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NFL Week Three—Who is for real?   Share

26 September 2010

There were several compelling storylines heading into this weekend’s NFL action.  The Dallas Cowboys, a pick of some (especially if you live in Dallas) to go to the Super Bowl, went into this weekend without a win.  On the other end of the spectrum, the usually terrible Kansas City Chiefs were a surprising 2-0.  The contenders and pretenders were separated a little bit this weekend, so as always here is the bottom-line information that will be bantered around the water cooler this week:

Dallas Cowboys

Most exciting game:

Atlanta Falcons 27, New Orleans Saints 24.  This one was a shocker.  The Saints began this season like they left off last year’s Super Bowl campaign, rolling over opponents with a powerful offense and an opportunistic defense.  Atlanta came into the game 1-1 with a solid team and looked to prove themselves on the road against New Orleans.  The game was close throughout, with New Orleans driving nearly the length of the field for a game-tying field goal to send the contest into overtime.  New Orleans looked like they had the game wrapped up in overtime, but their kicker missed a 28 yard potential game winning field goal.  The Falcons then drove down to deep inside New Orleans territory and lined up for a 41 yard field goal of their own.  Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant’s first attempt was blocked by New Orleans, but the New Orleans coach called time-out just before the kick.  This is an old trick that most fans are sick of—the thought is that calling time out will mess up the kicker’s rhythm and “ice” him as he has to think a little longer about the kick.  Well, the time out was to Atlanta’s advantage.  After a five yard procedure penalty, Bryant nailed a 46-yard field goal to give the Falcons a huge win. 

One-liner:  “New Orleans should be undefeated…I can’t believe their kicker missed that chip shot” (a field goal under 30 yards is generally considered to be easy for a professional kicker, thereby referred to as a “chip shot”).

Biggest upset:

 Kansas City Chiefs 31, San Francisco 49ers 10.  I am not sure you could actually classify this as an upset, but it was definitely a surprising outcome.  Many thought that the San Francisco 49ers would win their division, and most people outside of Missouri didn’t think about the Kansas City Chiefs at all.  These are two teams heading in very different directions as the Chiefs are a surprising 3-0 and the 49ers are 0-3.  The Chiefs have not been any good since the mid-1990s when they had a beast of a running back named Christian Okoye who carried the awesome nickname “the Nigerian nightmare.”  No great nicknames this year, but plenty of good offensive players on the Chiefs’ sideline like quarterback Matt Casel and running back Jamal Charles.  We’ll find out how good they really are next week, however, when they have to travel to Indianapolis to take on a tough Colts team.

One-liner:  “Can you believe the Chiefs?  We’ll see if they can hang with the Colts next week.”

The Battle For Texas:

 Dallas Cowboys 27, Houston Texans 13.  Cowboys fans were starting to get restless.  Expectations were high but the team’s performance thus far was bad.  The team showed why they still have a chance to meet their playoff expectations this year, soundly defeating a good Houston Texans team on Sunday.  Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had a solid game and tossed two touchdown passes to streaky receiver Roy Williams.  So the Cowboys are back in it, but with two early season losses, they will have to keep their game up if they want to play in their own stadium for this year’s Super Bowl.

Other notes from the weekend:

Michael Vick had a great game on Sunday for the Philadelphia Eagles.  As Chris mentioned in his preview article for this weekend, Vick was named the starter for the Eagles over Kevin Kolb, the original starter for the team.  His play on Sunday confirmed his coach’s decisions—he lit up the Jacksonville Jaguars for three touchdown passes and one touchdown run in a 28-3 victory.  So far this season, Vick is playing like the superstar that his original team, the Atlanta Falcons, thought he would be.

One-liner:  “Vick looked great on Sunday—Eagles fans have probably forgotten all about McNabb” (quote references the fact that the Eagles traded their longtime quarterback, Donovan McNabb, to the Washington Redskins in the off-season). 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking great without their starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who is suspended until week 5 for some off-the-field discretions this off-season.  They have started a couple of different quarterbacks in Roethlisberger’s absence, but each time, the result has been the same—a Pittsburgh victory.  This weekend they steamrolled the previously unbeaten Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-13.  Bottom line, the Steelers are good. 

One-liner:  “It’s going to be scary to see how good the Steelers are whenever they get Roethlisberger back.”

Monday night’s match-up features a match-up of two great quarterbacks as the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers.  Chicago is led by Jay Cutler who is off to a hot start this season and the Packers have one of last season’s top quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers.

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