Going into Sunday's games there were eight teams (Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, and Kansas City Chiefs) without a loss. After the dust settled on the week three that was in the 2010 NFL season, the Chiefs managed to make it out of the carnage unscathed along with two other undefeated teams.
Now that Monday night's battle between the Bears and the Packers is over, this unlikely trio of unbeatens consists of the Bears, the Steelers, and the Chiefs. No one could have predicted such an outcome going into week four, but that's why they play the games.
The Bears finished 7-9 last season, and quarterback Jay Cutler threw 26 interceptions. The Steelers are playing without their starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. The Chiefs have been irrelevant since 2005 and won only four games last year—yet here they are.
The Bears should have lost in Week 1 to the Detroit Lions and won on Monday night mostly due to 17 Packer penalties, many of which were personal fouls and pass interference calls. Jay Cutler looked a lot worse than his stat line indicates. He threw at least three interceptions that were wiped out by the aforementioned penalties and a few more that were just dropped by Packer defenders.
Bears running back Matt Forte looked great in his first two games this season, but he did nothing spectacular in the Bears' survival of the Packers. The offense as a whole can be characterized by a simple phrase that I've come up with—Forte or flatulence.
The defense has done a good job, and defensive end Julius Peppers is reminding everyone why he gets the big bucks. He was all over the Green Bay backfield for most of Monday's game. He doesn't have many sacks this year, but the havoc that he reeks on the Bears opponents' passing game by pressuring quarterbacks and sending running backs in the opposite direction is unmeasurable.
Add to that a linebacking core of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, and the Bears have a very stout front seven. The defensive backfield isn't bad either, and if the defense does it's job this year the Bears will be in the hunt for the NFC North title. Next matchup: Bears vs. Giants.
Sensational Steel City Survivors
The Pittsburgh Steelers just keep shutting down their critics week in and week out despite a carousel of backup QBs. They beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 15-9 with Dennis Dixon at the helm.
A late pick from safety Troy Polamalu set up the overtime victory. Atlanta never got into the end zone in the contest and Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall ran in the game's only TD from 50 yards out in overtime to secure a Steelers victory.
In Week 2, the Steelers won another defensive struggle against the Tennessee Titans 19-11 despite Dixon getting knocked out of the game. The Steelers defense held Titans RB Chris Johnson—arguably the best running back in the league—to a measly 34 yards on the ground.
That was the first game in the last 12 that Johnson didn't reach 100 rushing yards. This left many people saying, "The Steelers defense looks great, but the offense can't score without Ben Roethlisberger." After all, the team would now have to start long-time backup Charlie Batch in their next contest against the undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Once again, the Steelers would show all of their doubters that it doesn't pay to doubt the Steelers. Just when the offense was written off as ineffective, the Steelers pummeled the Buccaneers 38-13. Charlie Batch threw three TD passes, and Mendehall rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown of his own. The defense also performed in typical Steelers fashion.
Pittsburgh is quite possibly playing the leagues best football right now. The defense has given up only two touchdowns in three games, and now the offense is clicking as well. The Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens next in their last game without Roethlisberger.
They're already playing great, and when Ben returns they'll be even better. If they pull off a win next week in their tough divisional matchup, who knows how long they will remain undefeated. This is a very dangerous team that could make a serious run at the title in January.
Hail to the Chiefs
Last—but certainly not least—on the list is the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had been written off as irrelevant by most football fans and sports writers coming into this season. Head coach Todd Haley hired former New England Patriots assistants Romeo Crennel (defensive coordinator) and Charlie Weis (offensive coordinator) in the offseason.
The Chiefs are very young, so coaching is key with this group. The team was supposed to be in year two of a rebuilding period and was perceived as relatively harmless. However, perception is sometimes misleading.
In Week 1 the team was pitted against the division champion San Diego Chargers in a Monday night game that the Chiefs were supposed to loose, but loosing wasn't on the Chiefs to do list that night. The Chiefs looked offensively shaky, but big plays and defense led the team to a 21-14 win in the rainy contest.
In the first half of the contest, RB Jamaal Charles had a 56-yard TD run, and rookie receiver Dexter McCluster had a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown. The defense stopped the Chargers on a goal line stand with under a minute to go to seal the victory.
Week two was more of the same. The Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns 16-14 by holding the Browns scoreless in the second half of the contest. The one-two punch of running backs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones had a stout 132 rushing yards in the contest, but the real story was the defense.
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, defensive end Tamba Hali, and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey had Browns QB Seneca Wallace running out of the pocket all day. Rookie safety Eric Berry was stopping the run from sideline to sideline, and corner Brandon Flowers had a pick-six in the second quarter to give the Chiefs their only touchdown in the contest.
In Week 3, the Chiefs took a shot at shutting up their critics with some offense in a 31-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs looked great in the contest, scoring through the air, on the ground, and via trick plays.
The defense gave up only one touchdown in the contest which came in the last minute of the game. Flowers had another interception in the contest, and the rest of the time the defense was terrorizing quarterback Alex Smith and shutting down running back Frank Gore. Tamba Hali had three sacks against the 49ers, and the team won easily.
Rookie tight end Tony Moeaki is becoming a favorite target of Chiefs QB Matt Cassel and had his second touchdown of the year. The Chiefs are improving every week, and now they go into their bye week undefeated. It couldn't come at a better time either, as the Chiefs will have their toughest game of the year in week five against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Chiefs have the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL thus far. This young team is in a great position to make a playoff run. They're already up two games on everyone else in the division, and they have what is possibly the easiest schedule in the league.
The Power Rankings
I have the undefeateds ranked in the following order: Bears 3, Chiefs 2, Steelers 1.
This season has already shown us that nothing is certain in the 2010 season, and I'm sure there will be plenty more surprises in store for all of us before it's all said and done. One thing is for sure already though: the Chiefs, Steelers, and Bears are undefeated through week three.
Good luck to all of the teams on the list, but I wish a special good luck to the Kansas City Chiefs. Chiefs fans have been waiting for a very long time to have something to be excited about. When this team is winning, Arrowhead is one of the best atmospheres in the NFL.
You keep it up on the field, Chiefs, and we'll keep it up on the sidelines.