NFL Week 3 Review: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:

Win now, cry later

An emotional Torrey Smith celebrating TD

Torrey Smith’s emotionally infused play lifted his team to victory. After an early morning call informed Smith that his 19-year-old brother, Tevin, had been killed in a motorcycle accident, Torrey opted to stick with the team for Sunday Night Football against the Patriots. Tears rolled down Smith’s face early in the game as football didn’t distract him from his brother’s death. Instead, Smith managed to channel that emotion into fierce football play. Smith grabbed everything that was thrown his direction: snatching six receptions, 120 yards and two TDs, contributing to Baltimore edging New England with a game winning field goal. Final Score: Ravens 31, Patriots 30.

Jamaal Charles shows that once again the Saints ain’t play defense

sAint tackling me!

If you didn’t notice Jamaal Charles’ name has an extra “A,” why, because he’s just that awesome. Last season Charles injured his ACL in week one and sat out the entire season. A slow start had many Charles supporters questioning if he could manifest the potential displayed in previous seasons because he’s struggled to find rhythm totaling 90 yards on 24 carries in the first two weeks of this season. Right when people began to write him off, Charles taxed the Saints’ atrocious run defense for 233 yards and a TD. There isn’t a need for statistical backing to illustrate how terrible the Saints have been, but to make it quick: 2 Quarterbacks, not running backs, achieved career-high rushing yardage this year vs. the Saints, and they’ve given up over 100 points in three weeks. Final Score: Chiefs 27, Saints 24.

80 yards to victory

Shorts stretching to break the plane

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the NFL’s doormats in recent years, but this wasn’t the case on Sunday. Andrew Luck had just led the Colts down the field for a Vinatieri field goal that seemingly doomed Jacksonville to a fate they’re all too familiar with– losing. Everybody believed the Jags would lose except for quarterback Blaine Gabbert who said, “I told the guys going out onto the field, We’re going to win. Right here, right now.” The following play Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard TD catch and run that sealed the game. Final Score: Jaguars 22, Colts 17.

Raider’s steal one from Steelers

Janikowski celebrating game winning FG

Last week I jokingly stated that the disorganized Raiders risked compiling an 0-16 record. This week, I have no problem eating those words. It appeared that my prophecy might remain on track, but Oakland dug deep, took a page from Pittsburg’s book, and racked off 13 unanswered fourth quarter points to seize the game as time expired. Beating the Steelers, one of the NFL’s elite teams, might be exactly what Oakland needed to separate from their losing ways and jumpstart their season, especially since Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Final Score: Raiders 34, Steelers 31.

The Bad & Ugly Combined:

Its official, the replacement officials are terrible

Ref on left: touchback. Ref on right: touchdown

Week after week the replacement refs’ terrible calls catastrophically affect the outcome of games. This week has been no different. There’s an array of available examples to illustrate this point, but none will cause more upheaval than the last second jump ball of the Seahawks-Packers game. First, the officials missed Golden Tate’s blatant offensive pass interference when he pushed Sam Shields down. Secondly, it’s clear that the Packers defender possessed the ball before what some believed was a simultaneous catch. Tate, the receiver on the play, appeared to have only one hand/arm on the ball as the defender came to the ground. One official signaled touchdown, and another signaled touchback. Green Bay had this game taken from them, and before the lockout ends, the playoff picture will be greatly skewed. If the referee lockout doesn’t end this week, don’t be surprised when the replacement refs appear on the “ugly” list next week. Final Score: Seahawks 14, Packers 12.

Eagles’ offensive line has been defenses best friend

Need i say more?

Mike Vick has possibly been criticized more than any player in the NFL this year, but it’s becoming clear that more of his criticism should be shared with a few teammates. Vick’s offensive line refuses to give him time to drop back and survey the field before a defender breaks through and threatens to bruise his ribs again. It’s incomprehensible how the same linemen can zone block and create holes for a running back, but can’t give their quarterback more than 2 seconds before he’s forced to break containment, or is simply knocked on his ass. Their lack of protection ensure it’s only a matter of time before Vick sustains another injury from hanging in the pocket and getting blasted by a 300-pound lineman. Final Score: Cardinals 27, Eagles 6.

Superman Cam encounters kryptonite coated Giants

Sideline behavior

Dejected, frustrated and battered; what do these words have in common other than ending with –ed? They’re all adjectives to describe Cam Newton’s sideline demeanor/composure as he helplessly watched New York’s bench players, Ramses Barden and Andre Brown, dismantle his defense. Yet, each time Cam took the field, disaster struck. The Giants arguably have the best defensive line in football, and their relentless pressure forced Cam to throw three INTs. If Cam is Superman, then the Giants’ defense is an oversized barrel of kryptonite. Final Score: Giants 36, Panthers 7.

This poll was a no brainer

NFL Week 1 Review: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:

Robert Griffin’s stellar debut rookie performance

RG3 watches 1st TD from best “seat” in stadium.

RG3 instantly proved why Washington made the correct selection with the second overall pick of the draft. Debuting versus the New Orleans Saints, Griffin threw two touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards, which ranks fourth in NFL history for rookie debut performances. Griffin led the NFL with a 139.9 passer rating and catalyzed the Redskins offense by completing his first eight passing attempts, including an 88-yard TD strike to Pierre Garcon completing Griffin’s first career TD pass.

