By Josh Hatt
Chiefs beat Ravens in early showdown of the AFC’s best
In a hotly anticipated matchup, the Kansas City Chiefs established themselves as the top team in the AFC by beating the Baltimore Ravens 34-20. The game did not quite live up to its billing, with the Chiefs leading throughout thanks to Patrick Mahomes throwing 4 touchdowns, including 1 to his offensive lineman Eric Fisher. Mahomes became the fastest player in NFL history to throw for 10,000 yards and if he continues this trajectory, he will become an all time great. The Ravens will hope to learn lessons from this defeat, as these two may well meet again in the playoffs.
Buffalo Survives a late surge to beat the Rams
The Buffalo Bills blew a 28-3 lead to the LA Rams, but still ended up winning a thriller at Orchard Park by scoring a touchdown with 15 seconds left. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was the early star of the show, throwing for 3 touchdowns, but after he threw an interception the Rams responded with 4 unanswered touchdowns to stun Buffalo and take the lead. But Allen threw the winning touchdown to Tyler Croft to ensure the Bills maintain their 100% record and remain atop the AFC East. The Rams meanwhile lost their first game of the year and are 2-1, still in a good position in the tough NFC West division, as the Arizona Cardinals lost to Detroit.
Atlanta Falcons blow a big lead (again)
To say this season has been a nightmare for Atlanta fans is an understatement. The Falcons lost in dramatic fashion in Dallas last week after being up by 16 points with just 9 minutes left. They then proceeded to repeat the feat at home to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. A mid-game quarterback change from the Bears ignited the comeback, with former Superbowl MVP Nick Foles taking over from Mitchell Trubisky and overcoming a 26-10 deficit. The Falcons were the subject of much mockery from rival fans after blowing a 28-3 lead in the Superbowl a few years ago, and these defeats just rub salt in the wound for Atlanta’s long suffering fanbase. Head coach Dan Quinn is very much on the hot seat, and it is hard to see him keeping his job for much longer after presiding over all these collapses. The only relief for Atlanta was that there were no fans in the stands to see it.
Eagles and Bengals share the spoils in Philly
Ties don’t happen very often in the NFL, I did actually witness one in person at Wembley between Washington and funnily enough, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals tied the Philadelphia Eagles 23-23 on Sunday, and the two teams also tied back in 2008 when Eagles QB Donovan McNabb seemed to be unaware that such a result was possible. The Eagles were hyped as a potential Superbowl contender coming into the year, but it has been a disappointing start for them, losing their first 2 games and then only managing a draw against a Bengals side that was the NFL’s worst last season. In fairness to the Bengals, they look much improved this year with rookie QB Joe Burrow at the helm, but the Eagles will be concerned about the play of their quarterback Carson Wentz, who continued his poor form in this game. Eagles coach Doug Pederson also came in for criticism for punting the ball back to Cincinnati instead of taking a risk to try and get a win, although he later said he regretted his decision.
Other talking points from week 3:
Seattle QB Russell Wilson continued his excellent form, throwing for 5 touchdowns to help the Seahawks beat Dallas 38-31. Wilson would’ve had another if his receiver DK Metcalf hadn’t celebrated too early and had the ball knocked out of his hands!. Metcalf did redeem himself however by catching the winning touchdown late on. The Seahawks look like one of the best teams in the NFL right now, whilst Dallas will be disappointed with their 1-2 start.
The Green Bay Packers continued their excellent start by beating the New Orleans Saints 37-30. QB Aaron Rodgers looks back to his best after some injury plagued seasons, whilst New Orleans will need their defence to improve if they are to be a contender in the NFC.
Despite being riddled with injuries, the San Francisco 49ers still managed to thrash the New York Giants 36-9. San Fran will be happy to leave the state of New Jersey, as they have played two games in a row there and have suffered numerous injuries, blaming the turf at Metlife Stadium. The Giants have been amongst the worst teams for a few years now, and that looks likely to continue this year despite a change in coach. They will likely contend for the coveted number 1 pick in next years NFL draft, which will give the team that possess the pick the chance to pick the best player from college, likely QB Trevor Lawrence.
The Tennessee Titans narrowly beat the Minnesota Vikings 31-30, thanks in larger part to kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailing 6 field goals, including the game winner. Tennessee is sitting pretty atop the AFC South at 3-0, meanwhile the Vikings have lost all of their games, and look unlikely to make the playoffs now.
The New England Patriots continued to look good, beating the Las Vegas Raiders 36-20. New QB Cam Newton has injected life into an offense that struggled last season, and the Patriots look set to remain a contender once again. Las Vegas lost their first game of the year but will still be relatively happy with their 2-1 start.
The Cleveland Browns have been a laughing stock for many years now, but they may finally be turning a corner as they have won 2 of their first 3 games. Despite the loss, Washington is still top of a very weak NFC East division, with Dallas only having one win and Philadelphia and the Giants off to poor starts.