Week two in the NFL is traditionally when everyone’s hot takes get ripped up into tiny little pieces and scattered to the wind. This season, they were ripped up, put in a blender, set on fire and dumped in a skip which was promptly shot into the sun.
That’s a long-winded way of saying it was a week of surprises. We got our second tie in two weeks – the same number as the last two seasons combined – and there were at least six shock results which served to remind us that judging teams after just 60 minutes of football is rarely an embarrassment-free exercise.
With the Buccaneers, Bengals and Dolphins among the teams to start 2-0, it’s time to toss aside those scripts. Here’s everything we learnt in week two.
The only way you can understand the value of a good kicker… is by having a terrible one
If upsets were one theme of week two, the other was definitely horrible, horrible kicking displays. Once again, the Browns were denied a first win since December 2016 by the boot. Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points as Cleveland lost to New Orleans by just three, and he wasn’t the only one.
Green Bay’s Mason Crosby and Minnesota’s Daniel Carlson both missed big opportunities to win their huge divisional clash (Carlson missed two in overtime). It’s hard to imagine Dan Bailey will still be without a team this time next week.
Kirk Cousins may have the NFL’s best receiving duo
Cousins did his very best Aaron Rodgers impression at Lambeau Field, capping a 75-yard touchdown drive with one minute 45 left on the clock with a two-point conversion to tie the game, but he was helped out by his receiving tandem of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, who continue to be both explosive and reliable.
Both Cousins’ 22-yard strike and Thielen’s catch in heavy traffic looked near impossible as the Vikings moved to within two points of Green Bay, and Cousins then found Diggs in the opposite corner to tie the game up at 29-29.
Thielen hauled in 12 catches for 131 yards and a score, while Diggs caught nine for 128 yards and two TDs. Cousins’ 35 of 48, 425-yard, four-touchdown performance was his second straight strong display in purple – Minnesota continue to look like one of the NFC’s most dominant outfits.
The Chiefs’ offense is the league’s most exciting unit in years
Kansas City have now put up 80 points in their opening two games, and Patrick Mahomes looks nailed on for back-to-back AFC Offensive Player of the Week awards.
Mahomes has thrown 10 touchdowns across weeks one and two – no other quarterback has done that in the Super Bowl era – and you get the feeling he’s only just getting started. To add yet another ridiculous stat, he threw more touchdown passes than did did incompletions yesterday (six to five).
We said before the season started that the Chiefs were going to need to put up massive numbers on offense to make up for what appeared to be one of the league’s weakest defenses. Well, they’re doing exactly that.
Blake Bortles has the Patriots defense’s number
Two of Bortles’ most impressive games as a passer have now come against the Pats. He picked them apart in last season’s AFC Championship game before the Jags took their foot off the gas, but they made no such mistake in this revenge game, closing out an impressive 31-20 victory and making a big statement in the AFC.
Bortles completed 29 of 45 for 377 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception, and made sure Tom Brady wasn’t even given the chance to repeat January’s late heroics.
The Pats’ offense was shut down and defense made to look ordinary down in a sweltering Jacksonville, but we know by now not to worry about New England early in the season – they always sort their problem out.
No one is feeling themselves quite like Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s post-game press conference get up tells you everything you need to know about how the guy’s feeling right now. I know what you’re thinking and no, that isn’t Conor McGregor. I promise.
In Sunday’s win over the Super Bowl-champion Eagles Fitzmagic became the first quarterback ever to start the season with two 400-yard, four-plus touchdown games. Anyone who predicted that… sorry, but you just got incredibly lucky.
Against the league’s toughest opening schedule, the unfancied Bucs are somehow 2-0 with their backup QB under centre, and sit alone atop the NFC South. It’s starting to look like the Hard Knocks hype arrived one year early.
Sam Darnold’s road to greatness will be a bumpy one
After soaring in Detroit, the Jets and Sam Darnold crash landed in New Jersey, brought back down to earth by a Miami Dolphins team which looks much improved on last season (having Ryan Tannehill rather than an unbothered Jay Cutler certainly helps matters).
Darnold wasn’t awful on Sunday - he continued to show good flashes and chalked up 334 yards through the air – but made poor decisions on the two picks he threw – one in the end zone which killed an excellent chance to get Gang Green back in the game.
