Willwerth: Thoughts and Reactions to Week 3 in the NFL

By Brian Willwerth 

Bills 34, Patriots 31 – Look who’s alone atop the AFC East. For the second week in a row, Buffalo [3-0] came back from a huge deficit, capping the comeback with a 28-yard field goal from Rian Lindell as time expired. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills’ comeback, throwing for 369 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. New England quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, but was also picked off four times, one of which was returned for a score by Drayton Florence. This was Buffalo’s first win over New England since the ’03 season opener.

49ers 13, Bengals 8 – Running back Kendall Hunter scored the only touchdown of the game by either team late in the fourth quarter to give San Francisco (2-1) the win at Paul Brown Stadium. The attendance was 43,363 – the smallest crowd for a Cincinnati home opener in 30 years.

Browns 17, Dolphins 16 – In Cleveland, Colt McCoy engineered a game-winning, 80-yard drive. He threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaquoi with 43 seconds left for the Browns [2-1]. Miami is still winless (0-3).

Titans 17, Broncos 14 – In Nashville, Matt Hasselbeck threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to Daniel Graham with less than five minutes to play for Tennessee [2-1].  For Denver [1-2], quarterback Kyle Orton also threw two touchdown passes, but was picked off twice.

Lions 26, Vikings 23 (OT) – Just as Buffalo is the story right now in the AFC, the same can be said of Detroit [3-0] in the NFC. The Lions rallied from a 20-0 deficit in the second half. Jason Hanson kicked the game-winning 32-yard field goal in overtime. Detroit is [3-0] for the first time in 31 years. Minnesota [0-3] blew a big lead at home for the second week in a row; the Vikes squandered a 17-0 advantage to Tampa Bay last Sunday.

Saints 40, Texans 33 – There are many candidates this weeks “Game of the Day,” but I’ll give this contest the nod. At the Superdome, Drew Brees and Matt Schaub combined to throw for 743 yards and six touchdowns. In the end, New Orleans [2-1] got the last laugh against Houston [2-1].  The teams combined for 37 points in the fourth quarter, and 927 yards of total offense for the game. If you love offensive fireworks, this was the game for you.

Giants 29, Eagles 16Eli Manning spoiled Philadelphia’s home opener. He threw four touchdown passes, including two to Victor Cruz. The Giants improve to [2-1], while the Eagles fall to [1-2]. Also, the team is somewhat concerned about Michael Vick’s health. He left in the fourth quarter with a broken right hand. Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid said Monday that Vick’s hand was just bruised, not broken.

Panthers 16, Jaguars 10 Cam Newton did not throw for 400 yards; he didn’t even come close. But he did find Greg Olsen for the game-winning touchdown with 4:20 left to give Carolina its first win. Newton finished with 158 yards passing. Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert made his first NFL start, throwing for 191 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Raiders 34, Jets 24 –  A Rex Ryan-led defense gives up 234 yards rushing? Rex, meet Darren McFadden. He had 171 of those yards and two touchdowns as Oakland [2-1] won before at home. The Raiders handed the Jets their first loss of the season.

Ravens 37, Rams 7 – After losing to Tennessee last week, Baltimore [2-1] took out some serious frustration against St. Louis [0-3]. The Ravens had a 27-0 lead and over 400 yards of offense – in the first half. It was blowout city from that point on.

Chargers 20, Chiefs 17 – It wasn’t pretty for San Diego [2-1], but the Bolts did enough to keep Kansas City winless on the season. The Chargers got two short touchdown runs from Ryan Matthews to bail out quarterback Philip Rivers, who was picked off twice.

Packers 27, Bears 17 – The Super Bowl Champs are off to a [3-0] start. Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes as Green Bay beat its long-time rival at Soldier Field.

Seahawks 13, Cardinals 10 – In a defensive battle in Seattle, the Seahawks picked up their first win of the season. Tarvaris Jackson scored his team’s lone touchdown on an 11-yard run.

Buccaneers 16, Falcons 13 – In Tampa, the young Bucs’ [2-1] defense was the story, sacking Matt Ryan four times and forcing three turnovers.  Tampa Bay stopped a five-game losing streak to Atlanta. The Falcons [1-2] have already lost as many games this year as they did in the entire 2010 regular season.

Steelers 23, Colts 20 – If you thought this would be a cakewalk for Pittsburgh without Peyton Manning on the field, think again.  It took a Shaun Suisham field goal with 4 seconds left to give the Steelers the win.  Each team scored a defensive touchdown: Troy Polamalu for Pittsburgh, Jamaal Anderson for Indy (0-3.)

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