Week 2 Review
Week 2 bought us some great plays in some great games, some beautiful offense, some wonderful defense and a couple of games that no one would chose to ever discuss in polite company again (ahem…Buffalo @ Carolina, ditto 49ers @ Seahawks)… Here is your weekly snap shot of each game, starting with…
TEXANS @ Bengals 13-9
A dull affair on Thursday night enlightened by J.J. Watts game ending tackle to put an end to the Bengals hope of a “music city miracle” type of play. Watt clearly just wanted to collect the win and get off the field. DeShaun Watson and Andy Dalton both went free of either TDs or INTs in the passing game, the rookie did cap a decent performance with a rushing score though. Supposed star running back Joe Mixon managed just 36 yards rushing on the day as the Bengals capitulated on offense behind a dreadful o-line (that phrase may be repeated elsewhere). Following the slip to 0-2 The Bengals fired Offensive Coordinator Ken Zampese after a lifetime with the team in various roles after becoming the first team since the 1939 Eagles to start a season with 2 home games and score 0TDs.
Browns @ RAVENS 10-24
For the second week running the Ravens D had 4INTs and a forced fumble as they turned over the Browns who are still missing Myles Garrett and lost Corey Coleman (WR) to a hand injury. Flacco managed to improve on the previous weeks 9 completions as he went 25-34 with 2 TDs and a pick whilst veteran TE Ben Watson led the team in receiving yards with 91. DeShaun Kizer departed the game mid way through with a migrane (so bad he returned in the 4th quarter…) He probably gave the same headache to the rest of the team as he threw 3 INTs and just 15 completions. Kevin Hogan subbed for Kizer as he recovered and put some nice film together going 5/11 1TD 1 INT. Two little known receivers in Rashad Higgins and Seth DeValve (TE) led the Browns in yards as the run game faltered badly. Joe Thomas played his 10,000-consecutive snap. Amazing. Who predicted the Ravens to start 2-0 in preseason??
Bills @ PANTHERS 3-9
Christ what a dull defensive display this was. I don’t mind a fully defensive stalemate if the Ds are dominant and championship-worth, but this was more a case of two drab offenses unable to conjure anything up against a pair of defences who play tough. The top 4 RBs of both teams combined for 64 yards rushing total! Neither Shady or McCaffrey could get anything going. Zay Jones dropped a late, deep chance to level the scores and take the game to O.T. Greg Olsen (TE Panthers) broke his foot and is now on I.R. Without him the Panthers offense may struggle to improve quickly. First Panthers win in 14years with no TD.
CARINALS @ Colts 16-13 (O.T)
Heres a game that did crawl into O.T and absolutely no one wanted it too. Ceratinly Jacob Brissett will have wished it didn’t as the very first pass in the extra period was picked off and returned to within field goal distance setting up Phil Dawson to atone for an earlier miss. Carson Palmer continues to disappoint (19-36, TD INT) and the team badly need to get their run game restructured. CJ2K had 44 yards on his return to the team but without David Johnson they look stagnant.
TITANS @ Jags 37-16
Ready to anoint the Jags D as great? Think again. The Titans led by 20 entering the 4th quarter as Derek Henry gained 92 yards and a TD in his breakout game and Mariota avoided the “Sacksonville” pass rush with ease. Once behind the Jags had to allow Bortles to throw and he served up 2 INTs (as usual) which put the D under pressure throughout. The Jags need a script whereby Fournette has the majority of the touches on offense, otherwise its potential turnover hell.
Eagles @ CHIEFS 20-27
Close game for sure but the Kansas City Chiefs had more in reserve than the Eagles who went all out to stop the best Team in the AFC so far. Wentz threw for 333yards and 2 TDs but without an effective run game (Blount managed 0 fantasy points) he could only do so much against a solid defensive unit. Alex Smith was more Alex Smith than the 4 TD performance v the Pats last week but his managerial efficiency is more than enough to keep this team ticking. Rookie sensation Kareem Hunt had 2 more TDs from 81 yards. Chiefs start 2-0 in a loaded division.
PATRIOTS @ Saints 36-20
A pissed-off Tom Brady is not what any team wants knocking on their door, especially when said team has a defense made of glass just waiting to be shattered by a precision-passed football. Brady hung 3 1st quarter TDs on the Saints and totalled 447 yards passing, including 6 catches to Gronk who returned to form with a TD which saw him march through a Saints defended as if he weren’t there. Subsequently, Gronk left the field injured but he should be ok next week. The Saints offense is certainly high powered enough to keep up in most games but 356 yards and 2TDs from Brees just wasn’t enough on this day.
Vikings @ STEELERS 9-26
The Vikings with Sam Bradford are a vastly different team to the Vikings with Case Keenum, as proven this week as their stellar defense just got tired of being on the field as the offense struggled to make first downs and keep the ball moving. Leveon Bell failed to hit 100 yards again but TDs from Bryant and Smith-Schuster (youngest player in the NFL this year) were easily enough to overpower the Vikes. If Bradford recovers from his knee-tweek soon the the Vikings will be fine, but without him they will always struggle to get plays of any significant meaning as evidenced by Keenums 167 yards total passing. Fingers crossed for next week.
