NFL Week 3 Recap
The Giants squandered another divisional game, the Bears were bad even without Jay Cutler, the Ravens rolled to 3-0, and more analysis.
Only 5 undefeated teams left; still more football!
Eli Manning’s stat line, 25/38 with 350 yards one TD and 2 INT is not terrible, but the loss can squarely fall on the shoulders of the younger Manning brother. The Giants played well early in the game, jumping out to a 21-9 lead midway through the second quarter (with a win probability at nearly 70%), seemingly in control. It was not until later in the game that the Kirk Cousins led Washington Redskins would mount a comeback to dash the undefeated hopes of the NY Giants by a score of 29-27 on the back of two fourth quarter INTs by Eli Manning.
Despite missing starting RB Rashad Jennings and losing backup RB Shane Vereen to injury, Orleans Darkwa was able to alleviate some of the pressure off on Manning with a productive 10 carries for 53 yards and a TD. That, coupled with the Giants defense holding the Redskins to 9 points on their first six possessions, made it look like the Giants were on their way to 3-0 for the first time in four seasons.
However, the Redskins came out of halftime a different team. Josh Norman might not have shut down Odell Beckham Jr. as well as he might have hoped (Beckham had a line of 7/121 on 11 targets), but Norman was more than happy with the defensive effort of the Redskins in the second half. There were of course the two key INTs forced off of Eli Manning, but the Redskins chipped in 2 sacks and 4 TFL as well. The first INT was in the end zone, a back breaker that would have put the Giants up for good. The second one came on a mental mistake by Manning, not seeing a linebacker in coverage on their final drive with less than two minutes remaining, cinching the game for the visiting Redskins while sending the Giants to 2-1.
For Washington, Kirk Cousins played his first good game of the season, with a stat line of 21/35 with 296 yards and 2 TDs. Cousins hit his open receivers and made some difficult throws in the process, with DeSean Jackson chipping in with a line of 5/96/1, with the TD came from 44 yards out. The running game only combined for 90 yards on an inefficient 30 carries, with Matt Jones leading the way with 17/65. The Redskins, now 1-2, head back to the nation’s capital where they face the Cleveland Browns, while the Giants head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Monday Night Football.
Taken with the 135th overall pick in this year’s draft, Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott led the Cowboys to a rather dominant 31-17 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears with a line of 19/24 with 248 yards and 1TD to go along with 4 carries for 36 yards and another score on the ground. Prescott and crop-top wearing rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliot (30 carries for 140 yards) carried the offense in this one, with the Bears scoring the majority of their 17 points in garbage time. With starting QB and turnover machine Jay Cutler on the shelf with a sprained thumb (he still might have had an INT), it was up to Brian “Hoyer the Destroyer” Hoyer to try and captain the Bears to their first victory of the season. The result was predictable – the Bears defense was a sieve, Jeremy Langford got hurt, and Alshon Jeffrey (5/70 on 9 targets) was underused again.
The game was slow at first, but after a few drives, the Cowboys jumped out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back. Hoyer did throw for 317 yards while going 30/49 with 2 TDs to Zach Miller, but he looked erratic at times, missing open receivers early and often. Defensively, the Bears had no answer for the short passing game of Prescott and the Cowboys, and had massive holes open up for Elliot and backup RB Alfred Morris, causing for a lopsided result.
Dez Bryant continued his trend of quiet outings, as he had a box score of 3/40/1 on 6 targets. Bryant also was forced to leave the game early in the first drive, but came back to the joy of many Cowboys fans. No Cowboys receiver went for over 88 yards, as Terrance Williams and his 88 yards led them on 4 catches. On the flip side of the ball, despite Jeremy Langford going down with injury, there is now an opening for fifth round rookie and Indiana University product Jordan Howard to take command of the lead back role while Langford and Ka’Deem Carey are out with injuries. Next week, the Bears, owners of a 0-3 record head to Ford Field in Detroit to take on the Lions, while the 2-1 Dallas Cowboys head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers.
Some Cleats with Strong Thread
The Baltimore Ravens are 3-0, with kicker Justin Tucker nailing a 54-yard field goal with 1:04 left in the game to send the Jacksonville Jaguars to 0-3 to start the season. The game itself was one large mess; with QBs Joe Flacco and Blake Bortles combining for 5 INTs to 2TDs. Offense was at a premium as well, with neither team cracking over 300 yards as a team. The always-feisty Steve Smith Sr. led the way with 8/87 on 11 targets, to go with one skirmish with Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey, which led Smith to state he had “cleats with stronger thread” than Ramsey.
Defensively, the Ravens accounted for 3 INTs, 4 sacks, and 7 TFL. The Ravens defense has been a nice surprise to Baltimore fans, as little was expected of a unit that struggled last year. However, with the first three opponents the Ravens have faced (Jaguars, Browns, Bills) are not exactly the toughest of opponents, so it will be interesting to see going forward how the Ravens fare, especially with games against the Redskins, Giants, Jets, and Steelers on the docket.
For Jacksonville, there are few seats hotter than head coach Gus Bradley. Bradley promised to turn around the Jaguars this year. The Jags had a fair amount of preseason hype as well, and played a very competitive game with Green Bay in Week 1, but has looked very flat since then. If Bradley does not rally the troops and find a way to get some wins, there is a very real chance he will not finish the season as the head coach of the team. Next week, the 3-0 Ravens head back to Baltimore to take on the Oakland Raiders, while the 0-3 Jaguars of Jacksonville will head to London where they will be the “home team” and will play the Indianapolis Colts.
New England 27, Houston 0
Buffalo 33, Arizona 18
Carson Palmer became the first QB in 15 years to throw 4 INTs in the 4th quarter
Oakland 17, Tennessee 10
A lot of this for Mariota despite a porous Raiders defense
Miami 30, Cleveland 24 (OT)
Miami struggled, still good enough to beat the Browns
Green Bay 34, Detroit 27
Denver 29, Cincinnati 17
Minnesota 22, Carolina 10
Vikings defense looks to be the real deal, Newton struggles again
Los Angeles 37, Tampa Bay 32
Jameis has gaudy stat line, but Bucs still fall
Seattle 37, San Francisco 18
When the spread is double digits, go with the favorite
Kansas City 24, NY Jets 3
Philadelphia 34, Pittsburgh 3
Atlanta 45, New Orleans 32
Week 4 Picks
Home team in CAPS (All lines as of 9/27)
CINCINNATI (-7) over Miami
Indianapolis (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
HOUSTON (-6.5) over Tennessee
Cleveland (+9.5) over WASHINGTON
Seattle (Even) over NY JETS
NEW ENGLAND (-4.5) over Buffalo
Carolina (-3.5) over ATLANTA
Oakland (+3.5) over BALTIMORE
Detroit (-3) over CHICAGO
Denver (-3) over TAMPA BAY
Los Angeles (+8.5) over ARIZONA
SAN DIEGO (-4) over New Orleans
Dallas (-3) over SAN FRANCISCO
PITTSBURGH (-6) over Kansas City
MINNESOTA (-4) over NY Giants
Byes: Green Bay, Philadelphia
Last Week: 10-6
All Time: 21-11
Luke Hallett is a sophomore at Indiana University, and his radio show Gerky Gerk and The Funky Bunch, is on WIUX 99.1 FM on Fridays from 6-7PM EST.