Zwiller: NFL Week 3 Reactions
Thomas Zwiller | Monday, September 28, 2020
Weeks 1-2 picks record: 23-9 (.718)
Week 3 picks record: 8-5-1 (.642)
Dolphins 31, Jaguars 13
Dolphins: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick turned into Fitzmagic, posting a QBR of 97 as well as 160 yards and two TDs. Miami’s defense also showed up to play, picking off Minshew and forcing a fumble.
Jaguars: QB Gardner Minshew didn’t play well, taking four sacks for 30 yards, throwing an interception and no TDs. He and the Jaguars defense, which allowed 294 yards, will have to be better next time.
Panthers 21, Chargers 16
Panthers: The Panthers played a solid game, with Teddy Bridgewater passing for 235 yards and a TD in the absence of running back Christian McCaffrey. The big boost came from the defense, forcing four fumbles and recovering three, as well as picking off Herbert once. The win is Matt Rhule’s first in the NFL.
Chargers: Justin Herbert had a solid passing game for a rookie, passing for 330 yards and a TD, along with an INT. The rushing game didn’t offer much help, and the three fumbles really ended the Chargers’ hope of winning this game.
Bears 30, Falcons 26
Bears: Nick Foles looks to be the QB for the Bears moving forward; he was subbed for Mitch Trubisky in the third quarter, posting three touchdowns and 188 yards.
Falcons: The Falcons looked great in the first three quarters — exactly why I picked them over the Bears. The last quarter proved to be their downfall when the offense and defense fell flat.
Bills 35, Rams 32
Bills: Josh Allen and his receiving corps were the stars of the show, scoring four TDs and 311 yards, spread across seven different WRs. That and a solid defensive performance — getting a pick and a fumble — led them to the win.
Rams: The Rams fell behind 3-28 at one point, before rattling off 29 straight unanswered points to get back in the game. They fell short, allowing the Bills to march down the field and score in the remaining seconds, largely thanks to an untimely pass interference call.
Browns 34, Washington 20
Browns: Baker Mayfield throwing for 156 yards and two TDs — alongside a great outing by Nick Chubb for 108 yards and two touchdowns — was good enough to put up 34 points. That, combined with a defense that forced three interceptions and two fumbles, was enough for the Browns to get a good W.
Washington: Dwayne Haskins took a step back and lobbed up three interceptions in the loss as well as a fumble. That plus a poor defensive performance that allowed Cleveland 300 yards wasn’t good enough for a W.
Titans 31, Vikings 30
Titans: Stephen Gostkowski — yes, the Titans kicker — was the star of the show, kicking six for six on field goals and accounting for 19 of the Titans’ 31 points.
Vikings: Kirk Cousins played a lot better, but still threw two costly interceptions. The team falls to 0-3 with lots of questions heading into Week 4.
Patriots 36, Raiders 20
Patriots: Cam Newton took a big step back when compared to the first two games. He threw only one TD and one INT and only rushed for 27 yards. Sony Michel rushed for 117 yards and Rex Burkhead got 2 TDs. Thanks to the Pats defense and rushing game, they got the win.
Raiders: Derek Carr played really well; he had a QBR of 120, 261 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Josh Jacobs didn’t play as well as he had in the last two games, with only 71 yards. What killed the Raiders were fumbles, two by Carr and one by Jacobs.
49ers 36, Giants 9
49ers: Nick Mullens played a solid game despite only throwing for one touchdown. The 49ers running game compensated with 100 yards and three TDs in a solid game. The defense played great, forcing two fumbles and snagging an interception.
Giants: The Giants really struggled to move the ball. Saquon Barkley will really be missed this year, and his absence leaves the Giants offense with lots of questions.
Bengals 23, Eagles 23
Bengals: Joe Burrow played a solid game, throwing for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The defense stepped up, picking off Carson Wentz. It may not have been a win, but it was an improvement for the Bengals.
Eagles: Carson Wentz has continued his poor performance this season, being outplayed by rookie Joe Burrow, only putting up 225 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Eagles head back to the drawing board with more questions than answers.
Steelers 28, Texans 21
Steelers: A solid rushing performance of 169 yards out of the Steelers’ run game helped them to control the clock and dominate TOP, which was really the difference. Big Ben put up 237 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Steelers to 3-0.
Texans: The Texans really struggled to sustain drives with first downs, only getting 13 to the Steelers’ 25. Their time of possession was at 23:09, and the Steelers had over 36 minutes with the ball. Just not enough time to match a solid Steelers team.
Colts 36, Jets 7
Colts: The Colts defense picked up where it left off against Minnesota, picking off Darnold three times, hitting him seven times and sacking him twice. Philip Rivers became the sixth QB with 400+ TDs in NFL history with a touchdown in the game against the Jets.
Jets: Sam Darnold played exceptionally terrible, throwing three interceptions to the Colts defense — two of which were run back as pick-sixes. The Jets need to do something and fast. This seems to be the team most likely to go 0-16.
Buccaneers 28, Broncos 10
Buccaneers: Tom Brady really found his footing in the Tampa Bay system, throwing for just under 300 yards and three TDs. The defense picked off backup QBs Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien once each.
Broncos: The Broncos were unable to get anything going on offense. Neither backup QB played well, combining for one touchdown, two picks and only 184 yards. There was no support from the running game or the defense, and the Broncos fall to 0-3.
Lions 26, Cardinals 23
Lions: Matthew Stafford threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns. The big story was the defense coming up with three picks, setting up the Lions with good field position. Kicker Matt Prater capitalized on the good field position, going 4/4 on field goals, and 2/2 on extra points.
Cardinals: Kyler Murray took a big step back from the progress he had made in Games 1 and 2. He threw three interceptions, allowing Detroit to win the battle of TOP.
Seahawks 38, Cowboys 31
Seahawks: Future MVP of the season Russell Wilson threw for 315 yards and five touchdowns. He took four sacks for 20 yards, but otherwise played a perfect game. The defense seems problematic as they have now allowed an average of 29 points per game, but as of right now, the Seahawks should be the frontrunners of the NFC West.
Cowboys: Dak Prescott, while putting up good yardage numbers (472), threw three touchdowns and two interceptions as well as a fumble. The run game didn’t offer help, with Ezekiel Elliott only rushing for 34 yards. The defense looked like it was made of Swiss cheese, allowing 38 points.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.