NFL Week 3 – What Did We Learn?

Greg Armstrong with his NFL Week 3 takeaways…

We’re almost a quarter of the way through the season already and it’s complete madness. We’ve had players retire at halftime, guys getting flagged for making textbook tackles, teams winning outright being 17.5 point underdogs and a whole bunch more. Here are some Week 3 takeaways.

  • It’s Pat Mahomes World And We’re Just Living In It

I was as high as anyone on Mahomes coming into the season and through three weeks, his bandwagon has increased tenfold. He set the record for most touchdown passes through the first three weeks of a season (13) and has yet to throw an interception. The guy is an electric factory: ridiculous arm strength, moves around effortlessly scrambling and a maniacal smile that shows he’s just having fun shredding your teams defense.

This offense is perfect for him and he’s doing things Alex Smith could only dream of. He’s got Tyreek Hill (fastest man in football), Travis Kelce (the best tight end in football outside of a healthy Gronk), Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins, etc. His weapons are endless and Andy Reid has done a phenomenal job of tailoring this offense to suit Mahomes’ strengths. The Chiefs are a must watch no matter who you’re favorite team is.

  • The NFL Is Weird, Dumb And The Best

The first month of the season is the biggest middle finger to people who like to pick games and think they know things about football. The Bills (17.5 point underdogs) went into Minnesota, made them look like a JV team and Josh Allen looked like the second coming of John Elway. We have two ties already. Drew Brees is out here spinning into the end zone like Kyrie Irving with the ball. The Patriots are 1-2 and the Dolphins are undefeated. John Gruden is complaining about the lack of a pass rush after he traded the best pass rusher in the league. I love this sport!

  • The Rams Are Daring You To Stop Them

Usually when teams look this good on paper to start a season, there’s a sluggish start. Remember the Eagles “Dream Team” and the Big Three Heat team? Yeah, they didn’t start out like world beaters (or finish that way in the Eagles’ case). This Rams team is different. They’ve won all three games by double digits and not once did it feel like they were going to lose or even be in a close game. They’re beating you however they want to.

The Jared Goff “system quarterback” talk was fun for all of two or three days. That whole idea of a system quarterback is thrown around too loosely. Don’t you want to put your QB in the right system to best utilize his strengths and win games? It’s not his fault he’s got a great offensive line, the best running back in football and receivers who perform great in their given roles. Goff looks good and Sean McVay has this team humming on both sides of the ball. (Please be okay Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib).

  • The Patriots Don’t Look Like The Patriots

I’m not going to say the Patriots are done after losing to the Lions and falling to 1-2. We’ve seen this song and dance many times before where they’ve been written off in September only to be right there at the end of January and early February.

What I will say is this doesn’t look good. From all of the reports that came out of Foxboro this offseason to not resigning Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola to trading Brandin Cooks to the Edelman suspension, both sides of the ball look bad. Their receivers can’t get any separation, Sony Michel does not look ready for this Patriots offense and their defense looks atrocious.

This is the “figure it out” portion of the season for the Pats. Bill Belichick has been notorious for letting guys go and getting the most out of the players he keeps. They’ll get Edelman back and we’ll see how Josh Gordon fairs in his stint with the team but things are not looking too great up in New England.

  • The NFL Has A Body Weight Issue

The talk throughout the preseason and coming into the season was that the new helmet rule was going to cause the game to become flag football and unwatchable. Through the first three weeks, it’s been the roughing the passer rule that’s caused an uproar.

I get it, you want to protect the quarterbacks because they make the offenses go and more scoring means more eyes on the game. That’s what the NFL wants. As a consumer however, it’s a very bad look. These are the best athletes in the world but when you have a 6’3″, 255 pound linebacker tackling you at full speed, it’s literally impossible to stop your momentum fast enough to not land on the guy. I assume it’s simple physics (I never went to physics so I wouldn’t know for sure). These guys are pile driving the QBs into the ground, they’re making a tackle.

I don’t know how you fix this. I really don’t. But if I know the NFL, I’m they’ll come up with a solution that’s even more confusing than the original rule.

  • Play Your Rookie Quarterbacks

Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen all got game action this past week. Mayfield looked electric in the Browns win over the Jets, Allen silenced a lot of his critics with his performance against the Vikings and the Cardinals decided to put Rosen in the game with five minutes left against the Bears and told him to win the game (he didn’t).

My point is, these teams drafted these guys to be the future of their franchises. The Jets made the right move in starting Sam Darnold Week One. You want these guys to learn on the job against NFL competition in hopes of competing for a championship in that five year window of the rookie deal. Look at the Rams this year with Jared Goff, the Eagles last year with Carson Wentz and the Seahawks a couple of years back with Russell Wilson. Did they win in their rookie years? No but by year two they were ready to compete for championships.

Play the rookie, live with the mistakes and capitalize on the rookie contract.

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick Is Ryan Fitzpatrick

Thankfully we can be done with all of the “Fitzmagic” talk. On Monday night, Fitzpatrick showed the world that under any amount of pressure he’s still Ryan Fitzpatrick. Granted he almost led them back to win but the three interceptions put them in a position where they couldn’t quite come back.

It’s the same cycle over and over. Sign Fitz, starting QB goes out, he plays well under no pressure, signs a deal, pressure arrives, he folds. He’s the same guy as he’s always been. We saw it first hand with the Jets. Now it’s an interesting decision the Bucs have to make with Winston coming back. Thankfully us Jets fans are well beyond that phase of our lives.

GIF OF THE WEEK

RIP to Chris Conte