By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
Great news folks, no division went winless in Week 3, but there are still six teams looking for their first win of the season in the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite the 2013 NFL season being young, the odds are against these squads at achieving their training camp goal of getting to the playoffs and beyond.
Since 1990, 121 teams went 0-3, and only three reached the playoffs in the San Diego Chargers (1992), Detroit Lions (1995) and the Buffalo Bills (1998).
It appears that these teams struggle to have chemistry with each other.
“There’s things we can accomplish,” said Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin. “Can we accomplish everything at one time? I’m not sure. I can give you a laundry list of things. We talked last week about playing four quarters. That still is there.
“We talked last week about supporting and being in harmony with one another. That’s not there, or that has to happen. I think you get the response you want to get off the sideline when people make plays and they rally around each other.”
-The Giants had their as-sets handed to them by the Carolina Panthers, 38-0.
-The Redskins continues to misuse quarterback Robert Griffin III (50 pass attempts), and not use their workhorse in running back Alfred Morris (15 carries) in their lost to the Detroit Lions (2-1) at FedEx Field, 27-20.
-The Vikings lost another close game as they fell to the Cleveland Browns 31-27, who arose from the winless list at 1-2.
-The Bucs got handled by the 3-0 New England Patriots, 23-3.
-The Chicago Bears (3-0) put the pedal to the medal against the Steelers in the fourth quarter, 40-23.
-The Jags – well – they had no chance against the Seahawks (3-0) in Seattle, 45-17
Perhaps – The Giants, Vikings, Bucs and Steelers can salvage part of their seasons down the stretch; and according to their schedule, combined with their inconsistent, poor defensive play, the Redskins and Jaguars has no light in their tunnels.
“I think you just work day-by-day and you’ve got to eliminate some of those mistakes,” said Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan in Monday’s press conference. “We talked about it after the game. All of a sudden, you get a turnover or a touchdown pass, and all of a sudden you win the game. Everybody’s excited, everybody’s happy.
Now, you don’t win the game, you go back and look at every play in the game. That’s just the nature of the difference of winning and losing. That’s just the nature of the business.”
Now, for the undefeateds yet to be mentioned:
The New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos are convincingly legitimate squads who may be serious contenders down the stretch, and through the postseason.
“We’ve got a bunch of hard working guys in there that are high character individuals,” said Dolphins’ head coach Joe Philbin. “They’ve been very professional and hopefully we can continue to get better, to improve.”
It’s took the Saints some time, but they eventually walked all over the Arizona Cardinals (1-2), 31-7.
The last time the Saints were in this position, they bought the Vince Lombardi trophy to New Orleans. But head coach Sean Payton is taking one game at a time.
“Your job is to reference all of those things, and for us it is noise,” said Payton. “What’s most important really is this is the game that we control this week. It is not all those other things. The team we just played was 4-0 last year at the start of the season and ended up firing the general manager and head coach. Our game is too difficult each week, and one thing we do a good job of is eliminating the distractions.”
Perhaps – The Saints should think about another Super Bowl trip with their great start.
The Dolphins fought hard and played wisely down the stretch against the favored Atlanta Falcons, 27-23.
For consecutive weeks, the Dolphins’ defense stepped up big to seal the game.
“The guys stepped up and made plays,” said Philbin. “One of the things that we had mentioned to the ball club all week was that we wanted to do a better job of building momentum and building off of one another. If the offense gets a score, let’s get a three-and-out or a takeaway. That was a great example at the end.
“We needed it at the end and came up with a play,” he continued. “You never know what can happen offensively. A guy breaks a tackle and takes it to the house…we were able to, last week, stop a team on downs, and this week get a takeaway. That’s good stuff.”
Perhaps – The Dolphins finally found their niche in closing out their contests.
The Chiefs handled their business Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles 26-16, while the Broncos went to town against the Oakland Raiders, 37-21.
Nonetheless, Broncos’ quarterback Payton Manning continues to not be pleased and settled.
“There’s always some things you’re happy about after a game and some things you’re frustrated or disappointed about,” said Manning. “We certainly had some good drives and had a good start to the game. That was the first game we have gotten a touchdown drive on our first series. That was something we really stressed during the week. But, there were a couple of self-inflicted wounds.
“We had to settle for field goals with pretty good field position,” he continued. “That’s something we want to correct and fix. And then in the four-minute when you have a chance to win the game and keep the defense off the field, having the turnover there – that’s something you’ve got to correct.”
