The NFL had no choice but to not stick to sports on Sunday.
The Stick To Sports crowd was in for a rough weekend as the President of the United States was firing off a Twitter storm taking aim at NFL players, owners and officials to follow up his boisterous comments at a campaign rally last week. The NFL world reacted in various ways and it is expected that will continue to be the case to some degree as the NFL now finds itself in the unusual position of having to defend itself against the president. But after the anthems were completed and the demonstrations and protests were conducted, the games continued as they always do, and the NFL had a ton of surprises to offer all day long, starting across the Atlantic Ocean in London.
Donald Trump’s comments ignite more anthem protests
Just when you may have thought the anthem conversation might be dying down in the NFL this season, the President of the United States doused some gasoline on the burning out fire to get it blazing once more. At a rally event in Alabama last week, Trump called out NFL players who have chosen to peacefully demonstrate and protest during the playing of the national anthem prior to kickoff and suggested he’d like to see them “fired” from their jobs. Trump did not back down on this discussion and spent time this weekend putting out more tweets calling out anthem protesters (and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, but that’s a whole other topic of conversation) and even attacking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for what he perceived to be a weak stance on the sensitive subject.
Before getting to Sunday, multiple NFL players responding on Twitter as well. And by the time the games rolled around, we saw more abundant displays and protests from around the league than ever before. Even Ray Lewis took a knee, despite his previous comments ripping Colin Kaepernick.
Whole bunch of Patriots players are kneeling. There are some boos in the crowd pic.twitter.com/nLkc6TeQRh
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2017
There were multiple ways demonstrations were executed. Some players sat or took a knee. Some teams locked arms in a show of unity. Some players raised fists during the anthem, others as a celebration on the field after a big play.
The Saints' Brandon Coleman raises his fist in the end zone after scoring pic.twitter.com/GfN94ndMFb
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 24, 2017
The Pittsburgh Steelers were in the tunnel instead of on the field in Chicago. The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans also did not take the field in their game against each other.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 24, 2017
The Carolina Panthers had no noticeable demonstrations.
Not. One. Single. Panthers. Player. Made. A. Statement. Today. pic.twitter.com/jHaPdOOqzF
— Carolina Blitz (@VashtiHurt) September 24, 2017
In Detroit, even the anthem singer himself took the opportunity to make a statement.
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) September 24, 2017
This also forced the discussion on the NFL pregame show circuit on each of the networks, and it seemed the coverage of the subject was received well by those watching.
Now that we have addressed the major story that happened before the games, let’s get to the action that took place on the field.
The London Jaguars of Jacksonville demolished the Ravens
Are the Jacksonville Jaguars… good? Let’s take a quick inventory after three games. The Jags have gone 2-1 with two decisive victories by 22 and 37 points after their 44-7 loss in London against the Baltimore Ravens. Blake Bortles passed for four touchdowns in the rout while Ryan Mallett ended up being the leading passer for the Baltimore Ravens. Yeah. Joe Flacco was so bad, Mallett had a better day passing than he did. Yikes.
The Jags rushed for 166 yards with Leonard Fournette getting 17 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown and Corey Grant rushing for a team-high 75 yards. The Ravens had three turnovers and the Jaguars turned each of those turnovers into touchdowns. So, are the Jaguars actually a good team?
It’s going to take more than three games to convince skeptics that the Jaguars can be a contender, but these impressive victories are definitely getting the league to take notice.
The Rookie Record-Setting Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon
The Eagles lost their starting kicker, Caleb Sturgis, to an injury in the season opener and were forced to pick up a free agent on the market to fill the void. In came rookie Jake Elliott out of Memphis. In his second game in an Eagles uniform, Elliott knocked down a 46-yard game-tying field in the final minute of regulation to tie the New York Giants at 24-24, and he was just warming up. After the Eagles defense forced a three-and-out, Carson Wentz moved the Eagles into position for a very unlikely 61-yard field goal attempt before the game likely headed to overtime.
