NFL roundup: Rams, Jaguars, and Cowboys, oh my

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers surveys the field, looking for an open wide reciever. Rodgers was instrumental in a come-from-behind win over the Cincinatti Bengals last week. / Courtesy of Elvis Kennedy

This week in the NFL was as exciting as ever, characterized by some close contests and an unexpected blowout. The season, thus far, has been full of twists and turns, and week three was no different. This week, we dig into four of the most enjoyable games of the week and look forward to some of the most interesting upcoming matchups.

Thursday night’s game was a pleasure to watch. The thrilling battle between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers was action-packed until the final minutes of the game. After taking a 41-26 lead, the Rams allowed the 49ers to creep back into the game. The score was 41-33 when, with just over two minutes on the clock, the Niners ran the ball on fourth and goal.

Running back Carlos Hyde scored on the play, bringing the score to 41-39. Knowing that there was little chance that they would be able to score again in two minutes, the 49ers chose to attempt the two-point conversion in order to tie the game. On the play that was most certainly the climax of the game, the 49ers’ pass was intercepted by a Rams defender, putting an end to what was almost an incredible comeback. Both teams’ running backs, Todd Gurley (Rams) and Carlos Hyde (49ers), had incredible performances that made this game such a high-scoring affair.

Perhaps the most notable upset of the week was the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 44-7 romp of the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore was widely considered the favorite in the matchup, but from the moment the clock started, the Jaguars pounced. They took an early lead and just kept scoring. The inconsistency that football analysts discuss so much with Joe Flacco was glaringthis week, as he went from his stellar week-two performance to a terrible 8-for-18 day with 28 passing yards and two interceptions (no, that is not a typo, he passed for just 28 yards). To put in perspective just how poor his performance was, the Ravens second-string quarterback only played the fourth quarter and was listed as the Ravens’ passing leader in the box score.

On the other side, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles was outstanding. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Bortles was a bit of a question mark coming into the season, but it appears he has found some rhythm as of late. The Jaguars will need his leadership if they want to have continued success. Their defense is good, but offensively they need a catalyst. If Bortles can string together a few more performances like this, it is possible he can be that spark.

Sunday’s contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals brought even more excitement. Early in the game, the Bengals took a 21-7 lead, one of the touchdowns coming on an interception thrown by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This was only just the second pick-six of his long, successful career.

After going down early, Rodgers and the Packers showed what they were made of. Over the course of the game, the Packers worked their way to a 24-24 tie going into overtime. With about seven minutes left in OT, Rodgers unleashed a long pass that connected with wide receiver Geronimo Allison. Allison was down in the red zone, and the Packers proceeded to kick the game-winning field goal. The Packers emerged victorious, 27-24.

The win would certainly not have been possible if not for Rodgers’ resilience after a rough start. He finished the day 28 for 42, with 313 yards and three touchdowns. Allison also stepped up this week in a big way and was a large part of the reason the Packers were able to ultimately win the game. A breakout game like this is all the more impressive when considering that Allison was suspended during week one due to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy for possessing marijuana and only received the ball three times in week two. This week he had six receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. After this strong week, three despite only having six receptions, Rodgers should target him more of- ten in the coming weeks.

Monday night’s matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals was fun to watch. Arizona struck first, as quarterback Car- son Palmer connected with Jaron Brown for a long touchdown pass. As the game continued, both teams played very well. The Cardinals’ defense was a bit outmatched by the powerful Dal- las offense. With running back Ezekiel Elliot still eligible to play despite the NFL’s efforts to re-instate his suspension, they are dangerous. Elliott compliments quarterback Dak Prescott well, as they seem to feed off of each other. By the end of the game, Dallas emerged victorious at 28-17. After such an entertaining week of NFL

After such an entertaining week of NFL football, fans should be eager for week four to begin. The action will begin Thursday, with an NFC North showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. The Packers will almost certainly win that game, as the Bears have been pretty lackluster to this point. The Sunday matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots will be a great game. Fast-paced, run-and-gun Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will try to take down Tom Brady and his New England Patriots. It will be tough for Carolina to pull this one off, but it will likely be a competitive game from start to finish. These two games are just a couple of the excellent NFL matchups in store this weekend.

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