It’s a week that ended with only two undefeated teams, and both are led by former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterbacks.
Two of the college dynasty’s last three starters (before current QB Bryce Young) won games against division rivals this weekend, with Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa beating the Bills at home and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts knocking off the Commanders.
What about the other of the last three starters, you may ask? Let’s just say things could be better.
After a wild weekend of action, here are five things we’ve learned after Week 3 of the NFL season.
The Eagles are 3-0 thanks to Alabama products Jalen Hurts and Devonta Smith (pictured)
Aaron Rodgers turned snitch in Tampa
Snitch might be a harsh word, but it comes across as more serious than tattle-tale.
Going into Sunday’s matchup between the Packers and the Buccaneers, all eyes fell on the two future-Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks taking the field.
Both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were looking for any ‘legal’ advantage they could find and Rodgers may have found his advantage with some help from Tampa Bay’s broadcast booth.
Down 14-6 on his own 11-yard line, Brady marched the Buccaneers down the field and into the Packers red zone with seconds to go. Brady snapped the ball about half a second too late from the play clock hitting zero. But the officials never noticed and didn’t check – allowing Brady’s strike to Russell Gage to stand.
Aaron Rodgers won the battle of future-Hall of Fame quarterbacks on Sunday over Tom Brady
Rodgers was eagle-eyed and notified Packers coaching staff with the Buccaneers going for two. ‘They showed it on the previous play, too,’ Rodgers added. ‘It was a delay on both plays.’
Needing a two-point conversion to tie the game and force overtime, Brady once again snapped the ball after the play clock hit zeros. This time, the delay of game penalty was called, leaving the Bucs with a 1st and Goal from the 7 yard line that they failed to convert – sealing the win for Green Bay.
‘Sometimes you see things in the game. Sometimes the Jumbotron shows things they probably shouldn’t show, even at home. I saw something, (and) I just passed on the information,’ Rodgers told reporters after the game.
Rodgers said after the game that he saw the play clock hit zero on the jumbotron, pointing it out to Packers coaches who then brought it up to officials
Prepare for a quarterback circus in Dallas
In the run up to Monday night’s game against the Giants, Jerry Jones was asked about the success his backup QB Cooper Rush was having. The response drew parallels between Rush, injured starter Dak Prescott and former starter Tony Romo.
‘Of course we want Dak to be here next week,’ Jones said. ‘That’s the thing, you do. But Dak and I want Rush to lead the team to a victory here and get another win. Looking back, when Dak was playing instead of Tony, it was game by game.
‘So do I think that it’s possible for Rush to come in here and play at a level and win games the way Prescott did when he took over for Romo? Yes I do. Yes I do. I certainly think that’s possible.’
Buckle down everyone, the Cowboys are at it again.
Dallas backup QB Cooper Rush lead the Cowboys to a Monday night win over the Giants
To Rush’s credit, his 21/31, 215-yard one-touchdown performance was key in the Cowboys’ 23-16 win over the Giants in the Meadowlands. He led the team down the field early in the fourth quarter ending the drive with a pass that CeeDee Lamb caught one-handed in the end zone for a touchdown.
Rush has guided Dallas to wins, but not ones that would convince you he deserves a starting spot over a healthy Dak Prescott. However, Jerry Jones has shown the ability to make random, franchise-shifting changes in the past.
Jones seems to welcome this controversy, which means it will be there whether or not either QB deserves it.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seemed to welcome a QB battle in comments made last week
It was a bad weekend to be a Super Bowl favorite
The three teams leading the preseason odds for Super Bowl favorites all lost Sunday, each in close fashion.
As mentioned earlier, the Buccaneers fell to the Packers thanks to a failed two-point conversion that didn’t lead to overtime.
When the Kansas City Chiefs were up 17-13 with a little over five minutes to go in the game, Matt Ryan got sacked by Kansas City’s Chris Jones on a 3rd and 7. That should have been the end of that drive, leading to a Colts punt and possibly a loss.
Instead, Jones got up and said some words to Ryan in front of two officials. The referees penalized Jones for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Colts a free 15 yards and an automatic first down.
Chris Jones gave up a crucial penalty, allowing Matt Ryan to win the game on a final drive
Indianapolis kept bleeding the clock until there was less than 30 seconds left. A late touchdown pass from Ryan to Jelani Woods put the Colts ahead. Kansas City had no time to mount a comeback, and they lost their first game of the season.
Buffalo also lost its first game of the season on a hot day in Miami. Fast forwarding to the Bills’ drive after Miami scored a touchdown to make it 21-17, Buffalo put together a long 18 play drive.
