NFL Hindsight: Week 2

The Patriots grinded out a victory on Thursday Night Football. You only enjoyed watching that game if you have receiver Julian Edelman on your fantasy football team. New England is banged up, but they are 2-0 with superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski returning to a television near you! The defense looks improved after a couple of stout performances, something the Jets are relying on as their unit is earning that nasty reputation back.

There were lightening delays in Tampa Bay and Seattle, but the Bolts were striking all day in Philly! The Chargers had the ball last and won the shootout by a field goal with seconds remaining. As much as you would like to bash the defenses, Philadelphia did force two fumbles in the red zone. but definitely give most of the credit to Mike McCoy and Chip Kelly for their master game plans. San Diego milked the clock as much as they could and finished drives with points, mainly Philip Rivers to Eddie Royal (three times), and the Eagles responded with quick strikes. LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson had big games with over a hundo receiving, as both QBs combined for 847 passing yards.

Chicago squeaked past Minnesota by a point, and you can that bet quarterback Jay Cutler is loving his big targets. While the secondary shifts towards receiver Brandon Marshall and the front-7 stacks the box against running back Matt Forte, the Vikings got hit with a dose of tight end Martellus Bennett. Although reigning MVP Adrian Peterson appears to be a one-man show, Minnesota returned a kickoff for a touchdown and certainly has the weapons to score points this season.

The reigning champion Ravens flexed their superiority against the Browns, who held their own in this tug-of-war. Cleveland’s defense doesn’t look too shabby, and if receiver Josh Gordon can stretch the field for running back Trent Richardson, they will give teams a fight on Sundays. As for Baltimore, the positive here is bouncing back from an embarrassing week 1 performance. They got the win at home, and will have the challenge to make ends meet with playmaker Rice Rice’s status unknown.

Atlanta aired it out in the dome to fend off St. Louis. Just when you thought the Rams were taking another step forward, the offense staggered far too long with little time to come back. The Falcons are crossing their fingers with receiver Roddy White and running back Steven Jackson’s injury, as they escaped by a touchdown for their first win of a season with high expectations.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers placed his own MVP bid, in what I call a retaliation to Denver’s signal call, Peyton Manning’s week 1 performance. The Packers lit up the scoreboard and tallied the yardage to say the least. Fantasy Football one-hit wonder running back, James Starks, replaced injured rookie Eddie Lacy and shredded the Redskins defense like we saw on Monday Night football in week 1. Washington’s offense is getting into rhythm again, slowly but surely.

Buffalo showed pride and stole the game from Carolina at the end. The Bills rookie leader, E.J. Manuel, displayed composure and the playmakers surrounding him did their thing. They have quite the trio of primary options and the defense hasn’t been too shabby heading into week 3. The Panthers are a tough team, as both of their losses came down to the wire. The offense needs to improve because they just aren’t efficient enough right now.

Miami hit the road and held onto the lead for a 2-0 start. An interesting duel between sophomore quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill got his revenge on Andrew Luck from last season’s defeat. The Dolphins defense got more stops, including turnovers, which made the difference in this game. The Colts are content with the acquisition of running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but that offensive line does need to play better. The Dolphins had a balanced offensive attack with two targets eclipsing 100 receiving yards.

The Chiefs efficiently edged out America’s Team. The combination of coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith has led Kansas City to a 2-0 start. They’re getting the ball to standout players Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles, while relying on an underrated defense to invade the Cowboys’ backfield. Dallas took advantage of the freak-athlete that is receiver Dez Bryant, however the rest of the offense struggled and a gritty defensive performance on the road got lost in the fold.

Houston powered their way past Tennessee in overtime. It was a grueling game led by running backs Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, and Ben Tate. You know about Houston’s defense, but don’t let the score fool you because the Titans defense showed up on the road. The Texans got the boost they needed from quarterback Matt Schaub despite a couple interceptions, who threw back-to-back overtime completions to rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins, for…the…win! Star receiver Andre Johnson is alright after passing concussion tests.

The Saints did just enough to beat the Buccaneers after an hour weather delay. As usual, which also occurred in week 1, Tampa Bay found a way to lose. Things weren’t terrible on the field necessarily, for a team in such public disarray, but losing to field goal at the end of regulation doesn’t heal any wounds. Perhaps Tampa Bay Josh Freeman won’t have to request a trade, and aside from the drama their defense did its part to confuse Drew Brees. He was off his game but made plays on the final drive, resulting in a Garrett Hartley game-winning field goal as time expired. Kudos to Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan for leading an aggressive, Rob Ryan defense.

Arizona halts Detroit in the second half to enter the win column. Standout cornerback Patrick Peterson shadowed stud receiver Calvin Johnson in a fun matchup to watch. Of Course Johnson got his, Peterson had some safety help, but he made his fair share of plays in one-on-one coverage and on offense. He also caught a 17-yard first down from the slot, and took a hand-off then threw a 17-yard pass for a first down completion. Lions QB Matthew Stafford was shut down in the second half by an aggressive Cardinals defense, and Arizona depended on a balanced offense without their stud wide out, Larry Fitzgerald.

As expected, Denver handled the Giants in convincing fashion. Whatever the Broncos wanted to do worked in their favor, as was the case for the defense. Whether forced or thrown for some unexplainable reason, Eli Manning tossed four interceptions. NY virtually had no ground game even when the game was in reach. Denver returner Trinton Holliday, if you watched the game you just knew something was going to happen when that punt bounced into his arms. He took it to the house and we’re becoming accustomed to his playmaking. Oh yeah, and that Peyton Manning guy spread the wealth and went about his business against little bro.

Just win baby! Da Raiders ground and pound the football, and lead the league in rushing after a pair of games. The backfield speed of Terrelle Pryor and Darren McFadden ran early and often against the Jaguars. It’s hard to grade Jacksonville’s defense since they don’t really have an offense, and boy do I hope Maurice Jones-Drew doesn’t have to miss any time. On a positive note, they will get receiver Justin Blackmon back in a few weeks and when paired with Cecil Shorts last season, this offense actually moved the chains. As for Oakland, they quietly have a sound defense forming and will get their biggest challenge next week, against the rival Broncos.

Another weather delay, another slug fest…in the first half that is. After the break Seattle took over the game on both sides of the football. Suddenly, that vaunting 49ers defense is slipping. Marshawn Lynch softened the middle, which of course sets up the play-action and outside runs. Russell Wilson looked poised and made every right play in the second half, whether that was running, passing, or throwing the ball away when necessary. San Francisco could not move the ball or gain any rhythm whatsoever, it did hurt to lose tight end Vernon Davis to a hamstring injury but the Seahawks defense showed why they are the best in the business. Damn, and they have Jacksonville next!

Cincinnati continues to dial Pittsburgh’s number with the beating they handed them Monday Night. They got what they wanted from the ground-game and 1-2 punch of “The Law Firm” (BenJarvis Green-Ellis) and rookie Giovani Bernard. They also tout one of the best defenses in the league, arguably the best in the AFC at this point. I just wanted to give the Bengals their due recognition because most eyes are on the free-fall of the Steelers. It’s been happening, and the hope is that rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is the real deal to aid for a struggling offense.