15 Biggest Surprises From Week 3 NFL Action
15 Biggest Surprises From Week 3 NFL Action
Every week in the NFL brings triumph and despair, and week three proved to be one for the books. There were comeback wins, heart-breaking losses and all kinds of surprises in between.
This week, the New England Patriots were able to stay perfect (3-0) despite the lack of solid reputable receivers for quarterback Tom Brady. With the Patriots in rebuilding mode after losing Aaron Hernandez to jail-time and Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola to injury, and Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos, 3-0 seems impressive given the circumstances.
The Broncos continued to dominate, this time on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. The matchup described as a David and Goliath match, and showcased quarterback Peyton Manning’s unbelievable talent and skill once again, while leaving Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor with a concussion.
Pryor wasn’t the only quarterback with issues this week. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback Josh Freeman was unable to lead the Bucs to a win in each of the first three weeks, and it was announced that he would be benched week four in favor of Mike Glennon, prompting Freeman to ask for a trade.
And then there was the debut of Trent Richardson, this time as an Indianapolis Colt against the San Francisco 49ers, after a mid-week trade from the Cleveland Browns. Richardson started the Colts off with a touchdown and finished the game with 13 carries for 35 yards.
Yes, week three definitely brought all kinds of surprises as well, click on to check them out.
Lahari Subraveti is a football writer for Rant Sports. You can follow her on Twitter @Lahari_S
15. Packers Pass Protection
The Green Bay Packers have generally been known as a team that could protect their quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But the Cincinnati Bengals seemed to be able to take advantage of the lack of pass protection. The Bengals sacked Rodgers four times, pressured him and forced two interceptions. Rodgers is a quarterback with generally few problems, but posted a 64.5 rating, significantly below his 104.9 overall career rating. Luckily, the Packers have a bye week four, giving them a chance to figure out what is going on.
14. Chiefs Stay Perfect
The Kansas City Chiefs are proof that coaching makes all the difference. With Andy Reid in his first season, the Chiefs (3-0) are showing the league how much talent they actually have. In fact, their passing defense is ranked in the top five, which obviously affected Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick, who threw two interceptions. The Chiefs face the New York Giants week four, another chance to pressure an already struggling Eli Manning.
13. Nate Burleson
In an off-the-field freak injury, the Detroit Lions’ Nate Burleson will miss about a month after under going surgery to repair a broken arm. Of all things, Burleson was distracted by a sliding pizza in the passenger’s seat of his SUV, leading to a single-car crash. No alcohol was involved. In an age where most off-the-field issues are related to illegal drugs or alcohol, luck was just not on Burleson’s side. In fact, Burleson was just becoming a strong target opposite Calvin Johnson for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Wishing him a speedy recovery!
12. Robert Griffin III
So maybe not all athletes are like Adrian Peterson, who recovered from knee surgery at lightning speed. But, that anticipation may have forced Robert Griffin III to push himself to continue to play for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are 0-3, a far cry from what was expected after last year’s surprise season. The big surprise is why the Redskins coaches and trainers are continuing to let RG III play when he is visibly limping and struggling
11. Winless Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a strong team in recent years, but it seems that the Steelers have fallen in a slump as of late. The Chicago Bears were able to force five turnovers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been visibly frustrated and although his numbers looked better week three, his season rating, 81.2 is much lower than his career 92.4. But it isn’t just the offense, the generally dominant defense was unable to stop the Bears, losing 40-23. The Steelers now turn to another winless team, the Minnesota Vikings in week four, which will be played in London.
10. Aldon Smith
After being pulled over Friday on suspicion of DUI, the first surprise was that linebacker Aldon Smith played for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the game with five tackles. But, the real surprise was after the game, when Smith announced that he would be taking a indefinite voluntary leave of absence in order to enter rehab for alcohol issues. Smith has been arrested for DUI previously. The 23-year-old isn’t expected to return to the 49ers for at least a month.
9. Giant Woes: 0-3
The New York Giants have been known as a second-half of the season team, but it might be time for panic mode. A close loss to the Dallas Cowboys in week one is one thing, but a 38-0 shutout at the Carolina Panthers? Certainly the Giants couldn’t be that bad. But, it seems as though the once resilient Giants are having a breakdown. The 0-3 start is their worse since the 1996 season where they finished 6-10.
8. Darren McFadden
Oakland Raiders’ running back Darren McFadden had a dismal week three against the Denver Broncos, having more rush attempts than yards. McFadden had 12 attempts for 9 yards averaging 0.8 yards per carry. If that trend continues, it certainly won’t help the Raiders. But, despite a awful performance at running back, McFadden showed off his quarterback skills, tossing a touchdown.
7. Lukewarm Seat for Rex Ryan
When the season began, everyone was convinced that the New York Jets were headed into a terrible season. The Jets stand at 2-1, despite a rocky season. Week three against the Buffalo Bills brought a win, but an ugly one. The Jets set an NFL record 20 penalties for 168 yards. Quarterback Geno Smith was decent (89.9 rating) after a terrible week two, so things could be a lot worse.
6. Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill may not be a well-known quarterback, but his performance week three continues to build onto his best season yet. Tannehill was able to throw for 236 yards, two touchdowns, with only one interception against the Atlanta Falcons. This season's Tannehill has been showing signs of improvement week to week, unlike last season. Great news for the Miami Dolphins.
5. San Francisco Loss
After reaching the Super Bowl last year, the expectations were high for the San Francisco 49ers. But after a 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in week three, the 49ers are left two games down in the NFC West. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had trouble fining open receivers, as none were able to break away from man coverage. Don’t expect the defense to get any better either. Linebacker Patrick Willis left the game with a groin injury and didn’t return, and linebacker Aldon Smith will likely be out a month after a voluntary leave of absence.
4. Jake Locker and Tennessee Titans' Comeback Win
Less than a minute left, no time outs and the ball was in quarterback Jake Locker’s hand. Locker has been trying to prove that he is the future of the Tennessee Titans franchise. Well, this drive definitely seemed convincing. Locker marched the Titans down the field for a touchdown to rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left on the clock for a comeback win against the San Diego Chargers, who the Titans hadn’t beat in nine previous meetings.
3. Eli Manning’s Struggles
Eli Manning is definitely in a slump. After losing in the Manning Bowl, he had a chance to redeem himself in a game against the winless Carolina Panthers. But Manning finished the game with a dismal 49 rating, throwing for only 119 yards, no touchdowns and an interception – numbers rarely expected from a quarterback of Manning’s standard. The New York Giants went on to lose the game 38-0. Whatever Manning is dealing with needs to be resolved ASAP if the Giants have any chance of redeeming their 0-3 start.
2. Miami Dolphins 3-0
After a stunning 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Miami Dolphins proved that they are real. The Dolphins haven’t had a winning record since 2008, when they went 11-5. With quarterback Ryan Tannehill improving and a strong defensive front, maybe the Dolphins are here to stay. Who knew the Dolphins would be undefeated through week three?
1. Brian Hoyer to the Rescue?
After a mid-week Trent Richardson trade to the Indianapolis Colts, the Cleveland Browns traded away arguably their most talented player. But no one expected the Browns to pull off a win, much less with third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer at the reigns. Hoyer, a Tom Brady protégé, showcased why he should be the man in charge, not first-string quarterback Brandon Weeden. It will be interesting to see how the Browns continue to adapt.