adrian peterson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Jacobs, buffalo bills, Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, Drew Brees, houston texans, Indianapolis Colts, Matt Schaub, Matt Stafford, Michael Vick, Minnesota Vikings, new england patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams, Tom Brady, Torrey Smith
If you have not read our Week 3 predictions…don’t. We were wrong on so many games that my first thought was to delete the post from existence, erasing all evidence of me being wrong and maintaining my prophetic football knowledge. Cole and I will get our comeuppance in our week 3 day of accountability, but I will take this time to look back on a few of the games from this week.
New England 31, Buffalo 34: Only one word to really describe this game: wow. Despite being down 21-0, Fitzpatrick and the entire Bills team did not give up and had a near-miraculous 34-31 win. Count me as a believer in ‘Fitzmagic’, my now-patented term for the success of this Bills team so far this season. The defense leaves a lot to be desired, but the most important thing is that they just continue to win games. It’s too early to say if they’re playoff contenders or not, but I must concede that my prediction of the Bills being in the running for Andrew Luck was flat-out wrong. Expect Fitzpatrick to get a contract extension if things continue.
Detroit 26, Minnesota 23 (OT): Minnesota continues to bury itself in the 2nd half. This has to be so very depressing for fans. The defense did very well in the first half, but wasn’t so clutch in the second. They deserve some blame, especially for leaving Calvin in single-coverage at the end of the game, but 20 points against a high-octane offense isn’t bad. The Vikings offense is just plain bad outside of Adrian Peterson, yet they keep shutting him down in the 2nd half. Sure, he didn’t do well with his 5 carries, but how do you not give it to him more? How do you not give it to him on 4th and 1 and give it to Gerhart? Leslie Frazier has some work to do. That being said, a job well done by the Lions to not get fazed by a poor start. They deserve as much credit for this win as the Vikings deserve blame.
New York Giants 29, Philadelphia 16: The Eagles are looking much more vulnerable than all the hype suggested. Before we get to the Eagles, let’s just say the Giants played well. They used RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs effectively and Manning found WR Victor Cruz with Manningham out and Nicks blanketed. Their defense also came through, and the pressure all day was impressive. As for the Eagles, Michael Vick broke his hand and complained it’s because he doesn’t get the roughing the passer calls, but that’s a poor excuse. Vick is not an anticipatory passer and throws when he sees a man open, just like Cutler. This and his tendency to play tough will lead to more hits. A big culprit is a poor offensive line as well. On defense, the front 7 has just not lived up to even modest expectations. Turns out even a team of superstars needs to have solid pieces around it to succeed.
Houston 33, New Orleans 40: Do these teams even realize defenses exist? The key in this game came down to leadership on both teams. Saints QB Drew Brees and Head Coach Sean Payton knew what they had to do to win, and ran an effective offense in the 4th quarter. Matt Schaub and the Texans moved the ball well but choked at the end when they had the chance to tie the Saints with around 2 minutes left. The Texans defense was almost non-existent in the 4th quarter, with the Saints scoring 23 points on three consecutive drives. Wade Phillips needs to go back to the drawing board to help out this offense. The Saints need to look over their defense as well, but once again Drew Brees kept his team in the game and took advantage of the opportunities the Texans gave him.
Baltimore 37, St. Louis 7: Well, the Ravens sure did rebound from a week 2 loss in Tennessee. Losing Lee Evans and having three rookies behind #1 WR Anquan Boldin, the Ravens ended up passing the ball a lot. Rookie WR Torrey Smith came out of left field with 3 TDs on his first 3 catches, including catches of 70+ and 40+ yards. Apparently the Rams forgot that his main skill is his 4.3 40-yard dash speed. Ray Rice didn’t get too many touches (13 total), but still managed to have over 150 combined yards. The Rams defense didn’t have an answer, and neither did their offense. The Ravens don’t generally give up rushing yards, and limited Cadillac Williams today. Bradford would have to win the game, and he did not. The Ravens D crushed Bradford, getting 5 sacks and numerous more hurries. Bradford never had time to get comfortable, and was just miserable in the first half. The Rams have to be one of the most disappointing teams this year, and their schedule suggests a win might be tough in the next few weeks. Steve Spagnuolo is close to being fired, and might not make it through the year.
Pittsburgh 23, Indianapolis 20: A win is a win, so the Steelers deserve some praise, but they still have to be worried. Their offensive line was just dismal almost all game. They couldn’t run against one of the league’s worst run defenses, and pressure was on top of Big Ben all night. Indy’s D played at another level tonight, but could not hold off Big Ben in the 4th quarter. The man just knows how to win games late; it’s what he does. The Colts offense was predictably bad, and Curtis Painter just does not bring that much to the field. If any team were to look into signing David Garrard, it should be the Colts. The Steelers defense played well, but nearly broke by allowing that game-tying drive late in the 4th. They’re still very good, but they’re looking more like their age. This should have been a blowout for Pittsburgh, but numerous question marks have appeared that are worrisome, and unfortunately the worst of these (a poor offensive line with no depth, an aging defense) do not get better as the season progresses. As for Indy, well, with Peyton now almost certainly out for the season, they could be bound for last place in the AFC South and a shot at Andrew Luck. If they can get this offense to play a little bit better, however, maybe they could pull out a bad season (say, 5-11) instead of a terrible one (3-13).
UPDATE: Apparently Michael Vick did not break his hand, but it is still a sore and swollen. Even if Vick does play this week, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes seriously injured.