Sunday NFL Week 4 Buzz Blog

October 2, 2010

All times EST.

October 3 News and Notes

Bears QB Jay Cutler leaves game vs. Giants — 10:33 p.m.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been knocked out of Sunday night's game against the New York Giants.

Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half and took several hard hits, two which caused fumbles.

Veteran Todd Collins started the second half for the Bears.

— The Associated Press

Here are some random quick observations from Sunday’s action:

• The much-maligned Jacksonville Jaguars showed that they aren’t quitting on head coach Jack Del Rio, but they had to fight off the perennial AFC South division leading Indianapolis Colts. Because the Jaguars lack a quality pass rush, the game became closer than it should have been. The Jaguars really took it to the Colts, but it took a Josh Scobee 59-yard field goal on the last play of the game to seal the win.

• The Cincinnati Bengals finally found a semblance of a down field passing attack, but they still lost to the divisional dwelling Cleveland Browns. The good news is veteran WR Terrell Owens finally started to develop chemistry with QB Carson Palmer. Owens was targeted 15 times by Palmer and caught 10 passes for 222 yards, including a 78-yard TD catch. But what happened to their run defense? They let straight ahead power runner Peyton Hillis put up over 100 yards on the ground for the second straight game.

• Speaking of Peyton Hills, it’s remarkable that he basically has no moves, yet is able to go straight ahead and overpower defenders game after game. Defenses seem to know what’s coming but can’t do anything to stop him. He’s an old fashion fullback. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the fullback often would wind up being the main ball carrier for the team. That’s what we’re seeing with the Cleveland Browns and Hillis. There simply is no reason to go back to Jerome Harrison. Hillis is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield. How good does that Brady Quinn trade look now? Interesting side note; the Browns were prepared to sign FB Leonard Weaver had the Philadelphia Eagles not re-signed him just after free agency started.

• I think it’s time that we start to give Mark Sanchez credit for showing tremendous improvement over last season. It certainly didn’t look like that he would be able to play this way after his lackluster preseason. He’s playing with the kind of calmness and poise he rarely showed as a rookie. It will be interesting to see how he does once WR Santonio Holmes comes back from his four-game suspension this coming week. Sanchez has already developed outstanding chemistry with TE Dustin Keller.

• That win by the Baltimore Ravens is the type of game that can really change a team’s fortunes for a season. But in Baltimore’s case, they were already a good team, but they hadn’t won in Pittsburgh since 2006. It’s the first time QB Joe Flacco has won in Pittsburgh. It was also his best performance against the Steelers defense in his six games against them. He hung in the pocket and made several outstanding throws in the game.

• Denver Broncos QB Kyle Orton threw the ball 50 times during Sunday’s win at the Tennessee Titans. The significance of Orton’s stellar play this season clearly shows head coach Josh McDaniels is willing to put the ball in his hands to win a game. It’s probably the first time in his six-year career than he’s been allowed to become a passing quarterback. Earlier in his career with the Chicago Bears, Orton was looked upon as a game manager, but that no longer can be the case. And Orton is making his no name receivers better. That’s the mark of a good quarterback.

• The Philadelphia Eagles have to be kicking themselves for losing a very winnable game to the division rival Washington Redskins. Philadelphia’s slow start put them behind the 8-ball early, but the struggles of Washington QB Donovan McNabb helped to keep them in the game. For whatever reason, Philadelphia was flat on both sides of the ball in the first half. The NFC East is clearly up for grabs, but the Dallas Cowboys still look like the team to beat.

• St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford is way ahead of schedule in his development. In fact, I can’t recall a more poised rookie signal caller. It’s rare for a young quarterback to perform at such a high level right off the bat. The goal of the front office going into next season has to be to add a few quality receivers. Once Bradford has three or four good passing targets, the St. Louis offense might be very strong. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo finally is starting to get his defense to play at a decent level.

— Adam Caplan

Eagles DB suffers concussion — 7:05 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles starting CB Asante Samuel, who suffered a concussion during the second half of today's game against the Washington Redskins, has been ruled out for the rest of the game. Backup CB Joselio Hanson replaced him.

— Adam Caplan

Giants without four key players — 6:56 p.m.

The New York Giants will be without four key players for tonight's game against the visiting Chicago Bears.

