Sept. 21, 2014 was the third Sunday of NFL football. In the midst of the PR crisis facing the NFL front office, there were some pretty entertaining games. Denver and Seattle played the game that should have been played in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Pittsburgh Steelers put on their best display of power running in nearly three decades, and rookie QB’s Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles finally saw action, and will be seeing more. Unfortunately, there were more injuries to key players, as the Washington Redskins CB Deangelo Hall suffered a torn achilles, Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor suffered a broken forearm, and San Diego Chargers RB Danny Woodhead suffered a broken leg. Here is a look at the game results from Sunday, Sept. 21:
Detroit Lions (2-1) 19, Green Bay Packers (1-2) 7: @ Detroit – Packers RB Eddie Lacy fumbled early in the game, Don Cary of the Lions picked it up and ran 40 yds for the first TD of the game, at 12:02 of the 1st Qtr. That set the tone for the rest of the day. The Packers did tie the score in the final minute of the 1st Qtr, but it was all Detroit. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was harassed all day, and never found a good rhythm. Detroit finished the game with a 353-223 edge in total yardage.
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) 34, St Louis Rams (1-2) 31: @ St Louis – The Cowboys were down 21-0 midway thru the 2nd Qtr, but slowly clawed their way back, courtesy of 20 unanswered points of their own. Trailing 21-20 going into the 4th Qtr, they outscored the Rams 14-10 to come away with the victory. Dallas CB Morris Claiborne intercepted a pass from Rams QB Austin Davis, with under 2 mins to play, to seal the win for the visiting team. Dallas RB Demarco Murray had 100 rushing yards on 24 carries. This is the second straight week Murray has rushed for 100 yds.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) 37, Washington Redskins (1-2) 34: @ Philadelphia – Two things were established in this game. First, these two teams do not like each other, as there was a brawl in the 4th Qtr, after waht looked like an interception. Second, even though they lost, the Redskins offense operates much more smoothly under QB Kirk Cousins than under QB Robert Griffin III. Cousins threw for 427 of the Redskins 511 total yds, but was hurt by a costly interception in the 4th Qtr. Washington outrushed Philly 84 yds to 54 yds, and Philly had only 379 total yds, but led in the only place were it counts; on the scoreboard.
New England Patriots (2-1) 16, Oakland Raiders (0-3) 9: @ New England – In a game which was much closer than anticipated, the Patriots pulled out a win at home. In the 2nd Qtr, New England scored the only TD in a game which featured six FG’s. The Patriots offense has been helter skelter this season, and again on Sunday, had difficulty making anything work. This was a closely contested game. Total yardage was in favor of the Patriots, but not by much; 297-241. The only TD of the game, was a 6-yd pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski at 4:14 of the 2nd Qtr. The Raiders had a chance to tie the game in the final minute, but QB Derek Carr’s pass was tipped, and intercepted by Vince Wilfork, at the Patriots’ 12 yd line.
New Orleans Saints (1-2) 20, Minnesota Vikings (1-2) 9: @ New Orleans – The Saints offense still is not clicking on all cylinders, but was good enough to defeat a Vikings team which no longer has RB Adrian Peterson, and in the 2nd Qtr of this game, lost starting QB Matt Cassell, to a broken foot. The Saints got their first win of the season, and the Vikings got to see rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Saints held a 14-0 lead after the 1st Qtr, but did not score again until 12:22 of the 4th Qtr. Bridgewater threw for 150 yds, and was sacked twice. New Orleans outrushed Minnesota 108-59.
New York Giants (1-2) 30, Houston Texans (2-1) 17: @ NY Giants – Giants QB Eli Manning threw for 234 yds, 2 TD’s and zero interceptions, as Big Blue got their first win of the season. It was the Giants first complete effort of the season, as their defense sacked Houston QB twice, and intercepted him three times. Houston had to play without RB Arian Foster, who was out with a hamstring injury. The total yardage was close, 419-411 in favor of the Giants, but the Giants crushed Houston in rushing yardage, 193-119. New York RB Rashad Jennings had 176 yds and 1 TD, on 34 carries.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) 23, Cleveland Browns (1-2) 21: @ Cleveland – The Browns have had a chance to win every game so far this season. Every game has come down top the final series, and a final FG. In Wk 1, it was Pittsburgh winning on a last second FG. In Wk 2, it was the Browns beating New Orleans on a last second FG. This week, the pendulum swung back. Cleveland held a 21-17 lead going into the 4th Qtr, but failed to score again in the game. Baltimore added two FG’s, one at 5:00 of the 4th Qtr, and the second as time expired, to break the hearts of Browns fans everywhere. Browns QB Brian Hoyer is proving he can be a legit NFL starting QB.
