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Welcome to the Week 3 grades!

The third week of the season has suddenly turned into one of the wildest weeks in NFL history, and that's mostly thanks to the Miami Dolphins, who scored 70 POINTS against the Denver Broncos. Since you're probably wondering how often that happens, I'll go ahead an answer that question for you: Not often. 

Here are a few quick facts: 

  • The 70-point showing was the fourth 70-point game in NFL history (including postseason)
  • It was also the first 70-point game in the NFL since Washington scored 72 vs. the Giants in 1966. 

If you want more fun facts about Miami's scoring outburst, be sure to click here. After a wild Sunday, things calmed down on Monday with the Eagles dominating the Buccaneers and the Bengals holding off the Rams for their first victory of the season. 

Let's get to the Week 3 grades.

Philadelphia 25-11 over Tampa Bay (Monday)

The Eagles coasted to a win Monday night, and a big reason for that is because Tampa Bay simply couldn't move the ball on Philadelphia's defense. It was as strong all-around performance from a unit that sacked Baker Mayfield twice while also forcing two turnovers. The most impressive part is that the Eagles were holding the Bucs to under 100 yards of offense until a garbage time drive in the fourth quarter put Tampa Bay over.  On the other side of the ball, Jalen Hurts is still struggling a little with his accuracy -- he threw two interceptions -- but otherwise, the offense was nearly unstoppable and a big part of that was D'Andre Swift, who went over 130 yards for the second straight week. The Eagles aren't playing perfect football just yet, but they're 3-0 and that's all that matters.   
Going into this game, the Buccaneers had one of the best run defenses in the NFL, but that's going to change after they got steamrolled for 201 yards by the Eagles. It wasn't just the Buccaneers defense that had issues, though; the Bucs offense couldn't move the ball. It was especially ugly in the first half where the Bucs totaled just 86 yards. On Tampa's six possessions in the first half: The Bucs punted three times, turned the ball over twice and got one field goal. If the Buccaneers learned one thing from this game, it's that they don't quite have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the best teams in the NFC. 

Eagles-Buccaneers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Cincinnati 19-16 over L.A. Rams (Monday)

The Rams offense sputtered in this game and most of that had to do with the fact that the offensive line couldn't protect Matthew Stafford. The Rams QB got sacked six times on a night where he also threw two picks. The Rams were bad in the red zone, especially in the first half when the came away with zero touchdowns despite driving inside of Cincinnati's five-yard line twice. As bad as they were in the red zone, they were even worse on third down, converting just 1 of 11 and that one conversion didn't come until their final offensive play of the game. The Rams offense seems to be getting worse every week and if they don't get thing turned around soon, this could be a long season for L.A.  
Joe Burrow definitely wasn't 100% in this game, but that didn't seem to slow down the Bengals offense. Although he struggled with his accuracy at times, Burrow still managed to throw for 259 yards, and more importantly, he came out of the game mostly unscathed thanks to an offensive line that kept him clean for most of the night. Burrow also got Ja'Marr Chase involved, which is something that hadn't really happened through the first two weeks. Although all eyes were on Burrow, it was actually the Bengals defense that won this game for Cincinnati. Logan Wilson came up with two clutch interceptions for a Bengals defense that also racked up six sacks. This win saved the Bengals season and as along as Burrow stays healthy, the sky is the limit for the Bengals in 2023. 

Rams-Bengals grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Cleveland 27-3 over Tennessee 

The Titans might want to blow things up and start over on offense, because what they're doing right now simply isn't working. In this game, the Titans didn't even bother trying to run the ball even though their offensive line was completely overmatched. On their first nine plays, the Titans inexplicably called seven passes and Ryan Tannehill couldn't do anything. That was pretty much indicative of how the day went for a Titans offense that only gained six first downs. For the second time in three weeks, Tannehill was wildly inaccurate (13 of 25), but that wasn't all on him because he rarely had time to throw. If the Titans can figure out their offensive issues, this team can compete in the AFC South, but if not, it's going to be a long season for Tennessee. 
The Browns have had one of the best defenses in football through two weeks, and somehow, they looked even better this week. Myles Garrett had a monster game as he racked up 3.5 of the five sacks that the Browns recorded. However, it wasn't just Garrett who shined. The Browns defense absolutely suffocated the Titans, holding them to just 94 yards, which is the second fewest Cleveland has given up since 1990. If the defense keeps playing like this, the Browns are likely going to win a lot of games no matter what the offense does. 

