The story of Week 2 was injuries. The toll was excessive with numerous key players going down; DeMarcus Ware, Adrian Peterson, PJ Williams, Danny Woodhead, Ameer Abdullah, Jimmy Garoppolo and what seemed like the entire Chicago Bears roster. The NFL is a violent game; super humans running full speed and plowing into each other for 60 minutes is a recipe for disaster. With that being said, it was still a very exciting week.
NY Jets vs Buffalo: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for over 300 yards and Matt Forte hit pay dirt three times as the Jets eked by the Buffalo Bills 37-31 on Thursday night. Fitzpatrick was nearly perfect (92.8 QBR) and the win moved the Jets to 1-1. It also snapped a five-game losing streak against AFC East competition. The Bills dropped to 0-2 and with upcoming games against Arizona and New England, the preseason hype train may be leaving Orchard Park sooner than expected.
Baltimore vs Cleveland: Baltimore rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the Cleveland Browns 25-20. Raven linebacker CJ Mosley picked off Browns quarterback Josh McCown with 13 seconds in the game to seal the win. The Browns offense looked better under McCown, but it might not matter going forward. McCown is set to undergo an MRI on his injured throwing shoulder. If he can’t play next week, Cleveland will be on its third quarterback in as many weeks. The last team to start three different quarterbacks in first three weeks was the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs (Tyler Thigpen, Brody Croyle, and Damon Huard). That team finished 2-14. Good luck Brown’s fans!
Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati: The Pittsburgh Steelers moved to 2-0 with a 24-16 win over division rivals Cincinnati Bengals. The weather was awful during this game which may have contributed to the Steelers’ sluggish offense. Not to take anything away from James Harrison, but the wet conditions had more to do with Tyler Boyd fumbling the football late in the 4th quarter than the hit he delivered.
New England vs Miami: New England stormed out the gates with a 21-0 lead before hanging on to beat the hapless Dolphins 31-24. Jimmy Garoppolo was fantastic (234 yards, 3 TDs) before leaving with a shoulder injury. The Pats turned to third-stringer Jacoby Brissett to finish out the day. When Brissett was behind center, the offense was ultra conservative with the longest pass attempt being five yards. New England will definitely have to open up the playbook for Brissett next week against Houston. Playing on a short week, the coaching staff will have to make a quick adjustment. But if anyone is up to the task, it’s Belichick and company.
Kansas City vs Houston: No comeback this time for the Chiefs as the Texans took care of business at home with 19-12 win. This game was drastically different from last year’s playoff matchup. Kansas City’s passing attack was non-existent; choosing to throw screens and backwards passes until late in the 4th quarter. Is it time for Coach Andy Reid to relinquish play calling?
San Diego vs Jacksonville: Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers tossed four touchdowns to three different receivers in the 38-14 win. Unfortunately for San Diego, they lost running back Danny Woodhead to a torn ACL. That’s two weeks in a row that the Chargers have lost important players; Woodhead and wide receiver Keenan Allen were the two most explosive position players on the team. Travis Benjamin did a nice job filling in for Allen and running back Melvin Gordon who went over the century mark for the first time in his career. We know that Rivers is a gamer, but the big question is who will step up in San Diego to help him?
Denver vs Indianapolis: The Broncos took care of business at home by knocking off the Colts 34-20. Bronco signal caller Trevor Siemian regressed from Week One, but Denver’s defense is so imposing that it might not matter who is calling the plays in Denver. About that defense, Newton was obliterated last week and they did the same thing to Andrew Luck this week. When are teams going to realize that they have to give the offensive tackles help on the edges?
Tennessee vs Detroit: Marcus Mariota led the Titans to a come from behind victory over the Detroit Lions, 16-15. Down 15-3 in the fourth quarter, Mariota took the Titans on two long-scoring drives, capping the win with a 4th down pass to the ageless Andre Johnson. Detroit dropped to 1-1 and will be kicking themselves over this loss. Seventeen penalties and three negated touchdowns is just bad football. Letting a game like this slip,at home no less, will come back to bite them later in the year.
