Week 3 in the NFL is for many an important week. Generally, teams who are 3-0 have a strong chance of reaching the playoffs. But as always, we had questions to answer. Could the Los Angeles Chargers hold on to win a game? Would the Dallas Cowboys destroy another team? and are the rumors of Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift true?Embed from Getty Images
Let’s review week 3 in the NFL.
The Battle of the Winless
The Los Angeles Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings both made the playoffs last season. Coming into week 3, they are both 0-2. The Chargers have played two very close games and are definitely unlucky to be winless. Minnesota has had some troubles with ball security in the last two weeks but still should have at least one win. In the battle of the winless teams, who would remain winless?
The Chargers had the opening possession of the game, but could not do anything with the ball and quickly punted it away. The Vikings started their opening drive well, but then their problems from last week would return. After catching a 9-yard throw from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, T.J Hockenson would fumble the ball, which was then scooped up by the Chargers defense. This would be costly for Minnesota. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert would lead his offense down the field to the Vikings 3-yard line. From there, Herbert would pass to Donald Parham Jr. for the touchdown to give the Chargers the lead
The Vikings would soon have some success on offense. Minnesota quickly got deep into the Chargers’ red zone, mostly aided by two long plays from Cousins to Justin Jefferson. From the Chargers’ 4-yard line, Cousins would pass to Josh Oliver for the touchdown to tie the scores up. The success would continue for the Vikings on the drive of the game. Los Angeles would do their impression of the Vikings offense and fumble the ball, which was then recovered by the Vikings defense. The subsequent drive would give Minnesota some points, with Vikings’ kicker Greg Joseph kicking a 28-yard field goal, but they should have easily scored a touchdown.Embed from Getty Images
While the Vikings could not score a touchdown, the Chargers went and did just that on their next drive. Justin Herbert led the offense down to the one-yard line. From there, he combined with Parham again for a touchdown just before halftime. As the teams returned to the locker room, the Chargers would have a 14-10 lead.
Los Angeles would try to add points to their total in the early part of the second half. Their drive would stall at the Vikings’ 35-yard line. Cameron Dicker, the Chargers kicker would attempt a 53-yard field goal. An attempt he would be unsuccessful with. However, the Chargers would soon be successful in an interesting way.
On their next drive, the Chargers had just made it into the Vikings’ territory. They were on the 49-yard line. On what seemed a normal first down, Herbert would throw a lateral pass to Keenan Allen, who would then throw the ball downfield to wide receiver Mike Williams. Williams would then run the ball in for a touchdown to increase Los Angeles’s lead. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Mike Williams as after the game it was confirmed that he tore his ACL during the game. He is now out for the rest of the season.
In reply to this, Minnesota would score a long touchdown of their own. On fourth down from the Chargers’ 36-yard line, Kirk Cousins would pass to K J Osborn, who would find the endzone for the touchdown to make it a one-possession game. On the Vikings’ next drive, the 3-point deficit would become a 4-point lead. Cousins would pair up with Jefferson for a 52-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a lead early in the fourth quarter. Could they hold on to get their first victory of the season?
Their lead did not last long. On the very next drive of the game, the Chargers would find the endzone again. Herbert would find Joshua Palmer for the 30-yard touchdown to give the lead back to Los Angeles. The Vikings would get close on their next drive, reaching deep inside the Chargers’ endzone. Then, on fourth and goal from the 2-yard line, Cousins’s pass to Jefferson would be incomplete, handing possession back to Los Angeles. Luckily for Minnesota, the Chargers would have possession back quickly. This meant that with under two minutes to go, Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings were driving to win the game.
Only a touchdown would do. The drive began at the Chargers’ 24-yard line. The Vikings would struggle to move the ball forward and relied on a lucky fourth-down catch from Hockenson to keep them in the game. They were now at the 6-yard line with 12 seconds left on the clock. Cousins stepped up and intended to find Hockenson again for the winning score. This did not happen. Cousins was intercepted and the game was over. The Los Angeles Chargers had beaten the Minnesota Vikings 28-24.
This is the third week in a row in which I have written in-depth about the Los Angeles Chargers. This is not only because I enjoy writing the phrase “Cameron Dicker, the Chargers kicker” but since all three of their games this year have been close. They were lucky to win this game. For Minnesota, they are now 0-3 but are definitely not playing like a 0-3 team. Next week, the Vikings face fellow 0-3 team, the Carolina Panthers, while the Chargers play the Las Vegas Raiders.
