Analysis

What We Learned: 33 Expert Takeaways From Week 3

Week 3 in the NFL featured a number of surprising performances on Sunday. The 33rd Team’s experts weighed in with 33 takeaways from the day’s games:

Dolphins 21, Bills 19

1. “Sunday was a big day to quiet those who continue to doubt Tagovailoa. It was only a few weeks ago that some were calling him a bust and suggesting that he be benched. I still remain extremely concerned that he can stay healthy through an entire season, but he is a talented player and has a roster around him that fits his strengths perfectly. The Bills are as good as we thought they were and beating them is a significant achievement to credit the Dolphins’ improvement and development.” — Joe Banner

 

2. “The Bills struggled with the heat and humidity in Miami. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was a step ahead in his Week 1 loss by sending his team early to South Florida to get acclimated to the September Miami weather. I never understood why more teams don’t do that.” — T.J. McCreight

3. “Guys are laying all over the field totally exhausted after that one. I think one day the NFL will push games that are supposed to be this hot into the night for player safety. We care so much about everything else but not heat exhaustion?” — Mitchell Schwartz

4. “When Buffalo had 2nd-and-1 at the 1-yard line with two minutes to go, Buffalo went shotgun instead of going under center; Josh Allen was tackled for a 2-yard loss. I don’t understand how they don’t QB sneak it there. Miami won the game because of some big plays, a fourth-down stop at the goal line and some explosive plays by Tagovailoa.” — Mike Tannenbaum

 

Colts 20, Chiefs 17

5. “This was the most surprising outcome of the day. The Colts played solid and aggressive and managed to slow down (and even stop) the Chiefs’ offense. Matt Ryan played better but still has a ways to go if the Colts are going to start winning consistently. Gus Bradley’s defense, which has been struggling early in the season, put together a plan that worked well today.” — Joe Banner

6. “Matt Ryan had a gusty performance — getting hit 10 times and sacked five times — to lead the Colts to a huge upset vs. the Chiefs. Give credit to Gus Bradley for coming up with a game plan to hold the Chiefs to only 17 points.” — Rick Spielman

7. “This game may have saved Indy’s season, wide receiver Michael Pittman is a difference maker for the Colts. Ryan played his best game of the season and the Colts were really strong on third-down defense.” — Mike Tannenbaum

 

Ravens 37, Patriots 26

8. “There were a couple of plays for New England where the wide receiver just quit; they got jammed and quit running. The throw in the end zone … the receiver got jammed and re-routed and stopped. And, of course, the defender comes over and makes the pick. You could see Mac Jones and how furious he was when he came to the sideline.” — Mike Martz

9. “Baltimore responded after a devastating loss last week against Miami with a big win on the road in New England. Lamar Jackson continues to play at an MVP level, and their defense responded this week with two interceptions in the fourth quarter.”— Rick Spielman

10. “The Ravens’ offense continues to be dominant. Early reports that Jackson was positioned to be better in the passing game are absolutely coming true so far. That said, the change at defensive coordinator continues to look like it could keep this team from getting from good to great. A struggling Patriots offense put up 26 points and moved the ball well, completing a high percentage of passes.” — Joe Banner

11. “Mac Jones made some poor decisions, including a really bad end zone interception to Marlon Humphrey. Jackson may be the MVP after another incredible day: Four passing TDs and 107 yards rushing.” — Mike Tannenbaum

Vikings 28, Lions 24

12. “Detroit came out fast and got a lead that should have been insurmountable, but its offense became ineffective and conservative too soon—creating an opportunity for Minnesota to add to the list of surprising and significant comebacks that we’ve seen so far this season. Dan Campbell, as one would expect, has created an environment where the Lions compete hard from the first snap to the last. However, NFL-level football is a lot more complicated than trying hard.” — Joe Banner

 

Eagles 24, Commanders 8

13. “It’s hard to deny the fact that the Eagles are a damn good football team. They make plays defensively, they get after the quarterback, and they’re able to stop the run. And we’re watching the maturation process of Jalen Hurts, finding weapons down the field. Devonta Smith, A.J. Brown — they just continue to make plays. They are a very, very tough football team.” — DeAngelo Hall

14. “The Eagles dominated the Commanders in all three phases. After the first three weeks of the season, they look like the team to beat in the NFC. Jalen Hurts has responded with flying colors, and their defense has really played at a high level after giving up a lot of yards in the opener against Detroit.”— Rick Spielman

15. “Somehow, the Commanders needed to find out what everybody else in the league already knew about Carson Wentz. Commanders’ OC Scott Turner, started the game by calling long developing plays for a quarterback who does not process quickly – leading to four first-quarter sacks (and nine total). This matchup wasn’t even close to what the final score reflected.” — Joe Banner

Panthers 22, Saints 14

16. “In a matchup of two teams that have been playing poorly and below expectations, the Panthers survived. The big story is that Matt Rhule remains on the hot seat while the Saints coaches deserve to be put on the hot seat. The theory that effectively keeping their coordinators would give the Saints a chance to sustain the success they had under Sean Payton is quickly being proved wrong. That, combined with people wishing and praying that Jameis Winston is the QB that he’s never been, leaves both of these teams looking at a challenging season.” — Joe Banner

17. “New Orleans’ offense looks inept. Winston does not look comfortable, and they are struggling to produce points. Winston is playing through a back injury, but it will be interesting to see how patient they will be before they insert backup Andy Dalton. They need someone to give them a spark.” — Rick Spielman

18. “When I watch Baker Mayfield play there is one thing evident to me. He thinks he is a much better athlete and faster than he actually is. He is, at best, an above-average athlete. Too often, I see defensive linemen walk him down in space.” — T.J. McCreight

