NFL Week 3: surprises and disappointments: Colts, Chiefs, Bengals, 49ers
Parity prevails through three weeks of the regular season and there are some teams that have had surprising starts to their season.
The first three weeks of the NFL’s regular season has been full of upsets, comebacks, and late game finishers. There are only two teams that remain undefeated and just two that are still searching for their first win.
Surprises have been plentiful in the opening few weeks of the season. Some have been good, others not so good. Keep in mind we have the Dolphins, Jags and Eagles in our Biggest Winners piece published earlier today, and the Raiders in our Biggest Losers article.
Cincinnati Bengals, 1-2
The defending AFC Champions may be coming off of their first win of the season, but they have’t painted a pretty picture to start the season. Joe Burrow called for calm before the Jets game on Sunday, and it seems as though the waters have settled in Cincy for the time being.
While Burrow and the Bengals got in the win column on Sunday there is a lot to be skeptical about with this team. Joe Burrow sounded alarms in Week 1 when he threw four interceptions and gave up another fumble against the Steelers in the opener. You can’t put the interceptions solely on the shoulders of the Bengals QB1. He has been getting very little help from his offensive line that Cincinnati management spent so lavishly on this offseason.
The Bengals have given up 15 sacks in three weeks which is tied for the most allowed in the league with Washington. Other than the obvious problems this creates for Cincy on the scoreboard they also have to be worries about protecting their quarterback. He missed the second half of his rookie season with a torn ACL, and the Bengals can not afford to see him go down long term again.
Let’s see if a win actually brings calm to FirstEngergy Stadium. The bad news for the Bengals is their next two games are against to of the top teams in the conference. They host the Miami Dolphins this weekend and then travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
San Francisco 49ers, 1-2
San Francisco came into the 2022 season as one of the few favorites that were in the running to win the NFC, even with a switch under center. Nothing has gone to plan for the Niners, who saw their second year quarterback and future face of the franchise go down with a season ending injury in Week 2.
Week 1 cast a shadow of doubt on whether or not the Niners made the right decision in naming Trey Lance as the starter. In fairness to Lance, the sloppy conditions in Chicago on opening day wouldn’t favor any quarterback, no matter if it’s a young guy getting his first career start or a Tom Brady.
In spite of the conditions, the Niners moved the ball well, but only converted on one of their three trips to the red zone. Late in the game and down by just three Lance threw an interception that led to a Bears touchdown that put the game on ice.
The next week the Niners QB1 broke his ankle, but the contingency plan seemed pretty steady as the Niners somehow held on to Jimmy Garoppolo despite initial intentions to move on from both parties.
Garoppolo seemed to settle the San Fran offense for a game as Jimmy G and the 49ers put up 24 points in a win against the Seahawks. The scoring came to a stop on Monday night when Kyle Shanahan’s team scored just 10 points against a Denver team that kept each Niners drive six plays or shorter.
The defense is far from the problem in the Bay Area. They have yet to to allow more than 20 points to any team, but the offense needs to stay on the field and score points to help keep the unit on the other side of the ball fresh.
Garoppolo didn’t have a preseason, and Deebo Samuel still doesn’t look like himself just yet. Both are still finding their feet and there is a lot of time to course correct the offense, but they need to start moving the ball sooner rather than later.
Indianapolis Colts, 1-1-1
For the first two weeks of the regular season the Colts looked like one of the worst teams in the league. It was far from the start that Indy fans had envisioned when management brought in Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason.
The Colts season has been exponentially surprising as each week of the NFL season passes. In the first week they tied with the lowly Houston Texans. They got blown out in the following game by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although the Jags are much better than anyone envisioned, getting beat 24-0 is still an eye opening result and brings about much cause for concern.
When all seemed lost and the Colts were battered and bruised by their previous defeats, they go out and beat the Kansas City Chiefs who were looking like one of the top teams in the AFC.
The Chiefs game wasn’t won by Johnathan Taylor or Matt Ryan. Kansas City squandered that game with special teams errors early and late in the game. Johnathan Taylor is averaging 95 yards a game, but Matt Ryan still has to prove he can win games when needed. So far he has more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3).
Kansas City Chiefs, 2-1
Unlike the other teams on this list, the Chiefs are on here for all the right reasons. After losing Tyreek Hill to Miami in the offseason, all sorts of questions circulated Arrowhead Stadium concerning the state of the offense this season.
Patrick Mahomes and company settled those queries quickly by posting 44 points on the Arizona Cardinals on the first week of the season. They beat the up and coming Chargers 27-24 in a Thursday Night thriller from KC, but then dropped their guard against Indianapolis.
Mahomes and the offense didn’t have a game to remember, but they were also put against the ropes by their special teams. Despite the lapse in the punting and kicking game the defense looked strong not just against Indy, but have looked much improved since week 1.
They held the Cardinals to just seven points until the Chiefs led by 30 and the game was out of reach. The next week the defense came up with the game winning play when rookie Jaylen Watson had a 99 yard pick six to turn the tide in favor of KC.
The fact that the offense is thriving under Patrick Mahomes is no big surprise, but the defense now being a strength rather than a liability is fantastic news for Chiefs fans.