ran for 133 yards on 19 carries, caught three passes for 22 yards, and scored two TDs against the Bills.

    Granted, the Bills are horrible, but Tomlinson has plenty of tread left on those tires and plenty of fire left in his heart.

    After being brought in as a complement on third down to starter Shonn Greene, LT has taken control over the starting role and has given opponents a lot to game-plan about.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars Move to 2-2, Pass Colts

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Not only did the Jaguars upset the Colts in Week 4, but they also managed to tie them in the standings and grab hold of a tiebreaker.

    They needed to see Maurice Jones-Drew look healthy and shifty again in the backfield, and he topped 100 yards in the biggest game of the year thus far.

    While their defense and secondary specifically need a lot of work, the Jaguars have a shot to finish at 9-7 if all the dominoes fall into place.

7. Houston Texans Take First Place

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    Thearon W, Henderson/Getty Images

    The Texans were big winners on Sunday, as they not only handled their business against a motivated Raiders team, but also climbed into first place all alone in the AFC South.

    For the first time in team history, they have finally gotten into the Colts' heads a little bit, and feel as though they can stand toe-to-toe with their biggest historical headache.

    Sitting at 3-1 and just a home loss to Dallas away from still being unbeaten, the Texans have a lot to be excited about—especially with a running back like Arian Foster at their disposal.

6. Jay Cutler's Bruised Body

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    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    All I can say is I hope Jay Cutler knows a good neurologist. In a beating rarely equaled by any other NFL quarterback, Cutler was hit hard from the front, side, back, and every other conceivable way.

    He was forced to leave at halftime with a concussion and was unable to return. It got no easier for backup Todd Collins, as he was also knocked out later in the game.

    The Bears lost 17-3, but it must have felt more like 35-0.

    5. New York Giants Defensive Line

    Going along with this relentless beatdown of the Chicago Bears, there may have been no bigger winner this weekend than the Giants defensive line.

    After being run through, over, and around for three weeks, the once dominant front four of the G-Men asserted themselves to the tune of 10 sacks and countless other pressures.

    Osi Umenyiora needed this as much as anyone, as the benched superstar was re-inserted due to Mathias Kiwanuka's unfortunate neck injury. He responded with three sacks and a forced fumble that was reminiscent of Leonard Marshall's hit on Joe Montana in 1990.

4. Mike Singletary

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    After about as rocky a start to a coaching career as you can have, in which Singletary dropped his pants in front of Vernon Davis to somehow “motivate him”, he seemed to have righted the ship.

    The 49ers looked ready to win the NFC West in 2010, and Alex Smith to Vernon Davis was beginning to look like one of the best combinations in the division.

    Fast-forward to Week 4 and those same 49ers are sitting at a winless 0-4, and Singletary’s job is hanging on by the tiniest of threads—regardless of what reports are saying.

    3. San Francisco 49ers Drop To 0-4

    A start this poor cannot simply get one "loser" attributed to it. Aside from RB Frank Gore and LB Patrick Willis, there is not one player on this team that appears to give 100 percent effort each week.

    Singletary has clearly lost the team, fans have clearly lost their patience, and the players have clearly lost their drive.

    It is going to be a long year in San Francisco moving forward, as a very attainable division title has been all but lost.

2. Philadelphia Eagles Lose Michael Vick

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    It was bad enough for Philadelphia that they were trailing former franchise QB Donovan McNabb in his return home. Eagles fans even cheered the man I was certain they would boo.

    Things only got worse when Michael Vick was forced to leave the game early with a chest and rib injury late in the first quarter.

    If he misses any extensive time, the Eagles can kiss the playoffs goodbye, as Kevin Kolb simply does not create the dynamism that Vick brings on a down-to-down basis.

    While they sit in a tie at 2-2 with the Giants and Redskins in the NFC East, it looks as though they could be in last place when Vick returns, depending on its severity.

1. Donovan McNabb

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    No one came out a bigger “winner” in Week 4 of the NFL weekend than Redskins QB Donovan McNabb in his return to Philadelphia.

    Though he did not have a good individual game (8-for-19 for 125 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), McNabb was able to stick it to the fans who never respected him like he deserved.

    He was booed on draft day, he was booed after making the Super Bowl, and he was booed at virtually any sign of poor performance regardless of his track record.

    McNabb tried to hide his emotions and act as though it was not a big deal, but his postgame comments in the locker room were very telling.

    “Everyone makes mistakes in their lives, and they made one BIG one last year” told it all from Donovan’s end, and his teammates were quick to support him with a rousing “yeahhhh they did!”