NFL week 3 recap: Cam Catharsis, the existence of the Clutch Gene and Hello Deshaun Watson

Here are three things we learned from the weekend’s events on the gridiron...


Week 3 is in the books and given the turn-up in some of those games, the Wild Card picture could look a bit more complicated than we’re used to seeing.

While that picture is muddled, a few things are crystal clear…

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Cam Catharsis

He might have come to prominence due to his running style and that stupid dab that your uncle does at weddings, but people are slowly realising he’s not a very good quarterback.

Newton’s led this Carolina team for a while now. He’s even, on occasion, carried them. The Panthers organisation have built a read-option style offense that’s run far more effectively in Kansas City.

They now have Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel to give opposing defences stranger looks than Elton John in the 80s, yet still can’t execute because he’s a one-dimensional thrower.

Throwing three picks against a defence whose struggles have been well-documented is a further damnation of a man who simply cannot read the game pre-snap.

If you rely on gimmicks, then you cannot turn the ball over.

Alex Smith is the perfect example of that. Granted, Greg Olsen being out has removed his safety blanket. But – anyone taking notice of the revitalised Matt Stafford after Megatron retired? Newton has to make the same transition – expect he’s not good enough to.

The Clutch Gene Exists

There’s a certain inevitability about results, even when the odds are stacked against them – when Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are given a chance. The former was set to be beaten by a rookie quarterback in Foxboro for the first time ever, while the latter found himself well behind and without his starting left tackle, and with a right tackle whose far from healthy.

Both overcame the odds again.

We’re not quite sure what it is. All we know is that, while the standard of quarterback in football is at a near all-time low, we’re gifted with arguably the greatest ever in terms of legacy, and the best in history when it comes to pure arm talent. That much can be celebrated, at least.

If players can consistently overcome difficult situations, there’s more to it than experience and talent. It’s nerve; the ability to not feel pressure – it’s the clutch gene and it’s priceless.

NFL, meet Deshaun Watson

It seems strange that, in a game where Brady throws for nearly 400 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions, that we’re discussing a different quarterback. But – this fella might be special.

In only his second NFL start, Watson came within seconds of winning in Foxboro. That’s hard enough to do if you’re Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan or Big Ben – let alone a supposed ‘system quarterback’ with ‘limited throwing ability’.

You probably won’t see a better throw in the state of Massachusetts this year, than Watson’s first touchdown pass.

Finding the narrowest of pockets between the corner and safety, the Clemson product threaded the needle to find Bruce Ellington in the centre of the end zone.

He threw two interceptions. The first one was more concerning – it was a mechanical issue that saw him throw off his back foot. He appeared to throw a back-shoulder jump ball to Hopkins, but it wasn’t well executed.

Either way, there’s clearly enough arm talent there to suggest the National Championship-winning signal caller is going to become a solid NFL starter for many years to come. Houston have a legitimate shot at the division with him under centre.

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What do you think?