Recap – Week 2

Week 2 saw high scoring games, both Super Bowl LII contenders lose, another tied game and a retirement from the sport during half-time in Buffalo.

 

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Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals

23-34

Things started to look bad for the Ravens from the first quarter. Not only was Joe Flacco sacked on his third throw of the game but his deep throw meant for Michael Crabtree, a few minutes in to the game, was intercepted by rookie Jessie Bates for 21 yards.

Javourius Allen and Mark Andrews both scored a touchdown in the 2nd quarter. They went in with a 14 point deficit at half time.

The Bengals started the 2nd half with a lead of 28-14 and lead 28-17 at the start of the 4th quarter.

The Ravens came out fighting in the 4th quarter and Flacco ‘s confidence seemed to have grown. In the last big play of the game for either side, he threw to John Brown for a 21 yard touchdown. They went for the two-point conversion but it didn’t work in their favor.

The Bengals held their own all game and showed fans that maybe this is the season where their bad luck turns for the good.

 

Up Next:

Broncos v Ravens – Sunday September 23rd (1pm) 

Bengals v Panthers – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons

24-31

Damontae Kazee was ejected from the game for a helmet-to-hemlet hit on Cam Newton.   The Carolina QB was rightfully angry. Postgame he spoke to Joe Person of The Athletic stating “This game isn’t fit for cheap shots like that.”

The Panthers seemed to struggle without Greg Olsen. Newton tried finding various players to mix things up and see who he could connect with, but he ended up turning to the ever trustworthy Christian McCaffrey. The second year running back caught 14 passes for 102 yards. The rest of the offense managed just 18 of Newton‘s 32 completions.   Devin Funchess and Ian Thomas (who replaced Olsen) both suffered drops, and rookie DJ Moore couldn’t gather the potential game-tying toss in the end zone on their final play.

The Falcons finally found their red zone offensive. QB Matt Ryan led four successful touchdown drives in the red zone during Sunday’s win. Ryan had a great game, scoring two rushing touchdowns. Rookie Calvin Ridley showed his potential going for 64 yards on 4 receptions and the touchdown. His emergence makes Atlanta’s offense diversely dangerous.

 

Up Next:

Bengals v Panthers – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Saints v Falcons – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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LA Chargers v Buffalo Bills 

31-20

This game took an interesting twist and saw an unusual first, Bills Cornerback Vontae Davis retired in the middle of the game. In a statement on Sunday he said “This isn’t how I pictured myself retiring… But today  on the field, reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore”. He then apologized to his teammates and coaches stating he meant no disrespect but he holds himself to a high standard and whilst he still meets it mentally he doesn’t meet it physically anymore. Davis articulated that it’s more important for him and his family to walk away healthy than for him to limp away when at which point it’ll be too late.
Some of his teammates disagreed with the way he handled the affair. Rafael Bush responded to Davis decision with “In this game, we’re always taught to fight to the end, and for you to cup up on your teammates in the middle of the game, I’ve never seen anything like it.”‘

Buffalo went in at halftime trailing 28-6 where they had to deal with the Davis drama, but, they came out looking slightly stronger in the second half scoring a touchdown in each remaining quarter.
Josh Allen‘s first career start for the Bills was packed full of his own drama. He threw two interceptions. He did complete 18 of 33 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown as well as eight carries for 32 yards. He wasn’t all to blame for the sad show on the offense. His offensive line had a dismal game  and didn’t do a good enough job in keeping the pressure off him, resulting in him having to make quick decisions and throws that he wouldn’t have made had he had the time to think. Allen’s highlight was throwing a 57 yarder to Zay Jones, which was met with a standing ovation.

Philip Rivers led the way for the Chargers, completing 23 of 27 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdown passes were to Melvin Gordon, who finished  with three TDs on 66 yards. Austin Ekeler had 77 yards on 11 carries in addition to making three catches for 21 yards.
The first half was definitely the better of the two for the Chargers. They definitely showed flashes of what they’re capable of on offense but it seemed like the whole thing lost its charge once the team took a three touchdown lead.

