On the one hand, I don't want to be the didactic mainstream sports analyst who tells fans what they should feel, when they should feel it, and how they're allowed to express themselves. That's Joe Buck's job, and he's awesome at it.
But on the other hand, it's tough to ignore the circumstances in Philadelphia on Sunday. In the closing minutes — with the Eagles driving, trailing by five, a game-winning score still in play — the home fans weren't exactly filling the Linc with warmth. Instead, they booed the offense persistently, in the same way that many observers suspected they might boo Donovan McNabb(notes) during player introductions.
As it turned out, McNabb received a warm ovation. But Kevin Kolb(notes) was subjected to a steady wave of fourth quarter anger, while he was directing the Philadelphia offense in relief of the injured Michael Vick(notes).
It's tough to argue that Kolb actually did anything on Sunday afternoon that merited cheers, of course — he took no risks, as Philly wideouts finished with just eight catches. Head coach Andy Reid didn't quite put on a game/clock-management clinic, either, so there were a few things worth booing. Nonetheless, the Eagles had a reasonable chance to get a win, and Kolb's final pass of the day actually hit Jason Avant(notes) in the hands while the wideout was in the end zone. Video here.
Again: I'm not here to tell you how to respond to your team, or to your numbingly conservative quarterback, or to your head coach. I'm just saying that it was a bit surreal to watch a home team get such a hostile crowd reaction, while on a potential game-winning drive. Only in Philly.
Vick is scheduled to have an MRI on his ribs and/or clavicle on Monday. Depending on the results — and on Vick's pain tolerance — Eagles fans may have to suffer through a few more weeks with Kolb, the QB everyone supposedly loved just two months ago.
But no matter what happens in Week 5, we refuse to lead Sunday Scene with this quarterback situation again. Minimum six-week hiatus. Promise.
• Darren McFadden(notes) exited the Raiders-Texans tilt in the second half with an apparent hamstring injury, bringing an abrupt halt to his bounce-back season. Before checking out, McFadden managed to gain 129 yards from scrimmage. (Big improvement on his 3-yard, 7-touch performance against Houston last season). Michael Bush(notes) rushed for 40 yards on seven carries for Oakland; he obviously stands to benefit if McFadden misses time.
• Clinton Portis(notes) appeared to injure pretty much every body part during the Philly-Washington game, and a groin issue finally knocked him out. Ryan Torain(notes) had an outstanding day for the 'Skins, rushing for 70 yards and a score. He completely destroyed Quintin Mikell(notes) on this 12-yard TD. Add Torain every place you can, and just hope he remains healthy. It feels like we've had this Shanahan/Torain fire drill before.
• The early word on Steve Smith's injury is a high ankle sprain, which clearly means he's at risk of missing Carolina's Week 5 match-up against Chicago. Not that you were enjoying the Smith-Clausen connection, but still.
• Austin Collie(notes) had the expected TD reception against Jacksonville, his tenth in has last 12 games (playoffs included), but Reggie Wayne(notes) did most of the damage against the Jaguars' user-friendly secondary. Wayne finished with a career-high 15 catches for 196 yards. The Colts offense did their part on Sunday, scoring 28 points, but the defense was a no-show. Jacksonville finished with 174 net yards rushing, as Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) finally hit triple-digits and visited the end zone (twice). David Garrard(notes) had an unusually solid fantasy day for a guy who only passed for 163 yards. He connected on TDs with MJD and Marcedes Lewis(notes), and he ran for another score.
• Max Hall(notes) seems likely to get the start for Arizona next week, in a next-to-impossible game against the Saints. Ken Whisenhunt hasn't yet declared his intentions, but Derek Anderson(notes) was a mess on Sunday. (See video below).
• Here's FOX's Terry Bradshaw, discussing Arian Foster(notes): "He was benched in the first quarter for disciplinarian actions." Apparently Foster is a vigilante, taking discipline into his own hands! Gary Kubiak could stand no more! (No, Foster reportedly missed a meeting this week, and was thus benched in the first quarter. He still managed to gain 187 total yards and cross the goal line twice, so his fantasy owners have no reason to complain).
• The Eagles allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends last season, so it was no great surprise that Chris Cooley(notes) found the end zone against them in Week 4. Fred Davis(notes) nearly had a long gain, too, but he forget to continue running downfield, so McNabb overshot him.
