What We Learned from NFL Week 3: Winners, Losers, Standouts

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It was another fantastic showing from the NFL in Week 3 with plenty of clear winners, lots of unfortunate losers, and some truly exceptional standouts that we go over the game by game.

For all those who won big on these games, congrats on your wise wagers.

To everyone else, there’s always next week…good luck!

NFL Week 3 Results

Winning Team Results Week 3 Losing Team
Carolina Panthers 24 9 Houston Texans
Buffalo Bills 43 21 Washington Football Team
Cleveland Browns 26 6 Chicago Bears
Baltimore Ravens 19 17 Detroit Lions
Tennessee Titans 25 16 Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Chargers 30 24 Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints 28 13 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 17 14 New York Giants
Cincinnati Bengals 24 10 Pittsburgh Steelers
Arizona Cardinals 31 19 Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos 26 0 New York Jets
Las Vegas Raiders 31 28 Miami Dolphins
Los Angeles Rams 34 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings 30 17 Seattle Seahawks
Green Bay Packers 30 28 San Francisco 49ers

Carolina Panthers 24, Houston Texans 9

Winners:

  • Carolina Panthers: they go to 3-0 and move to the top of the NFC South.
  • Carolina head coach Matt Rhule: first he turned around a couple of college football programs (Temple and Baylor) and now he is turning around the post-Cam Newton Panthers.
  • Panthers QB Sam Darnold: he’s a born-again quarterback after some major Jets disfunction and now plays with a huge chip on his shoulder completing 23/34 for 304 yards.
  • Panthers WR DJ Moore: 8 catches for 126 yards, averaging 15.8 yards per catch.

Losers:

  • Houston Texans: move to 1-2 in the AFC South.
  • Texans QB Tyrod Taylor (hamstring): the journeyman can’t seem to shake his unfortunate injury luck.
  • Injured Panthers: Carolina may have won the Week 3 battle, but it could lose the war with injuries to RB Christian McCaffery (hamstring) and CB Jaycee Horn (foot).
  • QB Sam Darnold: lost his helmet on the QB keeper for the score.

Standouts:

  • “Darnold to Arnold” – it’s not only fun to say, QB Sam Darnold to TE Dan Arnold is a productive connection, with 2 receptions for 23 yards.
  • Virtual Panther – it was massive as it prowled the Bank of America Stadium drawing some panicked oohs and ahs from the hometown crowd.
  • Panthers revamped D: DC Phil Snow’s squad is now top of the league.

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Buffalo Bills 43, Washington Football Team 21

Winners:

  • Buffalo Bills: move to 2-1 after winning their second consecutive game and their first home game of 2021.
  • Buffalo Offense: QB Josh Allen proved he is no fluke after throwing 4 TD passes leading his offense to 481 total yards on the day (359 total passing, 122 rushing)
  • Bills WR Emmanuel Sanders: 5 receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Washington RB J.D. McKissic: the backup averaged 7.7 yards per run on 3 carries for 23 yards.

Losers:

  • Washington Football Team: move to 1-2 in the NFC East after having lost 8 of 9 games now against the Bills.
  • Washington QB Taylor Heinicke: threw two interceptions to offset his two touchdown passes.
  • Washington Defense: 0 sacks, 0 interceptions, allowed the Bills to gain 481 yards on offense.

Standouts:

  • Bills Backup QB Mitchell Trubisky: completed 100% of his passes (1/1 for 1 yard)
  • Bills Defense: produced three turnovers – a Tre’Davious White forced fumble with a Matt Milano recovery, a Jordan Poyer interception, and a Micah Hyde interception.
  • Bills HC Sean McDermott: joins Buffalo’s prestigious head coach 40-win club along with Marv Levy and Lou Saben
  • “This win is for Brian Daboll”: Bills dedicate their win to Daboll after the recent passing of the offensive coordinator’s grandmother.

