NFL Report Card: Grading the Good, Bad and Injured from Week 3
We have completed another wild week in the NFL, full of both exciting and dreadful performances throughout the league. Oh yeah, and don't forget about the injuries, too. It seems as though a star player has a season-ending injury every week.
I will grade the best and worst performances from the NFL in Week 3, as well as give attention to the most significant injuries. To be fair, I will select one quarterback, one running back and one wide receiver in each of three categories.
As far as the grades are concerned, making it on the good list is equivalent to scoring an "A", being placed on the bad list is the same as getting an "F," and being on the injured list equals earning an incomplete.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the good, the bad and the injured from the third week of action in the NFL.
The Good: Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford continued his hot start to the 2011 season this week against the Minnesota Vikings. In the Lions' Week 3 overtime victory, Stafford completed 32 out of 46 passes for 378 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
So far, Stafford has earned a passing rating of over 100 in every game of the 2011 season. Not so coincidentally, the Lions have earned a victory in each of those games as well. If Stafford can stay healthy and keep up this kind of production, the Lions could be in for a playoff run.
The Good: Darren McFadden
The Oakland Raiders may have a star on their hands in running back Darren McFadden. Against the New York Jets this past Sunday, the fourth-year player from Arkansas topped 150 yards rushing for the second time in three games.
In posting 170 yards (on just 19 carries) along with two touchdowns, McFadden gave people a strong reminder of why he was so highly touted coming out of college. If McFadden can continue to play the way he has so far in 2011, he could become one of the best backs in the league.
The Good: Wes Welker
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has had a lot of big games in his NFL career, but none was bigger than his Week 3 performance against the Buffalo Bills. In the Patriots' loss on Sunday, Welker racked up 217 yards and two touchdowns on 16 receptions.
Unfortunately for New England, Welker's big day was not enough to take down the Buffalo Bills. However, the loss can't take away from the fact that Welker was nothing short of amazing in Week 3.
The Bad: Kerry Collins
I have to be honest, I feel bad for putting Kerry Collins on this list, but there is really no way around it. After completing just 13 of 29 passes for 93 yards, Collins left the Indianapolis Colts' loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter with concussion-like symptoms.
Collins was put in a no-win situation as he signed with the Colts at the last minute when it became apparent Peyton Manning's neck was not healed from offseason surgery. Collins' performance this season, and especially this week against the Steelers, leads me to believe he should have stuck with retirement.
The Bad: Chris Johnson
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is lucky he got his contract extension before the season started because he has done absolutely nothing to deserve a pay raise since the 2011 campaign began.
Johnson continued to underachieve in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos as he rushed for just 21 yards on 13 carries. For the season, Johnson has under 100 total rushing yards (98) and zero touchdowns. He is averaging a meager 2.1 yards per carry.
Amazingly, the Titans have managed to win two of their first three games even without Johnson playing up to his usual standards.
The Bad: DeSean Jackson
The Philadelphia Eagles have not looked like a dream team as they have gotten off to a 1-2 start to the 2011 season. The Eagles' second loss came to the New York Giants on Sunday and one of Philly's biggest stars, DeSean Jackson, all but disappeared during the game.
Against the Giants, Jackson was targeted six times but made only two receptions for 30 yards. Despite getting plenty of opportunities, the Eagles only managed to make it into the end zone once. The lack of big plays from one of the Philadelphia Eagles' biggest playmakers certainly was a factor in not being able to put points on the board.
If Philly is to get its season back on track, it will need more from Jackson—and from the player in my next slide.
The Injured: Michael Vick
Michael Vick's status was questionable after suffering a concussion in Week 2, but he was medically cleared to play. After starting in Week 3 against the New York Giants, Vick's head proved to be just fine but he was unable to make it through the game unharmed.
Vick suffered an injury to his non-throwing hand (it was initially reported as broken, but has been revealed instead as a bruised hand), and was removed from the Eagles' loss to the Giants after briefly returning to play with the injury. This marked the second straight week Vick gave way to backup quarterback Mike Kafka to finish the game.
The Injured: Arian Foster
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has managed to play in just one game so far this season due to a lingering hamstring injury. The NFL's leading rusher from 2010 is expected to play in Week 4, but nothing is settled just yet.
So far without Foster, the Texans have managed to go 2-1 and would be 3-0 if it weren't for the defense giving up 23 fourth-quarter points to the New Orleans Saints. The big question might not be if Foster will play this week, but rather do the Houston Texans really need him?
The Injured: Kenny Britt
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt appeared as though he was on his way to a breakout season in 2011. At least, that's what it looked like until Britt blew out his knee on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Britt had two huge games to start off the season before tearing his ACL and MCL early in the contest against the Broncos. Britt will miss the rest of the season and the Titans might be in trouble without him.