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Best and worst of NFL Week 3

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots yells at an official following an offensive interference penalty against the Patriots in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. (Sept. 23, 2012) Credit: Getty

Another wild and wacky – and ridiculously unpredictable – week in the NFL. A look back at the best and worst of Week 3:

Game of the week: Ravens 31, Patriots 30

In a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, the Ravens gain a measure of revenge in a shootout win over the Pats. Joe Flacco throws for three TDs, and Ryan Tucker wins it with a field goal at the buzzer.

Offensive player of the week: Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

Coming off a torn ACL he suffered last season, Charles exploded for 233 rushing yards in Kansas City’s remarkable comeback win in overtime against the Saints.

Defensive player of the week: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants

He menaced Cam Newton all night in the Giants’ 36-7 rout of the Panthers on Thursday, getting half a sack, knocking down two passes and leading a revived performance by the Giants’ D-line.

Heavy heart: Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

Playing a day after his 19-year-old brother was killed in a motorcycle crash, Smith had two touchdown catches in Baltimore’s win over the Patriots.

Biggest surprise: The 0-3 Saints

We knew there’d be challenges without head coach Sean Payton and all the controversy surrounding Bountygate, but 0-3? The season is already slipping away.

Revenge bowl

Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, traded by the Iggles last year after Andy Reid decided Michael Vick was his guy, outplayed his counterpart by a mile in the Cardinals’ 27-6 rout of Philly.

MVP bid: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

He has been on a torrid streak so far, adding three more TD passes in the 3-0 Falcons’ 27-3 romp over the previously unbeaten Chargers.

Streak busting

Alex Smith’s franchise record of 249 passes without an interception came to an end in the 49ers’ loss to the Vikings.

Most improved, Part I: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars

Coming off a brutal rookie season, Gabbert has made tremendous strides. The latest example: His comeback win in Indianapolis, where he and Cecil Shorts hooked up on an 80-yard touchdown pass to win it.

Most improved, Part II: Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings

The second-year quarterback had three TD passes and a rushing score to lead Minnesota to the convincing upset of the Niners.

Replacement officiating gaffe of the week

The 49ers were allowed to make two fourth-quarter coaching challenges after they had already used all of their timeouts. Please bring back the regular refs!!

Kneeldowngate, Part II

After infuriating Giants coach Tom Coughlin the week before by going after Eli Manning on a kneel-down in the final seconds, Bucs coach Greg Schiano had his team do it twice more against the Cowboys. The former Rutgers coach is 0-for-3 so far.


Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was sacked six times and absorbed a combined 13 quarterback hits in a 38-31 shootout loss to the Bengals.

Injury watch

Jets CB Darrelle Revis (knee), Dolphins RB Reggie Bush (knee), Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder), Raiders WR Darius Heyward-Bey (concussion) lead a long list of Week 3 injuries.

Best of the bunch?

After San Francisco lost to Minnesota, looks like it’s the Falcons or the Texans. Atlanta put a lickin’ on San Diego, while Houston pummeled the Broncos early before sweating out Peyton Manning’s late comeback bid.

Throwing spirals again

Peyton Manning threw a few wobblers in last week’s loss to Atlanta, but that wasn’t a problem against Houston. What was a problem was another lackluster first half, forcing the Broncos to play catch-up before losing to the Texans.

Giants player of the week: Eli Manning

Another vintage performance for the Giants’ quarterback, who shook off injuries to receivers Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon to slice apart Carolina’s defense and get the Giants into a three-way tie in the NFC East.

Jets player of the week: Santonio Holmes, WR

On his last visit to Miami, Holmes had to be benched because he was acting up in the Jets’ huddle. This time, he was the Jets’ hero in a 23-20 overtime win, catching nine passes for 147 yards, including a 38-yarder in OT that led to the game-winning field goal.

Stat of the week

After being outscored by a combined 72-23 in the first two games, the Titans became the first team in NFL history to score five touchdowns of 60 yards or more in a thrilling 44-41 overtime win against Detroit.

Coaching second-guess

Trailing in OT, Lions coach Jim Schwartz wanted his team to draw the Titans offside on fourth-and-1 to get a first down to keep a potentially game-winning TD drive alive. Instead, the ball was snapped and the Lions were stopped. Game over.

Comeback of the week

Raiders scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to stun the Steelers, 34-31, as Sebastian Janikowski won it with a field goal with no time remaining on the clock.



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