Dallas vs Washington: The Dallas Cowboys got in the win column after beating the Redskins 27-23. The Cowboys were able to overcome late fumbles by running back Ezekiel Elliott. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who has looked poised so far, set an NFL record by throwing his first 75 passes without an interception. In a division that is up for grabs, Prescott should be able to keep Dallas in the hunt until quarterback Tony Romo returns.
Tampa Bay vs Arizona: One week after throwing four TDs, quarterback Jameis Winston tossed four interceptions in a 40-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Carson Palmer finished the game with a 124.1 rating and an 87.3 QBR. It was a nice bounce back performance by the Cardinals before a tough Week 3 matchup awaits them against a desperate Buffalo team.
New Orleans vs NY Giants: The Giants moved to 2-0 with a 16-13 win over New Orleans. Eli Manning dropped his 39th 300+ yard passing game moving to 15th on the all-time list. His counterpart, Drew Brees, currently sits with 97 so Eli has a ways to go. Speaking of Brees, he passed Dan Marino for third on the NFL’s all-time passing list in the second quarter. The man who caught the historic ball? Coby Fleener. With what Fleener has produced so far this young season, anything positive can go a long way.
Carolina vs San Francisco: Carolina pounded the 49ers, 46-37. Cam Newton was a beast and the running game shredded the 49ers defense for 176 yards. The only hiccup for the Panthers is that starting running back Jonathan Stewart left with a hamstring injury that is sure to keep him out a few weeks.
Seattle vs Los Angeles: Seattle wins the award for the ugliest game of the week (two weeks in a row). Quarterback Russell Wilson is obviously hurt and the lack of a run game is weighing heavily on the entire team. The win wasn’t pretty for LA, but picking up a win against a division opponent is always nice.
Atlanta vs Oakland: The Falcons got in the win column by holding off the Oakland Raiders, 35-28. The Raiders ‘defense was supposed to be a strength, but was torched (613 total yards) for the second week in a row.
Minnesota vs Green Bay: Minnesota gutted out a huge win over the Green Bay Packers 17-14. Viking quarterback Sam Bradford (286 yards, 2 TDs) showed an immediate chemistry with receiver Stefon Diggs and it paid off in a big way. Bradford also did a nice job hanging in there after the injury to Adrian Peterson. Minnesota showcased its new stadium by exposing a design flaw; AP had to get carried through the stadium bar when taken to the locker room after his injury. Drinks on AP!!!! Interesting note about Green Bay, they played its’ first two games on the road which hasn’t happened since 1924.
Philadelphia vs Chicago: Eagles’ rookie Carson Wentz became the 4th rookie quarterback to start on Monday Night Football and he didn’t disappoint by picking up his second win in as many weeks. Wentz wasn’t as good as last week, but he did a good job of keeping his team in the game until Philly blew it open in the 3rd quarter. Bears quarterback Jay Culter left with a thumb injury and now it’s’ Brian Hoyer’s turn to try to get the Bears going on offense.
- Stefon Diggs (MIN) – 9 catches, 182 yards and 1 TD in a win over Green Bay.
- Matt Ryan (KC) – 396 passing yards, 4 TDs in a win over Oakland.
- Cam Newton (CAR) – 353 passing yards, 37 rushing yards, 4 TDs in a win over San Francisco.
Honorable Mention: Travis Benjamin (6 catches, 115 yards, 2 TDs), Kelvin Benjamin (7 catches, 108 yards, 2 TDs), Matt Forte (100 rushing yards, 3 TDs), Eric Decker (6 catches, 126 yards receiving, 1 TD), Ryan Fitzpatrick (374 yards, 1 TD), Carson Palmer (308 passing yards, 3 TDs), Cam Newton (390 total yards, 4 TDs).
- Jameis Winston (TB) – 243 yards, 4 INTS in a loss to Arizona.
- Thomas Rawls (SEA) – 7 carries, -7 yards in a loss to the Rams.
- Andrew Luck (IND) – 197 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT in a loss to Denver.