 

Up Next:

Chargers v Rams – Sunday September 23rd (4:05pm)

Bills v Vikings – Sunday September 23rd (1pm) 

 

 

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Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers

29-29 – (After OT)

We have our second tie of the season.

The Vikings had a very slow start to the game. They picked up just 7pts in the first half. It was all Packers up until the fourth quarter. Green Bay’s defense were on fire in the first half securing a lead of 17-7 going in at halftime, which they extended to a 20-7 lead after the 3rd quarter.

The Vikings fought back in the 4th quarter though putting a whopping 22 more points on the scoreboard. Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs really connected in the final quarter with Cousins throwing the wide receiver two touchdown passes and the successful two-point conversion on an Adam Thielen touchdown.

The biggest controversy on the game came via a flag that direct altering on the outcome of the game. The Packers intercepted Cousins with less than two minutes remaining, appearing to have succeeded in another enthralling home win. That was until officials called a roughing the passer penalty on Clay Matthews, who hit Cousins but didn’t appear to drive him into the ground. The penalty gave Minnesota a second chance that they didn’t squander, sending the game to overtime.

The Vikings missed two field goals in the overtime period resulting in the tie.

 

Up Next:

Bills v Vikings – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Packers v Redskins – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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Cleveland Browns v New Orleans Saints 

18-21

It was a tight game with the Browns only allowing the Saints 62 yards on 23 carries, an average of 2.7 yards per carry.

Cleveland looked to be the stronger side throughout most of the game putting points up in all 4 quarters, scoring a touch down in the third and fourth quarters. Zane Gonzalez missed the extra point on both touchdowns and a late field goal attempt which ultimately cost them the game. Had he taken those opportunities the game would have gone in to overtime.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas had 12 catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 28 catches in two NFL games, a new league record for the most catches through the first two games.

New Orleans need to sort out their offense with their next two games on the road. No one wants to be taking a one-dimensional offense away from home.

 

Up Next:

Jets v Browns – Thursday September 20th (8:20pm)

Saints v Falcons – Sunday September 23rd (1pm) 

 

 

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Miami Dolphins v New York Jets

20-12

The first half that was all Dolphins seemed to be take a late turn in favor of the Jets when rookie QB Sam Darnold led a five-play, 74 yard drive that began at the Jets’ 25. The only issue was his final pass which was completed to Chris Herndon at the 2, was painfully short of a touchdown. The play ended at the 1 as time ran out. The Jets ended up losing by eight, leading many pained fans to think that would-be touchdown would have changed things, especially when Miami’s offense fell silent in the second half.

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had a rather odd games. He posted a passer rating well above 100, completed 17 of 23 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, but occasionally looked skittish in the pocket and he was strip sacked in the first half. Fortunately for Miami  they found intermittent success on the ground and their defense forced the Jets to become one-dimensional enough that they could hang onto their lead.

 

Up Next:

Raiders v Dolphins – Sunday September 23rd (1pm) 

Jets v Browns – Thursday September 20th (8:20pm)

 

 

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Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers 

42-37

Chiefs’ second season QB, Patrick Mahomes, had a career making game against the Steelers. He followed up his four-touchdown opening game with a six-touchdown performance. That’s ten touchdowns in the first two games of the season, breaking the record previously held by Peyton Manning (2013), Drew Brees (2009) and Charley Johnson (1965).

Week 1 for the Chiefs was the Tyreek Hill show, this week it was Travis Kelce‘s turn. Mahomes threw passes to the tight end down the seam repeatedly, including two touchdowns for 19 yards and 25 yards.
Mahomes hit five different receivers with his six touchdowns. He finished 23-of-28 passing for 326 yards and 6 TDs for a 154.8 passer rating.
The Steelers were overwhelmed by Kansas City’s speed, which was evident from the start as Kansas City jumped to a 21-0 lead before Pittsburgh fans could blink. This display makes the Chiefs the most dangerous offensive unit in the NFL and very fun to watch.

