It's not often that a starting quarterback gets benched after leading his team to a 2-0 start, but that's exactly what happened to Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday. After two-and-a-half quarters of watching his team play disastrous offensive football, Bears coach Matt Nagy decided to pull the plug on Trubisky in favor of Nick Foles. And like pretty much every story that involves Nick Foles coming off the bench, this one worked out well as Foles led the Bears to a shocking 30-26 win in Atlanta.
With the Bears trailing 26-10 in the third quarter, Nagy finally decided to bench Trubisky after watching his quarterback throw an interception on Chicago's first possession of the second half. By bringing in Foles, Nagy was clearly just hoping to spark his offense, and that's exactly what happened. After working through some rust in the third quarter, Foles caught fire in the fourth quarter, leading the Bears on three touchdown drives. On those three drives, Foles went a combined 9 of 12 for 119 yards and three touchdowns.
Foles would have had a fourth touchdown, but a play that was originally ruled a simultaneous possession score for the Bears was overturned after review and ruled an interception. A possible fifth touchdown on a different drive also almost happened, but an Anthony Miller TD was ruled incomplete after a review.
Once Foles went into the game, the Bears looked like they had a different offense. Foles loves to push the ball downfield, and most of the time his deep gambles pay off, like when he hit Anthony Miller for a 28-yard score that ended up being the game-winning touchdown with 1:53 left to play.
Despite just playing a quarter and a half, Foles still finished with more passing yardage than Trubisky (188 to 128). We don't have a large sample size yet, but it seemed pretty clear on Sunday that the Bears offense works better with Foles. The Bears have a lot of weapons, and Trubisky just didn't do a good job of utilizing them while he was on the field.
With Foles leading the Bears to the comeback win, it's likely that we've seen the last of Trubisky as Chicago's starter. With his contract set to expire following the season, it's hard to imagine Nagy going back to Trubisky unless Foles gets hurt.
It was a wild Week 3 Sunday, and John Breech, Ryan Wilson and host Will Brinson break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast. Listen in the player below, and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
The good news for the Bears is that they were able to start 2-0 despite Trubisky, and because of that, Nagy won't have to regret the fact that he started the season with him at quarterback. At 3-0, the Bears are all of a sudden a force to be reckoned with in the NFC North.
Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 3. If you're looking for a deeper dive on the Dolphins-Jaguars game that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
Chicago 30-26 over Atlanta
|Nick Foles will deservedly get a lot of credit for this win, but let's not forget about the Bears defense. After getting gashed for the better part of three quarters, the defense came up with some huge stops in the fourth. The Falcons had the ball five times in the fourth quarter and they scored zero points. Not only did the Bears force three punts, but they also iced the game when Tashaun Gipson picked off Matt Ryan with a little over a minute left to play. The Bears defense also did a fantastic job of stopping the Falcons on third down, limiting them to just four conversions on 13 attempts. The Bears pass rush, which came up with two sacks in the game, was a big reason why Ryan completed just 50% of his throws (19 of 38). Of course, we can also give the defensive credit to Foles. Apparently, his magic rubs off on everyone.|
|If you blow a lead of 15 points for a second straight week, you get an 'F.' Those are the rules here. A big reason this loss happened is because the Falcons offense absolutely disappeared in the fourth quarter. Matt Ryan didn't complete his first pass of the quarter until there was under two minutes left, and shortly after he did that, he threw a pick that sealed the win for Chicago. If we learned one thing about the Falcons in this game, it's that no lead is ever safe in Atlanta, no matter how big.|
Cleveland 34-20 over Washington
|This loss was a nightmare for Dwayne Haskins, who almost single-handedly threw the game away for Washington. Not only did Haskins throw three interceptions, but he also lost a fumble, and the ugly part for Washington is that the Browns were able to turn those four turnovers into 24 points. Washington actually led this game 20-17 in the fourth quarter, but Haskins' poor play down the stretch allowed Cleveland to turn this into a blowout.|
|For the first time since December 2014, the Cleveland Browns are above .500, and they got there by pulling off a masterful defensive performance against Washington. Although the Browns were on the ropes in the fourth quarter, the defense came up with two big plays: an interception, and a fumble recovery that came after a Myles Garrett strip-sack, which was one of two sacks that Garrett had in the game. Although the Browns offense didn't put up big numbers, it came through when it had to mostly because of Nick Chubb, who steamrolled Washington for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. The Browns have now scored 30 points in consecutive games for the first time since 2010.|
Tennessee 31-30 over Minnesota