On offense, starting C Shaun O'Hara (ankle, Achilles) will miss his second straight game. Backup OL Adam Koets, who was drafted as an offensive tackle, will start again for O'Hara.

Defensively, starter SLB Keith Bulluck (toe) is inactive, along with backups DE/SLB Mathias Kiwanuka (neck) and DT Rocky Bernard.

Second-year SLB Clint Sintim will replace Bulluck.

— Adam Caplan

RB Portis sidelined — 6:24 p.m.

Washington Redskins RB Clinton Portis has missed most of the third quarter in today's game due to a leg injury. Backup RB Ryan Torain replaced him. Portis was having a strong game with over five yards per carry, and it was determined he suffered a groin injury. His return is questionable.

— Adam Caplan

Texans getting banged up at WR — 6:24 p.m.

The Houston Texans were already without starting WR Andre Johnson (ankle) for today's game at the Oakland Raiders. His replacement, Jacoby Jones, suffered a leg injury during the third quarter and has not returned.

The Texans, who dressed just four receivers for the game, are down to just three.

— Adam Caplan

Jones-Drew rolls ankle — 6:17 p.m.

Jacksonville Jaguars starting RB Maurice Jones-Drew suffered an ankle injury during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the division rival Indianapolis Colts. Jones-Drew rolled his ankle on a third-and-12 play on a run up the middle.

Showing incredible toughness, Jacksonville Jones-Drew returned from his ankle injury in later the fourth quarter of today's game against the division rival Indianapolis Colts.

Jones-Drew limped off earlier in the quarter, but was able to return to the field and got a bunch of touches on the drive. He capped off the return by catching an eight-yard touchdown reception to put the Jaguars ahead of the Colts with just over two minutes remaining.

— Adam Caplan

Eagles injuries continue — 6:13 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles RB Mike Bell suffered an apparent knee injury during the third quarter against the Washington Redskins. Bell was injured on a short pass play where he fumbled the ball, but picked it up and got hit on his knee.

— Adam Caplan

Gradkowski injured — 6:01 p.m.

Oakland Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski left today's game in the third quarter after suffering a shoulder injury after he got hit on the right shoulder. Former starting QB Jason Campbell replaced him. Gradkowski returned to the game later in the third quarter. Unfortunately, he threw an interception off a tipped pass.

— Adam Caplan

Vick to miss rest of Redskins game — 5:50 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick will not return to today's game against the Washington Redskins due to chest and rib injuries. QB Kevin Kolb will remain in.

— Adam Caplan

Eagles suffer horrible gaffe — 5:34 p.m.

If the Philadelphia Eagles wind up losing today's game against the Washington Redskins, they might point to a delay of game penalty after the team took a time out before a fourth-and-one play.

Philadelphia wound up having to kick a field goal instead, making the score 17-6, Redskins.

— Adam Caplan

Foster finally plays — 5:31 p.m.

Houston Texans starting RB Arian Foster wound up not starting today's game at the Oakland Raiders due to a coaching decision. Foster finally entered the game late in the second quarter.

— Adam Caplan

Cardinals make QB change — 5:29 p.m.

The Arizona Cardinals are yet another team that has made a quarterback change.

Undrafted free-agent rookie Max Hall replaced starter ineffective starter Derek Anderson in the second quarter during today's game at the San Diego Chargers.

Team sources said Hall was actually the most impressive quarterback during training camp practices.

— Adam Caplan

Chargers TE reaches 500 career catches — 5:26 p.m.

Antonio Gates entered Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium four catches shy of 500 for his career. The Chargers two-time All-Pro reached the 500 mark with 5:43 remaining before halftime, snaring a 12-yard pass from QB Philip Rivers on 2nd and 13 from the Arizona 46-yard line.

With that catch, Gates becomes the seventh tight end in NFL history to record 500 or more receptions.

Gates already has two TD catches in the first half. He reached 498 career receptions by catching a 33-yard scoring pass from Rivers with 4:45 remaining in the opening quarter for a 7-0 San Diego lead.

Catch No. 501 was a wide open 26-yard TD pass from Rivers with 3:31 left before the break, pushing the Chargers’ lead to 21-7.

His 499th catch was a 22 yard reception on 1st and 15 from the Arizona 33-yard line, setting up RB Mike Tolbert’s 5-yard TD run that put San Diego ahead 14-7 with 10:31 remaining before halftime.

