Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 3
New York GiantsCarolina Panthers
Days after Eli Manning pulled off a fourth-quarter miracle against the Bucs, he directed a systematic destruction of the Panthers. Manning completed 27-of-35 passes for 288 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
It was all set up for Cam Newton to have a big game on his home field against the defending Super Bowl champions, but he was ineffective and immature. He threw three picks and did not have a scoring pass.
Chicago BearsSt. Louis Rams
This was not a great game for quarterbacks. While Jay Cutler completed 17-of-31 passes, the best thing he did was run 21 yards on a fourth-quarter scramble that set up a field goal.
The Bears could not put their new passing game on display and the Chicago defense stopped Sam Bradford from doing the same. Bradford threw for 152 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
Buffalo BillsCleveland Browns
Ryan Fitzpatrick has responded with two sharp games in a row. He completed 22-of-35 passes for 208 yards with 3 TDs and 0 interceptions. Fitzpatrick looked as confident as those numbers would indicate.
Brandon Weeden is going through growing pains with the Browns. While he is standing in and trying to compete, he makes too many mistakes. He threw for 237 yards and a touchdown, but he also tossed two interceptions.
Dallas CowboysTampa Bay Buccaneers
Tony Romo did not do much, but he did enough to help the Cowboys secure a victory. He kept mistakes to a minimum in throwing for 283 yards. He completed a 49-yard pass to Miles Austin that forced the Tampa Bay defense to respect him.
Greg Schiano may continue to attack the victory formation, but he would make better use of his time by finding a consistent NFL quarterback. That is not Josh Freeman, who completed 10-of-28 passes and looked shaky throughout the game.
Jacksonville JaguarsIndianapolis Colts
Blaine Gabbert certainly picked the right time for his only touchdown pass of the game. He hit Cecil Shorts with an 80-yard TD pass with 45 seconds to go to steal the victory for the Jaguars. Colts’ star rookie Andrew Luck threw for 313 yards.
Luck continues to make plays in the opening games of his first season, but this time he could not overcome a late miracle touchdown by the opponent. Luck needs a bit more seasoning to take advantage of all of his opportunities.
New York JetsMiami Dolphins
Mark Sanchez played with urgency in the fourth quarter and overtime. His touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley gave the Jets the late lead and when the Dolphins missed a FG attempt in overtime, he directed the drive that gave them the win. Sanchez threw for 306 yards.
Blaine Ryan Tannehill does not have much receiving talent to work with in Miami. Still he hangs in there and led a game-tying drive in the final seconds. Tannehill is not accurate enough, completing 16-of-36 passes.
Minnesota VikingsSan Francisco 49ers
Don’t look now, but Christian Ponder may be the most improved player in the NFL. He looked calm and cool against the ferocious 49ers defense and led the upset by completing 21-of-35 passes for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception.
It’s not about preseason hype or finishing the season undefeated. From that perspective, a 49er letdown was not that surprising considering they opened the season with wins over two playoff teams. That said, Alex Smith looked uninspired and was not overly effective in throwing for 204 yards with an interception.
Kansas City ChiefsNew Orleans Saints
The Chiefs looked dead and buried when they were down 24-6, but Matt Cassel kept fighting. He grew sharper as the game got closer and he completed 26-of-44 passes for 248 yards while under duress.
The Saints are down in the dumps after blowing a big lead against the previously winless Chiefs. While you can’t put it all on Drew Brees, he displayed none of the killer instinct that has been part of his game for so long. Brees seemed to lack big-play capabilities against Kansas City.
Tennessee TitansDetroit Lions
A spectacular game for the fans and those who love big plays. Jake Locker has shown much improvement and impressive athletic ability in completing 29-of-42 passes for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lions backup Shaun Hill threw two TD passes in the final minutes to force the game into overtime.
Matthew Stafford had a solid game, but he had to come out after suffering a strained leg muscle in the fourth quarter. Even though Hill was spectacular, the Lions will not fulfill preseason hopes if Stafford is unable to play.
Cincinnati BengalsWashington Redskins
Andy Dalton may be a second-year player, but he looks like a savvy veteran at this point. He riddled the Redskins secondary for 328 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Robert Griffin III continues to compete well for the Redskins, nearly bring them back from a late two-TD deficit.
RGIII may have spectacular talent and athletic ability, but every NFL quarterback learns that you can’t put yourself at risk by running the ball with abandon. RGII had 12 rushing attempts and was sacked five times. He was hit hard throughout the game.
Arizona CardinalsPhiladelphia Eagles
Has Kevin Kolb really led the Cardinals to a 3-0 record? Truth really is stranger than fiction. Kolb is starting to put his physical tools to good use and he was a satisfying 17-of-24 for 222 yards with 2 touchdowns against his former team.
Michael Vick continues to underwhelm for the Eagles. The Eagles were never really in the game against Arizona and Vick was just 17-of-37 for 217 yards against the Arizona. His fumble at the end of the first half was returned 93 yards for a touchdown.
Atlanta FalconsSan Diego Chargers
Matt Ryan has been consistent throughout his career but is taking a step up early in the season. He was 30-of-40 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns in leading the Falcons to a road blowout win over a solid team.
Philip Rivers followed up two solid performances with a terrible one against the nasty Falcons defense. He threw two interception and did not throw a touchdown pass.
Houston TexansDenver Broncos
The Texans broke off to a big lead and Matt Schaub was a big reason why as a result of his poised play. Schaub threw for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns despite getting battered around by the Denver defense. Despite a slow start, Peyton Manning got the Broncos back in the game.
Manning is struggling after two straight losses in this comeback season. He completed 26-of-52 passes for 330 yards and 2 TDs, but his timing is not what fans are used to seeing from him.
Oakland RaidersPittsburgh Steelers
A superb performance by both quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards and 4 TDs without suffering an interception. Carson Palmer was effective for the Raiders in the second half. He led the comeback victory by throwing 3 TD passes and then leading the drive that resulted in Sebastian Janikowski’s game-winning field goal.
Palmer was a little slow to get started, but he more than made up for it with his strong finish. Roethlisberger was unable to sustain any drives in the fourth quarter and that allowed the Raiders to register the comeback.
Baltimore RavensNew England Patriots
Joe Flacco is establishing himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He came through with a 382-yard, 3-touchdown effort against the Patriots and he led his team on a game-winning drive in the final two minutes. Tom Brady was nearly as good for New England, throwing for 335 yards and a touchdown against Baltimore’s hard-hitting defense.
The Patriots had a two-score lead in the fourth quarter, but Brady could not sustain two drives in the last quarter that would have allowed the Patriots to hold on to the ball and come away with the decision.