A Come-Pack Made with Love
The Green Bay Packers had an odd season last year. Regular readers will know that I do believe that something happened during halftime of their London game with the New York Giants as they were not the same team after that. In the off-season, they lost Aaron Rodgers to the Jets, who would lose him after 4 plays. Jordan Love is the new quarterback for the Packers and he has started the season 1-1. Green Bay’s opponent for their home opener at Lambeau Field was the New Orleans Saints, who came into this game 2-0.
The Saints would get the opening score of the game from a drive that started on the edge of their territory. Saints quarterback Derek Carr would move the ball down to the Packers’ 8-yard line. Then, Carr would throw the touchdown pass to former Packer Jimmy Graham, to give the Saints an early lead.
The Saints’ lead would be increased in a remarkable fashion. Throughout the first half, Jordan Love could not get anything going with the Packers’ offense. This meant a lot of punts to the Saints’ defense occurred. During one of them, Rashid Shaheed would catch the punt and run the ball 76 yards into the endzone. New Orleans would make the lead even bigger before halftime. A 14-play drive would stall at the Green Bay 7-yard line, so the Saints successfully kicked a field goal to give them a 17-0 lead at halftime. Things would need to improve for the Packers if they wanted to stay in the game.
If the first half was bad for the Packers, the second half started awfully. Green Bay would have the opening drive of the half, and Jordan Love would be intercepted by the Saints’ defense. However, what would happen on the subsequent Saints drive would be a key moment in the game. During a play, Saints quarterback Derek Carr would be sacked and would injure his shoulder. He would be taken out of the game, and would not return. His replacement, Jameis Winston. The 6th different quarterback the Saints have used since Drew Brees retired in 2021.
We then had a period of the game where both teams would struggle. The Packers would get into the New Orleans red zone but would turn the ball over on downs in the red zone. This would continue into the fourth quarter. Remember, the Packers have still not scored any points in this game yet.
That would all change soon. The Packers next drive would stall at the Saints’ 20-yard line. There, Packers kicker Anders Carlson would kick a 38-yard field goal to give them their first points of the afternoon. On their next drive, things would get even better for Green Bay. Jordan Love would lead his offense down the field to the Saints’ one-yard line. Then, on fourth down, Love would run the ball into the endzone. The Packers would successfully attempt a 2-point conversion which made it a 6-point game.
The Saints offense struggled to do anything with the ball, punting on every drive since Carr’s injury. In contrast, the Packers’ offense was on fire. From their 20-yard line, Love would again drive the ball down the field this time to the 8-yard line. Then, he would pass to Romeo Doubs for what could be the game-winning touchdown for the Packers. However, New Orleans had enough time on the clock and they only needed a field goal to win. Could they do it?
After many drives that ended as soon as they started, the Saints’ offense finally performed well when they needed it the most. Winston drove the offense down to the Packers’ 28-yard line. This would give Saints kicker Blake Grupe a 46-yard field goal attempt to win the game. He stepped up and missed.
This would essentially end the game. The Green Bay Packers had come back from 17 points down to defeat the New Orleans Saints 18-17, with all the points coming in the game’s final quarter.
For the Packers, this should be a victory to remember and could springboard themselves into contention in a lopsided NFC North division. This is the Saints’ first loss of the season, and losing Derek Carr to injury will affect their performance in the short term. Next week, the Saints play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Green Bay faces the team that eliminated them from playoff contention in the last game of the season, the Detroit Lions.
The Colts Kick to win
The Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens have a unique history. The Indianapolis Colts originally start life as the Baltimore Colts before their controversial relocation. Last week, the Colts lost their quarterback Antony Richardson to a concussion. He would not be able to play this game. So, without Richardson, who would make a difference for Indianapolis against a strong Ravens side?
The Colts had the opening possession of the game, and backup quarterback Gardner Minshew could not do anything with the ball and Indianapolis quickly punted. This is consistent for Minshew, as the games he played as quarterback for the Eagles last season were terrible for Philadelphia. In reply to the lack of offense by the Colts, the Ravens immediately showed their offensive strength. Ravens quarterback Lamarr Jackson led a drive from their 20-yard line down to the Colts 8-yard line. From there, Jackson would run the ball into the endzone to give the Ravens the lead.
