“(Stafford) just brings everything to life…. I can be my normal basket-case self, and he’s just so calm, so resilient and poised.” – Rams head coach Sean McVay to King on QB Matthew Stafford
“I felt like, to win a game like this versus that team, you have to be able to live with the people that you put the ball in their hands…I just really felt like Justin Herbert was gonna win us the football game. And that’s exactly what he did.” – Chargers head coach Brandon Staley to King on going for late touchdown instead of a field goal vs. the Chiefs
“First thought when Tucker’s 66-yard field goal doinked in the air, then over the crossbar, to make NFL history: Justin Tucker is going to the Hall of Fame one day.” – King on Ravens kicker Justin Tucker
STAMFORD, Conn. – September 27, 2021 – Peter King recaps Week 3 in the NFL and speaks with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay following the Rams’ victory over the Buccaneers in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also hands out his Week 3 awards, speaks with Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, travels through New England to preview Tom Brady’s return to face the Patriots next week on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and more.
Across NBC Sports this week, Pro Football Talk streams live on Peacock at 7 a.m. ET every weekday and re-airs at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN. In addition to Pro Football Talk, Peacock offers daily sports programming on the NBC Sports channel for free, including shows Safety Blitz, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, The Peter King Podcast, The Rich Eisen Show, Brother from Another, and The Dan Patrick Show. To learn more about the NBC Sports on Peacock channel and how to sign up, click here.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
SEAN MCVAY & THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
King: “Beating the Super Bowl champs was a statement win for the Rams, obviously. But it continued a statement first month outside the walls of the Detroit State Penitentiary for (Matthew) Stafford, who might be in a two-man race exiting September for NFL MVP with Raiders QB Derek Carr.”
King on the Rams’ 3-0 start to the season: “This is the sense I get with their team: There’s trust on both sides of the ball in Stafford’s ability to give them the best chance to win. The defense knows it doesn’t have to be perfect…Not sure they knew that a year ago, when the Rams averaged 23 points per game. I got the sense in training camp that this team was euphoric to have Stafford, and the first three weeks have borne that out.”
Rams head coach Sean McVay to King following Los Angeles’ 34-24 win over Tampa Bay: “I got a killer headache. Probably from acting like such a maniac on the sidelines all day.”
McVay on Stafford: “He just brings everything to life. Here’s my favorite part about what he did today. He missed some throws in that game early where we had looks that we wanted. And he just couldn’t want for his next opportunity to respond. He expects to make all those plays, but he’s unaffected when he doesn’t and he just can’t wait for his next opportunity to compete to do it. I can be my normal basket-case self, and he’s just so calm, so resilient and poised.”
King on the NFC: “The NFC will be an interesting pennant race. It’s too early to forecast deeply, but it seems safe to project the Rams and Bucs will be big factors in late January. We knew that about Brady’s Bucs. We’re getting more sure of it each week about Stafford’s Rams.”
King on Chargers head coach Brandon Staley: “The Chargers went looking for their Sean McVay last winter, an energetic and charismatic young coach to lift the football IQ of the team and to discover new wrinkles other teams aren’t out ahead on. They settled on the 38-year-old Staley, and Sunday’s 30-24 win made the call by the Spanos family and GM Tom Telesco look pretty good.”
King on Staley’s play-calling on the Chargers’ final drive which led to a game-winning touchdown: “There’s a good chance Staley would have been severely second-guessed if his strategy in the final minute of the fourth quarter had backfired…Staley went aggressive on both plays, going for the first down and the touchdown.”
McVay to King on Staley’s play-calling vs. the Chiefs: “That’s more guts than I’d have had had my first year as a head coach.”
Staley to King on going for the 4th-quarter touchdown instead of playing it safe for a field goal: “I felt like, to win a game like this versus that team, you have to be able to live with the people that you put the ball in their hands. Like, whose hands are you gonna put the ball in to win this game? I just really felt like Justin Herbert was gonna win us the football game. And that’s exactly what he did…I just felt like, we really wanted to score the ball with our offense on the field. I could live with scoring right away, because they’d need a touchdown to beat us, with one timeout left.”
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker on his game-winning, NFL record 66-yard field goal: “When you’re that far away, it’s just not a normal kick where you treat it like any other kick. You do have to kind of juice it a little bit. You gotta let adrenaline just take over. The technique may change just a little bit. It was actually more like a kickoff, where you just lay into it, like you’re a competitor in a long-drive contest. You just let it rip and you kind of hope it stays straight.”
