NFL Week 3 talking points: upsets, New Orleans and Weeden
We’re three weeks in and only three teams are 3-0. On the opposite side of the spectrum, only two teams are 0-3.
The league equalising effects are in full visibility as the first three weeks have shown that any team can win at any time.
Three games went to overtime and there have been five upsets. This season is building as a beauty, with no team a clear Superbowl favourite. After three weeks, only Arizona, Houston and Atlanta remain undefeated.
New Orleans stuck in the stalls
It is extremely difficult to make the playoffs from a 0-3 start to the season. The distractions of the bounty scandal which have cost the team its most important coaches has seen the Saints fall to Washington, Carolina and Kansas City.
Drew Brees’ lack of offensive weapons is killing the team, who are playing uncharacteristically after going 13-3 last season and Brees broke the single season passing yards record.
The Saints are in deep trouble and this has shown how much of an influence coaches have on the game. New Orleans blew a 24 point lead to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime at home.
Unbelievable game in Tennessee
The Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions played out a game not even NFL Films could script. After a game ending injury to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions found themselves trailing and relying on backup Shaun Hill to lead the team from behind.
The Titans had scored touchdowns off a punt return, a kickoff return and a fumble return to lead 41-27 with 28 seconds left of the game clock and the Lions in possession.
Shaun Hill completed a three yard touchdown pass to get within seven points, before the Lions recovered an onside kick with 16 seconds on the clock. After an incomplete pass, Hill launched a Hail Mary into the endzone where the ball bounced off Titan hands and into WR Titus Young’s for the game-tying touchdown.
Five minutes later, with the Lions at fourth and one, a bad play call by the Lions who opted to go for the first down rather than the game-tying field goal handed a crazy victory to the Tennessee Titans.
Questions will be asked in Cleveland
The Browns spent big when they drafted mature age quarterback Brendan Weeden (28) out of Oklahoma State with pick 17 in the draft. All analysts believed Weeden would have been available to the Browns with their next pick and a better player could have been selected at 17.
Winning the starting quarterback job in preseason over Colt McCoy, Weeden has looked like a fish out of water in the NFL, especially compared to the other starting rookie quarterbacks who have all delivered wins and look good.
In three weeks, Weeden has thrown 677 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions for a quarterback rating of 60.7 to be the worst performing rookie quarterback. Colt McCoy, a younger quarterback with two seasons of experience already, may get his starting job back soon.
Last year’s three most criticised rookie quarterbacks all delivered surprise wins in week three of their second professional year.
Jake Locker, selected eighth overall, led the Titans to a 44-41 overtime victory over the Detroit Lions, throwing 378 yards for two touchdowns.
Blaine Gabbert, selected 10th overall, led the Jaguars to a 22-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, throwing 155 yards and one touchdown.
Christian Ponder, selected 12th overall, led the Vikings to a 24-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, throwing 198 yards for two touchdowns as well as rushing 33 yards for another.
Between these three second year quarterbacks, all selected in the first round, zero interceptions were thrown to show you can’t judge a quarterback based on their rookie year.