Recap – Week 3

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New York Jets v Cleveland Browns

17-21

Baker Mayfield announced himself to the world last night as a QB to watch. The 2018 1st overall pick came on just before halftime with his team facing a 14-0 deficit, he played six first-half snaps and still managed to be the game’s leading passer entering half time with 47 yards on four throws.
In the second half he orchestrated a trio of scores that lifted the Browns to their first victory in 635 days. Their last victory came on Christmas Eve of 2016 against the LA Chargers, then known as the San Diego Chargers.

Mayfield showed impressive anticipation and lightning-quick responses that shredded a Jets defense that shined in the first half. He completed 17 of 23 passes (73.9%) for 201 yards and a passer rating of 100.1%, in just two quarters of action.

Jarvis Landry impressed for the Browns as well, teaming up with Mayfield for a ‘Cleveland Special’ that stimulated the FristEnergy Stadium with a tick play to tie the game at 14 with a two-point conversion.

The Browns had a late 16 yard touchdown run ruled out by an illegal-block penalty but that didn’t phase them, Mayfield found Landry once again for a 12 yard gain that set up Carlos Hyde‘s game-winning touchdown.

The Defense had a brilliant second half performance and closed out the victory by intercepting Sam Darnold twice in the final two minutes.  The number 3 overall pick has managed to complete just 56 of 93 passes (60.2%) with a 3:5 touchdown-to-interception ration and a 72% passer rating in the last three weeks. The youngest quarterback since the league’s 1970 merger needs to up his game if the Jets are to have any chance at beating a ferocious Jacksonville Jaguars, who are at the top of their game, next Sunday.

It was announced on Monday that Baker Mayfield will be the Browns’ starting quarterback and I’m doubt there any many, if any, Cleveland fans who will disagree with the decision.

 

Up Next: 

Jets v Jaguars – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Browns v Raiders – Sunday September 30th (4:05pm) 

 

 

Saints v Falcons

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons

43-37

We saw a game go to overtime for the third successive week.

Drew Brees broke the NFL record for career completions. He threw a 17-yard completion to wide receiver Michael Thomas at the 7:52 mark of the second quarter, moving ahead of Favre with 6,301 career pass completions to set a new NFL record. He is also the only QB in league history to have five 5,000 yard passing seasons (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016). His next record to break is Payton Manning‘s record of 71,940 career yards passing.

Brees wasn’t the only one to set milestones. With 10 catches, wide receiver Michael Thomas now has 38 catches through his team’s first three games of the season, an NFL record. Thomas broke the mark of 34, which was set by Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in 2015.

Running back Alvin Kamara continued to show he could hurt a team lined up wide of the line of scrimmage or as a receiver. Kamara posted 15 catches for 124 yards on an amazing 20 targets against the Falcons. Sunday marked the second 100 yard receiving effort of the season by Kamara, who had 112 yards in Week 1.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan tore an overmatched Saints pass defense, which entered the game ranked 29th in the league, by completing 26 of 35 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns. He got in to the groove early and found a weakness in the Saints’  cornerback P.J. Williams, who was matched up against rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley. With Williams in coverage, Ryan and Ridley connected for two touchdowns, one for 75 yards. Ryan also threw a 58-yard pass to wide receiver Julio Jones and a touchdown pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Ryan found eight different receivers to take the Falcons’ offense to 407 total yards.

 

Up Next: 

Saints v Giants – Sunday September 30th (4:25pm)

Bengals v Falcons – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

 

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Green Bay Packers v Washington Redskins

17-31

It was a big week for Adrian Peterson. The 33yr old running back ambled for his 52nd career 100 yard game, pounding through the Packers defensive for 120 yards on 19 attempts (6.3 average) and two touchdowns.
Peterson‘s vision remains superb, he jukes defenders. When he’s pounding, the whole Washington offense opens.

The Packers defense had no answer for the tight ends Sunday. Alex Smith hit Jordan Reed repeatedly on big plays, including a 34 yarder, and hit Vernon Davis for a big 50 yard play. Jay Gruden had Mike Pettine covered all day, scheming up wide open receivers repeatedly.

Green Bay did seem to suffer from an hobbling Aaron Rodgers who was clearly suffering more from his knee injury than he wanted to let on. The Packers also suffered another Clay Matthews roughing the passer penalty. The linebacker was flagged for a hit on Smith late in the third quarter with the Packers trailing by 11. The controversial call wiped out a 17-yard sack. The call was so contentious that 9 year NFL vet Jacob Tamme tweeted “If this is roughing the passer football is dead”.
It’s the third week in a row that Matthews has been flagged for a roughing call, including last week’s game-changing call against the Vikings.

