Week three of the NFL 2021 season is now in the bag, and what a week it was! Close games, a record-equalling 109 yard TD return and some outstanding QB performances. However, the pièce de résistance was an NFL record 66-yard field goal to win the game as time expired!
Read on and see just how wild the weekend was…
Thursday Night Game
Carolina 24, Houston 9
An easy win for the Panthers, in which Sam Darnold threw for 300+ yards for the second consecutive game. Given he has only had 6 total in his career it is something to celebrate. Don’t read too much into this yet though as the Texans were pretty awful. Still, the Panthers are 3-0 and sit proudly atop the NFC South. Whether they stay there will depend very much on whether Sam Darnold is can do this against the better teams.
Sunday, 26 September Pick of the Early Games
Baltimore 19, Detroit 17
This was supposed to be an easy win for the Ravens. However, Detroit must have forgotten to read the script and after a dismal first half where they punted on 5 of the 6 plays they staged a comeback. After trailing 13-0 in the third quarter they found themselves with the lead in the last minute and had Baltimore facing a 4th & 19 at their own 16-yard line. What happened next will go down in NFL History.
Lamar Jackson who had another great night managed to connect with Sammy Watkins for 36 yards, and after a spiked ball and a thrown away pass it was left to Justin Tucker to kick an NFL record 66 yard winning Field Goal which bounced off the crossbar and over as time expired.
Cleveland 26, Chicago 6
This was one of the weekends most one-sided games and is certainly one that Rookie QB Justin Fields will want to forget. In his first start, he found out that the NFL is not “Kind of Slow” as he rather foolishly remarked in pre-season. He went 6/20 for a whopping 68 yards passing – around 48 of which came from a pass interference call! He was also sacked 9 times losing 67 yards leaving the box score showing 1 positive yard passing and a team total of 47! Still, he never turned the ball over so that’s something.
The Browns still had to contend with a decent Bears defense though and used their power running game to good effect here rushing for 215 yards, chewing up the clock in the process. Nick Chubb had a good night with 84 rushing.
The Ravens move on to 2-1 while the 0-3 Lions have now lost two games by one score and all three are against what look like playoff contenders. There is hope for them yet post Matt Strafford.
Arizona 31, Jacksonville 19
This was on our radar as it features two of the leagues most promising young QB’s. However, it will be best remembered for Jamal Agnew’s 109 YD TD return, coming from a missed field goal attempt. This tied the record. This year’s no 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence had another mediocre game throwing a couple of picks and fumbling twice. That’s 7 interceptions in his opening three games. Still given his supporting cast it’s no reason to panic, yet.
2019 no 1 pick Kyler Murray had a much better game but still managed to toss a pick in their all too easy win. The Cardinals are 3-0 and might just be for real this year. We will know more after next week when they play the Rams!
The other early games
Buffalo 43, Washington 21
Josh Allen looked great in this one with 358 yards passing & 4TDs. Their defense also had 3 TO’s in a game they dominated both sides of the ball. Washington’s defense played pretty well and they should still figure in what looks like being a relatively weak NFC East.
Tennessee 25, Indianapolis 16
Tennessee won the big AFC South clash. The Colts never really looked to be in the game, despite being gifted three turnovers. They are 0-3 and bottom of what looks like being a quite mediocre division. The Titans relied on Derek Henry to control the clock and grind out the win.
Cincinnati 24, Pittsburgh 10
Ben Roethlisberger threw two costly interceptions in an overall poor Pittsburgh performance against the Bengals. Both led to TDs and those 14 points ended up being the difference. Joe Burrow had an efficient night going 14 – 18 and scoring 3 TDS. Big Ben had to attempt 58 passes as the Steelers running game never got started. With no credible backup he will no doubdt keep the starting job but this will probably be his final season.
LA Chargers 30, Kansas City 24
In the Big AFC West clash, the Chargers prevailed thanks in no small part to the Chiefs losing the Turnover battle 4-0. The final one, a Mahomes pick ended up deciding the game as it left the Chargers in great field position inside the 2-minute warning. This leaves Kansas City bottom of the division. Who saw this coming?
New Orleans 28, New England 13
It was a bad night for yet another of the much-vaunted rookie QBs as Mac Jones ended up throwing three interceptions in the Patriots home loss to the Saints. His opposite number Jamies Winston uncharacteristically avoided any mistakes throwing two TDS. He only managed 128 yards passing though as New Orleans relied on the ground game to get the win.
Atlanta 17, NY Giants 14
Not much to say here other than the falcons finally have a win, thanks to a last-second field goal. Saquon Barkley had another quiet night rushing for 51 yards and a TD. They will need a lot more out of him if they are to get their first win.
Sunday Late Games
LA Rams 34, Tampa Bay 24
The night’s big game didn’t disappoint from a scoring perspective anyway. The honours went to the Rams, for whom Matt Stafford was outstanding again throwing for 343 yards and 4 TDS. Tom Brady also had a good night throwing for 432 yards and a TD, somewhat inflated as their running game was non-existent. He ended up Tampa’s leading rusher too and in a TD. On this showing, both teams are playoffs bound and this could easily end up being a prelude to the Championship game. It might be different though if the Buccs get some of their injured secondary back ‘
LV Raiders 31, Miami 28 (OT)
The Raiders are fast becoming the NFL’s entertainers. Two OT games and well over 400 yards of offense in all three games so far. QB Derek Carr had 386 yards passing in this one, bringing his total up to 1203 for the season! Surely he can’t keep that up? The Raiders should have had this one sewn up but a missed Point After allowed the Fins to force OT with a last-second TD & two-point conversion. Even in OT, the drama continued with both scoring Field Goals before the Raiders got the winner as time expired. Breathless stuff!
Minnesota 30, Seattle 17
The Vikings had started 0-2 thanks to narrow losses and looked to be heading for 0-3 when they went 17-7 behind. However, Kirk Cousins stopped the rot with probably his best ever display in Purple as Minnesota put up 23 unanswered points. He was 30-38 for 323 yards and 3 TD’s, however, it was his clock control in the second half that impressed the most, taking off nearly 21 minutes in three drives. Seattle played well enough but if you don’t have the ball you can’t score! Russell Wilson had 298 yards passing and a TD in another near-flawless performance.
Denver 26, NY Jets 0
Another much-vaunted Rookie QB featured in this one and we got another poor showing. Zac Wilson spent a good portion of the night running for his life and ended up being sacked 5 times. Passing wise he was 19-35 for 160 yards and a couple of interceptions. The Bronco’s defense does look good though and even an efficient performance from Teddy Bridgewater was enough for an easy win. Denver is 3-0 but has probably beaten the three worst teams in the NFL.
Green Bay 30, San Francisco 28
This one was well worth sitting up for and it looks like the real Aaron Rodgers is finally back in Green Bay. He put on a last-minute masterclass to snatch a win that should never really have been in doubt. Poor defensive play kept the 49ers in the game and when Kyle Juszczyk scored to put them a point up with 37 seconds left, it looked all over. However, 37 seconds and no time outs is not a problem when Rodgers is on his game and he duly drove them into field goal range and Matt Crosby did the rest.
Monday, 27 September
Dallas 41, Philadelphia 21
Watch out NFC East it looks like Dallas might have a defense after all! Ok, a beat down on the Eagles is nothing to shout about, however, if they play this way every week the Cowboys should be good enough for the division and thereafter who knows. This was never a contest despite Jalen Hurts putting up 326 yards passing.
So there ends week three now it is on to week four where the remaining five unbeaten teams will hope to keep the streak going. Our predictions were not too bad as you can see here.
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