— Nancy Gay

Eagles RB shaken up — 5:22 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles starting RB LeSean McCoy, who was having a big game against the Washington Redskins, left contest late in the second quarter after taking a hit on his knee. McCoy got up slowly, but walked off under his own power. RB Mike Bell replaced him. but McCoy did return.

— Adam Caplan

Foster doesn't start — 5:03 p.m.

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster didn't wind up starting today's game at the Oakland Raiders. In fact, with less than 11 minutes left in the first half, Foster has yet to enter the game. It's believed Foster is being benched for disciplinary reasons, but it's not known what Foster did to deserve the benching.

RBs Derrick Ward and Steve Slaton have split up the touches.

— Adam Caplan

Vick leaves game — 5:01 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick left today's game late in the first quarter after getting sandwiched between two players. Vick appeared to injure his shoulder on the 23-yard run which got nullified by holding penalty. He will not return, and QB Kevin Kolb replaced him. Kolb suffered a concussion in the season opener, allowing Vick to take over the job.

WR Riley Cooper (concussion) left the game and will not return. The Eagles dressed just four receivers for the game.

Vick was sensational as the starter. He had 750 yards passing, six touchdowns and no interceptions, and had also run for 170 yards and one score in 10 quarters. For his efforts, Vick earned NFC offensive player of the month honors.

He was 5 for 7 for 49 yards passing and rushed three times for 17 yards against the Redskins.

He was a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback during six seasons in Atlanta.

Vick missed the next two seasons while serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation. His dazzling play and reformed personal image - he tours schools speaking out against dogfighting - has made him a fan favorite in Philadelphia. Fans bring signs touting ''Vickadelphia!''

In Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia on Sunday, one fan made a sign that read: ''Goodbye McNabb, Hello Vick-tory!''

— Adam Caplan and The Associated Press

Tolbert handling rushing load — 4:57 p.m.

While rookie RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is back from a two-game absence, FB Mike Tolbert is handling the rushing load for the San Diego Chargers today against the Arizona Cardinals.

Early in the second quarter, Mathews has two touches.

— Adam Caplan

McNabb makes big mistake — 4:33 p.m.

Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb missed a wide open Fred Davis on what likely would have been a big play or a score in the first quarter.

Davis was uncovered on the left side down field, but McNabb threw it a bit over his head.

— Adam Caplan

Haynesworth makes presence felt — 4:28 p.m.

Washington Redskins DL Albert Haynesworth doesn't start, but he made his presence felt early on against the Eagles.

Haynesworth made a key stop on a third-and-two play in the first quarter on a LeSean McCoy run.

— Adam Caplan

Redskins' Torain scores — 4:22 p.m.

It appears the Washington Redskins will continue to employ a rotation at running back. While Clinton Portis remains as the starter, backup Ryan Torain scored during the first quarter of today's game at the Philadelphia Eagles.

On the play, Torain bowled over SS Quintin Mikell. The veteran defensive back took a bad angle on the play.

— Adam Caplan

Unlikely RB scores for Texans — 4:09 p.m.

In a surprise, Houston Texans RB Arian Foster didn't score the first touchdown of the day against the Oakland Raiders. It wasn't Steve Slaton, either. Recently signed RB Derrick Ward scored on a 33-yard run in the first quarter to give the Texans the lead.

— Adam Caplan

McNabb gets cheers, not jeers — 4:04 p.m.

Much to the chagrin of many, Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb got cheered when he was announced during pregame warm-ups.

Speculation by some national writers had the Philadelphia Eagles fans likely booing the former starting quarterback for the team in his first game back since being traded prior to this year's NFL Draft.

— Adam Caplan

Ravens notch win in Pittsburgh — 3:57 p.m.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh only had two receptions through his first three games for the Baltimore Ravens, but the veteran had perhaps his most important catch in a long time.

Houshmandzadeh gave Pittsburgh Steelers CB Bryant McFadden a double move late in the fourth quarter and caught a 18-yard pass in the endzone for the go ahead score.

Third-year QB Joe Flacco wins for the first time in Pittsburgh.

— Adam Caplan

TE Gonzalez tops 12,000 career receiving yards — 3:56 p.m.

Tony Gonzalez became the first NFL tight end with 12,000 yards receiving in the Atlanta Falcons' game against San Francisco on Sunday.

Gonzalez caught a 9-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan late in the second quarter to surpass the 12,000-yard threshold.

