8 Takeaways from Week 3 in the NFL

Let’s look at some of my biggest takeaways from week 3 in the NFL

1. Roughing the passer is stupid

Now that the catch rule seems to be figured out, we have a new controversy: roughing the passer. Clay Matthews has been vocal about the rule since two of the three he’s been called for looked like textbook tackles. There were four called in the first half of last night’s game between the Steelers and Buccs. Three looked like perfect tackles. One by JPP was an accidental head contact while fighting through a defender. The rule needs to change. NFL quarterbacks are big, strong athletes. Often bigger than most of their team. I know they are the money makers, but it’s getting to the point where it’s costing teams games. What’s the alternative to squaring up a QB and laying a textbook hit and landing on him? You could swing him down with your arms. But I’m sure that would result in a flag too.

2. Are the Patriots in trouble?

The Patriots are 1-2 after losing to a bad Lions team in primetime. While the Patriots always seem to bounce back from slow starts, this season feels different. Teams are taking away Gronk, which is forcing other receivers to make plays. Unfortunately, they aren’t. With Edelman back in week 5 and the addition of Josh Gordon, that problem should correct itself. The big issue seems to be the defense. Everyone thought they looked good in week 1 after they shut down the Texans. But now that the Texans are 0-3, that performance may be more a product of the Texans’ lack of offense than the Patriots’ improved defense. Also, is anyone else surprised that the Pats didn’t put up more of a fight late in their last two losses? Tom Brady and the offense almost seemed to give up, which is NOT the Patriot Way.

3. Baker Baker touchdown maker

The Baker Mayfield era has finally begun in Cleveland. Baker was my highest rated quarterback going into the 2018 draft and he showed why. His accuracy, mobility, and confidence pulled the Browns from the depths of hell to get their first win since 2016. With the rest of the AFC North struggling, Baker could lead be in position to lead the Browns to the playoffs, or even a division title.

4. Steve Wilks needs some help

Steve Wilks just doesn’t seem to quite understand how being a head coach works. I know he’s a defense-oriented guy, but he obviously has the final decision on Josh Rosen entering the game. And entering him in that situation was not the right thing to do. If you wanted Rosen to go in, that’s fine. Just do it earlier in the game when he’s not forced into passing every play. Give him a chance to run a regular offense, not the two minute drill. If Steve Wilks doesn’t figure things out soon, he may be on the hot seat.

5. The Dolphins continue to roll

Tannehill has now won 11 of his last 12 starts. Although the Dolphins haven’t played outstanding opponents yet this year (Titans, Jets, Raiders), they are finding ways to win. That was the MO of the Dolphins team that made the playoffs a few years back. The first real test for this team will be this week at the Patriots. If they can hold their own or even squeak out a win, this team can prove that it belongs at the top of the AFC East.

6. Josh Allen was “impressive”

The Bills stunned the Vikings, winning 27-6 in a game where they were 17 point underdogs. People were very impressed with Josh Allen. To me, his athletic ability was impressive. And even though his passing numbers were good, the passes themselves were not. Many of his completions were short throws or screens. Which is fine if it gets you wins. Athleticism and short throws is how Tyrod Taylor got the Bills to the playoffs last year. While this team isn’t playoff bound, they could get some wins and build some confidence for Josh Allen.

7. Gruden is still winless

I know Jon Gruden hasn’t coached in 10 years, but you’d think he’s remember that football has two halves. His team has played well in the first half of every game this year. But then they get blown out in the second half. I’m not sure if teams are able to easily figure out Gruden’s gameplan or if he’s just coaching poorly. Either way, he needs to figure this out quick before fans turn on him.

8. Mahomes keeps rolling

Pat Mahomes has certainly been fun to watch. He had a play that literally looked like a touchdown from a video game. However, I’m still cautious about this team. We’ve seen many Andy Reid teams start hot and falter later in the season. While Mahomes may be the real deal, let’s wait a few more weeks before we decide whether winning a shootout is sustainable for 16 games.

-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)

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