The Redskins look like a team poised to make noise in a discombobulated NFC.

Up Next: 

Bills v Packers – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Redskins – Bye Week

 

 

Colts v Eagles

Indianapolis Colts v Philadelphia Eagles

16-20

The Colts’ most effective offensive threat was the under-thrown rainbow that might bring a pass interference penalty on the cornerback assigned to T.Y. Hilton. The most alarming sequence came in the one-minute drill with Indianapolis down by four points. After a series of check-down passes in which Andrew Luck was reluctant to look downfield, he was replaced by backup Jacoby Brissett for a Hail Mary attempt at midfield.

Carson Wentz’s return to action was a mixed bag. He started the afternoon with by leading the Eagles on a 12-play, 79-yard touchdown drive in which he used his trademark escapability and penchant for extending the play.
Although he continued to keep plays alive throughout the game, the offense was hindered for nearly three quraters until he completed all eight of his pass attempts on a 17-play, 75-yard drive – aided by a series of penalties against the Colts defense, they took the lead at 20-17 in the game’s final two minutes.

The Eagles’ defense shone too, with second-year pass rusher Derek Barnett sacking Luck on fourth down in the red zone to thwart Indianapolis’ most realistic shot at a comeback.

 

Up Next: 

Texans v Colts – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Eagles v Titans – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

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Buffalo Bills v Minnesota Vikings

27-6

The Buffalo Bills stunned the world of football when they thrashed the Minnesota Vikings 27-6 on home soil. On paper it looked like it would be a walk in the Park for the Minneapolis team who have won 20 of 22 home games in September since 2006.

The strength of the Bills’ defense baffled Vikings’ QB Kirk Cousins for two quarters of the game. They sacked him three times, forced two fumbles, allowed just 46 total yards, two first downs and didn’t not allow Minnesota to cross the 50-yard-line until the third quarter.
Coming out for the second half CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson relayed a first half comment from Mike Zimmer, in which the Vikings coach looked up and said “Oh my god, it’s 27 to nothing…”

Bills’ Rookie QB Josh Allen made being the quarterback look as easy as pie. He made heady plays, threw darts, and used his feet when necessary to baffle the Vikings defense. He found Chris Ivory for a 55-yard catch and run. Allen finished 15-of-22 for 196 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, one TD throw, a QB rating of 111.2 and two rushing scores.
His numbers would have been even more impressive  had Bills’ receivers not dropped several passes, including an deep dime that slid through the hands of Robert Frost.

This result just goes to show that although it may look like a win on paper, you can never be too sure what will happen when game day rolls around.

 

Up Next: 

Bills v Packers – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Vikings  v Rams – Thursday September 28th (8:20pm)

 

 

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Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins

20-28

The Raiders entered the game ranked 11th in the league against the pass, but Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill enjoyed a successful home outing, completing 17 of 23 passes (73.9 completion percentage) for 289 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Tannehill spread the ball around and connected with eight different receivers, achieving a 155.3 passer rating.
Albert Wilson led the way in receiving with a 74-yard scoring catch. He showed his skill set passing during a trick play in the fourth quarter. Wilson, the recipient of a double reverse, came to the right side of the line of scrimmage before pulling up to find wide receiver Jakeem Grant, who was wide open and lobbed in the short pass before sprinting for a 52-yard touchdown.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr‘s late fourth quarter interception in the end zone proved a brutal mistake, as the Dolphins capitalized two plays later on Wilson’s 74-yard touchdown.
Carr has been prone to errors during the Raiders’ 0-3 start, but the offense had a bright spot with wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The Raiders have alternated big production weeks with tight end Jared Cook in Week 1 and wide receiver Amari Cooper in Week 2. Nelson responded by hoisting in six catches for 173 yards and a touchdown on eight targets.

Up Next: 

Browns v Raiders – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Dolphins v Patriots – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

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Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens

27-14

Denver Broncos fans saw running back Phillip Lindsay ejected from the game just before half time for throwing a punch whilst in a pile of players, who were all battling it out to get possession of the live ball. The scuffle followed a strip sack of Broncos quarterback Case Keenum.
Lindsay was a key piece of Denver’s offense through the first two weeks, breaking 100 scrimmage yards in each game and becoming the first undrafted rookie to do so in the history of the NFL. He had four carries for 20 yards when he was ejected.

