Week 2 is over and despite the fact no games are being played, Tom Brady has still managed to throw for another 300 yards, the Chiefs have given up another 35 points, Luke McCown has thrown two more interceptions, and the entire Dolphins secondary has decided to take an early vacation since they figured they couldn't stop anyone when they were trying maybe they could do a better job if they just didn't show up at all. They certainly couldn't do any worse. Chiefs fans have also started pre-ordering their Andrew Luck jerseys and Colts fans are lighting a record number of candles to the patron saint of helping injured quarterbacks recover and get back onto the field to salvage their season. It's one of the more obscure saints.
Browns 27, Colts 19
If the Colts are going to go the whole year without Peyton Manning can we just skip the season and have them play the Chiefs now in the "Ander Luck Bowl"? But while there was no Manning, the other Peyton, you know the one that's on the cover of Madden who the Browns got from the Broncos by trading the only unburned LeBron jersey in Cleveland, ran for 94 yards and 2 touchdowns leading the Browns over the Colts (when was the last time you heard that?). "That's Peyton," said Browns quarterback Colt McCoy who threw for 211 yards and a TD. "He's going to run and run and run." Kind of like the energizer bunny only not nearly as annoying. "We probably would have seen some different things," with Manning on the field, Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. No doubt, probably 5 more Colts touchdowns.
The rest of week 2 after the jump...
With the Ravens stacking the box to stop Chris Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck picked apart the Ravens secondary for 358 yards and a TD while throwing only 1 interception, which was considerably fewer than the 28 interceptions the Ravens got against Ben Roethlisberger last week. "A lot of teams come in thinking they can just load the box and if they stop me, they can win," said Chris Johnson who finished the game with only 53 yards rushing. "It just showed we have other playmakers." And while it's been a couple years since Hasselbeck's been called a playmaker, the word definitely applies to receiver Kenny Britt who finished the game with 9 receptions for 135 yards and a TD. "He's a very talented guy for a quarterback," said Hasselbeck of Britt. "I'm not sure I've ever had a guy that talented." Wait. Did he just mess up and say what he told Britt to tell reporters about him?
Chiefs 3, Lions 48
It's official. The Chiefs are now the early leaders in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. The Lions win was the most lopsided victory in their franchises history and the Chiefs have now lost their first two games of the season by a combined score of 89-10. Ouch! To add insult to injury, after losing safety Eric Berry for the season last week, they lost running back Jamaal Charles for the year this week, if you can call losing 2 Pro Bowl players only an insult. "The season will not be canceled as far as I know," said Chiefs coach Todd Haley. No, they just wish it would. "What we have to do is we have to stop doing those things that are costing us dearly, and putting us in very difficult positions." Those things would be in two games losing 5 fumbles, throwing 4 interceptions, managing only an average of 111 passing yards per game and 5 points per game, being unable to get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks, allowing quarterbacks to post a 114.3 passer rating against them, and missing tackles. So they really only have to clean up a few areas to get better.
After trailing 21-3 at the half, the Bills offense finally got rolling, scoring 35 points in the second half alone, including the game winning TD with only 14 seconds to play. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw 4 touchdowns last week, had 3 this week while Fred Jackson chipped in 117 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns on only 15 carries. The Raiders actually had the game won two plays before the Bills final TD, but Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson dropped the interception that would have sealed the win. Although in his defense it was a perfect throw to him which everyone knows is the hardest ball to a catch. "The game would have been over," Johnson said. "I take this loss for the team today." Of course all his teammates will say it's a team game and one play didn't cost them the game but you know they're all thinking the same thing as Johnson.
After this game everyone is talking about Cam Newton. He threw for 422 yards last week in his NFL debut and this week he somehow topped it by throwing for 432 yards. Of course he also has thrown 4 interceptions in those two games and they're 0-2, but let's not split hairs, whatever that means. The game couldn't have started better for the Panthers as Newton took the opening drive 85 yards down the field for a TD, then got the ball right back after Randall Cobb fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Considering God told Cobb last week to return the kickoff that turned into 108 yard TD, I wonder if He told him to fumble the kickoff this week? The Panthers turned the fumble into a field goal before adding another field goal on their next possession and an early 13-0 lead. But Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers, as if he could be anyone else, and he led the Packers to 23 unanswered points and a 23-13 lead in the 4th quarter before finishing off the game with an 84 yard TD strike to Jordy Nelson with 2:14 left in the game. At least Newton can sleep well knowing he now holds the franchise record for most passing yards in a player's first two games with the team, passing up such greats as Jake Delhomme, Kerry Collins, and Steve Beuerlein. Now there's a list any quarterback would be proud to be a part of.
