What We Learned: NFL Week Three
By Ryan of The Sportmeisters
Week Three had some major upsets, and a few tricks thrown in as well. Let’s take a look back at some of the big stories.
That Old Favre Magic
Two weeks into the NFL season, and Brett Favre has done little more than manage a game, a task either of his backups could do, and still make them 2-0. They do have one of the top NFL running backs in Adrian Peterson. However, Favre was finally called on in the fourth quarter against San Francisco, and boy, did he deliver. With 89 seconds to go, the Vikings were down 24-20, starting on their own 20 yard line. Favre drove them, completing all five of his passes, leading them to the 32 yard line of San Francisco’s with 12 seconds left. On the next play, Favre found little-used WR Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone to complete his 40th career game-winning drive. This one play just summed up why Minnesota took such a chance to get Favre back one last time.
An Unimpressive Beginning
It’s been two years and three games since Michael Vick played in an NFL game. Finally, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, Vick came back and did...absolutely nothing. Well, that’s not all true. Vick, who has only practiced with the Philadelphia Eagles for a short amount of time, played his responsibility as a decoy well. Overall, Vick was on the field for 11 snaps, and had a total of seven yards on one rush. Ironically, it was the other Eagle backups, QB Kevin Kolb and RB LeSean McCoy who had a big day for the Iggles, who won 34-14 over Kansas City. As the season progresses, look for Vick to get some more action while he adjusts to his new team.
The First One Is Always The Sweetest
Dec. 23, 2007 was the last positive day for Lions fans. That day has since been replaced with Sept. 27, 2009 as the Detroit Lions won their first game in their last 20, beating the Washington Redskins 19-14. Coach Jim Schwartz and rookie QB Matt Stafford also celebrated their first career victories. While their 19-game losing streak will go down in history as the second longest in NFL history, for the Lions and their fans, all they’re concerned with is a new streak. This one has a more winning attitude to it.
Kudos must also go to Schwartz, who sent his team back out to celebrate the victory with the 40,000 plus fans who have been supporting the Lions through thick and thin.
All-Star Injury Squad
The NFL talks of adding an extra game or two, but at the rate of the injuries occurring, they’re won’t be anyone left to play that extra game. In fact, an all-pro team could be designed with the injured players. Key injuries include RBs LaDanian Tomlinson, Frank Gore, Jamal Lewis, Marion Barber, LB Brian Urlacher, DE Dwight Freeney, QBs Donovan McNabb and Chad Pennington, WR Wes Welker, CB Aaron Ross, S Troy Polamalu, and others. It’s a long season, and for some teams, a key injury to a franchise guy can really affect the team’s psyche and performance.
Way Too Early MVP Predictions
1. Peyton Manning: 983 yards and seven touchdowns in just three games, he is the reason the Colts have once again taken first place in the AFC South, and the team shows no signs of turnover issues with a new coaching staff in place.
2. Adrian Peterson: Even after his non-breakout game against San Francisco, the Minnesota Vikings RB is still a huge reason for their 3-0 start, with 357 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in 2009.
3. Drew Brees: The Greatest Show In The Air is led by Brees, with his 841 yards and 9 touchdowns already. He had a non-descript game against Buffalo, but still has the talent and the tools to put points up and lead New Orleans to victory in the coming weeks.
Contenders and Pretenders
It’s early in the season, but who’s getting off on the right foot?
Are the Jets for real? Raise your hand if you saw them 3-0 after games against New England and Tennessee. Well, it’s true, behind rookie QB Mark Sanchez and the suffocating defense, the Jets are 3-0 heading into a showdown against New Orleans this weekend.
The New York Giants recommitted themselves to the rushing game this past week, and it showed as that and a combined defense effort led them in shutting out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-0. It was the first road shutout for the G-Men since 1983. The Giants are 3-0 for the second straight season.
The Baltimore Ravens are using their offense to put points on the board, and it has given them a 3-0 start in coach John Harbaugh’s sophomore season.
As always, there are teams struggling to live up to the hype early on this season as well.
Three losses last year, three losses this year. It’s the same old for the Tennessee Titans, except they’ve lost all three games in a row this season. Who would have thought Albert Haynesworth made that much of a difference.
An inept win over St. Louis and a pathetic loss to Detroit makes the Washington Redskins a huge pretender. Combine that with the NFC East division, and coach Jim Zorn might not make it out of Week Two.
The Miami Dolphins are stuck with one of the hardest schedules this season, and it is clearly affecting last year’s AFC East champs, as they are 0-3 already this season.
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