 

Up Next:

49ers v Chiefs – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Steelers v Buccaneers – Monday September 24th (8:15pm)

 

 

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Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

21-27

The reigning champions saw defeat for the first time since before Super Bowl LII.

Ryan Fitzpatrick hurled the Buccaneers to a 7-0 lead with a 75-yard touchdown to former Eagle DeSean Jackson. Before halftime, O.J. Howard  helped to make franchise history. His long catch-and-run gave Tampa Bay multiple scores of at least 75 yards for the first time.
By the middle of the third quarter, Fitzpatrick became the first Bucs quarterback to ever sling four touchdowns in consecutive games. He is giving his offense the chance to make big plays which makes for exciting football.

The Eagles entered the game without starting quarterback Carson Wentz and their number one receiver Alshon Jeffery. By the end of the first quarter,  Jay Ajayi, Mike Wallace and Jason Peters were all sidelined. By the time Ajayi returned in the second half, his team were down 27-7. They fought their way back but there just wasn’t enough time or energy left to complete the comeback.

 

Up Next: 

Colts v Eagles – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Steelers v Buccaneers – Monday September 24th (8:15pm)

 

 

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Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans

17-20

DeShaun Watson had a great game for the majority of the game completing 22 of 32 passes for 310 years, two touchdowns and an interception. His chemistry with receivers Will FullerDeAndre Hopkins and Bruce Ellington was electrifying. Unfortunately for the sophomore he made a rookie mistake. After getting the ball back with no timeouts left and less than a minute on the clock Watson managed to drive Houston to the midfield, then on the final play he found Hopkins for a big gain but there were two problems; his foot was over the line of scrimmage when he threw it and secondly it was caught in the middle of the field, with no way to stop the clock the game ended there.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota was relegated to sideline duty because of an elbow injury that was causing him problems holding onto the ball. Absence of their star QB meant Blaine Gabbert got the start, they took to playing atypically. DB Kevin Byard throw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Dane Cruikshank on a fake punt in the first quarter. Then on their next possession Derrick Henry took direct snaps to move the ball quickly down field. They kept the Texans at bay by playing the running game rather than the passing game. Henry had 56 yards on 18 carries, whilst Dion Lewis  carried 14 for 42 yards. Gabbert played his part connecting on an 18 yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor. He did complete 13 of 20 passes for 117 yards in a strong attempt by a bench quarterback.

 

Up Next: 

Giants v Texans – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Titans v Jaguars – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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Indianapolis Colts v Washington Redskins 

21-9

The Colts have their first win of the season.

Washington’s Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson were bottled up on the ground, whilst QB Alex Smith had trouble moving the chains without a downfield element in the passing game. I’m sure at that point he was regretting his move from the Chiefs after their victory earlier in the day.

Andrew Luck overcame an undermanned offensive line and lack of power at wide receiver to lead the colts to their first win of the season. He was helped by his defense with Margus Hunt, having been reborn from the Hard Knocks star with the Bengals, who was harassing Alex Smith and hog-tying running backs behind the line of scrimmage all game. Rookie Darius Leonard tallied a jaw dropping 18 tackles with a sack and forced fumble on Jordan Reed in the 4th quarter.

 

Up Next: 

Colts v Eagles – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Packers v Redskins – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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Arizona Cardinals v LA Rams

0-34

The Arizona Cardinals got absolutely annihilated by the Rams.

Jared Goff realized last week against the Raiders that the best play option was to keep feeding the ball to Todd Gurley, which worked then and it sure as hell worked again this week. Whilst he wasn’t too productive yardage wise with only 42 yards on 19 carries, he did score three of LA’s four touchdowns. Gurley did leave the game later with some cramping but by the point the damage was done and the Rams didn’t have anything to worry about.

