The third week of the preseason is the big chance for NFL teams to show us what we can expect during the regular season. Starters play deep, maybe a little more of the playbook is unveiled, etc. Saturday had 10 games on the docket, so there was a lot to watch and pore over. Some young quarterbacks played well (Ryan Tannehill, Jake Locker), others (like Josh Freeman) didn’t.
But that’s not all that happened. Let’s get to work.
1. Who knew? NFL preseason games actually have overtime
Did you know that? I didn’t. I guess I just always assumed that the game would end in a tie; after all, who would want to risk further injury by playing past the 60-minute mark? Apparently Roger Goodell and his owner cronies don’t seem to mind and neither does the NFLPA, which negotiated the last collective bargaining agreement.
Anyway, we didn’t just get one, but TWO overtimes on Saturday night. First, the Jets with their disintegrating quarterbacks actually needed an extra period to beat their city rival Giants with a Billy Cundiff (he’s still around!) field goal. Scintillating.
My thoughts exactly, Rex.
Then, there was so much excitement from the Chiefs-Steelers matchup, they needed extra time to get it all done. With 8:53 remaining in overtime, Chase Daniel hit Rico Richardson (epic name) for a 15-yard touchdown.
Can preseason football get more awesome? I submit that it cannot.
2. The Rams have a stud in Alec Ogletree
How did this guy not go in the top five picks of this year’s NFL Draft? Sure, he had some injury at disciplinary problems at Georgia, but those types of issues can be overrated. St. Louis ended up snagging the versatile linebacker with the 30th pick in the first round.
There are going to be a lot of teams kicking themselves in the future because Ogletree can flat-out play. His full skills were on display against the Broncos as he picked up a Ronnie Hillman fumble and returned it for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Then he pulled down an eye-popping interception off Peyton Manning. Check this out:
Ogletree finished with 6 tackles (2 for loss) and with a legion of new (and old) fans.
Oh, Alec Ogletree made an incredible play? Shocker.
Let the record reflect that our own Peter Schrager called this months ago.
3. Sometimes a man has to finish his food first
Meet Edmund Nelson. For those who don’t remember, he is a former Steelers defensive lineman who retired after the 1988 season. Now, he’s doing color commentary for Pittsburgh preseason games and is an all-around great guy. And apparently a hungry guy because when the broadcast started, Nelson didn’t put down his plate of ribs (H/T to SB Nation for this).
I’m not gonna make some snarky comment or accuse him of being unprofessional. The only thing I’m gonna say is that I’m extremely jealous. Look at that plate … seriously, is there anything better than ribs? Man, I’m so hungry. I need ribs, STAT.
4. Andrew Luck will take a giant leap in 2013
Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions as a rookie back in 1998. During his second season, his number of picks dropped by 13.
The knock against Andrew Luck is the number of turnovers he had, 28 in all (18 INTs, 10 fumbles). Expect that number to fall by a lot this season. Watching him on Saturday against the Browns, you could see how much the young quarterback has progressed. Luck threw 2 TD passes, the first to Stanley Havili and the next to T.Y. Hilton.
He did throw his first interception of the preseason, but that was a pass that bounced off Havili’s hands and could have been caught. He finished the game 16 of 25 for 164 yards. So far this preseason, Luck has connected on 66 percent of his passes (up from 54.1 in 2012), with 4 TDs and the one pick.
Those of you expecting him and the Colts to take a step back in 2013, you might end up eating crow.
5. Anything is possible when you play the Cardinals
The Chargers had turnover problems in 2012 and so far this preseason. But on Saturday night, the Bolts took on the Cardinals, a team with their own serious issues with holding on to the ball. Observe.
See if you can keep up: Chargers running back Ryan Mathews tried to run it in from a yard out, but was hit and fumbled. Arizona’s Rashad Johnson picked the ball up, fell down, got back up and tried to run with it, however after a few yards got tied up by Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.
Do you need to take a breath? Let’s keep going.
Johnson tried to lateral the ball to Sam Acho, but Gates hit Acho and knocked the ball loose. San Diego’s John Phillips grabbed the ball out of the air and waltzed into the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN!
Remember, all of this happened within a span of maybe 10 seconds. It took 10 seconds for a career’s worth of mental errors.
Don’t ever tell me the preseason can’t be an entertaining mess, because I had fun watching that.