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Cleveland Browns 26, Chicago Bears 6

Winners:

  • Cleveland Browns: move to 2-1, now tied with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.
  • Browns DE Myles Garrett: posts a career high 4.5 sacks on the day on top of his 6 tackles.
  • Cleveland WR Odell Beckham Jr: in his first game after being out for 13 games with a knee injury, OBJ posts 5 receptions for 77 yards.
  • Browns Rushing Attack: on the ground, Cleveland, led by Nick Chubb (22 car, 84 yards) and Kareem Hunt (10 carries, 81 yards, TD) had 215 total yards in this Week 3 win.

Losers:

  • Chicago Bears: move to 1-2 after a historically bad offensive performance.
  • Both Offensive Lines: a scary outing for both quarterbacks since the offensive lines allowed a total of 14 sacks in this game.
  • Bears Backup QB Nick Foles: not sure why, but the former Super Bowl MVP had to watch this one from the sidelines.

Standouts:

  • Bears Passing Attack: the team netted just one total passing yard on the day.
  • Browns QB Baker Mayfield: after popping his shoulder out of its socket last week, Mayfield led his offense up and down the field multiple times (19/31, 246 yards, TD, 0 INT).
  • Bears 47 Yards of Offense: last time Chicago netted less than its 47 yards of offense was in a 23-7 loss to the Detroit Lions in 1981 when they put up just 24 yards of offense.

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Baltimore Ravens 19, Detroit Lions 17

Winners:

  • Baltimore Ravens: now 2-1 in a tight race for the talented AFC North.
  • Ravens Placekicker Justin Tucker: set the NFL record with a 66-yard game-winning ‘single doink’ field goal that hit the crossbar and went through.
  • Baltimore Tight End Mark Andrews: Lamar Jackson’s sure-handed target Andrews caught 5 passes for 109 yards, averaging 21.8 yards per reception.
  • Lions Defense: they managed to sack elusive Ravens QB Lamar Jackson 4 times in the game.

Losers:

  • Detroit Lions: move to 0-3 after allowing the Ravens to beat them on with last second field goal.
  • Lions Defense: the game was won until they allowed the Ravens to fly down the field with just seconds to go.
  • Lions Fans: their ex-franchise QB Matthew Stafford is now 3-0 with the hot LA Rams while Detroit remain 0-3 in the chilly NFC North.

Standouts:

  • No Delay of Game Penalty: at the end of the fourth quarter, it sure seemed like the Ravens let the play clock tick past zero, but no flag was thrown.
  • AZ Cardinals Placekicker Matt Prater: until Tucker’s 66-yard boot, Prater held the record for the longest NFL field goal, a 64-yard field goal against the Titans in 2013, and more recently his 68-yard attempt on Sunday was returned by the Jaguars return specialist Jamal Agnew for a 109 yard touchdown.

Tennessee Titans 25, Indianapolis Colts 16

Winners:

  • Tennessee Titans: move to 2-1, now on top of the AFC South.
  • Titans RB Derrick Henry: after a relatively slow start to the season, Henry had 28 carries for 113 yards in Week 3, averaging 4.0 yards per carry while catching 3 balls for another 31 yards.
  • Titans WR Nick Westbrook: led the team with 4 receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown.
  • Colts Defense: sacked Tennessee QB Tannehill twice and picked him off just as many times in Sunday’s loss.

Losers:

  • Indianapolis Colts: they have yet to win and at 0-3 sit in the AFC South basement.
  • Colts’ 3rd Down Efficiency: only managed to convert on 3 out of 12 first down situations.
  • Titans QB Ryan Tannehill: tossed two interceptions to the Colts, not a good habit to get back into.

Standouts:

  • Titans WR Julio Jones: the star receiver did not finish the game for “management reasons” according to head coach Mike Vrabel, though Jones did finish with 3 catches for 47 yards on the day.
  • Colts QB Carson Wentz: despite being listed as questionable due to two sprained ankles he suffered in Week 2, Wentz shows his toughness and suits up for this one.
  • Titans LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi: say his name twice (if you can) because he had a sack and a half and two tackles, the former Steeler making a difference in Tennessee.

