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NFL Week 3 Recap and Analysis – Jets Hold On in Miami

Jets – 31, DOLPHINS – 23

The third Sunday in the young NFL season commenced last night with a thrilling affair that resulted in the New York Jets barely hanging on to beat the Dolphins, 31-23, in Miami. Quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns, two to tight end Dustin Keller and one to wideout Braylon Edwards.

By winning their second consecutive game, the Jets now sit atop the AFC East in a three-way tie with the ‘Fins and New England Patriots, all at 2-1. If Miami had won, they would have been 2 1/2 games ahead of New York with the tie breaker. The Jets did themselves a big favor by beating another divisional opponent, something that may come into play later in the year for postseason berths.

PATRIOTS – 38, Bills – 30

New England won a shootout at home against the Buffalo Bills, 38-30, who also released Trent Edwards today. He had started the first two games of the season at quarterback for the Bills before being benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick and now the team is reeling and winless after three games. Perhaps new head coach Chan Gailey set the precedent for a bad season by chastising fans at training camp for booing the team. The situation is a mess up in western New York.

Colts – 27, BRONCOS – 13

Another division looking tight is the AFC South, with Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee all at 2-1. The Colts left Denver 1-2 after a convincing 27-13 win over the Broncos. The Horseshoes are clicking on a  cylinders the past two weeks and will be a factor all year long.

Titans – 29, GIANTS – 10

The Titans went into the Meadowlands Stadium and embarrassed the Giants, 29-10. Chris Johnson ran for 125 yards while Big Blue shot themselves in the foot with three turnovers (two inside the Tennessee 6-yard line), committed five personal fouls and missed two field goal attempts. The Titans imporved to 2-1 while New York fell to 1-2.

That makes it two ugly loses in a row for Tom Coughlin’s bunch and the wheels could be coming off really soon for the G-Men. Brandon Jacobs followed up the helmet throwing incident in Indy last Sunday night with 17 yards on 4 carries and starting OT Kareem McKenzie was benched after committing two of the personal fouls.

Cowboys – 27, TEXANS – 13

Two teams that had been winless broke into the column on the left with season-salvaging victories. The Dallas Cowboys (1-2) showed up in Houston and took down their interstate rival Texans, 27-13, while Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings picked on the hapless Detroit Lions and won going away, 24-10. No telling what would have been the headlines had either one or both of these 2009 playoff teams started off 0-3.

Quarterback Tony Romo had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) to silence the 71,000-plus in attendance. The Texans fell to 2-1 and need to shake this one off as a loss to a non-divisional opponent, regardless of where they play.

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VIKINGS – 24, Lions – 10

With a passing attack slowed down by injuries and the age of the quarterback, Minnesota got off the schneid by hnding the ball to Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 160 yards and two scores. For Detroit (0-3), Shaun Hill went 29-for-43, 237 yards and one touchdown in place of the injured Matthew Stafford.

Falcons – 27, SAINTS – 24 (OT)

The defending Super Bowl champions appear as if they may be suffering from a Super Bowl hangover after all. They looked shaky in their opening win versus Minnesota and now lost a divisional game against their rival. A missed 29-yard field goal attempt by Garret Hartley in the extra session spurned on the Falcons, who drove down the field and won it when Matt Bryant connected from 46 yards out with under two minutes to go before a tie would have been declared. Both teams are now 2-1.

Bengals – 20, PANTHERS – 7

Jimmy Clausen got his first NFL start at quarterback for Carolina but could not get them in the win column. The former Notre Dame star threw for 188 yards and no scores while Cincy QB Carson Palmer sealed the game with a fourth quarter toss to Credric Benson.

At 0-3, the John Fox watch may be on in Charlotte. The Bengals improved to 2-1.

Steelers – 38, BUCCANEERS – 13

Using their third different starting quarterback since the pre-season while awaiting Ben Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension to run out, one would figure that Pittsburgh would be in big trouble. But exactly the opposite is true as they won again to start off 3-0.

Byron Leftwich was hurt in the summer, so Dennis Dixon took over. But he, too, became injured last week so enter Charlie Batch. The veteran had not started a game in nearly three years but led the way with three touchdown passes.

For Tampa Bay (1-2), their struggles continue as Josh Freeman gains some valuable experience in his first season as the starting quarterback.

RAVENS – 24, Browns – 17

Eric Mangini must be nervous every time his telephone rings after another poor performance by the Browns. Head honcho Mike Holmgren cannot have liked what he saw, especially with Anquan Boldin catching three strikes from Joey Flacco for scores.

Baltimore upped their record to 2-1 and bounced back after a bad game last week in Cincinnati.

CHIEFS – 31, 49ers – 10

Two of the season’s early surprises met yesterday at Arrowhead Stadium and followed suit. Kansas City is now 3-0 and San Fran still winless following the lopsided outcome. No one expected Kaycee to contend and many expected the Niners to challenge for the NC West, but that’s why they play the games.

Matt Cassel caught the 49ers off guard on a fake end around and threw a 45-yard strike to Dwayne Bowe for one of three scores on the day for the former Patriot quarterback.

RAMS – 30, Redskins – 16

Snapping a 14-game losing streak is not an easy task, but St. Louis made it look that way by dismissing Washington at the RCA Dome. Overall number one draft pick Sam Bradford threw for 235 yards and a touchdown while back-up running back Kenneth Darby put the Rams (1-2) ahead for good in the third quarter after starter Steven Jackson was injured.

Washington (1-2) has lost two straight after beating Dallas in the opening Sunday night game of the season.

Eagles – 28, JAGUARS – 3

The resurgence of Michael Vick continued as the former Falcon franchise player had four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in a blowout win over  hapless Jacksonville. Philadelphia (2-1) won for the second straight time with Vick under center and apparently do not miss Donovan McNabb one bit.

David Garrard had a miserable day for the 1-2 Jags by going 13-for-30, 105 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. This team will be picking high in next year’s draft.

CARDINALS – 24, Raiders – 23

Arizona escaped with a narrow one-point win over Oakland when Sebastian Janokowski was wide left on the last play of the game from 32 yards out. The kicker also missed two other attempts during the game and his team dropped to 1-2. Things are not well in northern California and head coach Tom Cable may be in trouble if the Silver and Black do not turn it around soon.

For the 2-1 Cards, Derek Anderson had two touchdown passes and LaRod Stephens – Howling had a 102-yard opening kickoff return. Although they played sloppy at times, Arizona walks away with a win when a loss would have been a tough pill to swallow at home versus a sub par opponent.

SEAHAWKS – 27, Chargers – 20

Little Leon Washington came up big yesterday in the Pacific north west with two kickoff returns for touchdowns. The former Jet special teams standout took the opening kick of the third quarter 101 yards and Seattle was on their way, leading 17-0 at that point.

But San Diego came back and tied the game 20-20 with 6:39 remaining in the contest. But Washington took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to the house to put the ‘Hawks in front for good and improve their record to 2-1.

At 1-2, the Chargers are a bit of a disappointment so far, having also lost to divisional foe Kansas City in the matinee on the Monday night affair in Week One.

Photo by William J. Hauser

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