The Colts would again punt the ball after a poor offense run. However, the Colts would get the ball back soon after. On the Ravens’ next drive, Baltimore fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by the Indianapolis defense. Fortunately for the Ravens, the Colts could not convert this possession into points.Embed from Getty Images
Soon after, the Colts would score. From the Ravens’ 17-yard line, Minshew would pass to Zack Moss for the touchdown to level the scores. Indianapolis would soon be in the lead after this. For the second time, the Ravens would fumble the ball, this time deep in their territory. This gave the Colts a good field position to start a scoring drive. While the offense stalled, Colts kicker Matt Gay would successfully kick a 31-yard field goal to give Indianapolis the lead. At halftime, the Colts would still have a 10-7 lead.
Indianapolis would open the scoring in the second half, widening their small lead. 3 extra points came their way courtesy of an impressive 54-yard field goal from Gay. The Ravens offense however struggled to get anything going on offense for a large part of the third quarter.
Baltimore’s luck however would soon change. The Lamar Jackson-led offense would drive the ball down the field to the Colts’ 10-yard line. From there, for the second time in the game, Jackson would run the ball into the endzone to give the Ravens a one-point lead. A pair of drives ending in similar distance field goals would keep the lead at one point going into the fourth quarter.
Then, the wheels would fall off the Colts’ wagon. A long punt forced Indianapolis to start their drive at their 2-yard line. A few plays later Gardner Minshew would be sacked in the endzone, recording a safety and increasing the Ravens lead to 3 points. The Colts would be far more successful on their final drive of the game. Instead of moving backward,
Minshew would drive the ball down the field into field goal territory. The drive would stall at the Ravens’ 34-yard line, a Matt Gay would kick a 53-yard field goal to tie the game. However, the Ravens had enough time on the clock and only needed a field goal to win the game. With star kicker Justin Tucker on the team, anything would be possible.
The Ravens got the ball into field goal range. For Tucker, that could be anywhere. A 61-yard field goal was set up for him. We have seen him do further kicks before, so the Ravens may have been confident that victory was assured. Tucker’s kick would be short. This kept the scores tied as time ran out. We were going to overtime in Baltimore.Embed from Getty Images
Both teams struggled on offense in overtime. They would first both punt the ball to each other and then would both fail on fourth down attempts. With one minute left on the clock, the Colts had the ball and made it into field goal territory. A 51-yard kick would stand between Matt Gay and victory. His kick was successful and the Indianapolis Colts would defeat the Baltimore Ravens 22-19 in overtime.
Both these teams’ kickers shone in this game. It’s hard to outplay Justin Tucker, but Matt Gay did. The result puts both teams at 2-1 for the season. Next week, the Colts play the Los Angeles Rams, while the Ravens face the Cleveland Browns.
Did the Cardinals win?
The Dallas Cowboys have had a strong start to the season. In their first two weeks of the season, they have scored 70 points, against both sides of New York, while conceding only 10 points. Their opponent this week was the Arizona Cardinals, who collapsed in the second half against the New York Giants last week. Could the Cardinals hold on for victory this week, or would the Cowboys destroy them?
The Cardinals had the opening possession of the game and just like last week, started well. The Joshua Dobbs-led offense drove down the field until they reached the edge of the Cowboys’ red zone. The drive would stall there, and Cardinals’ kicker Matt Prater successfully kicked a 39-yard field goal to give them the early lead. The lead would be strengthened soon after. The next Cardinals drive would be similar to their first. The combination of Dobbs and running back James Connor would drive down the field to the Cowboys’ 5-yard line. From there, Connor would run the ball in for a touchdown.
Unlike the Giants last week, the Cowboys would put some points on the board in the first half. After a drive that stalled, Dallas kicker Brandon Aubrey would kick a 49-yard field goal. In reply, the Cardinals would score another touchdown. Rondale Moore would run 45 yards for the touchdown. Arizona would attempt a two-point conversion after this play, however, it would fail.Embed from Getty Images
The Cowboys would then go on a long slow-moving drive. Good things would come to those who waited for Dallas as the 13’play drive would conclude with Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rico Dowdie to keep them in the game. A pair of field goals from the Cardinals before halftime would mean that Arizona had a 21-10 lead at halftime. Could they hold on to their lead this week?
