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NFL Week 3: Observations, winners, losers and Justin Jefferson’s breakout game

Russell Wilson and Josh Allen continued their red-hot starts on Sunday. Plus a look at Week 4's point spreads. The Eagles are six-point underdogs for their trip to San Francisco.

Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson runs from Titans cornerback Johnathan Joseph with one of his seven catches on the day. Despite Jefferson's big day (175 yards), the Titans rallied to win it on a late 55-yard field goal.
Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson runs from Titans cornerback Johnathan Joseph with one of his seven catches on the day. Despite Jefferson's big day (175 yards), the Titans rallied to win it on a late 55-yard field goal.Read moreBruce Kluckhohn / AP

You bet your hashtag Eagles fans (and haters) noticed what happened in Minneapolis as the Eagles flailed their way to a tie with the Bengals.

While Carson Wentz was targeting guys like John Hightower and Deontay Burnett, Justin Jefferson was running wild for the Vikings.

Jefferson was the wide receiver from LSU that many Eagles supporters wanted with the 21st overall pick in April. The Eagles instead took Jalen Reagor, who missed the game with a torn UCL in his thumb. Reagor is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Minnesota, with pick No. 22, took Jefferson, who had his first big game with seven catches, and made his first visit to the end zone with a scintillating 71-yard touchdown.

Jefferson’s 175 yards were the second-most in a game this season (Julian Edelman had 179 yards in Week 2) and the most in Week 3 heading into the Monday night.

Up in North Jersey, San Francisco was using the rookie wide receiver they took at No. 25 to help pound the Giants. Brandon Aiyuk caught five of his eight targets for 70 yards and ran the ball three times for another 31 yards. He scored a touchdown on one of them.

Across the field at Lincoln Financial Field, Tee Higgins, the 33rd pick, scored Cincinnati’s two touchdowns in that hideous 23-23 game.


NFC East standings through Week 3:

Washington 1-2, Dallas 1-2, Eagles 0-2-1, N.Y. Giants 0-3.


  1. Russell Wilson’s 14 touchdown passes through three games is an NFL record. He had five more on Sunday, including three from 1-yard out which was maddening for Chris Carson owners. Making things worse, Carson left the game late with an apparent leg injury.

  2. Wilson joined Tom Brady (2007), Daunte Culpepper (2004) and Ben Roethlisberger (2014) as the only NFL quarterbacks to throw five TD passes in consecutive games. Tom Flores (1963) did it in the AFL.

  3. Old friend Nick Foles replaced starter Mitchell Trubisky and led a Bears comeback with three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, which started with the Falcons leading 26-10. Atlanta last week had one of the all-time meltdowns at Dallas when they gave up 16 points in the final five minutes.

  4. The Lions snapped an 11-game losing streak.

  5. Josh Allen and the Bills pulled a Falcon flop by blowing a 28-3 lead, but rallied to beat the Rams with a touchdown with 15 seconds left. Buffalo was helped by a questionable pass interference call which set up the winning score.

  6. Allen Lazard stepped in for Davante Adams (hamstring) and posted a career-high 146 receiving yards in Green Bay’s win over the Saints. Running back Alvin Kamara caught 13 of his 14 targets for 139 yards and two scores as New Orleans also played without its best wide receiver, Michael Thomas (ankle).


  1. Oh my God, the Falcons did it again. Atlanta became the first team to lose consecutive games in which it led by 15 or more points in the fourth quarter. “These last two weeks have been nothing short of crushing,” head coach Dan Quinn said. This is the first time in the Matt Ryan era that the Falcons are 0-3.

  2. Bad beat for Stefon Diggs fantasy owners after watching their wide receiver get one TD pass overturned by the refs, then another TD on the next play erased by offsetting penalties. Tight end Lee Smith closed the drive with the eventual touchdown.

  3. An even worse beat for owners of DK Metcalf and Russell Wilson came when Metcalf hauled in a 62-yard pass from Wilson, only to see the ball knocked out of his grasp at the one-yard line and through the end zone for a touchback. Metcalf was showboating, and Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs made him pay for it.

  4. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold threw three touchdowns -- one to his team, two to the Colts. Indy’s defense also had a safety. The Jets (0-3) host the Broncos (0-3) in a Thursday night primetime game that just shows the schedule maker has a sense of humor, too.

This & That

  1. Washington rookie defensive end Chase Young left the game in the first half with a groin injury.

  2. The Bears are worried that running back Tarik Cohen may have a torn ACL. Cohen, in his fourth season, has not missed a game in his career.