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Los Angeles Chargers 30, Kansas City Chiefs 24

Winners:

  • Los Angeles Chargers: now 2-1 after this shocking divisional upset, LA stays relevant the AFC West.
  • Chargers QB Justin Herbert: Herbert’s 4-yard TD pass to WR Mike Williams with 32 seconds left on the clock gave LA a surprising 30-24 victory.
  • Los Angeles WR Mike Williams: not only did he catch the game-winner, but Williams also posted 7 catches for 122 yards and 2 TDs on the day.
  • Chargers Defense: they sacked Mahomes twice and picked him off just as many times, plus they kept Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill out of the endzone.

Losers:

  • Kansas City Chiefs: the former champs move to 1-2 and the bottom of the AFC West, now actually looking beatable.
  • Chiefs Turnovers: turnovers lead to losses, and the Chiefs finished minus-4 in the takeaway/giveaway category.
  • Chiefs QB Mahomes: with the game eventually tied at 24, Mahomes threw an interception, a huge factor in Kansas City’s eventual downfall.

Standouts:

  • Chiefs TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill: despite posting respectable numbers, neither of these superstars found the endzone on Sunday, a rare site indeed.
  • Chargers head coach Brandon Staley: facing a fourth-and-9 with under two minutes left, Staley went for it and thanks to a convenient pass interference penalty, the drive was extended.

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New Orleans Saints 28, New England Patriots 13

Winners:

  • New Orleans Saints: now 2-1, the Saints stay in the early NFC South race.
  • Saints QB Jameis Winston: anytime Winston does not throw an interception in a game, it’s a huge win, and in this one his numbers were solid (13/21, 128 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT).
  • New Orleans Defense: a tough squad to face led by with 3 interceptions along with 2 sacks on the day.

Losers:

  • New England Patriots: they move to 1-2 and fall a game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.
  • Pats Rookie QB Mac Jones: he’s got HC/GM Bill Belichick’s blessings, but the young QB tossed 3 interceptions to his one touchdown pass, his first picks of the season.
  • Pats Rushing Attack: they lost RB James White to a hip injury, the star playmaker carted off the field in the second quarter.

Standouts:

  • Saints Backup QB Taysom Hill: running the ball 6 times for 32 yards and a touchdown, Hill proves he is still a useful Swiss Army Knife for the Saints.
  • Patriots Special Teams: they allowed a 25-yard punt return, had a punt blocked, two penalties and had a kickoff go out of bounds, uncharacteristic sloppiness from a Belichick squad.

Atlanta Falcons 17, New York Giants 14

Winners:

  • Atlanta Falcons: the first win of the season puts them at 1-2 but the remain at the bottom of the NFC South.
  • Falcons Placekicker Yunghoe Koo: the Falcons’ 10-point fourth-quarter comeback win was solidified by the first game-winner of Koo’s NFL career.
  • Giants Defense: for the first three quarters they showed up and kept the game winnable.

Losers:

  • New York Giants: now at 0-3, they let this one get away.
  • Giants Penalties: New York was penalized 8 times for 53 backwards yards, not helpful when you are already struggling to move the ball.
  • Falcons O-Line: they allowed QB Matt Ryan to get sacked three times on the day which is three too many for the 36-year old veteran.

Standouts:

  • Giants Retired QB Eli Manning: the home team retired the jersey of the 2-time Super Bowl MVP and proudly added his name to the franchise’s Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium.
  • Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith: he finally picks up his first win as an NFL head coach – here’s hoping the next win isn’t quite as sloppy.
  • New York’s Upcoming Schedule: next, the 0-3 Giants face the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Las Vegas Raiders – ouch!

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Cincinnati Bengals 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

Winners:

  • Cincinnati Bengals: the young franchise moves to 2-1 and challenges the AFC North.
  • Bengals QB Joe Burrow: with his surgically repaired knee looking solid, Burrow threw for 3 TDs and a pick to steal a huge win in Pittsburgh.
  • Bengals LB Logan Wilson: he snagged two of Big Ben’s passes for interceptions on top of posting six tackles with 8 assists on the day.
  • Cincinnati Defensive Line: they sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times, something that his old knees probably hated.

