NFL Week 3 in review

It is often called a game of inches. It also can be a game of mistakes or bad judgments.

Just look at some of the games Sunday:

—Justin Tucker set a record with a 66-yard field goal to give the Ravens the victory over the Lions after Lamar Jackson put them in field goal position with a 4th-and 19 pass 36-yard pass to Sammy Watkins. With seven seconds left, they tried a pass that was incomplete before Tucker kicked the record game winner. But on that play the play clock expired and the Ravens should have been pushed back five yards. The officials missed it.

—The Dolphins, who tied the game with a touchdown and two point conversion, faced a 4th-and-2 in overtime at the Raiders 32. Instead of going for it, they kicked the field goal to tie with just less than three minutes left. That gave the Raiders enough time to come back and win the game Even if they hadn’t made it, the Dolphins were settling for a tie. As Bruce Arians likes to say, no risk it, no biscuit.

—Charger coach Brandon Staley went for the biscuit and got it against the Chiefs. Facing a 4th and 4 with 48 seconds left in a tie game, he decided to go for it rather than try a field goal. After a false start penalty pushed them back five yards to make it fourth and 9 to put them in position to try a 52-yard field goal. Instead, they went for it and got a pass interference penalty at the 20. Staley still refused to settle for the field goal and got the touchdown. Mahomes had a half minute but threw three incomplete passes and a failed Hail Mary. The Chargers got the biscuit.

—Is the magic gone for Mahomes and the Chiefs? Are they the latest Super Bowl loser to struggle the next year? On top of that, coach Andy Reid was hospitalized after the game, apparently with dehydration. Can the Chiefs come back?

—Mahomes couldn’t come back in the last half minute, but Aaron Rodgers did against the 49ers to set up game-winning field goal. The 49ers gave Rodgers enough time to come back when Jimmy Garoppolo left 12 seconds on the clock as he took the snap to throw for a go-ahead touchdown. Kyle Juszczuk bulled his way in the end zone. If he had gone down on the one or Garoppolo let the clock run down before taking the snap, the Packers wouldn’t have had time to come back.

—There are five teams with 3-0 records and the surprise is that Tampa Bay isn’t one of them after the defending champions lost to the Rams. Besides the Rams, the other 3-0 teams are the Raiders, Broncos, Panthers and Cardinals.

—There are also five 0-3 teams, including the Jaguars and Jets, the two worst teams last year who seem to be vying for the first pick again. The other three are Colts, Giants and Lions. Since only six 0-3 teams have made the playoffs since 1980, they are long shots although seven teams now qualifying. The Jaguars have now lost 18 straight.

—The growing pains of rookie quarterbacks: Four started Sunday and all lost, including Justin Fields, who made his debut for the Bears and had one passing yard. The rookie quarterbacks are now 1-10 with Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, the first two selected, are both 0-3 and Mac Jones is 1-2 and has posted the only victory.

Previewing NFL Week 3

Carolina became the first team to get to 3-0 this season when it started the third week with the victory over Houston Thursday night.

The winner of the only game pitting two 2-0 teams against each other this weekend — the Bucs and Rams is the late game on Fox Sunday — will also be 3-0.

—Four other 2-0 teams — Raiders, 49ers, Arizona and Broncos – will be going for 3-0. Arizona and Denver will be facing winless teams (Jaguars and Jets) so they have good shots at 3-0. The Raiders, facing Miami and the 49ers, taking on Green Bay, will have tougher tasks. The 49ers-Packer game will be on Sunday night.

—Two of the seven 0-2 teams – Giants and Falcons – will meet so unless they tie, the loser will go to 0-3. The Jets and Jaguars figure to go to 0-3 because they play 2-0 teams – Cardinals and Broncos. The three other 0-2 teams –Lions, Vikings and Colts – will be playing the Ravens, Seahawks and Titans. All three are 1-1.

—The Bucs-Rams game is the most interesting game of the day. Tom Brady, who 20 years ago became the Patriot starter when Mo Lewis of the Jets knocked out Drew Bledsoe, will go against Matthew Stafford, who is trying to resurrect his career with the Rams, after playing on mostly losing teams in Detroit. Brady was held to 13 points by the Rams defense in the Super Bowl three years ago, but won 13-3 because Jared Goff, who was shipped to the Lions in the Stafford deal, put only three points on the board. But last year the Rams beat Tampa Bay and Brady, 27-24, with Goff so it is up to Stafford to match that.

—The Chiefs, coming off a surprising loss to the Ravens, will try to get back on track against the 1-1 Chargers. With the Raiders and Broncos off to 2-0 starts, the Chiefs can’t afford another stumble.

—Davis Miles, the Houston rookie, became the 34th quarterback and the fourth rookie to start Thursday night in place of injured Tyrod Taylor. The Texans lost, so rookie quarterbacks are now 1-6. The fifth rookie quarterback and the 35th quarterback to start, Justin Fields, gets the nod in Chicago when he replaces Andy Dalton against the Browns.

