Sunday, September 25, 2011
Week 3 Around the League
There was some wild games today in the NFL, let's break down the scores and stats.
The Browns are off to a 2-1 start after defeating the Miami Dolphins on a brilliant two minute drive by Colt McCoy. The QB has shown maturity and leadership skills so far that can make head coach Pat Schurmur feel very confident going forward. Peyton Hillis didn't suit up due to strep throat, but second year back Montereo Hardesty filled in nicely, rushing for 67 yards on 14 carries.
The Lions overcame a 20-0 first half deficit to beat the Vikings in overtime 26-23. Calvin Johnson led the way with 108 yards and 2TD's from Matthew Stafford. The Lions are now 3-0 tied for the division lead with the Green Bay Packers.
The game of the week goes to the Buffalo Bills, coming from way behind for the second straight week and beating the New England Patriots 34-31. Brady was picked off 4 times in the loss, matching his total for last year. The Bills are now 3-0 and winning the division after beating the Patriots and the Jets losing to the Raiders.
The "Dream Team" Philadelphia Eagles hosted the New York Giants today, and expected to roll over the banged up Gmen defense. That did not happen! The Giants front seven got after Michael Vick the entire game, and ultimately knocked him out of the game with a broken right hand. Victor Cruz had a huge game, catching two of Eli Manning's four touchdown passes, and Ahmad Bradshaw was effective enough running the ball to give the Giants balance on offense. The Eagles were preseason Super Bowl favorites, but now sit at the bottom of the NFC East with a 1-2 record. Vick may not miss any games because he broke his non-throwing hand, but it's bound to cause some issues in handling snaps and running the ball.
There was a shoot out in New Orleans, where the Saints came from behind to beat the Texans 40-33. This was the first true test of the Houston defense, and they did not pass, giving up 40 points and well over 400 yards of offense to the Saints. Matt Schaub also threw for over 370 yards and 3 TD's, but it wasn't enough. This was a big win for the Saints as they move into first place in the division with the Falcons falling to Tampa Bay.
Speaking of the Falcons, what happened to this team? They brought everyone back from a 13-3 team, and added some great rookies in the draft. Roddy White dropped two huge passes on the final drive, one of which could have been a game winning TD. Dropped balls plagued him his first few years in the league, and it looks like it's haunting him again. The Buccaneers defense held Michael Turner (my starting fantasy running back) to 20 yards rushing, and forced three Matt Ryan turnovers to win 16-13.
The Titans kept rolling with a 17-14 victory over the Broncos. Matt Hasselback had a 300 yard passing performance, but lost Kenny Britt to a knee injury, which may be season ending. That would be a huge blow to the Titans, who seem to have a shot at winning the AFC South this year with Peyton Manning sidelined.
The Raiders rolled over the Jets 34-24. Darren McFadden may be the best running back in the NFL, rushing for over 150 yards and 2 TD's in the contest. This team should be 3-0, but they blew a lead against Buffalo last weekend. They are 2-1 tied with San Diego for the lead in the division, but they have New England next week, who will be looking to rebound from a big loss today at the hands of the Bills. But remember, the Raiders did sweep the division last season and I like them to do the same this year. If they can get four wins out of division match ups, they should be in the playoffs at the end of the year.
Other match ups included the Packers beating the Bears to improve to 3-0. Cutler needs some help on that team. JerMichael Finley caught 3 touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers to lead the way. The 49ers beat the Bengals 13-8. When I saw the score, I thought the San Francisco Giants were beating the Cincinnati Reds. It was ugly, but the 49ers will take it, and they sit alone at 2-1 in the NFC West. The Carolina Panthers came from behind to beat the Jaguars in Blaine Gabbert's debut 16-10. The Ravens smashed the Rams in St. Louis 37-7 and the Chargers held on to beat the Chiefs 20-17. Finally, the Seahawks got their first win of the season over division rival Arizona 13-10.
I will be looking forward to watching how the Colts prepared for the Steelers defense tonight. Kerry Collins needs to get more time in the pocket to throw down field. At the same time, the coaching staff needs to put Collins in the best situation to succeed, calling short timing patterns early to get the ball out of his hands and build confidence for the offense. If they do that, this game could be closer than people think.