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The Schein Nine

Russell Wilson, Kyle Shanahan, Nick Foles among NFL heroes of Week 3

With all due reverence to Tina Turner, I respectfully disagree. And so does the NFL.

The third Sunday of the 2020 season was glorious, with heroes galore! Here's the rundown, Schein Nine style:

1) Russell Wilson

The Seahawks are letting Russ cook, and he's become the absolute top chef.

Wilson continued to own the start of this NFL campaign, with five more touchdown passes in the 38-31 defeat of Dallas on Sunday, including what ultimately turned out to be the game-winner to DK Metcalf with 1:47 left. That's now 14 touchdown passes for the Seahawks quarterback, an NFL record through the first three games of a season -- and it could've been 15 TD strikes, had Metcalf not pulled a Leon Lett in the first quarter on Sunday. When you dominate every week and sizzle in crunch time, you are the MVP favorite. Yes, Russ is clearly the front-runner at this moment. So yeah, maybe he'll finally get that elusive FIRST MVP vote a few months from now. (If you want perspective on why Russ has never received a single MVP vote, check out the latest episode of The Adam Schein Podcast.)

The 3-0 Seahawks have flaws, no doubt about it. The pass defense has been absolutely torched all three times out. With Seattle giving up a league-worst 430.7(!) passing yards per game, "The Legion of Boom" is a distant memory. And now dynamic safety Jamal Adams has an injured groin. But when you have a quarterback posting some video game numbers of his own (SEE: 76.7 completion percentage, 9.0 yards per attempt, 139.0 passer rating), it's the ultimate deodorant, covering up the stench emanating from other areas on the roster. This is who Russ is. This is what he does.

Russell Wilson doesn't feel pressure. He applies it. Like your classic superhero. And your classic MVP.

2) Kyle Shanahan

Never, ever take this kind of blowout win for granted. Yes, these winless Giants are a pathetic, poorly built mess. But the Niners entered this game as a certified MASH unit. No Nick Bosa. No Jimmy Garoppolo. No Richard Sherman. No George Kittle. No Deebo Samuel. No Solomon Thomas. No Raheem Mostert or Tevin Coleman. The list goes on and on -- seriously, I haven't even mentioned big-money edge rusher Dee Ford or Sherman's replacement, Ahkello Witherspoon, both of whom were inactive on Sunday. And I could keep going!

Yet still, with Nick Mullens at quarterback, the Niners rolled. With little depth at running back, the Niners cruised. Without Bosa, a top-five defensive player in the league, the Niners hit the road and absolutely dismantled the Giants, 36-9. 36-9!!!!! What a testament to San Francisco's supreme head coach.

Kyle Shanahan is a beautiful offensive mind, and his stamp of accountability and smarts is all over this team.

3) Aaron Rodgers

Not sure if you heard, but the Packers didn't draft a single receiver in a wideout-rich class. And in Sunday night's marquee matchup against the Saints, Davante Adams was in street clothes on the sideline. No matter: Rodgers sliced up the home team in Green Bay's 37-30 win, improving the Packers to 3-0.

Rodgers put on a show, especially while on the move. According to Next Gen Stats, the 36-year-old signal-caller completed 13 of his 17 play-action passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. That included a magical flick-of-the-wrist bomb to Allen Lazard. Rodgers was doing Jordan-esque things with the football -- stuff nobody else on the planet does. And how about a perfect no-look pass for good measure?

Five months after Green Bay traded up in the first round to draft Rodgers' replacement, the 16th-year veteran is toying with NFL defenses, guiding the Pack to a franchise-record 122 points in the first three weeks of the season. Never take his genius and greatness and special nature for granted.

4) Nick Foles

Don't let the rightful headline of another Dan Quinn choke job trump the latest chapter in the wild Nick Foles experience. Mitchell Trubisky gets benched, Foles comes in, and the Bears go from down 16 points and lifeless to 30-26 winners and 3-0.

As we've come to expect from the best long reliever since Goose Gossage, Foles was tough and terrific. He rescued the Bears, throwing three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score with less than two minutes remaining, where Foles hung in the pocket and took a shot while delivering a dime to Anthony Miller.

It was always inexplicable for the Bears to start the season with Mitch under center -- a face-saving effort by the folks who took Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. But it's over now. Trubisky's a bust, and that draft decision was a blunder of epic proportions. Bears coach Matt Nagy rightly announced on Monday that Foles will start Sunday's game against Indianapolis. Good. Admit the failure and move on. Now that Chicago's gotten a taste of Foles magic, there is no (non-injury) reason for Mitch to take the field for the Bears ever again.

