MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 25: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on September 25, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lions defeated the Vikings 26-23. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The Jets and Patriots lose? The Lions and Bills are undefeated? Michael Vick goes down ... again? We review another week of expecting the unexpected in our Week 3 NFL Debrief.
Week 3 in the 2011 NFL season is almost complete as 15 of the week's 16 games have been played. The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are playing on Monday Night Football, but we've already learned quite a bit about the rest of the league this week.
Let's start with the team of the week....
The Buffalo Bills are now 3-0. When they beat my Chiefs 41-7 in Week 1, I figured it was a fluke. When they came back and beat the Raiders after being down 18 points, I thought they got lucky. But coming back and beating the Patriots, 34-31, after being down 21 points, and after losing 15 straight to the Patriots? Holy crap. The Bills are for real. They're 3-0 and they've already beaten two division winners from last year. Playing the AFC West and a last-place schedule, the Bills are in the discussion to make the playoffs. Incredible.
The next surprise 3-0 team is the Detroit Lions. They cruised past the Bucs in Week 1, destroyed my Chiefs and then came back from 20 points down to beat the Vikings. 20 points down, on the road, and still won. These are indeed the new Lions because the old Lions would have undoubtedly given up after that. Oh, and Calvin "Megatron" Johnson has two touchdown receptions in every game this season. These guys are legit.
The other undefeated teams include the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins, who play the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football tonight. The New England Patriots and New York Jets, both undefeated entering this week, lost. As did the Houston Texans. So the Bills, Lions and Redskins are your last remaining undefeated teams. Just as everyone expected, right?
The Minnesota Vikings are not a second half team. They've blown halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points so far this year to sit at 0-3. That's simply incredible. On the one hand, your team is good enough to get double digit leads in the first half. On the other hand, they're bad enough to blow those leads in the second half. Generally I would say meltdowns like that are on the coaching staff. What's going on in Minny?
Torrey Smith may have had the best quarter of the season. In fact, the best start to a career. The rookie receiver for the Baltimore Ravens had three first quarter catches -- first three of his career -- for 133 yards and three touchdowns. He had touchdown catches of 74, 41 and 18 yards. Simply incredible.
Tom Brady misses an NFL record. Brady had 940 yards in his first two games, two games with 400-plus yards. No quarterback has ever thrown for 400-plus yards in three consecutive games. The Bills went down and scored a touchdown with less than two minutes left which would have given Brady, who had 386 yards at the time, the ball and he almost assuredly would have passed for 14 more yards to give him 400 on the day. Unfortunately for New England, the referees ruled Fred Jackson didn't score on the play and the Bills were able to run the clock out and kick the game winning field goal, keeping the ball out of Brady's hands.
The Matt Hasselbeck signing looks better and better. With Peyton Manning out for the Indianapolis Colts, the Tennessee Titans knew the AFC South was wiiiiide open. All Hasselbeck has done is come in and throw for over 900 yards in his first three games and complete nearly 70 percent of his passes. All of a sudden, the Titans and Houston Texans are in a dog fight for the AFC South.
A couple of running backs are ruining your fantasy roster. I'm talking about Chris Johnson of the Titans and Arian Foster of the Texans. Johnson's numbers are incredible, and not in a good way: 46 rushes for 98 yards this season. Foster, on the other hand, hasn't even gotten on the field in two of the Texans three games. He's sitting at 33 yards on 10 carries through three games. Both guys were considered elite fantasy running backs and both are on pace for awful seasons.
Michael Vick gets beat up, again. I said at the beginning of the season that I thought Vick got way too much hype because I don't see how a quarterback can be that valuable when he's likely to miss multiple games. Vick is now reportedly going to miss several weeks with a broken right hand. The Eagles gave him a deal worth "100 milllIon" and they can't reasonably expect more than 12-13 games a year out of him. He's looking more and more like the Falcons' Vick, not the 2010 Eagles Vick.
Down go the New York Jets. Several folks predicted before this game that the Oakland Raiders would upset the Jets. Unfortunately for me, I wrote that those folks were crazy. Shows what I know. Darren McFadden goes crazy averaging nine yards per carry and Oakland sits with San Diego at the top of the AFC West. Maybe Mike Silver was right.
Why don't more return units do this? The Green Bay Packers lined up to punt against the Chicago Bears on Sunday and aimed it away from Devin Hester, as most teams do. But Hester ran to the other side of the field, acting as if he was going to catch it, and the rest of the Packers special teams unit followed him. The problem? The ball was punted in the opposite direction and caught by Johnny Knox, who had no one around him. He took it to the house for a score. Except.....there was a holding call. A phantom holding call? You be the judge.