The Ravens offense is experiencing remarkable things, with Michael Crabtree ending with seven catches and 61 yards and John Brown with five catches, 86 yards. It makes the Baltimore’s offense amusing to watch when they combine with the running of Alex Collins. Baltimore are also a durable group, relishing the comeback after an early deficit. They maintained that confidence throughout the game to win after a performance they should be proud.

 

 

Up Next: 

Chiefs v Broncos – Monday October 1st (8:15pm)

Ravens v Steelers – Sunday September 30th (8:20pm)

 

 

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Cincinnati Bengals v Carolina Panthers

21-31

Christian McCaffrey was the channeler of the Panthers offense, showing he can mine between the tackles he got 99 first-half rushing yards and a career best 184 in total.  His 100 receptions in his first 18 career games is tied 4th for the most in the Super Bowl era, only behind OBJ, Anquan Boldin and Michael Thomas. He showed his must-watch artistry including a marvelous 45-yard first quarter gallop into the red zone, setting up Cam Newton‘s 56th career rushing touchdown, second only to Marshawn Lynch since 2011.
Newton subsequently warmed up the passing game with a 27-yard dart to a wide-open Devin Funchess before finding him again for a touchdown two plays later.
Newton (15-of-24 passing for 150 yards) looked comfortable finding C.J. Anderson for a 24-yard catch-and-run score before plowing through the Bengals’ defense for his second ground touchdown of the day to bury the Bengals in a 28-14 hole they wouldn’t get out of.

Luke Kuechly was seen heading to the locker room in the final quarter, to fans relief it was just for an IV to help with dehydration. The linebacker came back on just in time to help seal the win when he intercepted a pass in the end zone that was headed for a touchdown.

Donte Jackson impressed on defense hauling in two acrobatic picks, giving the rookie corner three interceptions in two weeks. Meanwhile, Obada‘s pick was paired with a body-crushing hit of Dalton that appeared to generate a fumble. Officials did however, overturned the call. The 26 year old wasn’t finished though, he curved around the edge with minutes left in the game to stop Dalton near Cincy’s goal line.

It was concerning to see a talented Bengals side bullied by Carolina’s ground game. Carlos Dunlap did all he could, tipping a Newton pass to force downs for the Panthers before later causing a Cam fumble that Newton ended up somehow recovering.

 

Up Next: 

Bengals vs Falcons – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Panthers – Bye Week

 

 

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New York Giants v Houston Texans

27-22

Eli Manning showed why no one should write him off. Whilst the Texans edged closer to mounting a comeback, Manning orchestrated a beautiful, nine-play, 77 yard drive late in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 7-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard to get the Giants’ their first win of the season. Manning‘s calm demeanor during the drive was exactly what they needed to stay one step ahead of the Texans. Manning finished the game completing 25 of 29 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie running back Saquon Barkley showcased his range of talents in being a potent offensive weapon for New York despite suffering a bruised knee early on that kept him sidelined for a portion of the first half. Barkley carried 17 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. Odell Beckham got 109 receiving yards on nine catches and Shepard, six catches for 80 yards.

J.J. Watt ended his sackless streak, tallying three QB takedowns. Watt more or less rolled over Chad Wheeler all game when it came to one-on-one matchups. Giants coach Pat Shurmur’s decision to start Wheeler came after frustrating performances by offensive tackle Ereck Flowers.

Deshaun Watson struggled with his aim and consistency playing behind the penetrable protection in front of him, completing 24 of 40 yards for 385 yards and two touchdowns. He threw a costly interception in the end zone in the final quarter when Alec Ogletree stepped in front of Lamar Miller, stopping  a promising-looking drive that started with a 37-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins in it’s tracks. Will Fuller had a strong game, pulling five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Hopkins made six catches for 86 yards. Their running game, however, was virtually non-existent.

 

Up Next: 

Saints v Giants – Sunday September 30th (4:25pm)

Texans v Colts – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

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Tennesse Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars

9-6

A week after Blake Bortles lit up the New England Patriots for 376 yards and four touchdowns, he barely broke 150 yards, completing 21 of 34 attempts for 155 yards. No touchdowns, no interceptions.

It was the same for the Titans too, Marcus Mariota‘s passing line was actually even more uninspiring. The quarterback, entered the game after Blaine Gabbert was knocked out by a hit from Malik Jackson, showed plenty of proof of why Tennessee didn’t want to play him this week.

Both Jacksonville and Tennessee recorded three sacks (Calais Campbell had two for the Jags) and four quarterback hits.