Brandin CooksRobert Woods and Cooper Kupp combined for 19 receptions and 295 of Goff‘s 354 passing yards. Cooks (159 yards) has already proved himself a far more consistent threat in deep than Sammy Watkins and proved it with a second half 57 yard reception. Woods (81) and Kupp (63) showed they are steady, reliable route-runners, who can create countless mismatches in the slot and outside. With so much balance in the offense it’s hard to imagine anyone keeping up with the Rams in their current state.

The Cardinals struggled to get David Johnson going, over these two weeks he has managed just 85 rushing yards. With so little to work with Sam Bradford  threw for just 90 yards against the Rams and they only averaged three yards per play. The performance from Arizona was so boring that the cameras caught rookie Josh Rosen yawning from the sidelines.

Whilst the Rams have their second win of the season, the Cardinals are still looking for their first.

 

Up Next:

Bears v Cardinals – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Chargers v Rams – Sunday September 23rd (4:05pm)

 

 

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Detroit Lions v San Fransisco 49ers 

27-30

Jimmy Garoppolo is back to his winning ways but it wasn’t an easy feat for him or the 49ers. They were facing a 3rd-and-2, up three with 2:24 left on the clock, he threw a pass late behind Matt Breida (who got a career-high 138 yards on 11 attempts, a 12.5-yard average) that was picked off by rookie Tracy Walker. Luckily for Jimmy G the Lions were penalized for holding and his team held on for the win.
The former Patriots man threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He was, however, sacked six times but I’m sure he’ll happily take an ugly win. Unless they improve though, they’ll struggle against a strong Kansas City Chiefs in week 3.

Matt Patricia’s team are still looking for their first win under him but they came a lot closer this week than last week. The Special teams again gave up big plays, but most disappointing for Detroit was QB Matthew Stafford. He struggled against the 49ers missing numerous passes including overthrowing sever wide open deep shots. He looked uncomfortable against San Francisco’s young pass rushers. It took his team being down by 17pts to find any kind of rhythm, he threw two late touchdowns which helped in a wild comeback that fell short.
The Lions only started to come alive after LaGarrette Blount got ejected in the fourth quarter for a hit after the play. Receiver Kenny Golladay has been the Lions’ best player in both games.

The scrutiny of Patrica’s coaching and game management continues for another week. He gets to face his former employers on Sunday Night Football when they host the Patriots Sunday (23rd).

 

Up Next:

Patriots v Lions – Sunday September 23rd (8:20pm)

49ers v Chiefs – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos

19-20

Another agonizingly close game in week 2.

Much like in Week 1, the Raiders let victory slip away at the end of the third and through the fourth quarter, getting outscored 13-0 in the last 17:43 of the game. Denver compiled three drives of 10 or more plays, including a 14-play, 67 yard advance that included four downs inside the Oakland 5 and resulted in a rushing touchdown from Case Keenum, cutting the Raiders’ lead to a point. Oakland’s defense failed to keep the Broncos out of field goal position. The result was a loss that should have been a win.

Phillip Lindsay impressed for the Broncos, becoming the first undrafted player in NFL history to 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first two games.

The turning point of the game came when Oakland coach Jon Gruden got gutsy late in the third quarter, going for it on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 33 with a 19-10 lead. Keith Smith was open in the flats with the nearest defender turned around, yet somehow Smith dropped the pass that would have extended a drive that was already in Denver territory. Had he completed that pass the result would most likely have been widely different.

 

Up Next:

Raiders v Dolphins – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Broncos v Ravens – Sunday September 23rd  (1pm)

 

 

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New England Patriots v Jacksonville Jaguars

20-31

Both Super Bowl LII contenders lost in week 2.

