Last week once again marked reinvented territory for me, as I recognized one player from each of the 16 NFL teams that were victorious in Week 2.
Check out the bullet points and text below to see which 16 players got recognized as the Impact Players Of The Week for Week 3:
- Tennessee Titans Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars-Gardner Minshew II has played well in place of $80 million man Nick Foles and got his first career victory in this game. However, it’s hard to ignore the nine sacks that the Jaguars had as a team against Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. A third of those nine sacks were registered by Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell a.k.a. The Mayor Of Sacksonville. Led by The Mayor, the Jaguars killed any and all momentum of a Titans comeback, whether it was him registering sacks or his presence allowing five of his teammates (Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot, Taven Bryan, Marcell Dareus, Leon Jacobs) to combine for the other six sacks. Sackonsonville is back and Campbell is a big reason why, thus him getting the Impact Player Of The Week award for this game.
- Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Buffalo Bills-Frank Gore’s rushing touchdown from a yard out to give the Bills a 21-17 lead would have made the 15-year veteran running back the Impact Player this game. However, the Bengals had 1:50 to go on the clock and moved the ball 47 yards downfield with a chance to leave New Era Field with a victory. But those hopes were dashed, as Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White picked the ball off at the Bills 10-yard to preserve the victory. The interception was White’s second of the game and is the reason why the third-year cornerback out of LSU is this game’s Impact Player.
- Miami Dolphins Vs. Dallas Cowboys-The Dolphins kept the game close going into halftime, as they were down 10-6. However, the Cowboys had the ball to begin the second half and capped off a five-play, 75-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback to Dak Prescott to wide receiver Amari Cooper to turn the 10-6 lead into a 17-6 lead. The touchdown created a deficit that proved to be insurmountable for the Dolphins, along with killing any and all momentum that they had for a second half comeback, thus making Cooper the Impact Player of this game.
- Denver Broncos Vs. Green Bay Packers-It was a sack attack by The Pack, as the Green Bay defense racked up six of them against Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco. Half of those sacks were authored by Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith, one of which was a sack-fumble that set up an Aaron Jones rushing touchdown from seven yards out to a turn 10-10 tie into a Packers 17-10 lead. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense looked more comfortable in this game, but it’s hard to go against the impressive work that Mike Pettine’s unit has put forth. Especially with Preston Smith and his three sacks at the forefront of it, thus the fifth-year player out of Mississippi State being this game’s Impact Player.
- Atlanta Falcons Vs. Indianapolis Colts-No Luck, no problem, as Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett continues to thrive in place of the now-retired Andrew Luck. Against the Falcons, the second of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s talented back-ups during the 2016-17 season, went 28 of 37 for 300 net passing yards, two touchdowns and a game-icing 11-yard completion to tight end Jack Doyle to ultimately run the Colts’ record to 2-1. Brissett’s statistical dominance against the Dirty Birds makes the fourth-year quarterback out of North Carolina State the Impact Player of this game.
- Baltimore Ravens Vs. Kansas City Chiefs-Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, and Chiefs wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman are all worthy candidates for this game’s Impact Player award. However, I’m going with the Chief who had both a 41-yard run to set up Harrison Butker’s 36-yard field goal and a game-icing 16-yard reception on 3rd-and-nine, with that player being running back Darrel Williams. The timely plays by the second-year running back out of LSU dashed any and all hopes of a Ravens comeback, thus making him the Impact Player of this game.
- Oakland Raiders Vs. Minnesota Vikings-Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins didn’t have gaudy passing numbers (174 passing yards), but he also didn’t suffer a sack nor had any turnovers. He also marched down his team 76 yards downfield on the opening possession, and capped it off with a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Adam Thielen. Cousins’ clean game was redemption after throwing that back-backing interception against the Packers last week, thus making the eighth-year quarterback out of Michigan State the Impact Player of this game.
- New York Jets Vs. New England Patriots-This might be one of the last games where Tom Brady has a clean game (no sacks suffered, no turnovers) and gaudy passing numbers (306 yards, two touchdowns), as I see his play regressing this season a lot like Peyton Manning’s play regressing him in 2015. So with that hot take being said, the greatest quarterback in NFL history gets the Impact Player award of this game.
- Detroit Lions Vs. Philadelphia Eagles-Unlike Super Bowl LII, a Matt Patricia defense thwarts a Doug Pederson-coached Eagles team from winning the game, as Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin broke up a deep pass attempt from Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz that was intended for Eagles rookie wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The pass breakup occurred on 4th-and-15, thus allowing the Lions to run out the clock and giving the seventh-year cornerback out of Northern Illinois the Impact Player award of this game.
