One of the story lines in the national sports media was when or if Aaron Rodgers was going to break out of his slump, and I purposely left the quotes out of that. This Sunday’s game against the Lions was certainly going to be a test, since Matthew Stafford has a history of putting up big numbers against the Packers, and this game was no exception: 28 0f 41 passing for 383 yards and three touchdowns, and the Lions out-gained the Packers 418 to 324. The Lions also scored 24 of the last 27 points of the game. But those numbers were only part of the story. In the first half, Rodgers completed 12 of 19 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers built a 31-3 lead, before apparently taking their foot of the accelerator, or so Packer fans would like to believe. Rodgers threw only five passes in the second half as Packers managed just one field goal as the Lions rallied to make a game of it before losing 34-27. Jordy Nelson had a Jordy Nelson-like game, so the question is can Rodgers and company play four quarters of high-caliber offense, since their defense isn’t going to save them from themselves. Once more, that is a question mark that this game did not answer.
Bills 33 Cardinals 18 The Cardinals were expected to win this game fairly handily, but Carson Palmer was sacked five times and threw four interceptions, something that he occasionally does. How to explain 33 points from the Bills after their offensive coordinator was fired? One local commentator suggested that the new offensive coordinator “simplified” the playbook for Tyrod Taylor, which is something we hear quite often for quarterbacks like him. What does this mean? Taylor’s passing day was something along the order of horrible, but at least he only threw one interception and ran for nearly as many yards rushing as he did net passing (89 passing yards, 76 rushing yards).
Raiders 17 Titans 10 Sloppy game that turned, of course, on a stupid penalty by the Titans’ left tackle after a 19-yard completion got the Titans within game-tying position at the Raiders’ 3 with a minute to play. ESPN is busy critiquing Titan quarterback Marcus Mariota’s seven turnovers this season; wonder what they think of Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston, who have all turned the ball over considerably more times after the first three weeks of the season than he has.
Dolphins 30 Browns 24 The Browns should have won this game in regulation, except that their kicker missed a 46-yard field goal as time expired (were the laces “out”?). Am I wrong about the Browns’ Terrelle Pryor? This multi-purpose talent not only threw five passes for 35 yards, but he ran four times for 21 yards and a touchdown, and was the Browns’ leading receiver with 8 catches for 144 yards. Hell, Tom Matte never did all three in one game. This must be what happens when a player is not square-pegged into a round position he is not best suited for.
Vikings 22 Panthers 10 I have a question, and be honest about your answer: With the player who should have been last season’s MVP (Adrian Peterson) out for a while, who would you rather have as your quarterback—Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater? I always thought that Bridgewater was the Vikings’ quarterback for political reasons, not because he was a solid player at the position. If Bradford continues his solid play, will the Vikings make the “political” move when Bridgewater is healthy again, or stick with the guy who gives them their best chance to win? It shouldn’t be that tough a decision, since the Vikings are 3-0 without Bridgewater or Peterson, who was a non-factor when he did play, but no doubt the Vikings will make it “tough” because they “have to.” Meanwhile, we saw how Cam Newton plays during the good times; in the bad times, Newton is as helpless as a big baby.
Ravens 19 Jaguars 17 Another sloppy game with neither offense getting on track, and turnovers giving short fields the difference. The Jaguars led 17-16, but a blocked field goal attempt late in the game gave the Ravens another short field in which to convert the game-winning field goal.
Broncos 29 Bengals 17 Before you jump on the Trevor Siemian bandwagon after 312-yard, 4-TD performance in this game, remember that coming into this game he had a 1 to 3 TD to INT ratio, and 74.4 QB rating. That said, the Broncos are 3-0 with him as quarterback after this impressive win on the road against an allegedly quality team. I hate to say it, but the Broncos’ management might have been on to something when they decided to let Brock Osweiler go and keep this guy around—especially after Thursday’s debacle.
Redskins 29 Giants 27 If there is any one of Brett Favre’s career passing records that will be seemingly “safe” from being broken besides his 297 consecutive starts (his career yardage and TD pass records have already been exceeded by Peyton Manning), it is his most “infamous” record—336 career interceptions in 302 games. Right now, the only quarterback who stands a chance of breaking that dubious mark is Eli Manning, whose two interceptions in this game gives him 202 in 188 games in 12+ seasons. Now, to put my math hat on, that means that in order to break Favre’s record, at the rate he is currently going Manning would have to play another 125 games. That means will have to play every game this season and the next seven. If he does so, he will also break Favre’s consecutive starts record as well. Come to think of it, maybe I’m not so keen for Manning to hang around that long.
Seahawks 37 49ers 18 Obviously I am not happy about this result. Blaine Gabbert was as bad as advertised through three quarters, that is until Russell Wilson twisted his knee and didn’t play the rest of the game. Wilson’s backup, Trevor Boykin, threw an interception that led to a 49ers’ touchdown, which is what happens when you deliberately keep substandard talent to keep your “star” from being “challenged.” We’ll see how this all plays out, because we haven’t seen Wilson play when he is truly immobilized, like Robert Griffin III.
Chiefs 24 Jets 3 Now come on. Isn’t Ryan Fitzpatrick supposed to be an Ivy Leaguer? Maybe he left his brain in a glass jar as an anthropology exhibit back at Harvard. Six-count-them-six interceptions in this game; even Geno isn’t that dumb. Yeah, Favre did that kind of thing all the time with the Packers, but at least he threw a couple of touchdown passes in between.
Colts 26 Chargers 22 Andrew Luck and the Colts finally get on track. Luck is at least putting up the kind of numbers he did in 2014, meaning that he is not “regressing” the way some snubbers claimed last season, not taking into consideration his rib injury. After the horrible performance of the Texans against the Patriot’s third-string quarterback, the Colts look like the “cream” of the AFC South again.
Rams 37 Buccaneers 32 Electrical storms were always exciting at the airport, so I know how it was for the fans down in Florida during this game. Too exciting, perhaps, for Rams fans; Jameis Winston, who threw for 405 yards, at least made things “electric” after the storm had passed in the waning seconds, but he has only himself to blame for the loss otherwise, the game turning on his fumble that was returned 77 yards for a touchdown. The other notable factoid is that after failing to score a touchdown in their first two games, the Rams scored five in this game.
Eagles 34 Steelers 3 An impressive win for the Eagles and their rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who through three games has 5 TD passes and 0 interceptions. Wentz was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft out of backwoods North Dakota State, so somebody must have been doing their homework on this guy.
Patriots 27 Texans 0 On the face of it, Bill Belichick exhibited his “genius” by limiting third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to just what he could be expected to do without screwing things up. This meant throwing the ball as little as possible, and employing Brissett’s reflex to run with the ball. The Texans did the rest, either with turnovers or losing the ball on downs.
I’m not going to waste time on the Cowboys-Bears late game; the Cowboys led 24-3 at halftime, and if Brian Hoyer (in for the injured Jay Cutler) can somehow manufacture a comeback victory, then I’ll be more than surprised—I’ll be stupefied beyond measure.