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 dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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