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Friday, July 20, 2018

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 3

Joe Flacco

Week 3 of the NFL season featured some extremely close games, including three awesome finishes to conclude the early slate of action. Despite those fun endings, there were a few blowouts, as well as teams, players and position groups that disappointed … and even referees.

Here’s a look at the 15 biggest disappointments of Week 3 of the NFL season.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

Philip Rivers was just brutal in the first half of the game, and his mistakes put the Chargers in an insurmountable hole. Rivers was intercepted on his team’s first two possessions of the game. The first came on his half of the field, setting up a short field for the Chiefs. The next one was returned 38 yards to the Chargers 34. Kansas City capitalized on both turnovers and cashed them in for touchdowns to go up 14-0. Two possessions later, Rivers was picked off again, giving KC another short field. They turned that into a field goal — 17 points total off turnovers.

As if the interceptions weren’t bad enough — and they were — Rivers also took a bad sack late in the game.

On a 3rd-and-10 from their 43 with 3:43 left down 17-10, Rivers took a sack that forced the Chargers into a 4th and long. Anthony Lynn decided to punt, and that pretty much sealed the game as the defense allowed a 69-yard touchdown.

Referees in Lions-Falcons game

The officials handling the Lions-Falcons game over-officiated in that one and made two extremely questionable calls at the end of the game.

The Lions were down 30-26 and drove all the way down to the Atlanta 1. They had a 3rd-and-goal situation with 12 seconds left. Matthew Stafford completed a short pass to Golden Tate, who reached for the end zone. The play was initially called a touchdown on the field, but the officials reviewed the scoring play and determined Tate was down before reaching the end zone. Because they went from a stopped clock to a moving clock, a 10-second runoff was done, and that left Detroit with no time, ending the game.

There were two questionable aspects of their rulings.

One, their decision to overturn the call in the first place was controversial because some would argue there was not conclusive evidence to say Tate was down before the end zone by the time he had full possession of the ball. Secondly, they decided the clock was under 10 seconds when the play ended, leaving the Lions with no time.

Had they called Tate down on the field originally, the Lions might have had time to line up and run one more play.

To the naked eye, it looked like the Lions scored a touchdown to win the game. When it’s that close, they shouldn’t be overturning things. The officials screwed the Lions out of a win.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens

Woof. That’s all you can say for Joe Flacco, because he put up a stinker in London.

Flacco was 8 of 18 for a pathetic 28 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions as his Baltimore Ravens were destroyed by the Jaguars 44-7. Flacco was so bad that he got benched for Ryan Mallett, who connected with Benjamin Watson for the team’s only touchdown of the game.

Flacco is now working on a pretty dubious streak which he and the team would like to see broken.

The veteran QB had a 0.5 QBR, which is the worst of his career and lowest of any QB this season.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

Cam Newton has made this list for the second straight week, which is very unusual for him. A week after a lackluster performance against the Bills in which he was hit frequently and hurt his ankle, Newton had his worst game of the season in a 34-13 loss to the Saints. New Orleans entered the game with one of the worst defenses in football. They were lit up by Sam Bradford and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks. But Newton failed to throw for a touchdown against them.

Newton was 17 of 26 for 167 yards and three interceptions, though he did run for a score. Two of Cam’s interceptions happened in Carolina territory, leading to 10 points. Then with his team down 27-13 in the fourth quarter, Newton took a sack and luckily recovered his fumble, resulting in a 10-yard loss. On the next play, he threw his third interception of the game.

Whether it’s the ankle or more, Newton certainly seems to be far from 100-percent healthy this season. Little else could explain his poor play.

Randy Bullock, K, Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals may not have been in a position to surrender a late comeback by the Packers had Randy Bullock not missed one of his field goal attempts.

Bullock missed a 48-yard field goal late in the third quarter that could have put the Bengals up 24-14. With just under 4 minutes remaining in the game, he made a 46-yarder to put his team up 24-17. Had everything else held up in the game, his last kick would have made it a two-score game, which would have prevented the Packers from having a chance to rally for the comeback.

Additionally, Bullock’s first kickoff went out of bounds, letting Green Bay start with the ball at the 40. They went 60 yards for a touchdown to tie the game in the first quarter.

As if the missed field goal wasn’t bad enough on its own, it came the same day that Jake Elliott booted a franchise-best 61-yard field goal to win the game for Philly. Elliott was a 5th-round pick by the Bengals, but they cut him after deciding to keep Bullock instead. You have to wonder whether they regretted the choice on Sunday.

Eric Ebron, TE, Lions

Eric Ebron did not play well in the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3. He was targeted seven times yet only came up with two catches for nine yards. A big reason for that is he dropped two passes in the game.

This drop happened on a second and 10 from the Detroit 31 with the Lions down 30-26 and 3:10 left in the game.

The Lions ended up punting after going 3-and-out. Earlier in the quarter, Ebron dropped a pass on 2nd-and-8 when he could have had a big gain.

Ebron recognized after the game that he didn’t play well.

“I played crappy,” he said, via the Detroit Free Press.

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