A Baltimore superstar’s epic off-season gamble looks to come up trumps, a battle of two modern-day greats turned out to be nothing short of a “disappointment” while one team ended a horror 1,015-day streak that proves they might have finally turned a corner.
Catch up on all of the key moments from Week Three in the latest edition of NFL Talking Points!
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‘Perfect punt’ Lots of love for Aussie | 02:11
RAVENS QB BET ON HIMSELF … AND IT’S ABOUT TO PAY OFF IN STYLE
Lamar Jackson is a bad, bad man.
The Baltimore Ravens star ranks fifth in the league for total rushing yards.
Just a gentle reminder that he’s a quarterback, and not a running back.
Jackson has enjoyed back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, with his latest coming against the New England Patriots.
He has a league-leading QB passer rating of 119 and has thrown the most touchdowns this season with 10 to his name.
Jackson is essentially the sole reason behind the Ravens’ explosive offense this campaign and perhaps should hold a 3-0 record instead of 2-1 after an epic fourth-quarter choke against the Dolphins.
But with such mind-boggling form comes another issue for the Ravens — Jackson’s off contract at the end of the season and that man wants to get paid what he deserves.
And McDonald believes the Ravens won’t have any other choice but to drain the piggy bank for the 25-year-old.
“It’s obvious that they need to pay Jackson, because he is the reason they’ll be able to flirt with playoff status as the rest of the team attempts to play up to their talent level and get back from injury,” McDonald said.
“The Ravens can technically play the franchise tag game with Jackson after the season, but as things stand right now, he has all the leverage in the world to get a long-term deal done that’s closer to the guaranteed money he’s looking for.
“The Ravens need No. 8 under centre, and that becomes painfully obvious as each play, drive and game goes by. He’s the engine of the entire offense. It’s built around him and it’s working because he is simply an elite quarterback. An elite quarterback that forces the defence to play a complicated game based on his one-of-one skill set.
“Jackson’s contract is coming and it’s been absolutely incredible to watch the bet he made on himself and his own abilities pay off to this point.”
NFL to investigate nasty Tua head knock | 01:16
THE ALL-TIME QB’S ‘DISAPPOINTMENT’ PROVES TIME CATCHES EVERYONE
A battle between two of the greatest quarterbacks in the modern era should be box office television and that’s why it was FOX’s featured clash in America.
But a 38-year-old Aaron Rodgers going up against a 45-year-old Tom Brady was anything but, as the Green Bay Packers eked out a 14-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady completed 31 of 42 passes for 271 yards and just one touchdown, while Rodgers aired it out for 255 yards from 27 completions and scored two touchdowns with one interception.
Although Rodgers knew what he was getting this season having lost superstar WR Davante Adams, Brady went in with high expectations after retiring, then un-retiring as he geared up for one more lap.
But that decision hasn’t looked so great in hindsight.
“The love of the game is supposed to be what brought Brady back to the field after one of the briefest retirements in the history of professional sports,” Knox said.
“Less than a month into this season, Brady has looked miserable on the field.
“The Buccaneers will probably win the NFC South, because one team literally has to win the division and the others are quarterbacked by (Marcus) Mariota, Jameis Winston, and Baker Mayfield, but we might finally be witnessing Brady hang on one year too long.”
Bills fail to capitalise on bum block | 01:03
EAGLES STAR ‘SHOULD TERRIFY THE REST OF THE NFC’ AS ODDS OF SUCCESS SHORTEN
With wins against the Vikings, Lions and now the Commanders, the Eagles have spread their wings and are soaring high at the top of the NFL standings.
They’re one of two teams left remaining with a zero in the loss column and a lot of that is down to the talent of QB Jalen Hurts.
The Alabama product threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns in the Week Three victory over the Commanders and Hurts now sits with the third-most passing yards in the NFL and has the second-most rushing yards among the QB’s of the league.
Even if Hurts didn’t have his best day at the office, it also proved something even more dangerous.