Peyton Manning returns to football, hits milestone

Manning as a Bronco

611 days have passed since Manning last appeared in a NFL game, but it seemed like he never missed a game. After a slow start in the first half, Manning paralleled prime, Colts form and delivered a 71-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas. One pass served two purposes; Manning’s first TD pass as a member of the Denver Broncos, and the 400th TD pass of his career. Peyton reached the 400 TD milestone in 208 career games, which is faster than Dan Marino (227), and Brett Favre (228).

Offensive explosions

Five teams (Jets, Ravens, Bears, Falcons, and Redskins) set scoreboards ablaze this week scoring 40 or more points. There’s not a single NFL analyst that would have predicted any of those teams to explode in such dramatic fashion. Only the Saints or Patriots offer any promise with their highly potent offenses, and both teams landed in the 30 point range. In addition to the Saints and Patriots, three other organizations (Texans, 49ers, and Broncos)  scored a minimum of 30 points.

Football began midweek

Kevin Ogletree #85

Football beginning midweek appeased many fans. Why, because fans didn’t have to impatiently suffer through another  workweek while simultaneously awaiting football’s return. Not only did football’s start move forward to Wednesday from traditional Thursday, but a highly competitive game took place. America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, edged the reigning Superbowl champion New York Giants 24-17, behind a well-balanced attacked headlined by Kevin Ogletree. If you don’t know who he is, you’re sure to find out when he plays your favorite team.

The Bad:

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns

This game was absolutely atrocious. Nine turnovers occurred during the exhibition, eight interceptions and one fumble lost. Yet, this wasn’t entirely due to good defense.  Sloppy offensive play brought more yawns and disinterest than cheers and excitement. Combined, both teams offered a meager 10 of 23 on third conversions, which subtracted fluidity from the game. Neither quarterback completed 55% of their passes, and that’s not asking much. Vick completed roughly 52% of his passes, and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden converted 34% of his passes. Weeden recorded an abysmal  5.1 quarterback rating. At best 5.1 would classify as intermediate on the Richter Scale, but in football that’s equivalent to not showing up. The game was just awful.

Multiple quarterbacks threw multiple interceptions

Nine quarterbacks threw two or more interceptions in week 1. Some of the league’s best quarterbacks were better fit delivering the ball to opposing teams. Matthew Stafford (3), Drew Brees (2),  Cam Newton (2), and promising, potential possessing Andrew Luck (3), headlined a list of quarterbacks who just couldn’t control the ball.

Saints lost to Redskins

Simply put, New Orleans was supposed to beat the Redskins. From top to bottom, the Saints roster and talent level greatly exceeds the Redskins’, even with RG3’s stellar performance. New Orleans desperately needed a win to keep last season’s bounty scandal in the past. Critics promptly began commenting on the immediate ramifications of Sean Payton’s year-long suspension and questioned locker room cohesion.

Replacement Referees

Free timeouts awarded

Negotiations between the NFL and officials continues stalemating, so the NFL began week 1 with replacement referees officiating. Replacement refs made huge bobbles at critical times. In the Giants-Cowboys season opener, the refs missed a blatant hold by Orlando Scandrick that prevented New York from scoring a touchdown. Had the proper call been made, the Giants would have received four more downs to score a touchdown while at the goal line. Also,  in the Cardinals-Seahawks’ 4th quarter, the refs awarded Seattle a fourth timeout in the final two minutes. Lastly, in Monday Night’s game, the refs ruled a touchdown on Anquan Boldin’s deep catch where he didn’t control the ball “through the ground.”  We need primary officiating back, but sadly enough, the NFL has scheduled replacement officials through week five.

The Ugly:

Michael Vick and Brandon Weeden’s hosted an interception fest.

That was probably an interception.

At times it seemed like Vick and Weeden tried to outdo each other and prematurely lead the NFL in interceptions. Poor judgement littered both quarterbacks’ play. It’s never a good idea to attempt squeezing throws between double or triple coverage, yet both quarterbacks insisted on doing so. Weeden has an excuse. Fans tolerate rookies struggling to adjust to NFL game speed, especially in week 1, but what’s Vick’s excuse? He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback with a $100M contract who fumbled twice in addition to his four pics. There’s no excuse for that. I bet if he lost $100,000 for every subsequent turnover, Vick would display better judgement and secure the tightly while scrambling.

Cincinnati’s Monday Night Performance

Bengals 13, Ravens 44

Fortunately, the NFL scheduled two Monday night games this past week, because the first didn’t offer any competition. The Bengals came out and got their stripes stripped by the soaring Baltimore Ravens. Last season the Bengals had one of the top rated defenses, but that’s easily forgotten when the Raven’s complete a 52-yard bomb on their first play from scrimmage.  A poor, almost cowardly performance, was all the Bengals offered. Just like fans watching from home, the Bengals couldn’t wait for the clock to show triple zeros.

Falcons lost Brent Grimes for season

Brent Grimes #20

In the midst of routing the Kansas City Chiefs, the Falcons lost Pro Bowl, cover corner Brent Grimes to a season-ending injury. Grimes sustained a devastating achilles tendon tear that requires surgery, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. This is a huge hit to the Superbowl hopeful Falcons.