|When the Titans win, it's almost always because of a big game from Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry, and although that was certainly the case on Sunday, Tennessee also got some help from a few unsung heroes. Let's start with kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who had one of the best regular season games of any kicker in recent NFL history. The Titans stuck with him after his Week 1 struggles and that gamble paid off in Minnesota, where Gostkowski went 6 for 6. Not only did Gostkowski hit three field goals of more than 50 yards, but his longest kick of the day (54 yards) came with under two minutes to play and ended up winning the game for Tennessee. Offensively, Kalif Raymond stunned the Vikings with three catches for 118 yards. Before this week, Raymond had never even had 55 receiving yards in a game during his NFL career, which dates back to 2016.|
| Let's start with the good news for Minnesota: Justin Jefferson is a bona fide weapon. The rookie receiver was nearly unstoppable against the Titans, catching seven passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. It was the kind of spark the Vikings offense needed after struggling through the first two weeks of the season. The bad news for the Vikings is that Jefferson was about the only spark they had. Although Dalvin Cook had a huge game (181 yards), he also lost a fumble in the first half. Defensively, the Vikings had no answers for a Titans offense that rolled up more than 440 yards. |
San Francisco 36-9 over N.Y. Giants
|It's never easy to win a game in the NFL, and it's almost impossible to win when you're missing nine starters, but that's exactly what the 49ers did on Sunday. With what felt like half their roster out due to injury, the 49ers were led by their backup quarterback (Nick Mullens), their backup running back (Jerick McKinnon) and a rookie receiver (Brandon Aiyuk). Mullens, who was starting his first game since 2018, torched the Giants for 343 yards, while McKinnon came in and totaled 77 yards and a rushing TD. The 49ers defense also came up with multiple big plays, including three turnovers and two sacks.|
|With nine starters out for the 49ers, this seemed like a game that the Giants might be able to win, but instead they fell flat on their face in an embarrassing blowout loss. The Giants were equally bad on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Daniel Jones continues to be a turnover machine as he was responsible for two of the team's three turnovers with an interception and a lost fumble. The Giants offense was so bad that it didn't even reach the red zone a single time on Sunday. Adding insult to injury, Jones got outplayed by 49ers backup QB Nick Mullens, who threw for 343 yards and a TD.|
Buffalo 35-32 over L.A. Rams
| This defense had some serious trouble defending Josh Allen in the first half as each scoring possession felt like a snowball rolling downhill. That being said, you have to to credit the Rams for digging deep and making a game of it in the end. The Rams actually led this game with under 30 seconds left to play, which is something that didn't seem possible after they fell behind 28-3 in the third quarter. If we learned one thing from this game, it's that both of these teams have strong cases to advance to the postseason.|
| This win came down to one thing: Josh Allen was sensational. Not only did he throw for 311 yards and four touchdowns, but he also rushed for a touchdown, giving him five total. His accuracy was much improved as he completed 72.7% of his passes. The Bills took their foot off the gas a bit in the second half, but in the end they secured the victory, which is all that matters.|
Rams-Bills grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New England 36-20 over Las Vegas
| Las Vegas hung around for the bulk of the game, but this was a week where the Raiders simply failed to execute. Jon Gruden's team was able to reach the red zone five times throughout the afternoon but only crossed the end zone twice, one of those coming in garbage time. Giving the ball away three times also didn't help keep this game competitive particularly in the second half when Las Vegas allowed the Patriots to score 23 points.|
| The slow start is what brings New England's grade down to a B. After the Patriots punted on their first two offensive possessions, Cam Newton threw an interception that put the Raiders in the red zone. Even when New England got out to a 13-3 lead before the half, a PI penalty on Stephon Gilmore gave Las Vegas life in the final seconds of the second quarter and opened the door for the Raiders to bring it within three. The second half is where the Patriots separated, scoring on each of their offensive possessions before kneeling to kill clock. Rex Burkhead was sensational with three touchdowns, as was Sony Michel, who totaled 117 yards rushing. As a team, the Patriots posted 250 yards on the ground. |
Raiders-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Pittsburgh 28-21 over Houston
| Houston appeared to be ready for a shootout after Watson's second touchdown pass gave the Texans a 21-10 halftime lead. But in the second half, Houston, after continuing to get nothing from its ground game, became one-dimensional, as Watson became an easy target for Pittsburgh's pass rush. Defensively, Houston's run defense, ranked 31st in the NFL coming into Sunday, continued to struggle, allowing the Steelers to run for 169 yards on 38 carries. The Texans also had no answer for Pittsburgh's tight end duo of Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald, who combined to catch eight passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.|
| Pittsburgh overcame a 14-3 start by playing complementary football during the second half. After Pittsburgh cornerback Mike Hilton came down with a big interception of Deshaun Watson, the Steelers executed a 12-play drive capped off by James Conner's touchdown, which turned out to be the game-winner. The Steelers sacked Watson five times while holding Houston to just 29 rushing yards. Conversely, the Steelers enjoyed a balanced offensive attack that included two Ben Roethlisberger touchdown passes and Conner's second consecutive 100-yard rushing performance.|
Texans-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cincinnati 23-23 tie with Philadelphia
