A record-breaking game-winning field goal, the (joint) longest play in NFL history, overtime thrillers and touchdowns aplenty – NFL 2021 week three was full of action.
Favourites are failing, rookies are shining (we are looking at you Ja’Marr Chase) and we witnessed a ton of terrific games. The season so far has been pure entertainment.
Here, we highlight those players, teams and front office personnel who came out of week three smelling of roses, and those who will be licking their wounds as the season continues.
A 66-yard field goal had never before been successfully kicked in the National Football League when Baltimore’s Justin Tucker lined up for a record-breaking attempt as his team trailed the Detroit Lions 17-16 with just three seconds left on the clock.
Tucker, who had hit 49 consecutive fourth-quarter field goals, unleashed a monstrous boot in an effort to make NFL history. His kick cannoned off the crossbar before bouncing through the uprights to send the Ravens bench wild with delight.
The 31-year-old is arguably the greatest at his position in the history of the game. The former Texas Longhorn has a 90.58% success rate on field goals during his career, making him the most accurate NFL kicker ever.
Add an NFL record 66-yard field goal to his résumé and few would dispute his greatness – Tucker is a lock to go to the Hall of Fame one day.
There was not just the one record-breaking feat in week three – well, this one was record-equaling – as Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jamal Agnew had his own moment in the sun.
However, his record play could have easily been a glorious moment for Arizona Cardinals kicker Matt Prater. And it could have completely stolen the aforementioned Tucker’s thunder.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 26, 2021
Prater’s 68-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half fell just short and landed in the hands of Agnew at the back of the Jaguars’ endzone.
Agnew, a fifth-year wide receiver and return specialist out of the University of San Diego, blitzed through the kick coverage – made mostly of offensive linemen – for a 109-yard touchdown return. In the process he joined former Charger Antonio Cromartie and Atlanta Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson as a member of the prestigious 109 Club.
However, Agnew would likely have traded the magnificent feat for a Jaguars’ victory – unfortunately Jacksonville fell to a 31-19 defeat against the undefeated Cards.
Your first NFL start is meant to be a joyous occasion, a milestone which cements the hard work a rookie has made during his high school and college careers to make it to the professional ranks.
Quarterback Justin Fields has the world at his feet in Chicago, but his debut at the helm of the Bears’ offense was ruined by one man, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.
The #1 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft was a man possessed on Sunday afternoon. The former Texas A&M Aggie set a Browns franchise record for sacks in a single game with 4.5 as the AFC North side recorded a 26-6 victory over the Bears.
Garrett, an All-Pro last season, has had his ups and downs since entering the NFL. His undoubted talent has allowed him to record 43.5 career sacks through his first four-and-a-bit seasons in the NFL, but he has been on the wrong side of NFL sanctions previously.
In 2019, Garrett tried to hit Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with Rudolph’s helmet during a brawl, earning an indefinite suspension. He missed the remainder of the campaign.
Since then Garrett has let his play on the field do the talking and he certainly had a day to remember in week three.
The Buffalo Bills look set to have a free run at the AFC East title after Josh Allen and co. trounced the Washington Football Team 43-21 at Bills Stadium on Sunday.
Josh Allen, a potential MVP candidate if he continues his blistering early-season form, threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns, adding a fifth trip to the endzone with his legs.
Allen is surrounded by offensive talent with a running back corps which includes Zack Moss and Devin Singletary, and talented receivers like Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 26, 2021
The Buffalo defense includes several star playmakers – especially in the secondary. Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are all Pro Bowl calibre talents. Add in the likes of Ed Oliver, A.J. Epenesa and Tremaine Edwards, to name a few, and the Bills are set to be good for a considerable period of time.
It also helps that the New England Patriots (1-2), Miami Dolphins (1-2) and New York Jets (0-3) have obvious weaknesses – two are starting rookie quarterbacks and the other is currently starting a journeyman signal caller due to injuries.
All is bright in Buffalo, who will almost certainly make the playoffs this season.
Philadelphia Eagles’ Draft Capital
2021 may not be the greatest year for the Philadelphia Eagles. A second-year quarterback leads an offense headed by a rookie head coach, young receivers are going through some NFL growing pains and the defense is yet to record a turnover through three games this season.
However, owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman admitted in the offseason that the priority was rebuilding the team which won the Super Bowl in February 2018 rather than a ‘win now’ philosophy’.
That is no more evident than what happened this offseason. They traded quarterback Carson Wentz to Indianapolis for a conditional second-round pick – it becomes a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the offensive snaps this season, or 70% of snaps and the team makes the playoffs.
Roseman also made a draft-day move with the Miami Dolphins which earned them the AFC East side’s first-round pick in 2022. Both Miami and Indianapolis lost in week three.
