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NFL Week 4 recap: Peyton's back, and better than ever

Tuesday - 10/1/2013, 9:10am  ET

Peyton Manning - Getty
Peyton Manning throws a pass during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Broncos won 52-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Rob Woodfork, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - I'm about to break some NFL news you may not have been aware of otherwise.

Peyton Manning is the most prolific passer the NFL has ever seen.

In case you haven't seen the numbers, allow me to point them out: 1,470 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and a 138.0 QB rating. To lend full perspective, the first two numbers are NFL records for the first four weeks of the season and the latter is only a few notches below the perfect mark of 158.3. Oh, and did I mention Manning has yet to throw an interception?

What Manning is doing in Denver this season is nothing short of incredible, especially when you consider that many questioned whether the man could (or would) be able to play football ever again after a bad neck injury. Not only has he come back -- he might actually be better than ever, even at the ripe old age of 37.

Many of my longtime readers (and by "many" I mean "both of") may be surprised to see me focus on Manning in such a positive light. I've long criticized Manning for failing to maintain his high level of play in the playoffs, and for having only one ring to show for his long, unprecedented success in Indianapolis. His three turnovers in last season's home playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens only added fuel to my argument.

But as critical of Manning as I've been, I've also maintained that there's no greater show during the NFL regular season. It's a bit cliché to say he's a coach on the field, but nobody has more command of a huddle both on and off the field than Manning, and nobody is as detail-oriented when it comes to preparation. That's readily apparent when the lights are on during Weeks 1 through 17.

Here's hoping Manning can prove me wrong in Week 22. It just seems good for football if he does.

But for now, here's our Week 4 review:

Niners 35
Rams 11

Forget for a moment that San Francisco ran for more yards than St. Louis gained in total offense. Forget that Sam Bradford completed less than half of his passes for a Tebow-esque 59.2 QB rating. We saw a free kick in an NFL game for the first time in five years, and have yet to see a successful one in 37 years. Brad Nessler is my new favorite broadcaster for even knowing this rule, let alone calling it out before it happened.

Ravens 20
Bills 23

No words. Just this.

Bengals 6
Browns 17

Andy Dalton went from outplaying Aaron Rodgers to getting outplayed by some dude named Brian Hoyer. Unless Hoyer is the next Rodgers, that's not good.

Bears 32
Lions 40

Now that's the Jay Cutler we all know and love (to laugh at).

Oh, and Detroit is in first place in the NFC North. I'll let that marinate for a minute.

Giants 7
Chiefs 31

As I watched Eli Manning extend his league-leading interception total while his older brother continues to rewrite the NFL record books, it dawned on me: If you could combine regular season Peyton with playoff Eli, you'd have one unstoppable force at QB. I call it the Manning Brothers Yin Yang.

Oh, and here's a stat for you: New York has been outscored 69-7 the last two weeks. Tom Coughlin must feel like he's still in Jacksonville.

Steelers 27
Vikings 34

"Hey, London ... we know we're jamming our sport down your throat whether you want it or not. And we figure the best way to make you accept it is to export a game between two winless teams that features a guy nicknamed Big Ben getting his bell rung and a backup QB handing off to Adrian Peterson a bunch of times. You're welcome." -- Signed, NFL

Cardinals 13
Buccaneers 10

The only thing uglier than this game is the deteriorating situation in Tampa between Josh Freeman and the Bucs. They need to finalize this divorce and move on.

Colts 37
Jaguars 3

Apparently, Jaguars officials are finally ready to admit their brand is so awful that they're willing to fund an effort to liquor you up while you watch a game. Drink it in, Jacksonville. It always goes down ... well, it always goes down.

Seahawks 23
Texans 20 (OT)

My Super Bowl preview! Seattle is 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, but if Houston is going to hold up its end of the bargain, they're going have to get Matt Schaub to stop handing out Pick Six-es like party favors.

Jets 13
Titans 38

This game was all about QB issues: Tennessee lost Jake Locker (maybe for the season) to a hip injury, and Geno Smith thought it would be cool to orbit the ball around his hip for some lame-brained behind the back pass in the shadow of his own end zone. Both issues seem correctable ... just don't bet on either to get fixed before the end of this season.

Oh, speaking of Geno Smith ... I may have the mystery solved: He simply can't play on the road. Adjust your fantasy teams accordingly.

Redskins 24
Raiders 14

It was hard to tell if the smell of the Black Hole was coming from the teams playing on the field or the sewage everywhere else.

But take heart, 'Skins fans: the Burgundy and Gold are just a single game out of first place despite the 1-3 start. Gotta love the 2013 NFC Least.

Eagles 20
Broncos 52

The good vibes are Mile-High in Denver these days: The Broncos have won a team-record 15 straight regular-season games and the first half of their schedule sets them up to have no more than one loss heading into their Week 9 bye. If this holds up when the weather turns cold, it could be a pretty special season in Denver.

Cowboys 21
Chargers 30

It's ironic Dallas choked this hard in San Diego, where the Chargers gagged away many games in the same fashion. The Cowboys will look back on this game with great regret, especially after Denver blows them out next week and the Redskins steal one in Jerry's Billion-Dollar Playhouse in two weeks. You heard it here first.

Patriots 30
Falcons 23

Boy, looks like I got off the Falcons bandwagon just in time. At 1-3 -- and three games behind New Orleans in the NFC South -- Atlanta is wasting a great final act by Tony Gonzalez.

Dolphins 17
Saints 38

New Orleans is 4-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2009. Drew Brees broke a few more passing records. Just a few more footnotes en route to the seemingly inevitable showdown with the Seahawks in the NFC championship game.

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