Here are five things to love about the NFL from the third weekend of the regular season:
One and two. The Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions. They’re 3-0. Or 6-0, since we’re combining their combined efforts. That’s good enough right there, but it’s how they got there. The Bills outlasted – heavy emphasis on outlasted – the Patriots 34-31, and the game-winner came on a 28-yard field goal by former Seahawks, Washington State and Mountain View High School of Vancouver kicker Rian Lindell. The Bills also overcame a 21-0 deficit against the team that is quarterbacked by Tom Brady, in large part because they had four interceptions against a passer who had been impeccable in the first two games. The Lions, meanwhile, are 3-0 for the first time since 1980 after rallying from a 20-0 deficit to beat the Vikings 26-23. And their game-winner came on a 32-yard field goal by 41-year-old Jason Hanson, another former WSU kicker who from Spokane and went to Mead High School.
Three. Drew Brees. The Saints’ QB could be on this list every week. He’s that fun to watch, and seems to be that good a person as well as a player. But Sunday, Brees was at his Saintly best. He completed 31 of 44 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns to outduel the Texans’ Matt Schaub (22 of 39, 373 yards, three TDs) as the Saints won 40-33 on a Brees-to-Mark Ingram TD pass and his two-point conversion completion to Lance Moore with fewer than three minutes to play. But wait, there’s more. Brees has thrown a TD pass in 30 consecutive games to tie Dan Mario for the third longest streak in NFL history behind Johnny Unitas (47) and Brett Favre (36).
Four. LT. He’s not the same LaDainian Tomlinson who ran roughshod over the league for all those years in San Diego. But the LT who now plays for the Jets still knows how to find his way into the end zone. His 18-yard scoring reception in a loss to the Raiders was the 160th TD of his career. Only two other players in league history have reached the 160 plateau – Jerry Rice (208) and Emmitt Smith (175), the league’s all-time leading receiver and rusher.
Five. Those trendy preseason picks for the favorite to win the NFC West. Last year, it was the 49ers, who promptly lost their first five games – including a 31-6 loss to the Seahawks in their opener – and six of their first seven. This year, it was the Rams, who are 0-3 after Sunday’s 37-7 loss to the Ravens. The Rams have yet to score more than 16 points in a game, while allowing 31, 28 and 37.