Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season will be one to remember. The in-game action was overshadowed by actions taken by players across the world pregame. It all started in London early in the morning, and shifted across the Atlantic Ocean throughout the rest of Sunday.
The Jaguars and Ravens both stood together as a team before the game kicked off in London. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan was even down on the field arm-in-arm with the rest of his players during the National Anthem. Other players took knees while other teams stayed in the locker room to peacefully protest their rights as an American citizen.
Unfortunately, sports and politics has become a hostile relationship. From the President calling out NBA and NFL players, to players standing up for themselves, the world is in a unique place. Overall, bravo to the players and teams that had the courage to protest whichever way they saw fit.
However, statements were also made on the field in Week 3. Lets get in to this week’s edition of Tuesday Takeaways.
Week 3 Winners
Buffalo Bills – Wait…what? Yes, okay the Buffalo Bills deserve to be in the Week 3 winner’s section this week. Tyrod Taylor was the definition of efficient against a stingy Denver defense. Denver is coming off an incredibly dominating performance against the Dallas Cowboys, winning 42-17 and making Taylor’s performance much more impressive.
Buffalo has now planted themselves in the AFC East Divisional race. With the Patriots at 2-1, the Bills are tied for the division lead and can’t wait for the opportunity to play the defending champs. As mentioned, Tyrod Taylor went 20-26 with two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, he did not do it alone. Additionally, two interceptions from the defense and an impressive performance from kicker Steven Hauschka aided the Bills. A 49-yard field and two 50-yard field goals were crucial for the Bills to hang on in this one.
The task only gets tougher for Buffalo. They travel to Atlanta to take on the defending NFC champs, but will do so with much more confidence. A smart quarterback and a stingy defense is a recipe for a win in the NFL, and the Bills are hoping to repeat that formula on a weekly basis.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints get the nod to be a Week 3 winner because their season was on the line this week and they played like it. On the road, against a 2-0 team, and the Saints dominated. Going up against the Carolina Panthers is no easy task. With the Saints’ defense reeling, many experts expected the Panthers to cruise to victory.
Drew Brees and his aerial arsenal had other ideas. Michael Thomas is a breakout star at the wide receiver position. With seven catches and a touchdown, he is undoubtedly the number one target. Brandon Coleman and Tedd Ginn Jr. also caught touchdown passes in the impressive win.
The excellent performance from the defense is what helped the Saints win this one. They picked off former MVP Cam Newton on three occasions, and stifled every comeback effort.
Week 3 Losers
Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals had an epic road win against a top team in the NFL, and then it didn’t. Andy Dalton came out firing. He hit numerous wide receivers, linked up with AJ Green for a touchdown, and gave the Bengals a convincing lead heading in to halftime.
Up 21-7, the Bengals slowly but surely let their grasp on the game slip. Only scoring a field goal in the second half, Aaron Rodgers was able to bring his team all the way back to tie it at 24.
The Bengals had one more chance in overtime as they got the ball first, but an underwhelming three-and-out all but gave the game to the Packers.
Rodgers pulled off a couple incredible plays, and a Mason Crosby chip shot sank the Bengals to 0-3.
Oakland Raiders – A cross-country trip is always tough for any team. However, the Oakland Raiders are supposed to be able to bring their A-game anywhere if they want to become one of the elite teams in the NFL. That narrative did not play out in prime time on Sunday night.
The running game was unable to get going. Marshawn Lynch was stifled at the line of scrimmage and without that, the Oakland Raiders became one dimensional early.
Derek Carr didn’t bring his best game on Sunday night either. With an interception on the first drive, Oakland was searching for answers early. Carr added another interception later in the half, and that combined with numerous drops from his wide outs made for a frustrating night. Oakland will have a chance to prove this was just a blip on the radar as they travel to Denver next week for an enticing divisional match up.
Week 3 Top Plays
Ouch, this segment is going to hurt. Within a matter of minutes on Sunday afternoon the Patriots had secured an epic comeback while the Giants (Odell Beckham, Jr.) put together an impressive performance only to see it dashed by a rookie kicker. The back and forth between the two divisional rivals was must-see TV in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Tom Brady is a savage. That’s the only way to put it. With the Patriots down five and only a few minutes left on the clock, Brady methodically drove his team down the field. He nearly turned the ball over twice, but the Texans couldn’t make him pay. After completing a few long passes, a New England win seemed inevitable. A beautiful dime to Brandin Cooks with less than 30 seconds remaining was the final blow to complete comeback.
As for the Giants, they finally came to play in the second half of the Philadelphia Eagles. It appeared that Odell Beckham, Jr. was back in action and ready to save the day once again.
With not one, but two incredible touchdown grabs, and a little help from Sterling Shepherd, the New York Giants had their first lead of the season! Odell started this season injured, but after an insane grab and a poignant celebration it was evident that he was back.
The man could be a Pro Bowl wide receiver with one hand. Truly remarkable stuff. However, the Giants are not the same team they were a year ago. They are not clicking the same, and are definitely not playing complimentary football. Jake Elliott kicked a 46-yard field goal for the tie with 51 seconds remaining. After the Giants failed to move the ball, the Eagles got a chance for the win.
Alshon Jeffrey made a great grab to put the Eagles in field goal position and Jake Elliott came on to attempt a 61-yard field goal for the win. I certainly was ready for overtime. The Giants even sent Odell back to catch a missed field goal so the Giants could win miraculously. Instead, Jake Elliott had other plans.
I don’t want to talk about football anymore. Here are the biggest games on the schedule in Week 4.
Week 4 Must-See Match Ups
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos – A divisional match up yet again. What a coincidence, both teams are 2-1. Derek Carr needs a bounce back game, but the Denver defense and quarterback Trevor Siemian are extremely comfortable at home.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Washington Redskins – Monday Night Football closes out Week 4 with the Chiefs trying to remain undefeated. They will look to protect home field against a hot Redskins team that has won two in a row and scored 27 points in back-to-back weeks.
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