NFL WEEK THREE ROUND-UP: Dak’s back, Rodgers ridiculousness and Belichick can’t wait to see Brady

An emotional, high-octane return to AT&T for Dak Prescott, another pick for Trevon Diggs and more clock mismanagement from Mike McCarthy. What a way to end week three as the Dallas Cowboys are top of the NFC Least after a comprehensive MNF win over the Eagles. 

Special teams hit the headlines with further proof, if proof be needed, that Justin Tucker is the best in the business. His NFL-record 66-yard game-winning field goal bounced off the crossbar to give winless Detroit a knee in the you know where.

Time stands still in Detroit as Justin Tucker wins the game with a 66-yard field goal 

The Ravens were pretty happy about it afterwards, with head coach John Harbaugh saying: ‘Best kicker in history. And you have a kicker like that, you want to give him an opportunity like that, and for him to come through like that is just historic.’

In Jacksonville, Jamal Agnew’s 109-yard kick six from Matt Prater’s missed 68-yard field goal – Agnew also had a 102-yard kick off return last week – briefly gave the Jaguars something to smile about against Arizona, who are 3-0.

The Chargers upset the Chiefs, the Broncos moved to 3-0 and there were big wins for the Bills, Saints, Titans and Vikings.

A first defeat since November for the Buccaneers. Tom Brady – Tampa Bay’s leading rusher in the defeat by the Rams with 14 yards – needs to throw for 68 yards to overcome Drew Brees’s regular-season passing yards record. Their next opponent? The Patriots. Of course Bill Belichick was happy to talk about it.

Derek Carr, Kyler Murray and Matt Stafford lead the early MVP race, while Kirk Cousins is a dodgy Dalvin Cook fumble and missed gimme kick away from being in the conversation.

It’s the NFL. Anything can happen.

DON’T GET THE T-SHIRT

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni wore a ‘Beat Dallas’ T-shirt in preparation for the first MNF meeting between the sides since 2008.

On his first return to Dallas since a gruesome ankle injury almost a year ago, Dak Prescott threw long and short all night. Ezekiel Elliott took charge of the ground game again. Throw in some splash plays from Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs and the Eagles were made one-dimensional on offense.

Dak Prescott - who threw for three touchdowns - high-fives with CeeDee Lamb

Dak Prescott – who threw for three touchdowns – high-fives with CeeDee Lamb

Jalen Hurts was frustrated and forced to scramble as Dallas stopped the run, while seven penalties before half-time – and six after it – didn’t help.

No team has won the NFC East in back-to-back season since 2005, and with defeats for Washington and the Giants, the Cowboys took a step towards taking control. 

Meanwhile, the Manning brothers were up to their usual tricks. Eli impersonated Prescott’s warm-up, Peyton laughed at guest Matt Stafford’s predicament at the Lions and showed his exasperation at Mike McCarthy.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

All is rosy in Los Angeles after both franchises beat Super Bowl teams. The Chargers were outstanding against the Chiefs, with Justin Herbert outduelling Patrick Mahomes.

Head coach Brandon Staley called Herbert a ‘gangster quarterback‘ and receiver Keenan Allen ‘a gangster route runner’  

More ball security issues for KC, whose head coach Andy Reid released from hospital after leaving Arrowhead in an ambulance after the game.

In SoFi Stadium, Matthew Stafford exposed the Bucs’ banged-up secondary with a succession of deep throws. 

Sean McVay was pretty excited when Ryan Succup missed a field goal just before the half as Stafford showed what he can do in the right situation.

Sean McVay grabs quarterback Matt Stafford as the Rams laid down a marker against the Bucs

Sean McVay grabs quarterback Matt Stafford as the Rams laid down a marker against the Bucs

The injuries are beginning to pile up for Tampa Bay. Rob Gronkowski had negative X-rays on his ribs, receiver Scotty Miller is on IR and Giovani Bernard – who took out head coach Bruce Arians – injured his knee scoring a touchdown. 

The Rams, who have beaten three playoff teams, travel to unbeaten Arizona on Sunday.

On the other side of the country, the Jets and Giants are battling it out for 31st and 32nd in the power rankings.

The Giants, who gifted the dire Falcons a first win on a late field goal, have started the last five seasons 0-5, 0-2, 0-2, 0-5 and now 0-3.

Since Jason Garrett became OC, the Giants are 32nd in yards to go on 3rd down; 31st in points per game; 31st in explosive pass plays; 30th in points per drive and 28th in yards per play.

