For those of you hyperventilating over Mike Pettine's decision to start Josh McCown over Johnny Manziel in Sunday's Browns game against the Raiders: Relax, OK? Is it really so bad that coach Pettine, who built his entire off-season plans around Josh McCown while Manziel was undergoing inpatient rehab for alcohol problems, sticks with McCown for at least the near term? Of course not. Yes, Manziel played well in last week's win over the Titans. But there's nothing wrong with letting McCown remain the starter for now and letting the situation play out over time. Plenty of season left, certainly enough to see more of Manziel if McCown gets hurt again or can't be a reliable starter. No need to force it so soon.
Brady's numbers inflated
So how's Tom Brady doing since the Patriots were found to be playing with underinflated footballs at halftime of last season's AFC Championship Game? Better than ever, as a matter of fact. Brady's numbers are positively stratospheric since the wheels were set in motion for the raging controversy known as DeflateGate. In the 3 ½ games Brady has played since then, including Super Bowl XLIX, he has completed 112-of-155 passes (72.3 percent) for 1,213 yards, 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions for a passer rating of 117.5. His career rating is 96.2, and his best passer rating over an entire season is 117.2 in 2007. In two wins this year, Brady has seven TD passes and no interceptions.
Still chance at suspension
Brady still faces the possibility of a suspension for his alleged role in the Patriots' use of underinflated footballs. The NFL and NFLPA have asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the league's appeal of District Court Judge Richard Berman decision to vacate Brady's four-game suspension.
Marshall is miffed
Brandon Marshall has been terrific so far for the Jets, but his perceived lack of recognition for being a top receiver continues to bother him. "When I go out there I just try my best to not only be the No. 1 receiver on my team, but being the No. 1 receiver in the league," Marshall said in a radio interview on Friday. "And to be totally honest and transparent, it [ticks] me off that no one recognizes that. And it's OK because all you can do is put your head down and work, and when you get your opportunities it will happen." Yes, it will happen. In fact, it already is.
Steelers setting trend?
Are the Steelers setting a trend in going for the two-point conversion at seemingly unconventional times in a game? Too early to say, but Pittsburgh is certainly giving other teams reason to at least consider going for two points now that extra point tries have been moved back to the 15-yard line. The Steelers have already attempted the two-point conversion three times, making all three. "We're going to keep doing it," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "We don't practice it this much not to do it. We practice it every single day."
Really like the way Giants rookie safety Landon Collins has looked so far. He sees plays develop nicely and is rarely caught out of position. The Giants took plenty of heat for not re-signing Antrel Rolle, but if Collins turns out to be as good as he has looked so far, this was the proper decision.
Pats' Andrews amazes
David Andrews' memergence as the Patriots' starting center is astonishing. Pressed into service because of injuries to Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell, Andrews has started both games for New England and may remain there even when his teammates are ready to return. That's pretty amazing, considering Andrews went undrafted and signed in May as a rookie free agent.
Dalton is a winner
We all know about Andy Dalton's shortcomings in the playoffs (no wins in four straight postseason games), but the man knows how to win in the regular season. Dalton has the highest winning percentage of any quarterback in Bengals' history. He's 42-23-1 overall, good for a .640 winning percentage.
Brees on borrowed time?
Drew Brees has been one of the very best NFL quarterbacks over the last decade, but you have to wonder if we may soon be seeing the last of the Saints' veteran. He's out this week after suffering a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder on a play last week against the Bucs. Hope he gets back quickly and can play at full strength. But at age 36 . . . well.
Palmer on a roll
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has won 15 of his last 17 starts, including eight straight. His 152.1 passer rating in the fourth quarter this season leads the NFL.
Broncos are road warriors
Overlooked in Peyton Manning's stunning come-from-behind win in Kansas City last week was the fact that the Broncos have won 13th straight divisional road games, the most in NFL history. Manning, who faces the Lions and Jim Caldwell, his former coach in Indianapolis, on Sunday night, joined Brett Favre (71,838) as the only other quarterback with 70,000 passing yards. Manning (5,977) needs 23 completions to join Favre (6,300) as the only player with 6,000 career completions.
0-2 start not as bad as it seems
Some hope for teams that have gotten off to an 0-2 start: Since the current playoff format was started in 1990, 24 teams that started 0-2 went on to make the playoffs. That includes last year's Colts, who are again 0-2 this season. Two teams -- the 1993 Cowboys and 2007 Giants -- won the Super Bowl after 0-2 starts.