Titans-Browns grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Miami 70-20 over Denver

If you've watched the Broncos offense play this season, then you know there was no way they were going to win a shootout against the Dolphins so there only chance in this game was for the defense to come up big, and that definitely didn't happen. The Broncos defense simply had no answers for a high-flying Dolphins offense. At 0-3, the Broncos feel like a sinking ship and they now realize how just how far away they are from competing with the best teams in the AFC (Check most points and yardage in Broncos history). 
The Dolphins are officially an unstoppable juggernaut. Tua Tagovailoa looks like the early front-runner for MVP. In this game he completed his first 18 passes on a day where he threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns. Not to be outdone, the Dolphins rushing attack also came alive with De'Von Achane (203 yards, two touchdowns -- and FOUR total touchdowns) and Raheem Mostert combining for 350 yards on the ground (Mostert had 142 total yards and FOUR touchdowns). The 70 points scored by the Dolphins is the most in franchise history and tied for the second most in any regular-season game in NFL history. The team's 726 yards was also the second most in NFL history. No one seems to have any answers for what Miami is doing on offense. The Dolphins might be the best team in the NFL. 

Broncos-Dolphins grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

L.A. Chargers 28-24 over Minnesota

The Chargers defense hasn't come up with many big stops this year, but that changed in this game. The defense came up huge in crunch time with two big stops in the fourth quarter. Not only did they stuff the Vikings on a fourth-and-goal from the two, but Kenneth Murray also iced the game with an interception on Minnesota's final offensive play. If the Chargers defense uses this game as a stepping stone, this team could soon be dangerous. Offensively, the Chargers did struggle on the ground without Austin Ekeler, but Justin Herbert more than made up for that by throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns.     
It's usually the Chargers that find a spectacular way to lose, but this week, the Vikings managed to out-Charger the Chargers. The Vikings had a chance to win this game, but after botching their clock management in the final minute, they only got one shot at the end zone, a Kirk Cousins pass that was picked off. It was a fitting end for a team that played well enough to win, but kept shooting itself in the foot. The Vikings have had trouble holding on to the ball this year and they lost another two fumbles on Sunday with those turnovers leading to 10 points for the Chargers. The Vikings are now 0-3 in one-score games this year after going 11-0 last season. 

Chargers-Vikings grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Buffalo 37-3 over Washington

The players on the Bills defense probably won't be too hungry over the next few days because they ate Sam Howell alive on a day where they might have pulled off the most impressive defensive performance of the 2023 season. Not only did they sack Howell nine times, but they also forced five turnovers, including a pick-six by A.J. Epenesa in the fourth quarter. It's not often that Josh Allen gets overshadowed by his defense, but that's what happened here. This is a Bills defense that's likely only going to get even better, which should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL
This was a meltdown from start to finish for the Commanders. The offensive line was bad, Sam Howell was bad and although the Commanders defense actually played pretty well in the first half, they seemed to lose all hope in second half and they played like it. The best way for the Commanders to handle this game is to probably just forget it ever happened. 

Bills-Commanders grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Houston 37-17 over Jacksonville

When you have an upset like this, sometimes the underdog gets lucky, but that wasn't the case here. The Texans absolutely dominated for nearly the entire game. Every time it looked like the Jags were going to get back in the game, Houston would respond with a big play, with the biggest one being Andrew Beck's 85-yard kickoff return for a TD. The Texans also got a strong performance from C.J. Stroud (280 yards, two touchdowns), who is currently looking like the best first-round QB from the 2023 NFL Draft. This win might have given the Texans the confidence to believe that they can actually compete for the AFC South title this year. 
This game was one disaster after another for Jacksonville, which struggled in all three phases of the game. The worst performance might have come from a Jaguars special teams unit that allowed a block field goal AND a kickoff return for a touchdown. Not to mention, Brandon McManus also missed a field goal. Those three mistakes alone led to 21 points for the Texans. The Jaguars offense piled up more than 400 yards, but they couldn't finish their drives. If this game proved anything, it's that the AFC South could be a dogfight this year. 

Texans-Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Indianapolis 22-19 over Baltimore in OT

The Colts won this game because they played nearly perfect football. Defensively, they weren't completely able to stop Lamar Jackson, but they more than made up for that with several big plays, including four sacks and two forced fumbles (one of them by Jackson). The defense also came up with a key fourth-down stop in overtime that set up Matt Gay's game-winning field goal. Offensively, Gardner Minshew seems to have lit a spark in the Colts offense. Despite being sacked five times, he still managed to throw for 227 yards. Minshew got a lot of help from Zack Moss, who took a lot of pressure off the Colts passing game by running for 122 yards. Of course, we also have to mention Gay's name again. The Colts kicker set an NFL record by becoming the first kicker in league history to hit four field goals from 50 yards or more in a game. That total includes his 53-yard game-winner in overtime. At 2-1, the Colts are now one of the pleasant surprises of the NFL season. 
The Ravens are going to be scratching their heads about this loss over the next few days. After scoring a touchdown on their opening drive, the Ravens offense almost disappeared. On their six possessions after the TD, they punted four times and lost two fumbles. Lamar Jackson attempted to carry the team on his back with 303 total yards (202 passing, 101 rushing), but even he made a few mistakes, including a lost fumble. Not to mention, he also took a few ugly sacks, including one late in the fourth quarter where he lost 10 yards. The Ravens were missing seven starters in this game, but you can bet John Harbaugh won't use that as an excuse on a day where the Colts outplayed them. 

