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Quarter-point brings high performers

A quarter of the season's action is in the books and the engine that is the NFL is hot to the touch, purring with surprises, new contenders and high performers. Focusing on your business is paramount.

(Oct. 4, 2005) -- A quarter of the season's action is in the books and the engine that is the NFL is hot to the touch, purring with surprises, new contenders and high performers.

Focusing on your business is paramount. As the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins (2-1) have heard from head coach Nick Saban, "looking around" is something to do at the mall -- it is not a suggested course of action for NFL success.

"Thinking about anything other than what we have to do to prepare to play the next game, to minimize our errors and maximize our performance is out of the question," Saban said.

Head coach Brian Billick of the 1-2 Baltimore Ravens knows there is a lot of excitement to come.

"We'll see where we are when we get to the quarter mark this week, when we get to the halfway mark," Billick said. "The NFL is all over the map. It's fun to watch."

Below is a team-by-team look at the AFC through the first four weeks of 2005:

BALTIMORE: WR Derrick Mason has 21 catches through his first three games as a Raven for the second most in his career after three games (24 in 2003). Mason is on pace to set a club record in single-season receptions (Michael Jackson, 76, 1996) ... The Ravens defense has not allowed a rushing touchdown through Week 4 for first time in club history ... Baltimore stands fifth in the NFL with an average time of possession of 32:35.

BUFFALO: RB Willis McGahee (375) is on pace for 1,500 rushing yards. The only player in team history to compile 1,500 rush yards in a season is O.J. Simpson, who did it three times ... CB-KR Terrence McGee currently leads the NFL with a 33.5-yard kickoff-return average. McGee topped the AFC last season with a 26.3-yard average and can become the first AFC player to lead the conference in this category in back-to-back seasons.

CINCINNATI: With nine TD passes, QB Carson Palmer leads the AFC. Palmer is aiming to become the third Bengals quarterback to lead the conference in touchdown passes (Jeff Blake, 28, 1995; Boome Esiason, 28, 1988 and 1989). QB Ken Anderson completed a club-record 29 TD throws in 1981, leading the team to Super Bowl XVI ... CB Deltha O'Neal leads the NFL with four interceptions and can become the first Bengal to top the league in this category for a season. The club's single-season record of nine has been held by Ken Riley since 1976.

CLEVELAND: In his first 11 years, QB Trent Dilfer compiled a 70.6 passer rating. Thus far in 2005, he has posted a 95.1 rating ... WRs Antonio Bryant (15) and Frisman Jackson (11), TE Steve Heiden (11) and RB Reuben Droughns (10) are all on pace for more than 50 receptions. The last time the Browns had as many as four players with 50 receptions was 1980 (five players) when they won their division. The 1980 Browns began their season 1-2 as has the 2005 team.

DENVER: Entering his 11th season, WR Rod Smith has 26 receptions through four weeks to tie Cincinnati's Chad Johnson for the high mark in the AFC. Since 1970, Smith is the only Denver player to lead the AFC -- and NFL -- in receptions (113, 2001) ... DT Gerard Warren leads the club with 2.0 sacks. Warren can join Trevor Pryce (9.0, 2002; 7.0, 2001; 12.0, 2000; 13.0, 1999) and Michael Dean Perry (6.0, 1995) as the third Broncos interior lineman to lead the team or share the lead in sacks since 1995.

HOUSTON: RB Domanick Davis is on pace for his third consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season to begin his career ... The Texans rushing offense stands fourth in the NFL with 4.7 yards per carry. Only San Diego (5.1 yards) owns a better per-carry average in the AFC ... Houston's defense is yielding the conference's second lowest third-down conversion percentage (31.4). Last season through four weeks, opponents were successful on 54.0 percent of third downs.

INDIANAPOLIS: QB Peyton Manning is the NFL's only quarterback not to be sacked in 2005 (114 attempts) ... DE Robert Mathis has one sack in four consecutive games to begin the season. The franchise record for consecutive games with a sack is six (Dan Footman, 1997) ... The Colts defense is allowing an NFL-low 6.5 points per game and has not allowed a touchdown in the first 55:00 of any game this season ... Indianapolis ranks second in the NFL with 15 sacks -- all of which have been chalked-up by linemen.

