A buncha pro football stuff from my fingers to your eyeballs:
1. Breaking NFL news: Titan/Steelers game has been postponed. Makeup date is either Monday or Tuesday or later in the season. Good job, Titans!
2. Here's how to beat Lamar Jackson and the Ravens: Get a decent lead, blitz like hell, take away throws to the middle and hope that the Ravens give up on their run game. Jackson is a ton of fun to watch and my god is he fast, but he has yet to master Advanced Quarterbacking. He will in time, but he's not there yet all the time. Legion does a good analysis here.
3. Here's how to beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs: Hahaha it's not possible to stop Mahomes when he's throwing TD passes to everyone on the offense, including his fullback and his left tackle.
4. We had a Week 3 Scorigami! (h/t Rat Boy). SF 36, NYG 9 is the 1,056th unique final score in NFL history. There's a whole Scorigami website, too, and it's the nerdiest thing I've ever seen. I love it.
5. To answer last week's question: It's definitely FAILcons. Twitter tells me that ATL had a 99+ percent of beating both the Cowboys and the Bears but gagged in both games. And by choking yet again, the FAILcons become the first team to blow fourth-quarter leads of 15+ points in back-to-back games in 20 years.
6. A tie in the Eagles-Bengals game was the perfect outcome. Both teams are bad, but not Giants/Jets (or even FAILcons) bad.
7. On Sunday I learned the name of San Diego's third-string QB: Easton Stick, who apparently is a real person and a proud alumnus of North Dakota State University. Stick almost got to play Sunday, but the Chargers called a timeout and Justin Herbert rallied from his death bed. He must have gotten some sort of shot, huh.
8. Congrats to the Lions (11 games) and Panthers (10 games) for breaking their double-digit losing streaks. Best I can tell, the Giants (four straight Ls) now have the league's longest losing streak.
9. Congrats to the Bills' Josh Allen, who became the first QB in four years to be called for a facemask penalty.
10. And congrats to the Saints, who decided to let QB/WR/DB/gunner/forward/prop/center back/maitre D/water boy Tallulah Hallelujah run a read option. Not only did Drewbrees 0.2 blow the read, he let the ball get punched out of his hands because he was holding it in a non-football-approved HERE YOU TAKE IT method. The Packers recovered and ended won the game. Cam Newton, any reaction?
As The Big Lead put it: The Saints think they have Kordell Stewart, but really they've got Tim Tebow willing to play fullback. Yep, that's about right.
11. Stat of the week: The 2-1 Browns are now over .500 for the first time in 84 games. In other words, the Browns have had a losing or non-winning record since December 2014. Now that the Browns have broken the streak, the 0-3 Giants are now the new standard-bearer with 50-some .500-or-below games. (I pulled both numbers from the Fox broadcast; I caught the Browns futility number but not the Giants'.)
12. BS stat of the week: Fox said that the Cleveland/Washington game was the first in 58 years to feature two teams without logos on their helmets. Interesting, right? Cleveland's helmets, as we all know, are plain brown. The WFT, meanwhile, retired its, um, logo, and opted to go with the players' numbers a la Alabama. I wanted to see if the Fox stat was correct, and that led me down a matrix of helmet logo history that's (a) fascinating and (b) shows that Fox's research staff is the Taysom Hill of researchers.
* Logos on football helmets weren't a thing until the late 1950s and early 1960s. The reason: Pro football was on TV a lot, and viewers needed help to see who was who on their black and white 4KB TVs. In 1959, only four teams had helmet logos: Philly, Baltimore (now Indy), LA Rams and Washington. (The first three logos are very close to the ones in use today; Washington had a feather that ran along the top of the helmet.) By the start of the 1962 season, only two of the NFL's 14 teams were logo-less: the Browns (durr) and the Steelers. (Apparently the AFL didn't count in Fox's eyes: The New York Titans and Oakland Raiders didn't have helmet logos until 1963.) If you want a little more history, this graphic shows the evolution of NFL helmets from 1952 to 1962.
* Fox said the last logo-free helmet game was played Nov. 25, 1962 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. (The game was played at Memorial Stadium (RIP) in Cleveland; the Browns won 35-14 behind 166 total yards and 3 TDs by real and fantasy Hall of Famer Jim Brown.) Problem is, these pictures clearly show a logo on the right side of the Steelers' (gold!) helmets.
* This fascinating website suggests where Fox might have screwed up. It's true that the Steelers started the '62 season with no helmet logo. But Pittsburgh introduced a helmet logo in Week 10 — the week before the game against the Browns.
* Assuming the bullet above is correct, the last logo-free helmet game was actually the Week 13 game in 1961 (Dec. 10, 1961, to be exact) between the Browns and the Bears. Chicago didn't add the C to their helmets until 1962.
Whew. What a ride, huh? Anyway, here's a look at Week 4:
Thursday: Broncos at Jets. SKIP IT.
1 p.m. Sunday: All the games here are OK at best. Steelers-Titans was my pick, but, hey, Covid.
4 p.m. Sunday: Patriots-Chiefs. MUST WATCH
8:20 p.m. Sunday: Eagles-Niners. Eh, let's hope Patriots-Chiefs goes into 4 OTs.
Monday: Falcons-Packers. I love watching Aaron Rodgers play QB. And I love watching the FaLOLcons screw up. MUST WATCH
Here are your coverage maps for the Sunday games. Looks like most folks will get Chargers vs Bucs early and Pats vs Patrick-Not-Pat late.
A bonus note about the new MNF crew: I'm old enough to remember the Gifford/Cosell/Dandy Don booth crew as well as Al Michaels/late-stage John Madden, Dan Fouts trying not to strangle Dennis Miller, and all the rest. For years MNF was entertaining in a good way. Then it was entertaining in a bad way. And then there was Gruden (who's a recent high point by comparison). And then it was farce (Tess, Booger, Jason Witten). The new crew is full of professionals — an old ESPN hand who has called a million games in a dozen sports (Steve Levy), another ESPN veteran and former pro QB who was a decent but unmemorable college FB announcer (Brian Griese) and the former pro player/front office guy turned broadcaster (Louis Riddick).
The MNF crew is ... fine. Steady. Drama-free. Professional. It's kinda boring, honestly. That might say something about the current sports-viewing public but I'm too tired after typing all of this to figure out what it might be.