From Titans to Pats, a look at the worst performances of Week 3
Not every game can be a beauty. Early action in Week 3 served as a reminder of that fact.
While there were a handful of thrilling finishes around the league, they were met by several brutal showings (one even occurring in a game that went down to the wire).
Which teams have the most to think about after this week's action?
• Tennessee Titans: The fact that the Bengals were No. 1 in our Power Rankings last week doesn't mean the Titans get a pass for their shenanigans Sunday. Tennessee fell behind 10-0 on an Andy Dalton touchdown catch, and the deficit extended to 12-0 when Quentin Groves was called for holding in the end zone on a punt. It (somehow) only got worse from there, with the scoreboard reading 33-0 before Tennessee managed to avoid the shutout on a Shonn Greene score.
After earning a Week 1 upset victory in Kansas City, the Titans have been outscored by a combined 59-17 in the two weeks since.
Where does the blame fall? Titans fans will likely be quick to drop a lot of it on the shoulders of QB Jake Locker. He fired a pair of INTs and completed just 50 percent of his passes Sunday (17-for-34). Ken Whisenhunt said after the game that Locker would remain the QB for now. Veteran Charlie Whitehurst and sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger are behind him on the depth chart.
Whisenhunt may be willing to be a little patient with Locker, but the Titans have been down this road before, and it's a bumpy one.
• Jacksonville Jaguars: There was a lot of optimism swirling around Jacksonville this offseason, with head coach Gus Bradley and GM David Caldwell seemingly ready to steer the ship in the right direction. It might be time to reevaluate the supposed progress.
Three games into the season, Jacksonville has suffered three blowout losses. The latest, a 44-17 setback at the hands of Indianapolis, pushed the Jaguars' point differential to a staggering minus-75 this season. Since taking a 17-0 lead against Philadelphia in Week 1, they have been outscored 119-27.
• The Packers' offense: Detroit's secondary entered Week 3 about as depleted as any unit in the league. Because of mounting injuries, the Lions had to sign little-known Danny Gorrer a few days back and then promoted Mohammed Seisay from the practice squad. All signs were pointing toward a high-scoring affair at Ford Field, with Aaron Rodgers picking up where he left off against the Jets.
Instead, in one of the most unpredictable statistical developments of the season, the Lions' defense outscored the Packers' offense, 9-7. Prior to Sunday, Rodgers had never lost to Detroit in a game he both started and finished -- the Lions beat Green Bay in 2010 after Rodgers suffered a concussion.
Give some credit to the Lions' defensive line for pushing the pocket repeatedly, forcing Rodgers to slide away from pressure. The 162-yard passing performance was one of the worst of Rodgers' career, though, and it leaves some questions about how consistent the Green Bay offense can be with so many issues up front.
New England's offense had to scratch and claw for all 16 of those points, the lone touchdown coming on a Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski pass. That play did not occur until the 4:14 mark of the second quarter, breaking what had been an Oakland shutout. New England's run game mustered all of 76 yards against the Raiders' 32nd-ranked rush defense.
Oakland actually had a shot to tie or win the game late. With about a minute left, the Raiders were down a touchdown with a first and goal.Darren McFadden scored, but a holding penalty wiped the touchdown away, and Vince Wilfork then sealed the ugly victory for the Patriots by picking off a deflected pass.
• St. Louis Rams: How 'bout dem Cowboys? The Rams have to be wondering what hit them after coughing away a 21-0 lead en route to a 34-31 loss. Two critical fourth-quarter interceptions sealed St. Louis' fate: the first, a pick-six by Dallas LB Bruce Carter; the second, a bad overthrow by QB Austin Davis when the Rams had a chance to drive late.
Perhaps worst of all, after TE Jared Cook dropped what should have been a wide-open touchdown (St. Louis led 21-20 at the time and wound up kicking a field goal), FOX's cameras caught Cook shoving Davis on the sideline.
The Rams have a Week 4 bye, meaning they have seven extra days to think about this one.
• Houston Texans: Jeez, the AFC South. This makes three teams from that division on our list; the fourth, Indianapolis, beat Jacksonville for its first win of the season.
Given that a 2-0 start last season devolved into a 2-14 finish and the No. 1 overall pick, Sunday's sloppy 30-17 loss to the Giants had to be the last thing Texans fans wanted to see. It was a borderline miracle that Houston had the game within 17-10 at the end of third quarter. Were it not for New York fumbling in the red zone and botching a field-goal attempt, the end result would have been even worse.
Houston was in a hole before this game even began due to Arian Foster's nagging hamstring injury. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (three interceptions) and a defense that coughed up more than 400 yards turned out to be more problematic.
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nope, didn't forget about the Bucs just because they played on Thursday. Their lopsided 56-14 loss in Atlanta set the stinker standard for Week 3, days before the majority of the league took the field.