Peyton Manning made it look easy against a struggling Cardinals team Sunday Night.

Peyton Manning made it look easy against a struggling Cardinals team Sunday Night.

Week 3 in the NFL is officially in the books, with Indianapolis and Dallas winning their primetime battles with Arizona and Carolina, respectively.  There’s a lot that can be said about all four of these teams so far this year, so let’s get right to it.

On Sunday night, the hotly anticipated matchup between two of the league’s most proficient passing offenses turned into a one-sided affair, as the Colts handled the Cardinals, 31-10.  After the Cards failed to score and extend an early 7-0 lead, it seems like the wheels just completely came off on both sides of the ball.  They gave up multiple big plays to Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, and even rookie RB Donald Brown.  The big issue that the 1-2 Cards seem to have right now is that their offense has no balance, with the running game being amongst the worst in the NFL.  Tim Hightower was limited to 9 carries for 22 yards in the game, forcing Kurt Warner to throw 52 times in the game, often under a ton of pressure from Dwight Freeney and the rest of the Indy D-Line, which dominated in the trenches throughout the game, accumulating 4 sacks in the win.  The Cards are going to need to shore up their running game if they really expect to make it back to the playoffs this season.  They get a bye week this week before hosting another disappointing team so far in the Houston Texans.

The Colts have to feel good about themselves right now, moving to 3-0 and already holding a 2 game lead in the AFC South.  Peyton Manning is proving that he can win games with just about any combination of receivers on the field, as the unlikely Pierre Garcon once again looked very good in place of the injured Anthony Gonzalez and Donald Brown looks like a very smart first round pick.  The Colts now head home to take on a banged up Seahawks team before going into Tennessee to take on the 0-3 Titans.

Moving into the Monday Night game, it was another matchup of offenses that never really came into being, as Dallas grinded out a 21-7 victory over the still winless Panthers.  The big story in Big D was just that. Their defense finally showed up the way most people expected them to, pressuring Jake Delhomme, sacking him 3 times, and getting 3 turnovers from the struggling starter for Carolina.  There is some concern as Felix Jones left the game with a knee injury, but Tashard Choice carried the ball 18 times for 82 yards and a TD for Dallas’ lone offensive score. Dallas now looks to move to 3-1 as they head to Mile High Stadium to take on the 3-0 Denver Broncos next week.

As for the Panthers, it might be serious time for them to consider their options at QB.  For the second time in three weeks, Jake Delhomme was terrible, looking lost on the field and not being able to protect the football.  They also need to get back to running the football, which is what their team is built on with DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart on the roster.  It’s now critical for Carolina to get a win after the bye week, and they get a decent shot, hosting the Redskins in Week 5.

Pierre Garcon had the game-winning catch for the Colts in Miami last night.

Pierre Garcon had the game-winning catch for the Colts in Miami last night.

Peyton Manning and the Colts made the most of their limited time on the field last night, coming up with big plays and quick scores in a 27-23 Indy victory that you couldn’t tell from the final stats.  Miami held the ball for just over 45 minutes in the game, using a grinding, hard-nosed offense to maintain possession and run the clock down.  However at the end of the day, the Wildcat was caged just enough by a Colts’ defense that proved, once again, to not be able to handle a solid rushing attack effectively.

Looking back at the game, there are two things we can take away very quickly, and they point directly to the result of the game, that is, for as efficient as the Colts’ offense can be, the Dolphins can be equally as inefficient.  The other problem for Miami is that most of their long, protracted drives only resulted in field goals, which is never going to be enough against one of the most prolific offenses in the league.  The scariest part for Dolphins’ fans and for the rest of the league is that I don’t think Miami could have played much better and they still lost.

For the Colts, they have become the Cardiac Kids, winning their first two games of the year over the Jaguars and ‘Phins by a total of six points, with both of their opponents having opportunities to win the game late in the 4th quarter.  They were completely exposed by the Miami rushing attack, as evidenced by Ronnie Brown’s big day on the ground.  It’s fine to play close games with lesser opponents as long as you win, but as the season progresses, these kinds of games will take their toll on a mediocre Indy defense, which means that the close wins could become close losses, and with a fairly tough schedule, that’s a habit the Colts will want to get out of quickly.