Falcons 56, Buccaneers 14: This may be the biggest blowout in the history of Thursday Night Football. The Falcons did whatever they wanted on offense while the Buccaneers struggled to stop turning the ball over. The Falcons aren’t the best team in the league, but the Bucs are really that bad. The biggest thing to take away from this game is that Devin Hester has certainly found his niche in Atlanta. Hester had his 19th return touchdown (breaking Deion Sanders’ record in his old stadium), and he also have a 20 yard reverse touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. Unless Steven Jackson’s performance improves, Hester could be the main running threat on the Falcons offense moving forward.
Bengals 33, Titans 7: Putting up 33 points was enough to push the Cincinnati Bengals to number one in the NFL power rankings. For a team that normally releases on their defense, the Bengals looked all right on offense (to be fair though, they were playing the Titans). A.J. caught six passes for 102 yards while battling turf toe, Giovani Bernard punched in a few touchdowns, and even Andy Dalton caught a touchdown pass. Yes, you read that right. Unfortunately, the touchdown reception was about all Dalton did in that game. He finished 15 of 23 for 169 yards and a sad interception. Dalton continues to struggle, and when the Bengals play a good defense they will probably lose that top ranking.
Chargers 22, Bills 10: Looks like Bills fans got their hopes up for nothing again. The San Diego Chargers came into this game the underdogs and absolutely manhandled Buffalo’s offense. The Chargers don’t exactly have the best defense in the NFL, but don’t tell E.J. Manuel that. Yes, Manuel finished with 238 yards and a touchdown; but it took him 39 pass attempts to do so against the Chargers usually weak secondary.
Ravens 23, Browns 21: This was a very even matchup. The Browns seemed to have the game locked up in the fourth quarter, but the Ravens were able to drive down the field and win the game on a last second Justin Tucker field goal. The Browns had a hard time defending the Ravens run game all day, giving up 154 yards to the Ravens running backs even without Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice in the backfield. The Ravens on the other hand couldn’t seem to stop Brian Hoyer’s passing attack. Hoyer finished 19-of-25 with 290 yards and a touchdown. Despite the loss, Hoyer will retain his starting position for at least another few weeks.
Lions 19, Packers 7: Both the Lions and Packers really looked like they were trying to lose, and for once someone was better at losing than Detroit. Green Bay looks horrible this season, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t doing much to help and his offensive line isn’t doing much to give him a chance to help. The Lions stuffed Eddie Lacy in the end zone for a safety; and although they technically only sacked Rodgers twice, they were constantly pressuring him and causing errant passes. Rodgers finished 16-of-27 for 162 yards and a touchdown, ruining fantasy owners’ days across the country. The Lions had multiple turnovers and missed field goals, but the Packers couldn’t do anything with them managing only one touchdown the entire game.
Colts 44, Jaguars 17: What better way to fix a 0-2 start than a trip to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. The Colts gave up only two first downs the entire first half and outgained the Jags 330-55 in total yardage. Head coach Gus Bradley even threw a challenge flag with about a minute left in the first half (for those of you who don’t know, there are no coach’s challenges allowed within the final two minutes of either half). Blake Bortles came on the field to start the second half. He didn’t play very well and collected most of his yards in garbage time, but he was a clear improvement from Chad Henne.
Patriots 16, Raiders 9: This game was just sad if you’re a Patriots fan. The Raiders defense couldn’t stop Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Tom Brady made them look like the Seahawks. Brady looked horrible, missing wide-open receivers down the field and finishing 24-of-37 with only 234 yards and one touchdown. Brady was also nearly picked off multiple times, and if they had been playing a decent defense he would have thrown at least two interceptions. The Raiders were actually in a position to tie the game late, but Derek Carr threw a game-sealing interception.
Saints 20, Vikings 9: This was a sad game for the Saints. The Saints are one of the best teams in the league when they play in the Superdome, but they struggled greatly against the Vikings. The high-powered Saints offense managed only 20 points after jumping to a quick 13-0 lead. For the Vikings, Teddy Bridgewater came in after Matt Cassel was carted off the field; and he looked good for a rookie quarterback playing in New Orleans. He does, however, need to work on his reads. The Saints atrocious defense left Cordarrelle Patterson wide open a couple of times, but Bridgewater never spotted him.