Side note: I can't leave this Bears blurb on heroic play without mentioning Allen Robinson, who had another beastly performance with 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Three words for Bears brass: Pay. The. Man.

5) Stephen Gostkowski

The future Hall of Famer missed his first three field goal attempts of the season. He pulled an extra point, too, during that Week 1 nightmare. But at the end of the night, he converted the chip-shot field goal in the Titans' season-opening win. In Week 2, Gostkowski missed another PAT, but he hit both of his field goals: a 51-yarder at the end of the first half and a 49-yarder that wound up being the game-winner. Week 3, though, was truly the charm.

Gostkowski nailed all six of his field goal attempts (and his only PAT attempt) in Tennesee's 31-30 win over Minnesota. And three of those kicks -- including the go-ahead, 55-yarder with less than two minutes remaining -- came from 50-plus yards out. Gostkowski, who very nearly wore the goat horns in Week 1, became the first kicker to hit three 50-yarders in a game since Justin Tucker in Week 12 of 2016. What a turnaround! Titans coach Mike Vrabel deserves immense credit for never losing faith in the kicker.

6) Josh Allen

That's my guy! You know I cannot get enough of the pure talent, incredible work ethic and inspiring leadership of the Bills' playmaking quarterback -- who, by the way, topped my list of dark-horse MVP candidates back in May. Yes, the pass-interference call that extended Buffalo's game-winning drive was indeed garbage. But as he's done all month, Allen took advantage, logging the clinching score on the next snap with a nice touch pass to Tyler Kroft. That game-winning drive goes in the books as an 11-play 75-yard march. And this came after the Bills blew a 28-3 lead. Clutch, gutsy stuff.

Forget that dark-horse talk: Josh Allen is a legit MVP candidate. He is winning games with his arm and legs, posting four more passing touchdowns and a rushing score on Sunday. This is exactly who I said he was going to be when the Bills drafted him. Take that, critics!

7) New England Patriots' defense and run game

This goes beyond the box score. The Patriots' defense was just tough and clutch in a 36-20 win over the previously undefeated Raiders. Las Vegas entered the game with the second-best third-down offense in football, but Jon Gruden's team converted just three of its nine attempts on Sunday. New England hung tough in the red zone, and with Chase Winovich leading the way, the Pats consistently pressured Derek Carr. Raiders TE Darren Waller, who shredded the Saints with 12 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, was held to two catches for nine yards.

Meanwhile, the Patriots' ground attack was superb, gashing Vegas for 250 yards. RB Rex Burkhead had three total scores. And it was extra meaningful listening to the players talk about doing it for their talented and classy running back, James White, who is mourning the death of his dad.

This was a classic Bill Belichick win.

8) Matt Stafford and Matt Prater

The Lions win! The Lions win! This is not a drill, people! Detroit handed the upstart Cardinals their first defeat of the season in a 26-23 result.

Matthew Stafford is a great player and has always deserved better. His calm during the game-winning drive -- a 10-play, 70-yard trek that ended with a 39-yard field goal as time expired -- was perfect. Matt Prater, who hit all six of his kicks on Sunday (four field goals, two PATs), is clutch. He wasn't going to miss.

Detroit had lost 11 straight. Matt Patricia is rightly on the hot seat, still 14 games under .500 (10-24-1) as head coach of the Lions. Detroit should've beat Chicago in Week 1. The Lions were actually up double-digits on Green Bay in Week 2. And entering Week 3, Arizona was flying high, with a ton of talent coming into its own under Kliff Kingsbury. This was a great and needed win, thanks to the Matts.

9) Cleveland Browns' backfield

Oh, hey! The Browns are above .500 for the first time since 2014! And they should be. This roster has playoff talent. While I won't throw the Browns a parade for beating Washington, it's a big deal that they did. And how they won matters, too.

Cleveland needs to beat inferior teams. That's how you make the playoffs. And on Sunday, the Browns overwhelmed the Football Team with the best 1-2 RB punch in the game today. Nick Chubb finished with 19 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Kareem Hunt added 46 rushing yards of his own, but he also scored a receiving touchdown on a powerful effort off a quick hitch and converted a clutch third down late with a brilliant one-handed catch. Baker Mayfield only had to throw the ball 23 times, compiling 156 yards, two touchdowns and -- most importantly -- zero picks.

That's winning football. That's how the Browns make the playoffs -- on the legs of Chubb and Hunt. Get used to it.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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