The Jets failed to score a touchdown again and look in danger of ruining another promising young quarterback.

Zach Wilson – who has suffered 25 quarterback hits, 15 sacks and seven interceptions in his three-game NFL career – cannot do it by himself, and said: ‘It’s hard. I didn’t experience this in college.’

ALL WELL THIS WEEK IN TITLETOWN

Third-string left tackle? No problem. Davante Adams clobbered by a savage hit? Likewise. Down by points with 37 seconds remaining and no timeouts? R-E-L-A-X.

Aaron Rodgers found Adams for large gains against San Francisco and clutch kicker Mason Crosby did the rest from 51 yards as the Packers made it back-to-back wins.

The reigning MVP gushed afterwards as team-mates hailed his brilliance.

As for the 49ers, George Kittle hasn’t scored a touchdown since week six last season and while Jimmy Garoppolo performed admirably, surely it’s time for more Trey Lance. 

THIS JOKE ISN’T FUNNY ANYMORE 

After racking up 47 offensive yards – the second fewest in franchise history and ninth fewest of all-time – Matt Nagy is keeping his options at quarterback open.

The Bears head coach said Justin Fields, Nick Foles and Andy Dalton are under consideration to start on Sunday against the Lions.

Rookie Fields was sacked nine times on his first start. He injured his right hand in the 26-6 defeat against Cleveland, Dalton has a bone bruise on his left knee and third-stringer Nick Foles is healthy.

‘Again, just to keep it super simple, everything’s on the table,’ Nagy said. ‘And I think that’s probably the easiest way to put it – the evaluation part, everything.’

After going 12-4 in 2018 - his first season in Chicago - Matt Nagy is 17-18 since

After going 12-4 in 2018 – his first season in Chicago – Matt Nagy is 17-18 since

In other Nagy news, the head coach has not ruled out a change in play-calling.

We have been here before. Last season, the Bears were equally bad. Nagy handed play-calling duties to OC Bill Lazor. But Nagy took them back and here we are again.

RED HOT RAIDERS 

The Raiders are 3-0 for the first time since 2002 after an OT victory in Miami.

Yet again receiver Bryan Edwards came to life when it counts. The second-year receiver has six catches for 101 yards in regulation this season. In OT, he has four catches for 109 yards.

Edwards is one of four Raiders to have over 200 yards receiving (Henry Ruggs III, Darren Waller, Edwards and Hunter Refrow). No other team has more than two.

Jon Gruden's Raiders are 3-0 and sit atop the ultra-competitive AFC West

Jon Gruden’s Raiders are 3-0 and sit atop the ultra-competitive AFC West

A LONG WEEK 

After trouncing Houston on Thursday, the 3-0 Panthers had a long week. 

They play the Cowboys on Sunday and the Eagles the following week, so you may imagine merriment as coaches watched MNF featuring their next two opponents.

Not a bit of it, as described by OC Joe Brady… 

But there was good news for Carolina – Christian McCaffrey will not be put on IR with his hamstring injury and could be back by early-mid October. 

DID YOU SEE THAT? 

Lions running back D’Andre Swift took his team on his sholders in the third quarter, finally giving them an offensive threat. 

He was also denied a clear touchdown after this outrageous hurdle. 

FALL OF THE STEEL CURTAIN?

Pittsburgh have never had a losing season under 14 years of Mike Tomlin.

But with Ben Roethlisberger showing he should have retired last season, plus a creaking offensive line which is doing little to protect him – nor block for rookie running back Najee Harris – there are concerns.

Ben Roethlisberger struggled with his arm and was slow on his feet during a chastening defeat

Ben Roethlisberger struggled with his arm and was slow on his feet during a chastening defeat

Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd – who grew up outside Pittsburgh – claimed the Steelers gave up during their 24-10 win at Heinz Field.

‘I think the good thing about that win was, not only did the Steelers feel that, everybody in the country felt it,’ Boyd said. ‘Because the last plays of the game for them, they gave up. You could see it.’

Bengals QB Joe Burrow – who connected with Ja’Marr Chase for a touchdown for the third straight game – didn’t provide further motivational material, but did say: ‘It’s an exciting time to be a Bengals fan.’

With five teams at 0-3, Cincy play three of them in their next five games.

Week 4: Jags (TNF)

Week 6: @ Lions

Week 8: @ Jets

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