| What do you give the Bengals here? It's not like the Eagles are a good team and they tied a NFC East power (is there a such thing?) The Bengals have a franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, who didn't throw an interception and had two touchdown passes. Burrow has the most pass attempts (141) through the first three career games for any quarterback, but the Bengals are proving they should let him sling the football around. Cincinnati gave up eight sacks with its bad offensive line allowing Burrow to take some hits, and the secondary still a major question mark (although the Bengals back seven looked good against a bad Eagles offense). This is a moral victory for the Bengals, one they can build off. |
| What a failure by head coach Doug Pederson on all levels. The Eagles, as poorly as they played in this one, still had a chance to win this horrible football game with 19 seconds left in overtime. Jake Elliott was about to attempt a 59-yard field goal but had that chance taken away due to a Matt Pryor false start penalty. Attempt the kick right? Nope, Pederson quit on the team by deciding to punt and play for the tie. The NFC East is such a bad division, which may have factored in the decision. Before the punt, the Eagles took a delay of game to give punter Cameron Johnston more room to punt. Just a comical series of events by the Eagles, who have a quarterback that threw multiple interceptions for the third straight game and doesn't have a ton of confidence in himself right now -- although Wentz scored the tying touchdown with 21 seconds left to send the game into overtime. This is a failure, and the Eagles' season doesn't get any easier. |
Bengals-Eagles grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Indianapolis 36-7 over N.Y. Jets
|This game started with Sam Darnold throwing a pick-six on the Jets' opening offensive possession and things only got worse from there for New York. The pick-six ended up being one of two that Darnold threw on the day in a game where the Jets offense looked absolutely inept. Not only was Darnold bad (three total interceptions), but the Jets couldn't get anything going on the ground. New York's offense almost surrendered as many points (16) in this game as their defense (17). At this point, the Jets might just want to blow everything up and start over.|
|The Colts offense could have stayed at home for this game and Indianapolis probably still would have won and that's because the Colts defense outscored the Jets by themselves. Not only did Indy's defense come up with a safety, but they also came up with two pick-six's. Xavier Rhodes came up with the first one in the first quarter when he picked off Sam Darnold and returned it 44 yards for a score. T.J. Carrie then one-upped Rhodes later in the game with a 47-yard pick-six in the third quarter. This game got so out of hand that Philip Rivers actually got pulled early in the fourth quarter after throwing for 217 yards and a touchdown.|
Carolina 21-16 over L.A. Chargers
| The Panthers did enough for the win in Week 3, but it certainly wasn't pretty. Mike Davis rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries and caught eight passes for 45 yards and a touchdown -- which made up for Christian McCaffrey's absence in some ways. The biggest takeaway was that the Panthers didn't turn the ball over and stuck to their game plan. Settling for field goals isn't a strategy that always translates to wins, but this week it did. The Panthers struggled in the red zone with just one TD in six trips, but kicker Joey Slye made sure they came away with points each time by nailing five field goals. |
| Justin Herbert had an incredible opportunity in front of him. With Tyrod Taylor out another week, he had a chance to insert himself into the conversation for starting quarterback with a win over a winless team, but instead the Chargers fell, 21-16. There were highs and lows on Sunday, but just not a consistent enough performance to secure the win.|
Panthers-Chargers grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Detroit 26-23 over Arizona
| Going on the road and beating one of the hottest teams in football isn't easy, but that's exactly what the Lions did in this game. This win happened because the Lions defense was able to get the best of Kyler Murray by forcing him into throwing three interceptions. Although Murray was still able to put up big numbers, the turnovers ended up being the difference in the game as they led to 10 points for Detroit. Offensively, the Lions didn't do anything flashy, but they also didn't make any mistakes. The return of Kenny Golladay was big for Detroit as he caught six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. |
| After a hot start to the season for Kyler Murray, the Lions brought him back down to earth on Sunday. The Cardinals quarterback didn't make too many mistakes through the first two weeks of the season, but he made three big ones against Detroit with three interceptions. Despite the picks, Murray was able to keep his team in the game with a performance that included 270 passing yards and 29 rushing yards. The second-year QB also accounted for all three of Arizona's touchdowns (two pass, one rush). For the third straight week, Murray continued to connect with DeAndre Hopkins, who caught 10 passes for 137 yards. Defensively, the Cardinals could have won this game if they would have been able to get one late stop, but they came up empty both times. With the Cardinals leading 20-17, Arizona gave up two field goal drives over the final seven minutes. On their game-winning drive, the Lions drove 70 yards and never faced a third down. |
Seattle 38-31 over Dallas