In Atlanta's season-opening loss at Pittsburgh, Gonzalez became the first NFL tight with 1,000 career catches.

Gonzalez spent his first 12 seasons with Kansas City before the Falcons acquired him in a draft-week trade last year.

— The Associated Press

Sanchez finding the end zone — 3:47 p.m.

New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez finished Sunday's win at the Buffalo Bills with two more touchdowns, bringing his total over his last three games to eight.

Sanchez now has eight touchdowns on the season with no interceptions.

The Jets are now becoming a complete team on offense and will get WR Santonio Holmes back from his four-game suspension next week.

— Adam Caplan

Owens having huge game — 3:44 p.m.

While his team is still trailing, Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrell Owens is putting together a huge game. With roughly 10 minutes left in the game, Owens has eight receptions for 209 yards and a score.

The Cleveland Browns have been struggling mightily all season against the pass, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Owens is going off.

— Adam Caplan

WR options limited again for Colts — 3:28 p.m.

With WRs Pierre Garcon (hamstring) and Anthony Gonzalez (ankle) inactive again, the Indianapolis Colts will only dress three receivers for today's game at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Second-year WR Austin Collie (heel) will start for the second straight week for Garcon.

The Colts will also be without starting G Jamey Richard (shoulder), starting SS Bob Sanders (biceps), and backup RB Donald Brown (hamstring).

The team will get back starting WLB Clint Session (hamstring) after a two-game absence.

— Adam Caplan

Panthers' Smith goes down following catch — 3:25 p.m.

Panthers WR Steve Smith, who has battled myriad injuries the past seven seasons, left the field with 3:28 remaining in the third quarter against the Saints with what appeared to be a left ankle or foot injury.

Smith, who is closing in on 600 career catches, went down awkwardly after catching a 5-yard pass from QB Jimmy Clausen. The four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro was on the turf for several minutes in obvious pain before walking to the sideline with assistance from the Panthers’ medical staff.

After a short exam on the sideline, Smith was taken to the Carolina locker room on a cart to undergo X-rays on the ankle. He did not return and the Saints went on to win 16-14.

— Nancy Gay

Tomlinson passes Dorsett on all-time rushing list — 3:23 p.m.

New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson has passed Tony Dorsett to move into seventh place on the NFL's yards rushing list.

Tomlinson passed Dorsett with a 5-yard run at the end of the first quarter in the Jets game at the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Tomlinson entered the game with 12,698 yards rushing, and needed only 42 to pass Dorsett. He finished the first half with 89 yards rushing in helping the Jets to a 17-7 lead.

— The Associated Press

T.O. reaches another milestone — 3:17 p.m.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens has moved into second place on the NFL list of career receiving yards.

Owens caught a career-long 78-yard touchdown pass in the first half Sunday against Cleveland and had 128 yards at halftime. With 15,231 yards, Owens passed Isaac Bruce (15,208) for second behind Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who had 22,895 yards.

Owens entered the game needing five catches to pass Bruce (1,024) for fifth place on the all-time list. The touchdown was Owens' 145th, third on the career list.

— The Associated Press

LT getting it done — 3:11 p.m.

New York Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson has probably been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL. After struggling through injuries over the past few seasons with the San Diego Chargers, Tomlinson appears quite healthy.

Tomlinson, who had his first 100-yard rushing game since 2008 against the Buffalo Bills today, also has two scores on the day.

— Adam Caplan

Broncos airing it out — 3:07 p.m.

With starting RB Knowshon Moreno out for the third straight game, it's apparent the Denver Broncos have become a passing offense.

Even in a close game against the Tennessee Titans today, Denver has 30 called pass plays with just 10 called runs with about five minutes left in the third quarter.

— Adam Caplan

Redskins make lineup changes — 3:01 p.m.

The Washington Redskins have made three lineup changes for today's game at the Philadelphia Eagles.

On offense, backup OT Stephon Heyer starts for LT Trent Williams (toe, knee).

Backup G Kory Lichtensteiger starts for LG Derrick Dockery. Dockery wasn't listed on the injury report, so it appears that the lineup change is a coaching decision.

On defense, Lorenzo Alexander starts over LOLB Andre Carter. It's believed the move was a coaching decision and isn't injury related.

— Adam Caplan

Rodgers has monster first half — 2:54 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers continues to pile up huge numbers this season.