—Jameis Winston faces a big test when the Saints go to New England. He was in the opener against Green Bay but then didn’t look good against Carolina last week and is looking to bounce back. Mac Jones, the only rookie quarterback to get a win this year, will try for a second one.

—Carson Wentz, who has ankle injuries, will be a game time decision for the Colts against the Titans, who will be having a reunion for the old Oilers. If Wentz can’t go, the Colts will go with second year player Jacob Eason or Brett Hundley.

—The MNF game will feature Dallas playing at Philadelphia in the renewal of an old division rivalry. The Cowboys look like the best team in the division and want to show it in their first division game this year.

—One thing to watch this weekend is the number of penalties that will be called. Rick Gosselin reports that last year the officials never called more than 198 penalties in a game. This year they called 214 and 221 the first two games. No explanation for the increase but the Washington Post reports the league isn’t yet ready to examine how the games are being called so far this year.

NFL Week 2 in review

With the first two weeks of the NFL season in the books, seven teams are off to a 2-0 start, including three NFC West teams – Arizona, Rams and 49ers.

Of the other four, the surprise is that Carolina and the Raiders are two of them and that Kansas City, going for its third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, isn’t one of them after losing Sunday night to Baltimore.

The other two are defending champion Tampa Bay and Denver, which is now off to a 2-0 start seventh time in last nine years.

On the other hand, seven teams are 0-2 including the two worst teams from last year, Jacksonville and the Jets, who are both starting rookie quarterbacks selected with the first two picks.

Three of the 0-2 teams, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Minnesota – had higher expectations but now the odds are against them making the playoffs.

Since 1980, only 11.6 percent of the teams that started off 0-2 made the playoffs.

So after two weeks, there are 18 0-1 teams along with seven at 2-0 and seven at 0-2.

—The Buffalo Bills showed they have a defense as they blanked the Dolphins, 35-0, who lost Tuo Tagovailoa early to a rib injury. Jacoby Brissett took over but wasn’t effective. If Josh Allen overcomes his slow start, the Bills still seem to be the team to beat in the AFC East.

—Patrick Mahomes had never thrown an interception in September and was 3-0 against the Ravens before the Ravens posted a 36-35 victory Sunday night even though Lamar Jackson threw a pick-six early and the Ravens were down 11 points in the third. The Chiefs were in position for a game-winning field goal before a fumble killed their comeback. With both the Raiders and Broncos at 2-0 and the Chargers a threat, they may not have an easy road to another division title.

—Only one quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was injured the first week, but four of them went down Sunday. Besides Tagovailoa, the other three were Andy Dalton, Carson Wentz and Tyrod Taylor. Dalton’s injury probably opens the door for a fourth rookie, Justin Fields, to start.

—The three starting rookie quarterbacks, Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, are now 1-5 after Jones got the win over Wilson. New England’s win over the Jets was no surprise because Bill Belichick is 22-6 against rookie QBs.

—Derek Carr has now passed for 817 yards in two games as the Raiders knocked off Steelers after beating the Ravens in their opener.

—Dallas showed it can win on defense and running the ball instead of counting on Dak Prescott to carry the load. They rushed for 195 yards to beat the Chargers on a 56-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. Dallas coach Mike McCarthy got a lot of flak for not trying to get closer on third down instead of letting the clock run down. His excuse was the scoreboard clock went out.

—Tom Brady still refuses to show his age as he threw five touchdown passes in Tampa’s 48-25 win over the Falcons. No 28-3 this time against the Falcons.

—Matthew Stafford is developing a rapport with Cooper Kupp. He caught nine passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 27-24 victory over the Colts after catching seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Chicago.

—Sam Darnold shows what he can do with a better team around him. He is 2-0 in Carolina now that he is backed up by what is currently the league’s best defense. The Panthers routed the Saints 26-7. Getting away from Jets and Adam Gase may be the best thing that happened to Darnold.

—Are the Bengals putting enough emphasis on protecting Joe Burrow? He was hit nine times, sacked four times and threw three picks, including a pick-six, in their 20-17 loss to the Bears.-l

The Cardinals escaped with a 34-33 victory over the Vikings when Greg Joseph shanked a 34-yard field goal attempt.

—The Titans do what they do best against Seattle. They ran Derrick Henry 35 times and he gained 182 yards and three touchdowns for a 33-30 overtime victory.

Previewing NFL Week 2

The big question for the second week of the season is how many teams will come out of the week 2-0 and how many will be 0-2.

The games featuring 1-0 teams in which the winner will come out 2-0 are Steelers-Raiders, Panthers-Saints and San Francisco-Philadelphia.

The New York Giants became the first team to start off 0-2 after their mistakes cost them the game against Washington Thursday night.

A Daniel Jones touchdown was wiped out by a holding call and the Giants gave Dustin Hopkins a second shot at a game-winning field goal when Dexter Lawrence was offsides as Hopkins missed a 48-yarder. Given a second chance from the 43, he nailed it.

The other two games featuring two 0-1 teams with the losers dropping to 0-2 are New England-Jets and Green Bay-Detroit. All the other 1-0 teams are playing 0-1 teams and have a shot at 2-0.

