AROUND THE LEAGUE

NFL Week 3 observations

The Browns may have something in Baker Mayfield. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Week 3 of the NFL season was all over the map. We saw results and performances we expected, and some we couldn’t have predicted. It was sort of like that crazy ex everyone has had: never know which side you’re going to get. Here’s my version of the observations I saw:

The Good

-The Browns’ Tyrod Taylor got Wally Pipp-ed by Baker Mayfield. Taylor went down with a concussion in the first half down 14-0. Mayfield led the team to a 21-17 victory going 17 of 23 for 201 yards and caught a two-point conversion. This was their first win in 635 days. Bud Light had fridges placed around the city which would be unlocked via satellite if they had won. Mayfield gave them the biggest “Dilly dilly” with his performance.

-Bills’ rookie quarterback Josh Allen had his coming out party against the Vikings. The Bills were widely considered the worst team in football and were 16.5 point underdogs on the road against one of the best teams in football. Allen threw for one touchdown and ran for two more. His signature highlight was hurdling a defender on a scramble. Known for his arm strength, seeing Allen hurdle a guy on a scramble was akin to witnessing fat NBA guys dunk.

- The Miami freaking Dolphins are 3-0. Let that sink in. The play they used to take the lead for good was a reverse wide receiver pass that went for a 52-yard touchdown. Dolphins’ fans should rejoice now while they’re leading the AFC East, because when the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella will lose her slipper.

The Bad

-The Titans and Jags decided to set football back 100 years with a 9-6 finish. Neither team averaged more than four yards per pass, each averaged right at four yards per play, and the lone turnover was a Jags fumble. It was a game not even their families would want to watch.

-The Patriots are 1-2 after losing to the Lions 26-10 on Sunday Night Football. The Lions held the Pats to just 209 total yards. It appears as if Lions coach Matt Patricia got the best of his mentor, Pats coach Bill Belichek. If the Lions keep this up, Patricia may turn out to be the exception to the rule on Belichek’s coaching tree.

-It only took the first half for Bucs’ quarterback Ryan Fitz-magic to turn back into Fitzpatrick. He threw three first half interceptions and “helped” his team to a 30-10 deficit. With them wanting to ride the hot hand even when Jameis Winston comes back, this type of performance (which the smarts saw coming eventually) will have the Bucs rethinking their strategy.

The Ugly

-49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL with less than six minutes left in their game against the Chiefs. Garoppolo scrambled down the sideline and failed to get out of bounds. As he took another step bracing for a hit, he crumbled holding his left knee. Now San Francisco’s $137.5 million dollar man is done until next year and all hope lies within C.J. Beathard.

-Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged with another roughing the passer penalty! He’s gotten one in every game this year. The fact that two he got in previous games could have cost them those games is debatable. When former players on both sides of the ball as well as former officials come to his defense, that speaks volumes. The rule was originally created because of a hit Troy Aikman took and reemphasized when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone last year. The Competition Committee has to do something about this.

-The Cowboys are in trouble and it’s not all Dak Prescott’s fault. Their offensive line isn’t what it used to be which is hurting the run game and pass protection. When Dak has time to throw, he’s throwing to a subpar receiving corp. I am not a Cowboys fan at all, but all this Dak hate by that fan base is getting ridiculous.

Weeks like this bring about the type a parity the league has been looking for. Contenders are emerging. Pretenders are showing their hands. But most of all, nothing is truly settled. Anything can still happen as this week has shown us.

 

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Houston pulls of the victory

Astros get comeback win over Diamondbacks to take the series

Jose Siri and Chas McCormick's back-to-back homers pushed the Astros over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a disappointing loss in the middle game of this set, the Astros tried to end their streak of "playing down" to teams by getting a convincing win to take the series on Sunday. They would get the victory, but it would take an eighth-inning comeback to get the job done.

Final Score: Astros 7, Diamondbacks 6

Astros' Record: 88-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Peter Solomon (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandyn Sittinger (0-1)

Greinke roughed up as teams trade big innings

The Astros jumped out to a first-inning lead against Arizona, getting a leadoff walk and one-out single to set up Carlos Correa for a two-out three-run homer to make it 3-0. Zack Greinke retired the first seven batters he faced, but the Diamondbacks' first hit was a loud one, a solo homer by Pavin Smith to cut the lead to two runs in the top of the third.

Greinke ran into big trouble in the fourth, giving up a one-out single, walk, then three-straight RBI singles, the third bringing in two runs as Arizona went in front 5-3. He would get the final two outs, and his day would end short there as Houston moved to their bullpen in the fifth. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 68 P.

Houston goes back in front with big eighth inning

Peter Solomon, recently recalled by Houston from Triple-A to grab a fresh arm for the bullpen, made his fourth appearance of 2021 when he took over for Greinke in the top of the fifth. He allowed Arizona to extend their lead to two runs, giving up a leadoff walk, a single, then later a sac fly to make it 6-4 before getting through the inning. He kept going for a 1-2-3 sixth, and in the seventh, erased a couple of walks with a double play to keep it a two-run game.

Houston had their first chance against Arizona's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh and threatened to do some damage by working three walks to load the bases but would strand all three runners. Jose Siri made it a new game in the bottom of the eighth, capitalizing on a leadoff walk that set him up for a game-tying homer, and Chas McCormick followed that to make it back-to-back homers to put the Astros back in front, 7-6.

Astros get the series victory

Despite having pitched the first two games of this series, Houston elected to bring in closer Ryan Pressly to try and close things out in the top of the ninth with the one-run lead. He did not look the least bit fatigued, striking out the side in order to give the Astros the series win and move them another game closer to punching their ticket to the playoffs.

Up Next: With this short homestand over, the Astros will begin their final road trip of the regular season on Monday, with the opener of four in Los Angeles against the Angels starting at 8:38 PM Central. Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) is expected to get back on the mound for Houston after missing a turn due to a finger cut, while the Angels should have a start by Jaime Barria (2-3, 4.93 ERA).

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