By Aaron Randolph
Week three of the 2016 NFL season is in the books folks. We had some major games and some major blow ups.
The third week in the NFL kicked off with a Thursday Night beat down between the Houston Texans, who traveled to Fox borough to play the New England Patriots on Thursday night. The Patriots shut the Texans out at home 27-0. The Patriots were able to win with rookie quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, starting the game. Brissett only passed for 103 yards on 11 of 19 passes.
It may not be eye-opening stats, but the rookie didn’t have any turnovers. Brissett also ran for a touchdown to put the Patriots up 10- 0 late in the first quarter. LeGarrette Blount led the Patriots rushing attack. Blount ran for two touchdowns and 105 yards. Blount leads the NFL in rushing through the first three weeks of the season. The Texans were not able to salvage any points. Texans offense was held in check for most of the game, and the offense was held to only 284 yards total. It’s starting to become clear that the Patriots could win without their four-time super bowl winning Quarterback, Tom Brady.
The Philadelphia Eagles blew out their in-state neighbor the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 on Sunday. Eagles rookie Quarterback, Carson Wentz, performed well against the Steelers. Wentz threw for 301 passing yards and two touchdowns in a blowout win. Wentz connected with running back, Darren Sproles, on a 73- yard touchdown and he connected with wideout, Jordan Matthews, on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
One can say that if Wentz keeps up this performance, he could win rookie of the year. Coming into the season, no one thought the Eagles would be 3-0, but so far their performing beyond expectations. The defense was flying around everywhere, and the offense has great balance too it. The Eagles defense held the Steelers offense to only three points and Pro Bowl quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, to only 257 passing yards. The Eagles defense were able to force Big Ben to throw an interception. However, Antonio Brown was able to get 140 receiving yards, but did not score a touchdown in the game.The Eagles win over the Steelers was not the only surprise on Sunday.
The Minnesota Vikings took their show on the road to play the Carolina Panthers in an NFC Conference battle. The Vikings could be making a claim to not only be Super Bowl contenders, but they also claim they have a top five defense. Cam Newton had one bright highlight in the game when he scrambled for a touchdown in the first half. However, Newton’s afternoon was horrible. He had no passing touchdowns and threw three interceptions, and he was also sacked eight times. One of those sacks earned the Vikings a safety in the end zone. The Panthers are not off to a great start, but let’s not count them out just yet. The Minnesota Vikings have two quality wins against the two former league MVPs, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers. Minnesota won their second road game Sunday against the Panthers 22-10. It was the Panthers first home loss since Nov. 16, 2014.
There were some nail bitters on Sunday. Seven of the 14 games that were played on Sunday did come down to some last minute plays. The Green Bay Packers held off a furious rally from the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Packers went into halftime leading 31-10. The Lions would slowly start chipping away at the 21-point lead. Wideout, Marvin Jones, caught a touchdown pass in the final 30 seconds of the first half to bring them 21 points closer. Jones caught two touchdowns and had over 200 receiving yards. Veteran wideout, Anquan Boldin, also caught a touchdown pass. Pro Bowl quarterback, Matt Stafford, threw for over 385 yards and had three touchdowns on that day. Former league MVP, Aaron Rodgers, threw four touchdowns passes and passed for just a little over 200 yards. Rodgers was able to scramble for a first down to close out their division rival. The lesson the Packers could take from this game is to get that defense together.
The big game of week three was in the NFC conference. The New York Giants came short against their NFC East division rival, the Washington Redskins. The game had plenty of pre-hype going into it. It lived up to the hype. The Redskins were able to sneak away with a win on the road 29-27. Odell Beckham and Josh Norman did refrain from having the same in-game fights they had last year. At the end of the game, OBJ and Norman shook hands and showed great sportsmanship after the game. Beckham did show his frustration throughout the game. He was seen hitting the kicker net on the sideline. He had over 100 yards in receiving but didn’t score. Offensive lineman, Weston Richburg, was thrown out of Sunday’s game when he received his second unsportsmanlike foul.
The new NFL rule is if a player receives two personal fouls they will be ejected from the game. Eli Manning had his team on the verge of scoring a game-winning drive, but he was picked off by Su’a Cravens late in the fourth quarter. Manning threw two costly interceptions in the game. One would come early in the fourth quarter and the second interception would come on their final drive in the game. Through all the mental mistakes and penalties, the classic NFC East matchup lived up to all the hype.
The LA Rams were able to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-32 in a high scoring matchup. The second-year quarterback, Jameis Winston, passed for over 400 yards and had three touchdowns.
In the Sunshine state, the Miami Dolphins score their first win of the season beating the Cleveland Browns in overtime on a game-winning 11-yard run from running back, Jay Ajayi. The Oakland Raiders beat the Titans 17-10 on Sunday. Meanwhile, the New York Jets lost on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs 24-3.
The Sunday night showdown had America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, playing at home against the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys won 31-17 to improve their record to 2-1 and leaving the Chicago Bears without a single win. Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all Cowboy first half Possessions. Prescott threw his first touchdown pass in the second half to Dez Bryant.
In the last matchup of week three, the New Orleans Saints lost at home to the Atlanta Falcons 45 -32. If you love high scoring in football, then you certainly were not disappointed. Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards with three touchdowns. Matt Ryan on the opposite end threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns in a Monday night road win.
The Saints dropped down to 0-3 on the season and the Falcons improve to 2-1. It was another exciting week in the NFL. There were some surprising wins and surprising losses. If this season continues to be an amazing one, there will be some teams in the playoffs that will surprise everyone.