The drive began with 10:05 remaining in the fourth and ended with 1:49 to go – when Josh Allen couldn’t find Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone with two yards until the end zone. This game should have ended there.
Instead, the Dolphins were stymied in the shadow of their own end zone and the Bills used their remaining timeouts to force a punt on fourth down. Tanner Morstead handled the snap well, dropped the ball, and punted it… into the rear end of his own teammate. The ball rolled out of bounds for a safety.
That crucially gave the Bills two points and the ball back. Down by two points with 1:33 to go, Allen drove Buffalo to the Miami 43 yard line. There, the Bills were pushed back to their own 47 to attempt to move up the field and out of bounds.
The Dolphins brought pressure and forced Allen to throw an emergency pass to McKenzie. The ball was caught, but McKenzie couldn’t get out of bounds. A mad scramble to get everyone to the line was in vain, and the Dolphins won at home to improve to 3-0.
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen couldn’t string together a game-winning drive down in Miami
Dan Orlovsky has his ‘Braveheart’ moment
To some, Dan Orlovsky is nothing more than an ESPN NFL analyst. To others, Dan Orlovsky was the first bright star in the early history of a college football program that faded into obscurity. But on either side, Orlovsky is known for one incident.
After playing four years at the University of Connecticut – a team that was a bottom feeding independent that went 17-7 in his last two years – he was drafted by the Detroit Lions and began his career as an NFL backup.
It was during that stint with the Lions that he started his first ever NFL game on October 12, 2008 against the Minnesota Vikings. Backed up into his own end zone and lining up in a shotgun formation, Orlovsky dropped back to pass and rolled to his right. In the process of doing that, he ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
In his first start, then-Lions QB Dan Orlovsky ran out of the back of his end zone for a safety
It’s one of the biggest quarterback blunders in history. An unintentional safety by running out of the end zone is an embarrassment that Orlovsky owned solely.
That is, he did own that solely until Sunday night.
With the San Francisco 49ers up 7-3 in the third quarter of one of the most boring and ugly Sunday Night Football games in recent memory, Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo dropped back to pass in the end zone and kept backing up until he stepped out of the back.
In hindsight, Garoppolo would probably prefer the safety. The pass he threw fell into the arms of a Broncos defender who took it into the end zone, but it didn’t count.
Cut to Orlovsky on Twitter, celebrating that he wasn’t alone any more. He may still be the poster child for the blunder (Niners radio announcers in the immediate aftermath said Jimmy G ‘pulled a Dan Orlovsky’), but at least he’s no longer alone.
While attempting a pass, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also walked out of his end zone
Dan Orlovsky celebrated on Twitter after Garoppolo’s gaffe, rejoicing now that he’s not alone
The Raiders are the only 0-3 team in the league
This isn’t to dunk on the Raiders. This is to provide historical context into the parity that is present in the league.
The last time the NFL had only one 0-3 team at the end of Week 3 was all the way back in 1959 with the dubious honor going to the Detroit Lions. The Lions were truly awful back then, finishing out the season with only three wins to their name in a 12 week season. Somehow, their first three games that year included two games against the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts with a loss to the Packers sandwiched in-between.
As for their non-losses that year, Detroit got a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, two wins against the Los Angeles Rams, and a win over the Chicago Cardinals. That Cardinals team would move to St. Louis the very next season where they would stay for 27 seasons before leaving for Arizona.
Only six teams have managed to start their season 0-3 and still make the playoffs. The most recent was the 2018 Houston Texans. Of those six, only the 1992 San Diego Chargers made it past the Wild Card round.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has played behind an ever shifting offensive line this season
Considering how competitive the AFC West is this year, it seems like a tall task to believe the Raiders will become team number seven on that list. However, their schedule does play out easier than their first three games (Chargers, Cardinals, Titans).
By November, it’s possible we could see Las Vegas with a 3-4 record, having to play the Broncos, Chiefs, Texans, and Saints in October.
Vegas isn’t exactly helping itself by changing the lineups either. As pointed out by ESPN Raiders writer Paul Gutierrez, the Raiders have used seven offensive line combinations in just three games. That’s no way for QB Derek Carr to feel comfortable in the pocket and it won’t bring consistency or results.
When the Raiders host a struggling Denver Broncos team this Sunday, they’ll hope to be more productive and successful to capture win number one on the season.
New Raiders receiver Davante Adams probably didn’t expect the 0-3 start his team has