JACKSONVILLE: In his 13th season, WR Jimmy Smith ties for the second-most TD catches in the NFL with four. Smith's best seasonal touchdown total is eight (1998, 2000). He leads the AFC with 146 receiving yards on third down ... QB Byron Leftwich is enjoying the best start to a season in his career with an 85.7 passer rating and five TD passes -- both career bests through the first four weeks of a season ... DEs Reggie Hayward and Paul Spicer each have a team-high 3½ sacks. The club record for most sacks in a season is 12.0 by Tony Brackens (1999).

KANSAS CITY: QB Trent Green is on track to record his fourth consecutive season with at least 3,500 passing yards. Green (16,982) needs 296 yards to surpass Bill Kenney (17,277) for the second most in franchise history (HOFer Len Dawson; 28,507) ... WR Eddie Kennison stands fourth in the AFC with 23 catches. His career-high in receptions is 62, recorded last season ... WR-KR Dante Hall scored on a 96-yard kickoff return last Sunday for his sixth career kickoff return for a touchdown, tying the NFL's all-time record.

MIAMI: Rookie RB Ronnie Brown has 224 rushing yards in his first three games and aims to become the second Dolphins rookie to rush for more than 1,000 yards (Karim Abdul-Jabbar; 1,116, 1996) ... The Dolphins have not endured back-to-back sub-.500 seasons since 1968-69 ... With a TD catch against Buffalo this week, TE Randy McMichael would join WR Mark Duper (1984) as the only Dolphins to post a TD catch in each of the first four games of a season ... Miami's defense is permitting an NFL-low 2.8 yards per rush.

NEW ENGLAND: The Patriots are the only AFC team and one of three teams in the NFL (Phil., St.L) to have three players with more than 200 receiving yards: WRs David Givens (283), Deion Branch (243) and Troy Brown (206) ... RB Corey Dillon has five rushing touchdowns and is on track to surpass the franchise's single-season touchdown record of 17, set by Curtis Martin in 1996 ... QB Tom Brady (1,172) has passed for 1,000 yards through his first four starts in a season for the second time in his six-year career.

NEW YORK: TE Chris Baker and WR Justin McCareins share the team high in receiving yards with 201. Baker can become the first Jets tight end to lead the club in receiving yards since Mickey Shuler (879) in 1985 ... The Jets defense is allowing 168.3 passing yards per game, down from 222.8 after four weeks last season ... DE-LB John Abraham has 3.0 sacks in his first three games and needs four more to be the fifth player in club history with 50.

OAKLAND: QB Kerry Collins has attempted the fourth-most passes in the NFL (139), yet is one of two starting QBs not to have thrown an interception (Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh). The fewest interceptions thrown by a Raiders QB in a season with at least 250 attempts is eight (Marc Wilson, 1987) ... WR Randy Moss leads the AFC with 466 receiving yards and is on track to best the club single-season record of 1,408 yards (Tim Brown, 1997). Brown (1997) was the last Raider to lead the AFC in receiving yards.

PITTSBURGH: The Steelers defense is tied for third in the NFL with 14.0 sacks through three games. The franchise record for sacks in a season is 55 (1994, 2001) ... QB Ben Roethlisberger has six TD passes and seeks to be the first QB in franchise history to throw for 30 touchdowns in a season ... In his first year as a starter, RB Willie Parker owns the NFL's fourth highest per-carry average of 5.1 yards among players with 60 or more rushes and can join Hall of Fame RB Franco Harris (5.6, 1972) as the only other back in club history to average more than 5.0 yards for a season.

SAN DIEGO: RB LaDainian Tomlinson leads the NFL with eight touchdowns. Tomlinson has scored 68 TDs in 67 career games and can reach his 70th on Monday night in the fewest number of games played in league history ... San Diego's offense has converted 15 possessions inside its opponents' 20-yard line into 12 touchdowns (80.0 percent), tying Chicago for the NFL's highest TD percentage ... QB Drew Brees is completing 68.3 percent of his passes for the NFL's second-highest percentage. The club's record for single-season completion percentage is 65.7 (Mark Hermann, 1985).

TENNESSEE: DE Kyle Vanden Bosch leads the AFC with 5.0 sacks. No player in team history has the led the league in sacks for a season ... QB Steve McNair needs 125 passing yards to be the 49th player in league annals with 25,000 ... TE Erron Kinney has 21 receptions to top all AFC tight ends. Kinney's career high in receptions is 41 (2003). Kinney aims to join Mike Barber, Dave Casper and Frank Wycheck as the only tight ends to lead the franchise in receptions for a season since 1980.

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