By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

Congratulations to all the winners Sunday. But also to all the losers, because even in losing you still get to cash an enormous check.

Here's a rundown of all the best and worst performances of the NFL's Week 3.

Quarterback On the Hot Seat: Kurt Warner

The Cardinals quarterback was NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 1, but has since committed six turnovers, including a horrendous fumble late in Sunday's game, when Arizona was in position to kick a game-winning field goal. So expect the calls for Matt Leinart to begin. But Cardinals fans need to keep in mind that Leinart is likely to be even less sure-handed with the ball because he's a rookie. But mostly because he's probably covered in Astroglide.

Quarterback Off the Hot Seat: Mark Brunell

The push to remove Brunell as the Redskins' starting quarterback is over for now thanks to Brunell's setting an NFL record with 22 consecutive completions in Washington's win over the Texans. And looking at Houston's remaining schedule, I'd like to announce future quarterbacks who will have career days and silence their critics: Daunte Culpepper, Drew Bledsoe, Byron Leftwich, Kerry Collins, Eli Manning, Leftwich again, J.P. Losman, Chad Pennington, Aaron Brooks, Collins again, and Charlie Frye. That's the Houston Texans, ladies and gentlemen, proudly keeping mediocre quarterbacks gainfully employed since 2002.

Best Performance of the Week: Miami's offensive line

There were a lot of questions entering the season about whether Culpepper's knee was strong enough to hold up for the entire season. But through three games he has proven it is, staying healthy despite suffering 15 sacks in the first three games -- with five coming Sunday against the Titans. And credit Miami's offensive line for allowing opposing defenders to hit Culpepper over and over and over again to prove he can take hits. But now that the point is proven, maybe it's time they start blocking people.

Worst Performance of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger

I wasn't surprised that Roethlisberger played so poorly -- not after hearing a pregame report that said he was running a temperature of 986 degrees. And when you think about it, it's pretty impressive that he didn't play worse considering his internal organs were boiling.

Hit of the Week: Ryan Clark on Chris Henry

The Steelers safety laid out Henry on a crossing pattern in the third quarter that had to make him loopy for a minute or two. I just wish I could have been on the field to hear how Cincinnati's training staff checked to see if Henry had all of his faculties:

"Chris, tell me where you are right now."

"Well, let's see. I'm wearing my jersey, so I'm probably playing football. Although I could also be somewhere committing a gun crime, because I wear my jersey when I do that, too."

"OK. Now please try to count backwards for me starting at your number of arrests since December."

"Three, two, one."

"Perfect, perfect. One more: Where do you hide your weed?"

"In my shoes."

"Right. You're good to go. Let me help you up. Oh, and don't forget this. It fell out of your shoe."

Biggest Waste of an Opportunity: Pittsburgh Steelers

I realize the Steelers are a very conservative organization -- no cheerleaders, no mascot, etc. -- but sometimes situations arise when it's worth taking a different approach. Take Sunday, for example. The Steelers had five costly turnovers and the crowd could have used something to cheer about after each one. If the team's marketing folks were smart they would have painted black and orange stripes on a few horses, walked them out to midfield during a TV timeout and then set Joey Porter's dogs loose. Not only would the carnage have riled up the crowd and kept it in the game but, perhaps more importantly, it would have served as a reminder of an elementary animal safety rule: Do not keep your miniature horse in close proximity to Joey Porter's dogs.

Offense You'll Almost One Day Tell Your Grandchildren About: Detroit's

Two weeks after Lions receiver Roy Williams said it was "stupid" how close the Lions were to putting up 40 points against the Seahawks in a game in which they only scored six, Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna had this to say of his team's 24-point performance in a home loss to the lowly Packers yesterday: "You saw glimpses of what's coming, but we didn't get it going enough, and that's unfortunate. We left a lot of points on the field." Man, I can't wait to see how good this offense will be once it starts producing at its full capacity. It's going to be awesome. And I wonder how many points the Lions left on the field Sunday. Was it 34 like against the Seahawks? Because that means they would have put 58 on the Packers. Amazing. Fifty-eight is a ton of points, especially after they kind of scored 40 in their opener. Say what you want about the Lions, but this is theoretically the greatest offense of all time.

