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We are through three weeks of the NFL season and the final Sunday in September was just as wild as the first two weeks of the season were. We witnessed some star performances from around the league and some big stars not shining as brightly as usual. 

Welcome to NFL Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players getting the most buzz around the league. Inclusion on this list isn't necessarily a good thing -- it simply means you're capturing the NFL world's attention. This is also not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order. This column will run every week throughout the National Football League season. 

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson
BAL • QB • #8
CMP%63.6
YDs749
TD10
INT2
YD/Att8.51
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Jackson, the unanimous 2019 NFL MVP, is playing the best football of his career through the first three weeks of the 2022 season. Following his performance Sunday on the road against the Patriots (218 passing  yards, four passing touchdowns, one interception, 107 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown) that powered the Baltimore Ravens to a 37-26 victory and 2-1 start to their season, Jackson stands alone as the league's most dynamic player through the first three weeks. He is now the only player in NFL history with three or more passing touchdowns and 100 or more rushing yards in back-to-back games (three passing touchdowns, 119 rushing yards versus the Dolphins in Week 2).

Lamar leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (10), and passer rating (119.0) while also being tied for the fourth-most rushing yards (243) in the NFL with Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. How unique is this start to a season? There have been 77 instances of a quarterback with 100 or more rush yards through the first three games of a season, 17 instances of a quarterback with 10 or more passing yards through the first three games of season, but Jackson is the first to do both in the first three games of a season in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966). 

"He's just special, he's one of a kind, he's in an elite division," Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said following their win on Sunday. "There's no one who's really able to do what he can do for a team. For us, just being able to surround him and try to help him out as much as we can, that's what it's all about because he's that special of a player."

No player has ever led the NFL in passing touchdowns while ranking in the top five in rushing yards at the conclusion of an NFL season, but with Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins working his way back from an ACL injury, Baltimore may need him to maintain this style of play to keep the good times going.

"He plays his way, and he's kind of determined to play his way, but his way is winning football," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on Sunday. "It's fundamentally sound quarterback play. He's running the show out there."

Not only is Jackson running the show, but he's also running up his price tag that the Ravens will have to meet on a new contract as he is playing out the final season of his rookie deal. However, the Ravens do-it-all dynamo said he isn't focused on stuffing the statsheet. 

"I just want to win," Jackson said on Sunday. "By doing that, I just got to do what I do — play Lamar football.'"

Good luck to the rest of the league on figuring out how to derail Jackson's historic production in the quarterback's most pivotal season of his young career. 

Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews
BAL • TE • #89
TAR31
REC22
REC YDs245
REC TD3
FL0
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Mark Andrews, who had the tight end triple crown of leading everyone at his position in receptions (107), receiving yards (1,361) and receiving touchdowns (9) last season, is at it again in 2022. Through three games, he leads all tight ends once again in catches (22), receiving yards (245), and receiving touchdowns (3) thanks to his efforts in the Ravens' 37-26 road triumph over the New England Patriots: eight receptions, 89 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns, all of which were the most in each category on his team. 

The second of Andrews' two scores, a 16-yard touchdown catch with 30 seconds left in the first half, was reminiscent of a point guard throwing up an alley-oop pass to his big man on the hardwood, a play both he and his quarterback said stems from their mutual trust and tight-knit connection. 

"I have 100 percent confidence in my guys to make those plays, I just have to give them a chance and that's all," Lamar Jackson said on Sunday. 

"It's just trust, it's something we've done time and time again, year after year," Andrews said on Sunday. "He trusted me and threw the ball, I made a play."

Sunday marked Andrews' 7th career game with multiple receiving touchdowns, the most such games by a tight end since he and Jackson entered the NFL in 2018. 

Most Games With Multiple Receiving Touchdowns
By Tight Ends, Since 2018

Mark Andrews*

7

Travis Kelce

6

Rob Gronkowski

4

Zach Ertz

4

*  Andrews: Entered NFL in 2018

His eight consecutive games of five or more catches is the longest active streak in the NFL among tight ends and the third-longest streak in the entire league behind only Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (15 games) and Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (9). As long as he and Jackson are together, expect them to continue making connections in the end zone as Andrews continues to stake his claim as the NFL's top tight end. 

Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts
PHI • QB • #1
CMP%67.3
YDs916
TD4
INT1
YD/Att9.35
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There's no more popular person in the city of Philadelphia than an Eagles' backup quarterback, so fans in Philadelphia have to be pinching themselves seeing Carson Wentz's former backup and current starter Jalen Hurts so thoroughly out-playing their former second overall draft pick and now-Washington Commanders quarterback in a Week 3, 24-8 win. 

Jalen Hurts & Carson Wentz: Week 3, 2022


HurtsWentz

Comp-Att

22-35

25-43

Pass Yards

340

211

TD-INT

3-0

0-0

Passer Rating

123.5

71.0

* Eagles defeated Commanders 24-8 in Washington

Through three games, Hurts has 916 passing yards and 167 rushing yards, making him the first player with more than 900 passing yards and more than 100 rushing yards through three games since at least 1950. Hurts has averaged 305.3 passing yards and 55.7 rushing yards per game in 2022: no other player in NFL history has put up 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards per game for an entire season.

Jalen Hurts This Season

Pass YPG

305.3

Rush YPG

55.7

Passing Touchdowns

4

Rushing Touchdowns

3

* 1st player all-time with 300 Pass YPG & 50 Rush YPG through 3 games

"I know I'm a reflection of the team, I'm a reflection of all the other guys on the field," Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said on Sunday. "They expect me to lead them, so I just want to do my job to the best of my abilities."

Already out to a perfect 3-0 start, Hurts said the Eagles "have yet to play our best ball", but that they are "close in terms of executing through four quarters of a football game." He made those comments despite leading his squad to a 24-0 advantage by halftime in Week 3. If this isn't the best Hurts can do, defenses around the league better do their homework prior to facing his Eagles. Otherwise, opponents could see games against this quarterback and his Eagles get out of control in the blink of an eye. 

Philadelphia Eagles pass rush

Seeing their former quarterback Carson Wentz in division rival Washington's burgundy and gold must have awoken something within the Philadelphia defense as they sacked Carson Wentz for his career-high of nine times, six times in the first half, the most he's been sacked in any half of a game in his career.

The nine sack performance is tied for the fourth-most in a game in Eagles franchise history, and it's their most sacks in a game since 2019 when they got after New York Jets fill-in quarterback Luke Falk, also with nine sacks. 

Brandon Graham led the way with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, but five other Eagles got in on the action: Fletcher Cox (1.5), Josh Sweat (1.5), Haason Reddick (1.5), Javon Hargrave (1.0), and T.J. Edwards (1.0). Yet like his quarterback Jalen Hurts, Graham believes there's a higher ceiling defensively in Philadelphia as well.

Quarterbacks and offensive linemen across the league beware because being on the receiving end of nine or more sacks sounds like an exceptionally bone-crushing 60 minutes of football.

Aaron Donald, Rams DT

Donald is already a lock to become a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he decides to hang up his cleats and walk away from the game of football. As a seven-time first-team All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler,  three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year (tied for the most in NFL history), and a Super Bowl champion, his resume is complete. Everything from this point is gravy,  just a competition for him to see how high he can climb in the all-time record books. Donald recorded his 100th career sack in the Rams 20-12 road win at the Arizona Cardinals, his 130th career game. He became the 40th player to hit 100 career sacks and only nine players have hit the century mark in fewer games.

"It's a blessing to accomplish something like that, in the moment just playing the game and trying to help my team win," Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald said when asked about the milestone on Sunday. 

He is only the second player to play predominantly inside at defensive tackle to total 100 or more career sacks, joining Hall of Famer John Randle. 

Most Career Sacks by DT Since 1982

John Randle

107.5

Aaron Donald

100.0

Steve McMichael

95.0

Warren Sapp

89.0

* Sacks became an official stat in 1982

Unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, the league's leader in sacks, tackles for loss (153), and quarterback hits (229) since entering the league in 2014 is still going strong at age 31 and under contract through the 2024 season following the three-year, $95 million extension he signed this offseason. 

Nick Chubb

Nick Chubb
CLE • RB • #24
Att62
Yds341
TD4
FL0
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Even though the Cleveland Browns are working with a quarterback in Jacoby Brissett who isn't the player they would like to see running their offense, running back Nick Chubb continues to keep chugging along, totaling his second game with over 100 rushing yards (113) in the first three games of the 2022 season. Thanks to his ability to keep drives alive, his 113 yards and a rushing touchdown led to the Browns winning both the time of possession battle (36:09-23:51) and the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, 29-17. 

