There have only been three games, and the word “exposed” is pretty big, but the San Francisco 49ers sure have played back-to-back awful games. Losing big to a Super Bowl caliber team like the Seahawks in Seattle is one thing. Plenty of teams struggle to move the ball against them and they’re even better at home. But, losing big to the Colts, at home, is inexcusable for the NFC champs.
The Niners were 10-point favorites and lost by 20. They couldn’t move the ball through the air for the second consecutive week and, for who knows what reason, abandoned the run. Colin Kaepernick passed for only 150 yards and ended the Niners final two drives with a fumble at his own eight yard line and an interception at the Colts’ three. Indy’s defense attacked Kaepernick – sacking him three times – and held him to 20 yards on seven carries (14 came on one play).
The Colts opened the game up with a seven-play touchdown drive that never saw a third down, and ended with a one yard touchdown run by the newest Colt, Trent Richardson. Indy finished with 179 rushing yards, led by Ahmad Bradshaw’s 95 on 19 carries – the most rushing yards the Niners have given up to a team in the John Harbaugh-era. Dating back to last year, San Francisco has lost every game where their opponent has rushed for more than 140 yards.
The Colts travel to Jacksonville next week to play the worst team in football while the Niners play in just four days. Now without Aldon Smith and possibly Patrick Willis, against division rival the St Louis Rams, who gave them issues in both games last year, beating them once and tying them in San Francisco.
I’ll admit, Hard Knocks got me. Ray Donovan tells you over the course of five episodes about the potential of the team, and you believe it, even partially rooting for them. Then the season started, and things got a little iffy. Halfway through the third versus Green Bay, the Bengals were dazed and confused down 16. They had given up 30 unanswered points, their offense was ineffective, AJ Green was being shut out and Andy Dalton had already thrown a pick and fumbled.
Two Dalton touchdown passes later and the Bengals were down three in suddenly a three-point game that had earlier resembled a blowout. At this point, I was perplexed. One of the three best quarterbacks in football was throwing the game away and I was losing bad in the TSS fantasy league.
Still, Packers third string running back Jonathan Franklin was having a career day going 13 carries for 103 yards. Good fortunes turned horrifically bad when he fumbled on a pivotal fourth down try (and was stopped short). The Bengals’ Reggie Nelson initially recovered the loose ball, but fumbled himself. And there was the immortal Terence Newman who picked the ball up for a 58-yard fumble recovery touchdown eventually giving Cincy a 34-30 victory.
— The Titans and Chargers played a back and forth game that came down end of the fourth. Jake Locker connected with rookie Justin Hunter for the 34-yard touchdown pass in the game’s final seconds to pull out a 20-17 win over San Diego.
— The NFC East is 1-7 the past two weeks. The NFC East has one non-divisional win all season. Both of those belong to the Dallas Cowboys who improved to 2-1 following DeMarco Murray’s 175 rushing yards in a 31-7 curb stomping of the Rams.
— Granted, it’s still only Week 3, but the Miami Dolphins are 3-0 thanks to a Ryan Tanehill touchdown to Dion Sims with 38 seconds left versus Atlanta giving M-I-Yayo a 27-23 W. Also, don’t look now, but the Falcons are 1-2.
— The Saints cold be the league’s quietest undefeated team after a 31-7 victory over the Cardinals. While Tyrann Mathieu did have an interception in his return to Louisiana, Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham’s game of pitch and catch was far too much for the one blip on Brees’ Sunday afternoon to even matter.
— The first game of the post-Trent Richardson era in Cleveland is off to a booming start. The Browns were led by Brian Hoyer’s three touchdowns (he also had three INTs) to secure their first win of the season 31-27 over the still-winless Minnesota Vikings. Adrian Peterson’s daughter was not pleased.
— Detroit waltzed out of FedEx Field with a 2-1 record thanks to a 27-17 win over the Redskins. Sans an early pick-six to DeAngelo Hall, Matthew Stafford played virtually an error proof game finding Calvin Johnson and Nate Burelson often throughout. Speaking of the ‘Skins…
— There are more questions surrounding RGIII at the beginning of his second season as the Redskins quarterback than he has ever faced in his football career. Is he fully healed? Should they bench him for Kirk Cousins? Will he ever return to form? The likely answers are no, no, and yes, respectively. However, the biggest question mark dangling from the neck of the DC faithful should be, “Where the hell is the defense?” So far they’ve managed to give up a record-breaking 1,464 offensive yards over the first three games. With high-powered offenses like the Cowboys, Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, and Chiefs looming on the schedule, they’d better find some answers soon.
— Baltimore ruined Ed Reed’s homecoming by scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in a 30-9 route of the Houston.
— Josh Freeman’s 19-of-41 passing on Sunday isn’t going to make things any easier for him in Tampa Bay. The Patriots 23-3 victory moves New England to 3-0 on the season. In other words, the best possible start from a team with receiving core held together by prayer and Elmer’s Glue. The Pat couldn’t have asked for a better start while impatiently awaiting the return awaited tight end Rob Gronkowski.
— Cam Newton and Carolina beat the snot out of the Giants to the tune of 38-0 and somehow the score fails to depict how ugly the game actually was. New York allowed seven sacks and had 150 total yards.
— The Bears sit atop the NFC North undefeated thanks to a 40-23 road victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers who are, ironically, 0-3. If you have the Bears defense in fantasy football, you’re sitting high and mighty because they’re a better offense than the Jaguars’ offense.
— The Jets turned the ball over twice and committed 20 turnovers. Yet, somehow, someway, Geno Smith battled through the growing pains of two picks to toss 331 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 win over divisional foe Buffalo. Bilal Powell added a much needed 149 rushing yards for New York.
— Another week, another loss, another step closer to making #TankForTeddy a reality for the Jaguars fans. Seattle throttled Jacksonville 45-17 thanks to Russell Wilson’s four touchdowns. The one bright spot for the Jags? Cecil Shorts III had eight catches for 143 yards. Have some self-respect, Jordan Todman.
— Okay, yes, Drew Brees is incredible. Jimmy Graham is not of this world. We already knew this. The talking point from the Saints 31-7 thrashing of the Cardinals is how Fat Jesus has turned the defense around. The Saints have allowed only one touchdown drive that started in the other team’s territory in eight quarters. The Saints offense is still working out kinks especially with the O-line and Red Zone but the defense is looking as stout as any.
— It wasn’t exactly one big offensive play after another, but the Chiefs early season recipe of flash mob defense and Alex Smith playing keep-away propelled them to a Thursday night 26-16 victory in Andy Reid’s return to Philadelphia.
— Not related to the action on the field but ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown hosts Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson snagging passes one-handed off this machine is nothing short of awesome considering they haven’t played in years and the machine hurls balls out at 50mph. Most of us would probably look like Adam Schefter did when he gave it a go.
Photos: Getty GIF: CJZero