The NFL Winners and Losers of Week 3
By Quincy Williams
Mahomes, it seems, can do no wrong. Fresh off of two scintillating performances against the lowly Jags and Raiders it appeared Mahomes would finally get a test last Sunday against the Ravens in a showdown of MVP hopefuls and 2-0 teams. The final score was closer than the first two, but Mahomes was dazzling. Three hundred yards? Check. Three touchdowns? Check. Insane degree of difficulty throws? Check. The physical genius of this guy is hard to overstate. He showed Sunday in the hyped matchup against Lamar Jackson that he’s the class of the NFL right now; I don’t see that changing any time soon. Honorable mention goes out to Demarcus Robinson for that absolutely bananas one-handed grab in the back of the end-zone. The Chiefs showed they’re potent no matter who’s catching the ball against a stout Ravens defense as Tyreek Hill remained out for the second week with a sternoclavicular joint injury.
The doppelganger of Eli Manning surpassed the 16-year vet in career rushing touchdowns in his first game. Jones’ fleet feet were good for two touchdowns Sunday afternoon and his right arm was good for two more. Jones’ pocket presence especially stood out all game. His moxie and mobility transformed a formerly moribund Giants offense into an exciting unit that put up 32 points; they had scored 31 in two games before him becoming the starter. By the way, he did this largely without superstar running back Saquon Barkley who left with an ankle injury late in the first half. For a rookie quarterback to come back from 18 down on the road is a hell of an accomplishment. It wasn’t all roses for Jones as he took a couple of bad sacks and surrendered two fumbles on the day, but he got a win in his inaugural game. Twitter was a buzz in the afterglow of this performance showing just how quickly public opinion can shift. Jones isn’t the first highly drafted New York athlete to be roundly condemned before he played a game; I know Giants fans are hoping his career arc mirrors former favorite son Kristaps Porzingis.
The Indianapolis Colts
The Colts found themselves in a precarious position this season before an official regular-season snap. Their centrifugal figure, the great quarterback, and very weird guy, Andrew Luck decided to hang up his cleats. Gloom and doom was the operative adjective to describe the feelings of Colts fans at the time. They must be feeling a whole lot better after their 2-1 start. They have one man to thank, Jacoby Brissett. Brissett was brilliant on Sunday, completing his first 16 passes, two of those completions for touchdowns. He only took one sack on the day, largely due to the mauler he has at left guard, Quentin Nelson.
The Colts defense performed admirably as well, getting stops when they needed them against Matt Ryan and co. The Colts are a talented mentally tough team with a capable, and maybe GOOD, quarterback under center. Years of good drafts and savvy moves on the free-agent market has this team looking like a dark-horse AFC contender, albeit after three weeks.
We’ve already talked about New York’s lord and savior Daniel Jones, but four other backups were forced into action last Sunday. Teddy “Ballgame” Bridgewater dinked and dunked his way into a win for the Saints against the Seahawks. I chalk that up more to his stable of weapons and Sean Payton’s game plan rather than latent ability, but he put one in the W column. Kyle Allen, Cam Newton’s replacement, was a different story for the Panthers. Allen looked downright impressive, tossing four touchdowns to three different Panthers receivers. D.J. Moore put the NFL on notice with a 52-yard catch where he literally ran directly past every member of the Cardinal secondary.
Take this game with a grain of salt, because of who the Panthers were playing, but Allen looked mighty efficient for a backup, and dare I say, better than the embattled Cam Newton. Gardner Minshew, who’s becoming, scratch that, is an internet superstar (mustaches and jockstraps = winning formula??), added to his burgeoning legend last Thursday night as the Jaguars beat the Titans.
This was not an exciting game if you watched it you know that, so I’ll spare you the details. And finally, to screw up the winning rhythm we had going there is Mason Rudolph. I guess the guy couldn’t name himself, but wouldn’t he sound more like a quarterback if his name was Rudolph Mason? Anyway, much to my delight, Rudolph looked overmatched and made typical inexperienced quarterback mistakes. The Steelers are 0-3 and all is right in the world.
I’m sorry if you took me at my word about not using this column as an excuse to complain about the Bengals. If you have had any acquaintances who had the misfortune of supporting the Bengals, then you know our favorite pastime is complaining about our team. A supposedly rejuvenated offense, led by alleged quarterback whisperer wunderkind-coach Zach Taylor, was supposed to usher in a “New-Dey” this season (Yes, that is the tagline for the season, and, yes, I believe the PR director of the Bengals should be fired). Well….after a decent showing against the Seahawks in a loss in week one, the hits have kept coming. An absolute shellacking of a home-opener against the 49-ers and now a close loss, but still a loss, against the 3-0 Bills (I know this to be true, but somehow it still looks wrong when I’m typing it). I’ve come to the end of my rope with this team and Andy Dalton. I’m looking into picking up a hobby like painting or the saxophone to occupy the time on Sunday’s that I normally devote to the Bengals.
The Cleveland Browns are now 1-2. Their first and only win coming against the Sam Darnold-less Jets in week 2. Things are looking dark for the Browns, QB Baker Mayfield has done more talking than performing. The guy is his own worst enemy, he spent the summer actively talking sh#* and making himself more and more unlikeable. The signing of OBJ only increased the microscope that sits squarely on the beautiful city of Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns have two more primetime games this season, two games against the formidable Ravens, and what looks to be more a massacre than a game against the New England Patriots. The Browns have to figure it out quick, fast, and in a hurry or they will be staring at another losing season, and another summer of asinine Baker Mayfield quotes.
I reflexively wince when even hearing this man’s name. Look at his twitter feed from Sunday and think about the fact that he’s cost himself $39 million in U.S. tender in three weeks. Moving on.
Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football has a scheduling problem. This season has started epically with games from the Raiders & Broncos, Browns & Jets, and the Bears & Redskins. The only game that has been remotely watchable is the Saints Texans game in week one. The NFL can never seem to get the timing right for Monday Night, and the rest of the season’s slate looks none too promising. Regardless of what happens tonight with Mitch Trubisky and his high powered arm that’s thrown for *checks notes* 328 yards and 0 touchdowns through two games, the NFL needs to fix this.
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