Week three of the NFL is in the books and what a week of surprises it was. I will name this week officially, “True Grit Week.” This is the week that certain teams and players showed they have the ability to overcome impossible circumstances. The best part about this week is a great deal of the surprise performances came from unexpected teams or players. With that being said, let’s get on with looking at week three.
The first gritty performance of the week includes Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. I am used to writing about the pitfalls and disaster of performances Tony Romo is known for when his team needs him most. However, this week all anyone can say is Tony Romo is a true leader. Romo suffered fractured ribs and a punctured lung in the Dallas Cowboys week two victory over the 49ers. Tony Romo was not even able to sleep in a bed all week because of the pain and still played in this week’s game. Tony Romo was able to put the Dallas Cowboys in position to win the game and beat the Washington Redskins. Tony Romo did not throw a touchdown but he stayed in the game and setup Dan “It’s a Daily Thing” Bailey for 6 field goals. Bailey may have scored the points but none of this would have been possible without the play of Tony Romo. All this makes me think of is that if Tony Romo can play with fractured ribs and a punctured lung, what was Jay Cutler’s excuse for not playing in the NFC championship game last year? Leaders have to tough and resilient, some quarterbacks have it and some do not.
The second gritty performance of the week goes to the Buffalo Bills. Every year there is a team that everyone is rooting for because of what the team has gone through in previous years. The Buffalo Bills have not been a particularly good team since the days of Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, and James Lofton. Back in those days we would see the Buffalo Bills not only make the playoffs but also make the Super Bowl multiple years. I am not going to say that this Bills team is in that class of greatness yet but they are taking the right steps. This week the Buffalo Bills were down 21-0 to the New England Patriots at Halftime. During Halftime the Bills must have had some, “Flutie Flakes” because they took the field as a completely different team. The Buffalo Bills offense started clicking, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler, and Fred Jackson. The Bills defense stepped up causing Tom Brady and the Patriots to turn the ball over four times. The Buffalo Bills ended up rallying from a 21-0 halftime deficit to win the game by a final score of 34-31. The Bills had lost to the New England Patriots on the last 15 meetings of the two teams. On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills finally were able to be on the winning side instead of the losing side for the first time in many years.
The third gritty performance of the week goes to the Detroit Lions. The Detroit Lions are very similar to the Buffalo Bills in that the Lions have not been very good for many years. The difference is that the Detroit Lions have never had any success in the playoffs. Last year the Detroit Lions ended the 2010 season with a record of 6-10. The promising part of 2010 was the Lions ended the season with four victories. The victories have continued into the 2011 season and this week would be no different. However the Detroit Lions did start Sunday’s game with an exceptionally bad start. The Lions were down 20-0 by halftime to the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions looked like they had reverted to some old habits. As the Lions came out in the third quarter, no one could have predicted the Lions would mount a comeback except maybe the Lions themselves. The Lions came out on fire and looked the part of a team who had won 10 games straight dating back to last year, including their four pre-season games. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson hooked up for 2 touchdowns during the game. The second touchdown tied the game up and put the game into overtime. Jason Hanson then completed the rally in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings with a field goal to make the final score 26-23. The Lions proved they have developed the resilience to find a way to win even against impossible odds.
Week three had a great deal of great performances by individual players and teams. These performances stood out above the rest. The 2011 NFL season has been full of unexpected twists and turns. Week four is on its way, we will see if these teams and players keep surprising us or will they revert to a version of their former selves.