Sep. 25, 2018
NFL Week 3: A Stunner in Detroit, Shootout in Atlanta, and Mahomes Magic
Another Sunday, another week of NFL football. This was another exciting week that brought plenty of controversy regarding making a tackle on the quarterback and devastating injuries to a couple of teams. So we are not going to waste any more time and jump right into this week's Sunday recap.
Miami Dolphins 28, Oakland Raiders 20
Miami got off to an awfully slow start on Sunday. The Dolphins trailed 10-7 at the half after allowing receiver Jordy Nelson to haul in 139 receiving yards in the first quarter alone. Although they were large chunk gains and Nelson finished with 173 receiving yards at the end of it all, he still turned in a nice day. But so did Ryan Tannehill and the offense of the Dolphins in the second half. Trailing 17-7, Tannehill hit Jakeem Grant with an 18-yard pass to pull within three at the end of the third quarter. Midway through the fourth, a trick play by Miami gave them their first lead of the game on a pass from Albert Wilson to Jakeem Grant that went for 52 yards and the score. Already thin on the defensive end after the injuries to Andre Branch, WIlliam Hayes, Robert Quinn, and the ejection of Akeem Spence, it looked like the Raiders were about to march down the field and regain the lead. But Xavien Howard had other ideas and picked off a pass intended for Amari Cooper in the end zone for his second pick of the afternoon. Two plays later, Wilson broke free for a 74-yard receiving touchdown and that would be enough for Miami to move to 3-0 on the young season.
New Orleans Saints 43, Atlanta Falcons 37
As expected, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan dueled in Atlanta in a game that had to be decided in overtime. Neither team was able to pull in front by more than one touchdown. Headed to halftime, the Saints were in front by just two points, 16-14, and the fireworks were yet to start. Matt Ryan came out of the half to lead a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive ending with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley to give the Falcons a 21-16 lead. Both teams would proceed to exchange punts before producing five consecutive touchdown drives. Two of those drives were by the Falcons' offense in which Matt Ryan threw two of his five touchdown passes on the day. The other three of those drives were led by Drew Brees and the Saints as Brees threw two short touchdown passes to Cameron Meredith and Zach Line before a late rushing touchdown by Brees ended up tying the game at 37 apiece. In overtime, New Orleans received the ball and put together an over seven-minute drive that ended in another Brees rushing touchdown to seal the win for the Saints. Drew Brees finished the day with five total touchdowns, three passing and two rushing as the Saints took the win on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs 38, San Francisco 49ers 27
Kansas City's offense continued its hot start to the season, scoring touchdowns on all five of their first-half drives to give themselves a 35-10 lead at halftime. Patrick Mahomes continued his early case for MVP of the league, throwing three touchdown passes on 24-of-38 passing with 314 passing yards. For the Niners it was ugly from the start, but they began to chip away at the deficit in the second half behind young Jimmy Garoppolo. But trailing 38-24 as the beginning of the fourth quarter, things got even more ugly for San Francisco as Garoppolo went down with a torn ACL and is done for the season. As the quarterback scrambled towards the sideline for yards, he cut back and his leg gave out. C.J. Bethard will be his replacement for the rest of the season, and we can only hope Jimmy G is able to come back from this injury the same player he was before.
Buffalo Bills 27, Minnesota Vikings 6
Just like everyone expected, this game was over by halftime. Except for the fact, nobody expected it to be over by halftime in favor of the Bills. An opening drive that was extended by a penalty to Linval Joseph resulted in a 10-yard run by rookie Josh Allen to give Buffalo an early 7-0 edge. Then back-to-back fumbles by Kirk Cousins gave the Bills the ball back deep in the Vikings' territory which resulted in 10 more points and a 17-0 lead. It was still the first quarter too. Allen would add another rushing touchdown to his stat line in the second quarter and a 50-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka put the Bills in front by 27 points going into the half. Nothing was doing for the Vikings on offense all afternoon outside of a garbage time touchdown late in the fourth on a four-yard pass from Cousins to Kyle Rudolph to avoid the shutout. The defense of the Bills stood tall against a formidable opponent and their rookie quarterback finished the day with three total touchdowns, two rushing and one passing as Buffalo pulled off the upset.
