Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears: 3-0 is a Good Start
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The wonderful thing about the NFL is that every year there are many surprises. This year is certainly no exception.
Before the start of the season, there were a handful of popular choices to win this years Super Bowl. The defending champion Saints, the Packers, Jets, Colts, Vikings, Ravens, and Cowboys were some of the more well-documented choices.
And yet here we stand only three weeks into the regular season, and none of those teams are able to claim an unblemished record to this point.
After three weeks of the NFL regular season, there are a mere three undefeated teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chicago Bears. If you would have wagered on that before the season started, you would now be living the good life.
Between these three teams, none of them finished better than third in their own divisions last year. None of the three made the playoffs. And their combined record from a season ago was 20-28. And yet here they are one year later with a combined 9-0 record.
It is still way to early to crown any of these teams division champs, and their is no guarantee that any of them will even make the playoffs. But after three hard fought weeks, there is no denying that each of their seasons has more than surprised a few people.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the most likely of the three teams to be on this list any other year. This season was supposed to be different, though, as Pittsburgh was without starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, for the first four weeks of the season due to a league suspension.
No one predicted Pittsburgh to be this good already. The problem is, someone forgot to tell the Steelers that. After Byron Leftwich went down late in preseason, Dennis Dixon was given the reins of the club.
Dixon performed fairly well in the teams week one win over the Atlanta Falcons. In typical Steeler fashion though, that game was a defensive struggle with the only touchdown of the game coming on a 50-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall on the Steelers first possession of overtime.
Week two saw another defensive showdown. This time it was the Titans and all world running back, Chris Johnson, who were no match for the Troy Polamalu lead defense. The big story in this game was the loss of Dixon to a knee injury. This meant that for Week 3, the Steelers were already down to their fourth string quarterback, the veteran Charlie Batch.
With Batch making his first start in three years in week three, the Steelers offense was brought to life. Batch threw for three touchdowns, and Mendenhall added another, along with 143 yards on the ground, and the Steelers capped their 3-0 start with a 38-13 thrashing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It should come as no surprise that through the first three weeks, the Steelers defense is one of the best in the league. They have allowed a league low 33 points, and are currently ranked number six in total defense. Behind this latest version of the "Steel Curtain," maybe it really isn't a big surprise that Pittsburgh is 3-0.
Then there are the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs opened their season in front of an electric crowd at Arrowhead Stadium. Although statistically, the Chiefs actually got dominated, it was two big plays that gave them a Monday night 21-14 win over the rival San Diego Chargers.
After being down 7-0, the Chiefs quickly responded when Jamaal Charles broke free for a 56 yard touchdown run. Later in the game, with Chiefs already up by a touchdown, rookie Dexter McCluster returned a punt 94 yards for what would ultimately be the game winning score.
Week two saw the Chiefs go into Cleveland and get a hard fought victory over the Browns. For the second straight week, starting quarterback Matt Cassel was less than stellar, but behind a solid running game, and a good defensive showing they were able to come away winners again.
Week three may have been the most impressive of them all. Taking on a San Francisco team, that many people had very high expectations for, the Chiefs absolutely dominated the game. The final was 31-10, but the 49ers only managed a touchdown on its final play of the game, at a point that it had no bearing on the outcome.
Behind the running of Charles and Thomas Jones, Kansas City currently leads the league in rushing and is averaging over 20 points per game. The young defense meanwhile, has quietly been having a solid start to the season. While ranking sixth against the run, Kansas City's defense has allowed the second fewest points in the league, only trailing the Steelers.
Finally, there are the Chicago Bears. This is a team that instead of being undefeated, could just as easily be winless.
Week one saw a somewhat controversial 19-14 victory over the Detroit Lions. After wide receiver, Calving Johnson, scored what looked like was going to be the game winning touchdown for Detroit, the ruling was overturned. After successfully stopping the Lions on two more plays, the Bears escaped with a win.
Week two brought the Bears their best win of the season. They went in to Dallas and beat the Cowboys 27-20 behind a very solid performance out of the sometimes erratic, Jay Cutler. The defense also had a hand in the win, forcing three Cowboy turnovers.
Week three may have been more a case of the Green Bay Packers losing than the Bears winning. Green Bay committed a team record 18 penalties, including penalties on two interceptions, one being a pass interference that set up the Bears for the game winning field goal.
For as well as Cutler played in Week 2, he almost played as poorly in week three. While his game stats weren't terrible, he made some bad decisions and some even poorer throws, but was more often than not, bailed out by Green Bay penalties.
The Bears offense, mainly behind some excellent play making of running back, Matt Forte, has shown that if it can become consistent, it has the potential to score points in bunches. The defense meanwhile, has been hit or miss.
The Brian Urlacher lead Bears defense leads the league against the run. But that stat can be somewhat misleading, as the bears have been rushed upon the fewest amount of time in the league. The pass defense has been tested early. Having seen the third most number of passes thrown at them, the Bears defense ranks fourth from the bottom in pass yardage.
So just like any other season, 2010 has already shown that it is going to have its fair share of surprises. While most people think that Pittsburgh will only continue to get better, especially when Roethlisberger returns, the jury is still out on Kansas City and Chicago.
But for now, it doesn't matter. No one can take away the fact that as of right now, these are the only three teams that have a chance of being perfect. And while the wins haven't all been pretty, at the end of the day, they all look the same in the win column.
And as far as the loss column is concerned, for the Steelers, Chiefs, and Bears, they all look the same in that category too. In that column, they are all represented by zeroes.
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