Perhaps – the Broncos and Chiefs can keep their winning streak up until Week 11 on Nov. 17 when they face each other for the first time this season to settle who’s can stay undefeated the longest, similar to how the Saints and Dolphins will do this coming Monday night.
The Ravens returned to their pre-Super Bowl form and conquered the Texans, 30-9.
Just when Baltimore was expected to become more of an offensive squad, their defense and special teams proved that they continue to set the pace for the team. The Ravens’ performance suited Ray Lewis, who was honored as halftime in the team’s Ring of Honor, as he helped to win countless games in that fashion.
Quarterback Joe Flacco finished the contest with no touchdown pass, but slowly got into the groove in the second half against the Houston Texans (2-1), as he finished with 171 yards off 16 for 24 passing.
Clearly, the Ravens (2-1) tone was set by their defense and special teams when linebacker Daryl Smith took an interception 37-yards to the house and wide receiver/return specialist Tandon Doss return punt 82-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
The Ravens grind the game out to its end.
Perhaps – The Ravens should stick to they old formula because it works.
After a fumble affair, the ball bounced into the Bengals’ hand for a comeback win over the Packers, 34-30
Both the Bengals (2-1) and Packers (1-2) turned the ball over four times, and when it appeared that Green Bay had the game at hand when they scored 30 unanswered points with a 30-14 lead late in the third quarter, the young Thundercats fought back to get within three.
To put the game away with 3:47 left in regulation, the Packers’ rookie running back Johnathan Franklin fumbled the ball on fourth-and-1 from the Bengals’ 30-yard line and cornerback Terence Newman ultimately recovered the loose ball and returned it for a 58-yard touchdown, which was eventually the game winner.
Perhaps – The Packers should have kicked the field goal.
The St. Louis Rams (1-2) were no match for the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) as they defeated them 31-7 and the Tennessee Titans (2-1) are quietly making a statement that they are for real after edging the San Diego Chargers, 20-17.
After being pinned on their six-yard line, Titans’ quarterback Jake Locker led a 94-yard drive as he capped the game with a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter with :15 seconds remaining.
For Hunter, not bad for his first NFL catch, as a game-winner.
Perhaps – The Titans should throw to Hunter more, yes?
Among the surprises of Week 3, the New York Jets are 2-1 after defeating the Buffalo Bills (1-2) in an ugly, close affair, 27-20.
Despite making franchise history as quarterback Geno Smith became the first rookie to throw over 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, the Jets finished with 11 penalties and two turnovers.
But a win is a win.
“I mean I’m honored, but I really don’t look at stats much,” said Smith. “I don’t see it as this huge feat. I’m more impressed that the fact that we won the game. That we overcame 11 penalties and two turnovers on offense. That we have a lot of room for improvement and things that we’ll get better at.”
Perhaps – The Jets should turn the ball over more, if it equals wins.
There was no Luck as Andrew and the Colts bullied the 49ers, 27-7
It was as if the Colts (2-1) and 49ers’ players switched uniforms as Indianapolis (2-1) pushed and bullied San Francisco from beginning to end.
The Colts played old-fashioned, smash-mouth football as their offensive line paved the way for their backs to pound the 49ers on the ground for 179 rushing yards and controlled the game clock in time of possession for over 36-minutes.
“Every game is going to be different and we are built and wired the right way to be able to pound it when we need to pound it,” said Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano. “And if we need to throw it, obviously we have the best in the business under center that can throw it and spread the ball around. We have playmakers all over the place. The way those backs ran. (Running backs) (Ahmad) Bradshaw and Trent (Richardson), for coming in and running the way he ran after being here for three days.
“(Running back) Donald (Brown) gets a draw and breaks off for a 10 or 11-yard run. The way that the offensive line blocked, the tight ends, the fullbacks, it was truly a heavyweight fight. I am really proud of our guys.”
Indy was also nearly perfect in scoring in the redzone area as they went three for four, an issue the 49ers continues to struggle with at stopping squads from entering the endzone within 20 yards.
There is no timetable for when linebackers Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis to return to the lineup. Smith will be in rehabilitation for a month, reportedly, as he will deal with his substance abuse issue and Willis will be out, at least for one game, due to a groin injury.
Perhaps – It is time to reconsider the 49ers’ Super Bowl chances?
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