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Upon Further Review

by Photo of Andrew Lontos

CHARGED brings you observations from Week 3 of the NFL season.

Upon Further Review

Each week, CHARGED will bring you observations from around the NFL. Here's what we found interesting in Week 3:

Quarterbacks

From Pro Football Talk:

“Yards passing [are] quickly becoming the most overrated stat in the NFL,” he wrote.

We couldn’t agree more. This is like the steroid era in baseball, except yards are inflated instead of home runs.  We need to re-calibrate what is truly an exceptional quarterback performance.

Despite Monday night’s defensive struggle, the NFL notes there have been 33 300-yard games this season.  That’s the most through three weeks of the season ever.

The second highest total through three weeks: 21 games, in 2009.  Small sample size, we know. But the record has been boosted by 50%!

Eli Manning's performance in Philadelphia was outstanding. While he is often criticized for not showing enough emotion, Manning's calmness allowed the Giants to stay focused in an intense atmosphere. This is exactly the kind of poise that propelled New York to the Super Bowl in 2007. While players like Antrel Rolle lost their cool and got flagged for 15-yard penalties, Eli thrived, throwing 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in a Giants victory.

Michael Vick needs to stop complaining. There were a few questionable calls, but his game is suited for injury. Quarterbacks need to get protected but after last week when there were so many ticky tack calls, it's a good thing that the officials didn't get too involved in that part of the game. The referees missed an obvious facemask penalty on an Eli sack; the non-calls went both ways.

After putting up outstanding numbers in two losses, Cam Newton put up less gaudy statistics, but finally got a win. He did a great job of managing the game in the pouring rain. His zero turnovers is the stat of the game.

Jason Campbell certainly has flaws, but he has made some very nice throws over the last two games.  He made an absolutely perfect throw on the move to running back Michael Bush on a wheel route (similar to the Brandon Jacobs touchdown catch) that practically iced the game against the Jets.  With defenses loading up to try and stop Darren McFadden, Campbell will have plenty of opportunities to make plays.

Disappointing Teams

The Atlanta Falcons continue to be a disappointment after securing the #1 seed in the NFC a year ago. Their only win came against the Eagles, in which they were fortunate that Vick didn't finish the game. On the bright side, Roddy White and rookie Julio Jones both went over 100 receiving yards for the first time. Atlanta gave up a lot for Jones on draft day, but it looks like the Falcons have a solid 1-2 punch at receiver for years to come.

The Rams, who many liked to win the NFC West, have been brutal thus far. They are 0-3 and have lost two games at home. They currently have a -60 scoring differential. Despite numerous quarterbacks putting up big numbers, Sam Bradford has thrown for over 200 yards just once. Since their division is so weak, St. Louis has time to turn it around.

The Minnesota Vikings continue to collapse at the end of games. They have been outscored 40-6 in the fourth quarter and overtime. At 0-3, it's looking more and more likely that we'll see Christian Ponder replace Donovan McNabb very soon. And can they get Percy Harvin on the field?

After playing Indianapolis and Miami, the Houston Texans had their first real challenge this week against the New Orleans Saints. The offense put up plenty of points, but they came up short at the end and the defense didn't get it done. These sound like familiar themes for Houston. Wade Phillips needs to do a better job improving the defense.

If the Miami Dolphins can't beat the Cleveland Browns without Peyton Hills, when will they win? Rookie Daniel Thomas seems to have already taken Reggie Bush's spot as the feature back, only adding to the evidence that the Saints made a great move replacing Bush with Darren Sproles.

Disappointing Players

The Tennessee Titans are 2-1, despite very little production from Chris Johnson. Johnson, one of the most explosive backs in football, seems to be negatively impacted by his holdout. He has rushed for 98 yards on the season and has yet to score a touchdown. Now that Kenny Britt is out for the year, look for defenses to put eight men in the box to stop the run. Johnson is too talented to put up such dismal numbers, but it probably won't get any easier for him.

Clay Matthews, who had 14 sacks last season, has just one so far. There could be numerous reasons for the lack of production the first three weeks, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.

It's a bit early to be calling Chad Ochocinco a bust, but he couldn't have been more open on that touchdown pass he dropped in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills.  Tom Brady threw him a perfect ball and he flat-out dropped it. He can still pull it together, but it doesn't look good when you drop passes like that and Wes Welker vacuums in everything in sight. How much more slack will Bill Belichick give him?

Antonio Cromartie had an awful game against the Oakland Raiders. Four pass interference penalties and that big fumble on the kickoff in the second half won't get it done. He also bruised his lungs, adding injury to insult.  He absolutely killed the Jets.

Unbeaten Teams

After three weeks, there are only three unbeaten teams. Who predicted that two of those teams would be the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions? The other, of course, is the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Speaking of the Lions, the hype appears to be real. They haven't had a tough schedule (Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Minnesota), but have pulled out close games when they haven't been at their best. This is the sign of a good team, something the Texans have been trying to accomplish for years.

Wasted Trick Play 

The Chicago Bears pulled off a crazy trick play at the end of their game against the Packers. Devin Hester acted as though he was about to catch a punt, but Johnny Knox actually caught it on the other side of the field. Catching everyone off guard, Knox returned the punt for a touchdown, which was called back on a phantom holding penalty. Chicago deserves criticism though for wasting a great play. They were down 13 with one minute to go; even if the touchdown counted, they still would have been down 3 with 50 seconds to go. They should have saved it for later in the season when the score was closer.

Andrew Luck=Tim Duncan?

It's been said a lot by now, but there are numerous parallels between the Colts situation with Peyton Manning and the Spurs with David Robinson in 1997. The Spurs were awful that year and were able to get the number one pick because David Robinson missed the year with injury. The exact same situation may occur in 2011 with Indianapolis. The obvious difference is that Luck and Manning wouldn't be able to play at the same time like Duncan and Robinson were able to do. Still, the Colts are in a position to capitalize on the misfortune of an injury, which is exactly what San Antonio did over a decade ago.

Be sure to check back next week for Week 4 observations, and don't forget to get your NFL tickets at Charged.fm!


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