Michael Vick(notes) was brilliant on Sunday at Jacksonville, which isn't a huge surprise. Entering the day, the Jaguars were allowing 300.0 passing yards per game; Vick threw for 291 yards and three scores against them. He added a 17-yard rushing TD late in the third quarter, just to remind you that he's perhaps a step (or nine) faster than Kevin Kolb(notes).
Vick found Jeremy Maclin(notes) for a pair of scores — those two have connected for four TDs in just two-and-a-half games this season — and DeSean Jackson(notes) hauled in five catches for 153 yards. D-Jax added his usual long touchdown, per the game script. LeSean McCoy(notes) had a relatively quiet day (13 touches, 61 yards), but he'll ultimately benefit when opposing defenses shadow Vick.
Right now, all's well in Philly. In fact, it's better than well. NFL analysts are inventing new superlatives to describe Vick, and fans are inventing new proper nouns to express their transcendent happiness (pictured above).
But as we've already discussed, if you're not shopping Vick right now, then you're not trying. The Jaguars were the last no-stress game on the schedule for Philadelphia. From this point on, the Eagles face nothing but division rivals and/or playoff-caliber teams. They have a brutal schedule. If you're expecting two or three passing scores and an equal number of jaw-dropping runs every game, then … well, then you won't consider flipping Vick, so there's no point in addressing you.
If, however, you're willing to consider the possibility that we're at or near the peak of the Vick market, then you'll survey your trade options this week. Huge statistical lines against Detroit and Jacksonville wouldn't move the value needle for any other QB, yet Vick is apparently an exception. Act soon, while the hype is at max volume.
• You probably don't need anyone to issue a fraud alert on Arizona, not if you caught a moment of the loss to Atlanta. The Cards required three missed field goals from Sebastian Janikowski(notes) in order to defeat the Raiders, 24-23. The final miss was pushed left from just 32 yards, resulting in a sad, sullen Sea Bass. Darren McFadden(notes) was a monster again for Oakland (105 rush, TD); Beanie Wells(notes) was similarly monstrous for the Cards (14 carries, 75 carries).
Moderately fun fact: Three members of the '07 Arkansas Razorbacks — McFadden, Peyton Hillis(notes), Felix Jones(notes) — combined for 292 rushing yards today. Just like old times, except for the part where Hillis led the way.
• We can perhaps excuse the Washington defense for giving up crazy numbers to Matt Schaub(notes) and the Texans. But 30 points allowed to the Rams, on a day that S-Jax checked out with a groin injury? That's a problem. It's possible that Mike Vick's 2006 flashback will last another week.
• The Colts were without Pierre Garcon(notes) (hamstring) and Anthony Gonzalez(notes) (ankle), and both Reggie Wayne(notes) and Dallas Clark(notes) had quiet days. You'd think that would be a recipe for an off-day for Peyton Manning(notes), but no. He threw for 325 yards and three scores. Austin Collie(notes) finished with 12 catches for 171 yards and two TDs, and it looks as if you won't sit him again until maybe 2015.
• Laurence Maroney(notes) didn't have an unusually noisy day for the Broncos, but he managed to gain 64 yards on 14 touches, and he appeared to have a new appreciation for ball security. You'll recall that chronic fumbling landed him outside the circle of trust in New England. Kyle Orton(notes) is now on pace for something like a 97,000-yard season after putting up 476 on 57 pass attempts in the loss to Indy. His top receivers on Sunday were Brandon Lloyd(notes) (6-for-169, TD) and Jabar Gaffney(notes) (12-140), but it seems clear at this point that he'll spread the wealth. Demaryius Thomas(notes) had a quiet day, stat-wise, but he was targeted in the end zone late. Unfortunately for those of us who FAAB'd him, Thomas appeared to suffer an arm/wrist injury, severity currently unknow.
• Unless you're a Chargers fan, you had to feel pretty good for Leon Washington(notes) on Sunday. He suffered a leg injury last season that appeared to be career-threatening. In Week 3, he almost single-handedly gave the Seahawks the win with a pair of kick return TDs. The closing speed is back. Seattle's defense didn't necessarily deserve a win — they allowed 455 passing yards to Philip Rivers(notes), and they had shockingly poor Gates-awareness.