- Carolina Panthers Vs. Arizona Cardinals-In a game in which I picked the Panthers to win, Cam Newton was ruled out with a foot injury, thus making the Panthers’ shot at winning a “must win” game a tall order. But that didn’t faze Kyle Allen, the man whom started in place of Newton. In a game that the Panthers had to have, the second-year quarterback out of Houston lit up a Cardinals defense that was minus Patrick Peterson, by going 19-of-26 for 240 net passing yards and four touchdowns. The Panthers won convincingly, 38-20, thanks to Allen, thus making him the Impact Player of this game.
- New York Giants Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins would get this award for getting the final tackle on a play from scrimmage, as he tackled Buccaneers all-world wide receiver Mike Evans nine yards shy of having Big Blue leave Raymond James Stadium with an 0-3 record. However, it’s impossible to give this award to anyone not named Daniel Jones, as the Giants rookie quarterback led the Giants from an 18-point halftime deficit, along with overcoming five sacks and two turnovers. His stat line was also impressive, as he went 23-of-36 for 312 net passing yards and two touchdowns. Plus, he had 28 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns, including the game-winner from seven yards out. The first round pick out of Duke is hands down the Impact Player of this game.
- Houston Texans Vs. Los Angeles Chargers-The Texans have had all three games come down to their defense closing it out, the latter of the two that they won, thanks to their defensive backfield. Last week, I gave Texans free safety Justin Reid an Impact Player award for his game-saving of Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette on a Jaguars two-point conversion attempt. And with that being said, I’m going right back to recognizing the Texans defensive backfield, except it’s cornerback Bradley Roby this time around. Up seven with 18 seconds to go, Roby batted away a deep pass attempt by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers that was intended for wide receiver Dontrelle Inman on 4th-and-14, with the Texans leading 27-20. Roby’s brilliant defensive play marks the second week in a row that a defensive back thwarted a Philip Rivers comeback victory, thus earning the sixth-year player out of Ohio State the Impact Player of this game.
- Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. San Francisco 49ers-With 51 seconds and one timeout at their own 29-yard line, the Steelers and their offense were poised to get a chunk play in order to get their first win of the season. But 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner thwarted that hope, as the Pro Bowl defensive tackle from a season ago sacked Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph for a nine-yard loss on a manageable 3rd-and-3, thus forcing the Steelers to drive the ball 80 yards downfield with 41 seconds to go and no timeouts. Instead, they turned it over on downs. Buckner’s momentum-changing sack earns him the Impact Player award of this game.
- New Orleans Saints Vs. Seattle Seahawks-Seahawks running back Chris Carson, a two-time Impact Player award winner, appeared to give his team momentum with a very positive running play. However, that turned into a negative for the Seahawks, as Saints cornerback Eli Apple forced a fumble that was immediately returned by his teammate in strong safety Vonn Bell for a 33-yard touchdown. The play turned a 7-7 tie into a 13-7 Saints lead, along with also being a part of a 20-0 Saints scoring run that proved to be too much for the Seahawks to overcome. The much-maligned Apple got it all started with the forced fumble, thus making the fourth-year cornerback out of Ohio State the Impact Player of this game.
- Los Angeles Rams Vs. Cleveland Browns-The Rams secondary boasts big names in free safety Eric Weddle, and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. However, it’s the over-looked fourth member of that secondary getting recognized for this game, as third-year strong safety John Johnson III and his knack for big interceptions continues. Up 20-13 with 33 seconds to go and the Browns threatening to tie or take the lead, Johnson picked off a Baker Mayfield pass that was intended for wide receiver Damion Ratley on 4th-and-goal to give the Rams their second consecutive 3-0 start. The game-saving interception by Johnson makes the Boston College alum the Impact Player of this game.
- Chicago Bears Vs. Washington Redskins-The Bears thoroughly dominated the Redskins, with Bears strong safety Ha Ha Cliton-Dix returning an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, and Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky throwing three first half touchdown passes to wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. All three of those players are candidates for this game’s Impact Player award. However, I’m going to go with the guy who played the biggest role in not allowing the Redskins to make a game of it, with that player being Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack. The 2016 Defensive Player Of The Year helped protect an early 7-0 Bears lead, by sacking Redskins quarterback Case Keenum on Washington’s second possession of the game, along with recording a second sack, to help set up Trubisky’s second touchdown pass to Gabriel from a yard out to turn a 14-0 Bears lead into a 21-0 Bears lead. Mack ruining the game for the Redskins makes the Buffalo alum the Impact Player of this game.