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.