Bengals 22, Broncos 24
Every year there are a few teams that for whatever reason just get hit really hard by injuries. This year one of those teams is the Broncos who've had so many injuries they actually had to play Tim Tebow in a game...as a wide receiver. Bengals rookie Andy Dalton had a great game throwing for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns and even put them in position to take a 1 point lead late in the game, but on 4th-and-1 on the Broncos 36, Marvin Lewis decided to go for the 1st down instead of the 53 yard field goal. "It was the best decision I could make at that point," said Lewis of the call. Considering Mike Nugent had been a perfect 3 for 3 in the game, including a 45 yarder, and the Bengals finished the game converting only 1 of 13 3rd and 4th downs, Marvin Lewis may want to reevaluate his decision making process.
Ben Roethlisberger bounced back from his 5 turnover game last week to throw for 298 yards and a TD while the Steelers defense completely shut down the Seahawks, limiting them to only 164 yards of offense, including only 31 on the ground, and not allowing them to take a snap in Steelers territory until the 4th quarter. The dominating win was just what the Steelers needed after last week's debacle against the Ravens. Meanwhile the Seahawks are still left searching for an identity. "The biggest frustration is that we're just better than what we're putting on the field on Sunday," said receiver Mike Williams. Hey, don't be too hard on him. Everyone lies to themselves from time to time.
The knock on Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman is he always makes a few boneheaded plays that end up costing his team the game. After throwing 2 interceptions in Cardinal's territory on their first two possessions, it looked like Grossman had struck again. You know it's bad when your name gets used as an adjective. Roethlisberger pulled a Grossman last week with 5 turnovers. But trailing 21-13 late in the 4th, Grossman did something very un-Grossman like. He rallied his team for the win. First he drove them 73 yards for a TD with 5:17 to go. Then after they failed to convert the 2-point conversion and the Cardinals went three and out, Grossman drove the Redskins 48 yards putting them in position for the field goal with 1:45 remaining. Asked about the late game collapse by his defense coach Ken Whisenhunt replied, "When did we play good defense the whole day?" Well, you gave up 455 total yards, 172 yards on the ground, and the Redskins had drives of 70, 42, 77, 80, 8, 45, 24, 39, 73, and 48. Looks like he's right, the Cardinals pretty much stunk to high heaven defensively the entire game.
In week 1 the Vikings led the Chargers 17-7 at the half before losing 24-17. So anyone want to guess what happened this week when they took a 17-0 lead into the locker room at the half? Well, considering I wrote the score above you don't have to be a genius to figure it out. Third year quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 243 yards, including a 25 yarder with 6:39 to play cutting the lead to 17-20, before leading a 9 play 61 yard drive that was capped off by LeGarrette "watch out for my right hook" Blount's 4 yard TD run with 31 seconds remaining. "He doesn't blink," said coach Raheem Morris of Freeman. I can't imagine that's very good for his eyes. I know, not a very good joke but they can't all be winners.
Here's a question for you. Before Sunday, which was the only NFC team the Saints hadn't beaten since Sean Peyton took over as head coach in 2006? If you said the Packers you may want to have yourself checked out to see if you need some special education. The Saints had been 0-3 against the Bears including the NFC championship game in 2006, but they finally broke through on Sunday. Down 7-3 and facing a 3rd-and-12, Drew Brees found Davey Henderson for a 79 yard TD and the Saints never looked back. They also brought relentless pressure against Jay Cutler who was sacked 6 times, was hit 10 times more, had 6 passes deflected, and lost a fumble. "It was a long day out there," Cutler said. "They rushed me hard and forced our offense to do things we didn't want to do." And by things they didn't want to do he's referring to the fact 58% of his 45 passes ended up incomplete. Even Ryan Leaf completed more of his passes than that.
Texans 23, Dolphins 13
After the Dolphins secondary did their best impersonation of a sieve last week against the Patriots, they played only marginally better this week allowing Matt Schaub to complete 21 of his 29 passes for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was also another home loss for the Dolphins who are now 1-11 over their last 12 home games dating back to 2009. Luckily, most people in Miami don't have to watch them lose since the stadium was half empty and the game was blacked out. In addition to their defensive struggles, Chad Henne was only 12 of 30 and Dan Carpenter missed 2 of his 4 field goal attempts. In other words, the Dolphins pretty much looked bad in all three phases of the game. The substandard effort prompted linebacker Jason Taylor to hint that changes may be needed. "I'm not sure everyone understands the magnitude of what we're trying to do here," Taylor said. "If you can't get it, get out of the way and we'll get somebody else who will." What's to get? You're trying to win some football games. It's not exactly rocket science. Of course, nothing's rocket science except rocket science, but you get the point.