Losers:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers: they’re now 1-2 in an AFC North filled with 2-1 teams.
  • Steelers Offensive Line: they were manhandled by the Bengals D-line and they let their fearless leader Big Ben gets hit and sacked far too many times.
  • Bengals Penalties: they won this game despite being penalized 10 times for 89 yards, carelessness they must clean up if they expect to compete in their division.

Standouts:

  • First AFC North Win: this Bengals’ win was second-year quarterback Joe Burrow’s first victory against an AFC North opponent.
  • Steeler Sack Streak Stopped: Pittsburgh’s impressive streak of 75 consecutive games with a sack ended Sunday, a run that began in Week 9 of the 2016 season.

Arizona Cardinals 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 19

Winners:

  • Arizona Cardinals: just another 3-0 team in the NFC West, now one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
  • Cardinals WRs A.J. Green and Christian Kirk: these two helped QB Kyler Murray’s offense stay in the game with Green posting 5 catches for 112 yards and Kirk with 7 receptions for 104 yards.
  • Arizona CB Byron Murphy: now in his third NFL season, Murphy was stellar with two interceptions on the day.
  • Cardinals RB James Conner: his two rushing touchdowns helped Arizona dominate the day.

Losers:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars: they are 0-3 and do not look quite ready for their first win just yet, averaging just 17.7 points per game.
  • Jaguars / Cardinals 3rd Down Efficiency: neither team was all that impressive on third down, with Jacksonville converting on just 2-of-11 and the Cards on 1-of-9.
  • 2nd Half Jags Offense / Defense: up 13-7 at the half, the Jaguars only managed 6 second-half points while allowing the Cardinals to score 24 for the comeback win.

Standouts:

  • Missed Cards Jets Field Goal TD Return: the Jaguars’ return specialist Jamal Agnew took an early missed Cardinals field goal back 68-yards for a TD that gave Jacksonville fans some early (and false) hope.
  • Jaguars Placekicker Josh Lambo: he missed two of his extra points today, both of which essentially killed the positive offensive momentum the Jaguars had finally managed to build.

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Denver Broncos 26, New York Jets 0

Winners:

  • Denver Broncos: they go to 3-0 and join the 3-0 Las Vegas Raiders atop the AFC West.
  • Teddy Bridgewater: Denver’s journeyman quarterback might have finally found his new franchise home with the Broncos, completing 19/25 for 235 yards with no TDs or INTs.
  • Rookie RB Javonte Williams: the NC alum scored his first NFL touchdown on 12 carries for just 29 yards.

Losers:

  • New York Jets: winless after three weeks, the 0-3 Jets now sit uncomfortably at the bottom of the AFC East
  • New York’s Rookie QB Zach Wilson: with no touchdown passes and two interceptions, Wilson isn’t the first Jets’ rookie QB to struggle in New York.
  • Jets’ Punts-to-Red Zone Ratio: in this matchup, the Jets had a lot more punts (6) than red zone visits (goose egg).

Standouts:

  • Jets QB Zach Wilson’s Left Hand: after taking yet another hit, Wilson’s left hand had a serious ‘scratch’ that he called “no big deal” since it will “quickly mend.”
  • Broncos Placekicker Brandon McManus: he went 4/4 for field goals and 2/2 in extra points for 14 total points in the game.

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Raiders 31, Miami Dolphins 28

Winners:

  • Las Vegas Raiders: they move to 3-0 and join the 3-0 Denver Broncos atop the AFC West.
  • Raiders QB Derek Carr: after a slow start including an unfortunate pick-six, Carr was eventually 26/43 for 386 yards and two touchdowns leading his Raiders to a hometown overtime win.
  • Dolphins LB Elandon Roberts: the 6-year pro got Miami fans pumped up with a pick-six on the Raiders’ second possession of the game.

Losers:

  • Miami Dolphins: they are now 1-2 and on a two-game losing streak.
  • Dolphins Defense: they allowed almost 500 yards of offense by the Raiders who averaged 6.1 yards per play.
  • Las Vegas Defense: they allowed the Dolphins to convert on 3 out of 4 fourth downs.

