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10 Thoughts on the NFL

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Lester heads around the league and shares a few thoughts about week 3.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

1) Way back on Thursday, the Cleveland Browns picked up a win over the New York Jets behind rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. He entered the game after starter Tyrod Taylor went down with an injury, and he completed 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards. More important than the numbers was the way in which Mayfield played. He looked like a young quarterback ready to take over a franchise, and that’s exactly what the Browns will do as they’ve named him their week 4 starter.

2) Another rookie QB getting his first start this weekend is the Arizona CardinalsJosh Rosen, but Rosen’s debut wasn’t as sparkly as Mayfield’s. On Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Rosen relieved Sam Bradford and went 4 of 7 for 36 yards and an interception. The Bears blitzed him on the final play of the game and got home for the game sealing sack.

3) Staying with the rookie QB theme, the Buffalo BillsJosh Allen helped orchestrate the biggest upset of the last 23 years when they knocked off the Minnesota Vikings (who were favored by 17) by a score of 27-6.

Josh Allen also did this...

4) I guess I’ll circle back to that Browns vs. Jets game and talk about the other rookie QB that’s been playing. Things sure are different for New York’s Sam Darnold, who was universally praised after his week one performance in Detroit where his passer rating was 116.8. It dropped to 74.6 in a week 2 loss, and down again on Sunday to a 38.2.

5) Did anyone have Adam Gase and the Miami Dolphins at 3-0 and atop the AFC East?

6) This has been such a week to week season so far.

Did anyone expect a 9 to 6 Tennessee Titans win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, who the week prior smacked around the New England Patriots?

7) Did anyone expect the Detroit Lions to take it to the Patriots on Sunday Night Football?

News came out over the weekend that the Pats tried to trade Rob Gronkowski to the Lions this offseason, but Gronk wasn’t going to cooperate. “Yeah, it happened,’’ Gronkowski said after their 26-10 loss in Detroit. “Brady’s my quarterback, that’s all. I wasn’t going anywhere without Brady.’’

The Patriots are 1-2 and some cracks are starting to show, but with the way this season is going I wouldn’t be surprised if New England dropped 50 on the Dolphins on Sunday.

8) The one constant, and the one thing that isn’t surprising to me is the dominance of the Los Angeles Rams. That is a complete football team.

9) Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged again for a roughing the passer penalty, and for a second week in a row I feel dirty for agreeing with him.

Here’s Matthews from SI:

“When you have a hit like that, that’s a football play...Unfortunately this league’s going in a direction a lot of people don’t like. They’re getting soft”

Matthews did land on Alex Smith, but how else is he supposed to tackle him? He immediately rolled off of Smith, but with his momentum going into the QB there’s no physical way he could have stopped his body from making a “tackle.”

10) Fitz magic is real.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was on fire through two games this year, then three first half interceptions against the Steelers made it seem like the magic was fizzling out, but uh-uh! Even though the Buccaneers came up short, Fitzpatrick still went over 400 passing yards while almost leading his team back from a 30-10 halftime deficit.

He’s the first player in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in three consecutive games.

His offensive line has been solid, his pocket presence has been outstanding, and his group of receivers has been good all year long. This will be a tough match-up for Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense next week, but if they get to him he’ll chuck it up for grabs. Chicago’s secondary could be in for a big game.