50-point demolitions, supposed tanking teams pulling off shock wins, and a media frenzy in Kansas. Has the NFL ever been more eclectic than it is at the moment?
Anyway, let’s shake it off and take a look at the standout rookies from Week 3.
De’Von Achane, Running Back – Miami Dolphins
Achane was outstanding in the Miami Dolphins’ 70-20 victory over the Denver Broncos, rightfully earning himself the AFC Offensive Player of the Week title.
Finishing with four touchdowns and 233 all-purpose yards, Achane became only the second player in NFL history to have two rushing touchdowns, two receiving touchdowns, and at least 200 rushing yards in a game.
Brian Branch, Cornerback – Detroit Lions
Branch, who was unlucky not to get in my Week 1 article, was outstanding in the 20-6 win against the Falcons. Not only did he hold his own against Kyle Pitts and Drake London in coverage, but he also helped his team stifle fellow rookie sensation Bijan Robinson, limiting him to 60 total yards.
Finishing the game with two quarterback hurries, 11 solo tackles, three for a loss, and two pass breakups, Branch only seems to be getting better.
Jalen Carter, Defensive Line – Philadelphia Eagles
Carter continued his dominant streak for the third consecutive week, wreaking havoc on Tampa Bay’s offensive line. With half a sack, a QB hit, four pressures, and a first-career forced fumble, he’s proving to be a game wrecker. His 20.5% pressure rate so far this season is not just good; it’s All-Pro level good.
Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback – New England Patriots
Could Gonzalez be having a Sauce Gardener-type year? It may be early in the season, but if his start is anything to go by, then he is well on pace. In Sunday’s 15-10 win over the Jets, Gonzalez was lined up against Garrett Wilson on 23 of his 41 snaps and held him to only three catches for 18 yards.
Sam LaPorta, Tight End – Detroit Lions
LaPorta continues his hot streak on this list thanks to an eight-reception, 84-yard showing where he also scored his first touchdown as a pro. He now leads all tight ends in receiving yards with 186 and is second in receptions to T.J. Hockenson.
It’s also a third week in a row for the rookie tight end! To put that into perspective, only two players got on the list three times last year: Garrett Wilson and Dameon Pierce, albeit on a smaller ranking list last year.
C.J. Stroud, Quarterback – Houston Texans
If Week 2 saw Stroud sneak into my article over Anthony Richardson, then Week 3 was where he cemented his place. The young quarterback had 20 completions on 30 attempts for 280 yards and two touchdowns. His PFF grade of 91.1 when throwing from a clean pocket led all quarterbacks in the league.
Tuli Tuipulotu, Edge Rusher – Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers haven’t exactly wowed on defence, but that hasn’t deterred Tuipulotu from making his case as an early Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and his performance against the Vikings will only help his case. With nine pressures and three sacks in the game, he now totals 12 pressures and three sacks in just two starts this season.
Honourable Mentions: JuJu Brents (Colts), Tank Dell (Texans), Jahmyr Gibbs (Lions), Marvin Mims Jr. (Broncos), Michael Wilson (Cardinals)