Another week has passed in the National Football League and there was a lot of excitement as well as disappointments. Some teams continued their hot streaks to start the season while others, well they continued to flounder. Here are my takeaways from Week 3 in the NFL.
Carson Wentz continues to shine
The rookie quarterback is continuing his hot play to start the season. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 34-3 beat down of the in-state rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Wentz went 23-31 for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns. What is more impressive is he did not turn the ball over for the third straight game. He has attempted 102 passes in his brief NFL career and has yet to throw an interception. Going into the game, Pittsburgh was 19-2 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. Pittsburgh defensive end Cam Heyward said after the game that Wentz “played like a freakin’ Hall of Famer.” Wentz even outplayed Ben Roethlisberger (257 yards, interception), who Wentz has been compared to. It seems crazy now, that a week before the season, Wentz was the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.
There are five teams that remain unblemished in the loss column;
Patriots: New England continues to roll without Tom Brady under center. The Pats blew out the Houston Texans 27-0 behind rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who’s stats weren’t eye-popping, but good enough to get the win. He threw for 103 yards while rushing for 48 yards and a touchdown. LeGarrette Blount continues to shine as well, as he rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the league in rushing through three weeks.
Broncos: Rookie quarterback Trevor Siemian had himself a game in his first career road start. Siemian tossed four touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals and led Denver to a 29-17 victory. If the rook can continue to play well, then he and the stout defense will be in great position to back to the Super Bowl.
Ravens: This is arguably the surprise of the early goings of the season. Baltimore found a way to not give the Jacksonville Jaguars a victory and went home with a 19-17 victory. Justin Tucker kicked them to victory by nailing all four of his field goal attempts, including the game-winning, 54-yard field goal. The defense has played better than last season, Joe Flacco is healthy and the schedule is favorable for the next month, but can they keep it up? Time will certainly tell.
Eagles: Wentz is looking like the real deal in his first three starts in the NFL. The defense is playing a hell of a lot better than last season. Head coach Doug Pederson has coached this team tremendously thus far and should be in the hunt for Coach of the Year through the first three weeks.
Vikings: The Minnesota defense is good. Really good. The Vikings defense harassed Carolina quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton all day on Sunday in a 22-10 victory. The defense sacked Newton eight times and picked him off three times. Sam Bradford continues to excel under Norv Turner. This team is similar to last year’s Broncos team, with a better quarterback under center and a stacked defense.
Four teams have yet to record a victory this season, which isn’t how any of the 32 teams envisioned the season starting.
Browns: Cleveland shows glimpses of progress, but continues to regress overall, falling to the Miami Dolphins 30-24 in overtime. After battling back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, due in large part to Terrelle Pryor (more on him later), the Browns squandered away a golden opportunity to pick up win No. 1 on the season. After taking over in Dolphins territory, in long field goal range, the Browns elected to take a knee and then kick the field goal. However, Cody Parkey missed his third field goal of the game, sending the contest to overtime and eventually another loss. Cleveland fought hard, even with a rookie quarterback starting the game.
Jaguars: Jacksonville came into this season with a lot of hope and potential. After three games, that isn’t the direction this team is heading. On Sunday, the Jags let a game slip away in a 19-17 loss to the Ravens, Blake Bortles continues to struggle, as he has more turnovers than touchdowns on the year. HE threw for just 194 yards, a pair of touchdowns, but a trio of interceptions did him and the Jags in against Baltimore. He has plenty of weapons in wide receivers Allen Robinson (who caught the two touchdown passes on Sunday), Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas, yet can’t find a way to get the job done.
Bears: Chicago fell to the Dallas Cowboys 31-17 on Sunday Night Football, but this time it wasn’t the fault of quarterback Jay Cutler, who didn’t play due to a sprained thumb. Brian Hoyer didn’t play terribly, but not good enough to win either. The Bears defense is just bad as the team has been outscored 83-45 in the first three games. This team is in a rebuild mode, so the fans are in for a long season.
Saints: This team has a ton of offense led by quarterback Drew Brees, but virtually zero defense. New Orleans fell on Monday Night Football to the divisional rival Atlanta Falcons 45-32. It seemed as if the game would be a shootout, but Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman had other plans. Ryan threw two touchdowns, Freeman racked up 207 totals yards (152 on the ground, 55 yards in the air, including a receiving touchdown) and Coleman had three rushing scores. It is time for Sean Payton to find a new job, as his team stinks and he can’t ever build a quality defense.
Terrelle Pryor can do it all for Cleveland
The former quarterback-turned receiver showed that he can do it all for the Browns if necessary. In Sunday’s loss to Miami, Pryor caught eight passes for 144 yards. He rushed four times for 21 yards and a touchdown. He also completed three-of-five passes for 35 yards. He scored the rushing touchdown while lined up in the quarterback position. He even was put at safety for a snap. Cleveland should have let him kick as well, being that he couldn’t be any worse than what Parkey was.