The third week of the preseason is the closest thing to a blockbuster event as you'll see during NFL exhibition games. Coaches want to give their regular starters enough time to warm up for the upcoming season, but not enough to get hurt.
Unfortunately, that plan didn't work out for Sam Bradford and the Rams, as the oft-injured QB tore his ACL against the Browns and will miss the entire 2014 season. As much as Jeff Fisher may want to put him back together like RoboCop, that won't be possible, so they're praying that Shaun Hill, a career backup with 16 pass attempts over the last three years, can at least be a Ninja Turtle. And preferably not Raphael.
Part action film, part horror flick (and all buddy comedy), here's my special Hollywood-themed edition of the NFL Preseason Precap.
Rams 33, Browns 14
The Rams insistence on not protecting themselves from a QB injury will continue to keep them out of the playoffs if they honestly plan to start Shaun Hill following the injury to Sam Bradford. Even if Johnny Manziel didn't look great in Cleveland's blowout loss to St. Louis (10-of-16 for 85 yards) his presence was a reminder that the Rams passed on him in the draft. That could cost them dearly as they near the Age of Extinction.
Texans 18, Broncos 17
Peyton Manning must have been having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day when he received the first taunting penalty of his 17-year NFL career on Saturday. Manning reportedly told the aptly-named Texans defender D.J. Swearinger "Fuck You" after a touchdown pass against the safety, in part due to the hit that Swearinger laid on Wes Welker one play earlier. Manning is already great when he's happy, why would you ever do anything to piss him off?
Giants 35, Jets 24
These Jersey Boys might be neighbors, but they rarely get the opportunity to face one another. Giants backup QB Ryan Nassib was 8-of-12 in the second half with three touchdowns, leading the NFC New York team to a come-from-behind victory. Meanwhile, the Jets officially named Geno Smith the starter, ending months of speculation as to what exact date they'd name Geno Smith the starter. Who had August 22nd in the office pool?
Patriots 30, Panthers 7
It's normal to think that Carolina is a tad worried about their offense, but how should they feel about their defense after Tom Brady and the offense were Non-Stop against the first team? Brady finished with 17-of-21 passing for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
Seahawks 34, Bears 6
There might be A Million Ways to Die in the (NFC) West, but Seattle's treatment of Chicago in the first half on Friday night was straight up Maleficent.
Packers 31, Raiders 21
It's probably hard for a player of Aaron Rodgers' caliber to Get On Up for a preseason game against the Raiders, but he still threw for 139 yards and two scores in Green Bay's easy victory in which they were leading 31-7 in the fourth. Matt The Giver Schaub lost a fumble during his 13-of-27 for only 110 yards performance.
Bucs 27, Bills 14
EJ Manuel is like a sequel to Sin City: Seems like a good idea, turns out terrible. Josh McCown is like an action movie starring a 50-year-old Tom Cruise: Looks boring, but is actually pretty good. Rookie Sammy Watkins is not like any movie, since he sat out after suffering a rib injury last week.
Ravens 23, Redskins 17
Joe Flacco's $20 million arm looked good in Baltimore's six-point win over the Redskins, while Robert Griffin III was anything but fine (an interception, passer rating of 27.1) before Kirk Cousins relieved him and threw for a pair of scores. It's getting harder and harder for Washington to ignore The Faults in Their Star.
Vikings 30, Chiefs 12
So it looks like the NFL is going to run out more past-their-prime starters in Week 1 than an Expendables movie. After seeing rookie QBs start the season for several years now, names like Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer, Chad Henne and Matt Schaub will be under center to start the year for their respective teams. However, for many it won't be long before they start blowing shit up again.
49ers 21, Chargers 7
If Blaine Gabbert plays in a game and isn't terrible does that mean that Heaven Is for Real? The punching bag of August thus far, Gabbert completed 7-of-11 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown against San Diego on Sunday. It's also worth noting that the Chargers starters last year played arguably the worst pass defense in the NFL, and many of Gabbert's snaps came against their backups.
Eagles 31, Steelers 21
Unlike the days of Terrell Owens or DeSean Jackson, we're not hearing much from current Eagles stars like Nick Foles, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. Well, look out for The Quiet Ones. Philly is starting to look as potent as they were a year ago, and we're just along for the ride.
Lions 13, Jaguars 12
There were more combined penalties (27) than there were combined points, and Jacksonville has decided they're not ready to Step Up into the Blake Bortles era just yet. Despite another fine performance from the third overall pick (10-of-17, 158 yards, 1 TD), coach Gus Bradley has named veteran Chad Henne as his Week 1 starter. As for Week 2 though?
Titans 24, Falcons 17
Typically, the average Jake Locker only uses 10 percent of his body. But when he's using 100 percent, the Titans could be a legitimate playoff contender. This will probably never happen, however, since Locker is definitely not Lucy.
Dolphins 25, Cowboys 20
Knowshon Moreno rushed for a career-high 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Broncos last year, but when he hit the free agent market, he was about as exciting to prospective teams as a Paranormal Activity spinoff. Well Moreno made his Dolphins debut on Saturday and had 64 yards on 10 carries. Maybe he's more like a Jump Street sequel.
Saints 23, Colts 17
If Andrew Luck is supposed to remind Colts fans of Days of Future Past, he's not there yet. Yes, he's quarterbacked them to the playoffs in each of the last two years, but Saturday's performance (10-of-18, 103 yards, one touchdown, one interception) is more of a reminder that statistically, Luck has been average.
Bengals 19, Cardinals 13
Carson Palmer threw a pick-six to the Bengals' Terrance Newman midway through the first quarter, did the Walk of Shame, and Arizona never took the lead in their six point loss to Cincinnati. Equally interesting: never once in this article did I reference the movie Draft Day, and that's actually set in the NFL.