Elliott must have had a dinner reservation to make, because he ended the game with an Eagles franchise-record 61-yard field goal as time expired for a 27-24 victory in Philly.
The 61-yard field goal allowed the Eagles to escape a possible meltdown situation that would light the phone lines on fire at 97.5 The Fanatic and WIP this week. Although the Eagles finally seemed to get a running game going, Carson Wentz had a rough afternoon in the division battle, and the Giants scored all 24 of their points in the fourth quarter after trailing for the previous three quarters. Eli Manning was on fire in the fourth quarter and Odell BEckham Jr. was making crazy touchdown catches… and pretending to pee like a dog. Weird.
Odell Beckham pretending to be a peeing dog is really what this day needed pic.twitter.com/POmzWtdSzM
— Dave Lozo (@davelozo) September 24, 2017
The Giants are 0-3. Maybe the phone lines in New York will be melting down this week instead. We know the radio hosts are already losing it.
And now, with any further delay of game, here is the NFL Blitz…
THE NFL BLITZ
Patriots 36, Texans 33: Tom Brady still has some magic in him if Sunday afternoon was any proof you still for some reason needed to see. Brady passed for 378 yards and five touchdowns to nudge the Patriots past the Texans in Foxboro. Give the Texans credit for hanging with the champs, because they did bring Brady down five times in the game. The back-and-forth affair was a great contest between the future hall of famer and one of the top rookie quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson, but with 23 ticks left on the clock Brady would not be denied with a 25-yard pass to Brandin Cooks for the go-ahead score and successful two-point conversion that followed.
Great photo of Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson having a moment following Patriots win over Texans. pic.twitter.com/rrgGu1DBed
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 24, 2017
Watson is going to continue to be fun to watch playing with the Texans for years to come.
Washington 27, Raiders 10: OK, where did this one come from? Kirk Cousins passed for three touchdowns and 365 yards to out-perform Derek Carr on Sunday night. That’s great news for Cousins and his agent. Washington held Carr to just 118 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions because they simply don’t care about your fantasy football team (OK, OK, they don’t care about my fantasy football team). If that was not enough, Marshawn Lynch was held to just 18 rushing yards, and Lynch accounted for more than half of the team’s rushing total. This was not as good night for the Raiders, to say the least.
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2017
Falcons 30, Lions 26: Neither Matt Ryan nor Matthew Stafford had a phenomenal performance in what should have been a brilliant display of two of the NFC’s top passers, but Ryan will take a win for the Falcons any way he can after being picked off three times. Devonta Freeman ran for 106 yards and a score and Julio Jones hauled in seven passes for 91 yards as the Falcons edged the Lions in Detroit to go 3-0 overall and 2-0 on the road. These Falcons might be pretty decent.
And if the burn of losing a game wasn’t bad enough, some of the food for the Lions may have gotten scorched as well.
— Evan Jankens (@KINGoftheKC) September 24, 2017
Chiefs 24, Chargers 10: If the Chargers are going to grow a fan base in their new home, then they might have to win a game or two at some point. The Chargers fell to 0-3 following a 14-point home loss to the still undefeated Chiefs. Alex Smith remains a confident and reliable passer while Philip Rivers completed 20 of 40 passes for 237 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions. Frustrations are mounting with the Chargers, but the Chiefs are rolling with another phenomenal outing from rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt racked up 172 yards and a touchdown, averaging 10.1 yards per rushing attempt on Sunday.
Kareem Hunt: 100 scrimmage yards for the 3rd straight game. Last rookie to do that in each of his first 3 team games was Matt Forte in 2008. pic.twitter.com/nM2fhEcKY0
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 24, 2017
I swear to god Kareem Hunt made like 6 tacklers miss on one play. pic.twitter.com/8OYq3vVKNr
— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) September 24, 2017
Packers 27, Bengals 24 (OT): The Cincinnati Bengals were unable to hold onto a 21-7 lead in the second half in Lambeau Field as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers stormed back to force overtime, and then win it in the extra session. The Bengals in the second half went three-and-out twice and missed a field goal on another drive as Green Bay tightened up their defensive effort against Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Joe Mixon. This was a game Rodgers had to take command of, even though at one point he seemed to not be too pleased with the play coming in from the sideline.
