Clutch Performers

Charles Woodson helps put Raiders on path to relevance

The Cincinnati Bengals' A.J. Green, Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck, Carolina Panthers' Josh Norman, Oakland Raiders' Charles Woodson and Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones each had the strength to come through during a key moment and contribute to wins during Week 3.

Thanks to those strong performances, each player is up for Castrol EDGE Clutch Performer of the Week honors. This is a deeper look at the significance of those conquests.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Strong stats to consider:
» The Bengals have won four straight and five of the last six meetings with the Ravens. This is the longest win streak for the Bengals in series history (dating back to 1996).
» Green and the Ravens' Steve Smith combined for the seventh-most receiving yards by a opposing dup in NFL history. Green (227) and Smith (186) had 413 combined yards. The best-ever total was 509, set by the Houston Texans' Andre Johnson (273) and Jacksonville Jaguars' Justin Blackmon (236) in 2012.

Power of the moment: The Bengals have owned the Ravens recently. So, coming from behind against the Ravens is nothing new for the Bengals, who rallied in the fourth quarter last season in both of their wins over Baltimore. Green went for a career-high 227 yards receiving and had two touchdowns. It was the second score -- with 2:10 remaining in the game -- that gave the Bengals a 28-24 win. While the Bengals improved to 3-0, they dropped their division rival into the dreaded 0-3 abyss. This is noteworthy because Baltimore had never started a season 0-3, the last NFL team not to do so. How long has it been since an 0-3 team made the playoffs? Well, Y2K wasn't even a thing yet. It was 1998, when the Buffalo Bills started 0-3, finished 10-6 and were an AFC wild-card team.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Strong stats to consider:
» This game was the third time that Luck won a regular-season game in which the Colts trailed by 12 or more points in the fourth quarter, with Luck throwing multiple touchdown passes in the comeback. No other quarterback has more than one such game since 2012.
» The Titans have now lost 13 of 14 games against the Colts.

Power of the moment: Avoiding the dreaded 0-3 start were the Colts. Instead, Indy starts a season 1-2 for the third time in four seasons, and the Colts managed to make the playoffs in two of those seasons (2012 and 2014). In order to rally for a stunning comeback victory over the Titans, the Colts needed a little Luck. Luck had been abysmal in the third quarter, completing just 2 of 9 passes for 26 yards and two interceptions as the Colts fell behind 27-14. In the fourth quarter, Luck thrived, completing 11 of 13 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The two scoring strikes came just 56 seconds apart.

Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers

Strong stats to consider:
» The Panthers have now won seven consecutive regular-season games, a run that dates back to Week 13 of last season.
» Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had his 26th career game with at least one touchdown pass and one touchdown run. That is the second most such games since 1960 (Steve Young, 31). For more perspective, Young -- a Pro Football Hall of Famer -- was 36 years old when he had his 26th game with at least one touchdown pass and one touchdown run. Newton is 26 years old.

Power of the moment: Norman's game-clinching interception lifted the Panthers past the Saints and pushed Carolina's record to 3-0. This is noteworthy because the last time the Panthers were 3-0 they went to the Super Bowl. The year was 2003 and the Panthers started 5-0 en route to an 11-5 finish and eventual berth in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots.

Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders

Strong stats to consider:
» The Raiders earned their first win in the Eastern time zone since Week 13 of 2009 vs. the Steelers.
» It had been 2,121 days since the Raiders last won in the Eastern time zone.
» No other trio of teammates in NFL history that was each 25 years old or younger had as many passing, rushing and receiving yards as the Raiders' Derek Carr (314), Latavius Murray (139) and Amari Cooper (134).

Power of the moment: Woodson shut down the Cleveland Browns' last-chance-saloon drama with a timely interception with 38 seconds left. Woodson has now picked off a pass in each of his 18 NFL seasons, the second-best run in NFL history (Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green went 19 consecutive seasons with an interception). Woodson also provided the Raiders with the team's first win in Cleveland since 1985, when the Raiders were known as the "Los Angeles Raiders." It also snapped an 11-game road losing streak that included 19 losses in the previous 20 road games. Where were you the last time the Raiders won a road game? It's very possible you were napping off your Thanksgiving Day feast, since it happened on Turkey Day 2013 at "Jerry World."

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Strong stats to consider:
» Jones has the most receptions (34) by any player in the first three games of a season in NFL history.
» The Falcons became the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing in the fourth quarter of each game.

Power of the moment: Right when Cowboys fans were feeling a 3-0 start, Jones and the Falcons snatched away momentum and outscored Dallas 22-0 in the second half to secure a 39-28 win. In Week 3, Jones continued on his historic start to the season. Jones had 12 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys. Through three games, Jones has 34 receptions, the most for a player through the first three games in NFL history. The previous mark of 31 had been held by three different players: Wes Welker of the New England Patriots in 2011, Troy Brown of the Patriots in 2002 and Clark Gaines of the New York Jets in 1980 (fun fact: Gaines finished 1980 with 36 receptions).

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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