Standouts:

  • 25 Straight Points by the Raiders: after getting down by 14 in the first quarter, the Raiders scored 25 straight points to get themselves right back in the game
  • Dolphins QB Jacoby Brissett: he didn’t even have 100 passing yards until the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles Rams 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24

Winners:

  • Los Angeles Rams: they become another undefeated 3-0 team in the NFC West.
  • The Stafford-McVay Connection: Rams head coach Sean McVay claimed all he needed was a better quarterback for his system, and apparently he found it in Matthew Stafford.
  • Rams Receivers: Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and now Desean Jackson gave Stafford plenty of talented options to target, LA with 331 total yards of passing.

Losers:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: the former champs are now 2-1 and proved they are indeed beatable.
  • Bucs on 3rd Down: Brady and the normally effective Tampa Bay offense converted on just 6 of 13 third downs and on just one of the two fourth downs they went for it.

Standouts:

  • Rams WR Desean Jackson: he scored his first touchdown as a Ram, a 75-yarder in the third quarter that made the 34-year old look (and probably feel) like a kid again.
  • Bucs Ran the Ball Just 13 Times: Tampa Bay only had 35 rushing yards on the day with 40+ year old Tom Brady their leading rusher (3 carries for 14 yards and a TD).

Minnesota Vikings 30, Seattle Seahawks 17

Winners:

  • Minnesota Vikings: they got their first win of the season, now 1-2 in the NFC North.
  • Vikings QB Kirk Cousins: he threw for three touchdowns in the first half for 323 total yards and a 128.4 passer rating.
  • Vikings WR Justin Jefferson: he pulled down 9 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown averaging 13.1 yards per catch.
  • Seahawks WR DK Metcalf: despite the loss, Metcalf had a winning afternoon with 6 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown averaging an eye-popping 17.8 yards per catch.

Losers:

  • Seattle Seahawks: on a 2-game losing streak, they move to 1-2 and have many questions to answer on defense.
  • Seattle’s Tepid Defense: with just one sack and no interceptions, the Seahawks defense allowed the Vikings to gain 453 total yards in the game while dominating the second half time of possession.
  • Russell Wilson: looks like he will have to get his 100th career win some other time.

Standouts:

  • Vikings’ Second Half Time of Possession: Minnesota had the ball for 22:40 after halftime — which equates to more than 75% of the second half.
  • Chris Carson: the Seahawks running back averaged 6.7 yards per carry in this one running the ball 12 times for 80 yards but no touchdowns.

Green Bay Packers 30, San Francisco 49ers 28

Winners:

  • Green Bay Packers: they are 2-1 and now firmly atop the NFC North.
  • Packers Placekicker Mason Crosby: the 37-year old NFL veteran had ice in his veins as he easily booted a game-winning 51 yard field goal.
  • 49ers Targets Kittle and Samuel: San Fran QB Jimmy Garoppolo is fortunate to have as targets tight end George Kittle (7 catches for 92 yards) and receiver Deebo Samuel (5 catches for 52 yards), though WR Brandon Aiyuk and FB Kyle Juszczyk both caught TD passes in this one.
  • Packer Fans: looks like Aaron Rodgers wants to win after all, completing 23/33 for 261 yards and 2 TDs with 0 INTs, and Green Bay’s fans (aka the team’s owners) could not be happier.

Losers:

  • San Francisco 49ers: they go to 2-1 and fall behind the Rams and Cardinals in the NFC West.
  • 49ers Front Line: they let Garoppolo get sacked four times in this one, which is far too many for the injury-prone quarterback.

Standouts:

  • Accidental Backwards Pass: trailing by just 3 points with about four minutes left in the game, 49ers QB Garoppolo tried to avoid a sack by throwing the ball at the ground, but it was an accidental backwards pass that gave the Packers the ball.
  • 37 Seconds: that’s all the time it took for Packer’s future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers to get his placekicker Mason Crosby within field goal range for the game winning 51-yarder.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]