T.J. Yeldon had a nice day while battling through an injury, which might have ended up tripping up the Jags just enough to result in a loss.

Key stat categories; turnovers, penalties, time of possession, all fell in favor of the Titans. That was most likely the difference in a game we all wish we could unwatch.

 

Up Next: 

Eagles v Titans – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Jets v Jaguars – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

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San Fransisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs

27-38

Fans were left in a worried state after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was catered off with a knee injury and did not return. The Niners worst nightmares came to fruition on Monday when an MRI scan confirmed that Jimmy G had indeed suffered a torn ACL against the Chiefs on Sunday.
Second-year passer CJ Beathard will become their starter. Fans will be hoping he can pull off a miracle, but many think their season got carted off with Jimmy G.

The Niners have already endured their share of setbacks, losing running back Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL and veteran cornerback Richard Sherman on Sunday for at least a few weeks with a calf injury.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had a fantastic day, he has broken Peyton Manning‘s 2013 record of most passing scores in the first three games of the season. Mahomes notched his 13th touchdown pass of 2018.

The Chiefs are set to break another record this season as they are on pace for an astonishing 85 touchdowns this season. The gold standard is 76 held by Manning‘s 2013 Broncos attack that fell to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.

 

Up Next: 

49ers v Chargers – Sunday September 30th (4:25pm)

Chiefs v Broncos – Monday October 1st (8:15pm)

 

 

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LA Chargers v LA Rams

23-35

It was a back and forth game between the to Los Angeles sides.

The Rams put on an offensive clinic against their counterparts , pulling out 521 total yards and 33 first downs, tied for the most by a team this season. Jared Goff outplayed  Philip Rivers, putting up a near career-best 354 passing yards and three scores. For the majority of the game Goff was favored with a clean pocket, unperturbed by a Chargers pass rush that sorely missed Joey Bosa, and connected with Robert Woods
Sean McVay’s offense can beat teams a million ways, and they just keep getting better, they could potentially give the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense a run for their money.

The Chargers have constructed one of the league’s deepest rosters, though if they keep committing game-changing  unforced errors, then their accumulation of skill won’t matter. For example after Derwin James‘ interception, the rookie safety decided to run out of bounds at the one-yard line after catching the ball in the end zone. That decision set up an unmanageable set of downs, a three-and-out and a punt from their own four-yard line. The punt from Drew Kaser was blocked by  Cory Littleton and recovered for a touchdown.

Unfortunately for the Rams both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib left the game with calf and ankle injuries, respectively. The dynamic duo were replaced by Sam Shields and Troy Hill. Whilst it’s not yet clear how serious either injury is, if neither corner can recover in the next four days, then when they meet up with the Vikings on Thursday for a crucial inter-conference matchup, Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen will all enjoy a significant advantage.

 

Up Next: 

49ers v Chargers – Sunday September 30th (4:25pm)

Vikings v Rams – Thursday September 27th (8:20pm)

 

 

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Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks

24-13

Pete Carroll’s patience has been running thing recently but his relaxed approach on Sunday produced a nicely executed and balanced attack against the Cowboys. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed 16 of 26 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns, while as a teamthe Seahawks pummeled out 113 yards and a touchdown on 39 carries. The commitment helped the Seahawks control the game with a 32:44 mark in time of possession compared to the Cowboys’ 27:16.

Dallas entered Week 3 ranked third overall in the league in total defense and 30th in offense (265 yards per game). They improved the average slightly with 303 total yards against the Seahawks.
For a team with Dak Prescott and  Ezekiel Elliott, the lack of consistent production and imagination in play calling is puzzling. The Cowboys seem to be missing last season when they had wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten. The team must find a way to get the offense going after converting just three of 13 attempts (23 percent) on third down Sunday.
Prescott completed 19 of 34 passes for 168 yards, marking the ninth time in his last 11 games that he has failed to top 200 yards. He also threw two interceptions.

 

Up Next: 

Lions v Cowboys – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Seahawks v Cardinals – Sunday September 30th (4:05pm)

 

 

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Chicago Bears v Arizona Cardinals 

16-14

Rookie Josh Rosen was tossed in at the deep end when he came on as a replacement for Sam Bradford for the Arizona Cardinals who were trailing 16-14 with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter. Bradford managed just 40 yards on 15 pass attempts, ending with two touchdowns, two picks, a fumble and ultimately a seat on the bench.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy then made an incomprehensible play call; a run with Chase Edmonds on 3rd-and-2 that lost them three yards. Rosen threw a late interception after the Bears piled on the pressure.
Arizona got the ball back with 43 seconds left and no timeouts. Rosen got in position for a last-second haul but was sacked, ending the game. The 21yr old showed some mobility behind a floundering offensive line but it wasn’t enough. It was a tough and unfair spot for the No. 10 overall pick to make his pro debut, though he did manage to throw a 21 yard touchdown pass.

