The last NFL games of September are done, and fall edges ever closer as the calendar turns to October. Week Three of the 2022-23 NFL season offered more unpredictability and significant talking points. It’s time for TWSN analysts Marissa Myers and Tayyib Abu to assess who is trending up and who is trending down.
Jalen Hurts was magnificent on Sunday. The star quarterback threw for 340 yards on 22 completions with three touchdowns. Hurts was a controlled frenzy personified as he averaged 9.7 yards per attempt. The third-year quarterback is excelling at every aspect of quarterback play. Against the Washington Commanders, Hurts threw it deep, attacked the intermediate, and was 14-of-18 on passes outside the numbers. Hurts looked particularly good targeting wideout DeVonta Smith. Hurts and Smith combined on three excellent tight window throws and a stunning 45-yard reception down the field. Furthermore, Hurts’ QBR rating of 85.9 and an EPA of 16.4 underlined Hurts’ brilliance. Hurts only rushed for 20 yards; he was brilliant as a pocket passer—a critical step in his development.
154 yards for DeVonta Smith in the first half, including this catch 😱🔥#FlyEaglesFly
— TWSN (@TWSN___) September 25, 2022
Eagles Defensive Line
The Eagles’ defensive line wrecked, ruined, and ransacked Carson Wentz for nine sacks. Philadelphia generated interior and exterior pressure all game long. Everyone got involved as five different players got on the box score with a sack. Javon Hargrave, in particular, was relentless; he averaged 3.86 yards of separation from the quarterback. It was a fierce display from this vaunted Eagles defense.
Drake London is an early shout for Offensive Rookie of the Year. London is already the focal point of the Atlanta Falcons’ passing attack. He is fourth in target share across the NFL and averages 3.3 yards of separation. Better than separation specialists Justin Jefferson and Marquise Brown. Against the Seattle Seahawks, London caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. He also demonstrated his versatility by aligning in various positions on the field. Whether on the outside, slot, or bunched in the formation, London was brilliant.
Is Tom Brady looking old? It is hard to question the legend, but after another challenging offensive performance, questions are rising. Brady enjoyed a reasonably pedestrian game; it was a mediocre performance against the Green Bay Packers. Brady failed to elevate the talent around him, and an EPA-per-play of 0.02 confirmed his average game. Through three weeks, we have yet to see vintage Tom Brady.
New Orleans Saints Offense
The New Orleans Saints offense is a disaster. The offensive line cannot pass protect, and Jameis Winston is hurt and is playing recklessly. New Orleans has scored 23 points combined in the last two games; you cannot win in the NFL with anemic, lifeless offensive performances. Something needs to change quickly.
It should not surprise anyone that Jimmy Garoppolo struggled against the Denver Broncos. The veteran quarterback did not receive an offensive playbook in the offseason; he was excluded from team meetings and had to practice independently. That is not a recipe for success. Garoppolo looked off the pace and out of rhythm on Sunday night. And then there was the play that will go down in NFL infamy. Backed up in the end zone, Garoppolo committed a safety and threw the ball to a Bronco. Dan Orlovsky is no longer alone!!
After a tie against the Houston Texans, and a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seemed as if the Colts going against the Kansas City Chiefs was setting them up for 0-2-1. The Colts pulled things together to avoid disaster and got the win over the Chiefs. Matt Ryan for the first time this season did not throw any interceptions, instead he threw two touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes has been notorious for how well he has played against a Gus Bradley coached defense, that was not the case this time. Mahomes did complete 20-of-35 passes for 262 yards, but only threw one touchdown as the Colts had a bend-don’t-break day defensively. The defense even came up huge, with Rodney McLeod intercepting Mahomes on their final drive to try to win the game. The Colts needed this win, and they got it.
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
After back-to-back weeks of struggling to find a rhythm early, the Bengals finally found it against the New York Jets. Joe Burrow went on to complete 23-of-36 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. After taking 13 sacks between Week One and Week Two, Burrow was only sacked twice in this game. Burrow looked poised again in the pocket and was back to reading defenses effectively. Tyler Boyd got involved early and had a phenomenal day with four receptions that went for 105 yards and a touchdown. Tee Higgins got involved early as well with five receptions for 93 yards, and what should’ve been a touchdown. Ja’Marr Chase had a quiet day with only 29 yards on six receptions, but he had a touchdown as well. They were able to start quick with a touchdown on their opening drive, something they had been lacking. Things are trending back up for the Bengals’ offense.
Tyler Boyd breaks away for a 56 YARD TOUCHDOWN 😳🔥#RuleTheJungle
— TWSN (@TWSN___) September 25, 2022
What a difference between last year under Urban Meyer, and now Doug Pederson. Last season, Trevor Lawrence did not look at all like the prospect he did coming out of college under Meyer. Now, under Pederson, things have started to change for the better. Against an extremely talented Los Angeles Chargers defense, Lawrence finished completing 28-of-39 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He is reading the field extremely well, and is making excellent throws as well. This is the Lawrence type of performance that earned him the first overall pick in the 2021 draft.
Las Vegas Raiders
The only winless team in the NFL, is the Las Vegas Raiders. After a promising offseason with additions like Chandler Jones, and Davante Adams, the team seems to be struggling to put it all together. Adams was targeted 10 times but only caught five receptions for 36 yards, he did have a touchdown, though. Jones has been struggling to turn the pressures that he does get into sacks. A common trend for the Raiders that continued in this game is they haven’t been able to put it all together. If their defense plays great one half, that same half the offense can’t get things going. Then in the other half things reverse and the offense plays well, but the defense can’t hold off. They need to find a way to start playing complete football through an entire game.
After an outstanding comeback performance to lead the Jets to a victory in Week Two against the Cleveland Browns, things came crashing back down for Joe Flacco. He completed only 28-of-52 passes for 285 yards, no touchdowns, threw two interceptions and took four sacks. Flacco even lost two fumbles. For the Jets, Zach Wilson is expected to be back starting for them next week, and after this performance, they probably could not be happier that he is returning at a great time.
Los Angeles Chargers Injury Report
The Chargers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but their losses continued to pile up more than just on the record books. Unfortunately, the Chargers suffered a boat load of injuries. Joey Bosa suffered a groin injury, Rashawn Slater suffered a ruptured biceps tendon that is season-ending, and Jaylen Guyton suffered a torn ACL. This is in addition to Corey Linsley who missed the game with a knee injury, Justin Herbert who is battling a rib injury, Keenan Allen and Donald Parham missed the game with a hamstring injury, and J.C. Jackson who didn’t play dealing with an ankle injury.