The Steelers get bludgeoned by the Eagles, interceptions galore and more
Points galore in New Orleans on Monday night as the visiting Falcons lit up the Saints 45-32 in a game in which the Saints defense once again got carved up like warm butter. The Falcons ran for a whopping 217 yards on 31 carries (7.0 average) and managed to score that 45 burger despite just one catch from Julio Jones. So the Saints remain winless (0-3) with the Browns, Jaguars and Bears, four miserable teams with company below.
Getty ImagesJonathan Bachman
Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick throws 6 interceptions in an abysmal showing at Arrowhead
The bearded Jets QB brought the wrong kind of six pack for the road trip to Kansas City on Sunday. The 6 INTs included a pair in the end zone as the Jets tried to mount a comeback. The final insult came late in the fourth quarter when Fitzy hooked up with Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson for a 55 touchdown the other way for a 24-3 Chiefs lead. Of the Jets’ 11 drives, six ended with interceptions (one for a score), two in fumbles (one for a score), two resulted in punts and one lonely drive got capped with a field goal. Remember when Fitzpatrick spent the summer holding out for Brock Osweiler money?
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense gets steamrolled by the Eagles
Three games, three 300-yard passers and 100-yard receivers allowed by the Steelers. Following a screen pass recipe the Bengals used last week against Pittsburgh when Gio Bernard went off for nine catches and 100 yards, the Eagles’ undersized scatback Darren Sproles caught all six of his targets for 128 yards including a 73-yard touchdown in which Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier blew his coverage on Sproles; once Sproles got moving he faked out most of the Steelers’ back end. Pittsburgh also allowed 125 yards rushing to guys most people have never heard of: Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner. Shazier summarized it best: “They beat our brains in.”
Getty ImagesAlex Goodlett
The Carolina Panthers offensive line -- and Cam Newton
The Minnesota Vikings sacked Cam Newton a whopping eight times (for minus 64 yards and a safety) in a game that probably gave Panthers fans Super Bowl flashbacks, plus some whiplash. Most of the Vikings' front seven got a hit on Cam, in particular defensive end Everson Griffen (3 sacks) -- who abused Panthers right tackle Michael Oher. This wasn’t all on the offensive line, of course -- Newton held onto the ball too long on several occasions when the Vikings had wideout Kelvin Benjamin blanketed and other receivers well-covered. Also Newton’s postgame Mr. Peanut outfit wasn’t his strongest sartorial performance.
USA Today SportsJeremy Brevard
Carson Palmer tosses four picks at Buffalo -- in the fourth quarter
Palmer faced a lot of pressure all afternoon (the Bills sacked Palmer five times and registered nine hurries) and it all came crashing down in the fourth quarter even when the QB wasn’t under fire. One Palmer pick came on a misfire on what appeared to be a miscommunication between Palmer and John Brown. Then the game-ending INT occurred on a Palmer heave into the end zone on a pass intended for Jaron Brown when Brown never had position. Bruce Arians’ vertical offense depends on the big ball; Palmer is susceptible to stinkers like this one when they force it.
Cleveland Browns kicker Cody Parkey can’t get right
Good thing for Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (missed FG, missed XP) that Parkey fared worse. Parkey had only been a Brown for two days on Sunday after the team signed him to fill in for Patrick Murray, who injured his knee during a Friday walkthrough. Parkey missed wide left on three of his six attempts (one of them hit the upright) in the 41-46 yard range. The Miami Dolphins were extremely lucky to escape with a win in overtime despite an inspired Browns performance. Can Terrelle Pryor kick, too?
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Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett gets shredded by T.Y. Hilton
The Chargers’ usually solid CB had a rough time trying to defend speedy Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton. Verrett allowed a total of 138 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 158.3 when targeted, according to ProFootballFocus figures. In other words, Andrew Luck was perfect when he threw Verrett’s way. The Colts’ late, game-winning touchdown also went through Verrett when the Charger tried to jump Hilton’s route; Hilton made the catch, broke a tackle and then burned through the secondary all the way to the house.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsBrian Spurlock
The New York Giants, for finding ways to beat themselves
And that’s not even a reference to Odell Beckham Jr. smashing a kicking net with his helmet on the sideline. The Giants had a golden opportunity to go to 3-0 and bury the Redskins at 0-3 but they blew it as a team with way too many penalties (11 for 128 yards, including two unsportsmanlikes by center Weston Richburg -- resulting in his ejection), three turnovers (one of them in the end zone, one of them a fumble at Washington’s 35 yard line), missed tackles and a failure to get a defensive stop when needed (Redskins converted on 8 of 17 third and fourth downs). They made errors on special teams, too, allowing a 50-yard Jamison Crowder punt return and a successful fake punt pass.
Everyone who doubted the New England Patriots
When Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury in Week 2 and we learned that rookie Jacoby Brissett (and not Julian Edelman) would be the starter on Thursday night against the Houston Texans, the Texans actually became a rare road favorite at Gillette Stadium. Well that one unraveled quickly in a 27-0 shellacking in which Brock Osweiler looked stymied. With one more game until Brady returns, the Patriots already have a two-game lead on the rest of the AFC East in which, once again, everyone else is playing for runner-up.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY SportsWinslow Townson
Everyone who believed in the Jacksonville Jaguars
Carson Palmer had four interceptions in a single quarter (above) but the Jaguars’ collective fourth quarter meltdown was even worse. With a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter, the Jags looked headed for their first win of the season but then turnover-prone QB Blake Bortles (especially when facing pressure) threw his second interception of the game in Ravens territory with four minutes to go. And then after the defense intercepted Joe Flacco with 3 minutes remaining, the Jags allowed a field goal to get blocked that would have put them up 20-16. <br Bortles' first INT came on an ugly throw to Allen Robinson that helped the Ravens go up 10-0 and his third INT ended the game. Bortles has got to protect the ball better and learn it’s better to take a sack than force it into coverage.
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All the other two-plus interception quarterbacks not yet mentioned
It was a pretty good week for some fantasy football defenses with all the interceptions flying around. Besides Fitzpatrick (6), Palmer (4) and Bortles (3), these QBs also threw two picks or more: Eli Manning (2), Marcus Mariota (2, also a fumble lost), Ryan Tannehill (2), Joe Flacco and Cam Newton (3). And it’s on to next week.