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The Dolphins demand our respect and 7 more lessons from NFL Week 3

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They’re not 3-0 because of a fluke. Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz breaks down a wild week in pro football.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The “Any Given Sunday” cliche couldn’t have been more true this weekend. This was a reset weekend in the NFL. Almost everything we thought we knew, we don’t anymore, except that Pat Mahomes is ridiculous. But moving on, we had so many storylines from the weekend, and it starts in South Florida.

I wrote last week about the Miami Dolphins not getting enough respect and their game against Oakland played out exactly how I thought it would. Through three games, the winless Raiders came out strong and then fizzled at the end. The same thing happened Sunday, but credit the Dolphins for making it happen. It was 17-7 late in the third quarter and the Dolphins outscored the Raiders, 21-3, in the last 16 minutes of the game. Entering today the Dolphins were first in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders. They need our respect.

Of all the teams starting 3-0 since 1990, 73 percent of them have made the playoffs. And the Dolphins feel like a playoff team, except they haven’t played a murderers row of opponents yet. The Patriots, who I assume will be more than pissed, host the Dolphins next weekend. We’ll know a lot more about them after that game.

Tough blow for the Niners

The biggest news to come out of this weekend was the injury to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. They fear that it’s an ACL tear.

That’s a tough blow for the team and hopefully a lesson for Jimmy G. Multiple times on Sunday he refused to run out of bounds and tried to get extra yards around defenders. He’s got to learn to get down.

Where do the Niners go from here? It’s going to be rough without your franchise quarterback. The Niners have a good rushing attack but teams can load up on that without fear of the pass. This is a spot where the Niners are fortunate to have a brilliant offensive mind in Kyle Shanahan. He will have C.J. Beathard ready to play.

New England ... yikes

Look, I know we always do this. We write off New England after bad losses in September. So I’m not writing them off but I will say, it’s not looking so hot. The offense was blah last night but they will most likely play Josh Gordon next week against the visiting Dolphins. If Josh Gordon can just run fast down the sidelines and give Brady some deep help, it will open up the middle for Gronk. The bigger issue in New England continues to be the defense. They have almost no pass rush and are slow. Super slow at linebacker. It’s a recipe for disaster. Again, I’m not writing them off because they do have new parts on defense and have a new defensive coordinator, but it’s not looking so hot.

Welcome the Giants, Lions, and Seahawks back from the dead

A 0-3 start is almost certainly doom with only 2.2 percent of teams since 1990 making the playoffs. These teams are now 1-2 and back into the thick of things.

This week, the Giants’ defense played like I expected them to play all season. Stout and physical at the point of attack, limiting the Texans’ run game and forcing turnovers. On the other side of the ball, the offense was multiple with their formations and plays. Manning had good protection in the first half and made some magic.

The Lions, finally, after 70 games, got their first 100-yard rusher. Their offensive line was outstanding and their defense harassed Tom Brady and company.

I generally don’t know what to make of the Seahawks. They are so much better at home than the road. They head to Arizona this weekend to face the winless Cardinals. Historically they have struggled in the desert, so I want to see them win in Glendale before I decide they are back.

WTF, Vikings?

I think instead of focusing on the Vikings, we have to give the Bills credit. Not only did they go into Minnesota with a rookie making his first start under center, but as 16.5-point underdogs. They physically dominated the Vikings on the line of scrimmage, and Josh Allen played composed all day. Buffalo deserves all the credit for this win.

After the preseason there was worry whether the Vikings’ offensive line could hold the Vikings back. It wasn’t pretty on Sunday. In fact, I think I’d like to dive into this offensive line later this week. The Vikings have enough talent to win the Super Bowl, and they shouldn’t be losing to the Bills.

Wrong about the Rams

I thought they’d have some issues this season for a few reasons.

1) The hype. We know in this league often when you’re hyped before the season it doesn’t do as planned. The Rams are showing the hype was legit.

2) The Rams added personalities on defense, and I wasn’t sure how they’d all gel.

3) Last season they stayed relatively healthy and that typically doesn’t hold true year to year. However, they had a few injuries pop up this weekend, none too serious. So bravo Rams, y’all are legit.

One thing I’d like to highlight is where I think the Rams are above and beyond the rest of the NFL — the four-minute drill. The four-minute drill is what an offense calls the opportunity to salt away the game in the last four minutes. They need one or two first downs and the game is over. Conventional wisdom has long been that you add tight ends and fullbacks into the personnel groupings and run the ball. Maybe you pass on third downs, depending on the opponent’s timeout situation. Well, the defense knows you’re running, which is generally fine, but they add bodies to the box and make it tougher to gain those yards.

Andy Reid finally has the quarterback he’s always wanted

Y’all should know by now that I’m a huge Chiefs fan, even beyond my brother playing there. I truly enjoyed my time with Andy Reid and the fans in Kansas City.

Pat Mahomes now has 13 touchdowns and no interceptions to start his season. The no interceptions part is the biggest surprise to me. The storyline of Mahomes throwing too many picks in training camp was always overblown, but I’d figure the “gunslinger” would still hit the opposing team too often. He hasn’t.

Mahomes is doing more prior to the snap than I thought he was ready for, and it’s been so impressive. He often knows where he’s going with the ball before the snap. It’s going to be hard to fool him.

But that Chiefs defense … still yikes.

Adapting to the rule

Let’s end with the roughing the passer penalty that got a few players, including Clay Matthews again. I don’t know what more to say. This rule is tough for defenders. NFL players have adapted to rules in the past, and I think they will eventually adapt to this rule. At least I hope so.