Week 3 provided some eyebrow-raising results with the New England Patriots falling to the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants blasting the Philadelphia Eagles. Even losing efforts offered some excitement as the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs nearly knocked off greater opponents.
But the energy surrounding a few of the finishes in Week 4 was unparalleled. Undefeated teams were tested, and more than one 2-1 team made a statement with a win over a more heralded foe.
The Bills shocked the world (or at least a small part of it) when they managed to knock off the New England Patriots for the first time in 16 tries. But the real surprise was the hangover suffered this week in a 23-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that saw Buffalo fold after a 17-3 halftime lead.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, the star of the offense heading into Sunday's game, was held without a touchdown pass after tossing nine through his first three games, and Fred Jackson was bottled up for only 66 yards despite averaging 101 per game at kickoff.
Andy Dalton, after solidly proving his lack of experience in the first half, hit Jermaine Gresham for a 17-yard score in the third quarter before running for one of his own in the fourth and leading the Bengals' game-winning drive, which ended in a 43-yard field goal from Mike Nugent.
The Bills are still 3-1 and will, at worst, be tied for the lead in the AFC East, but today's loss exposed more offensive problems than Buffalo would have cared to show.
But watching Dallas blow a 27-3 lead, the worst collapse in franchise history, was at least worth an eyebrow raise.
Tony Romo has patented the pendulum swing from week-to-week, but this was epic even by his standards. After starting 23 of 28 for three touchdowns and not a single pick, Romo limped down the stretch, making one poor decision after another on his way to finishing 11 of 19 for under 100 yards and three interceptions after his hot start.
Dallas again failed to run the ball, and Dez Bryant's two TD catches paled in comparison to Calvin Johnson's duo. Johnson's the only player in league history with at two touchdown receptions in each of the first four games of the season, and the Lions are 4-0 for the first time since 1980.
If Michael Vick can suffer a concussion one week and a bone bruise in his non-throwing hand the next, and then still throw for 416 yards and rush for 75, the Eagles should be able to beat the 49ers, right?
Wrong. The Eagles squandered a career day from Vick with help from Jeremy Maclin and Ronnie Brown fumbles on their way to a one-point loss and a 1-3 start.
Philadelphia's rampant offseason spending has translated to one victory over a winless Rams team and a loss to a team quarterbacked by Alex Smith. The secondary again hid its face in the sand, allowing Smith to rack up 291 yards and two touchdown passes without a single interception.
San Fran is now 3-1 in its first year under Jim Harbaugh, while Vick's Eagles are already working hard to miss the postseason.
The Texans are starting to prove that they belong, and after the ostrich egg laid by the Steelers in a near loss to the Peyton-Manning-less Indianapolis Colts last week, predicting a Houston win today wasn't too risky.
However, there was plenty to double-take about in this one. Andre Johnson went down in the first half after falling to the turf without being touched by the Steelers defense. Arian Foster went off for 155 rushing yards, including a 42-yard scoring scamper, and Matt Schaub walked off the field victorious after throwing for only 138 yards.
But the real surprise was the fact that Pittsburgh, playing against a Texans offense sans their biggest star, could only manage 10 points despite multiple field position gifts from Houston.
Aaron Smith, Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison all left with injuries, and the Steelers age on defense showed up again in a big way. This team is a far cry from last year's Super Bowl runners-up.
In a real test of futility, the Chiefs came up short. At least, where futility is concerned. They won the actual game.
Apparently, the Chiefs want nothing to do with Andrew Luck, and although the Vikings just drafted Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick, they may be headed for a tough decision of their own next April if they can't beat a Jamaal Charles-less Kansas City.
Minnesota has certainly done nothing this season to give fans any hope for easy victories, but facing a Chiefs team missing its biggest weapon should have been the first win of the season.
Adrian Peterson is currently averaging just over 20 carries per game, which is way too low, and if 23 totes from Peterson and two touchdown passes from Donovan McNabb don't provide enough offense for Minnesota to beat Kansas City, this team is in more trouble than they thought.