“In reality, it showed us just how ridiculously high the floor is for this unit,” Ruiz said.
“With the NFL’s best offensive line, one of its most electrifying receiving corps, and a run game powered by a legit threat at quarterback, there are just too many holes for opposing defences to plug.”
With Hurts’ offense humming and the defence eating up opposition QBs for fun, it’s a damn good time to be a Philly fan.
And although it’s very early in the season, is it too early for those in the city of brotherly love to start dreaming big?
Well, according to statistical analysis site FiveThirtyEight, the Eagles’ odds of finishing first in the NFC stand at 40 per cent.
It’s a fair way between the Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the second-highest chance of winning the NFC at 18 per cent.
If the gurus at FiveThirtyEight fancy the Eagles to get the job done, it might be a good time to start greasing the light poles in Philadelphia ahead of the wild celebrations that surely await.
Pickens’ FREAKISH one-handed grab! | 01:15
1,015-DAY HELL OVER AS ‘LEAGUE’S TOP QB’ PROVES HIS WORTH
The Jacksonville Jaguars had not won an away game in 1,015 days and had a grand combined total of four wins in the past two years.
But a 38-10 victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles ended that horror streak and improved their record to 2-1.
Not only that, but the Jags are on track to take out the AFC South as their divisional rivals flounder.
That may sound premature, but as ESPN’s Michael DiRocco points out, “it’s the way the Jaguars have won the last two weeks that shows they could be for real”.
Jacksonville outgained the Charges by over 100 yards as QB Trevor Lawrence tossed three touchdowns from 262 yards, RB James Robinson ran for 100 yards with a touchdown to boot and the defence is coming into its own.
Although it’s certainly a collective improvement from head coach Doug Pederson’s side that has the Jags looking strong, plenty of the success is down to Lawrence’s vast improvement in his sophomore year.
“Lawrence has arguably been the league’s top quarterback these past two weeks,” DiRocco said.
“His Total QBR of 84.6 is second only to Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (87.0) and he leads the league in completion percentage (76.8 %). He’s thrown five touchdown passes and no interceptions in routs of the Colts and Chargers — and those were the second- and third-highest rated games of his career.
“Through three weeks, he’s sixth in the NFL in Total QBR (72.9) and seventh in completion percentage (69.4). Most importantly, he’s not turning the ball over (just one interception).”
If Lawrence continues to live up to his tag of being a generational star, who knows just how far the Jags can go.
CHARGERS’ POSTSEASON HOPES COP CRUSHING BLOW AMID INJURY NIGHTMARE
The Los Angeles Chargers entered the 2022 season with plenty of hype and expectation.
But it’s taken three weeks for just about everyone to leap off the hype train and it’s in no small part due to the Chargers’ injury list that continues to mount with every passing second on the back of a 38-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Superstar quarterback Justin Herbert returned to the Chargers’ game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter despite being down by four touchdowns, simply because he “wanted to be out there with his teammates” according to head coach Brandon Staley, per The Athletic.
Herbert, who suffered a rib cartilage fracture against the Kansas City Chiefs just one week earlier, took several unnecessary whacks to the body that has not helped anyone.
The QB was not alone in the only Chargers star joining the walking wounded.
All-Pro left tackle Rashawn Slater tore his bicep against the Jags in the third quarter, edge rusher Joey Bosa slipped over and suffered a “significant groin injury” and is now week-to-week in terms of his health.
Wide receiver Jalen Guyton tore his ACL late in the fourth quarter when running a route and cornerback J.C. Jackson is struggling with inflammation in his ankle.
But it’s not all bad news in Los Angeles, as star WR Keenan Allen is expected to return to practice after missing the first two weeks of the season with a hamstring injury.
It is unknown how long Herbert could be out for, if he even misses a game at all.
However, with so many injuries to so many stars with the season in its infancy, the Chargers’ play-off hopes are hanging precariously by a thread.