Philadelphia Eagles 20, Indianapolis Colts 16
Carson Wentz made his return to the quarterback position for the Philadelphia Eagles with a 13-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert on the Eagles' opening drive to give them an early 7-0 lead. Andrew Luck would respond at the end of the first with a five-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant to tie things up and capitilize on the missed field goal by kicker Jake Elliott. Elliott would redeem himself later on in the second and Philly took a 10-7 lead into the halftime locker room. Out of the half, Luck led the Colts on a nine-play, 48-yard drive that ended in a field goal which tied the game. Carson Wentz showed his rust finally and threw an interception that was grabbed by Anthony Walker deep in Eagles territory which led to a go-ahead field goal by Adam Vinatieri to put Indinapolis in front for the first time in the afternoon. Philly would tie the game at 13 on the next drive, but a Wentz fumble in Philadelphia territory led to a three-point deficit as the fourth quarter got underway. However, the Philly quarterback put together a 17-play, 75-yard touchdown drive lasting 11 minutes to give the Eagles a four-point advatange. Luck gave the Colts a golden opportunity to retake the lead, driving Indianapolis inside the four-yard line with two downs to go. But an incompletion and sack ended the Colts chances at a comeback victory against the defending champions.
Washington Redskins 31, Green Bay Packers 17
The Washington offense bounced back after being held in check by the Colts last week at home to beat the Packers by 14 points. Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes to go with his 265 passing yards and Adrian Peterson led the rushing attack with 19 carries, 120 rushing yards, and two touchdowns to help lead the way for the Redskins. The 'Skins' got started early and never looked back, producing points on four of their six first-half drives to take a 28-10 lead going into halftime. It looked like the Packers were going to have a chance to get back into this one after Aaron Rodgers led a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to start the second half and pull Green Bay within 11 points. However, there would be no one-legged heroics from Rodgers this week and the teams traded punts for a majority of the second half as the Redskins got back in the win column.
Carolina Panthers 31, Cincinnati Bengals 21
Turnovers were the name of the game for the Bengals in this one as Andy Dalton threw four interceptions which resulted in 17 points off the turnover for the Carolina Panthers offense. Cincinnati got on the board first thanks to Giovani Bernard's one-yard touchdown run which Cam Newton responded to with a rushing touchdown on the very next drive by the Panthers. Then came Dalton's first pick of the day which resulted in seven points for Carolina on a four-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Devin Funchess and a 14-7 lead for the Panthers. The turnover would be the difference in the half as Carolina would head into the locker room up 21-14. Another pick in the third quarter led to another touchdown drive by the Panthers to take a 14-point advantage over Cincinnati. Despite having numerous chances to get back in the game and tie it, the Bengals were unable to sustain any prolonged drives that resulted in points. Two interceptions towards the end of the fourth quarter by Dalton, trailing by seven and then 10, effectively ended the team's shot of winning on Sunday.
Tennessee Titans 9, Jacksonville Jaguars 6
No, you are not reading a baseball score. This division matchup was decided by the feet of each team's kicker and Ryan Succop ultimately won the battle. There were not many highlights in this one as both teams held each other in check. Titans quarterback Blaine Gabbert was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the first quarter which led to the return of Marcus Mariota who was activated as a backup for the game. Mariota, who suffered an elbow injury against the Dolphins in Week 1, was not expected to play in order to give the injury more time to heal. In the afternoon, the Titans totaled up 233 yards of offense with 83 of those come via the pass and the other 150 coming from the run game. For Jacksonville, it was the opposite as they rushed for 87 yards and threw for 145 yards en route to 232 total yards of offense. It came down to which team could get into a position to try generating points and the Titans were more effective in that regard. Ryan Succop was 3-for-4 on field goal tries and that would be enough to give Tennessee a road win against a division opponent.
Baltimore Ravens 27, Denver Broncos 14
Things got off to an ugly start for the Baltimore Ravens as a blocked punt led to a Broncos' touchdown run by Royce Freeman to put them up seven in the early minutes of the game. Baltimore would answer on their next drive when Alex Collins reached the end zone for a six-yard touchdown run to tie things back up. Denver's rushing attack which generated 120 yards on the day, got a 35-yard touchdown run from Emmanuel Sanders to take a 14-7 lead. However, that would be all the Broncos would score as the Ravens would score 20 unanswered points throughout the rest of the game to get back into the win column after last week's Thursday Night Football loss. Joe Flacco finished the day 25-for-40 with 277 passing yards and a touchdown while Alex Collins and Javorius Allen added touchdown runs of their own to help the Raven offense get going. As for Case Keenum he had a day to forget, Keenum went 22-for-34 passing with just 192 passing yards and an interception on the afternoon which was good for a 29.3 quarterback rating.