In the first half against the visiting Lions, Green Bay’s quarterback completed eight of nine passes for 131 yards. Rodgers hit Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings each for a touchdown.

— Ross Jones

Gaither active, but so is rookie — 2:49 p.m.

Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles fifth-year LB Omar Gaither was a healthy inactive with rookie LB Jamar Chaney active as the backup MLB.

Against the Washington Redskins, both LBs are active.

Starting C Nick Cole (knee-questionable) is also active for the game.

— Adam Caplan

Redskins to intro McNabb last — 2:42 p.m.

For today's game at the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Redskins will have their offense introduced first to the fans, with starting QB Donovan McNabb, a former Eagle, introduced last.

— Adam Caplan

Andre Johnson inactive — 2:38 p.m.

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (ankle-questionable) is one of the team's eight in actives for today's game at the Oakland Raiders.

Fourth-year WR Jacoby Jones will start for Johnson. Jones will be starting for the seventh time in his career.

— Adam Caplan

Bengals finally hit deep pass — 2:36 p.m.

The Cincinnati Bengals have had their problems getting the ball down field in the air, but they finally hit on one against the Cleveland Browns-but with a little help.

Veteran WR Terrell Owens wound up recording a 78-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter, but Cleveland CB Sheldon Brown fell down on the play. He was right with Owens on the play until he fell down.

— Adam Caplan

Johnson finally gets it going — 2:29 p.m.

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson has gotten off to a start this season, but he put together a fine first half at the Green Bay Packers.

Johnson already has five receptions for 72 yards with two touchdown grabs. Johnson had not had more than 56 yards in any of his three previous games.

QB Shaun Hill, who started his third straight game for Matthew Stafford, put up a whopping 237 yards in the first half.

— Adam Caplan

Titans coach makes obscene gesture towards official — 2:17 p.m.

Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil has expressed his anger at officials during Tennessee's game with Denver with an obscene gesture.

Television cameras caught Cecil using his right hand to make the gesture when officials flagged his defense for a neutral zone infraction during the second quarter. The penalty gave Denver first-and-goal, and Kyle Orton tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass on the next play for a 7-0 lead.

Last year, Titans owner Bud Adams was fined $250,000 by the NFL for making the same gesture. Adams made the gesture repeatedly from his owner's box and on the field celebrating a win over Buffalo last November.

— The Associated Press

Rodgers off to torrid start — 2:14 p.m.

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is off to his best start of the season.

Rodgers already has three touchdown passes to three different players (Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley) in the first half of today's game against the Detroit Lions.

Rodgers has made an array of outstanding throws and he's getting pretty solid pass protection

— Adam Caplan

Titans WR Gage injures hamstring — 2:03 p.m.

Tennessee receiver Justin Gage has gone to the locker room with an injured left hamstring, and his return is questionable.

Gage had two catches for 30 yards against Denver on Sunday. But he was on the sideline being examined by a team doctor when the Titans went on the field for their first series of the second quarter. He went to the locker room.

Kenny Britt replaced Gage.

— The Associated Press

Packers LB Barnett hurts left wrist — 2:03 p.m.

Packers linebacker Nick Barnett has left Green Bay's game with the Detroit Lions to have X-rays taken on his left wrist.

Results weren't immediately available and the team said Barnett's return was questionable.

It wasn't clear when Barnett was hurt, but he tackled fullback Jerome Felton on a 5-yard completion on the final play of the first quarter. Detroit scored two plays later.

Barnett was Green Bay's first-round pick in 2003. He's started 107 games in his career, missing his only significant action in 2008 with a torn knee ligament.

Desmond Bishop replaced Barnett.

— The Associated Press

Rookie RB has second fumble — 1:51 p.m.

The New Orleans Saints were hoping RB Chris Ivory could help fill the void created with the absence of injured RBs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.

Unfortunately, the rookie fumbled during the second quarter of today's game against the Carolina Panthers, his second in consecutive games. The fumble wound up causing a change of possession.

— Adam Caplan

Saints suffer injury at safety — 1:51 p.m.

New Orleans Saints starting SS Roman Harper (hamstring) was inactive for today's game against the Carolina Panthers. His replacement, veteran S Pierson Prioleau, left the game in the first half with an undisclosed injury. Special teams ace Chris Reis has taken over at strong safety.

