The third installment of the weekly drama that is the NFL saw continued offensive explosions in the Northeast, some surprising upsets and some fallen soldiers in the league’s war of attrition. The marquee matchup of the early set featured 2011’s “Dream Team” the Philadelphia Eagles hosting the underwhelming New York Giants. While most – including myself – expected a Philly rout, the Giants proved that in this year’s NFL it doesn’t matter if your cornerbacks are Rod Woodson and “Night Train” Lane, you can always be thrown on. Eli Manning torched the high-priced Eagles secondary for four touchdowns, despite missing Dominic Hixon as Victor Cruz stepped ably into the void.
Michael Vick, Shady McCoy and friends tried to put up resistance as best they could, but Vick’s necessarily reckless playing style bit him again. Several near decapitations occurred before Vick finally left the game for good with a broken (non-throwing) hand. In the post-game press conference, Vick threw the blame at the referees for not giving him the Tom Brady treatment, but a 15 yard penalty won’t help the Eagles causes when Vick is being scraped off the Lincoln Financial turf like a bled-out Rottweiler.
Speaking of Brady, no defense in the NFL seemed capable of stopping the reigning MVP in his quest to destroy the NFL record book and lead the Patriots to another championship. But out of the shadows of cyberspace, the mystical power that is the Justin Tinsley reverse curse rose to flatten Brady. The subject of a glowing profile by the TSS scribe last week, Brady proceeded to equal his interception total for all of 2010 (four) in the last 35 minutes of the game. A combination of poor throws and Tins-influenced caroms did in the Pats, and the opportunistic Bills offense cashed in repeatedly. The Bills still needed a favorable replay and a last-second replay to put away the Pats, but now sit alone atop the AFC East thanks to a little help from Darren McFadden and the equally surprising Raiders. Show everyone how you feel about it Tommy
— Green Bay won a strangely underhyped rematch of the NFC championship game. The lack of pre-game drama no doubt was due to the fact that everyone assuming the Bears won’t be sniffing the playoffs this year. Aaron Rodgers certainly seems to think so. After torching the Bears D for 297 and three touchdowns, an underwhelmed Rodgers criticized the offense for being out of sync.
— If you prefer your games devoid of any defense whatsoever, then Houston-New Orleans was the game for you. Both quarterbacks went off and Kevin Walter scored one of the most ridiculous deflection touchdowns since the days of Antonio Freeman.
— Cam Newton didn’t get anywhere near 400 yards this week, but he did take home his first W in the unofficial “Rookie Bowl.” Blaine Gabbert didn’t exactly light up the score board – 12-21 for 129 yards 1 TD & 1 INT – but when you’re previous signal caller was Luke McCown, anything looks Pro Bowl worthy. Plus, it’ll be nice to have a young fearless QB once the team picks up and moves to Los Angeles in a few years.
— Poor one out for Gotty’s Titans. Yea Tennessee squeaked out a three point win, but the loss of Kenny Britt for the season may squash their playoff chances.
— The NFC West continued its quest to join the Pac-12 by trying to play to the level of competition. The Rams were blown out by an angry Ravens squad, and while the 49ers did pick up a win against Ginger Dalton and the Bengals, it was not a performance the inspired future confidence. Meanwhile Tavaris Jackson drew the ire of Seattle fans by playing poorly enough to lead the Seahawks to a 13-10 win over the Cardinals, taking Seattle that much further away from Andrew Luck.
— Don’t look now, the Detroit Lions are 3-0. Down 20-0 against division rival Minnesota, the team rallied back behind Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, who became the first player in history to tally two touchdown receptions in the first three games of the season. On the other hand, the downward spiral for the Vikes and Donovan McNabb continues. Remember when McNabb was considered one of the elite quarterbacks in the game? At this point, you have to wonder when the Christian Ponder watch starts.