Week 3 can be a turning point for some teams, especially for those that entered the weekend with an 0-2 record.
Nine teams entered Week 3 with the burden that another loss would make it difficult to dig out of the ruins. Six are in the 0-3 hole, and a seventh -- Carolina -- could be added Monday night.
Oh-and-4 makes it an Everest-like climb. Since 1990, the 1992 Chargers are the only team (out of 63) to start 0-4 and reach the playoffs. That's 1.6 percent.
Okay, enough of the mathematics. There were some great highlights and some problems that emerged in Week 3. Here are six from Sunday that caught my eye:
1. Time to trade Vick?
The return of Donovan McNabb, as well as having Jeff Garcia under contract, makes Vick a guy to consider trading. He saw limited duty in his first real game and he will get better with more work, but his contract next year probably means he will not be an Eagle after 2009.
In the past two weeks, Kolb has completed 55 of 85 passes for 718 yards (8.44 yards per attempt) with four touchdowns, three interceptions and just two sacks. Any young QB that only gets sacked once every 43.5 attempts and distributes the ball to seven different receivers every game is the future -- and he's a whole lot cheaper than Vick.
I don't think there are any real worries about the fallout from Vick's off-the-field issues anymore and maybe a team like the Raiders would love to have him on the roster. He has to be worth a decent draft pick. Garcia is the veteran backup the Eagles need for insurance. When the Eagles activated him to the 45-man roster this weekend, they confirmed they see him that way, too.
It might be the right time to move Vick.
2. The 'Silver Fox' still has it
Count me as one who thought this past offseason that Brett Favre was washed up and should have stayed retired. But on Sunday, the "Silver Fox," as his new teamates call him, showed he still has it.
In the first two games, Favre did exactly what the Vikings asked of him by playing a conservative style -- taking a sack rather than throwing an interception, playing within a system that believes it can still run the ball against eight in the box. On Sunday, his team needed more from him and he delivered.
In the first two games he threw a combined 48 passes. Against San Francisco on Sunday, he threw 46 -- and his arm never looked better than on the 46th. Favre has thrown just one interception in 94 attempts this season.
Four different Minnesota receivers had receptions of more than 30 yards and I saw a few balls Favre threw that traveled well over 40 yards, including the final one that went 49 yards on a rope.
The demise of Favre was greatly exaggerated.
3. Love teams that use fourth down
Teams are considered successful on third downs if they convert 40 percent of the time. Of course, the longer the distance the less likely to convert.
I find it exciting football strategy when coaches go for it on fourth down. On Sunday, NFL coaches kept their offense on the field for 41 fourth-down situations, and they successfully converted 25 of those plays, or 61 percent. The most interesting teams using fourth down to maintain possession were the Patriots and Bengals. Both teams were 3-for-3 on the do-or-die down, and both won their game against formidable opponents.
The Patriots went for it on fourth-and-1 on their own 24-yard line, ahead 16-10 in the third quarter. Eight plays later in that same drive, they converted a fourth-and-3 with a 21-yard completion from Tom Brady to Randy Moss. Later in the game, Brady went back to Moss with an 8-yard pass on a fourth-and-1. The Patriots were not going to give the Falcons offense the ball and liked their chances on fourth down.
More teams need to look at their fourth-down package and use it. Bad teams have nothing to lose and good teams will make more than they miss.
4. Setting a good example
It was a dangerous precedent because owners and general managers around the league were asking, "Why not us, too?" The Jets and the Lions not only thought they would try their luck at the same combination, but they decided to do it with junior quarterbacks. But so far, it is working out for both teams.
On Sunday, Mark Sanchez became the first rookie quarterback to win his first three games, and Matthew Stafford ended the Lions' 19-game losing streak. The future sure looks bright in New York and the Motor City. Stafford struggled with five interceptions in his first two games but didn't throw a pick on Sunday. Sanchez now has four touchdowns to two interceptions this year and is on pace for 21 TDs.
It seems that everyone is speculating about when Terrell Owens is going to blow his lid now that the Bills mercurial wideout had his streak of consecutive games with a catch snapped. That certainly is a brewing problem, but there is another problem brewing around the league that may be more important to keep an eye on -- the low rate of third-down conversions.
Three losing teams in Week 3 combined to go a combined 0-31 on third down: Kansas City (0-for-11), Tampa Bay (0-for-9) and San Francisco (0-for-11). The 49ers almost won despite their third-down woes, which is amazing, but the other two teams fired their offensive coordinators before the season started.
I wonder what those guys were thinking while they were home watching the games.
6. Brown-out in Cleveland
The Lions finally stopped the bleeding and won a game. It will not be the only win of the season for them, because this team has heart and can score points. But now there's another team to worry about -- Cleveland.
The Browns have scored one offensive touchdown in 99 consecutive series, going back to last season. When you consider an offense has a dozen series starts in an average NFL game, that's eight-plus straight games with one offensive touchdown. You'd think that even if a team was this bad on offense, there might be an interference call or a fumble recovery that puts the ball inside the 10-yard line.