Everything You Need to Know: Week 3 late games
Let’s face it: While there’s nothing better than NFL Sundays, it can be a little intimidating keeping up with what’s going on in every game. You can analyze the box scores or scan Twitter, but we’ll make it even easier. Here you’ll find the most important points from every game, so you’ll be prepared no matter what comes up at the water cooler Monday morning. We’ll be updating throughout the games, so keep checking back.
1. Antonio Cromartie said this week that he was more of a playmaker than Nnamdi Asomugha. Cromartie is definitely making a lot of plays Sunday ... for Oakland. The Jets CB has been flagged four times and muffed a kickoff late in the third quarter, resulting in a turnover and Oakland score.
2. The Raiders defense is getting after Mark Sanchez -- New York's QB broke his nose on a particularly hard hit and has not had much success throwing, aside from finding his running backs. LaDainian Tomlinson caught an 18-yard TD and had a 74-yard reception to set up a Sanchez scoring plunge.
3. Can anyone stop Darren McFadden? It sure doesn't it look like it. He racked up 171 yards on the ground Sunday, including a 70-yard touchdown run and an early 2-yard score. Jason Campbell didn't do anything spectacular against the Jets, but he didn't have to.
4. Sebastian Janikowski remains a huge weapon for the Raiders. He drilled a 54-yarder to end the first half and pull the Raiders into a 17-17 tie.
1. If you were waiting for Ravens rookie Torrey Smith to make an impact, consider your wait over. Smith had three first-quarter catches against St. Louis ... and all three went for touchdowns.
2. On the other hand, if you were waiting for the Rams to look like an NFC West contender again, you might have to sit tight until 2012. St. Louis is totally banged up and just couldn't get anything going on either side of the ball.
3. Steven Jackson tried to play through pain for St. Louis, but it just did not happen. He carried four times for 23 yards, and without him, the Rams really don't have enough weapons on offense. That statement definitely applies to the receivers -- Sam Bradford has limited options right now.
1. The Chiefs, rather unexpectedly, had a chance late -- Kansas City got the ball back down by three with a little more than a minute left. But a Matt Cassel interception ended any upset hopes. Cassel had played a very safe game up to that point and picked a terrible time for his first major mistake.
2. Ryan Matthews carried San Diego's offense. With Philip Rivers looking sluggish and tossing two interceptions, Matthews turned in 98 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
3. Pick an issue on Kansas City's offense: no run game, no downfield threat, conservative play calling. The Chiefs failed to generate any big plays until a 43-yard Steve Breaston reception late. Maybe Breaston can help spark Kansas City going forward -- he'd been a major disappointment until making that grab.
1. This wasn't what the Cards had in mind when they traded for Kevin Kolb. Arizona's new QB finished 23-of-35 for 224 yards and a TD toss to Larry Fitzgerald, but he also threw two interceptions, including one in the final moments with Arizona on the edge of field-goal range and down by three.
2. Seattle still doesn't look like an offensive juggernaut, but the return of Sidney Rice to the lineup not only gives the Seahawks a big-time weapon at WR, it also gives Tarvaris Jackson a familiar option to throw to. Rice finished with eight grabs for 109 yards and Jackson had his best game of the season.
3. With Beanie Wells out the Cardinals are trying to mix and match in the backfield. Undrafted second-year man Alfonso Smith got the majority of the carries -- 17 for 54 yards -- with Chester Taylor chipping in eight rushes for 20 yards.
1. Add Michael Turner to the growing list of running backs not playing up to snuff early in the season. Turner had just 20 yards on 11 carries against the Bucs. Without Turner, the Falcons' offense struggled all afternoon to get going.
2. Credit the Bucs' defense for carrying the load on a day that Josh Freeman was less than spectacular. In addition to holding Atlanta to 13 points, Tampa Bay forced Matt Ryan into three turnovers (two fumbles and one INT).
3. Julio Jones woke up in a big way in the second half Sunday, topping the 100-yard receiving plateau for the game and hauling in a 49-yarder to put the Falcons in position for a Ryan-to-Tony Gonzalez TD. His ability to stretch the field is why Atlanta drafted him and the Falcons definitely need more of that from him.
1. After falling behind 27-10, the Bears had a chance to get back in it late, thanks to a pair of Green Bay turnovers. But Chicago just could not maintain any offensive success against the Packers' defense. While Jay Cutler made the Pack pay for that first mistake, hitting Kellen Davis for a TD, that was all the offense Chicago generated in the second half.
2. Part of Cutler's problem is that the Chicago run game is totally nonexistent. You can chalk a lot of that up to the Bears' struggling line, but Matt Forte was sitting at negative-one yard rushing on eight carries midway through the third quarter.
3. The return of Jermichael Finley to the Packers' lineup this season cannot be understated. Finley has three TD grabs and gives Green Bay an added dimension on offense that it didn't have much of last year. Given Sunday's action, it also appears the Bears have no idea how to cover him.