King on teams starting rookie quarterbacks: “Play for the long term. If Urban Meyer decides today to give (Trevor) Lawrence a sanity break and start C.J. Beathard for a while or for the season, good for him. There’s such a short-term view of players drafted to be long-term saviors. It’s scary, really.”
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
King: “I was born in New England, raised in New England, didn’t leave New England till I was 18…Too often, when the New England Patriots are mentioned, we think of that 53-mile Boston-to-Providence corridor…I wanted to take the pulse of what this region, the entire region, would be thinking this week, on the eve of Tom Brady returning to play the Patriots in Foxboro for the first time since leaving in March 2020.”
King on his trip through New England last week: “Fifty hours through the heart of New England told the tale to me and my four-person NBC crew documenting the sights of the region and the sounds of the fans. The love of the Patriots is still there, undimmed. The feelings for Brady, well, they’re more complicated than that.”
Maine resident Craig Simons to King on his feelings about Brady’s return: “He deserves a long ovation. Six Super Bowls. Come on. Mixed emotions that he left, obviously. But the Patriots didn’t have the depth or the money to get anyone to help him. That final year was tough on him. It was a patchwork offensive line. If he had stayed, it would have been sad to watch. He deserved a chance to go to a stacked team.”
New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu to King on Brady leaving the Patriots: “It hurt. When your hero says he’s going to go somewhere else…but you also understand it’s about gratitude. You’ve got to be grateful for 20 years. He gave us six Super Bowls. I still love the guy. At this point, the Bucs are my second-favorite team. But the moral of the story is as great a Tom Brady was for us, it doesn’t mean it’s over here. We’re just onto the next [era].”
Vermont teacher Emily Ross to King: “People here loved Tom Brady until the fateful day. He decided to switch to the Buccaneers, and people are not happy with that choice. I think they felt like he betrayed the team by switching…He’s become just another athlete.”
Providence resident Marianne Ryan to King on how Brady should be received in Foxborough: “What do the fans do for everyone else? They boo them. If they want to clap, I’m fine. But then it should end and we should get on with the game, right?”
KING’S WEEK 3 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: J’Marr Chase, Cincinnati, Derek Carr, Las Vegas, & Josh Allen, Buffalo.
King on Chase: “So much for Mr. Dropsies. Chase continued his run to the Offensive Rookie of the Year with his third and fourth TD receptions of the three-game season.”
King on Carr: “I can see Carr becoming a regular in this space…Carr’s writing a tremendous story that not many people saw coming.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Myles Garrett, Cleveland, & Logan Wilson, Cincinnati.
King on Garrett: “With a franchise-record 4.5 sacks of Cleveland’s eight in a dominating defensive performance, Garrett led the marauding attack against the Bears in rookie Justin Fields’ first NFL start. Fields never had a chance.”
Special Teams Players of the Week: Justin Tucker, Baltimore, & Jamal Agnew, Jacksonville.
King on Tucker: “First thought when Tucker’s 66-yard field goal doinked in the air, then over the crossbar, to make NFL history: Justin Tucker is going to the Hall of Fame one day.”
Coach of the Week: Brandon Staley, head coach, Los Angeles Chargers.
King: “The best thing you can say about Staley after road wins over Washington and Kansas City and the narrow home loss to Dallas: He’s not afraid, and it’s clear he’s got players who can back up his calls and play his style of football.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on last year’s division winners: “I think this is a great indicator of one of my favorite football sayings, You never pick up one year where you left off the previous year: The eight division winners in 2020 are a combined 12-12 after three weeks.”
King on Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa: “I think the pressure on Tua Tagovailoa to come back and play well once his fractured ribs are healed will be immense, and intense…It’s absurd that we’re talking about a quarterback having to prove himself by midway through his second season. Totally absurd. But that’s the business the NFL is now. The impatience at quarterback is fairly overwhelming, but it exists.”
King on the Texans and QB Davis Mills: “Davis Mills has my respect for hanging in against the best defense in football in his first NFL start. The best thing I can say about him is he wasn’t afraid Thursday night, and he made some strong throws against a confusing D. I like the fact that Houston now gets to see Mills for a few starts and Tyrod Taylor for a few more. The franchise should be able to make a judgment on which quarterback will accompany/compete with one they draft/add in trade in 2022.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.