Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 3 Review

After three weeks of regular season football, there are three unbeaten teams remaining and you can make the argument that all three are unexpected. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears remain in the unbeaten ranks and all three had legit reasons before the season started to not reach this mark. The Steelers are without Ben Roethelisberger, the Chiefs were believed, and still may be in the rebuilding stage, and no one thought the Bears would beat the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in back to back games. However, despite all that all three overcame their perceived limitations and sit atop the league.

Here are more observations from Week 3:

Best individual performance: This has to go to the Eagles' Michael Vick. Vick is already the comeback player of the year and a legit early season MVP candidate. Yes, despite back to back games against the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars, Vick has shown enough to be thrown into the MVP conversation. In 10 quarters of football this season, Vick has thrown six touchdown passes and zero interceptions while completing 60% of his passes. His touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson on Sunday and his second one to Jeremy Maclin were things of beauty. Vick put those passes in places only Jackson and Maclin could have caught them and both had defenders around on each play. He has added a calmness and swagger to the Eagles they would not have if Kevin Kolb were still starting which is why I think the Eagles will win the NFC East.

Rebound performance of the week: How about the Ravens Joe Flacco? After a dismal performance in Cincinatti last week where he completed just 17 of 39 passes for just 154 yards and four interceptions, Flacco rebounded against Cleveland on Sunday completing 22 of 31 passess for 262 yards and three touchdowns; all of which went to Anquan Boldin. More important, Flacco threw zero interceptions. Yes, I know he did this against the woeful Cleveland Browns who might as well start doing background checks on Alabama runningback Mark Ingram, or University of Washington quarterback Jake Lockler in preperation for this year's draft, but after his performance against Cincinatti, Flacco needed this performance. Plus, with a trip to Pittsburgh coming this Sunday a warm up against the Browns is just what Flacco needed to work the kinks out.

Rebound win: This one has to go to two teams, the Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings. Both were preseason Super Bowl favorites that had gotten off to 0-2 starts. More so, neither team had even remotely resembled the teams that won 12 and 11 games last season and their respective division titles. They both reverted to form on Sunday. The Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions at home, 24-10, while the Cowboys went on the road and beat the previously unbeaten Houston Texans, 27-13. The Cowboys showed the balance on offense they had been missing the first two weeks running 27 times and throwing 30 on Sunday while the Vikings got 160 yards and two touchdowns from Adrien Peterson. The wins also came at a crucial time as both teams are going into their bye week.

Most embarassing loss: There is no question this goes to the Washington Redskins, yes, my Washington Redskins. There is absolutely no excuse for the Redskins losing to the St. Louis Rams. It doesn't matter that the game was in St. Louis, or that the Redskins were coming off a game against the Texans in which they blew a 17-point second half lead. The Rams had lost 27 of their previous 28 games including 14 straight at home. To add insult to injury, the Rams combined had scored 27 points in their first two games of the season against the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, yet lit the Redskins up for 30 on Sunday, and this is without star running back Steven Jackson who missed the entire second half with a groin injury. The Redskins have developed a penchant for embarassing losses the last two seasons, evidenced by losses to the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs last season.

Worst Individual performance: This, again, has to go to a Redskin. DeAngelo Hall told the local media on Monday after the loss to Houston that for the rest of the season he was going to guard the opposing teams top receiver. Hall even used the phrase "This is my team and my defense," while making this statement. However, Hall was taken to the cleaners by the Rams Mark Clayton as Clayton caught five passes for 85 yards, the last being a quick screen in which Hall slipped attempting to make the tackle which allowed Clayton to sprint 30 yards down field. The play set up a field goal that gave the Rams a 27-16 lead and for all intents and purposes the win.

Team on the brink: This has to be the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 31-10 on Sunday to fall to 0-3 on the season. Six days after falling to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on a last second field goal, the 49ers managed just 251 yards of offense while allowing 457, including 207 on the ground. This also marks the second time this season the 49ers have been blasted on the road. They also lost 31-6 in Seattle in Week 1. With a trip to Atlanta coming this Sunday, the Niners are staring their first 0-4 start since 2004 in the face.

Not off the hot seat: The Minnesota Vikings. Yes, they won on Sunday but questions still remain. Brett Favre threw two more interceptions on Sunday bringing his season total to six in three games. This after Favre threw just seven in 16 regular season games last year. Plus, with a receiving core without Sidney Rice for the foreseeable future and a tough schedule looming after their bye week, a return trip to the playoffs let alone the NFC Championship game don't look good right now.

Bonehead decision of the week: Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy chose not to let the Bears score an easy touchdown on Monday night after a pass interference call gave the Bears a first and goal on the Packer 9-yard line with under two minutes to go and the game tied at 17. Instead, McCarthy burned the Packers final two timeouts in the hope Chicago's Robbie Gould would miss the ensuing game-winning field goal. Gould made the kick while McCarthy stood on the sidelines attempting to apply chiropractor tricks to his neck. Did he forget he has a quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers on the his team?

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