We witnessed a number of fantastic finishes in Week 3. The OT period between the Jaguars and the Jets meant bonus fantasy time for Byron Leftwich and Jimmy Smith owners. Owners of David Akers who kept him active for the week found their fantasy scores bouyed by his Willis Reed-like 23-yard field goal to down the Raiders And, of course, Daunte Culpepper owners are breathing a sigh of relief after his rebound performance against the Saints.
Those are but a few of the storylines that leapt across my television as I strained my eyes on the picture-in-picture to keep abreast of all the NFL activity and a Sunday replete with pennant-chase MLB action. I'm probable for Week 4 with a strained clicker finger. Let's check out the stories from Week 3.
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- With his third consecutive 100-yard game to start his career, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams became the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Tampa Bay fans are ecstatic with their rookie, who is already nearly half-way to the magical 1,000-yard mark (no TB back has reached it since Warrick Dunn in 2000), and the fact that the Bucs stand at a perfect 3-0. Williams next gets to rev up the engine against the Lions (116.5 YPG) and Jets (134.3 YPG), so a monstrous five-game start to the season seems in order. The first big test will come in Week 6 against Miami, a team currently limiting opposing backs to 2.9 yards per carry and 76.3 yards per game. Seven of the Buccaneers remaining opponents (Atl and NO twice) are allowing over 125 rushing yards per game thus far.
- LaDainian Tomlinson took his feelings about his workload to the media after Week 2. Marty Schottenheimer responded by getting him the ball in a variety of ways on Sunday night against the Giants. He carried the ball 21 times for 192 yards (including a 63-yarder), caught six passes for 28 yards, and threw a 26-yard touchdown to Keenan McCardell. LT has no reason to complain this week. The biggest winner in getting LT out into pass patterns was Drew Brees, who completed 19-of-22 passes for 191 yards and two scoring strikes. The use of Tomlinson as a receiver opens up the middle of the field. Rediscovering this part of the offense this week was positively crucial, as San Diego plays New England and Pittsburgh back-to-back.
- The Cowboys needed a big effort down the stretch to defeat the 49ers, and that was music to the ears of those who used Drew Bledsoe in a spot start. He scored a rare rushing TD (only the seventh in his 13-year career) and threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, he's already amassed 850 passing yards while completing a remarkable 70.4 percent of his attempts. He next faces Oakland, which should allow him the opportunity to achieve ample stats again.
- Jake Plummer continued his winning ways at home with another solid performance against the Chiefs. In his past nine games at Invesco Field, Plummer has averaged two touchdowns (rushing and passing) and 259.6 yards passing, and remains a solid start when in front of the home fans.
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- Eli Manning, QB, NYG: Who would have thought that Eli would have more TD passes than Peyton at any point this season? Eli has certainly connected with Plaxico Burress and TE Jeremy Shockey. He's already tossed five touchdowns this year and will next face a prone St. Louis secondary.
- Greg Lewis, WR, Phi: Lewis has solidified his place as the No. 2 receiver in the passing attack behind Terrell Owens. This past week he caught six passes for 70 yards against the Raiders. Donovan McNabb targeted Lewis nine times in the victory. For the season, Lewis has caught 15 balls for 153 yards and a score.
- Bobby Engram, WR, Sea: Engram has emerged as a great No. 2 complement to Darrell Jackson for Matt Hasselbeck. He's already piled up 18 catches for 210 yards and has been targeted nine times in each of the first three games this season.
- Mewelde Moore, RB, Min: Hurry up and get those waiver claims in, because Mike Tice has found his every-down back in Minnesota. Moore broked the century mark on 23 carries against New Orleans, and has to feel good about his chances against Atlanta this week. Michael Bennett's ineffectiveness opened the door for Moore, and he certainly responded in Sunday's win, where all components of the offense clicked.