|Russell Wilson definitely met his match in Week 3 when Dak Prescott landed in the Pacific Northwest, but the Cowboys also arrived with a patchwork offensive line that was again without perennial All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. The Seahawks were able to disrupt plays early, and that led to some stalled drives that were exacerbated by mostly horrendous special teams mistakes that included two missed PATs and a botched kick return that led to a safety. That's a four-point swing in and of itself, and the defense made things more difficult by giving the officials (sometimes, anyway) a reason to paint the grass yellow with flags -- extending drives and making it all too easy for Wilson to cook. Another 450+ yard, multi-TD game from Prescott isn't enough to escape a 1-2 record, but was enough to at least make keep this from being a failing grade for Dallas.|
|Russell Wilson is not a human being right now. His march toward a potential first league MVP award remains intact going into Week 4, as it was mostly his arm that did the heavy lifting to take full advantage of a Cowboys secondary with glaring holes outside of rookie second-round pick Trevon Diggs. Wilson threw for five touchdowns in his second consecutive game, and zero interceptions, launching Tyler Lockett to the moon in the process. From there, a struggling Seattle defense needed to simply make a play or two down the stretch, and they did. Penalty after penalty killed the Cowboys in this game, but credit the Seahawks for taking advantage and eking out a win despite Dak Prescott trying to will Dallas to a second straight comeback in this young NFL season. Like the Cowboys, the Seahawks had to overcome injury at key positions but, unlike the Cowboys, they actually did; and remain undefeated because of it.|
Cowboys-Seahawks grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tampa Bay 28-10 over Denver
| A ho-hum performance for the Buccaneers, but that was all they needed to beat this lifeless Broncos team ravaged with injuries. Tom Brady had three passing touchdowns, the first time he's accomplished that in a Buccaneers uniform, as Tampa was able to have its way in the passing game. Brady going to eight different receivers is a plus, especially since the Buccaneers lost Chris Godwin in the second half with a hamstring injury. Scotty Miller (83 yards) had a breakout performance. Shaquil Barrett recorded his first two sacks of the season and recorded a safety, which was fitting for him since the Broncos allowed him to leave in free agency before the 2019 season. Overall, the Buccaneers defense finished with six sacks in total. Tampa Bay beat a team they were supposed to and are over .500 for the first time since Week 3 of the 2018 season. |
| Denver was down Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton heading into this one -- and that was just the start of the Broncos long injury list -- so they didn't have much of a chance to beat a more talented team like Tampa Bay. Getting a punt blocked on their first possession didn't help, nor was failing to recover a forced fumble down seven in the first quarter. That was enough to put Tampa Bay up two scores and take control of the game, one Jeff Driskel wasn't coming back from. Driskel was benched in the fourth quarter for Brett Rypien, who did some good things but also threw an interception. Who the Broncos start at quarterback Thursday is a mystery, but this offense will continue to struggle as long as Lock is out. This is looking like a long season for Denver. |
Buccaneers-Broncos grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Green Bay 37-30 over New Orleans
| Aaron Rodgers was on point. Allen Lazard played like Davante Adams. And while the defense wasn't perfect, they successfully kept Drew Brees from even considering downfield shots. Matt LaFleur has taken all those preseason comments about inevitable Green Bay regression and thrown them in the trash. This team just looks good, even if it's won almost exclusively in shootouts to open the year.|
| They stayed in it pretty much the whole night, but that's not exactly what this team should be doing, right? They should be the ones forcing the other side to play catch-up! Alvin Kamara was downright incredible (197 total yards), but other than his astounding performance as Drew Brees' top (only?) target, the Saints just couldn't sustain their momentum long enough. Some of their play-calling and defensive breakdowns were especially disappointing. Their talent suggests they'll rebound, but what is their true ceiling?|
Packers-Saints grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 34-20 over Baltimore
|There's no debate anymore about who the best team in the AFC is. With a national audience watching, Patrick Mahomes diced up the Ravens defense for four straight quarters in this blowout win. The Chiefs were able to score a touchdown on four of their first five possessions and a big part of that was because Mahomes was on fire. The Chiefs QB threw for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half in a game where he finished with 385 yards and 4 TDs. Mahomes also tacked on a rushing TD. The Chiefs defense also deserves a lot of credit and that's because the unit did a nearly perfect job of containing Lamar Jackson.|
|The secret to beating the Ravens is to jump out to an early lead and that's exactly what the Chiefs did in this game. After marching down the field and getting a field goal on their opening possession, it looked like Baltimore was ready to win a shootout, but then the wheels fell off the wagon after that. Once the Ravens fell behind, the offense got out of its element and looked uncomfortable for the rest of the night. Although Lamar Jackson had a great game on the ground with 83 rushing yards, he had an abysmal game through the air, completing just 15 of 28 passes for 97 yards. Defensively, the Ravens had no idea how to stop the Chiefs offense. The Chiefs kept Baltimore guessing all night in a game where Kansas City converted 10 of 13 third downs while racking up 517 total yards.|