By Josh Hatt
And Then There Was One
The Arizona Cardinals are the NFL’s lone remaining undefeated team, as they put together an impressive display in LA to beat the Rams 37-20. Kyler Murray has looked very impressive so far, headlining an offense that leads the league in average yards & points per game. If he can stay healthy the Cardinals have a legitimate chance of winning the NFC West and making some noise in the playoffs. The Rams had looked very impressive during the first 3 weeks, and Seattle and San Francisco are not to be counted out of the division race either. But it is the Cardinals who have claimed the early advantage in the race, however it remains to be seen if they can keep this up after they faltered down the stretch last season when Murray wasn’t 100% healthy.
The Legend Returns
Tom Brady made his much anticipated return to Foxboro on Sunday night, and made history as he became the all-time leader in NFL passing yards, surpassing Drew Brees’s previous record of 80,358 yards. Brady’s return was almost spoiled as New England had a chance to take the lead late on, only for Nick Folk’s kick to crash into the upright, meaning Brady’s Bucs held on for a 19-17 win. Brady has now beaten every current NFL team, only the 3rd man to achieve this feat. Tampa Bay has been hurt by injuries to their secondary, but have still won 3 of their first 4 games and with Brady at the helm, are still definite contenders. New England meanwhile has lost 3 of their first 4 games and continues to struggle in the post Brady era to generate much offense.
After a disastrous season last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars hired coach Urban Meyer to change their fortunes, but things haven’t gone to plan so far. The Jaguars have lost their first 4 games of the season, after losing their last 15 of 2020. And things got worse for Meyer as he was captured on video behaving inappropriately in a bar with a woman who is not his wife. Meyer did not fly back with his team following their latest loss in Cincinnati, something that is highly unusual for a coach. Meyer held a team meeting to attempt to smooth over things, but there are reports coming from unnamed players that suggest he has lost the locker room. One player said ‘He has zero credibility in that stadium,’ He had very little to begin with”. Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn (who also owns Fulham FC) issued a statement calling Meyers actions “inexcusable”, but Meyer’s job appears to be safe for now. However, if he has lost the players respect, it is difficult to see how Meyer can survive for much longer.
Other Talking Points:
Justin Herbert continues to impress, as the Chargers QB led his team to a win over the previously undefeated Raiders. Herbert is showing no signs of a sophomore slump, and the AFC West battles between him, Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr will be fascinating to watch this year.
Both New York teams claimed their first wins of the season in dramatic stye. The Giants stunned the Saints in New Orleans with a late comeback spearheaded by an impressive display from Daniel Jones, who won the NFC Offensive player of the week award for his efforts. Jones helped lead the Giants down the field in overtime, with Saquon Barkley scoring the winning TD after earlier catching a long touchdown pass that sparked the comeback in the 4th quarter. The Jets meanwhile started slowly but an impressive second half from rookie QB Zach Wilson helped them comeback and lead late on, but Tennessee forced overtime and had a chance to end the game in a rare tie. However, Titans kicker Randy Bullock sent his kick wide of the mark, much to the delight of the home fans.
Cincinnati continued its solid start to the season, coming back in the second half to beat Jacksonville. Joe Burrow led the Bengals back from a 14-0 halftime deficit to secure the Bengals third win in 4 games, after wining just 4 games all of last year. The caveat to this is that the Bengals have played some pretty poor teams, but they are still showing signs of progress. A much tougher test awaits in Green Bay next week.