The New York Jets have a 2-1 record behind their rookie quarterback and the New York Giants are 0-3 for the first time since 1996 after the most lopsided loss of coach Tom Coughlin’s 10-year tenure.
Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Jets beat the Buffalo Bills 27-20 yesterday in a matchup of the top two quarterbacks taken in this year’s National Football League draft. Smith threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes midway through the fourth quarter to snap a 20-20 tie after the Bills had erased a 14-point deficit at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“The game on the line, the ball in your hands, that’s the moment you live for, that’s the moment you dream of as a kid,” Smith said. “You always want to be in that moment and you always want to be successful. It was good to do that.”
Smith, who finished with 331 passing yards, also threw a 51-yard touchdown pass and ran for an eight-yard score. He was drafted with the seventh pick in the second round, 23 selections after Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel, who was sacked eight times by the Jets’ defense.
The Giants, who started 5-2 or better in each of Coughlin’s first nine seasons, were routed 38-0 at the Carolina Panthers to fall to 0-3. Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and also ran for a score as the Panthers sent the Giants to their worst shutout loss since Nov. 4, 1973, when they were routed 42-0 by the Oakland Raiders.
The Miami Dolphins improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2002 by beating the Atlanta Falcons 27-23 on Ryan Tannehill’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Dion Sims with 38 seconds remaining. It was one of three Week 3 games in which a team was trailing and scored the winning points in the final minute.
The Cleveland Browns beat the winless Minnesota Vikings 31-27 on Brian Hoyer’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron with 51 seconds left, while the Tennessee Titans got past the San Diego Chargers 20-17 on Jake Locker’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left.
The Seattle Seahawks improved to 3-0 as Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes in a 45-17 rout of the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. The New England Patriots are unbeaten through three games for the first time since 2007 after a 23-3 home win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3). The Chicago Bears are also 3-0 after a 40-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who fell to 0-3 for the first time since 2000.
The Indianapolis Colts knocked off the defending National Football Conference-champion 49ers 27-7 in San Francisco as Trent Richardson, Andrew Luck and Ahmad Bradshaw all had rushing touchdowns. Richardson made his Colts debut after being acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns earlier in the week and scored on a 1-yard run to cap the game’s opening drive.
The Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) scored three straight touchdowns to erase a 30-14 deficit and pull out a 34-30 victory over the Green Bay Packers (1-2), the Detroit Lions ended a 21-game losing streak in Washington with a 27-20 win over the Redskins, and the Dallas Cowboys rolled past the St. Louis Rams 31-7 to improve to 2-1.
Elsewhere yesterday, it was Baltimore 30, Houston 9 and New Orleans 31, Arizona 7. Week 3 play, which began with the Kansas City Chiefs winning 26-16 in Philadelphia against the Eagles (1-2), concludes tonight with Peyton Manning and the 2-0 Denver Broncos hosting the Oakland Raiders.
The Jets pulled out the home win against the Bills by overcoming two interceptions by Smith and a franchise-record 20 penalties for 168 yards. New York finished with 513 yards of offense and stopped the Bills on a fourth-down play with 1:43 remaining as Manuel threw a deep pass out of bounds.
“How many games are you going to win when you turn the ball over twice and commit 20 penalties?” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “We have to get rid of the self-inflicted things.”
Bilal Powell had 149 rushing yards on 27 carries for the Jets, while Holmes and Hill each topped 100 receiving yards.
The Panthers, after blowing fourth-quarter leads in losses to Seattle and Buffalo in an 0-2 start, sacked Giants quarterback Eli Manning seven times at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Manning finished with 119 passing yards and was intercepted once, while the Giants were outgained 194 to 60 in rushing yardage.
No NFL team has reached the playoffs since 1998 after beginning the season 0-3 and the Giants’ next game is against the unbeaten Chiefs.
“Disappointing is not a strong enough word,” Coughlin said at a news conference. “I expected more.”
Tom Brady helped lead the Patriots past the Buccaneers by throwing two touchdown passes to rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who struggled with running routes and had only six catches while being targeted 21 times in the first two games.
“They’ve worked really hard to understand what we’re trying to do on a weekly basis,” Brady said of Thompkins and fellow rookie wideout Aaron Dobson, who had a team-high seven catches for 52 yards. “It changes up a lot with our offense.”
Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in 51 straight games, three shy of the NFL record held by Drew Brees of the Saints.
In Cincinnati, Andy Dalton threw two second-half touchdown passes for the Bengals while Terence Newman scored on a 58-yard fumble return with 3:47 remaining. It was among eight turnovers for the game, in which the Bengals blew a 14-point lead against the Packers and then rallied from a 16-point deficit.
It marked the first time since 1999 that an NFL team won a game in which they allowed 30 straight points.