The Jets hadn't scored a 1st quarter TD in 16 straight games, but that streak ended when they took the opening kickoff 65 yards in 6 plays in their game against the Jaguars. Turns out that was all the offense they would even need as the Jets defense stifled Luke McCown who completed only 6 of his 19 throws for 59 yards with 4 interceptions and a safety on his way to a 1.8 QB rating, and no, that's not a typo. Rookie Blain Gabbert took over in the 4th and almost matched McCown's numbers, completing 5 of his 6 passes for 52 yards. "As a defense, as a whole, we want to cause havoc on our opponents as much as possible," said cornerback Antonio Cromartie who had 2 of the 4 interceptions. "That's what our defense is built on." Unlike the Dolphins pass defense which is built on letting opposing quarterbacks pass at will against them.
The Rams looked like the better team Monday night. Their offense looked better, their defense looked better, just all around they looked better. That is, of course, except for all their self inflicted errors. Fumbling punts, getting costly penalties, driving the length of the field and having to settle for a chip shot field goal, all of them cost the Rams Monday night. Who knew the way to beat the Rams was to just get out of the way and let them beat themselves. Sam Bradford threw for 331 yards but he also found himself running for his life much of the night. OK, not actually running for his life, but at least running for his health. The Giants defense must have picked up on the fact that since 2010 no quarterback has been worse under duress than Bradford who's completed only 28.6% of his passes when feeling the heat. Even Jimmy Clausen has done a better job in those situations, and when Jimmy Clausen is beating you in a statistical category that's never good. "The thing I liked about what we did tonight was we showed resiliency," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "In a lot of those situations, if they get touchdowns, that score is a lot different." What? You're telling me if they get a touchdown instead of a field goal the score would be different? Thank you captain obvious.
In case you hadn't heard, Michael Vick returned to play in Atlanta for the first time since his jail sentence. So how did he do? In a word, meh. He threw for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns but he also threw an interception and lost two fumbles. Atlanta turned those turnovers into 14 points. Vick also had to leave the game near the end of the 3rd quarter after suffering a concussion. The usual backup, Vince Young, was inactive for the game because of a hamstring injury so in came Franz, I mean Mike, Kafka who handed the ball off to LeSean Mccoy for a 2 yard TD, his second of the night, and a 31-21 Eagles lead heading into the 4th. But while a lot was made about Vick, Matt Ryan wanted to remind everyone that he's now the man in Atlanta. He led the Falcons back with two 4th quarter touchdowns and finished the night with a career high 4 touchdown throws. Still, the Eagles almost came back as Kafka led them back down the field to the Falcons 22 before his pass on 4th down was dropped by Jeremy Maclin. I'm better than that," Maclin said of his dropped pass that would have given the Eagles a first down. "It was a very catchable ball." Sure, if you want to call a ball that hits you on your hands catchable.
Chargers 21, Patriots 35
Can anyone stop Tom Brady? A week after throwing for a franchise record 517 yards, Brady was at it again completing 31 of his 40 passes for 423 yards and 3 touchdowns. About the only thing that can stop the Patriots is their defense that once again gave up a lot of yards. The Chargers even cut the lead to 21-28 late in the 4th but the Patriots came right back down the field capping it off with a 16-yard TD run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Try saying that name three times fast. The real difference in the game was 4 turnovers by the Chargers while the Patriots didn't have any, but all anyone could talk about in the Patriots locker room after the game was Brady. "He's the best," said linebacker Jarod Mayo. "Numbers don't lie." Strange, that's not what my accountant told me.
Can someone please explain to my why the 49ers took the field goal instead of the 1st down early in the 4th? Sure, the field goal was important because it gave the 49ers a 10 point lead and you hate to see points come off the board, but wouldn't it be better to try for the TD. You risk maybe missing the FG later in return for possibly scoring a TD and running more time off the clock. And David Akers is hardly a bum seeing as he's been to the Pro Bowl 5 times including each of the last two seasons. It's times like those when I'm yelling at my TV as if coach Harbaugh can hear me that my wife begins to wonder if there's something off in my brain.