— Adam Caplan

Clausen throws first TD pass — 1:49 p.m.

It took him a while to do it, but Carolina Panthers rookie QB Jimmy Clausen threw his first touchdown pass.

It came in an unconventional way on a pass to RB Jonathan Stewart on what looked to be a blown coverage by the New Orleans Saints. The play was officially a 55-yard reception.

— Adam Caplan

Hillis continues to carry rushing load — 1:48 p.m.

Even with RB Jerome Harrison (thigh) back from injury, FB Peyton Hillis continues to handle the rushing load against the Cincinnati Bengals today.

Early in the second quarter, Hillis has nine touches, Harrison has none.

— Adam Caplan

Stokley already involved — 1:37 p.m.

Veteran WR Brandon Stokley signed with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this week. On Sunday at the St. Louis Rams, Stokley is already looking like he may take over as the team's slot receiver.

Stokley has a few catches in the first half. He's giving the team a badly needed option in the middle of the field.

— Adam Caplan

49ers jump on Falcons early — 1:34 p.m.

With their backs against the wall, the San Francisco 49ers are off to a great start at the Atlanta Falcons.

The latest score came on a blocked punt and a recovery by rookie S Taylor Mays.

Because San Francisco plays in perhaps the worst division in the NFL, it's possible they can get back into the race for the division crown if they can beat the Falcons.

— Adam Caplan

Clayton off to fast start — 1:28 p.m.

St. Louis WR Mark Clayton is headed for a career season. The most receptions in posted in a season was back in his second year (2006) with the Baltimore Ravens when he posted 67 receptions. Through just three games, Clayton has already posted 17 receptions.

Clayton is off to a fast start against the Seattle Seahawks today. Clayton has three receptions already with a few minutes left in the first quarter.

— Adam Caplan

Driver on a scoring run — 1:23 p.m.

Green Bay Packers veteran WR Donald Driver is off to a fast start against the Detroit Lions.

The 12th-year pro beat coverage in the left side of the endzone for a 29-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. Driver has now scored in three out of Green Bay's first four games.

Driver has never scored more than nine touchdowns in a season.

— Adam Caplan

Tomlinson getting carries early — 1:10 p.m.

Second-year pro Shonn Greene was supposed to be the main ball carrier for the New York Jets season, but that hasn't been the case after three games.

Veteran LaDainian Tomlinson had seven more carries coming into today's game at the Buffalo Bills. So far today, Tomlinson started and scored on one of his five carries on the first drive.

— Adam Caplan

McGahee gets first carry — 1:08 p.m.

While no lineup change was announced, veteran RB Willis McGahee started over RB Ray Rice (knee), who is active for today's game at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rice did not practice fully this week leading up to the game, but moved around well.

— Adam Caplan

46-year-old Carney to kick for Saints — 12:41 p.m.

The Saints activated 46-year-old John Carney for Sunday's home game against the Carolina Panthers and scratched running back Pierre Thomas and safety Roman Harper from the lineup.

Carney signed with the Saints on Tuesday, two days after Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard overtime field goal in a loss to Atlanta. Hartley remains on the roster but was scratched against Carolina. Ladell Betts was slated to start for Thomas, who hurt his left ankle in last week's loss. Pierson Prioleau was replacing Harper, who strained his right hamstring last week.

DeShawn Wynn, signed from the practice squad Saturday, was a reserve running back. Cornerback Leigh Torrence was waived.

The Panthers deactivated tackle Jeff Otah.

— The Associated Press

Lions RB Best is active despite toe injury — 12:40 p.m.

Detroit running back Jahvid Best is active for the Lions' game against the Green Bay Packers.

The first-round draft pick has been slowed by a toe injury. Best has five touchdowns in the first three games of his career after being chosen No. 30 in April.

Also for the Lions, wide receiver Nate Burleson is out with an ankle injury. Bryant Johnson replaces him in the starting lineup, while Landon Johnson replaces an inactive DeAndre Levy (groin) at middle linebacker. As expected, quarterback Shaun Hill is getting his third start because of Matthew Stafford's shoulder injury.

There were no inactives in Green Bay's starting lineup. Cornerback Sam Shields, the Packers' nickel back, is out with a calf strain sustained in practice this week.

— The Associated Press

Quick pregame observations for Week 4 — 12:35 p.m.

