Week 3 provided us with young quarterbacks succeeding in the spotlight as Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz, Denver’s Trevor Siemian, and Dallas’ Dak Prescott maintained their admirable rookie campaigns. Four teams remain winless and five unbeaten (two of them may shock you). What else did Week 3 offer us? Take a look at this past week’s recap.
Houston vs New England: The New England Patriots started a third-string quarterback and it didn’t matter in the 27-0 win on Thursday night. Coach Bill Belichick didn’t ask Brissett to do too much (11/19, 103 yards) in the air, but he did provide a nice 27 yard touchdown run mid-way through the 1st quarter. Houston blew a tremendous opportunity to take an early two-game lead in the division.
Detroit vs Green Bay: Green Bay raced out to a 31-3 lead and held on late to beat the Lions 34-27. Aaron Rodgers, who many were saying was done as an elite quarterback, threw four TD passes and had his highest quarterback rating (129.3) since Week 6 of last season. Eddie Lacy provided the balance on the ground as he rushed for 103 yards, almost double his season average. Detroit made a valiant comeback but that effort doesn’t mean anything in a losing cause.
Arizona vs Buffalo: This was a trap game for Arizona who suddenly finds themselves in a 1-2 hole after its 33-18 trashing to Buffalo. Cardinals’ quarterback Carson Palmer produced an abysmal offensive performance, by throwing four interceptions. Buffalo was able to run on Arizona effortlessly, churning out 208 rushing yards in the win. The Bills will look to move to .500 next week in New England, while Arizona will host the NFC West leading Los Angeles Rams.
Oakland vs Tennessee: Oakland scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter to secure a 17-10 victory over Tennessee. This was a throwback game that featured two bruising rushing attacks; Oakland rushed for 123 yards while the Titans ran for 181 and sported a solid pass defense. With the tough win, the Raiders moved to 2-1 while the Titans dropped to 1-2.
Cleveland vs Miami: Miami won 30-24 after running back Jay Ajayi scored the winning touchdown with an 11 yard scamper in overtime. Ryan Tannehill (319 yards, three touchdowns) had his best game of the season and for the sake of the Dolphins it’s the start of better days for the embattled QB. Cleveland started its third quarterback in as many weeks with rookie Cody Kessler getting the call. Kessler actually didn’t look that bad, although he did have a costly fumble that led to a Dolphin score. Cleveland dropped to 0-3 while the Dolphins earned their first win of the season.
Baltimore vs Jacksonville: Baltimore hung on to beat the Jaguars 19-17. This was an ugly offensive display with both teams failing to register 300 total yards, six total turnovers and 15 total penalties. Jacksonville came into the year with big hopes for its young offense but so far haven’t been able to get going. Unexpectedly, Baltimore moves into sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
Denver vs Cincinnati: The Denver Broncos kept pace with the NFL’s best by beating Cincinnati 29-17. Bronco quarterback Trevor Siemian (312 yards, four TDs, 132.1 QBR) had his best game as a pro while leading the team on two fourth quarter touchdown drives. The Bengals stand at 1-2 and if there was ever a must-win game this early in the season its next week’s home matchup against Miami.
Carolina vs Minnesota: In a potential preview of the NFC Championship, the Vikings beat the Panthers 22-10 and in the process snapped Carolina’s 14-game home winning streak. Carolina held a 10-2 lead late in the 2nd quarter before Marcus Sherels stole the momentum with a 54 yard touchdown. The Viking defense was fantastic again forcing Cam Newton into three interceptions, collecting eight sacks and battering Newton for 12 hits. It’s a fair question to wonder if Newton can play an entire season by taking this sort of punishment every week. Minnesota (3-0) will host the Giants on Monday night while Carolina will travel to Atlanta for a pivotal NFC South matchup.
Washington vs New York Giants: The Redskins outlasted the Giants 29-27. Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins drilled five field goals and the defense intercepted Eli Manning twice in the 4th quarter to seal the win. The Giants (2-1) travel to Minnesota while the Redskins (1-2) host the Cleveland Browns.