Most Enigmatic Performance: Eli Manning

Giants fans probably don't know what to think about their franchise quarterback after his atrocious first half in Seattle dug his team a hole it couldn't get out of. He looked like the same old inaccurate, confused, impatient quarterback he's been since entering the league. Luckily, though, it was universally decided last week that Manning has arrived as an elite NFL quarterback thanks to the one good quarter he had against the Eagles, so there's really no need to worry, Giants fans. The one good quarter versus Philadelphia outweighs all the others -- and when you add that to the name on the back of his jersey, well, he's easily one of the best in the league. Whew, huh, Giants fans? That must be a load off for you.

Best Kicker Ever: Stephen Gostkowski

The Patriots were worried the loss of Adam Vinatieri would come back to haunt them, but new kicker Stephen Gostkowski is already threatening to pass Vinatieri in the record books. Thanks to a blocked kick at the end of the first half Sunday night, Gostkowski now has two blocked field-goal attempts in three career games, whereas Vinatieri had only three in 10 seasons in New England. At this rate, Gostkowski will absolutely obliterate Vinatieri's mark. And with all of the glaring problems the Patriots have this season, you can bet they're ecstatic that the kicking game isn't one of them.

Best Coaching Performance of the Week: Jon Gruden

Three years ago, Jon Gruden deactivated Keyshawn Johnson from his roster with six games left in the season because he couldn't put up with Johnson's selfish attitude anymore, thereby ending the receiver's stay in Tampa. Sunday proved that Gruden's tough love approach worked, as Johnson -- now a model teammate in his 11th season in the league -- scored two touchdowns to lead the Panthers past Gruden's Buccaneers. So well done, Jon! You must be proud of the player and the man that Johnson has become. It's all thanks to you.

Worst Coaching Performance of the Week: Tom Coughlin

Jeremy Shockey said it best after the Giants lost to the Seahawks: "We got outplayed, and outcoached. Write that down." Outcoached indeed. I don't know what Tom Coughlin was thinking, to be honest with you. It seemed like he had the same game plan in place Sunday that he did last year in the playoffs when the Giants lost to the Panthers. And you'll remember that Tiki Barber criticized the coaching then, too. At some point Coughlin is going to have to stop telling Eli Manning to throw passes directly into the stomachs of opposing defenders. That's just poor coaching on his part.

Best Motivation: Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis showed his team a video on Wednesday of Bill Cowher leading the Steelers in a mocking version of Cincinnati's "Who Dey?" cheer after Pittsburgh beat the Bengals in the playoffs last season. Lewis hoped it would motivate his team -- and it did. "I didn't like it," said Chad Johnson. "It was very rude." So this is where we are in modern football: Teams are offended when other teams sing their songs. The NFL has basically become "West Side Story." I imagine that after Lewis showed the Bengals the video, Johnson performed an interpretative dance expressing revenge and then Carson Palmer read a poem about his feelings on being injured in last year's playoff game. And then they probably all got in their sleeping bags and took turns brushing T.J. Houshmandzadeh's hair.

Rookie Performance of the Week: Mario Williams

Last week I wrote that Mario Williams outplayed Reggie Bush because Williams had two tackles while Bush had none. But I got some e-mails from people saying that I'm stupid because Bush plays offense and therefore doesn't register tackles. OK then, smart people, explain this then: Williams had two tackles again on Sunday while Bush didn't register a single yard, proving that Williams is the superior player by any form of measurement. So who's the smart guy now, huh? Who's the smart guy now?

Most Ingenious Bit of Scheduling: the NFL

U2, Green Day and the Goo Goo Dolls are all scheduled to perform tonight before the Saints-Falcons game in New Orleans. That's right, the Goo Goo Dolls. Now, you may wonder: "Why did the NFL schedule such a horrendous, washed-up band?" But you're missing the bigger picture. I think what they're saying is this -- look, some good things have happened here in the past year. Lives have been rebuilt and people have come together. This is the U2 and Green Day portion of the show. But as much progress as has been made, no one should think the Gulf Coast is completely healed. There is still a long way to go. There is still destruction. There is still sorrow. And to illustrate that, the Goo Goo Dolls will then come onto the stage. It's brilliant, really. I even hope they go the extra mile and ask for donations for Katrina relief -- if $10,000 is raised, the Goo Goo Dolls play three songs. If $20,000 is raised, they only play two, and so on. (But -- hey, seriously, consider helping out if you have the means.)

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.


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