The Chicago Bears top the NFC North.  Khalil Mack had another superb game, getting two sacks, five tackles, three QB hits, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble. The Bears defense stood tall after taking some early punches from the Cardinals.
Chicago’s defense controlled the game, fighting back to from 14-0 down against a poor Cardinals offensive line.
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled for long stretches of the game but behind an improved rushing attack that took advantage of a winded Cardinals defense, the Bears were able to make a comeback and win.

 

Up Next: 

Buccaneers v Bears – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Seahawks v Cardinals – Sunday September 30th (4:05pm)

 

 

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New England Patriots v Detroit Lions 

10-26

The Patriots had a lackluster first half, only managing to score 3 points from a Stephen Gostkowski field-goal. Matthew Stafford, the Lions’ quarterback however had a great first half, throwing from every angle imaginable and throwing a touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay for 4 yards.

Stephon Gilmore pointed to Duron Harmon to pick up Marvin Jones, then realised he wasn’t going to so had to run to cover as much ground as he could to try and deny the Lions another touchdown but couldn’t cover it in time. Stafford with the 33 yard touchdown pass.

With 7.5 left on the clock Brady throws an interception. Caught by Darius Slay Jr, but there was a penalty on the play with Tavon Wilson making an illegal blindside block.

This was always going to be a tough game for New England with Matt Patricia having the inside knowledge from his 14yrs at the club. Belichick has tried to change the defense and as much of the offensive plays as he can but they’re still too similar to those during his time at the Patriots.
The Lions got their first win under Matt Patricia and Kerryon Johnson added to the party becoming the first Lions player to have a 100 yard rushing game since Thanksgiving of 2013.

This is the Patriots’ second loss in as many weeks.

Up Next: 

Dolphins v Patriots – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

Lions v Cowboys – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The home team went in at half time with a 10-30 deficit after Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in the first two quarters.
Tampa may have been down but they sure weren’t out, Fitzpatrick looked a changed man, throwing two touchdown passes, adding up to a record-breaking 10 touchdown passes in the first three games of the season, the most for the Bucs in team history.

With the score at 30-20 DeSean Jackson ran for an 83 yard punt return touchdown with just 9 minutes left on the clock, but, there was a flag on the play for holding by Isaiah Johnson, resulting in their touchdown being cancelled out.

Home fans needn’t have worried though as just four minutes later Fitzpatrick found Mike Evans for a 24yrd TD to extend Tampa Bay’s dramatic comeback and cutting the deficit to 30-27.

Even after the late drama, stats showed hoped for Steelers fans, they came in to the game 9-1-1 when Big Ben Roethlisberger throws a 1st quarter interception, which he did. Roethlisberger now has 300+ pass yards for the third straight game in a season for the first time in his career. He finished Monday night’s game with 353 yards and three touchdowns.

Unfortunately for Tampa their comeback came too late and the damage had already been done. The Steelers extended kept their record of never losing a game in which they have lead by 20+ points.

The biggest talking point of the game however, was not the comeback or the amount of interceptions thrown, it was Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald‘s devastating stiff-arm. After catching a pass from Roethlisberger, McDonald delivered a two-tiered stiff-arm to crush Buccaneers safety Chris Conte to the ground and open up a clear path to the end zone for a 75 yard touchdown.
It was such a shock that past and present NFL players got in on it on Twitter. Redskins’ Ryan Clark tweeted “Man I’m weak!!! 1) why was he so open 2) Ain’t nothing like getting mushed in front of your mom.” before following up with “Bruh!! I just can’t get over how hard dude just got punched. It was so disrespectful. Man forget the flags on Clay Matthews. That should be a flag for bullying!”.
Whilst Bengals tackle Chris Baker kept it simple with “Strongest stiff arm ever.”Melvin White reiterated his comment with “That was a mean stiff arm!!! 😳😳😳#MNF.”
Former linebacker, D’qwell Jackson stood up for defenders across the league tweeting “What about protecting the defensive player for a change, just saying.” 

 

Up Next: 

Ravens v Steelers – Sunday September 30th (8:20pm)

Buccaneers v Bears – Sunday September 30th (1pm)

 

 

 

All times are Eastern U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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