Week 3 of NFL action started out with a shootout in San Francisco on Thursday. The Los Angeles Rams dominated but a late push, including a successful onside kick, by the San Francisco 49ers made this a tight one. The comeback fell short, but the week was off to a raging start. The Rams, led by Todd Gurley’s 113 yards and two touchdowns won 41-39.
The Jacksonville Jaguars embarrassed the Baltimore Ravens in London 44-7 during a game where Joe Flacco played poorly enough to get benched. The Indianapolis Colts edged out the Cleveland Browns 31-28. The New York Jets dominated the Miami Dolphins, to the surprise of many, and got their first win of the season 20-6. A 61-yard field goal was kicked as time expired by Philadelphia Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott, which moved the New York Giants to 0-3. The Buffalo Bills shocked the Denver Broncos in Orchard Park, winning 26-16. The New Orleans Saints got their first win defeating the Carolina Panthers 34-13. The Chicago Bears upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17. A controversial call at the end of the Atlanta Falcons game gave them a 30-26 win over the Detroit Lions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked awful in Minnesota, as Case Keenum led the Minnesota Vikings to a 34-17 win. Tom Brady led a game-winning drive at the end of the fourth quarter to complete a 36-33 comeback win over the Houston Texans. A surprisingly good game in Tennessee resulted in the Tennessee Titans 33-27 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Cincinnati Bengals jumped on the Green Bay Packers early, but Aaron Rodgers’ team came back to win the game in overtime 27-24. The Kansas City Chiefs remained unbeaten with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers 24-10. Sunday ended with a convincing win for the Washington Redskins over the Oakland Raiders 27-10. The last game of Week 3 featured the Dallas Cowboys in Arizona. The Arizona Cardinals kept it close through three quarters, but the Cowboys were too much to handle in the fourth and they went on to win 28-17.
Three weeks are in the books and there have been a lot of surprises. The New York Jets winning a game already could be the biggest one. But there is not a dominant Super Bowl front-runner, as every team looks beatable. There has not been a lot of offense thus far, but Week 4 is when the teams start to mesh.
The Packers hosted the Bears for a primetime matchup Thursday night. Rodgers and the Packers’ offense got off to a hot start, going up 14-0 almost immediately. The team never looked back, winning 35-10. Rodgers threw for four TDs, but it was a costly victory for Green Bay. Ty Montgomery left the game early with broken ribs, and a cheap shot to the head by Bears’ linebacker Danny Trevathan sent Davante Adams off on a stretcher to the hospital. Trevathan was suspended by the NFL for two games for the hit and Adams was lucky to be diagnosed with only a concussion.
Saints’ rookie running back Alvin Kamara made himself known internationally on Sunday. Kamara had 10 receptions for 71 yards and a TD in London against the Dolphins. The Dolphins, coming off a loss to the Jets, looked even worse overseas. The Saints shutout Miami en route to a 20-0 win.
A big AFC South divisional matchup featured the Titans and the Texans. Although advertised as a great game, it ended up being a beat down, with the Texans mashing the Titans 57-14. Marcus Mariota rushed for two TDs but would leave the game early with a hamstring injury, allowing rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to start and emerge as star of the game. After almost upsetting the Patriots in Week 3, Watson accounted for five total TDs, totally dominating the Titans’ defense. DeAndre Hopkins was a beneficiary of Watson’s elite performance by hauling in 10 passes for 107 yards and a TD.
The Jets have shocked football fans across the country, as they have fought to a 2-2 record. Led by two huge TD runs by Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, the Jets offense was dominant on the ground. This was not an easy victory though, as the Jaguars kept up their pace and forced the game into overtime. After a period full of punts, the Jets avoided a tie with a field goal late in overtime, sealing a 23-20 victory.
The biggest upset of the week might have taken place in Foxborough. The Panthers came into New England as huge underdogs, but as the game progressed, fans saw glimpses of 2015 MVP Cam Newton. Newton threw for 316 yards and three TDs, while adding another 44 yards and a TD on the ground. Newton and the Panthers led a game-winning drive ending in a field goal to give them a 33-30 victory. The Patriots definitely had some defensive flaws exposed this season, as they fall to 2-2.
The Lions and Vikings met for the first time this season. Both teams are trying to keep pace with the 3-1 Packers.
Sam Bradford remained inactive for the Vikings, but they did not have the same success with Case Keenum as they did in Week 3. A low-scoring affair ended in a 14-7 Detroit win. The big story after the game was the loss of Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook. Cook suffered a non-contact, season-ending ACL tear.
The Falcons have looked shaky this season. They won a controversial game against the Lions in Week 3 and barely edged out the Bears in Week 1. Their luck ran out Week 4. Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu left early with injuries, with Tyrod Taylor leading the Bills to a 23-17 win.
Le’Veon Bell is officially back. After a very slow start, the league’s top running back had a huge day against the Steelers’ biggest rival, the Ravens. Bell totaled 144 yards and two TDs on the ground. The Ravens could not muster up any offense and the Steelers won big, 26-9.
In the other AFC North matchup, the Bengals dismantled the Browns 31-7. Andy Dalton silenced his early season critics by throwing for 286 yards and four TDs. As for the Browns, they move to 0-4 in the year.
The Rams and Cowboys clashed in Dallas this Sunday. Los Angeles would go down early, but kept clawing themselves back in the game. Ezekiel Elliott had two TDs, but Todd Gurley tallied 121 yards to keep Los Angeles going. A failed fourth down attempt by Dallas on the final drive capped off a 35-30 Rams upset, moving them to 3-1 this season.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers attempted to get in the win column for the first time this season against the depleted Eagles’ defense. Rivers did all he could, throwing for 347 yards and two TDs, but the Eagles proved to be too tough. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 136 yards while Melvin Gordon was shut down and the Eagles went on to win 26-24.
The Giants are officially a mess. A questionable call to pass up on a field goal early wound up costing them a win against the Buccaneers. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. both played well, but the Buccaneers kicked a game winner as time expired to break New York’s heart for the second week in a row, 25-23. The Giants move to 0-4 for the first time in decades.
The 49ers and Cardinals played a game that featured nine field goals and only one TD, scored by Larry Fitzgerald in overtime, as the Cardinals squeezed by the Niners 18-15.
The Raiders and Broncos faced off in a fantastic matchup in Denver. These divisional foes battled it out in a hard-hitting defensive game. Derek Carr was banged up and removed from the game in the second half. Marshawn Lynch was held to 12 yards and the Broncos went on to win 16-10.
Sunday Night Football featured the Colts and Seahawks. The Colts are still playing without their starting quarterback Andrew Luck. The Seahawks outscored the Colts 36-3 in the second half for a 46-18 primetime victory.
The final game of the week was a tight one in Kansas City, as the Chiefs hosted the Redskins. Alex Smith brought the Chiefs back from an early 10-0 deficit, to tie the score at 17 going into the fourth. After a dropped TD by Redskins’ receiver Josh Doctson, the Chiefs drove down the field and kicked a game-winning field goal winning 19-10.
If Week 5 is even half as good as Week 4, it will be as exciting as ever.
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