NFL Week 3 Recap: Patriots continue to roll, Seahawks dominate Bears
By Donald Stuart
Vikings 31 Chargers 14
In a game that was probably not watched by many except those who had a fantasy or gambling stake in it, Minnesota dominated this San Diego team right from the beginning. After losing to the 49ers in Week 1 and looking pretty awful, the Vikings have since won two straight and now sit at 2-1 behind the Packers in the NFC North.
The story behind this one was Minnesota’s stifling defense, which didn’t allow Philip Rivers to get into a rhythm. Rivers finished with 246 yards and a touchdown. The star for San Diego in this game was Keenan Allen who had 12 receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side, Adrian Peterson continued to look like his old self after rushing for 126 yards on 20 carries along with 2 touchdowns.
San Diego drops to 1-2 and 0-2 on the road, as opposed to Minnesota, who became 2-0 at home on Sunday. San Diego’s ceiling for this year is still unclear as Rivers looks like he is on the decline yet he is still the leader of this team.
Game Notes: A couple bright spots for the Chargers are that they will get Antonio Gates back from suspension soon, which should help their early season struggles, and rookie running back Melvin Gordon continues to show future promise. Gordon had 51 yards on 14 carries which translates to 3.6 yards per carry.
Patriots 51 Jaguars 17
There were no surprises in this game as the Patriots jumped out in front early and never looked back. The Patriots were expected to win this game against the Jags at home, and they continued to flex their muscles and did just that.
Tom Brady finished with 258 yards and two touchdowns. Former Pitt player Dion Lewis looked good again after racking up 67 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown. Rob Gronkowski reached 101 yards on only four catches. LeGarrette Blount was an interesting surprise in the box scores as he ran for 78 yards on 18 carries and punched in three touchdowns. This was his first real workload since returning from his suspension as he was only lightly used in Week 2.
Jacksonville looks to be the same struggling team we have seen in recent years. Quarterback Blake Bortles finished 17/33 with 242 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Bortles looks like an average QB on a below average squad. He has limited options in regards to receivers, as Allen Hurns was the only one to catch a TD pass and finished with just 70 yards which led the team on the day.
Game Notes: Another milestone was accomplished for Tom Brady when he threw his 400th career touchdown pass in the game to Danny Amendola. After a lot of drama and speculation surrounding Brady and the Patriots this offseason, they look like the clear-cut best team in the AFC this year moving to 3-0 and averaging almost 40 points per game.
Seahawks 26 Bears 0
Both teams went into this game 0-2 looking for their first win of the season and backup QB Jimmy Clausen was not able get that for the Bears. The Seahawks showed that they can still play shutdown defense after being the first team to shut out the Bears in a game since 2002. Clausen was atrocious, going 9 for 17 with just 63 yards on the day. Chicago had literally no offense and punted on all 10 possessions. Their only game plan seemed to involve handing it off to Matt Forte repeatedly, and he finished with only 74 yards on 20 carries.
The Bears were not only without their starting QB in Jay Cutler, but also without their star receiver, Alshon Jeffery, for the second straight game. They managed a woeful 37 yards on offense in the second half.
The Seahawks looked like they were holding back at times in this one, and gave just enough on offense when it was necessary. Jimmy Graham grabbed a touchdown and 87 yards to lead the team in receiving on the day. Marshawn Lynch left the game early with a hamstring injury and only finished with 5 carries and 14 yards.
Game Notes: Rookie return man Tyler Lockett is quickly making a name for himself. He took the second half kickoff back 105 yards for a touchdown, and also took a punt back for a touchdown in his first ever game in Week 1. There have been rumblings of early comparisons to Devin Hester – in the first three games of his career, he already has two return touchdowns.
Broncos 24 Lions 12
Peyton Manning is always the headline these days when the Broncos are playing. He is not only arguably a top five quarterback of all-time, but the most important piece on this Denver team. After the first two games, there were questions concerning his health and his effectiveness at this point in his career, but now he has led the Broncos to a 3-0 record with back to back quality wins.
This game was a lower scoring, defensive battle. Manning finished with two TDs and an interception on 31/42 for 326 yards. Ronnie Hillman punched the other TD in, but the run game was not very effective for Denver all night. They finished as a team with 19 attempts for 41 yards and tried using CJ Anderson, Hillman, and Juwan Thompson. Demaryius Thomas was the guy for Manning, as usual, finishing with 92 yards on 9 catches including a 45 yard TD.
The Lions dropped to 0-3 after this defeat and the outlook is certainly grim for them. Their defense looked good as they were able to keep the score close enough to stay in this game until the final few minutes, but that’s about all that looked good for them. The run game continued to be an issue, as Joique Bell ran in a 1 yard TD but only amounted to a total of 6 yards on 10 carries. Ameer Abdullah’s stats were not much better as he finished with 23 yards on 8 carries and receiving TD. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was held in check by Aqib Talib all night and had a relatively quiet total of 77 yards on 8 catches. Matthew Stafford 31/45, 286 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception.
Game Notes: The game was still in reach for Detroit when it was 17-12 with a little under three minutes remaining until Peyton Manning did what he does best and found veteran TE Owen Daniels for TD to put the Broncos up 24-12 and seal the victory.
Bills 41 Dolphins 14
The Buffalo Bills simply embarrassed Miami on the road. Buffalo went into sunny South Florida to the newly renovated Sun Life Stadium and completely dominated the Dolphins from the start. The first quarter left Miami staring at a two TD deficit and by halftime, the score had ballooned to 27-0. The Dolphins showed no urgency in their home opener, especially coming off of a loss to the lowly Jaguars. Expectations were rather high for this Miami team this year, but all of that is looking like fantasy now. The Dolphins have dropped to 1-2 and can hardly afford to lose too many more with the improved competition in the AFC East.
Buffalo was able to jump out ahead early, barreling through Miami’s lifeless “hundred million-dollar” defense. It also didn’t help that Ryan Tannehill turned the ball over 3 times and was sacked twice. Miami simply dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get out of. They were able to score a couple touchdowns in garbage time, but it was much too little, too late. Rishard Matthews is the only Dolphin player with statistics worth noting, with 6 catches for 113 yards and two TDs.
For the Bills, Tyrod Taylor continued to look competent as a starter in the NFL. He threw for 277 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. LeSean McCoy was below average once again, running for 16 total yards on 11 carries. He did get a short receiving TD early, however.
Game Notes: This Dolphin loss certainly further adds to coach Joe Philbin’s uncertain job future. They will look ahead to another AFC East rival and play the NY Jets next week in London. Bold prediction: if Miami lays another egg in that game, Philbin could be fired the next day!