Each week, theScore looks at the teams, players, and units trending upward and those taking a step back.

? Jimmy Graham

This is the best Graham has looked in a Seattle uniform. The former Pro Bowler has put together back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time since 2013 and appears fully recovered from a patellar tendon injury.

He’s regained his trademark leaping ability and is back to making highlight-reel catches. It was widely believed Seattle fleeced New Orleans when they traded for him in 2015, but they’re just now seeing the returns.

? Indianapolis Colts

Teams that lose in England don’t normally make it back across the pond fully intact. The Colts’ furious fourth-quarter comeback fell short Sunday in London, dropping Indianapolis to 1-3 and into a share of last place in the AFC South, but this may be the rare case in which the head coach’s job may not be in danger.

The Colts have allowed at least 26 points in each of their four games, nullifying whatever Andrew Luck does on the offensive end. Chuck Pagano signed a contract extension in the offseason, and that deal may end up handcuffing the team from making necessary changes.

? Rookie QBs

Carson Wentz is the defending Offensive Rookie of the Month, Dak Prescott has yet to commit a turnover, Jacoby Brissett won his first NFL start, third-round pick Cody Kessler has kept the hopeless Browns in it in their last two games, and late first-round pick Paxton Lynch was impressive in mop-up duty Sunday for the Broncos.

What was a derided crop of quarterbacks in the lead up to the NFL draft in April has proven to be both reliable and NFL ready. Kessler was a third-stringer who could not have envisioned he’d be thrust into live action by the third week of the season. He’s performed admirably, completing 67 percent of his passes with a touchdown and one pick through two weeks. Lynch was thrown into the fire after an injury to Trevor Siemian on Sunday and led the Broncos on three scoring drives.

Even first overall pick Jared Goff has yet to disappoint.

? Melvin Gordon

Gordon was given the keys to the Chargers’ backfield when Danny Woodhead went down with an injury. He’s managed to fumble them.

The sophomore managed just 1.9 yards per carry on 19 rushes and a crucial fumble that contributed to the Chargers’ collapse Sunday against the Saints. He had two rushing touchdowns and helped San Diego build a 34-21 lead in the fourth quarter, but the scores were both from a yard out. The Chargers were six minutes from victory when, carrying the ball with one hand, Gordon coughed the ball up on the San Diego 13-yard line. The rest is unfortunate history.

? Zach Brown

On the first play from scrimmage in Sunday’s game between the Bills and Patriots, Julian Edelman caught a pass in the flat, weaved his way through the Buffalo defense and appeared destined for a 90-yard touchdown. But he was chased down and tackled at the 1-yard line, by linebacker Zach Brown. The play was called back due to a penalty, but it was a precursor of what was to come.

Brown racked up a career-high 18 tackles on the day, adding a sack and two forced fumbles for good measure. He nailed quarterback Jacoby Brissett with a textbook tackle that popped the ball loose and changed the course of action from there on out. The fifth-year pro is off to a fast start (52 total tackles) in his first season with the Bills.

? Panthers’ secondary

An easy inclusion this week. The Panthers allowed both a 500-yard passer and 300-yard receiver in the same game.

The Panthers’ secondary was torched mercilessly by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Whether in single coverage or facing zone concepts, the duo met little resistance and Jones gained easy separation. Carolina’s decision to let star corner Josh Norman walk in favor of backup Bene Benwikere and a stable of rookies will be further criticized, as the Panthers face Jones, Mike Evans, and Brandin Cooks two times a year, every year for the foreseeable future.

Menu