One thing struck me from reading John Clayton’s column today on ESPN. Clayton called Week 3 “the best day of the season to date.” Really “professor?” What 15 games were you watching, because I watched 14 games that were full of sloppy disappointing performances along with a smattering of spectacular. Just because 10 out of 14 games were decided by 7 or fewer points doesn’t mean people witnessed to great football.
Here are my reactions to Week 3:
Who brought the energy
Most people were riveted by the Bills’ ridiculous comeback against the Patriots and to be sure it was a great accomplishment for the team and the city of Buffalo. But I applaud what the Oakland Raiders did against a non-divisional rival, the New York Jets. In a week when the Raiders needed a momentum and confidence boost, Oakland took on a tough playoff contender and beat them up with a combination of creative play calling, impromptu playmaking, and determination. Yes, the Jets entered the game with injuries at a few key positions, but Darren McFadden torched New York’s famed run defense for 171 yards and Raiders were impressive coming from 10 point down in the 2nd quarter to win 34-24. Going back to last season, Oakland is averaging nearly 31 points over their last 8 games and finally seems poised to make a legitimate run at a ball off spot.
Notables: Buffalo, Baltimore, & New York Giants
The Texans didn’t need a win in New Orleans on Sunday, but they should have easily walked away with one. The main issue for Houston is there inability to score consistently in the redzone. They have nine field goals in the redzone this season, four of which came against the Saints. The Texans inability to convert even one of these possessions into a touchdown, placed them at a disadvantage and contributed to their defeat. Houston’s still in the drivers seat for the AFC South title, but they’ll have to improve in the redzone to advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Notables: Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots
Far too many ugly performances this week to select just one, so here are a few…
- For the second time in two home games the Vikings entered half time with a double digit lead and their opponent staring at a big fat zero on the score board. And for the second time in two home games Minnesota’s opponent made better half time adjustments, shut the Vikings down in the second half, and walk away with the win. Could we be looking at a coaching change again in Minnesota?
- Listen, I understand the Tom Brady might be one of the greatest passers in the history of the NFL and that 2 of the Golden Boy’s 4 picks were tipped balls. However, abandoning the run and playing to the strengths of Buffalo’s defense was a ridiculous move on New England’s part and contributed to an ugly loss.
- The game between Arizona and Seattle was so bad that I needed to do something to put a smile on my face, so went online and scheduled my next dentist appointment. Obviously the Cardinals have serious concerns on both sides of the ball, but aside from two game changing runs, Tarvaris Jackson continued to excel at being an embarrassment to the position of quarterback. But hey when you’re playing an Arizona team whose kicker can’t make distance field goals, perhaps that’s all you need to win a game.
- I’ll never understand San Diego’s commitment to Norv Turner and the team’s September curse. The fact is the Chargers have played 3 consecutive games of sloppy football and barely squeeze by the Chiefs at home on Sunday. It’s a long season but how can one ever have faith in a team head coached by Turner?
- I’ve been off the Steelers’ bandwagon since last season. However, to walk into Indianapolis and need a last minute field goal to defeat a bottom of the barrel Colts team is embarrassing. Indy has a ton of heart, but Pittsburgh didn’t come to play.
Notables: Niners/Bengals game (which I fortunately didn’t watch), Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, and Miami Dolphins.
Gutsy Performance of the Week
Detroit went into half time against Minnesota down 20 points, with a 14th consecutive loss in the Metrodome staring them in the face. The team’s offense looked inept with 55 total yards and the Lions’ defense provided hope that the McNabb/Peterson duo could actually work for the Vikings. However, Detroit came out in the second half with a bravado that has been missing in the organization for years. And along with some brilliant half time adjustments, the offense scored 23 unanswered points and the Lions’ defense locked the Vikings’ offense down. Detroit is beginning to fulfill its destiny.
Play of the Day
The Play of the Day is actually a play that will have never happened, according to the record books. In the monsoon game of the week (not so much the performance game of the week), the Panthers’ Jonathan Stewart took a screen pass from Cam Newton, made an incredible move running/rolling over Jaguar defenders, and scampered for 60 yards in the pouring rain. The call was overturned because Stewart’s elbow allegedly touched the ground, but I saw none of this during replay:
Worst 0-3 teams
With five teams sitting at 0-3 (Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, and St. Louis), I’ll toss it up to the readers to comment on and decide who is the worst team.
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