Jaguars 22, Colts 17: Miracle for Jacksonville delays serious questions about the offense ... for now
With a 1-2 record, the Jaguars are tied for second in the AFC South and tied with teams like the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in terms of record. Still very early in the season, they're very much in the mix and have the opportunity to continue to keep themselves within striking distance.
This is all thanks to a miraculous, 80-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to Cecil Shorts III with less than a minute remaining in their game against the Colts. Had it not been for that pass, the Jaguars likely would have an 0-3 record and Gabbert probably would have finished with fewer than 100 passing yards for the second consecutive week.
After 260 yards passing in Week 1 against the Vikings, the offense has declined significantly and has turned to Maurice Jones-Drew to bail out a passing game that has been unable to do anything effectively. What has gone wrong in Jacksonville to turn the offense so sour?
The logical finger-pointing goes toward the offensive line where Mike Brewster, Herb Taylor and Guy Whimper have all had to fill in as starters in Weeks 2 and 3 for the injured Eben Britton and Cameron Bradfield. The line is the sole difference in the passing offense, although Gabbert and the receivers are certainly not without blame as all aspects have failed.
However, with a win over the Colts, the Jaguars were able to delay the serious questions regarding their offensive futility for another week and with Bradfield likely to return, it may be the perfect amount of delay.
Jets 23, Dolphins 20: Find a balance between playing it safe and playing too conservative for Ryan Tannehill
Don't let the 306 passing yards from Mark Sanchez fool you, the Dolphins defense played very well in their overtime loss to the Jets. In the first 57 minutes of the game, the Miami defense allowed just six Jets points, while a Ryan Tannehill interception returned for a touchdown accounted for the other seven.
The defense gave the Dolphins offense every opportunity to take over the game, but when Reggie Bush went down with a knee injury, the entire offense seemingly went down with him.
Yes, being safe with a rookie quarterback makes sense, especially when he made a crucial error deep in his own territory on the first possession of the second half to give the Jets their first touchdown of the game. It was a mistake made by a young player that proved costly, but at what point does playing conservatively become handcuffs?
Particularly conservative was a third-down play call in overtime that forced a much longer field goal attempt than seemingly necessary. After Tannehill made a brilliant throw down the right sideline to get the ball in Jets territory, the Dolphins elected to run the ball with Daniel Thomas on a third and seven, but the running back only gained two yards.
That set up a 48-yard field goal that went wide left. Obviously if he makes the kick, none of this is discussion worthy, but he did and that makes one wonder in hindsight if throwing the ball may have presented the Dolphins with a greater opportunity.
Cowboys 16, Buccaneers 10: It's year four, Josh Freeman, you're running out of time to step it up
Make no mistake about it, the offense that was only able to gain 166 total yards of offense against the Cowboys in Week 3 is the reason that the Buccaneers lost. After a successful, touchdown drive on the opening possession for the Buccaneers following an Aqib Talib interception, the team couldn't sniff the end zone again.
It was a promising start to the game that only made the rest of the game look more sour and turns the questioning eyes toward Josh Freeman. While the wide receivers struggled to find separation throughout the game, including the new free agent addition Vincent Jackson, who finished with just one reception for 29 yards despite being targeted seven times, Freeman certainly has to be better.
In his fourth year in the NFL, Freeman is completing just 51.4 percent of his passes on the season and managed to complete just 10-of-28 against the Cowboys. It's simply not good enough and is a large reason why the Buccaneers have the No. 32-ranked offense in the NFL, with back-to-back loses in games that were both very winnable.
Defensively, the Buccaneers have been very strong with the exception of their propensity to give up big passing plays. They have given up more 20-plus and 40-plus passing plays than any team in the NFL and it is harshly counteracting a defense that is the league's best against the run. Had Tony Romo connected on a few open plays that he overthrew, Sunday's game certainly could have gotten out of hand.