The Times’ NFL rankings (Week 3)
By Lance Pugmire
The Bears rise, the Redskins take a tumble, and we have a new No. 1: the Atlanta Falcons. Oh, and for those that watched Monday night’s replacement-ref debacle, check the rankings of Seattle and Green Bay.
Up: Bears + 9 | Down: Redskins - 11
Keeping Chargers touchdown-less with four turnovers on cross-country trip following Monday night win a breakthrough of needed character.
Making mile-high trek with QB Matt Schaub besting Manning shows they’re taking this thing seriously after first playoff win last season.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton outsmarting all, and 7-0 is possible with next four against Dolphins, Rams, Bills and Vikings.
Emotional victory for WR Torrey Smith (two TDS, 127 yards) after brother’s death, clutch field goal and first win over Patriots.
Rolled over Panthers Thursday to get nice break before Sunday night showdown at Eagles. Playing so complete this early encouraging.
Got “trapped” on trip to Vikings with a venture to Jets coming Sunday. The stick in the mud says, “This is why you don’t bet the NFL.”
WR Golden Tate commits offensive pass interference, doesn’t truly catch final pass, yet sub refs give him TD as they stun Packers Monday.
Have officially taken biggest bullet from NFL’s decision to use replacement refs. Had big trouble with Seattle pressure, jobbed badly.
Unleashed hounds on defense to get six sacks, pick-six, kept Rams to 160 yards and six points. RB Michael Bush sturdy sub for Matt Forte.
Late losses a worry, but maybe Coach Bill Belichick’s meltdown against officials will prompt powerful owner Kraft to pay real guys.
QB Tony Romo’s three turnovers meant it wasn’t easy vs. Bucs, running game was blah. Will have to be better with Bears in town Monday.
OK, maybe there is something to worry about as more turnovers created a 24-0 deficit at Arizona. Now on to Giants.
RB Ryan Mathews gives another example of his (lack of) toughness. Now make hated trip to Chiefs, where QB Rivers fumbled it away.
Thrown into another 20-point hole against an unbeaten team, Broncos had Manning throw 52 times. Schedule eases with Raiders’ visit.
Surprisingly blew 10-point fourth-quarter lead, not typical of this franchise, which remains in search of a running game.
Blown-out ACL for star CB Darrelle Revis will hurt badly, and cold fact is they escaped with OT victory over Miami. More expected here.
WR A.J. Green went nuts for 183 yards in shootout at ‘Skins, with QB Andy Dalton stabilizing team after big blown lead. At Jaguars Sunday.
Another RB (C.J. Spiller) lost to injury dampens adding win to ledger at Browns, now QB Ryan Fizpatrick needs repeat effort vs. Patriots.
Franchise with high hopes can’t pressure QB, out of sorts in giving up 44 to Titans, with 378 passing yards allowed to Jake Locker.
Defense shined in creating turnovers, stiffening late in upset over 49ers. QB Christian Ponder efficient 21-of-35, can’t be slept on.
Staring into abyss of 0-3 with big deficit at Superdome, they rediscovered 2011 selves with RB Jamaal Charles running for 233.
NFL teams can’t survive on defense alone. Have to do more with ball than QB Josh Freeman’s 10-of-28. Home to Redskins next.
OK, pass protection is an issue after QB Sam Bradford was sacked six times and threw two INTs. Can they win on road?
Getting smoked at Giants halted excitement over QB Cam Newton’s option attack, and now they have pleasure of solving Falcons on road.
Another team with protection issues after QB Robert Griffin III got sacked six times. Can’t lose him, he rushed for 85, threw for 221.
K Dan Carpenter should watch out for a “kick me” sticker on his rear after missing kicks of 47 and 48 in overtime loss to Jets.
Two special teams touchdowns and QB Jake Locker’s coming-out party spawn upset of Lions. Not expecting a repeat at Texans.
This is how they do it: hand to RB Darren McFadden, let QB Carson Palmer be poised self and trust Sebastian Janikowski with big kicks.
Blind squirrel finds nut: QB Gabbert threw 80-yard TD pass to edge Colts in final minute. Props to RB Jones-Drew’s 177 yards, though.
Anything worse than final-minute loss with a bye week looming? QB Luck was good late, but more than half of passes incomplete.
No missing how dire things are despite QB Brees’ post-game promise of rally. Staggering that just three of 113 0-3 teams make playoffs.
Early favorite for first pick in NFL draft. Running game was held in check and they gave up three TDs to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now, to Ravens.