Bears @ BUCCS 7-29 (BLOWOUT)!
This weeks blowout saw Mike Glennon stoke the “play Trubisky” fire a little more as he threw 2INTs and fumbled the ball away too. The running game was bottled up as Cohen and Howard managed 20 yards between them and the receiving corps is doubtless one of the worst in the NFL but both of those parts of the offense need the QB to be functioning well, and at this point that isn’t happening. Jacquizz Rogers gained 67 yards and a TD for the Buccs and should be a threat even when Doug Martin returns in a couple of weeks.
DOLPHINS @ Chargers
0-2 for the Chargers by a combined 3 points. That’s the harsh reality for a team whos kicker has failed to make kicks in the dying seconds of each match over the last two weeks. Koo can’t be solely responsible for the failure of the Chargers to hold a lead in the 4th quarter but he needs to up his game pretty quickly before he is dubbed the new “Aguayo”. Jay Cutler looked assured and steady in his new surroundings and seems to have gelled well with Parker, Stills and Landry which should keep defences from bottling up Ajayi in the run game. Antonio Gates became the most touch down scoring TE ever (and 5th all time for TDs at any position) but he can’t be relied on to rescue this team if they don’t collectively pick the pace up next week. Anthony Lynn has some serious coaching to do this week.
Jets @ RAIDERS 20-45
Yes, the Jets put up 20 points, Jermaine Kearse snared two TD passes and did so with little to no running game (Forte 53 yards) to spread the load. This however came against a Raiders D which is mid-table at best amongst NFL teams, and whilst an improvement is welcome its going to mean nothing if the Defensive players for the Jets cant step up as well. Carr was untroubled going 23/28-3TDs all thrown to Crabtree who dominated the endzone. Jets players were offended by Marshawn Lynch dancing on the sidelines during the game…seriously?! Concentrate on your own performance, you shouldn’t even be watching the big screen. We learned nothing new about Oakland, they’ll face much tougher tests that this.
Cowboys @ BRONCOS 17-42
Another blowout, and boy was it well deserved. The Broncos defense is phenomenal and may be driving this team to the post season at speed. Dak Prescott was intercepted twice (103 yard return by Talib being the lowlight) and last years standout rookie Ezekiel Elliott managed 8yards on 9 carries…! His previous low was 51 yards. C.J Anderson has emerged once again as a serious threat for Denver and racked up 118 yards and a TD as Trevor Siemian showed what he can do when the team is well balanced around him, putting up 4 TDs. The Cowboys went 3-14 on third down, Denver 9-15. That really tells the story.
REDSKINS @ RAMS 27-20
Another tight game that was decided by last ditch interception thrown up by Goff. It was a crushing error but lets not forget he is only starting his 9th game as QB for the Rams so these mistakes are bound to happen. Rams TE new Everett came to the party with 95 yards receiving and demonstrated his ability to be another weapon in the Rams arsenal. Stepping up for the Redskins was RB Chris Thompson who grabbed 2 TDs from the backfield and eclipsed Rob Kelley who was forced off injured. Cousins really isn’t ticking in this offense yet so there should be improvements to come, this close win should spur the team onwards.
49ers @ SEAHAWKS 9-12
Please don’t make me watch this pile of crap again. Terrible game between two teams who have very little offensive output but decent defences. Brian Hoyer must be feeling some heat after a 99yard passing performance and two games without a TD. Generating 11 first downs will not win many (any) games. On a positive note Carlos Hyde rushed for 124 yards and looks the best player on that side of the ball for the 9ers. The Seahawks o-line kept the 49ers in the game as they were porous again. Wilson went 23-39 for 198 yards and 1TD but was scrambling again to make plays. Chris Carson did dominate the RB duties as Eddie Lacy was a health (overweight?) scratch.
Packers @ FALCONS
In the last two meetings between these two teams the packers have been outscored by more than 50 points in the first three quarters. If the D cant find some consistent play-making ability A-Rod will never get that second SuperBowl ring. Much Like Brees at the Saints he needs something to change to enable him to fulfil his potential. Devonta Freeman showed up this week and hammered home 2 TDs as Julio snagged 108yards receiving. LineBacker Vic Beasley picked up an injury and will miss a month which will hamper the Falcons D but if the O keeps putting up scores they’ll be fine. Green Bays hopes fell apart went Jordy Nelson limped off early with a quad injury. Rodgers went 33/50 for 343 2TDs and a pick (2 in 2 games) and that still wasn’t nearly enough.
Lions @ Giants
Whoa, 0-2 start for Big Blue? Eli receiving criticism for poor clock management? Questionable play calls from McAdoo? Yes, its all deteriorating quickly for the Giants as they are bottom of the division and look awful on offense. Brandon Marshall dropped an easy completion and then went AWOL again, OBJ was clearly at half-speed and there is no running game. Opposing them was a calm, concise Lions squad led by the flourishing Stafford who tossed 2 TDs despite only putting 122 yards on the Giants defensive unit. Between Stafford and Abdullah the Lions had 100+ yards rushing, the Giants top pair managed 45. Shocking really, as this RB problem has been around for a while. Until its addressed the Giants will struggle.