What we learned after Week 3 in the NFL:
- No lead is safe
- The “Dream Team” is in the middle of a bad dream in Philly
- Brady and Belichick are sore losers
- Don’t look now but the Buffalo Bills are the only undefeated team left in the AFC
- Newton slowed by a monsoon in Carolina but finally gets a win
- Flacco and rookie receiver clicking on offense
- Steelers get win in Indy with a battered offensive line
Week 3 might have well been the week of late come-back finishes, or epic collapses, depending on how you look at the games. The early games seemed to all come down to the last few minutes and the Sunday night game…the bags under my eyes tell the story of how close that one was till the end. It seems to me that the good teams in the NFL are being shaped not on how they win games, but how they hold on to leads or how they rebound in their next game after a loss.
So Michael Vick thinks the refs don’t call hits on him like they do other quarterbacks. Vick, have you seen a Steelers game? You’re not the only one there buddy. If you hold onto the ball longer than other quarterbacks normally do, you don’t get the same consideration from the refs, plain and simple. Could be worse, Vick could play for Chicago and he wouldn’t have any time to even think about scrambling with the ball before he’d be on his back like Cutler spends most of his games. Although Ben and Vick do share a common theme in protection issues, there is some weight to the argument that they aren’t treated with the same considerations as other quarterbacks when it comes to late or brutal hits at least that was the story last season. I honestly haven’t seen a whole lot of evidence so far this season of other quarterbacks getting the flags for the phantom hits they got last year, while Vick and Ben get knocked all over the place. I’m only guessing that after a poor performance against their divisional rival New York Giants, Vick’s frustrations from last year came back to the surface.
In a game that thoroughly entertained many a Steeler fan and Pats-haters alike, Brady threw a very uncharacteristic 4 interceptions in the Patriots first loss to Buffalo in 15 straight games. Buffalo now stands alone as the only undefeated AFC team. And because they beat the mighty Patriots, Buffalo is considered a legitimate threat in the AFC. The Pats squandered a 21 point lead against the Bills thanks to Brady’s miscues. Ochocinco dropped a sure touchdown pass late in the 4th quarter that will no doubt garner more criticism and I’m going to enjoy every minute of that. The Bills got the ball back with a tie game with just over 3 minutes left on the clock and Fitzpatrick needed only 3 plays to get within scoring position. After a Bills touchdown was ruled back by review, the Bills proceeded to kneel down to drain the clock in order to kick the game winning field goal and leave no time left. An unsportsmanlike penalty by Pats DT Vince Wilfork aided in giving the Bills a fresh new set of downs to drain the clock even more, proving the Pats get a little nasty when they’re about to lose a game. In a total classless move, Brady and Belichick exited the field quickly after the loss, barely stopping to congratulate anyone and Belichick pouted through his post-game presser like a pissed off teenager being grounded.
Just to run through the other note-worthy performances from Sunday Cam Newton out did fellow rookie Blaine Gabbert in a battle of the conditions during a heavy rain storm in Carolina to earn his first win. Flacco and company put on an impressive performance against struggling St. Louis. Now it’s shaping up like the NFC Worst is having a repeat of last season where whatever team sucks the least is going to eventually earn a playoff spot but the Ravens shook off the loss last week to Tennessee in notable fashion. Steeler Nation had hoped last week’s Ravens were the true team, but surely it won’t be that easy. Minnesota proves they can blow a lead at home two weeks in a row by falling to the Lions. The Lions are looking impressive at 3-0 and Detroit fans are crossing their fingers that Stafford stays healthy and this streak can continue. The Jets fall to the Raiders due to a serious lack of a running game and questionable play calling.