It was looking like history could repeat itself as the Cowboys opened the second half by scoring a field goal from the 8-yard line. However, this did end another long 13-play drive for Dallas, so maybe the Cardinals’ defense was working better than it did last week. We then did not have any scores until the middle of the fourth quarter, when the Cowboys hit another field goal from the 8-yard line.
At this point, it was looking like the Cardinals would be able to hold on for what would be an unlikely victory. The victory was all but sealed on their next drive. Aided by a 69-yard pass by Joshua Dobbs, the Cardinals quickly made it into the Cowboys’ red zone. Then, from the 2-yard line, Dobbs passed to Marquise Brown for what would be the game-winning touchdown.Embed from Getty Images
The Cowboys did try to keep themselves in the game, driving themselves down into the Arizona red zone. But, after another 13-play drive, Dak Prescott was intercepted by the Cardinals’ defense and any hope of a comeback died. The Arizona Cardinals had shocked everyone and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-16.
For Arizona, they did what they failed to do last week, against a far tougher opposition. For Dallas, this defeat shows us that they are beatable and that they cannot just play teams from New York. The Cardinals were also the biggest underdog to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in history. Next week, Arizona faces another team that had just played the New York Giants, the San Francisco 49ers. The Dallas Cowboys welcome the New England Patriots to Arlington.
What happened in the other games?
After last week’s comeback against the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Giants faced a tough test in the San Francisco 49ers. The Giants were without star running back Saquon Barkley, and 49ers Quarterback Brock Purdy had still not lost a regular season game. That record still stands, as the 49ers defeated the Giants 30-12. Interestingly, this is the third game in a row where the 49ers have scored 30 points.
Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns defense both had good days in their encounter with the Tennessee Titans. Watson would score 2 touchdowns and throw for nearly 300 yards in the Browns’ 27-3 victory.
The Detroit Lions returned to winning ways against the Atlanta Falcons this week. The Lions would defeat the Falcons 20-6
The New England Patriots continued their dominant streak over the New York Jets. In a game where Jets quarterback Zack Wilson would appear to sack himself, the Pats would survive a late comeback, and hold on to a 15-10 victory at a rainy Metlife stadium.
The Buffalo Bills reminded us what they can do in their game with the Washington Commanders. The Bills would have a dominant fourth quarter scoring 3 touchdowns. However, Commanders quarterback Sam Howell threw 4 interceptions in the Bills 37-3 victory.
In the shock of the weekend, CJ Stroud and the Houston Texans would defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Stroud would throw for 2 touchdowns and show us that he may have a good future as the Texans defeated the Jags 37-17.
The Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers met in what was a high-scoring affair. 29 points alone would be scored in the final quarter as the Seahawks would win 37-27.
The Kansas City Chiefs would defeat the Chicago Bears (who had an extremely bad week including Soldier Field being robbed) 40-10. But if you watched any news coverage of this game, you wouldn’t know that. You would know that Taylor Swift was there and that she and Travis Kelce are allegedly dating. I don’t think the Bears will shake this defeat off anytime soonEmbed from Getty Images
The Las Vegas Raiders would face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo would throw 3 interceptions in the Steelers’ 23-18 victory.
The Philadelphia Eagles would continue their good start to the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While in my eyes they played below par, the Buccaneers struggled in this game as the Eagles cruised to a 25-11 victory.
In a repeat of Super Bowl 56, the Los Angeles Rams faced the 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow reminded everyone that while he still has a calf injury he can still play football, throwing for over 250 yards in the Bengals 19-16 victory.
And finally, we had a College Football game in Miami. The Miami Dolphins faced the Denver Broncos, who are apparently an NFL team led by a former Super Bowl-winning coach and quarterback. That meant nothing this week, as the Dolphins went on a scoring frenzy. They would defeat the Broncos 70-20. The Dolphins’ 70 points is the third-highest amount of points scored by a team in a game in NFL history.
That was week 3 in the NFL. It certainly did not disappoint. Next week, the two worst teams in the league do battle, and the NFL returns to London as the Jaguars play their first of two games in the capital.