• Kenny Britt(notes) has caught touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks, and I talked him up in one of the blurbs below. But that guy also had a brutal drop on a deep ball against the Broncos. On his best days, he's like Dwayne Bowe(notes) Lite.
• Here's a link to a nice piece of Steven Jackson propaganda, via Bryan Burwell. Jackson delivered 124 total yards against Seattle, playing at limited capacity due to a groin issue. Jackson couldn't accelerate to full speed because of the injury, and cutting was a problem because the training staff had wrapped him in so many protective layers. And still, he gave you 12.4 points. If Jackson helped you to win, toss him an imaginary game ball.
Early waiver adds for Week 5…
QB Sam Bradford(notes), at DET (30 percent owned)
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), vs. JAC (4 percent)
RB Ryan Torain, vs. GB (12 percent)
RB Michael Bush, vs. SD (46 percent)
RB LeGarrette Blount(notes), at CIN (6 percent)
WR James Jones(notes), at WAS (4 percent)
WR Mike Thomas(notes), at BUF (9 percent)
WR Robert Meachem(notes), at ARI (47 percent)
TE Tony Moeaki(notes), at IND (15 percent)
Third Quarter• Just when you thought Michael Vick had saved your fantasy season, Kevin Kolb is back under center for the Eagles. At the conclusion of a brilliant, improvised 23-yard run, Vick was sandwiched by a pair of Washington defenders at the goal line. Here's the clip. Vick suffered a rib/chest/collarbone injury of as-yet-unknown severity, and was quickly taken to the locker room for X-rays. And the run was negated by a holding penalty.
So this might not be your day, Vick owner. Your quarterback is done for the day. Kolb is 6-for-8 with 66 passing yards in relief. LeSean McCoy(notes) has actually provided most of the offense for Philly (98 total yards). The Eagles defense has been a mess, allowing 183 total net yards in the first half and 115 passing yards to Donovan McNabb.
• For reasons that remain mysterious (but are probably disciplinary in nature), Arian Foster didn't make an appearance for the Texans until the 6:50 mark in the second quarter. Derrick Ward(notes) poached an early rushing score for Houston, but Foster ran his way out of the doghouse with a 74-yard TD run early in the third quarter, outracing Michael Huff(notes) down the sideline.
• Arizona is being mauled by the Chargers at the moment, and Derek Anderson has been replaced by Max Hall (deservedly). Anderson threw a pair of picks before leaving. This INT is as ugly as any you'll see from an NFL quarterback.
Philip Rivers(notes) has been nearly perfect, connecting with Antonio Gates(notes) for a pair of scores. Ryan Mathews(notes) is barely a rumor, as Mike Tolbert(notes) has dominated the rushing workload. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that Mathews may be bothered by an elbow injury. An ankle was the assumed problem here.
Update, minutes later: Well, we can scrap the injury talk. The Chargers clearly aren't protecting Mathews from aggravating anything. He's getting plenty of fourth quarter work, in a game that his team leads by a wide margin. Mathews is receiving an understudy's workload, basically.
• Please welcome Maurice Jones-Drew to the fantasy season, just a few weeks late. MJD didn't visit the end zone in the season's first three weeks, but he finally broke the plane in the second quarter against Indy — his helmet didn't make it, but the rest of him did.
Second Quarter• If ever an NFL game needed the Mercy Rule, it was Sunday's match-up between the Buffalo and New York. That thing was never competitive. It was, predictably enough, a nice day to own Jets skill players. LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) and Shonn Greene(notes) each topped 100 rushing yards, with LT breaking the plane twice. Braylon Edwards(notes) had four catches for 86 yards and a score, and tight end Dustin Keller(notes) delivered two TDs, per his usual. Brad Smith(notes) threw the first, Mark Sanchez(notes) the second.
This being a bye week, a few deep leaguers were probably forced to roll with Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in a terrible match-up on Sunday. That move actually went better than anyone could have anticipated, as Fitzpatrick finished with two TD passes (one a garbage-time special) while also leading the Bills in rushing (74 yards). Fitzpatrick gets the user-friendly Jaguars in Week 5, so he'll likely sneak into a few more lineups.