• Dan Fouts, upon learning that Rivers had set the Chargers' single-game record for passing yards: "I'm happy for him. I'm not rooting for him because I'm a totally unbiased professional. But I'm happy for him."
• NFL RedZone unveiled the quad-box today. This is getting to be like the razor blade wars. Double-box, triple, quad … it's an arms race, apparently without end.
Early waiver plays for Week 4
RB Peyton Hillis, vs. CIN (41 percent owned)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes), at MIA (4 percent)
RB Willis McGahee(notes), at PIT (31 percent)
RB Kenneth Darby(notes), vs. SEA (0 percent)
RB LeGarrette Blount(notes), bye (0 percent)
RB Ryan Torain(notes), at PHI (1 percent)
RB Laurence Maroney, at TEN (36 percent)
WR Louis Murphy(notes),vs. HOU (28 percent)
WR Lance Moore(notes), vs. CAR (5 percent)*
WR Roy Williams, bye (27 percent)
WR/RB Dexter McCluster(notes), bye (36 percent)
WR Kenny Britt(notes), vs. DEN (33 percent)
QB Sam Bradford(notes), vs. SEA (28 percent)
QB Vince Young(notes), vs. DEN (47 percent)
QB Bruce Gradkowski(notes), vs. HOU (5 percent)
* He had a huge day that needs to be acknowledged (6-149-2), but the point of the Saints' attack is that they have many weapons. Any of them can burn you in any given week. There are no guarantees here, other than Drew Brees(notes) (365 yards, 3 TDs on Sunday).
• Steven Jackson suffered a first half groin injury of unknown severity, when Kedric Golston(notes) tried to remove his left leg. Video here. This is no small concern. Kenneth Darby is next on the depth chart, so yeah, there's a small drop-off. Jackson gave us one of the day's better highlights before checking out, a 42-yard rushing TD where he shamed LaRon Landry(notes).
• Michael Vick is having the big day that absolutely everyone expected (161 yards, two TDs at half). He's just 10-for-21, but don't let that distract you from the dominant narrative: Vick is everything that's good about America. Or something. Love that the announcers credit him for hanging in the pocket, even when there's no pressure whatsoever.
• Darren McFadden has 92 scrimmage yards and a touchdown at half, against the user-friendly Arizona defense. Imagine how bad the Cardinals would be if they didn't have that team meeting. Michael Bush(notes) (thumb) has one carry for -2 yards, so McFadden owners have nothing to fear from him just yet.
• Newly acquired running back Laurence Maroney got the start for the Broncos, not veteran Correll Buckhalter(notes). He nearly broke the plane on a 1-yard score on fourth down — it was ruled a TD on the field, in fact — but his knee hit the ground with the ball inches short of the goal line.
• Beanie Wells has returned to action for the Cards (finally), and the early returns are promising. His longest first-half carry went for 24 yards. The familiar power is evident, and Beanie actually vaulted a would-be tackler at one point, so the knee appears to be just fine.
• I was fairly sure that Eli Manning's(notes) left-handed interception (see below) was going to be the unrivaled Worst Play of the Day. But I underestimated Derek Anderson(notes). That improvised shovel pass was a special kind of funny/awful. Check the clip, and note the look that Hightower gives him following the INT.
• You might find this shocking, but DeSean Jackson caught a long touchdown pass against the Jaguars. Here's the tape, non-believers. Last week he had a 45-yard score, this week it was 61. Ho-hum.
• Austin Collie visited the end zone again, for the third straight game. (It was an almost unstoppable TD, off play-action in the red zone). He's actually scored in eight of his last 11 games, if you count the playoffs last season. Undrafted WR Blair White(notes) is getting some work, with Pierre Garcon inactive.
"There’s nothing ligament-wise that’s a problem, cartilage-wise as far as we know."
Willis McGahee already had fantasy relevance as a goal-to-go back; he's clearly the handcuff in Baltimore.
• Sebastian Janikowski split the uprights on a 55-yard field goal late in the first quarter at Arizona, and the kick was never in doubt. For his leg strength, he deserves your respect. For the angles that he takes on kick returns, not so much. Not your finest work there, Sea Bass.
