by Nick Ferraro
Top Five Teams:
1. Indianapolis Colts 3-0
Itâ€™s now two straight games without a TD pass from Manning, and the Colts are still undefeated.
2. Cincinnati Bengals 3-0
The Bengals are taking care of the ball and turning over the opposition. Theyâ€™ll be favored to take it to 4-0 with the Texans coming to town next week.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-0
The surprising Bucs held off a desperate Packer team in Green Bay. Carnell Williams is the early season favorite for Rookie of the Year.
4. New England 2-1
The Pats notched a huge road win in Pittsburgh.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 2-1
After rolling up 341 yards on the ground in the first two weeks, the Steelers managed just 79 against the Pats.
Falcons 24 Bills 16
This was a great road win for the Falcons. They rolled up 267 rushing yards on the highly rated Bills defense. Losman was downed four times while the Bills couldnâ€™t get to Vick for even one sack. McGahee had a big day for Buffalo, but he canâ€™t do it alone. The win was a nice bounce back for Atlanta after the loss in Seattle last week.
Stat of the game: The Bills amassed only 36 yards passing.
Bengals 24 Bears 7
The Bengals intercepted five passes for the second straight week. Carson Palmer had three TDs and no picks. He now has eight TDs for the season, and he is the NFLâ€™s highest rated passer. The Bengal defense has allowed only 28 points in three games.
Stat of the game: The teams combined to go 5 for 29 on third down.
Bucs 17 Green Bay 16
Tampa sent Green Bay to their second straight loss at home. Carnell Williams is the early favorite for Rookie of the Year. The Cadillac carried 37 times for 158 yards. The draft experts who questioned his durability had to take notice of those stats. Favre threw three more picks and now has seven for the season. The Packers are now â€“5 in turnover ratio.
Stat of the game: The Bucs converted 8 of 16 third downs.
Colts 16 Browns 6
The Colts won for second straight week without the benefit of a Peyton Manning touchdown pass. Edgerrin James carried 27 times for 108 yards. Dwight Freeney had three sacks for the Colts. The Colts have to be pleased with their defensive performance thus far, but there have to be concerns on offense. Romeo Crennel has made a big difference for the Browns.
Stat of the game: Trent Dilfer completed 22 of 29 passes and didnâ€™t throw a pick. Heâ€™s hit over 66% of his passes this season.
Rams 31 Titans 27
The Rams held on needing a last-minute defensive stand for the second week in row. Adam Archuletta turned the game around with an 85-yard interception return for a TD in the second quarter. The pick stopped the Titans who were marching toward the goal line with a 10-0 lead on the Rams. Torry Holt had 163 yards receiving for St. Louis and leads the NFL in that category with 358 for the season.
Stat of the game: Marshall Faulk, not Steven Jackson, led the Rams with 50 yards on the ground.
Dolphins 27 Panthers 24
The 2-1 and tied-for-first-place Dolphins posted the upset of the week. Rookie RB Ronnie Brown ran for 132 yards and a TD for the Fins. Steve Smith had 11 catches for 170 yards and three TDs for Carolina who fell to 1-2. The Dolphins were able to drop Delhomme four times while the vaunted Carolina defense went without a sack for the game. It appears Nick Saban will have the Dolphins ready to compete each week.
Stat of the Game: Zach Thomas had 17 tackles for the Dolphins.
Eagles 23 Raiders 20
A sluggish Eagles team was able to escape in Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb threw for 365 yards though visibly injured. Brain Westbrook accounted for 208 yards of offense for the NFC champs. The Raiders played well while in search of their first win, but fell short. Sebastian Janikowski missed two critical field goals on the day. David Akers booted the game winner with a bad groin.
Stat of the Game: The Raiders gained only 21 yards rushing on 22 carries for the game.
Cowboys 34 49ers 31
The Cowboys scored 15 in the fourth quarter to avoid the upset. Drew Bledsoe passed Joe Montana for eighth place on the all-time passing yards list. Bledsoe had 363 yards on the day. He hooked up with Keyshawn Johnson for the game-winner with four minutes left. Apparently upset that the Niners were using their timeouts as the Cowboys were running the clock out, Parcells had Bledsoe take a shot deep to Terry Glenn on the gameâ€™s last play. The pass went incomplete.
Stat of the Game: The Niners usually suspect defense made it a game by limiting the Cowboys to three yards per carry.
Seahawks 37 Cardinals 12
Shaun Alexander ran over the Cards for 140 yards and four TDs. The Cardinal offense has not seen the end zone since week one. Josh McCown who went 10 for 23 with an INT replaced Kurt Warner due to an injury. Arizonaâ€™s running game has been abysmal with 67 yards per game to rank 28th in the league.
Stat of the Game: Seahawks wideout Darrell Jackson is finally holding onto the ball. He had 8 catches for 125 yards Sunday.
Vikings 33 Saints 16
The Vikings got out to a 24-0 lead in a must-win game at home. Dante Culpepper was 21 for 29 for 300 yards and three TDs. He avoided throwing an interception after giving up eight in the first two games. The Saints turned the ball over four times after giving it away six times last week. Mewelde Moore got the start at RB for Minnesota and ran it 23 times for 101 yards.
Stat of the Game: The Saints, who finally get a pseudo-home game next week in San Antonio, have to get Deuce McAllister going. He has only 111 yards rushing on the season.
Chargers 45 Giants 23
The Chargers shredded the Giants for 485 yards while only punting twice. LaDainian Tomlinson finally got involved in the passing game. Tomlinson caught six passes and threw a twenty-six yard touchdown pass Keenan McCardell. Drew Brees was a nearly perfect 19 for 22. Eli Manning had 352 yards, but the Giants could only manage three points in the second half.
Stat of the Game: The Chargers bulldozed the Giants for 268 rushing yards averaging 8.1 yards per run.
Patriots 23 Steelers 20
This was the game of the day. Tom Brady was perfect in the fourth quarter hitting on his last twelve passes while racking up 372 yards. David Givens caught nine of Bradyâ€™s passes for 130 yards. The Pats controlled the ball for over 35 minutes and limited the Steelers potent ground game to just 79 yards. Willie Parker was held to just 55 yards rushing after lighting it up for 272 yards in the first two games.
Stat of the Game: Even after losing starting OT Matt Light, the Pats kept Brady upright against the Steelers pressure. The Pats were able to convert 8 of 16 third downs as a result, while the Steelers converted just 3 of 13.
Broncos 30 Kansas City 10
Denverâ€™s running game finally got things together as they bullied the Chiefs for 221 yards on the ground. Denverâ€™s defense controlled the line of scrimmage and held the potent Chief offense out of the end zone until late in the game. Trevor Pryce spent most of the night in the Kansas City backfield.
Stat of the Game: Denver limited the Chiefs to just 74 yards rushing
Jacksonville 26 Jets 20 (OT)
The Jaguars posted a tough road win over the punchless Jets. The game was a disaster for the Jets who will apparently be without Chad Pennington for the rest of the season. The Jets will be scanning the waiver wire this week for QBs as Jay Fiedler was also injured during the game. The Jags defense throttled the Jets allowing only 168 total yards. Jacksonville controlled the ball for over 40 minutes. Leftwich connected with Jimmy Smith in the OT on a beautiful 36-yard TD play where Smith tight roped his way past the goal line. The Jet defense provided a TD and played well in keeping the team in the game.
Stat of the Game: Curtis Martin has only 196 yards rushing through three games. He is averaging 2.6 yards per carry and has not seen the end zone. The Jets are currently ranked 27th overall in total offense.