• Joe Flacco(notes) has taken a fair amount of criticism from the fantasy community, but he seemed awfully composed and confident on the Ravens' game-winning touchdown drive. (The short field certainly helped). Flacco pump-faked to help TJ Houshmandzadeh(notes) clear the defense, and Baltimore had an easy score. The Ravens have faced a brutal early schedule — at NYJ, at CIN, CLE, at PIT — but they've somehow emerged 3-1.
• One small note regarding the Baltimore defense: For the second straight week, an opposing running back had a solid day against them. Perhaps the Ravens overlooked Peyton Hillis(notes) last week, but they had to know that Rashard Mendenhall(notes) was in line for a serious workload in Week 4. Mendenhall only averaged 3.2 yards per carry on Sunday, but he found the end zone twice.
• Carolina receiver Steve Smith suffered an injury to his left foot/ankle in the second half at New Orleans, and he was carted to the locker room. Not good at all. Smith was limping badly before the cart arrived; when he checked out, he had just two receptions for 11 yards.
• After an encouraging start (see below), the Niners' new version of their old offense didn't impress in a 16-14 loss to Atlanta. Alex Smith threw a pair of picks, Frank Gore(notes) again led the team in both rushing and receiving (77 rush, 60 rec). Michael Crabtree(notes) had his best day of the 2010 season, but it wasn't enough to actually help anyone (5-58-0). Unless you're a Matt Bryant(notes) owner in multiple leagues (ahem) the Niners-Falcons game wasn't terribly satisfying. The play of the game was Roddy White's(notes) game-saving strip-tackle on Nate Clements(notes); we need to find a way to properly recognize such events in fantasy.
• If you assigned serious points to Green Bay in a confidence pool — seemed like a good idea at the time — you received a scare today, but you survived. Shaun Hill(notes) passed for 331 yards against the Packers, Megatron hauled in six passes for 86 yards and two scores, and 1,000-year-old Jason Hanson(notes) kicked four second-half field goals. Green Bay escaped with a 28-26 win, however. Aaron Rodgers(notes) was picked twice, after we raved about him. Naturally.
• Peyton Hillis had another excellent day against another excellent defense (BAL in Week 3, CIN in Week 4). It's fun watching third-level defenders react to Hillis when he has momentum. As an early Peyton investor, I'll happily acknowledge that I set my expectations too low.
• It was either a strange day for Carson Palmer(notes), or he was great and I happened to flip on that game at all the wrong times. Every time I checked in, Palmer was fumbling or throwing a near-interception. (Eric Wright(notes) could have had a pick-six early in the day). But somehow Palmer finished with 371 passing yards, most of which went to Terrell Owens(notes) (10-for-222). TO was utterly uncoverable on Sunday; it's no easy task, accounting for all the weapons in Cincinnati's receiving corps.
• Brandon Lloyd(notes) had yet another huge line for the Broncos (11-115), and Kyle Orton(notes) was looking for him late, for a potential game-winner. Eddie Royal(notes) finished with eight catches for 113 yards and a score, as Kyle Orton continued his absurd pace. The Broncos QB passed for 341 yards and two TDs, connecting with seven different receivers. Laurence Maroney(notes) was basically a waste of a roster spot (11 carries, five yards).
• Pierre Thomas(notes) was inactive for the Saints in their home match-up with Carolina, and Ladell Betts(notes) and Christopher Ivory(notes) split the workload evenly in PT's absence. Each back had 12 carries; Ivory appeared a bit livelier, though he also lost a fumble. Jurassic John Carney(notes) kicked three field goals for New Orleans, and his team needed 'em all in a 16-14 win. Garrett Hartley(notes), you're dropped.
First Quarter• Three of Aaron Rodgers first nine pass attempts resulted in touchdowns, and he's generously spreading the wealth. Donald Driver(notes), Jermichael Finley(notes) and Greg Jennings(notes) have all found the end zone. The day's most obvious mismatch is Rodgers vs. the Lions secondary. He's throwing darts, and Detroit's DBs can't to hang with anyone.
Sunday's second-most obvious mismatch, however, is Calvin Johnson(notes) vs. the Green Bay defense. Johnson was ludicrously wide open on his first touchdown reception, and he won a jump ball between defenders on his second. You started him, right? Please tell me you did. If you waffled, even for a moment, you are not worthy of Megatron. Your league commissioner should immediately assign him to another team.