  3. Larry Fitzgerald had one catch for zero yards, the first time he’s had that stat line in his 253-game career. He tied an obscure record with that one catch, however. He now has 646 catches at State Farm Stadium, which ties the mark for most receptions in one facility. Jerry Rice had 646 at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.

  4. Haven’t won yet: Eagles (0-2-1), Giants (0-3), Vikings (0-3), Falcons (0-3), Jets (0-3), Bengals (0-2-1), Texans (0-3), Broncos (0-3).

  5. Haven’t lost yet, entering Monday night: Bears (3-0), Seahawks (3-0), Bills (3-0), Steelers (3-0), Titans (3-0), Packers (3-0), Ravens (2-0), Chiefs (2-0).

  6. The Chargers' Justin Herbert is the third quarterback to start his career with consecutive 300-yard passing games. Cam Newton (2011) and Kyler Murray (2019) were the first two. Herbert nearly led L.A. to a 99-yard game-winning drive, but the Chargers failed to execute a beautifully designed hook-and-lateral as time ran out.

  1. Herbert is still looking for his first win, but Carolina coach Matt Rhule no longer is. His Panthers (six-point underdogs) held on to beat the Chargers in the biggest upset of Week 3.

  2. The 49ers complained about the turf at New York’s MetLife Stadium after losing several key players to injury last week against the Jets. This week, playing the Giants in the same stadium, Niners tight end Jordan Reed turned his ankle trying to make a catch in the back of the end zone. Neither of the New York teams have grumbled about the turf, which was inspected on Wednesday by NFL officials. The Eagles play the Giants at MetLife in Week 10.

  3. Philip Rivers became the sixth quarterback with at least 400 touchdown passes. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino are the others. Most touchdowns caught on passes thrown by Rivers: Antonio Gates, 89.

  4. Overs were 9-5 on Sunday. The Eagles-Bengals line was 47. They could not get to the over despite playing a full overtime.

  5. The Falcons are 24-26 since losing Super Bowl 51. The Eagles are 16-16-1 since winning Supe 52.

He said it

  1. “Lincoln Financial Field is empty and they ought to be thankful for it. Because if it was a full house, you know what the sights and sounds would be looking like right now. Wow. A 23-23 tie.” -- NFL Red Zone anchor Scott Hanson.

  2. “He kind of has a history in these big moments of making things happen. He made a lot of plays happen based off of his experience, and that’s good to have.” -- Bears coach Matt Nagy on Nick Foles.

  3. “Those guys all veteran guys, and I want them to take charge in those moments when we have the opportunity to go down and win the football game. Instead, it was chaos." -- Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on his offense after it butchered its final drive (four plays, one yard, interception) in a one-point loss to Tennessee.

  4. “He had that fluke play today and I told him, never do it again,” -- Russell Wilson on his conversation after DK Metcalf’s gaffe.

  5. “We went on a lot of long drives today. They’re better than not scoring, but long drives can get a little bit exhausting. Especially for me. I don’t want to have to call that many plays.” -- coach Kyle Shanahan of the 49ers, who improved to 2-1 ahead of next week’s Sunday night game against the visiting Eagles.


RAVENS 3.5 Chiefs (54.5), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 4/Thursday

Broncos 2.5 JETS (40), 8:20 p.m. (NFLN)

Sunday, Oct. 4

Colts 3 BEARS (44.5), 1 p.m.

Saints 5.5 LIONS (NL), 1 p.m.

Cardinals 4 PANTHERS (51), 1 p.m.

BENGALS 3 Jaguars (44.5), 1 p.m.

COWBOYS 5 Browns (55.5), 1 p.m.

TEXANS 4 Vikings (51.5), 1 p.m.

Seahawks 7 DOLPHINS (54.5), 1 p.m.

BUCCANEERS 7 Chargers (45.5), 1 p.m.

TITANS 1.5 Steelers (47.5), 1 p.m.

Ravens 13.5 WASHINGTON (NL), 1 p.m.

RAMS 11.5 Giants (48), 4:05 p.m.

CHIEFS 7 Patriots (NL), 4:25 p.m.

Bills 2.5 RAIDERS (49.5), 4:25 p.m.

49ERS 6 Eagles (43), 8:20 p.m. (NBC)

Monday, Oct. 5

PACKERS 6 Falcons (NL), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Lines via as of Sunday evening.