Darnold has always been liable to turn the ball over – and probably will continue to do so – but he’s the best shot the Jets have had at a genuine franchise QB in years. He has time to grow.
The Falcons have found a solution to their red zone woes
Atlanta looked like someone trying to hammer a nail with a wet fish as Matt Ryan repeatedly tried to force the ball to Julio Jones in the end zone against Philadelphia.
Against the Panthers, they learned from that experience, spreading the ball about to the likes of tight end Austin Hooper and rookie Calvin Ridley. It resulted in a 31-24 win which also included two rare scores for Ryan on the ground.
It was a strange night for the Panthers, whose troublesome O-line actually held up well, while the powerful D-line was ripped apart by number two running back Tevin Coleman. Cam Newton was also heavily let down by his receivers who repeatedly dropped key passes at big moments.
These Bills might be worse than the 0-16 Browns
When your team sucks so bad one of your players literally retires from the sport at halftime, putting their street clothes back on and straight up leaving the stadium, you know you have a problem.
That’s exactly what veteran cornerback Vontae Davis did against the Chargers, who looked more like the team we hoped after a disappointing week one.
Josh Allen was an upgrade over Nathan Peterman under centre, but that is saying literally nothing. To watch, these Bills might be more rancid than last season’s Browns.
The Colts defense has more juice than we thought
After week one, the narrative was that Washington were a slept on team with a sneaky chance of toppling the Eagles in the NFC East, while the Colts’ defense would hold back a returning Andrew Luck.
A week later and the Colts totally stifled Alex Smith, Adrian Peterson and co., keeping the Redskins out of the end zone for the duration.
Extra props go to second-round rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, who made an incredible 15 tackles and three assists to go with a sack and big forced fumble in the fourth quarter.
The Giants are wasting their incredibly talented armoury
It was the same old story for the Giants, who once again couldn’t get the best out of the incredible firepower they boast on offense and slumped to 0-2 with a 20-13 defeat to the Cowboys.
It’s not too early to say that Eli Manning and the offensive line are going to kill New York’s playoff chances this season.
Dallas, meanwhile, were much improved on offense after their torrid showing in Carolina last week, and continue to look impressive on defense. If they can get Ezekiel Elliott really firing they have a road map to winning some games.
It might be time for Josh Rosen in Arizona
Sam Bradford again failed to find the end zone as the Cardinals were shut out in Los Angeles. The former number one pick threw for a measly total of 90 yards against the Rams, while David Johnson averaged just 3.7 yards per carry in an offense which can’t move the ball for the life of it. They crossed halfway just once all game.
The problem might be too big for rookie Josh Rosen to solve, but head coach Steve Wilks has to be thinking about giving him a shot. Right now, it can’t get much worse for the Cardinals.
On the Rams side of the ball, well, they look as billed. It’ll be a major shock if we don’t see them in January, and maybe beyond.
Elsewhere in the NFL…
- Jimmy Garoppolo again looked fallible, but was good enough to help the San Francisco 49ers to a hard fought win over the Detroit Lions. The big revelation was running back Matt Breida, who rushed for 138 yards and a score, and added 21 more yards in the air.
- The Browns’ defense is legit. Cleveland once again missed a massive opportunity to finally record a win, but holding Drew Brees and the Saints to just three points in the first three quarters on home turf only affirms this unit is the real deal, and will be the reason the Browns do, eventually, put up some tallies in the W column.
- The Oakland Raiders let a fantastic chance slip in Denver. Derek Carr bounced back from a poor week one to complete 29 of his 32 passes, and the Raiders looked comfortable going into the third quarter, only for the Broncos to emerge in the second half. Rookie running back Phillip Lindsay is now the first undrafted player in league history to gain more than 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first two games. Steal.
- Deshaun Watson showed his inexperience as he killed the Houston Texans’ chance at a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans, passing over the middle with no time outs and just seconds left on the clock on the final drive. It meant Watson never got a shot at the end zone in what was, overall, a big improvement on his week one showing.
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NFL snap judgments, week two: Shock upsets, kicking woes and Fitzmagic goes full Conor McGregor have 1882 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at September 17, 2018. This is cached page on Asean News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.