San Diego Chargers (2-1) 22, Buffalo (2-1) 10: @ Buffalo – The San Diego Chargers handed the Buffalo Bills their first loss of the season. The outcome was never in doubt, as San Diego led 10-0 in the 2nd Qtr, and 20-3 midway thru the 3rd Qtr. Buffalo’s vaunted two-headed running attack of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller was held to a total of just 59 yds on 16 combined carries. San Diego also sacked Buffalo QB E.J. Manuel, three times.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) 33, Tennessee Titans (1-2) 7: @ Cincinnati – The Bengals stayed perfect, and Cincy QB Andy Dalton caught his first NFL career TD pass, as the hometown Bengals scored early and often, and never allowed the Titans a glimmer of hope. Cincy led 19-0 at halftime, and 33-0 in the 4th Qtr before finally allowing the Titans to get on the scoreboard. Stats don’t always tell the story, as Tennessee outgained Cincy 326-300 in total yardage, and 149-116 in rushing yardage.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) 34, Miami Dolphins (1-2) 15: @ Miami – It seems like forever since Miami beat the New England Patriots on opening day. The Dolphions were soundly beaten by Buffalo last week, and by Kansas City this week. Both teams were missing their featured running back. KC’s Jamaal Charles is out with an ankle sprain, and Miami’s Knowshon Moreno is out with a disloctaed elbow. KC led 14-3 at the half, and clung to a 21-15 lead going into the 4th Qtr, but held Miami scoreless the rest of the way. Miami’s offense was again erratic, as QB Ryan Tannehill simply cannot get on the same page with WR Mike Wallace. KC running back Knile Davis had 132 yds on 32 carries.
Indianapolis Colts (1-2) 44, Jacksonville (0-3) 17: @ Jacksonville – Indy got their first win of the season, as they built a 30-0 halftime lead, and never looked back. At halftime, Jacksonville benched starting QB Chad Henne, in favor of rookie QB Blake Bortles. Bortles threw 2 TD’s and had an interception returned for TD. Indy QB Andrew Luck threw for 370 yds, 4 TD’s, and no interceptions. Indy RB Ahmad Bradshaw led all rushers, with 65 yds on nine carries.
Arizona Cardinals (3-0) 23, San Francisco (1-2) 14: @ Arizona – The Cards improved to 3-0 on the season, and the Niners again suffered a second half meltdown. San Francisco led 14-6 at the half, but did not score again. Star Niners RB Franl Gore was held to just 10 yds on six carries. AZ QB Drew Stanton again filled in admirably for injured Carson Palmer. Stanton threw for 244 yds, with 2 TD’s and zero interceptions. Arizona is alone in first place in the NFC West division. San Francisco has now been outscored by a total of 52-3 in the second half of games played this season.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1) 26, Denver Broncos (2-1) 20: @ Seattle – This game would have gone down as one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever, had it actually been played in Feb. 2014, instead of Sept. 2014. In the 1st half, the Broncos suffered from ultra-conservative play calling and trailed 17-3 at the half. After a scoreless 3rd Qtr, Denver outscored the home team, 17-3 in the 4th Qtr to force overtime. In the OT period, it was all Seattle, as they won the coin toss, and then went on an 12 play 80 yd TD scoring drive which ended with RB Marshawn Lynch bulling his way over the goaline from six yards out. Much like in the Super Bowl, Denver was unable to move the ball, on the ground. Seattle ourushed the visitors, 129-36.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) 37, Carolina Panthers (2-1) 19: @ Carolina – The pittsburgh Steelers have been talking about getting back to playing “Steelers football”. This means a fundamental of power running, and tough defense. It finally happened in Carolina, and it happened with a vengeance. Nevermind that Carolina had the NFL’s #2 ranked defense last season, the Steelers ran them over. The Steelers’ running back tandem of Le’Veon Bell and LaGarrette Blount combined for 265 rushing yards, while the Steelers defense held Carolina to just 42 rushing yards, in a performance which just became more and more dominant as the night went on.