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Snarking Around the NFL: Week 3

It was one of the strangest weeks of football in recent memory, and a lot of that wasn’t even because of the actual football being played. Of course, in the cases of the Ravens, the Dolphins and the Chargers, “actual football” may be an overstatement, anyway.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
The number of photos of Chicago’s Jordan Howard running away while Steelers lay on the ground in the background is alarming.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Week one was terrible for all the blowouts. Week two was great, because of so many close games. Week three was...um...did that actually happen?

If you were hoping for football in Week 3, you had to search far and wide during the broadcasts to actually find it. Thanks to some comments made by President Donald Trump at a campaign rally Friday night for an Alabama Republican candidate regarding the ongoing, peaceful protests during the National Anthem at NFL games, Sunday’s television slate more closely resembled election-day Twitter wars than football. And the strange didn’t stop there. This happened:

The Jets won.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the New York Jets won. The J-E-T-S-Jets-Jets-Jets won a football game.

I know, I was as shocked then as you are now. I fear for the well-being of my wife and kids.

Ghostbusters: “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!”

But wait: there’s more.

List of the Week: Three things that are true after Week 3 that shouldn’t be true after Week 3:

3) The Bills, Jaguars and Rams are in first place

Holy signs of the apocalypse, Batman. If you would have told me in August that, on September 26, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles and Jared Goff would have their teams atop their divisions, I might have actually started to believe the world really would end on September 23 — if for no reason other than it was going to throw itself on the proverbial hand grenade just to prevent such a thing from coming to fruition.

2) The New England Patriots have the best offense — and the worst defense.

The first half of that should shock absolutely no one. It’s amazing what you can with the other team’s defensive signals underinflated balls a 40-year-old quarterback who eats an alien diet a 40-year-old quarterback who doesn’t have to worry about getting hurt, because a) the NFL takes care of him like no other, and b) he’s not even the family breadwinner. The second half, though, is pretty ridiculous, considering their defense was actually pretty doggone good in 2016. This year, though, they have the worst pass defense in the NFL, giving up an average of 330 yards per game, and the seventh-worst run defense, allowing 130 yards per game. Zoinks!

1) The Jaguars being in first place might not even be a fluke.

I mean, it’s not like they lucked into their two wins in the first three weeks of the season. They opened the season by beating the Texas — who were 23 seconds away from beating the Patriots on Sunday — by 22 points, in Houston. And, this week, they beat the Ravens by 37 in London. All told, their two wins have been by a combined score of 76-14. Blake Bortles actually resembles a quarterback, and their defense has been alarmingly good, relatively speaking. Granted, the Texans may as well not even be on the field when they don’t have the ball, and the Ravens had to face Ohio State University’s intramural and junior-varsity squads in weeks one and two. So we’ll have to see what happens to the Jags when they face something resembling an actual defense. Still, they’ve looked almost competent so far. Oh, their special-teams coach is a jerk, and I love him for it.

Meme Tweets of the Week

#WhoDey? Dey winless.

Fact: The Bengals are winless since giving Vontaze Burfict a contract extension. I’m calling it the Burfict Karma Effect, or the BKE for short.

It’s hard to argue. #TruthHurts

Go ahead and tell me you didn’t think the same thing. I dare ya. Not even the Steelers are off limits when you’re Snarking Around the NFL.

#UMadBro?

If at any point this week Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh complains about the Jaguars running a fake punt when up by 37, be sure to remind him he once repeatedly called for deep throws against the Steelers when up by 35.

Undefeated Teams Watch

A week ago, there were 10 undefeated teams in the NFL. this week there are...two. Yes, two. As in, 80 percent of the undefeated teams a week ago all lost in the same week. Losing in week three were the Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens, Broncos, Raiders, Lions, Panthers and Buccaneers.

For the record, the following teams have yet to win a game: the Bengals, Browns, Chargers, Giants and 49ers.

Stranger Things Stats

  • The states of Missouri (Chiefs, 3-0) and Georgia (Falcons, 3-0) each have as many wins as the states of New York and Ohio (five teams) combined.
  • Speaking of Ohio...since the Bengals’ epic meltdown against the Steelers in the 2015-season playoffs, the state of Ohio is on a 7-31 run.
  • In 2016, the Rams scored 224 points in 16 games, for an average of 14 points per game. Through three weeks in 2017, they have already reached 47.8 percent of their 2016 points total, with 107 points (35.67 points per game).

And, Finally...

Now it’s time for me to go all “Bob Costas” on you, since this is the part of this weekly feature I reserve for serious conversation. Note: I know we have many readers here who are not from the United States. Please bear with me.

We’ll all poke fun at the President’s words or at players kneeling, but we also each have personal feelings about it. We, the collective NFL fanbase, fall everywhere on the political spectrum and, thus, in our feelings on this current issue.

I’m not going to sit here and preach. If you’re interested, you can check out what I have to say about it. But the reality is we’re facing an ever-deepening political divide, and it is the toxic rhetoric from all sides that’s causing that chasm to continue widening. None of the issues we face today will be fixed by name-calling, rioting, or kneeling in protest.

It’s time for someone — anyone — to change tactics. For players, the reason for the protests is no longer the story. Instead, the headlines have all shifted, and they’re about the protests themselves. When we stop talking about the message in favor of bickering about the delivery method, we have, as a collective nation, lost the plot.

Someone has to step up, be the bigger person, and reach out to the other side. Forget the impact on the NFL; that’s just a bunch of games played to entertain the masses, and it’s meaningless in the grand scheme of things. For the good of the nation, we need to start talking to one another as brothers and sisters, rather than as enemies.

Don’t wait for celebrities and politicians to take the lead. In the end, they all work for us. It’s up to us to decide we want to fix it and then give those desires arms and legs.