NOT JUST LUCK: The Colts upset the Packers, proving there’s some real bite behind the bark of a very young team. Photo courtesy Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Each week, the NFL storyline changes. If each play is a verse, each week is a chapter, and each season a book. As with any good story, the trends change and new plots develop. But, it’s important to look beyond the score box when taking a peek at each NFL week. Here are some things that stuck out this past week.

Sanchez Remains America’s Favorite Scapegoat

Another week, another Jets loss. More importantly, though, it’s yet another week people will say Mark Sanchez is to blame. Well, I’m sorry to say it’s just not that simple.

The fact of the matter is there is PLENTY of blame to go around. In fact, against a VERY stout Texans defense, the Jets’ offense (yes, under the leadership of Sanchez) was fairly effective. Still, the Sanchez lynch mob will wax poetically about what could’ve been done.

Well, how about what could’ve been done on defense. This is supposed to be a bone-crushing, bloodthirsty squad. How many sacks did they get on Houston? Here’s a hint: it’s the same number of nuclear weapons Lithuania has. Oh, and how does the loss of Revis Island explain the fact that Arian Foster ran for nearly as many yards as Matt Schaub threw for.

“But Bryan,” the people say, “Mark threw TWO picks. And he had a completion percentage under 50%!”

After that second pick that essentially iced the game, Sanchez was 14 for 30. On the other side of the field, Matt Schaub finished 14 for 28 and less yardage. So, to summarize, the passing performances were practically the same, Houston way outperformed New York running the ball and on defense, and STILL somehow its Sanchez’s fault? Forget about it!

Newton’s Law: Sophomore Struggles aren’t Rocket Science

Is it just me or does the story of Cam Newton as of late feel a lot like Willie Beamen from Any Given Sunday? He was doubted, then he excelled, then he struggled, then the critics questioned whether the bright lights of the pro football had gone to his head.

Well, it’s not the same. For one thing, Cam Newton is like six inches taller.

But it’s not just that. If we really wanted to see it, we could’ve predicted this Sophomore slump. It happens all the time. The reason why a rookie attaining the level of success that he did is so sensational is because it rarely happens. And, when, it does, there usually is a regression towards the average.

Cam can tear at his chest all he wants, but he’s not Superman. He’s a super-talented youngster that is going to have growing pains just like anyone else. They keyword in that sentence is GROWING. As in: he’ll likely grow out of them. Steve Young did. So did Franco Harris.

If you’re Carolina fan or just a Cam Newton fan, trust me: this 2012 campaign is no cause for concern.

Pretty in Pink

Yes, the pink-out in the NFL technically started last week in the NFL with the Monday Night game on October 1st. However, this was the first week where the entire league was on the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, so we’ll talk about it now.

I can’t overstate how brilliant this campaign is. Started by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s wife, a survivor herself, I dare to say the display of pink accoutrements by NFL players and personnel has the largest, most visible reach of any cancer awareness program out there. The pink-dashed equipment serves as an alternate uniform of sort, and one that fans want. Then with every football fan (in other words, about half of the United States) wearing pink, the word spreads.

There’s definitely a narrated message along with the facilitation, but for the most part, the program needs no oversight. With fans’ natural desire to have what their favorite players wear both on the field and sidelines, the campaign – for the lack of a better word – works like a cancer itself: it grows and spreads on its own without any fertilization. It’s a GOOD cancer, if one could possibly exist.

Cancer of the breast versus a cancer of information and awareness. Talk about fighting fire with fire.

Irvin Turning Heads, but it’s Still Early

I’ll admit it: I didn’t foresee Seahawks rookie Bruce Irvin getting off to this hot of a start. In fact, I don’t think anyone did. But truth be told: we can’t write this off as a happy draft success just yet.

For one thing, we can’t say that these first five weeks by Irvin have been totally surprising. When evaluating him in the draft, even his biggest critics couldn’t deny his pure ability as a pass rusher. Yes, the 4.5 sacks are truly impressive, but if there was one category Irvin was going to dominate, it’d be that.

Second, one of the biggest knocks against Irvin was his potential off-the-field issues. He’s definitely kept his nose clean (so to speak) so far, but his recent boasts on Twitter hint at his true personality. Bruce Irvin’s biggest fan might be Bruce Irvin, and if he begins to think he’s invincible too often – well – that’s where poor decisions are usually made.

So, my hats off to Irvin for quieting the naysayers early on, but five weeks is a very small fraction of a career. Or, at least, a successful one.

NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure you follow him @bclienesch for NFL updates and other shenanigans!