Fifth Quarter, Week 3: Which coaches are starting to feel the heat?

Jay Busbee
September 23, 2013

Welcome to the Fifth Quarter, the only NFL recap column you’ll ever need. It’s the only one to provide a full day’s supply of Vitamin C, after all. Here’s what was going on around the rest of the league while you were selfishly focused on your home team and your fantasy players.

You remember when you were on your first day of a new job? You were wearing those ill-fitting, scratchy new clothes, wondering which of your new co-workers were secret freaks or psychopaths, and generally hoping that you'd figure out what the hell you were supposed to be doing within three or four months.

Yeah, the NFL isn't like that. You perform or you're out the door. And if you're a head coach, your job situation has all the stability of tissue-paper with a full-grown wildebeest charging. You're one jackleg receiver's dropped TD pass, one brick-fisted fullback's key fumble or one overmatched quarterback's terrified cowering from losing your job and uprooting your family. And the worst part is, the very people who're supposed to be backing you are already packing your bags.

Of course, the two-comma salaries and the achieving-a-life's-dream thing mean we don't feel sorry a bit for these guys. That said, here are several coaches who might want to be polishing up their ol' LinkedIn profiles.

• Mike Shanahan, Redskins. Shanahan had already lost the support of the fans with his decision to feed Robert Griffin III's knee into a meat grinder last postseason. With an 0-3 start, he's risking the loss of his owner's support, too. Of course, this is a guy who famously gave up on his team last year only to see them go on a playoff run. He may be a devious genius, but this is definitely pushing it.

• Greg Schiano, Buccaneers. Schiano is that classic kind of college-dictator coach who arrives in the NFL to find that the players aren't exactly terrified of a dude with a whistle ... and that he's no longer the biggest dog in town.

• Mike Tomlin, Steelers. You don't need to give Steelers fans reasons to hate you; they'll break out the knives if you choose the wrong meat on your Primanti Bros. sandwich. But going 0-3? Yeah, that doesn't help your cause.

• Leslie Frazier, Vikings. The real-world version of a fantasy football dilettante. "You mean I've got Adrian Peterson on my team? Awesome! Who needs a defense?"

• Rex Ryan, Jets. Sure, they're 2-1, but it's the Jets. They might fire him by mistake.

• Tom Coughlin, Giants. Coughlin seems absolutely invulnerable to either shame or firing. If some punk in the Giants organization tried to can him, he'd just ignore them and keep coming to work. And nobody would have the guts to tell him to leave.

Andy Reid, Eagles. ...sorry. Force of habit.

Will all of these coaches get fired? Of course not, even though most deserve it. And even if they do, they'll get rehired again and again. Once you're on the NFL head-coaching carousel, not even death will knock you off.

Running down the biggest stories of Week 3. We'll try not to catch you offsides.

Jay Cutler, smokin' defenses. The Bears' Jay Cutler hung 40 points on Pittsburgh Sunday night, punctuated by a shoulder-down hit that rallied his Bearsss teammates. Cutler is the poster boy (do they even have posters anymore?) for underachieving, surly types everywhere — the man is a hero to grocery bag boys and drive-thru cashiers nationwide — but all of a sudden, he's become one of the most reliable quarterbacks in the NFL. I know, we're a little scared of what this new world might be, as well.

• Jake Locker, Quarterback for Hire. "Jake Locker" sounds like the name of a really terrible new USA Network drama starring a former NFL quarterback who solves crimes in Miami. Jake Locker, the man, is doing his best to set himself up for said drama by crafting memorable moments for a halfway decent Tennessee team, including Sunday's last-second comeback win over the Chargers. Keep your eye on Jake Locker, but don't get too close, ladies: he'll spike your heart. Tuesdays at 9pm on USA.

• The horror from Oakland. Meet Oakland's new mascot. He will haunt your nightmares.

• Greased footballs. Hands down, the most entertaining game of the afternoon was the Cincinnati-Green Bay fumblefest, in which the teams combined for eight turnovers. Fittingly, it was a two-strip, two-fumble, two-recovery play that decided this one, as Green Bay's Johnathan Franklin surrendered the ball, Cincy's Reggie Nelson recovered, Aaron Rodgers stripped it loose, and then the Bengals' Terence Newman picked it up and ran 54 yards for a touchdown. Just like they drew it up.

• Minnesota handily smacks Clevel- wait, what? Look, things are ugly in Minnesota. Well, uglier than usual. When you lose to Cleveland, your life sucks. (Plus you just killed hundreds of thousands of suicide pools. Thanks, Vikings.) Even Adrian Peterson's daughter is giving the Vikings grief. When you've lost the kids' vote, you've lost America.

• Last rites for the Giants? Look, losing to Dallas and Denver is one thing. Losing to Carolina 38-0? That's the kind of vomit-inducing performance that will make Giants fans jump straight from the Yankees to the Knicks, with none of the usual transition. Of course, New York will now back into the playoffs, because the NFC East sucks, and win another Super Bowl. You watch.

