309Write - 32 things we learned from Week 3 of 2022 NFL season: Super Bowl, MVP favorites emerging

1. Last week, we documented the peril of starting 0-2, only 11.3% of teams since 1990 (when the playoff field expanded from 10 to 12 entries) digging out of that kind of hole to reach the postseason. But 0-3? Even more dire by an order of magnitude. Since 1990, only four of 157 squads (2.5%) to begin 0-3 have made the playoffs – and none of them reached the Super Bowl.

2. In that vein, the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are relieved to be off the schneid, all of them winning Sunday.

3. Ditto the Tennessee Titans, who effectively won an elimination game with the Las Vegas Raiders, who also began Sunday 0-2. Last season, Tennessee was the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed, while Las Vegas earned a wild card.

4. Dating back to their 2013 season at Fresno State, Raiders QB Derek Carr and WR Davante Adams have connected on a TD pass in 12 consecutive games. Might be the only thing that provides them solace given Vegas is now the league's only 0-3 outfit.

5. Conversely, teams that sprint to 3-0 starts since 1990 have reached the postseason at a 74.4% clip, and 16 of them have gone on to win the Super Bowl – certainly good news for the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins ... and maybe the unbeaten New York Giants (2-0), who host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

6. Former Alabama teammates Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa might just have the Eagles and Dolphins, respectively, on a Super Bowl collision course ... even though both quarterbacks entered the season under intense scrutiny.

7. Former Alabama teammates DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle are also emerging as huge reasons for the success in Philly and Miami, respectively. Both 2021 first-round picks went over 100 receiving yards Sunday and are flourishing even though their teams acquired No. 1 receivers in the offseason.

8. Worth noting the Fins were dominated on the stat sheet by the Buffalo Bills, the preseason Super Bowl darlings suffering their first loss of the season 21-19 despite outgaining Miami 497-212 and running 51 more offensive plays than the Dolphins.

8a. Also worth noting the Dolphins have questions to answer after Tagovailoa returned to action despite suffering what appeared to be a first-half head injury that left him staggering on the field and held up by teammates. The NFL Players Association initiated a review of the team's handling of Tagovailoa's injury. Tagovailoa and coach Mike McDaniel characterized the injury as a lower-back issue, not one involving the QB's head.

 

9. As for the already infamous "butt punt" from Miami veteran Thomas Morstead? It was the ugly way to reach the proper conclusion. Morstead could've taken a safety by more conventional – and less viral means – but the consequential free kick, which pushed Buffalo back to its own 23-yard line to start its final (failed) drive, was a key turning point in the Dolphins' upset.

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