Giants 30, Texans 17: There’s really not much to this game—the Giants protected Eli Manning and he reminded us that he is indeed a Manning. Manning finished 21-of-28 for 234 yards and two touchdowns against the vastly underrated Texans secondary. Rashad Jennings also had a fantastic day. J.J. Watt landed a few big hits on him, but Jennings was still able to finish with 176 yards and a touchdown. The biggest reason for the Texans loss was Ryan Fitzpatrick. At halftime, Fitzpatrick was 4-of-13 for 39 yards and two interceptions. Don’t let his stats fool you, Fitzpatrick is not a good quarterback.
Eagles 37, Redskins 34: This was probably the best game of the week. This game featured DeSean Jackson’s return to Philadelphia and multiple fights including an all-out brawl that led to two ejections. At the end of the day, Nick Foles played about three points better than Kirk Cousins. Foles finished with 325 yards and three touchdowns; whereas, Cousins finished with 427 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Cousins cost his team at the end of the game, however, when he failed to gain a single yard on the team’s final possession right outside of field goal range.
Cowboys 34, Rams 31: Clearly the Rams aren’t as bad as everyone thought they were. The Rams had a 17-0 lead at one point but saw it slip from their grasps. Tony Romo threw a horrible pick-six early in the game, and had only 89 yards at halftime. Romo made up for the poor first half performance with multiple clutch plays in the second half. DeMarco Murray also improved significantly after the half, with 60 of his 100 yards coming in the second half of the game.
Cardinals 23, 49ers 14: Things are getting bad in San Francisco. The 49ers lost this game because of stupid personal fouls. Anquan Boldin’s head butt erased a touchdown opportunity, forcing the Niners to kick a field goal which was blocked. Arizona was flagged for a hold on one play, but fortunately for them the 49ers taunted out of bounds negating the hold. The Niners defense then was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Larry Fitzgerald. They also dropped multiple potential interceptions. Jim Harbaugh appears to have completely lost control of his team. Colin Kaepernick did pretty well, but two sure pick-sixes were dropped. All in all, the Niners could have won this game if they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot with all of the stupid penalties.
Chiefs 34, Dolphins 15: Miami must have thought that Week One against the Patriots was the Super Bowl. The Dolphins have yet to show up to a game since their victory over the Patriots, and lost big time to the 0-2 Chiefs this week. Ryan Tannehill is a big reason for the Dolphins loss. Tannehill finished 21-of-43 for only 205 yards and a touchdown. Lamar Miller ran well, rushing for 108 yards on only 15 carries; but for whatever reason Joe Philbin kept calling for the pass. After such a disappointing performance, rumor has it that Philbin may bench Tannehill come Week Four.
Seahawks 26, Broncos 20: This game is what Super Bowl XLVIII should have been like. This game showed everything from both sides: a great Seahawks defense, a sad Broncos defense, a sad Seahawks offense, and a Broncos offense led by Peyton Manning that can turn it on when it needs to. The Broncos played it conservative until the fourth quarter, but unfortunately they waited too long. If the Broncos don’t drop one or two more passes, they could have won this game in regulation. Manning made it look easy at the end, driving down the field in 40 seconds with no timeouts to score the game-tying touchdown; however, sadly, the Broncos horrid defense lost the game as soon as they lost the coin toss.
Steelers 37, Panthers 19: This was probably the biggest surprise of Week Three. The Panthers absolutely imploded, and the Steelers looked like the team that’s won two Super Bowls in the past nine seasons. Carolina’s run defense, supposedly the best in the NFL, gave up 265 yards to Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. Bell was responsible for 147 of those yards, including an 81 yard explosion in the second half. Antonio Brown had his way with the Carolina secondary, catching 10 passes from Ben Roethlisberger for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Bears 27, Jets 19: The Jets outgained the Bears 414-257 in total yardage, but they still lost by eight points. The officiating was horrible; Marty Mornhinweg provided he has no idea what he’s doing, especially in the red zone; and Geno Smith is just not an NFL quarterback. Mornhinweg’s offense crossed the Bear’s 25 yard line seven times but only have 19 points to show for it. Mornhinweg blew it every trip, however, calling stupid designed quarterback runs despite Chris Ivory’s effective running throughout the game. Smith is still the main reason the Jets couldn’t get enough points on the board. Smith started off with a pick-six and continued to struggle with accuracy throughout the game. As if things couldn’t get worse for the Jets, Muhammad Wilkerson may miss a few games. The Jets defense won’t be the same without him on the field.