New York Giants 27, Houston Texans 22
DeShaun Watson continues to not look like the quarterback we saw last year in his rookie season before he went down with a torn ACL and the Texans fell to 0-3 on the season. Behind an early touchdown run by Saquon Barkley, the foot of Aldrick Rosas, and a touchdown pass by Eli Manning the Giants were able to mount a 20-6 lead on the road going into the break. Similar to previous weeks, Watson and the offense started putting points on the board far too late once the game was out of reach. Trailing 20-9, Watson put together back-to-back drives that ended in short touchdown passes from the second-year quarterback. But mixed in there was a five-minute drive by the Giants that ended in an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard that gave New York a cushion. The Giants get their first win with head coach Pat Shurmur at the helm and avoid the dreaded 0-3 start that history shows does not warrant the best results when it comes to playoff appearances.
Los Angeles Rams 35, Los Angeles Chargers 23
The LA Rams took the battle of Los Angeles against the LA Chargers as the Jared Goff-led offense continues to roll like it did last year. Goff was 29-for-36 passing with 354 passing yards, three touchdown passes, and one interception to lead the way in his third year with the Rams. The big receiver of the game? Robert Woods. Woods hauled in 10 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Meanwhile, the running game was clicking on all cylinders as well with Toddy Gurley rushing for 105 yards on 23 carries and punching the ball into the end zone once. It took until the third quarter for the Rams to pull away after leading after two by a score of 21-13, but the defense did its job in the second half. As for the Chargers, Philip Rivers had a mediocre performance going 18-for-30 with 226 passing yards and two touchdowns. He honed in on receiver Mike Williams for both of those touchdown passes in the first half, but the offense ultimately could not generate points to keep up with the Rams in the second half on this contest.
Chicago Bears 16, Arizona Cardinals 14
Arizona managed to put two touchdowns up in the first half with Sam Bradford at quarterback after two horrendous games for the team's offense. That horrendous trend continued after those two touchdown passes by Bradford and the team finally got so fed up with him that he was benched for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Things were looking good for the Cards as they led 14-3 going into the half and forced two turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. But then the Sam Bradford we all know and love showed up, throwing interceptions on back-to-back drives to open the second half which allowed Chicago to score 10 points and pull within one, 14-13. Then on the third drive of the half Bradford turned the ball over again, this time on a fumble which led to the Bears field goal that gave them the 16-14 lead. At that point, the Cardinals had seen enough and brought in the rookie Josh Rosen to see what he could do. Rosen threw a pick on his first drive and with 43 seconds left had another chance to lead Arizona to victory but was unable. Now Rosen will be starting next week with a full week to prepare for his opponent.
Seattle Seahawks 24, Dallas Cowboys 13
This game was hard to watch as both teams looked terrible on the offensive side of the ball. Dak Prescott was lackluster, going 19-for-34 passing with 168 passing yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. He was sacked five times for a total loss of 31 yards as well. Although he turned in 127 rushing yards on 16 carries, Ezekiel Elliott feels like he cost his team the game on Sunday by drawing an illegal touch penalty and fumbling the ball in the fourth quarter. While those kinds of plays certainly do not help the team, neither does Prescott's inability to work effectively on offense in the passing game. Eventually, the Seahawks would break the scoreless tie in the second quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown from Russell Wilson to go up 7-0. It was the first of three scoring drives Seattle produced to close out the first half and take a lead 17-3. The game lacked much explosiveness from both teams, Russell Wilson put up only 192 passing yards on 16-for-26 passing and two touchdown passes. But against this Dallas Cowboys team which looks lost on offense, his performance was more than enough to get the Seahawks their first win.
Detroit Lions 26, New England Patriots 10
Matt Patricia got his first win as the head coach of the Lions as Detroit shocked the New England Patriots at home. Tom Brady was stifled on the offensive side of things, throwing for just 133 passing yards, one touchdown pass, and one interception. The only weapon he attempted to utilize most of the night was Rob Gronkowski who the Lions were double-teaming, making it hard for Brady to throw to him. Gronkowski finished with four receptions and 51 receiving yards, but was held out of the end zone for a second straight game. It looked like New England was going to get back into it after putting up 10 straight points to pull within three, 13-10, in the second half. But the Lions controlled the time of possession for a majority of the game and the Pats were unable to put together a drive lasting more than five plays following their only touchdown drive of the game. It was ugly for New England who now trails in the AFC East by two games and a building block for the Lions who struggled in the first two games on their season.
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