A lookback at Week 3 in the NFL
From the Jim Hurley Network Staff
Contributing Sportsbook Editor
Just take a moment or two to fully absorb the following statement:
As we begin a new work week, there are a slew of NFL "iconic franchises" that are probably hoping 8-8 is good enough to win their respective divisions this 2013 season as the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers are a combined 2-16 SU (straight-up) just three full weeks into the current campaign - folks, that's a dreadful .111 winning percentage - and anyone that's wagered a pretty penny on this particular six-pack of NFL "icons" now are a collective 3-15 ATS (against the spread) for an almost equally dreadful .167 winning rate.
Maybe the most optimistic football fans out there will tell you that there's "plenty of time" left in this here-and-now season - and they're right, of course - but right now the odds favor all of the above-named teams being out of the post-season chase by Halloween, and so it's a new day in NFL-land with the Denver Broncos this evening looking to be the seventh 3-0 squad out there joining the ranks of Miami, New England and Kansas City in the AFC while the unbeaten in the NFC include Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle.
Like we said last week ... just who's gonna stay undefeated the longest in this man's NFL? It is a good question, right?
We do know - while looking ahead already at NFL Week 4 - that a pair of unbeaten will square off next Monday Night when the Dolphins play at the Saints and we can see ESPN play-by-play guy Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden doing cartwheels in the MNF booth this evening while promoting the Week 4 bash! We can't blame ?em.
And, speaking of NFL Week 4, "London's Calling" with the Steelers playing the Vikings across the proverbial pond and the Brits can have ?em as these said clubs are a combined 0-6 SU and 1-5 against the vig ... double yuck!
No doubt there's even more to dissect about the icon teams that must now spend the better part of this '13 season digging out ...
So let's go on as we dissect some of the NFL Week 3 action as we touch on three of the icon team losses:
In Week 3 play, it was ...
DETROIT 27, WASHINGTON 20 - Let's just say the Redskins should realize this is gonna be a long year when they lose at home to the Lions as that's something that never happened before in D.C.
The Motowners had lost their previous 21 games in Washington but that all changed here, in large part thanks to a key (and correctly ruled) Robert Griffin III fumble following a gallant run for a first down - RG3 later called it a "bad rule", but wasn't he taught to slide?
The ?Skins averaged a haughty 6.7 offensive yards per snap and only committed one turnover but the defense - the one we admonished in this very "Jim Sez" column space a week ago at this time - didn't tackle very well while allowing a non-descript Detroit ground game to average 5.5 yards a pop en route to a 22-carry, 120-yard rushing game.
Hey, we told you last week that we would have fired defensive coordinator Jim Haslett right after that humbling 38-20 loss in Green Bay in Week 2 - we were not kidding! - and so now Mike Shanahan's squad will go into Oakland as a winless club (the bye week follows in Week 5) and potentially facing an 0-and-7 start if it doesn't beat the silver-and-black this Sunday - go ahead and eyeball the Redskins' sked yourself!
CHICAGO 40, PITTSBURGH 23 - Okay, so you could make the argument that one of the NFL's iconic franchises also won here as the born-again Bears went to 3-0 SU with this wire-to-wire victory, but let's reserve our comments to the Steelers, who somehow climbed back into this Sunday Night Game (got to within 27-23 with 10-plus minutes remaining) but stayed winless thanks to an array of mistakes, with many of ?em committed by QB Ben Roethlisberger (see two lost fumbles and two interceptions).
Much has been made of the fact the Steelers have been a punchless unit thus far this season - see the 16-9 loss to Tennessee followed by last Monday's 20-10 setback in Cincinnati - but the offense did get perked-up after the halftime break and so maybe there is some hope heading overseas but Pittsburgh just doesn't look right on many fronts with the O-line leaky (again) and with the defense unable to force any turnovers in the team's first three games.
Last week the media made a big deal about the fact Pittsburgh's seventh-year head coach Mike Tomlin had never been two games below .500 in a season - now he's three games under .500. How do you like "embracing" that, coach?
Roethlisberger threw for 406 yards in this latest loss - but he had to considering Chicago sported a healthy double-digit lead for much of the evening.
If the Steelers lose Sunday at Wembley Stadium, it could be time to throw in the "terrible" towel!
INDIANAPOLIS 27, SAN FRANCISCO 7 - We looked it up, and the worst loss that last year's 49ers suffered was that 42-13 thumping at the hands of host Seattle late in the 2012 season.
Here we are three games into this season and the Niners already have lost games by 26 and 20 points - and, worse yet, this could be a fractured club when you consider the following:
Troubled OLB Aldon Smith - who should not have been allowed to play in Sunday's 20-point home loss versus 10 1/2-point pup Indianapolis because of his DUI charge just a couple of days earlier - now appears to be taking a "leave of absence" from the squad while NBC late last night reported major friction between San Fran star RB Frank Gore (11 carries for 82 yards plus 21 receiving yards against the Colts) and fiery head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Hey, we didn't even mention the fact that QB Colin Kaepernick - who apparently spent the better part of his off-season making TV commercials and posting silly/stupid tweets while wearing a Miami Dolphins hat (remember?) - didn't exactly light up the skies in this Week 3 game while completing 13-of-27 passes for 150 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT while he contributed a mere 20 rushing yards on seven carries.
Go kiss you biceps now, kid!
If the Niners are coming apart at the seams, then you have to wonder if playing on a "short week" - that's in St. Louis on Thursday Night - is a good thing.
Right now there's plenty of holes to plug and patch on this San Francisco team that has more issues than a weekday TV soap opera.
One stat we must pass on to y'all here: The 49ers had the ball for just 23:35 in the loss to Indianapolis - so maybe this NFC West team simply has lost its will along the way.