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For only the second time since 1970, not a single team in the NFL made it to 4-0, with the two remaining undefeated teams, Arizona Cardinals, and Cincinatti Bengals, falling this week. Whether this is an indication of a solid balance league-wide and a tight playoff race is yet to be seen, however there are still several one-loss teams remaining. Another week, more blowouts, with four different teams winning by a margin of it least 21 points. With a bye week for the Oakland Raiders and a 17-9 loss for the Jacksonville Jaguars, they both remain the only winless teams remaining. Teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers continue a surprising fast start, surging up the power rankings.
Blowout of the Week
New England Patriots 43, Cincinnati Bengals 17
For the second week in a row there were a plethora of blowouts, this one takes the cake for a few reasons. A 31-0 shutout out victory for the Chargers over the Jets is impressive, but considering how bad the Jets offense has been of late it doesn't mean much. A blowout for the Broncos over the Cards did give them their first loss of the season, but it's expected from an powerhouse team like Denver especially when the third-string QB goes 1-8 passing after Drew Stanton came out with an injury.
For the second week in a row the Patriots are featured in this category, thankfully for them, their on the side with greener grass. After a meltdown game for Brady and company last week, lots of question began to arise, a big-bounce back game was necessary, and Brady didn't dissapoint.
The Bengals came in to the game of their bye week, starting the year perfect at 3-0. A balanced rushing game featuring Giovanni Bernard complimented a hot passing offense with Andy Dalton and AJ Green, and a much improved defense lead them to most impressive start this year.
Brady came out the gate firing, driving the offense 80 yard down-field in the first 5 minutes for a touchdown, going 2-2 for 50 yards. The Patriots never looked back, on the next possesion they took advantage of a missed field goal as he hit his two tight ends consecutively finishing with a 17 yard Touchdown to Tim Wright. After an AJ green fumble and two field goals, the Pats went into halftime with a 20-3 lead, and a fiery intensity that seemed to be missing last week.
The Pats went on to take the game in blowout fashion but for what seems like the first time this year the Pats were really able to execute on offense. With solid protection, 203 yards on the ground from Ridley and Vereen, and a solid performance from the receiving corps, especially the Tight Ends combining for 185 yards receiving, and two touchdowns.
The Bengals didn't play awfully, a lot of drives they just weren't able to get into a rhythym and a lot of that can be attributed to cornerback Darelle Revis for shutting down AJ Green while he was on the field, (AJ Green's touchdown was while Darelle Revis was out hurt.) Also, mistakes were a big downfall for the Bengals, every team has big mistakes, it's part of the game, but a great team can bounce back from them, but a few key fumbles prevented the Bengals from really making a bid to comeback.
Comeback of the Week
Cleveland Browns 29, Tennessee Titans 28
There wasn't much argument in determining the game for this category. A comeback from the St. Louis Rams from a deficit of 27 points was nearly the winner for this category if it weren't for a desperation Eagles stop, but I suppose a 25 point comeback will have to do.
Sunday, the Browns set a franchise record for the largest comeback in team history, and boy did they do it in dramatic fashion. The Titans jumped out to a 28-3 lead with Jake Locker passing and running for one before being taken out for injury, but backup Charlier Whitehurst was able to come in and throw two more touchdown passes. Ultimately the Browns were able to drive down in the last minute to get a touchdown in before the half, starting their record comeback.
Only 3 points in the third quarter, left them down 15 points going into the fourth quarter, quite a tall task. A safety and a touchdown later, the Browns were down only 6, a touchdown would win the game. With 3 minutes left, the Browns defense came up huge stopping a Whitehurst sneak on 4th and 1, giving them the ball on Tennessee's 42 yard line and a hot Brian Hoyer with a chance to comeback.
A 23 yarder to Wideout Miles Austin, and another 6 yard pass play, lead to a game winning throw from Hoyer connecting with Travis Benjamin for his second touchdown of the day. The Extra Point gave them a one point lead with only a minute left. Whitehurst and the offense were unable to make much of a drive to point them in position for a field goal, and ultimately blew their 25 point lead.
The Titans will look to bounce back against the lowly Jaguars, but it's impossible to continue without questions arising about Jake Locker, he's proven to be injury-prone, is he really their franchise guy?
Game of the Week
San Francisco 49ers 22, Kansas City Chiefs 17
Unfortunately, Alex Smith's return to San Fran was spoiled by a vicotry from the 49er's ultimately halting the Chiefs on their last drive with an interception off of Smith. Phil Dawson, kicker for the 49ers finished with a fantastic game going 5/5 including a 55, 52, and game sealing 30 yd. field goal.
The 49ers were able to drive downfield early, but struggled finishing off their drives and settling for field goals, alot of this can be attributed to the missing red-zone tight end and deep threat Vernon Davis, and it was noticeable. On the 49ers last drive, Harbaugh called a risky direct snap on a 4th and 1 punt, a move especially risky for somebody on the hot seat, but it panned out and ultimately lead to Phil Dawson's final field goal of the game.
After the field goal, the Chief's offense, and former Niner' Alex Smith were given little over two minutes to drive down the field and score a touchdown, but they didn't need that much time. On only the second play of the drive, Smith overthrew his target leading to a game-sealing interception by Perrish Cox.
Surprisingly, second string halfback Knile Davis, coming into the game with 321 yards, only received two carries the entire game, a questionable decision by Head Coach Andy Reid. Through the air Alex Smith struggled to really complete enough passes for victory finishing 17/31 for 175 yards.
Two tough wins in a row from the 49ers may have very well saved Harbaugh's job for now, but a 5 point victory against a fairly weak Chiefs team isn't impressive for a team of this Caliber.