Fans of three winless teams didn’t have to wait long Sunday to see their teams produce their first win of the 2017 NFL season.
One of the shockers was the the New York Jets, who may not be tanking after all. After consecutive losses to start the season, the Jets manhandled the visiting Miami Dolphins en route to a 20-6 win.
While it certainly was not the prettiest offensive performance, it was effective. Robby Anderson caught a 69-yard touchdown strike from Josh McCown to close out the first half, and the veteran quarterback completed passes to six different players.
Defensively, the Jets were dominant against a Dolphins offense full of playmakers. Receivers Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker were shutout most of the game until a meaningless Parker touchdown with the game no longer in doubt. Additionally, running back Jay Ayayi – fresh off a 122-yard rushing output last week – was held to 16 yards on 11 carries. Jets linebacker Demario Davis was sensational, totaling 11 tackles, including three for loss.
The Jets even successfully executed a trick play, connecting with Lawrence Thomas – a defensive lineman playing fullback – for 15 yards, ultimately setting up a touchdown.
It’s also worth noting that the Jets’ first win of the season greatly impacts their status for the first overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Before the game, their chances were 38 percent, but that number now drops to 24 percent.
The biggest surprise of Week 3’s early games however, may have been the Chicago Bears’ 23-17 overtime win over Pittsburgh.
Ben Roethlisberger and the previously 2-0 Steelers struggled offensively. Roethlisberger completed a paltry 56.4 percent of his passes, while All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 61 yards, although he did record his first touchdown of the season.
A 19-yard Jordan Howard touchdown run sealed the Steelers’ fate at Soldier Field.
Don’t sleep on the NFC South stunner in Charlotte either.
After two dreadful losses to open the year in which the New Orleans defense was shredded by both Minnesota and New England, the Saints coaxed the struggling Cam Newton into three interceptions, one of which was returned for a score. Newton looked totally unsettled, forcing throws and displaying remarkable ineptitude down the field. In one of the worst starts of his seven-year career, he finished with just 167 passing yards.
Drew Brees was his normal self during the Saints win. Brees found three different wideouts for touchdowns – including emerging star Michael Thomas – while connecting on a stellar 22 for 29 throws for 220 yards and zero turnovers.
Finally, the Indianapolis Colts notched their first victory as well, defeating lowly Cleveland in a 31-28 track meet.
Recently acquired quarterback Jacoby Brissett finished with 259 yards via the air, including a touchdown, as well as two TDs on the ground. Better yet, he found a rhythm with T.Y. Hilton, who led the league in receiving last year, but has stumbled to get on the same page as his new teammate. Hilton totaled 153 yards and a score in the win.
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