Los Angeles vs Tampa Bay: On a rain-soaked afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams offense woke up out of hibernation and beat the Bucs 37-32. The Rams managed to score a touchdown for the first time all season and moved into first place in the NFC West. Tampa Bay received a solid performance from Jameis Winston (405 yards, 4 TDs) but a fumble turned into a 77-yard return for a touchdown.
New York Jets vs Kansas City: The Kansas City Chiefs used a sensational defensive performance to get by the Jets 24-3. The Chiefs forced Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw six interceptions, a 5.0 QBR and caused three fumbles (recovering two and taking one to the house). With a tough Sunday matchup at Pittsburgh in Week 4, the Chiefs will need to get a stronger effort from the offense because they probably won’t get this type of defensive effort next week.
Seattle vs San Francisco: Doug Baldwin (164 yards, 1 TD) and Christine Michael (106 rushing yards) led the Seahawks to a dominating 37-18 win over the 49ers. Seattle also got its best game from Jimmy Graham (100 yards, 1 TD) since trading for him last offseason. Russell Wilson gave another gutsy performance but he still doesn’t look quite right. He is lacking the elusiveness that has allowed him to be successful in the past. Maybe Seattle should give him a game or two off to fully rest his knee/ankle injuries?
San Diego vs Indianapolis: Indianapolis left the land of the winless by beating the Chargers 26-22. After San Diego kicker Josh Lambo drilled a 36 yarder to make it 22-19, Colt receiver TY Hilton put the dagger in the hearts of the Chargers when he caught a 63 yard touchdown with 1:17 to play. Both teams face winless opponents next week, Indianapolis travels to Jacksonville while San Diego hosts New Orleans.
Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia: In the shocker of the week (maybe season), Philadelphia pounded the Super bowl hopeful Steelers 34-3. Carson Wentz (23/31, 301 yards, 1 TD) continues the torrid start to his career while running back Darren Sproles looked like he discovered the fountain of youth (this game at least). The Steelers will be getting All-Pro running back LeVeon Bell back next week and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With the offense reeling, they will need that shot in the arm with the Chiefs coming to town. For the Eagles, Week 4 are on a bye.
Chicago vs Dallas: Cowboy’s rookie quarterback Dak Prescott extended his NFL record for most pass attempts without an interception (99) as the Cowboys beat the Bears 31-17. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott (160 total yards) had his best game as a pro. This game was over by halftime with Bears QB Brian Hoyer tossing two late touchdown passes to make the score look more respectable. Dallas (2-1) travels to San Francisco while Chicago (0-3) will host Detroit.
New Orleans vs Atlanta: The tonic for any struggling rushing attack seems to be the Saints. Atlanta rushed for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-32 win over New Orleans. The win snapped a 12-game losing streak on MNF (longest in its 47 year history). Drew Brees threw for another 300+ yards, but it doesn’t matter when the unit on the other side is giving up almost 450 total yards and 32 points per game.
- Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) – 9 catches, 117 yards, 2 TDs in a win over Cincinnati.
- T.Y. Hilton (IND) – 8 catches, 174 yards and 1 TD in a win over San Diego.
- Kansas City Chiefs Defense – 8 forced turnovers, 2 TDs in a win over the Jets.
Honorable Mention: Dustin Hopkins (5 FGs), Marvin Jones (6 catches, 205 yards, 2 TDs), Mike Evans (10 catches, 132 yards, 1 TDs), Terrelle Pryor (8 catches, 144 yards, 21 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 35 passing yards), Antonio Brown (12 catches, 140 yards), Trevor Siemian (312 passing yards, 3 TDs).
- Carson Palmer (ARI)– 26/50 287 yards, 4 INTs in a loss to Buffalo.
- Brock Osweiler (HOU) – 24/41, 196 yards, 1 INT in a loss to New England.
- Marcus Mariota (TEN) – 17/33, 214 passing yards, 2 INTs in a loss to Oakland.