• Frank Gore(notes) was pretty sure that the Niners should have beaten the Saints last week, but there's no way he's feeling cheated right now. The Chiefs destroyed the Niners on Sunday. It was cruel, unrelenting, and definitive. Jamaal Charles(notes) and Thomas Jones(notes) each topped 90 rushing yards; Dwayne Bowe(notes) caught a 45-yard score and rookie tight end Tony Moeaki(notes) made a fantastic grab on an 18-yard TD. Highlight here. Moeaki is looking suspiciously like a fantasy starter.
Gore was the only useful weapon for the Niners, as he finished with 145 yards from scrimmage and led the team in receptions with nine. Michael Crabtree(notes) was quiet again (3-for-37). So, um … so much for those playoff predictions.
• We have two RB injuries of note, both of which will require follow-ups late in the day, and again on Monday: 1) Ray Rice has a knee sprain, according to the in-game reports. Expect an MRI. Willis McGahee cleaned up for the Ravens late in the fourth quarter. The early diagnosis on Rice is promising. 2) Jahvid Best(notes) suffered a toe injury that sidelined him against the Vikes. Best finished the day with just 39 total yards on nine touches.
• Late in the fourth quarter, it appeared that Pierre Thomas(notes) suffered a leg injury of some severity, but he eventually popped up and walked off the field. He returned in OT. It appears that PT dodged a bullet. For maybe 20 seconds, Chris Ivory was a hot add. (Ivory received a bunch of short yardage work against the Falcons, but never moved a pile, and he fumbled once).
• BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the ground assault for New England, punching in a score mid-way through the fourth quarter. Eight different players had at least one carry for the Pats; Ellis had 18 for 98 yards, Sammy Morris(notes) had six for 19, and Fred Taylor(notes) had six for 16. Taylor also reportedly injured a toe. Don't get too attached to anyone there.
• LeGarrette Blount and Carnell Williams(notes) split the carries for the Bucs, and Blount eventually broke the plane late in the fourth quarter. He maybe celebrated just a bit too much on the score, considering the game circumstances. The Steelers held a 38-13 lead.
• Steve Smith didn't catch a pass from rookie QB Jimmy Clausen(notes) until the fourth quarter. Predictably, this was an ugly day for the Panthers offense. Jonathan Stewart(notes) finally got himself on the fantasy scoreboard with a TD, but he also lost a late fumble that setup a scoring drive for the Bengals.
• Roy Williams' 63-yard fourth quarter score didn't exactly have a high degree-of-difficulty, as the corner assigned to him stumbled. That was the second TD of the day for Williams, though. He's led a balanced attack; with 9:44 remaining in the fourth, five different receivers had multiple catches.
• Andre Johnson(notes) appeared to aggravate his ankle injury against the Cowboys, and he needed assistance leaving the field. AJ returned to the game, however, per his usual. No immediate need for panic.
• The Bills are threatening to blow up your suicide pool this week, as they're somehow hanging with the Patriots in New England. Buffalo quickly answered a 35-yard TD reception by Randy Moss(notes) with a 95-yard CJ Spiller(notes) kickoff return touchdown. That's two scores each for Moss and Spiller.
• Brett Favre(notes) has tossed two more picks in Week 3, versus the Lions, but Adrian Peterson is just an unfair weapon that cannot be stopped, or even slowed. Late in the third quarter in Minnesota, Peterson has 17 carries for 133 yards and two scores. His second TD was an 80-yarder that showcased AP's finishing speed.
But at halftime in Tampa Bay, Batch is 11-for-14 with 177 yards and three touchdown passes. Two of the TDs were bombs to Mike Wallace(notes), each of which covered 40-plus yards. Wallace has an even 100 receiving yards, and he has the early lead on the Week 3 scoring leaderboard. He's just a little too fast for the Bucs' secondary, it appears. The second touchdown catch was off a tipped pass, but Wallace had a mile of separation. Delightfully, Gus Johnson is on this game, so it seems much more exciting than it probably should.
• OK, this is just a ridiculous one-hander, Kellen Winslow(notes). That's an almost impossible catch, and he somehow got the feet down, too. We've been a little rough on Winslow in the ranks this season, but it's about the team context, not the player.
