Falcons – 56 (2-1), Buccaneers – 14 (0-3) – Thursday Night Game
Heroes – Matt Ryan (286 PaYd, 3 TD), Steven Jackson (54 RuYd, 1 TD), Julio Jones (161 ReYd, 2 TD), Devin Hester (25 PaYd, 20 RuYd, 2 TD), Bobby Rainey (41 RuYd, 64 ReYd),
Zeroes – Devonta Freeman (12 RuYd, 7 ReYd), Josh McCown (58 PaYd)
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, the game was a blowout after the first quarter when the Falcons scored 21 unanswered points which eventually led to 35 unanswered points by halftime. The Bucs defense was missing four starters from the beginning of the season, so they were already in a huge hole before the game even started. Matt Ryan was 21-of-24 on Thursday night with a QBR of 99.7, as he was highly efficient and made no major mistakes. Five of Julio Jones’ receptions were 15 yards or more in which he totaled 120 yards, contributing to his overall total of 161 yards. Although the Falcons didn’t need him, Roddy White did not play for only the fourth time since the start of his career (2005).
Chargers – 22 (2-1), Bills – 10 (2-1)
Heroes – Philip Rivers (256 PaYd, 2 TD), Donald Brown (62 RuYd, 27 ReYd), Malcolm Floyd (98 ReYd), Eddie Royal (42 ReYd, 2 TD), Fred Jackson (34 RuYd, 78 ReYd, 1TD)
Zeroes – Antonio Gates (8 ReYd), Keenan Allen (17 ReYd), Sammy Watkins (19 ReYd)
Last week the Chargers relied upon Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers to step things up against the Seahawks, but in Week 3 it was an entirely different group of players that led the way including Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal. It shows just how versatile the Chargers they’ve got the ball, and, more importantly, they were able to carry on without the injured Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead, who left Sunday’s game early in the first quarter after suffering an ankle injury. The Chargers defense limited the Bills to a short-yard game and stopped them when needed on third down.
Cowboys – 34 (2-1), Rams – 31 (1-2)
Heroes – DeMarco Murray (100 RuYd, 31 ReYd, 1 TD), Dez Bryant (89 ReYd, 1 TD), Terrance Williams (32 ReYd, 1 TD), Austin Davis (327 PaYd, 3TD, 2 INT), Zac Stacy (67 RuYd, 54 PaYd), Brian Quick (62 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – None
The Rams took a 21-0 lead all the way up until 2:07 of the second quarter before DeMarco Murray ran the ball in for a TD from one yard out. It was the start of the Cowboys biggest comeback ever in team history, as they scored 20 unanswered points before beating the Rams later 34-31. Murray fumbled for the third time straight game as the Cowboys continue to show patience with their superstar runner, although the situation bears watching if he can’t hang onto the ball moving forward.
Eagles – 37 (3-0), Redskins – (1-2)
Heroes – Nick Foles (325 PaYd, 3 TD), Jeremy Maclin (154 ReYd, 1 TD), Jordan Matthews (59 ReYd, 2 TD), Kirk Cousins (427 PaYd, 3 TD, 1 INT), Pierre Garcon (138 ReYd, 1 TD), DeSean Jackson (117 ReYd, 1 TD), Roy Helu (55 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – LeSean McCoy (22 RuYd), Darren Sproles (20 RuYd, 30 ReYd)
You don’t like high-scoring games, do you? Of course you do. Kirk Cousins, filling in for the injured Robert Griffin III, and Nick Foles were both about as “on” their games as could be with Cousins tossing for over 400 yards and taking advantage of his downfield receivers, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Cousins completed 19-of-25 passes for 188 yards and two TDs in the first half of play, although the Eagles defense adjusted and slowed Cousins down some allowing Foles to put the game away. LeSean McCoy had one of the worst games of his career as he sputtered for a lousy 22 yards on 19 carries.
Giants – 30 (1-2), Texans – 17 (2-1)
Heroes – Rashad Jennings (176 RuYd, 1 TD), Victor Cruz (107 ReYd, 1 TD), Eli Manning (234 PaYd, 2 TD), Alfred Blue (78 RuYd, 10 ReYd), DeAndre Hopkins (116 ReYd)
Zeroes – Andre Johnson (24 ReYd), Larry Donnell (45 ReYd)
Rashad Jennings couldn’t be stopped and the Giants defense intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick three times to help notch their first victory in 2014 over the previously undefeated Texans. Eli Manning played mistake-free football, while finally connecting to Victor Cruz for their first TD pass of the season. DeAndre Hopkins seems to be overtaking Andre Johnson as the primary receiver for the Texans as Hopkins has produced three solid statistical weeks in a row (227 ReYd, 2 TD in 2014).