A look at this weekend:

—There are three interesting attractions this weekend – Steelers-Raiders and Dolphins-Bills at 1 p.m. Sunday and the Chiefs-Ravens as the Sunday night prime time game. The MNF game pitting Green Bay against Detroit isn’t much of an attraction.

—Steelers-Raiders was once one of the best rivalries in the NFL when they played in the playoffs five years in a row in the 1970s and the winner won the Super Bowl three consecutive years. But the rivalry has waned in recent years although both teams won their openers. But it will be the featured 1 p.m. game shown in much of the country.

—The Bills, touted as a Super Bowl contender, can’t afford a second loss to drop to 0-2. But the game won’t get much coverage since it is being shown only in southern Florida and the northeast.

—The Chiefs are going for a 2-0 start against the Ravens, who are desperate to rebound after losing the MNF game to the Raiders in a game that had a wild finish. The game features Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson, but Chiefs have beaten the Ravens the last three years so they appear to have the edge. Andy Reid is 4-0 vs. Ravens with Chiefs and 6-1 overall.

—Fifteen quarterbacks started the season with new teams and one of them, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was sidelined with an injury so Taylor Heinicke became the 32nd quarterback to start this season. The other 31 return for a second game.

—Three rookie quarterbacks will start their second game and two of them — Mac Jones and Zach Wilson — will meet as the Patriots play at the Jets. Considering Bill Belichick’s record against rookie quarterbacks as he tries to confuse Wilson, Jones figures to get his first win. The third starting quarterback rookie, Trevor Lawrence, faces a tough task against Denver after throwing three picks in the loss to Houston last week although the heat in Jacksonville may be a problem for the Broncos.

—The homefield advantage isn’t what it used to be. Road teams won half the 16 games. Last year road teams have had a 128-127-1 edge. No obvious explanation for road teams doing well although it could be the officials aren’t letting home crowd affect them.

—Defending champion Tampa Bay figures to get off to a 2-0 start against Atlanta. With Brady facing the Falcons, it will bring back memories of 28-3.

NFL Week 1 in review

The Kansas City Chiefs are back, the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers may not be who they thought they were, the Pittsburgh Steelers can still play defense and the Matthew Stafford showed what he can do with a better team around him.

Those were some of the highlights and lowlight of the first weekend of the new season.

More on that:

—Kansas City now has to be considered to have a good shot at a third straight Super Bowl appearance. Patrick Mahomes, who was running for his life in the Super Bowl last February, had the protection to pull off another fourth quarter comeback and beat Browns, 33-29. Browns were up 22-10 at halftime and 29-20 early in fourth quarter before Mahomet did his thing. The Browns, though, showed they are contenders but have to eliminate mistakes. A fumbled snap and a punt was a dagger and then Baker Mayfield threw a late pick trying for a comeback.

—The Bills were supposed to be ready to make a Super Bowl run after winning two playoff games last year before losing to the Chiefs in the AFC title game. They were favored against a Pittsburgh team that had a meltdown at end of last year. But the Steelers still have a defense that harassed Josh Allen and kept him off balance the whole game while posting a 23-16 victory. T.J. Watt’s strip sack at the end of first half and a blocked punt for a score were keys to the victory. The Bills now have to rebound.

—Green Bay spent the off season wondering whether Aaron Rodgers was going to play. And they were playing a New Orleans team that had to switch their opener to Jacksonville because of the damage done by Hurricane Ida. It turned out Rodgers had the worst day of his career in a 38-3 loss. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston may have resurrected his career with five touchdown passes against the Packers.

–All four NFC West teams won and it is likely at least one wild card will come from that division. Three incumbent quarterbacks, Seattle ‘s Russell Wilson, San Francisco’s Jimmy Garopollo with a cameo role by Trey Lance and Arizona’s Kyler Murray posted victories while Matthew Stafford won his debut for the Rams. Indianapolis, Detroit, Tennessee and the Bears were the four losing teams.

—All three rookie quarterbacks who started – Mac Jones of New England, Zach Wilson of the Jets and Trevor Lawrence of Jaguars – all lost. But Jones and Wilson kept it close against the Dolphins and Carolina (quarterbacked by former Jet Sam Darnold) while losing by one and five points) while Lawrence was blown out by the surprising Texans.

—Only one starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick of Washington, was sidelined with an injury. He went on IR with a hip injury and will be out at least three weeks if not longer.

—Four second-year quarterbacks – Justin Herbert of the Chargers, Joe Burrow of Cincinnati, Jalen Hurts of Philadelphia, and Tua Tagovailoa — posted victories over Washington, Minnesota, Atlanta and New England, respectively.

—After one week, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are 1-0 in Tampa and Bill Belichick is 0-1 in New England.

—Dallas lost its opener in Tampa Bay, but looked so good that they have a good shot at winning the division.

—Teddy Bridgewater may be resurrecting his career in Denver as he led the Broncos to the win over the Giants. But playing in the same division with the Chiefs and Chargers means he will have some tough ahead games although he goes to Jacksonville this Sunday.