The Falcons were all over the Chargers wire to wire here. Matt Ryan was fantastic throwing for nearly 300 yards and 3 touchdowns with just 1 interception. Conversely, Phillip Rivers looked a lot like he did last season throwing 2 interceptions and no touchdowns. This game was a blowout from start to finish and wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicates. By the end of the game the Chargers were just trying to stop the bleeding and the game actually ended on consecutive Phillip Rivers kneel downs.
The Cardinals are somehow 3-0 now after another big upset victory. the thread of their games has been teams with terrible offensive lines have a great deal of difficulty blocking their front seven which is near elite. The Cardinals have the most sacks in the NFL over the past 11 games dating back to last year. Mike Vick managed not to throw any picks today, but it couldn’t stop the Eagles turnover troubles as they still had 3 fumbles lost and turned it over twice on downs. Kevin Kolb might have played the best game of his career throwing for over 200 yards and 2 scores with no interceptions. The Cardinals did not turn the ball over all day.
The Texans hit the races after getting off to a bit of a slow start and finding themselves in a 5-0 hole and responded with 21 straight points. One NFC scout texted NFL.coms Albert Breer that Manning “can’t throw the ball anymore” and that really sums up this football game. Manning completed less than half his passes and got lucky as the Texans secondary dropped at least 4 easy interceptions. The Broncos rallied late when Manning threw a 31-yard TD to Thomas but the play was overturned after replay. The Broncos still went on to score on the drive thanks to a pass interference penalty and close the gap to 25-31. Just like last week in atlanta, the Broncos were unable to complete their rally and they fell 25-31.
I’ll start this by fast forwarding to the 4th quarter. The Steelers entered the quarter leading 21-31. With about 14 minutes left in the game Raiders WR Darius Heyward-Bey took a monster helmet to helmet hit in the end-zone, he was eventually immobilized with a back brace and carted off the field. I Would call it a dirty play if I weren’t so sure it wasn’t intentional. Cortez Allen appeared to be nearly in tears and was clearly shaken that he had caused such a devastating injury. Heyward-Bey was motionless for nearly ten minutes but finally raised his hand with a thumbs up to comfort the home crowd. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital immediately. The Raiders went on to score a touchdown on the drive to draw within 3.
On the ensuing Steelers drive Antonio Brown was stripped while trying to get extra yardage and the ball popped straight up in the air and landed in the hands of Raiders LB Phillip Wheeler. The Raiders went on to tie the game with a 32 yard FG. The Steelers fumbled again on the next drive, but Mike Wallace was able to recover his own fumble, narrowly avoiding disaster. The Steelers went on to punt to the 25 yard line on the drive with 1:43 remaining in the game.
The Raiders drove quickly down the field with a few big plays including a 17 yard catch and run by Jonathan Hagan to get to the 25 yard line. The Steelers lost DE Ziggy Hood on the next play, no word yet on the injury but it looked serious, perhaps even an ACL tear as his knee was rolled up on by an offensive lineman. The Raiders set up a 44 yard FG attempt for Janikowski (maybe the best kicker in the past decade) who easily knocked it down for the win as time expired.
The Steelers defense was terrible in this game. even holding the Raiders WRs on almost every play, they were still completely unable to defend almost any route and Carson Palmer had open targets all day long.
This was the game of the week so far.
The Ravens are on deck now and are currently on the field warming up. Kickoff is at 8:20 ET.