As it stands, Philadelphia owns the #3 overall pick (Indianapolis), #6 overall pick (Miami) and #10 overall pick (own pick) in next April’s draft – The Eagles could potentially end up with three top-10 overall picks – or use that draft capital to pursue a blockbuster trade.
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Let’s hear it for New York, the place where football brings nothing but misery in 2021 as both the New York Jets and the New York Giants sit at 0-3.
The Giants suffered a last-second defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons (1-2), who had looked abject in their opening two contests of the season. Kicker Younghoe Koo the hero of the hours, booting a 40-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.
The Giants’ next seven games? New Orleans (2-1), Dallas (2-1), LA Rams (3-0), Carolina (3-0), Kansas City (1-2), Las Vegas (3-0) and Tampa Bay (2-1). Big Blue could conceivably go 0-10 to open the season.
The Jets, meanwhile, fared even worse in week three as they were shutout by the Denver Broncos in a 26-0 loss. The offense is averaging a mere 6.6 points per game in the opening three weeks of the season with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson totalling just 628 yards, two touchdowns and a league-leading seven interceptions.
The Jets have an easier run of things than their local rivals when it comes to the upcoming schedule – they play Tennessee (2-1), Atlanta (1-2), New England (1-2), Cincinnati (2-1) and Indianapolis (0-3) – but can their offense score enough points to earn them a victory?
The big winner from the struggles in the Big Apple? Potential draftees wanting to live a high life in the city that never sleeps.
We won’t dwell on the performance of Zach Wilson too much, but it was a week to forget for the five rookie quarterbacks who started in the NFL this weekend.
Wilson, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, Chicago’s Justin Fields. New England’s Mac Jones and Houston’s Davis Miller went a combined 0-5 and their combined stat line was even more worrisome.
The quintet tallied just 885 passing yards – including just 68 from Fields against Cleveland – three touchdowns and eight interceptions. Wilson and Lawrence have both tossed seven picks in their three starts to date – joint leaders in that category.
Being a rookie quarterback isn’t easy, and all five are on teams which failed to make the playoffs in 2020. Things don’t figure to get any better in 2021.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay took to the podium prior to Sunday’s in-division defeat at the hands of the Tennessee Titans to discuss the health of quarterback Carson Wentz.
Irsay and head coach Frank Reich traded a conditional second-round pick, which could yet become a first, for the former North Dakota State quarterback after Wentz fell out with the Philadelphia Eagles during this offseason.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) September 26, 2021
A former #2 overall pick, Wentz has all the physical tools to be an MVP-calibre player, attributes he demonstrated on the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl back in 2017. However, he has suffered a series of injuries which have hampered his development.
In Indianapolis alone, he suffered a pre-season foot injury and in week two he sprained both his ankles, making him a game-time decision for week three. In the end he played the entire contest.
Wentz is also unvaccinated against COVID-19, a ‘personal choice’ which Irsay himself doesn’t seem to be happy about.
The owner told FOX 59: “He has to stay healthy, there’s been difficulties. And it also makes it difficult if you’re not vaccinated, you know, because it makes it harder to depend on someone if they’re not vaccinated.”
An 0-3 record, an oft-injured and unvaccinated quarterback at the helm, and potentially no first-round pick in 2022. No wonder Irsay is not smiling right now.
Kansas City Chiefs
Who would have had the two-time defending AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs sitting in last place in the AFC West after three weeks of the season?
That is the reality of the situation facing Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Arrowhead faithful as they sit at 1-2 after a 30-24 defeat at the hands of rivals the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mahomes was not his scintillating self in this contest as he threw two interceptions – including one on a ‘no-look’ pass which he is renowned for – with the latter gifting the Chargers a shot at victory. It was a shot they duly accepted with a late touchdown.
The Las Vegas Raiders (3-0) and Denver Broncos (3-0) remained undefeated – adding to the Chiefs’ worries in a highly competitive division.
Head coach Andy Reid was also taken to the hospital by ambulance after the contest due to illness – we wish ‘Big Red’ all the best and hope to see him back on the sidelines against his former team Philadelphia in week four.
Nick Sirianni’s ‘Beat Dallas’ T-Shirt
In the buildup to the Philadelphia Eagles’ divisional matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, head coach Nick Sirianni sported a ‘Beat Dallas’ t-shirt during practices and press conferences.
When you give the opposition that kind of bulletin board material you have to back it up with a performance – the Eagles did not and got embarrassed on primetime.
An abject display on defense allowed Dak Prescott and his plethora of offensive weapons to do as they pleased while on offense, the Eagles seemed to have trouble executing simple plays, regularly receiving ‘ineligible man downfield’ penalties on run-pass option plays.
The final score, 41-21, doesn’t showcase how outplayed and out-coached Philadelphia really was.
Perhaps instead of wearing ‘Beat Dallas’ merchandise Sirianni should concentrate on coaching a team that is 1-2, just got demolished on national television and leads the league in penalties (34) through the opening weeks of the season.