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Editorials

NFL Week 3: 10 takeaways from the week that was

Eight NFL teams stand undefeated through three weeks of the 2019 NFL season. There are seven 3-0 squads, while the Detroit Lions currently hold a 2-0-1 record.

On the other hand, seven teams remain winless. There is plenty of terrific football being played, and also equally bad play on display. We will touch on both the good and the bad in looking at 10 notes from Week 3.

Before getting to this week’s 10 takeaways, let’s first give praise to Chicago Bears wideout Taylor Gabriel, who secured three receiving touchdowns in the second quarter of his team’s 31-15 victory on ‘Monday Night Football.’ Gabriel’s three scores tied a Bears franchise record for most receiving TDs in a half.

1. ‘Sacksonville’ produces 9 sacks

The Jacksonville Jaguars, known as ‘Sacksonville’ since their dominant defensive campaign in 2017, lived up to their name by sacking Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota nine times in their 20-7 victory. Calais Campbell brought Mariota down three times to help the Jaguars get their first win of 2019.

Mariota has been sacked a league-high 17 times.

2. Broncos remain without a sack, takeaway or win

The Titans aren’t the only team failing to protect their quarterback. Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco has been sacked 11 times—six coming at the hands of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Making matters worse, the Broncos haven’t recorded a single sack of their own on defense. Denver, which has yet to manufacture a takeaway on defense, is 0-3 for the first time since 1999.

3. Dolphins’ historically bad start

It’s hard to argue the Miami Dolphins aren’t tanking. They have been outscored by 117 points through three weeks—the third-worst point differential in NFL history and the worst in Super Bowl era—as they fell 31-6 to the undefeated Cowboys.

The Dolphins have been outscored 133 to 16 in their first three games. In terms of total yardage, they have posted a -831 differential.

4. Tom Brady throws 2 TDs, increases career total to 524

Entering Sunday’s contest with 522 career regular-season touchdown passes, Tom Brady fired two scores in the New England Patriots’ rout of the Jets. Drew Brees, who underwent thumb surgery and is expected to miss six weeks, was tied with Brady for second-place on the all-time NFL passing touchdown list.

Peyton Manning holds the NFL record with 539 TD passes thrown, but Brady is on pace to surpass that mark this season.

5. Patriots’ defense again surrenders 0 TDs

For the third consecutive week, the Patriots’ defense did not allow the opposition to score on offense. The Patriots (3-0) did give up two touchdowns, but they came on a special teams play and a pick-six thrown by backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

New England’s defense has given up just three points all year. It became the first team of the Super Bowl era to not surrender a passing or rushing TD in its first three games.

6. Dalvin Cook gashes Raiders for 110 yards, TD

Dalvin Cook turned 16 carries into 110 yards and a touchdown as the Minnesota Vikings crushed the Oakland Raiders 34-14. He added four catches for 33 yards in the victory. Cook is currently the NFL’s leading rusher (375 yards) and ranks second in rushing touchdowns with four.

Cook became the fifth player in NFL history to post 110 yards rushing and a touchdown in each of his team’s first three games to begin a season. He is the first Vikings player with over 100 rushing yards in three consecutive games since Adrian Peterson accomplished the feat in 2015.

7. Patrick Mahomes’ MVP-caliber performance

Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes cannot be contained. He threw three TDs in the Kansas City Chiefs’ win over the visiting Baltimore Ravens. Mahomes has 10 TDs versus 0 interceptions on the year with 1,195 yards. He is on pace to throw for 6,373 yards and looks like the league’s clear-cut best quarterback.

Mahomes and the Chiefs outscored the Ravens 23-0 in the second quarter. Mahomes threw two TDs in the frame, the first an 18-yard toss to DeMarcus Robinson, and the latter an 83-yard score to rookie wideout Mecole Hardman.

It took Mahomes just 20 regular-season starts to accumulate 60 passing scores.  Mahomes passed Hall of Famer Kurt Warner for the most 300-plus passing yards in a QB’s first 20 games with 13. Additionally, the Chiefs have scored at least 25 points in all 22 of his NFL starts, including the playoffs. Mahomes is undefeated (6-0) in the month of September.

8. Keenan Allen’s career day comes in defeat

Keenan Allen dismantled the Houston Texans’ secondary, catching 13 passes for two TDs and a career-best 183 receiving yards. It wasn’t enough for the Chargers though, who lost for the second straight week.

Allen leads the NFL in receiving with 404 yards and has put himself in the conversation for league’s best wideout. Allen is on pace for 224 targets, 155 receptions, 2,155 receiving yards and 16 TDs.

Deshaun Watson spoiled Allen’s monster outing by throwing for 351 yards and three TDs. Watson helped the Texans overcome a 17-7 halftime deficit to guide his club to a critical conference victory.

9. Daniel Jones leads Giants to 18-point comeback win, overshadows Mike Evans’ brilliant showing

The Giants received plenty of flak for selecting Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. But the rookie has quickly silenced the naysayers by lighting up the preseason and winning his first career NFL start.

The deck was stacked against Jones when All-Pro tailback Saquon Barkley left the contest in the second quarter after suffering a high ankle sprain.  Facing an 18-point halftime deficit and devoid Barkley’s services, Jones spearheaded the Giants to a 32-31 road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jones flashed his speed by running for two TDs, including the game-winning score. He threw for 336 yards and two TDs, giving him four scores total to put the Giants in the win category for the first time this season.

One cause for concern moving forward for the Giants is their weak secondary, which got burned by Mike Evans. The superstar receiver registered 190 receiving yards (146 coming in the first half) with three TDs.

Another Tampa Bay player to stuff the stat sheet in the loss, Shaq Barrett mustered four sacks on Sunday. Barrett strip-sacked Jones twice and now has eight sacks on the season, the most in the NFL. He is the early favorite to snatch the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The Bucs accrued 499 total yards, but came up short in large part due to the failures of rookie kicker Matt Gay, who missed two extra-points and a potential game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired.

10. Kyle Allen saves Panthers’ season

The Carolina Panthers lost two consecutive home games to open the 2019 campaign. With former MVP QB Cam Netwon out with a foot injury, undrafted second-year quarterback Kyle Allen filled in and dominated during his second career start. Allen completed 19-of-26 passes for 261 yards and four TDs as the Panthers smacked the host Arizona Cardinals 38-20.

Allen is 2-0 as a starter, having won last year’s regular-season finale against the Saints. In two starts, Allen has fired six TDs with 0 picks and the Panthers have outscored their opponents by a combined 37 points.

Newton has already been ruled out for Week 4’s road matchup against the Texans, giving Allen a chance to continue his magic.