In which we recap every game in seven words. Ready ... go!

Kansas City 26, Philadelphia 16: For Andy Reid, revenge served with Cheez-Wiz.
Baltimore 30, Houston 9: Baby Flacco: still never seen Baltimore lose.
Carolina 38, New York Giants 0: Are we sure New York showed up?
Cincinnati 34, Green Bay 30: Eight turnovers in this dog's-breakfast game.
Dallas 31, St. Louis 7: Dallas now owns NFC East by default.
Cleveland 31, Minnesota 27: Clearly, Trent Richardson was holding Cleveland back.
New England 23, Tampa Bay 3: Patriots now 3-0. Hernandez schadenfreude on hold.
New Orleans 31, Arizona 7: Sean Payton is on a revenge tour.
Tennessee 20, San Diego 17: Another last-second win! The NFL rules!
Detroit 27, Washington 20: This was one of Washington's projected wins.
Miami 27, Atlanta 23: Falcons field three healthy players, still lose.
New York Jets 27, Buffalo 20: Jets fans unsure how to handle victory.
Seattle 45, Jacksonville 17: Seattle covers the largest line of 2013.
Indianapolis 27, San Francisco 7: Harbaugh makes Luck run windsprints, just because.
Chicago 40, Pittsburgh 23: Bill Cowher adjusts his eyeshadow, smiles silently.
Oakland at Denver: Don't open unmarked packages from Von Miller.

Champ: Ryan Tannehill, Miami. Everyone has frothed about second-year QBs Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, but Ryan Tannehill is trying to prove that he's more than just a dude with an attractive wife who happens to play quarterback. (Tannehill, not Mrs. Tannehill.) In guiding Miami to a decisive winning drive, Tannehill established himself as a legit QB and Miami, now 3-0, as a legit postseason threat.

Chump: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers. We could have given this award to Eli Manning again, but let's share the love. Kaepernick wasn't awful; he completed 13 of 27 passes for 150 yards with an interception. But he couldn't get the 49ers rolling, and as a result San Francisco is a long, long way from the team that came within a decent goal-line play of winning a Super Bowl in February.

Holy sweet heaven. This dude is both awe-inspiring and terrifying. Imagine him looming in a corner of your bedroom late at night. Then imagine he starts talking about the holes in the Dolphins' rush defense, which is probably exactly what would happen. I want to believe this guy is really a gentle-tempered insurance adjuster in Coral Gables, but the truth is, this is probably a full-body tattoo. Which, again: better fan than you.

Got your own quality tailgate/party/fan photos? Hit us at and share.

In case reading’s too much work, here’s Yahoo! Sports’ own Kevin Kaduk giving you the biggest moments of Week 3 in our new video series “NFL in :90.” (Reminder: you can catch Kaduk, me and our pal Frank Schwab every Tuesday and Friday on the Shutdown Corner Podcast.)

There's plenty of good writing every day on the NFL. Here are a few choice reads to keep you busy while there's no football. Because the other alternatives are talking to your family or doing chores, and nobody wants that. (Send us your favorite words of the week.)

• Yahoo's Les Carpenter checked out the one Chiefs bar in South Philly, and lived to tell the tale of how a Huffy bike led to lifelong fandom.

• NFL players are relying less and less on team doctors and more on outside specialists to recover from injury. So players don't trust doctors paid by the team will have the player's, rather than the team's, best interests in mind? Weird.

Breaking down Tom Brady's pass statistics, and why Patriots fans should, and shouldn't, be concerned about Mr. Ugg's early-season production.

• A reminder that some people are awful: the parents of the idiot kids who trashed a former football player's house want to sue the player for publicizing the idiot kids' already-public Twitter pictures.

• Hey, let's not forget about Cam Newton just yet, everybody. He's still got some game.

Each week, we’ll make a random Super Bowl pick based on trends, stats or general nonquantifiable gut feelings. One of these weeks, we’ll be right. Probably right after both conference championships.

Seahawks vs. Patriots. While we don't expect Denver to lose Monday night against Oakland, the Broncos have owned the AFC early on. So let's shake things up a bit. One of the big topics of the early season has been the supposed fragility of the Patriots. Tom Brady's best receivers are either injured or in prison, and even Brady has difficulty throwing passes through penitentiary security. Even so, the Pats are 3-0 after a thumping of Tampa Bay. Seattle, for its part, is now the world's seventh most powerful army.

Super Bowl picks, full season: Denver 2x, Seattle 2x, San Francisco, New England.

And that's a wrap for this week's edition of Fifth Quarter. Got a question? Comment? Concern? Rant? Hit me up at or on Twitter at @jaybusbee. We’ll run your words here or in Thursday’s weekly letters column. For now, enjoy the week. It's not long 'til more football!