Saints – 20 (1-2), Vikings – 9 (1-2)
Heroes – Drew Brees (293 PaYd, 2 TD), Marques Colston (25 ReYd, 1 TD), Pierre Thomas (30 RuYd, 21 ReYd, 1 TD), Josh Hill (48 ReYd, 1 TD), Brandin Cooks (74 ReYd), Greg Jennings (70 ReYd)
Zeroes – Jimmy Graham (54 ReYd), Matt Cassel (53 PaYd)
The Vikings had to go without their best player once again, Adrian Peterson, and it looks like he’s not going to be welcomed back in Minnesota this year and maybe even beyond. Matt Cassel left the game due to a turf toe injury, which brought rookie Teddy Bridgewater in for the first time in 2014. Neither quarterback was able to do much against the Saints as Drew Brees took advantage of other receiving targets aside from tight end Jimmy Graham. The Saints defense played quite well only allowing one pass for more than 15 yards (Bridgewater to Greg Jennings for 30 yards), while Brees took advantage of the short-game offensive game plan as he was 16-of-16 for 126 yards on passes five yards or less.
Bengals – 33 (3-0), Titans – 7 (1-2)
Heroes – Giovani Bernard (47 RuYd, 7 ReYd, 2 TD), A.J. Green (102 ReYd), Jeremy Hill (39 RuYd, 1 TD), Shonn Greene (33 RuYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Jake Locker (185 PaYd, 50 RuYd, 2 INT), Kendall Wright (44 ReYd)
My preseason pick has the Bengals making it to the Super Bowl and that’s starting to look pretty good, although I know they’ve got a long way to go to get there; however, the Bengals are one of the better balanced clubs in the NFL with premier offensive weapons and a stout defense. They even know how to employ some trickery into the game plan as Andy Dalton caught an 18-yard TD pass from receiver Mohamed Sanu. Jake Locker is starting to look like his old self as he’s had difficulty matching his Week 1 production.
Ravens – 23 (2-1), Browns – 23 (1-2)
Heroes – Lorenzo Taliaferro (91 RuYd, 1 TD) Steve Smith, Sr. (101 ReYd), Kyle Juszczyk (54 ReYd, 1 TD), Brian Hoyer (290 yards, 1 TD), Isaiah Crowell (55 RuYd, 1 TD), Terrance West (36 RuYd, 5 ReYd, 1 TD), Andrew Hawkins (87 ReYd), Taylor Gabriel (81 ReYd)
Zeroes – Torrey Smith (25 ReYd), Dennis Pitta (12 ReYd), Jordan Cameron (23 ReYd)
The Ravens squeaked out the win on a Justin Tucker 32-yard field goal as time expired in the game, which was set up by a 32-yard reception by Steve Smith, Sr. Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro picked up the slack for the injured Bernard Pierce, while fullback Kyle Juszczyk caught a receiving TD – the first by a Harvard graduate since 1980. Tight end Dennis Pitta was taken to the hospital after falling to a serious hip injury. Brian Hoyer and the Browns did what they could with 375 yards on offense, but it was the Browns defense that let up as the Ravens kicked two field goals in the last five minutes of the game to win.
Lions – 19 (2-1), Packers – 7 (1-2)
Heroes – Reggie Bush (61 RuYd, 38 ReYd, 1 TD), Calvin Johnson (82 ReYd), Detroit Defense (1 TD, 1 Safety, 1 FumRec)
Zeroes – Matthew Stafford (246 PaYd, 2 INT), Joique Bell (33 RuYd), Aaron Rodgers (162 PaYd, 1 TD), Eddie Lacy (36 RuYd, 9 ReYd), Jordy Nelson (59 ReYd)
It looks like the Lions know how to win games without relying solely on Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, as their defense played hero (TD score on an Eddie Lacy fumble) squashing Aaron Rodgers’ hopes of pulling out a road victory. Rodgers wasn’t on top of his game as he underthrew five passes for incompletions, one of which was a potential TD pass to Jordy Nelson. The pressure from the Lions defensive line surely had an impact on Rodgers’ rushed throws, as they sent four pass rushers most of the game.
Colts – 44 (1-2), Jaguars – 17 (0-3)
Heroes – Andrew Luck (370 PaYd, 4 TD), T.Y. Hilton (80 ReYd), Ahmad Bradshaw (65 RuYd, 18 ReYd), Trent Richardson (57 RuYd, 23 ReYd), Dwayne Allen (43 ReYd, 1 TD), Hakeem Nicks (50 ReYd, 1 TD), Coby Fleener (49 ReYd, 1 TD), Blake Bortles (223 PaYd, 2 TD, 2 INT), Allen Hurns (63 ReYd, 1 TD), Cecil Shorts III (35 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Toby Gerhart (32 RuYd, 31 ReYd), Chad Henne (33 PaYd)
The big story was Andrew Luck – one of the premier quarterbacks in the game today – who utilized his entire offense throwing TD passes to four different receivers, one of which was running back Ahmad Bradshaw who is now averaging 7.0 yards per touch in 2014. Luck was also 6-for-6 on passes thrown for 20-yards or more downfield. Plus, the Colts ran for 144 yards taking advantage of both Trent Richardson and Bradshaw. The Jaguars benched quarterback Chad Henne at halftime, which opened the door for rookie Blake Bortles who threw for all of his yardage in the second half.