- Baltimore Ravens: The good news is starting RB Ray Rice (knee) will be in the lineup today against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But can they muster up some points on offense against the very stingy Steeler defense?

- Buffalo Bills: The Buffalo defense will be without three starters due to injury (ILB Andra Davis, NT Marcus Stroud, CB Terrence McGee). The Jets should be able to roll up points on offense in this game.

- Cleveland Browns : Starting QB Jake Delhomme (ankle) is inactive again. The team hoped that Delhomme would be able to start against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he’s at least another week away.

- Denver Broncos: Rookie QB Tim Tebow is active for today’s game at the Tennessee Titans. Tebow was one Denver’s eight inactives for last week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

- New Orleans Saints: Starters RB Pierre Thomas (ankle) and SS Roman Harper (hamstring) are inactive for today’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Without Thomas and RB Reggie Bush (leg), the coaches will turn to RBs Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts to handle the rushing load. Betts should see a lot of time in passing situations.

As expected, veteran K John Carney is active. K Garrett Hartley, who is inactive, may not be active for a while, a source said. The coaches want to get Hartley’s confidence and accuracy back to where it needs to be.

- Seattle Seahawks: Veteran RB Julius Jones is a healthy inactive. It’s clear the coaches have strong confidence in Justin Forsett to handle the rushing load.

- St. Louis Rams: Starting RB Steven Jackson (groin-questionable) is active for today’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. But Jackson could be limited by his injury, so look for backup RB Ken Darby to see more to playing time than usual.

Darby was very decisive and got to the second level on many of his runs last week against the Redskins.

— Adam Caplan

Here's an overview of what I'll be looking for in today's games — 12:21 p.m.

1.) Can veteran QB Charlie Batch lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 4-0 record?

It's remarkable that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a strong chance to go 4-0 without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger, who will sit out the final game of his four-game suspension this week against the Baltimore Ravens.

Batch has done a nice job of managing the game from an offensive standpoint the last two weeks, but his challenge will be much more difficult against the stingy Baltimore defense. Batch has taken a few shots down field, but Baltimore's secondary has held up surprisingly well against the pass this season despite suffering a few key injuries.

I'm expecting a low-scoring game with the Steelers, who have had their way in recent years against the Ravens, winning in a close one.

2.) How will the Philadelphia Eagles choose to defend Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb?

The Eagles are really developing a very solid four-man defensive end rotation. It's rare that a team can find more than two good pass rushers, so the very average Washington offensive line probably will have their hands full today.

If McNabb can find the time to throw, look for him to take his shots down field. That's the one area where McNabb can do some damage. He still has elite arm strength.
Philadelphia doesn't have to really be concerned with Washington's struggling running game, so it wouldn't be surprising if they blitzed quite a bit and forced McNabb to make quick decisions.

3.) Will the Redskins go after Michael Vick?

The Redskins have blitzed around 70 times in three games, but they seemed to back off quite a bit during last week's game at St. Louis. They gave Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford way too much time to throw.

When he played for the Falcons, it seemed the best way to stop Vick was to take away his rushing lanes and make him a thrower. Now, because he's throwing for a career-high 60.7 percent completion rate, it's becoming more difficult to defend him.

If I were calling the shots, I probably would play a fifth defender in the box in order to make Vick a thrower again. It would then be up to the secondary to play with more discipline.

4.) Can Jay Cutler keep the success going against the New York Giants?

Through three games, Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler has thrown four more touchdown passes than interceptions. His detractors probably thought those numbers would be reversed. His decision making has been very solid for the most part, so whatever teams are trying to do to him really isn't working.

Keeping the solid play going won't be easy at the New York Giants, but the game plan should be the same as it has been so far. Cutler simply has to get the ball out of his hands quickly in order to help his less-than-stellar offensive line hold up. Cutler has done a nice job of reading defenses so far.

5.) Is Mark Sanchez for real?

Over his last two games, New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six touchdowns passes and no interceptions. While the Jets aren't really a passing offense, those touchdown numbers would be impressive for any veteran signal caller.

The difference for Sanchez in comparison to last season is he's playing much more under control. He also is starting to develop very good chemistry with TE Dustin Keller. With Keller becoming more of a factor each week, that should open things up for the wide receivers. It will be very interesting to see how the Jets approach the Buffalo Bills today. They likely can take a conservative approach and still win.

-- Adam Caplan