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NFL Week 3 Review: Offenses Wake Up

   by Al McMordie - 09/26/2007

Two weeks ago I wrote about how defenses are often ahead of the offense early in the NFL season, as it takes time for new offensive personnel to click. The under went 10-5 the first week of the NFL season, but that sure changed in Week 3. Offenses are beginning to click all over the league, and the overs started 11-3 this past weekend! Green Bay struck for 31, the Eagles got 56, the Steelers had 37, while the Patriots scored 38 for the third straight game.

Old warrior Brett Favre was a big story, throwing for 369 yards on 28-of-35 passing and 3 TDs. Favre found Greg Jennings on a 57-yard game winning TD on a slant pattern for the record-tying 420th touchdown pass of his career. Favre is tied with Dan Marino for the most touchdown passes in NFL history. The Packers faithful are delighted he returned for another season, and even more delighted in the Packs’ 3-0 start.

The team they beat, San Diego (1-2), hasn’t caught fire yet under new coach Norv Turner. The San Diego GM said recently he hired Turner because he can’t stand playing it safe in big games. That was a shot at departed Marty Schottenheimer. Turner is in a no-win situation, in that the Chargers aren’t going to be 14-2 again. It’s win the Super Bowl, or it’s a failure of a season in many eyes. Keep in mind that Chargers QB Philip Rivers was 27-of-36 for 306 yards, with three touchdowns Sunday and the offense had 24 points despite no running game. They are 2-0 over the total the last two games, as well.

The Arizona Cardinals pulled out a cover as a big dog, losing 26-23 in OT at Baltimore. The most interesting aspect of the game was the offense, which exploded in the second half under backup QB 36-year-old Kurt Warner. Matt Leinart was 9-for-20 for 53 yards before being benched, then Warner went 15-for-20 for 258 yards and two touchdowns, often going no-huddle. And why not, with receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin? Arizona fans are going to start to wonder: Why didn’t we start the game going no-huddle with that kind of talent at wideout? It’s a fair question. Boldin had a career-high 14 catches for 181 yards. Good coaches adapt their offenses to their team’s strengths.

One team that is not adapting to its strengths is the Rams. Last year, new coach Scott Linehan brought in a ball-control offense to try and cut down picks for QB Marc Bulger and keep the defense off the field more. This season, that plan is unlikely to work because the St. Louis offensive line has been decimated by injuries. They scored 3 points in a loss at Tampa Bay Sunday, after getting 13 and 16 in the first two games. "The score doesn't indicate it, but we were right there," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. I wouldn’t agree, coach. You’ve got Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce – use them!

In preseason, Tampa coach Jon Gruden admitted he was devising more roll outs on offense to utilize the feet of new QB Jeff Garcia. The Bucs have scored 31 and 24 points the last two weeks. Garcia has made a world of difference, as this team was 30th in the NFL in total offense in 2006.

And speaking of improved offenses, what on earth got into the Eagles? The answer: The Lions terrible defense! QB Donovan McNabb shook off Monday night boos and threw for 381 yards and four touchdown passes as the Eagles beat the Lions 56-21 on Sunday. Sometimes it’s not how well you play, but WHO you play. The teams had 63 points and 763 total yards in the first half. Keep in mind that the Lions had 446 passing yards of their own, and they are now 2-1 over the total. Good luck, as always, Al McMordie.

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