• Make sure to catch the highlight of the Taylor Mays blocked punt TD. Impressive awareness and footwork from the rookie right there. Nice to see San Francisco's DST finally make an appearance. Needed 'em last week, though.
• Danny Amendola's(notes) 14-yard, one-handed grab might very well be the play of the day. Highlight here. That was ridiculous. He made a nifty spin move to shed the coverage, too. Quietly, Amendola has been making a few PPR owners happy this season. He entered the day with 16 total catches for 162 yards.
• Kenny Britt caught a TD pass from Vince Young(notes) in Week 3 and he's added another in Week 4. Britt deserves a look from fantasy owners in deep-ish leagues. The Titans obviously aren't a team that intends to put the ball in the air 35 times a game (or maybe even 25 times), but he's a legit talent, and Tennessee's receiving corps isn't loaded with options. Justin Gage(notes) left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, helping Britt's cause.
• San Francisco made a change at OC this week, kicking Jimmy Raye to the curb and promoting quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson. The early returns are certainly promising. Alex Smith completed his first six throws, including two to Michael Crabtree and a 12-yard score to Vernon Davis(notes). Impressive stretch by Davis to break the plane on the TD.
• The Ravens opened the day by giving early carries to Willis McGahee, not the injured Ray Rice. It appears that Rice's knee contusion is more severe (more contused?) than anyone expected. McGahee made a pair of nifty moves to avoid tackles on his second quarter score.
• AJ Hawk(notes) received a gift interception today, when Jahvid Best(notes) fell down on this short route. That fluke pick is basically the only lowlight in the first half for Shaun Hill, however. The Lions QB has opened by going 10-for-12 for 127 yards against Green Bay; he connected with Calvin Johnson on a 23-yard score.
• The Jets offense absolutely steamrolled Buffalo on their opening drive, clearing massive running lanes for LaDainian Tomlinson. LT carried five times for 42 yards and a goal line score. His biggest gain was off an option pitch from Brad Smith. That play is straight outta the Southwest Conference in 1972. Always seems to work when New York runs it, though.
• OK, we understand that Eric Mangini is desperate for a touchdown of any kind, but his first quarter challenge on the Ben Watson end zone incompletion was an awful decision. That call was clear, correctly called on the field.
• Jimmy Clausen's(notes) first NFL touchdown pass wasn't exactly a thing of beauty, but they all count. It took Clausen forever to find Jonathan Stewart(notes), who was standing alone, uncovered. And then Stewart nearly tripped at the 5-yard line, but he managed to stumble into the end zone.
We begin the news-and-notes portion of our fantasy day with a few pre-FFL injury bullets…
• Neither Pierre Garcon(notes) nor Donald Brown(notes) traveled with the Colts to Jacksonville, so they'll miss Sunday's matchup. (Unless perhaps they're driving separately. Seems unlikely). Both players are dealing with hamstring injuries.
• New England running back Fred Taylor(notes) has been ruled out of the Monday nighter, so BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes), Sammy Morris(notes), and cable star Danny Woodhead(notes) should handle the backfield duties. BenJarvus seems like the strongest play from that bunch; he's coming off a 98-yard rushing effort against the Bills.
• Adam Schefter tweets the following: "It will be a surprise if Saints RB Pierre Thomas is active today." Most of the context clues, like the DeShawn Wynn(notes) promotion, suggest that PT could indeed be a no-go. Ladell Betts and Christopher Ivory would be the plays in PT is sidelined.
Update: It's official. Thomas, inactive. Take evasive action.
• Jahvid Best (toe), Ray Rice (knee) and Steven Jackson (groin) are expected to be active on Sunday. Deploy them as needed. Best and Rice have rough match-ups (GB, PIT) and Jackson doesn't exactly sound like a lock for a full workload. But a half-groined S-Jax is presumably better than no S-Jax.
Creepy dog mask? Check.
Big foam Thing fists? [Profane] yeah. Double-check.
OK, you're ready. Week 4 is upon us. As you might have heard, there are injury worries all over the map. Please join us over at Fantasy Football Live at noon ET for late notes and advice. And please, refresh Sunday Scene throughout the day, if only for the exceptional quality of the comments. (Also, for the actionable fantasy news, updated regularly).
Photos via AP Images (Vick), Getty Images (Browns fan) and US Presswire (Matthews, Tomlinson, Kolb)