Thursday was Chubb's 24th career game with 100-or-more rushing yards, pushing past Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (23) for the most since the former Georgia Bulldog entered the NFL in 2018. 

Most Games With 100+ Rushing Yards Since 2018

Nick Chubb*

24

Derrick Henry

23

Dalvin Cook

18

Ezekiel Elliott

18

Jonathan Taylor

14

* Chubb: Entered NFL in 2018

Chubb is also climbing his way into all-time Browns territory to begin his career,  trailing only Hall of Famer Jim Brown, a player many of a certain age would claim is the best football player they have ever seen,  for the most 100-yard games in a player's first five seasons in team history. Chubb needs eight more 100-yard performances this season to catch Brown's 32 games from 1957-1961. The way Cleveland's current bellcow is running, leading the NFL in carries (62), rushing yards (341) and rushing touchdowns (4, tied with Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams), has to leave the 86-year-old Brown smiling when watching his former team today. 

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa
MIA • QB • #1
CMP%71.3
YDs925
TD8
INT2
YD/Att9.16
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The drought is over, the Miami Dolphins finally defeated the Buffalo Bills, 21-19, snapping a seven-game winning streak against their AFC East rivals. Despite a ho-hum box score (13-18, 186 pass yards, 1 pass TD)  a week after throwing six touchdowns, his ability to bounce back and only miss two plays after having his back and head slammed into the Hard Rock Stadium grass late in the first half was critical. His backup Teddy Bridgewater appeared flummoxed by the Bills' pass rush with no completions on his two pass attempts in place of Tagovailoa. 

Tua's return after halftime allowed for the Dolphins to score the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, just enough points for the Miami defense to do the rest and hold on for a culture-setting win in Mike McDaniel's first season as head coach. While the NFL Player's Association would like to look into how the Dolphins handled their starting quarterback's injuries, his ability to gut out the second half of Sunday's game encapsulates his team's resolve (erased 21-point fourth quarter deficit in Week on the road against the Baltimore Ravens) and has the Dolphins sitting atop the AFC as the conference's only undefeated team.  

Josh Allen

Josh Allen
BUF • QB • #17
CMP%71.2
YDs1014
TD9
INT2
YD/Att7.68
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Josh Allen made Bills franchise history on Sunday in the 21-19 loss in Miami against the Dolphins, just not the kind he may be excited to tell his grandkids one day. Throwing for 400 yards, two passing touchdowns and no interceptions on 42 of 63 passing, Allen set Bills franchise single-game records for completions (42) and pass attempts (63). 

However, Allen also became the first quarterback in team history to lose a game when throwing for more than 400 yards, multiple passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. His emotions spilled out and into Tua Tagovailoa's arms postgame after he and the Bills ran out of time trying to get in position for a game-winning field goal. 

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers
GB • QB • #12
CMP%72.3
YDs684
TD4
INT2
YD/Att7.28
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Entering Week 3, the Packers were 3-27 when scoring 14 or fewer points since Aaron Rodgers became the Packers starting quarterback in 2008. Those three wins came against Jay Cutler's and Mitchell Trubisky's Chicago Bears as well as Mark Sanchez's New York Jets.

However, their fourth such win came against Tom Brady and the Tampa Buccaneers, 14-12, thanks to Rodgers coming in hot on the game's first two possessions. Then defense and special teams took it home from there, a rarity in Rodgers' 14 seasons as the Packers starting quarterback. The reigning back-to-back NFL MVP finished with 255 pass yards, two passing touchdowns and an interception on 27-35 passing. 

Rodgers nearly had a third straight passing touchdown to begin the game on Sunday, but running back Aaron Jones' fumble on the goal line slammed the door shut on the Packers' offensive momentum. Green Bay then had seven punts and two turnovers on their final 9 drives of the game. 

Packers Drives (at Buccaneers)

First 2 drives: TD, TD

Final 9 drives:  Fumble, Punt, Punt, Punt, INT, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt

It was an eerily similar finish to the Packers' home playoff loss in the divisional round in last season's playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers except for the defense and special teams holding up just enough on their end, with the defense preventing a game-tying two-point conversion and the special teams unit having a drama-free performance.

"To look at it as a whole, you've got to feel great about the defense and that third category, the 'we-fense,' as we call it," Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.

Packers punter Pat O'Donnell was a strong contributor to Green Bay's "we-fense" (special teams), earning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors as he punted five of his seven boots inside the 20, averaging 48.4 yards per punt, including a 63-yarder. His five punts inside the 20-yard line were the most by a Packers punter in a single game since 1976.

