There was a lot going on in Week 3. There was a lot of attention about what players and teams were doing before the games kicked off, but even once they there was more than enough excitement to go around. After two weeks of mediocre football, Week 3 really delivered with its on-field product. Here’s a few things you might have missed while watching another late heartbreaking Giants defeat.
Week 3 Was Weird
There was a lot going on in Week 3 and that’s only if we talk about what happened on the field. Three of the best quarterback performances of the week came from Jared Goff, Case Keenum, and Blake Bortles. That alone could have made it a screwy week. During the 1 p.m. slate, six underdogs won while two others came close -- three if you count the Giants. During that time, there was a stretch where almost every early came was coming down to the line at the same time, a moment the RedZone channel was made for. Within minutes of each other, the Patriots came back with a 25-yard touchdown to beat the Houston Texans, Golden Tate’s would-be winning touchdown for the Detroit Lions was overturned for an Atlanta Falcons win, and some rookie kicked knocked a 61-yard field goal through to beat some team, but I can’t remember the specifics because I’ve already blacked it out.
Then at 4 p.m., the Seattle Seahawks got bullied by the Tennessee Titans and the Cincinnati Bengals gave the Green Bay Packers a good run before Aaron Rodgers turned into Aaron Rodgers. The saying around football is “Any Given Sunday” and this Sunday was that for a lot of teams.
Adjusting Scheme To A Backup Can Be Done
While Colin Kaepernick sparked a lot of what happened off the field this week, he still is not on a roster. For those who have cited “football reasons,” one of their favorite go-to’s is that a quarterback couldn’t learn a playbook in a short amount of time and that coaches don’t want to adjust their scheme to fit a backup. Jacoby Brissett’s performance with the Indianapolis Colts so far has put that to rest.
Brissett has been on the Colts roster for three weeks and he’s already made two starts. His first pass with the Colts in Week 1 went for 50 yards. Brissett and the Colts got their first win of the season against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and did it by adapting some of the offense to Brissett’s skillset. Evident in the Colts game plan were some option principles, like the ones Bill Belichick used during Brissett’s start for the Patriots last season against the Texans. These weren’t plays that would have been run for Scott Tolzien or Andrew Luck. Brissett was also pretty successful throwing the ball -- 10.8 yards per attempt -- for someone who hasn’t even been on his team for a full month.
Pittsburgh Road Woes
Every year the Pittsburgh Steelers are considered one of the top teams in the AFC and usually that tends to be true. But seemingly once a year the Steelers have a game against a worse opponent on the road that makes you wonder why. This wasn’t last year’s 34-3 beatdown in Philadelphia, but the Steelers looked mostly lifeless in a 23-17 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears.
Coming into the game, the Pittsburgh defense had been one of the better run defense units. It ranked 11th in DVOA through two weeks and had only allowed 148 combined rushing yards. Then the Bears gashed them for 220 yards while having no passing offense to speak of -- 84 net yards.
Pittsburgh’s own performance on the ground could also be concerning. Le’Veon Bell held out of training camp and he’s yet to fully get going in a game. He rushed for just 61 yards on 15 attempts -- his first game over 4.0 yards per carry this season -- and he’s yet to hit 100 yards in any of his three games. Bell’s patient running style takes some time to gel with the offensive line, so it’s likely he will look like his typical self sooner rather than later. All that really matters is that Bell is himself by the second half of the season for a playoff push. But when his lack of production combined with the overall struggles of the Steelers against a team like the Bears, it’s going to be noticed more.
The Kansas City Chiefs Won’t Go Away
When the Chiefs beat the Patriots in Week 1, the common takeaway from the game was “what a neat little upset that was.” Now three weeks into the season, it appears Kansas City could be a legitimate beast in the AFC.
The defense picked off Philip Rivers three times on Sunday and held the Chargers overall to just 4.9 yards per play. While the overall yardage was close -- LA led 330 to 311 -- Kansas CIty was much more efficient with 6.1 yards per play on offense.
Kareem Hunt continues to be a monster on the ground with a 10.1 yards per carry average on Sunday. Only five quarterbacks threw for more than that per attempt this week. Of course Hunt’s line is heavily skewed by his 69-yard touchdown run -- though it was one that iced the game for the Chiefs. Even without that run, Hunt had 103 yards on 16 attempts for 6.4 yards per carry.
Alex Smith also doesn’t have to be an aggressive downfield thrower to win, even as his reputation for that this season has been a little exaggerated. Smith had just 7.4 yards per attempt and took five sacks, but with his two touchdowns and no interceptions combined with the run game, it’s more than enough.
Also the Chiefs are on a mission to score touchdowns with 47 different variations of the shovel pass off the option look. They had success with Travis Kelce in previous weeks and it was Albert Wilson’s turn against the Chargers.