Geno Smith" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xCyMZxJxO_8/Uj97iyYGKUI/AAAAAAAABEw/UEG0NJE0Igs/s400/genosant1.gif " alt="" width="600" height="400" /> In a battle of two rookie quarterbacks, Geno Smith prevailed. The Jets’ young QB challenged the Bills secondary and showed off why he was selected in the second round of April’s NFL Draft. Smith completed 16 of 29 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns, and added an 8-yard scamper into the end zone in the first quarter. For
, life wasn’t as simple. The Jets defense sacked Manuel eight times and hit the quarterback on more than a third of his snaps. Trailing by 14 in the third quarter, Manuel led the Bills on a pair of scoring drives, but had to settle field goals both times before Manuel hooked up with tight end
for a 33-yard score to make it 20-20 with less than 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. But Smith took over and once again shined brightest. Seeing a one-on-one matchup between
, Smith threw a perfect pass on a fade pattern for a 69-yard touchdown little more than a minute later. The Jets defense would do the rest and keep Buffalo out of the end zone the rest of the way.
Saints 31, Cardinals 7 – Rob Ryan is making a huge difference
Don’t believe that New Orleans’ new defensive coordinator is tearing things up? Let’s analyze Arizona’s offense on Sunday. They opened the game with a touchdown on their opening series. Then dis this on the rest of their drives: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, interception. That’s how you spell futility. The Saints defense racked up four sacks, picked off two passes and forced a fumble. All told, New Orleans limited Arizona to 247 net yards. That’s a far cry from 2012, when New Orleans had the worst defense in NFL history. If things keep up like this, the Saints have to be the prohibitive favorite in the NFC South. Why, you ask? Because the
train keeps on rolling. The star QB threw for more than 300 yards for the eighth consecutive game, which is one shy of the record. Oh, who owns that record? That would be Drew Brees. He can make completing 29 of 46 passes for 342 yards and three TDs look routine.
Patriots 23, Buccaneers 3 –Tom Brady does have receivers to believe in!
After an ugly effort in Week 2,
righted its passing-game ship on Sunday. Remember the tantrums Tom Brady threw against the Jets? Those are long gone. (Although clearly he still can get fired up.) Rookie receivers
(two TD catches) and
(seven receptions) did enough to regain their quarterback’s trust, Brady threw a TD pass for the 51st consecutive game and the Patriots moved to 3-0 with their most impressive win of the season. It’s not just an important win to build confidence, but it matters in a suddenly competitive AFC East, where the
are also sitting unbeaten at 3-0. If
can get back on the field soon and these young receivers continue to develop, everything will be just fine in New England. Here’s what’s not fine: Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman stunk up the place yet again. He completed just 19 of 41 passes for 236 yards and threw an interception without a score. Is it time to call for rookie
? Nope, head coach Greg Schiano apparently still believes Freeman gives the team the best chance to win. We’ll have to take his word for it. But at some point, a decision will have to be made.
Browns 31, Vikings 27 – Who needs Trent Richardson when you have Jordan Cameron?
There was a lot of buzz about Cleveland’s young tight end in training camp. He’s living up to the hype. Cameron caught three touchdown passes on Sunday afternoon. The second one came on a fake field goal in the second quarter:
Then, he pulled in the game-winning pass from
with less than a minute remaining:
Cameron finished with a spooky stat line: six catches for 66 yards (yes, 6-66), but his production was heavenly. And thankfully so for the Browns (1-2), who picked up their first win using a third-string quarterback just days after trading away their first-round pick from a season ago. Speaking of that QB, Hoyer overcame three interceptions and completed 30 of 54 passes for 321 along with the three scoring strikes to Cameron. Has Cleveland found its answer at the position? Let’s not get carried away. But, Hoyer can be a serviceable stopgap until team management can pull off whatever it is planning in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Dolphins 27, Falcons 23 – It’s still too early to trust the Dolphins
We’re not here to rain on
’s parade. The Dolphins (3-0) scored a gutty victory, thanks to
leading a 75-yard drive that ended with this TD pass to
with 38 seconds to play:
They also got an outstanding effort out of their special teams as
’ spectacular hit on a punt return caused a fumble and set up a touchdown:
So, what’s our deal? Simply this: Miami only grinded out 285 total yards of offense against a beat-up
defense. And Tannehill, for all his late-game brilliance, still threw an interception and fumbled twice, losing one. He might have escaped this game with a win, but the schedule gets tougher from here. The Dolphins’ next five games include matchups against the Saints, Ravens, Patriots and Bengals. If they can win two or three of those matchups, then they can legitimately be called a contender.
Seahawks 45, Jaguars 17 – Las Vegas had it all wrong
Russell Wilson" src="http://o.static-rs.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/22/092213_NFL_Seahawks_Russell_Wilson_LO_CH_20130922212349303_600_400.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="400" /> The Seahawks came into this game as 19-point favorites. The line should have been much higher. Russell Wilson threw four touchdowns before coming out of the game halfway through the third quarter and the Seattle defense looked as dominating as ever. Heck, even backup QB
pulled off an impressive play:
Now, sitting pretty at 3-0, the Seahawks are facing back-to-back road challenges — at Houston and then at Indianapolis. If this team can somehow win both, there will be no question they are the NFC favorite to reach the Super Bowl, if not win the whole thing. Period.