He's earned the benefit of the doubt, but Rodgers will need to continue to bring along his new group of playmakers quickly. His developing connection with fourth round rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs stood out on Sunday as Doubs recorded eight receptions, 73 receiving yards, and his first career touchdown catch. Doubs' eight catches make him the first Packers rookie to accomplish the feat since Sterling Sharpe did so against the Lions in 1988. Fortunately for the Green and Gold, they have plenty of opportunities to find their groove with their next four games coming against the New England Patriots (potentially without quarterback Mac Jones), the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and Washington Commanders.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
TB • QB • #12
CMP%65.0
YDs673
TD3
INT1
YD/Att6.53
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While there wasn't any tablet smashing on the sideline against the Green Bay Packers in Tampa, Tom Brady showed clear signs of frustration throughout the Buccaneers' first loss this season, a 14-12 defeat. 

With his top targets wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones having played only 13 snaps together this season with Godwin and Jones having missed the last 2 games, he and the Buccaneers offense has sputtered. None played Sunday and the Buccaneers have yet to score 20 or more points in a game this season. 

He threw for 271 pass yards, one passing touchdown and no interceptions against a Packers defense that lost its top cornerback Jaire Alexander early in the first half as the Buccaneers went 2-11 on third down (18%), their second-worst third down percentage in a game with Tom Brady at quarterback.

Brady is off to his worst 3-game start to a season in a number of years. However, in 2014 and 2018, his New England Patriots won the Super Bowl.

Tom Brady This Season Through 3 Games



Worst Since

Pass Yards

673

2018

Passing Touchdowns

3

2014

Passer Rating

89.2

2014

When the cavalry returns at wide receiver, which at least Evans will in Week 4 coming off a one-game suspension, expect Brady's Buccaneers to get back on track, especially with a continuously-ferocious defense under the tutelage of head coach Todd Bowles. 

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes
KC • QB • #15
CMP%67.9
YDs857
TD8
INT1
YD/Att7.86
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Time and time again, with players who display consistent greatness like Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, their high-level of play can be taken as a given and anything less is a major disappointment. His line of 262 yards, one passing touchdown and one interception in a  20-17 road defeat at the Indianapolis Colts, while average-looking, is shocking by Mahomes' standards. His interception on the final drive of the game snapped a streak of 18 passing touchdowns without an interception, the longest of his career, and the turnover was just the fourth interception of his career in the month of September. His 13-3 career record in the season's opening month with 49 passing touchdowns and just those four interceptions meant Mahomes was going to come down hard on himself postgame, which is exactly what he did. 

"We just didn't play good enough, especially on the offensive side of the ball, starting with me," Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said after the loss on Sunday. "We had multiple opportunities to score, we have to find ways to get the ball in the end zone. That starts with me, we can't just get yards when we're down there."

The biggest area where the Chiefs could have stood to improve is third down where they converted only three of their 10 chances, their worst third-down performance in over a year since Week 2 last season in a road loss to the Ravens. Since his five-touchdown explosion at the Arizona Cardinals to open this season, Mahomes has thrown three touchdowns and one interception across the last two games. After scoring a touchdown on all six of their red zone opportunities in Week 1, the Chiefs are three-for-seven inside the 20 in terms of converting those drives into touchdowns, a 42.9 percent rate (25th in the NFL since Week 2). 

Patrick Mahomes This Season


Week 1 at ARIWeeks 2-3

W-L

W, 44-21

1-1

Comp Pct

76.9%

62.9%

Pass YPG

360

248.5

TD-INT

5-0

3-1

Passer Rating

144.2

92.4

*Suffered 3rd career loss in September at the Colts in Week 3

Probably nothing to be too concerned about, since Mahomes tossed aside early season struggles last season and led the Chiefs back to their fourth straight AFC Championship game. It's worth keeping an eye on which pass-catcher emerges outside of tight end Travis Kelce (leads team with 24 targets). Off season acquisitions JuJu Smith-Schuster (19 targets, second on team) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (18 targets, third on team) have been able to command Mahomes' attention, but neither have found the end zone yet through three games. Knowing the 2018 NFL MVP, that won't be the case for either Smith-Schuster or Valdes-Scantling for long.  Either way, the lights will be shining bright this Sunday night when Mahomes and Brady square off in the rematch of Super Bowl LV (55).