NFL Quick Hits: Week Three

Week Three was wild, wacky and just downright strange. Even Vegas went just 8-7, and if you need further prove that it was historically different, check my extended post about the Bengals’ dramatic win over Green Bay.

  • It all started Thursday night in Philadelphia where Andy Reid was triumphant in his return to the city he coached in for the past 14 years. I’m writing pretty extensively about the Chiefs’ transformation into a contender (check for it Tuesday), but here’s what I’m most impressed with. Kansas City leads the NFL with a +9 turnover ratio, three better than the rest of the field. The Chiefs still haven’t turned the ball over this year.
  • The Chiefs are undefeated, the Texans no longer are. Houston was done in by the final 3:00 of the first half. Baltimore returned an interception and a punt for touchdowns, taking a 17-6 lead they wouldn’t give up. What the Ravens really returned, though, was some of that swagger they’ve been known for most of the team’s history. After being burned by Peyton Manning in Week One, the Baltimore defense is giving up just 261 yards and 7.5 points since then.
  • It’s been obvious all year that the Giants are struggling, but what happened yesterday could be an early death knell to their season. To say Big Blue came out flat is the understatement of the week. In the game’s first 38:02, New York gained an atrocious FIVE yards. They had five yards of offense with 6:58 left in the 3rd Quarter. Five. Yards. Five…Yards…
  • On the other sidelines, congratulations to the Panthers for taking advantage of a team that clearly has little going for it right now. Carolina’s defense, usually blamed for the team’s many losses, took advantage of New York to the tune of seven sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
  • You can’t talk about surprises without zeroing in on this score: Cleveland – 31, Minnesota – 27. The talk in Northeast Ohio this week was that longtime Browns fans were finally ready to go the LeBron route and take their fandom elsewhere. The team traded last year’s first round pick, Trent Richardson, and the starting QB, Brian Hoyer, was making his second career start. So what do they do? Hoyer comes out like gangbusters, throwing 54 passes for 321 yards and 3 TDs (along with 3 INTs), putting the Browns in the win column and dropping the Vikings to 0-3.
  • Another surprise to many people was the Colts‘ dismantling of San Francisco by the bay. Both teams were coming off a loss and neither offense was particularly good on this day, but the Indianapolis defense made Colin Kaepernick look like a rookie quarterback for the second straight week. He was just 13-27 for 150 yards. Since totaling 434 yards and 3 touchdowns in the opener against Green Bay, No. 7 for the Niners has just 384 yards, 0 touchdowns and 6 turnovers the last two times out.
  • The Lions bounced back with an exciting 27-20 win over the Redskins, but I’m more interested in now-winless Washington. All you hear right now is RG3, RG3, RG3. He’s not healthy, he’s not the same quarterback, he’s not running the ball, he doesn’t have the right attitude. What everyone seems to be missing is that the Washington defense is historically bad. That’s not an understatement. Through three games, the ‘Skins have given up an NFL record 1,464 yards.
  • Cowboys fans are getting used to not knowing exactly what to expect from their team, but they had to enjoy Sunday. Dallas looked great against St. Louis, and apparently DeMarco Murray heard me call him out a week ago. I mentioned he was averaging only 3.5 yards per carry the first two weeks. Yesterday: 26 car, 175 yd, good for 6.7 ypc. Impressive performance.
  • Green Bay finished on the wrong end of the scoreboard in Cincinnati, but every week fans get a chance to see how great Jordy Nelson is along the sideline.
  • When the week started, I put my money on Miami, thinking there’s actually something special going on with the Fins. They haven’t let me down yet, knocking off Atlanta and staying undefeated. This was an early season statement for Joe Philbin’s team. Wins over the Browns and Colts are nice, but a win over the Falcons makes everyone pay attention. Further proof that Ryan Tannehill is settling in on South Beach: he completed passes to nine different receivers Sunday.
  • In the nightcap, the Steelers put up a fight for the first time this year, but the Bears defense wasn’t having it. It isn’t news that Chicago causes turnovers by the handful and tends to turn them into points without the offense touching the field. It is news that they consistently do it year after year after year. The Bears Defense caused five turnovers and scored twice, making sure Pittsburgh never had a realistic shot.
  • There are now seven undefeated teams remaining in the NFL. Let’s take a look at that list and see who had this as the final seven. New England, Miami, Kansas City, Denver, Seattle, Chicago and New Orleans. Out of those seven, three had losing records a year ago, and only New England, Denver and Seattle made the playoffs. That’s the NFL.