When your coach makes a "stupid f*cking call"pic.twitter.com/p1nusKe8AR
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 24, 2017
The Bengals are now 0-3, and the calls for Marvin Lewis’ job may only grow louder and louder.
Bills 26, Broncos 16: Perhaps some air in the “Trevor Siemian is a good quarterback” balloon was let out on the road in Buffalo. The Bills picked him off twice.
"They tried to pull us apart, but we got closer together.
We love one another as a team." pic.twitter.com/AGgYZikPA3
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 24, 2017
Bears 23, Steelers 17 (OT): The Bears and Steelers went into overtime in Soldier Field and the Bears had to win it twice in a game the Bears gave the Steelers so many chances to win. You see, Bears running back Tarik Cohen broke loose for a 73-yard touchdown, which was darn impressive…
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) September 24, 2017
… but Cohen actually was ruled out of bounds 36 yards into his run. So hit the reset button and a couple of plays later it was Jordan Howard to play the role of hero.
Chicago has "Air Jordan," but today, it was all about "Bear Jordan." pic.twitter.com/C1T1YnDYsk
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 25, 2017
Titans 33, Seahawks 27: Normally, when Russell Wilson throws for 373 yards and four touchdowns, you would think Seattle would walk away from a game as the winner. Not this time. The Titans used a 21-point third quarter to take control of the game and held on for the win in the fourth quarter on a day that saw Marcus Mariota toss a pair of touchdowns, not take a sack, and the running game rack up 195 yards. Eight different Titans players caught a pass in the game. Wilson had trouble holding onto the football with a pair of fumbles, but he managed to recover each of his own and one by teammate Justin Britt. But they went home with a 1-2 record while the Titans improved to 2-1.
Vikings 34, Buccaneers 17: Oh Tampa Bay, you can’t lose a game like this when Case Keenum is the opposing quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford? Sure. But Case Keenum? Ouch. Not a good look after Keenum passed for 369 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the Vikings’ win. Jameis Winston was picked off three times and the Vikings got 97 yards and a touchdown out of Dalvin Cook. The Bucs rushed for just 26 yards as a team. Stefon Diggs had a huge day with eight catches for 173 yards and two Vikings touchdowns.
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) September 24, 2017
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 24, 2017
Saints 34, Panthers 13: It was on a day like this I just wondered to myself if Drew Brees ever gets tired of passing for 200+ yards and three touchdowns. I’m guessing the answer is no. Cam Newton was rough today with three picks and no touchdowns through the air (he scored one on the ground) against a Saints defense that had been terrible in their first two games. Newton was also sacked four times for a combined loss of 28 yards.
Colts 31, Browns 28: The Indianapolis Colts have looked like an absolute mess to start the season without Andrew Luck at quarterback. The best medicine for that? A home game against the Cleveland Browns, apparently. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton went off with seven receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown while rookie Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer was picked off three times. Is it too early to start figuring out who the Browns are going to take with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft yet, or should we hold off on that one for now?
Jets 20, Dolphins 6: I’m… I’m… stunned. How on Earth could the Jets have beaten the Dolphins? I mean, I’m not in love with the Dolphins, but the Jets beating them? That’s rough. The defense was the key to the game for the Jets as the Dolphins coughed the football up twice and managed to gain just 225 yards of offense against the Jets. And Josh McCown just played a bit better than Jay Cutler for Miami. So at least the Jets don’t have to hear any talk about going 0-16. And, according to the standings, they are now the best team in New Jersey, so that’s cool.
Pitched a shutout for 59:59 ?
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 25, 2017
All your rowdy friends are here on Monday Night
One game left to play this week in the NFL, and it takes us out to Glendale, Arizona for the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys had a massive thud last week, so look to see if Ezekiel Elliott comes out in full force to make up for a horrible outing in Denver in Week 2. Carson Palmer has already passed for 600 yards in two games.