 

Bears 23, Texans 20

19. “I’m not sure anyone predicted that the Bears would be sitting at 2-1 before the season. I certainly didn’t. I’ve been very complimentary about how they’ve approached team building, but I expected them to struggle significantly in the early part of the process. We have to give credit to Matt Eberflus and his coaching staff. As the season goes on, I still expect Chicago to show the growing pains of a team in the early stages of a rebuild. They are well set up to make the turnaround.” — Joe Banner

Titans 24, Raiders 22

20. “It’s stupid to call the third game of the season a must-win, but this game was about as close as an early week game can be for both teams. The Raiders made the mistake of building a team with a lot of really talented pieces but a weak offensive line. It’s really hard to overcome that. This is certainly not the start that anybody would have predicted for Josh McDaniels, but not totally shocking looking at how they built the roster. The Raiders will continue to improve but the 0-3 start will make it difficult to achieve their goals for the season. There has only been one team since 2000 to make the playoffs after starting the season 0-3.” — Joe Banner

21. “McDaniels, in his two seasons as head coach of the Broncos, had two separate four-game losing streaks in 2009 and in 2010 had a four-game losing streak and then a three-game losing streak before getting fired in December. He has started 0-3 this season. His last victory as a head coach came on Nov. 14, 2010, against Kansas City. Watching the Raiders last season, I felt more energy under Rich Bisaccia.” — T.J. McCreight

Bengals 27, Jets 12

22. “The good news for the Bengals is that they won and played much better — albeit against an extremely weak opponent. Yet, their offensive line continued to struggle, and it looks like that won’t change, at least for a while. You see Burrow’s incredible talent and are reminded of how good their receivers are. Unless the offensive line gets it together, they will struggle to beat quality teams.” — Joe Banner

23. “There was a clip of the Jets; Quinnen Williams and defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton getting into an argument on the sideline and they were separated by the players. In my experience, things get heated during a game and tempers will flare. When it happens, it needs to be addressed, dealt with and then put to bed. What can be concerning is if it becomes a pattern with the player or even the coach.” — T.J. McCreight

 

Packers 14, Buccaneers 12

24. “Have you ever seen someone patiently cut up an entire steak into itty-bitty pieces and then eat each piece one at a time? That’s what the Packers’ offensive approach reminded me of (against the Bucs). They averaged less than 3 yards per run. They used quick slants and in-routes. … We’re so used to seeing the Packers flip the field with Davante Adams and the deep ball, but Rodgers was really efficient. He got it done in a different way by taking what the Bucs gave him. Now, I don’t think that’s a recipe for success when you’re facing some of the more high-octane offenses in the league, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to get a win against a good football team on the road. And that’s what the Packers were able to do.” — Tank Williams

25. “Two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks squared off — potentially for the last time in the regular season — but it was the defenses’ turn to shine. A great two-point stand at the end of the game by Green Bay prevented the game from potentially going to overtime, and Tampa Bay’s delay of game did not help matters.” — Rick Spielman

Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

26. “Atlanta had a huge win on the road in Seattle. Cordarrelle Patterson had a career day to help lead Atlanta to the victory. Geno Smith threw a critical interception at the end of the game to prevent a comeback.” – Rick Spielman

 

Jaguars 38, Chargers 10

27. “This Jacksonville Jaguars team is something to be dealt with because they can bully you on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball, and they have some weapons on special teams. They’re finally a complete team and playing way better than anyone could have imagined with what they were doing with Urban Meyer last year. They’re going to be a threat each and every week. That’s not what anyone was saying at the beginning of the season, but that’s what a lot of teams are thinking about now.” — Tank Williams

28. “Give credit to coach Doug Peterson and the direction he has the Jaguars going. They seem to be getting better every week and had a dominant win against the Chargers in Los Angeles. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a great performance and is showing why he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2021. People are talking about Tua and Hurts, but Lawrence should start to be talked about as the next elite young quarterback if he continues to play the way he has been playing the past two weeks.” — Rick Spielman

29. “Trevor Lawrence looks so confident and comfortable the past two weeks. He is certainly showing why he was the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Having Doug Pederson as his head coach has really done wonders for his progress. I watched Pederson tutor Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, and he got them both to play at an extremely high level in the Super Bowl season. Having a former quarterback as your head coach allows them to speak the same language because Pederson has been in so many different situations on the field and has the ability to communicate those experiences to his quarterback. Urban Meyer kicking kickers seems like such a long time ago.”— T.J. McCreight

30. “What is wrong with the Chargers? When I watch them, I see a team with a franchise quarterback and a solid roster, but I am not sure they know how to win. I will be interested in watching the Chargers closely this season to find out what they are missing.” — T.J. McCreight

Rams 20, Cardinals 12

31. “Watching the Rams-Cardinals game,  you saw both head coaches and coordinators cover their mouths when calling the plays. This practice goes a bit deeper than you may think. The coaches in the box have the television on. If you see a coach cover his mouth late or in the middle of calling the play, usually it is because he forgot, and his coach in the box will say over the headset, ‘Coach, you are on TV. Cover your mouth!’ Once, we picked up a play and got it to our defense because one of our coaches saw the play-caller mouth ‘sluggo’ (slant and go).” — T.J. McCreight

 

Broncos 11, 49ers 10

32. “Russ has a cyborg arm when throwing on the run to his left. He’s got like crazy range of motion to be able to make the throws he does, let alone with the velocity. His deep throws and the ones on the run to his left have always been strengths.” — Mitchell Schwartz

33. “Maybe it wasn’t just the shoulder injury that scared teams off Jimmy G …” — Mitchell Schwartz

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