Patriots – 16 (2-1), Raiders – 9 (0-3)
Heroes – Julian Edelman (84 ReYd), Rob Gronkowski (44 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Stevan Ridley (54 RuYd), Shane Vereen (20 RuYd, 17 ReYd), Derek Carr (174 PaYd), James Jones (43 ReYd)
Julian Edelman was targeted 11 times by Tom Brady, 10 of which he caught against the Raiders on Sunday making him Brady’s obvious No. 1 option early in the season. Brady continues to look for receivers he can count on downfield other than Edelman or Gronkowski. The Raiders could never really get anything going on offense, with running back Darren McFadden only averaging 3.3 yards per carry. The game was more about field position and defensive stops as both teams were held to less than 550 overall yards combined.
Cardinals – 23 (3-0), 49ers – 14 (1-2)
Heroes – Drew Stanton (244 PaYd, 2 TD), Michael Floyd (114 ReYd), John Brown (52 ReYd, 2 TD), Colin Kaepernick (245 PaYd, 54 RuYd, 1 TD), Stevie Johnson (103 ReYd), Michael Crabtree (80 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Frank Gore (10 RuYd), Larry Fitzgerald (34 ReYd)
Backup quarterback Drew Stanton did a fantastic job filling in for injured starter Carson Palmer as he led the Cardinals to victory and to a 3-0 start on the year. Stanton locked onto rookie John Brown twice in the second half, while the 49ers defense struggled for most of the game contributing to the nine penalties (107 yards) the Niners racked up over the game. The Niners have been outscored by opponents in the second half by a combined 52-3 so far in 2014.
Seahawks – 26 (2-1), Broncos – 20 (2-1)
Heroes – Marshawn Lynch (88 RuYd, 40 ReYd, 2 TD), Russell Wilson (258 PaYd, 40 RuYd, 2 TD, 1 INT), Ricardo Lockette (39 ReYd, 1 TD), Peyton Manning (303 PaYd, 2 TD, 1 INT), Emmanuel Sanders (149 ReYd), Jacob Tamme (22 ReYd, 1 TD), Julius Thomas (17 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Percy Harvin (42 ReYd), Montee Ball (38 RuYd, 6 ReYd), Demariyus Thomas (31 ReYd, 2 Pt. Conv.)
If you were looking for an exciting game to park yourself on the couch to watch, this was it. Peyton Manning threw a TD pass to tight end Jacob Tamme with only 18 seconds remaining in the game and then the Broncos converted a two-point conversion with Manning throwing to the back of the end zone to Demaryius Thomas to send the game to overtime. Unfortunately for Manning and the Broncos, they never touched the ball as Russell Wilson was drove his team downfield to set Marshawn Lynch up with the game-winning score. While running out of the pocket, Wilson completed three of his six passes in overtime for first downs.
Chiefs – 34 (1-2), Dolphins – 15 (1-2)
Heroes – Knile Davis (132 RuYd, 1 TD), Alex Smith (186 PaYd, 17 RuYd, 3 TD), Joe McKnight (64 ReYd, 2 TD), Travis Kelce (36 ReYd, 1 TD), Lamar Miller (108 RuYd, 24 ReYd), Brian Hartline (25 ReYd, 1 TD), Mike Wallace (74 ReYd, 12 RuYd)
Zeroes – Dwayne Bowe (32 ReYd), Ryan Tannehill (205 PaYd, 9 RuYd, 1 TD)
Although Alex Smith was sacked five times by the Dolphins, he still managed to throw for three TD passes in the Chiefs first win of the year. Starter Jamaal Charles was ruled out just before the start of the game, which led to Knile Davis putting up a career high 132 rushing yards. The Chiefs also got running back Joe McKnight involved, taking advantage of his agility and speed. The Dolphins stayed close until the fourth quarter when the Chiefs scored twice with less than five minutes left in the game.
Steelers – 37 (2-1), Panthers – 19 (2-1)
Heroes – Antonio Brown (90 ReYd, 2 TD), Le’Veon Bell (147 RuYd, 10 ReYd), Legarrette Blount (118 RuYd, 1 TD), Ben Roethlisberger (196 PaYd, 2 TD), Kelvin Benjamin (115 ReYd, 1 TD), Greg Olsen (69 ReYd, 1 TD)
Zeroes – Markus Wheaton (35 ReYd), Jonathan Stewart (31 RuYd, 19 ReYd)
The Panthers have one of the better defenses in the league, but could not stop the run on Sunday night as Le’Veon Bell and Legarrette Blount totaled 244 yards between the tackles with both getting a 50-yard rush. Wide receiver Antonio Brown caught every single target thrown his way (10), two of which were touchdowns. Panthers rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin showcased his talents on prime-time TV letting viewers see that he’s a legitimate talent.
Thanks for tuning in and I’ll see you for Week 4! And, don’t forget that you can catch me on Twitter @TheRolyPolyBoy.