• Dez Bryant(notes) very nearly had a 44-yard jump ball TD against the Texans, but the rookie landed out of bounds. Later, he appeared to have another long score, but Bryant was flagged for going out of bounds on the route. He was clearly shoved out by the coverage; apparently he didn't return to the field with alacrity. (/Raftery)
• Baltimore's defense hadn't allowed a touchdown in the opening weeks, but Peyton Hillis managed to break the plane on a 1-yard score late in the first half. With Jerome Harrison(notes) out, Hillis is having a huge day, at least by his standards (100 total yards, TD, five receptions).
• CJ Spiller finally got on the board for Buffalo, catching a 5-yard score from Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes). Marshawn Lynch(notes) again leads the three-man Bills backfield committee (nine carries, 52 yards). You'll note that rookie TE Aaron Hernandez(notes) is having another solid day for the Pats (3-for-52); he hauled in six passes for 101 yards in Week 2.
• Brian Billick: "To strip the ball there, that's stripping your manhood at the same time." Goodness. That has to hurt a little. Billick was referring to Christopher Ivory's(notes) fumble on fourth-and-short in New Orleans. Ivory hasn't poached too much work from Pierre Thomas, but he's been at least a small factor. There's always a second back in the mix for the Saints.
• It probably won't be a clinic every week with Josh Freeman(notes), but didn't appear to be rattled by Pittsburgh's D in the first quarter. He put a filthy move on Lawrence Timmons(notes) on an 11-yard scramble, juking the linebacker to the turf. LeGarrette Blount actually led the Bucs in both carries and rushing yards at the end of the first quarter (4-for-26), and he dragged a defensive back five or six yards on his longest gain of the day.
• Lance Moore was left entirely alone on this 80-yard score in New Orleans. There's wide open, and then there's whatever that was. We've seen an odd number of uncovered receivers in the early games today; Percy Harvin(notes) didn't encounter any resistance on his 24-yard TD, and Anquan Boldin(notes) heard no footsteps on his second score.
• Chris Johnson absorbed a solid hit from Keith Bulluck(notes) (no slouch) at the goal line in New York, but CJ2K remained on his feet as the linebacker crumpled. Halfway through the second quarter, Johnson had already reached double-digit fantasy production. There will be no disappointment this week.
• Dexter McCluster made a pair of nifty moves on his 31-yard score. When that guy runs a timed 40, the results generally aren't impressive, but he's like a live wire in game action.
• Captain Munnerlyn(notes) may sound like a Vonnegut character, but he's actually a Carolina cornerback. Carson Palmer(notes) hit Munnerlyn right between the numbers on a first quarter INT. It appeared that Palmer and Chad Ochocinco(notes) weren't on the same page on the route, which should never happen with those two. Palmer began the day 0-for-3.
• The day's first TD belonged to Jeremy Shockey(notes), who caught a 2-yard layup from Drew Brees. Lance Moore did the heavy lifting on the possession, however, with a 72-yard punt return. He's filling in as a return man while Reggie Bush(notes) is sidelined. Pierre Thomas had a pair of red zone touches for the Saints, but couldn't quite break the plane.
• Eli Manning's first interception of the day wasn't entirely on him, as Hakeem Nicks(notes) had a chance to make a play. But Eli's second interception was one of the more boneheaded throws you'll see — it was a left-handed push, under duress. Straight from the Worst of Favre collection. Here's the lowlight.
• Tony Gonzalez(notes) needed roughly eight minutes against the Saints to reestablish himself as an elite fantasy option (just in case you were down on him after the slow start). He's opened by gaining 61 yards on his first three catches, reaching the end zone on a 13-yard score.
You guys! Hey! It's time! Get your Ray Rice jerseys and matching magenta wigs! (So fierce). Paint each other's faces! Hurry! Game on!
Join us over at Fantasy Football Live at noon ET for roster advice and late-breaking news. Also, please check back with Sunday Scene later in the day for updates, commentary and quasi-analysis. You'll find the most recent injury updates here, and the Week 3 position ranks here.
If you haven't already done so, you'll want to remove Pierre Garcon (hamstring), Ryan Mathews (ankle) and Knowshon Moreno(notes) (hamstring) from fantasy lineups. And if you happen to own all three, then maybe you should just catch up on some scrapbooking today, or some yard work. Or you could take the kids to that creepy cartoon owl movie. Your call, chief.
Photos via Getty Images (Ravens fans, Philly fans), AP Images (Batch/Wallace, S-Jax), and US Presswire (McCluster)