Colts-Ravens grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

New England 15-10 over  N.Y. Jets

New England earned its first win of the season in Week 3, but it didn't come without some lumps. The Patriots allowed New York to sneak back into this matchup and gave the Jets an opportunity to win it up until the very last second. Defensively, the Patriots held up nice and had some clutch play by pass rusher Matthew Judon, who recorded a safety in the fourth quarter. Ezekiel Elliott was able to run the ball well and Pharaoh Brown popped with a 58-yard touchdown, but the offense still lacked some rhythm and had a handful of questionable play calls on third down that helped the Jets make this closer than it needed to be. Still, a win is a win and it's a much-needed one for a Patriots team that is set to travel to Dallas next week to face a loaded Cowboys club.
New York was heading for F status once again, but the Jets did show plenty of fight in the fourth quarter. So much so that Zach Wilson had an opportunity to win the game with a Hail Mary attempt with a second remaining on the clock. However, the offense continues to look lost with Wilson under center and they spent most of the game under 100 yards of total offense. It wasn't until an 87-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that the Jets started to look capable of pulling off the home upset, but it was too little too late. Defensively, this is still one of the better units in the league but the offense is doing them no favors.

Patriots-Jets grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Detroit 20-6 over Atlanta

We finally found out what the Falcons' offense is going to look like when Desmond Ridder has to carry it, and it wasn't pretty. The Falcons couldn't get their ground game going, which means they had to lean on Ridder, and that didn't work out so well. Over the first three quarters, the Falcons only had two offensive drives that went for more than 25 yards. That's not going to cut it and if Atlanta doesn't get guys like Kyle Pitts and Drake London more involved, the team's early-season success might not end up meaning much.   
The Lions defense should probably stand up and take a bow after this game. The Detroit defense was basically a brickwall, especially when going up against Falcons rookie Bijan Robinson, who was held to just 33 yards. Led by Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions' pass rush was just as ferocious with seven sacks of Desmond Ridder (Hutchinson had two of those). The Lions offense continues to look well-rounded -- three players had more than 80 total yards -- and although this team had a hiccup last week against Seattle. this team now appears to be back on track. It's only three weeks, but the Lions look like the best team in the NFC North. 

Falcons-Lions grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Green Bay 18-17 over New Orleans

The Saints defense was fantastic for three quarters, then the fourth quarter happened. The turning point in this game was clearly when Derek Carr left due to injury, because the Saints were cruising before that. We just can't ignore the play of New Orleans' secondary, which recorded 13 passes defensed, but that unit was bested in the final stanza.
Talk about a thriller. Jordan Love led three straight scoring drives in the fourth quarter to erase a 17-0 deficit, and win 18-17. This matches the Packers' largest comeback victory entering the fourth quarter since at least 1950. It wasn't a perfect performance, but Love rebounded from hearing boos in the first half to feeling the love in the second.

Saints-Packers grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Arizona 28-16 over Dallas

Even without Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs, who's out for the season after tearing his ACL in practice on Thursday, and three offensive line starters (Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin, Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz and LT Tyron Smith), the Cowboys had more than enough talent on the field to top the team most associated with tanking during the 2023 season. The sloppiness they displayed in the defeat -- the 222 rushing yards allowed, miscommunication in the secondary, the 13 penalties and the inefficient red zone offense (scoring one touchdown on five drives) -- was incredibly uncharacteristic. It was shocking to see what looked like the NFL's most well-oiled machine in the first two weeks of the season collapse the way it did in Week 3.
The Cardinals won this game as an 11-point home underdog to secure their first victory of the season. Any outcome in which they emerged victorious was going to result with a perfect grade. Their play on the field also merits the grade. Pounding Dallas for 222 rushing yards, the second-most that Dallas has surrendered under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, is a sign of imposing their will on defensive front more equipped to defend the pass than defend the run. Their defense was clutch all day long, forcing the Cowboys to finish 1-for-5 on their red zone drives, allowing two field goals and a touchdown while forcing a turnover on downs and a game-sealing interception. No matter what happens in Arizona the rest of the season, Week 3 will stand as the credibility-defining victory of head coach Jonathan Gannon's first season as an NFL head coach.

