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Around the NFL: What We Learned in Week 3

There was quality football played this weekend. There was also a poorly scripted Laurel & Hardy routine played in eastern Pennsylvania by the team from western Pennsylvania. In between, there was other football content that may or may not be suitable for young viewers. For reference, those games are marked with the abbreviation “CLE”.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
When the defender is running away from the guy with the ball, you know something went badly wrong.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Holy replacement quarterbacks, Batman.

Sam Bradford has given the Vikings life. Dak Prescott is going to make it hard to give Tony Romo his job back if he gets healthy this season. Jacoby Brissett won his first career start, two weeks after Jimmy Garoppolo won his first start, both for the same team. Maybe the backup quarterback situation around the league is improving?

That’s just the tip of the week-three iceberg.

Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland.
You had it delivered to you on a golden platter. You had three different chances to score the winning points and choked them all up. A 46-yard kick in ideal conditions to win the game? Come on guys. You have to win something eventually...right? Well, don’t worry, you aren’t the only team in Ohio losing games. You are the only one doing it with such well-practiced flair, though. Oh well, I’m sure a few of you will be good enough to move up to varsity next year.

Since I’m taking my anger out on the AFC North...
Baltimore is officially 1) the best bad team in football right now, and 2) the worst division leader I can recall in recent memory. Yes, they won again. Yes, they are 3-0. But they beat the Bills, Browns and Jaguars — all in the bottom 14 teams in points allowed per game, and two of them (Cleveland, Jacksonville) tied for fifth worst. And they’ve beaten them by 6, 5 and 2 points. Quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown three touchdowns to four interceptions. Right now, though, the Baltimore defense is ranked 31st in yards allowed, and their offense is 23rd in points and 25th in yards. Until they prove me wrong, color me unimpressed. Don’t worry, though, Ravens fans. My shots at the Steelers are coming. I’ve got a whole week to do it.

The undefeated count is down to five.
Thanks, Steelers.

The Bills beat the Cardinals.
Yes, that’s worthy of a headline. The Cards were supposed to be the class of the NFC, and they lost to a team whose interim offensive coordinator — after Greg Roman was sacrificed at the altar of nepotism to save Brother Rob Ryan’s job — was calling plays for the first time. For Steelers fans from before 2012, there’s something poetic about media-favorite head coach and sexagenarian hipster Bruce Arians losing to the NFL coaching-staff equivalent of the Bad News Bears.

Indianapolis may have taken a snap from Terre Haute.
In the fourth quarter, leading 20-19, the Colts lost 108 yards in the span of four plays. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, it’s because the 30 penalty yards they racked up negated 78 yards in the other direction. If you just look at the downs that counted, the Colts went from 1st and 10 at the San Diego 49, to 2nd and 40 at their own 21. Along the way, the penalties canceled gains of 10, 58 and 10 yards. That is cover-your-eyes-bad football right there. But it’s funny as all get-out that a lot of us got treated to that after CBS gave up on the Steelers (about a quarter after the Steelers’ players did, if we’re being honest) and switched to the Chargers-Colts game. Hey, we needed a laugh, amiright?

College Football Bonus! Hey, at least the Steelers let us know early on it was going to be a bad day.
Their Heinz Field roommates, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, led ACC rival UNC pretty much the entire game...and lost it by one at the end.

And finally...I should have stayed in the woods another day.
Yours truly spent the weekend camping in Asheville, North Carolina with five friends. We sampled (that’s the key word here) about 70 craft beers, give or take a brew (or two). We ate excellent Indian street cuisine at Asheville’s Chai Pani. We visited breweries all over town. We dined Saturday evening at Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, where I stupidly allowed the spiciest edible ever concocted to pass my lips. I even had the pleasure of meeting a BTSC reader (cheers, Eli!). And I walked back in my front door about 35 minutes before kickoff.

In retrospect, rinsing my eyes with Rocky’s hottest spice blend would have hurt less. Rocky may be a heartless, sadistic nutjob, but at least he provided quality misery this weekend. I can’t say the same about that Chinese fire drill the Steelers tried to pass off as a football game.