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September 28, 2011

Role Reversal: NFL Week 3 Recap

In recent years, a “typical” weekend in the NFL would consist of the New England Patriots winning, the Jets keeping pace with the Pats and the AFC East race close, and the Detroit Lions losing another game.

That is no longer the case as roles have been reversed thus far in this NFL season, and Week 3 proved to be just the opposite of a “typical” weekend of football.

In what was my first – and most exciting – game of the week, the Buffalo Bills continued their offensive tear as well as using a solid defense effort to shock the New England Patriots with a 34-31 comeback win.

The New England defense had no answer for Buffalo’s league leading offense, allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick and company to tally yet another 30+ point game.

However, in the process, the Bills had to mount yet another epic comeback – similar to that of last week against the Oakland Raiders to pull out the win.

The Pats jumped out to an early 21-0 lead midway in the second quarter.  It seemed as though this game would be a blowout. But, Fitzpatrick and the Bills never gave up an rallied for 10 points before the half.

The Bills came out of halftime and took over the game.

The Bills scored 24 points in the second half and ended with a last second field goal to pull out the victory and now see themselves sitting atop the AFC East in first place.

Despite allowing 387 yards and 4 touchdown passes to Brady, the Bills managed to do something most defenses have not been able to do which is pick Brady off an unprecedented four times.

Brady threw two picks of which were deep in Buffalo territory.  Wes Welker set a franchise record with 217 yards receiving on 16 receptions; Rob Gronkowski also had a solid game with 109 yards receiving and two touchdowns, but Buffalo held everyone else in check.

Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards and two scores and outmatched Brady with a 92.6 quarterback rating to Brady’s 86.  The Bills will look to go 4-0 next week when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals.  The Patriots will look to bounce back and get back in the chase for the AFC East lead when they take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 4.

So, we’ve seen one deviation from a “typical” NFL weekend, but time to get back on track, Right?


In yet another upset, and my second game of the week, the Oakland Raiders defeated the New York Jets 34-24.

For the first half, we saw back and forth scoring from both teams with the Jets capitalizing on a rushing touchdown from Mark Sanchez, a passing touchdown from Sanchez to LaDainian Tomlinson, and a Nick Folk 21 yard field goal to account for their 17 points in the first half.

However, the Raiders matched the Jets with 17 of their own.  Their scoring consisted of a two yard rush and a seventy yard dash from Darren McFadden.

The Raiders capped off their first half scoring with a 54 yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal.  But, after halftime, it was all Raiders from there.  They used two rushing touchdowns from Denarius Moore and Michael Bush and another field goal from Janikowski to outscore the Jets 17-7 in the second half in what turned out to be a convincing victory.

For what is usually a dominant defense, the Jets had no answer for the rushing attack of the Raiders.  McFadden rushed for 171 yards rushing and a touchdown.  The Raiders added two other rushing touchdowns and added efficient play from quarterback Jason Campbell to pull out the win.

Darren Mcfadden showed Sundaywhy he may be one of the best running backs in the NFL..

On the other side of the ball, Mark Sanchez had a good game despite the loss with 369 yards and two touchdown passes.

What are the implications of this game?

Well, the loss by the Jets gave the sole division lead to the Buffalo Bills, and the benefit of the Raiders win moves them into a tie for the first with the Chargers in the AFC West.   The Jets will look to get their third win against the tough Ravens in Week 4 while Oakland will look to stay atop the AFC West with another win when they play the Patriots in Week 4.

Finally, in what may have been the biggest role reversal of all, was a Detroit Lion comeback victory in Minnesota, who are now off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1980 by the Detroit Lions as they pulled out an overtime win against the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 26-23.

This was Detroit’s first win in the Minnesota in 13 games.

The win didn’t come easy though.

The Vikings jumped out to a roaring 20-0 first half lead.   Two Ryan Longwell field goals, a six-yard Adrian Peterson rushing touchdown, and an eight-yard toss from Donovan McNabb to Visanthe Shiancoe made up the early 20-point lead.

However, Mathew Stafford and Calvin Johnson came out of halftime on fire.

They hooked up with an early 32 yard touchdown pass and catch followed by a five-yard score later in the fourth quarter.  Also, Jason Hanson added three other field goals to take a late 23-20 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Vikings tacked on a field goal with just over a minute left to force overtime.  But the Stafford and Johnson duo triumphed again as they hooked up for a 40 yard pass and catch to move the Lions into scoring position.

Hanson immediately added a 32-yard field goal to win the game and keep the Detroit Lions undefeated for the season.

It is strange to say due to the recent woes the Lions’ organization has suffered, but the Lions are tied for the NFC north division lead with the Green Bay Packers.  Detroit will look to stay undefeated in Week 4 when they face the Dallas Cowboys while the Vikings will fight to get their first win of the season when the go up against the Kansas City Chiefs next week.

We saw some unusual things happen in Week 3 of the NFL.

The Lions, Raiders, and Bills all lead or are tied for the lead in their divisions. So far, this NFL season has shown some role reversals as we see teams that have struggled in recent years rise to the top.

We can only watch week to week to see which of these teams are true contenders for the playoffs.

Some intriguing games to keep an eye on for Week 4 include the Steelers versus the Texans in Houston, the New York Jets against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, and finally the Detroit Lions visiting Cowboy Stadium as they take on the Dallas Cowboys.

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About the Author

Cody Harner
Associate Copy Editor for IUSportCom.com. Junior majoring in Sports Marketing and Management at Indiana University.



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