Cowboys-Cardinals grades by Garrett Podell (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Kansas City 41-10 over Chicago

Sorry, but even for the Bears, this performance against the Chiefs was atrocious. Justin Fields leading Chicago in rushing would have you believe this staff saw the tall task of playing Kansas City and decided to get creative to utilize Fields' legs. Nope. They just couldn't do anything through the air or with their actual backfield. So Fields flailed and occasionally picked up a yard or three, in between his latest turnovers. The defense, meanwhile, doesn't even deserve mention, allowing the Chiefs to sleepwalk their way to 41 points, even with Patrick Mahomes on a banged-up ankle for half the day.
You know you're elite when you can casually roll to a 31-point win on an afternoon your star quarterback has his ankle rolled. Patrick Mahomes looked the best he has all year, spreading the ball to basically every active pass catcher, and Travis Kelce appropriately showed out for Taylor Swift, who played the part of loyal Chiefs fan reasonably well. The defense was arguably even better, with Chris Jones spearheading a front seven that consistently flustered Justin Fields, eliminated Chicago's ground game and allowed just 11 total first downs. The only reason they don't get an "A+" is because they let Mahomes stay in the game, up 34, after clearly hurting the ankle that bothered him in the playoffs.

Bears-Chiefs grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Seattle 37-27 over Carolina

The Panthers actually led this game at halftime, but no one is going to remember that because of how poorly Carolina played in the second half. The Panthers defense got steamrolled during a second half where it surrendered 25 points and more than 220 yards. If the Panthers are going to beat good teams like the Seahawks, the defense can't disappear for an entire half, which is what happened here. With Bryce Young out, the Panthers offense did show some signs of life with Andy Dalton at quarterback, but not enough to win a shootout with Seattle. The Panthers offensive line, which got called for seven false starts, struggled with the crowd in Seattle. At 0-3, the Panthers season is slowly spiraling into oblivion.  
The Seahawks weren't perfect in this game, but they were pretty close in the second half. Geno Smith caught fire over the final two quarters, completing 12 of 13 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Smith's flawless showing helped propel the Seahawks to 25 points in the second half. Smith got a lot of help from Kenneth Walker (156 total yards and two touchdowns) and DK Metcalf (six catches for 112 yards). Jason Myers also helped carry Seattle to the win with five field goals. If the Seahawks that came out in the second half is the Seahawks team we see for the rest of the season, Seattle will have a great shot of getting to the playoffs for the second straight year. 

Panthers-Seahawks grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Pittsburgh 23-18 Las Vegas

After playing dead for the first nine quarters of the season, the Steelers offense finally came alive. After going out on their first two possessions, a 72-yard TD pass from Kenny Pickett to Calvin Austin seemed to ignite the Steelers. Pickett did a good job of getting everyone involved with five different receivers catching multiple passes, including George Pickens, who had four catches for 74 yards. If the Steelers offense plays like this going forward, the Steelers could turn into a dark-horse contender to win the AFC North. Defensively, the Steelers don't have much to worry about. The defense has looked strong all season and that continued on Sunday night with four sacks and three turnovers.  
Davante Adams tried to single-handedly carry the Raiders to a win, but it wasn't quite enough. The Raiders offense was completely one-dimensional with Adams being that one dimension (he finished with 13 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns). Josh Jacobs wasn't much help (he rushed for 62 yards) and although Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 324 yards, he also threw three interceptions. The Steelers turned those three picks into 10 points and that ended up being the big difference in the game. Josh McDaniels made a few curious decisions in the fourth quarter. The Raiders are averaging just 15 points per game this season and McDaniels is going to need to get that figured out if the Raiders want any chance at being good this season. 

Steelers-Raiders grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

49ers 30-12 over Giants (Thursday)

There was some good in this game for the Giants: They picked up their FIRST two sacks of the season and they kept things relatively close for the better part of three quarters. However, there was also plenty of bad. For one, the Giants defense couldn't tackle any of San Francisco's receivers. If the Giants could tackle, this game might have been much closer. Offensively, the prime-time struggles continued for Daniel Jones. After looking sharp on a first drive where he went 5 of 7 for 38 yards, Jones did almost nothing after that, throwing for just 99 yards and an interception following New York's opening possession. 
The 49ers offense has a lot of weapons and Kyle Shanahan did his best to put them all on display in this game. The offensive fireworks were led by Deebo Samuel, who caught six passes for 129 yards and a TD. The most impressive part of that stat line is that Deebo did almost all of the work with 81 of those receiving yards coming after the catch. Christian McCaffrey had another huge game with 119 total yards and a TD. The offense was clicking thanks to Brock Purdy, who looked extremely accurate after shaking off an ugly opening drive. The 49ers and Dolphins seem to be the two best teams in the NFL at this point. 

49ers-Giants grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)