The most exciting week of the NFL preseason took place in Week 3, with most of the first teams hitting the field. But what happened behind the scenes made the biggest headlines, including Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement and a key player diagnosed with a torn ACL. As we head into the final round of exhibition games, here are five key takeaways from Week 3 of the preseason.
1. The league is undergoing a sudden shakeup
Late Saturday night the world learned of Andrew Luck’s decision to retire from football after he suffered yet another injury during the offseason. Luck announced his retirement at a press conference following the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Luck’s bombshell was just the beginning of a wild weekend. The Houston Texans’ saw their playoff hopes dwindle a bit, as well, when running back Lamar Miller went down on his only carry of the preseason. It was later revealed Miller tore his ACL and will be out for all of 2019. The Colts and the Texans were favorites to win the AFC South, but the Jaguars may be the frontrunner by the beginning of the regular season.
#Texans RB Lamar Miller does, in fact, have a torn ACL, source said. The MRI confirmed today. His season is over and Houston has a new starting RB.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2019
2. Baker Mayfield displayed his downside
The Cleveland Browns kicked off the preseason with back-to-back victories over the Redskins and Colts. Quarterback Baker Mayfield looked stellar in his only series of Week 1, when he completed five of his six passes for 77 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins. Mayfield sat in Week 2, then returned to the field in Week 3 with a shoddy performance. He completed 10 of 26 passes and threw an interception in the Browns’ 13-12 defeat to the Buccaneers.
Mayfield also found himself in some trouble off the field, when an interview with GQ surfaced. In an article titled “Baker Mayfield is feeling dangerous,” the second-year QB was quoted saying, “I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones. Blows my mind.”
The knock on Jones sparked plenty of discussion in the media and created a distraction for the Browns. One major cause for concern in Cleveland is the behavior of Mayfield and new receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who are both known for their polarizing personalities. If the Browns have any chance at making a Super Bowl bid in 2019, they’ll need to keep the team focused and keep off-the-field storylines to a minimum.
Baker Mayfield has some thoughts on Daniel Jones 👀 pic.twitter.com/IVxcu7cwxf
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) August 20, 2019
3. Dalvin Cook is on the verge of a breakout year
The Minnesota Vikings head into 2019 with a new offense under Kevin Stefanski and adviser Gary Kubiak. One player expected to benefit is third-year pro Dalvin Cook, who has been sidelined for much of his young career with injuries.
In Saturday’s preseason win for the Vikings (their third straight), Cook made his first appearance in exhibition play with a huge statement. On just two carries Cook ran for 88 yards and a touchdown. His second carry racked up the majority of those yards, when he broke free for an 85-yard run to the end zone. If Cook can stay healthy for a full season, opposing defenses will have a handful trying to stop him from running all over the field.
ICYMI: Dalvin Cook with a nice 85-yard TD run yesterday 😍🔥pic.twitter.com/CClDzTswhB
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) August 25, 2019
4. The Titans’ offensive line is a problem
Marcus Mariota had the kind of dress rehearsal that makes you wish opening night was still a month away. Tennessee’s starting quarterback failed to complete any of his three passes and got sacked for a safety with 9:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Ryan Tannehill quickly came in to replace him and went 6-of-9 for 62 yards. He and third-string quarterback Logan Woodside became well acquainted with the Steelers’ defense on Sunday night, as they each got sacked three times over the course of the game. The Titans’ offensive line, and Mariota, need to get their act together quickly, or the regular season is going to be one long road ahead.
— NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2019
5. The Chiefs defense didn’t get much better in the offseason
Patrick Mahomes bounced back from a mediocre showing in Week 2 to connect on eight of his 10 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs’ loss to the 49ers. Rookie Mecole Hardman continued to shine, as well, as he caught three passes for 40 yards.
The Chiefs’ first-team offense looked like the explosive powerhouse it was a year ago, while the defense seemed like its same old self Saturday, too—and that’s a massive problem. Against Jimmy Garoppolo, who has struggled in the preseason since his return from an ACL injury, the Chiefs allowed the 49ers quarterback to complete 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown during the first half.
If you were looking for a reason to believe this Chiefs defense has improved…well…sorry.
— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) August 11, 2019
The Chiefs are working under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the former coordinator of the Giants. In the offseason Kansas City also made changes to its roster by acquiring defensive end Alex Okafor, safety Tyrann Mathieu, linebacker Damien Wilson and several other defensive pieces. It hasn’t made much of a difference so far. The Chiefs need to fix their defensive woes if they want any shot at making it back to the AFC Championship Game and getting one game further to Super Bowl LIV.
The final week of the preseason is this weekend! Check out all the wagering options at BetAmerica!