The temperature at kickoff in Jacksonville was a record breaking 97 degrees, with a heat index of 103, the hottest kick off temperature in both Patriots’ and Jaguars’ history.  Jacksonville played the Patriots at their own game and hung thermometers around the tunnel to show the visitors just how hot it was.

The Jag’s defense was smart enough to realize if they doubled up on Gronk, New England wouldn’t get far. They essentially removed him from most of the game, only allowing 15 yards on two catches.

Tom Brady was missing the versatility and speed of wide receiver Julian Edelman, who still has two games left of his suspension. His offensive line were faltering, making him have less time to make decisions whilst in the pocket and forcing errors, long throws, a sack and a fumble from the veteran quarterback. On many occasions you could see Brady and offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels shouting “do your job” at their offense.

Blake Bortles had a fantastic game, throwing for 377 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. The New England defense looked haggard from the start but after they lost Trey Flowers to the concussion protocol early on, added to not having Patrick Chung, it just spelt disaster for the defense. Stephon Gilmore did an excellent job late on in the game forcing 6 incomplete passes and a fumble.

 

Up Next:

Patriots v Lions – Sunday September 23rd (8:20pm)

Titans v Jaguars – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

 

 

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New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys

13-20

The Cowboys looked a much improved team from the one who saw defeat in Carolina.
Their defense was strong, sacking Eli Manning a total of 6 times, caused him to fumble on occasion and they got an interception.
The offense looked more powered up than ever. Ezekiel Elliott was stronger, more aggressive and just ripped through the Giants’ defense to score his touchdown. Dak Prescott called more run-pass options and deep throws than against the Panthers. He picked up three first downs through brute strength, tallying 46 crucial yards on the ground. His first quarter touchdown throw to Tavon Austin got rid of any bad omens they’d taken to and brought back from Carolina. It gave them the lead and from that moment on they never trailed.

The Giants who were 3 in 16 last year had rare spurts of excellence but could only get the 1 touchdown right near the end. The Cowboys’ defense shut the lid on Odell Beckham Jr and defended the end zone well. But just when people thought the game was over for the giants things got interesting. They cut their deficit in half with 1 and half minutes left and then turned over possession on the punt with a smart short kick. Unfortunately for them it seemed the Cowboys’ moment of weakness was over just as quickly as it came. One thing’s for sure, the Giants never gave up.

 

Up Next:

Giants v Texans – Sunday September 23rd (1pm)

Cowboys v Seahawks – Sunday September 23rd (4:25pm)

 

 

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Seattle Seahawks v Chicago Bears

17-24

A strong Bears offense scored on their opening drive for the second week in a row. They followed it up with a 10 yard touchdown from Anthony Miller almost immediately at the start of the 4th. They were great on the first down but didn’t show too much potential on the red zone offensive.
QB Mitchell Trubisky completed 25 of 34 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns

The Bears’ defense put on quite the show too. With 5:30 left in the third quarter they forced Seattle’s 5th 3-and-out of the game. Danny Trevathan then forced a Russell Wilson fumble in the 4th with Leonard Floyd on the recovery to give his Bears possession.

Wilson had a very inconsistent game. His offense line just weren’t supportive enough, resulting in six sacks. The veteran QB also threw a pick-six which Prince Amukamara ran for a 49 yard return touchdown. He did however throw a beauty to Tyler Lockett for 19 yards with 10 minutes left on the clock. Followed by a 2 yard pass to Will Dissly with 14 seconds remaining of the game.

Despite losing their second game in row and second of the season, Wilson finished the game with 226 yards for two touchdowns and an interception, completing 22 of 36 passes.
The Seahawks’ defense now need to sort themselves out if they’re to be given a fighting chance against a Dallas Cowboys side that showed promise this week.

 

Up Next:

Cowboys v Seahawks – Sunday September 23rd (4:25pm)

Bears v Cardinals – Sunday September 23rd (4:25pm) 

 

 

All times are Eastern U.S.

 

 

 

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