After an opening week full of surprises, week 2 of the 2017 NFL season provided us with more thrills. As bubble teams try to find their identities, the contenders showed exactly why they are considered contenders.
Unfortunately for the selfish fan in all of us, the highly anticipated matchups again didn’t live up to the hype. Nonetheless, there were plenty of highlights to go around from this weeks action.
Following a disappointing opening night performance, people were questioning if Tom Brady really still had something left in the tank. Those critics were quickly written off, as the future hall of famer scorched the dismal Saints defense for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. All three of Brady’s TD passes came in the first quarter, and one of them went to Rob Gronkowski, as the all-pro tight end found the endzone for the first time this season on this 53-yard score.
The Saints basically had no chance coming into this game. Tom Brady rarely losses back to back games, and he got some help playing against the Saints secondary. I really feel for Drew Brees though. He may be the most underrated quarterback in NFL history. He is going to break Peyton Manning’s career passing yards and touchdown passes records, probably next year, yet he never gets mentioned among the all time best. He has been stuck on a lot of bad Saints teams in recent years, but thankfully he got his ring before his team lost talent.
Alex Smith has some heads turning in Kansas City, as the Chiefs’ veteran QB is not ready to give up his spot to first round draft pick Patrick Mahomes II. Following a gritty defensive game for the first three quarters, Smith led the Chiefs offense to two 4th quarter touchdown drives to take a commanding 14 point lead over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles did not go down without a fight, however, as sophomore QB Carson Wentz led a scoring drive in the final two minutes to make it a 7 point game with 8 seconds left. The Eagles then recovered an onside kick, but could not convert a last second hail mary, giving the Chiefs a 27-20 victory. We can’t forget to mention running back Kareem Hunt, as the rookie was held in check before breaking off this 53-yard touchdown run at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Titans traveled to Jacksonville to take on the Jags in a AFC South matchup. After a quiet first half, in which the teams combined for just three field goals, the Titans offense exploded in the second half, scoring four touchdowns. Tennessee’s defense did their part as well, as they continually put Jags QB Blake Bortles under pressure all day. We may slowly be seeing a passing of the torch in the Titans backfield, as DeMarco Murray yielded some carries to 2nd-year back Derrick Henry. Henry impressed. as he rushed 14 times for 92 yards and a TD.
A pair of AFC North teams are 2-0, as the Steelers and Ravens both cruised to home victories. The Ravens had no trouble defeating the Browns, as a 21-7 halftime lead would have been enough. Browns QB DeShone Kizer left briefly in the 2nd quarter because of a migraine, and backup Kevin Hogan came in and threw the Browns’ only touchdown pass of the game. As for the Steelers, the Vikings looked completely different from the team they were last Monday night. They did have to play without injured quarterback Sam Bradford, but with the weapons they have, and a veteran like Case Keenum under center, I expected a little more than just 9 points.
The miserable Jets headed across the country to the Black Hole to take on the Raiders, and they did not receive a warm welcome. The Raiders offense put up a pretty 45 spot on the Jets, and quarterback Derek Carr connected with Michael Crabtree three times in the endzone. Marshawn Lynch also had a nice homecoming, as the Oakland native found the endzone to help the Raiders to a 45-20 victory.
The state of Florida finally found some happiness following last week’s hurricane, as the Bucs and the Dolphins both opened up their seasons with wins. Tampa Bay’s defense dominated the whole game, and the Bucs jumped out to a 29-0 lead. The Bears did avoid the shutout, as Mike Glennon found Deonte Thompson in the endzone at the end of the 4th quarter. The Dolphins traveled to Los Angeles as the Chargers played their first game in LA. Both teams moved the ball well, but the defenses made the stops when they needed to. Miami had a 19-17 lead when the Chargers had a chance to win it on a 44-yard field goal attempt. Rookie kicker Younghoe Koo, who missed a field goal earlier in the day, sliced it wide right. The Chargers’ 0-2 start cannot be pinned on Koo, but his 1 for 4 start to the season has to have the LA front office looking for different options.
The Los Angeles Rams also had their home opener this week, as they welcomed the Washington Redskins to the Coliseum. With the game tied 20-20 late in the 4th, Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense drove down into the Rams red zone, before Cousins hooked up with Ryan Grant for what would be the game-winning score.
Although there were a lot of high scoring thrillers on Sunday, there were also some low scoring barnburners that left fans on the edge of their seats. In Carolina, Cam Newton and the Panthers hosted the Bills, and let’s just say both offenses took a day off. Basically all you need to know is the final score: 9-3 Panthers. Four combined field goals, the longest being 45 yards. I feel bad for anyone who sat through all 60 minutes of this one. The Panthers also received some good and bad news. Star tight end Greg Olsen broke his foot during the contest, but is only expected to miss 6 weeks. In a NFC West battle, the Niners headed to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, and once again, there’s not much to say about this one. The two quarterbacks combined for just 297 yards, and the lone touchdown of the game, which came in the middle of the fourth quarter, was followed by a missed extra point that could have cost Seattle the game. Then again, they were playing the 49ers, who just like Bengals, have yet to score a TD this season. In Indianapolis, the first overtime game of the year saw the Cardinals rally from 10 points down in the 4th and steal one from the hometown Colts. 42-year old Phil Dawson redeemed his earlier miss, when he hit this 30-yard game winner for the Cardinals.
Finally, the final two games of the day once again disappointed us. America’s Game of the Week had the Cowboys visiting the scary Broncos defense, and Denver showed that this defense can still play. They held Ezekiel Elliott to 8 rushing yards. Being an Eagles fan, I loved seeing Zeke get stopped everytime he had the ball in his hands. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott did not look his normal self either, as he could not find any of his receivers all day. He did drive the Cowboys down to the Denver 6-yard line late in the 4th, and found Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib in the endzone, who subsequently returned the pick 103-yards for the final nail in the coffin.
The Sunday night game was a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game, and much of the same happened. The Falcons absolutely dominated the Packers, and the 34-23 final score does not do the game justice. 13 of the Packers’ points came in the 4th quarter, but Atlanta already had the game locked up. I think this was a statement game for the Falcons, and they absolutely delivered. They have their eyes set on getting back to the Super Bowl, and the only team they want to face is the New England Patriots. He may not care, but despite the loss, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers became the youngest quarterback to reach 300 touchdown passes with his 2 in this game.
Week 2 Awards:
MVP: Tom Brady – 30/39, 447 yards, 3 touchdowns
Offensive Player of the Week: Michael Crabtree – 6 catches, 80 yards, 3 touchdowns
Defensive Player of the Week: Chris Jones – 3 sacks, 1 interception
Week 2 Scores:
HOU 13 – CIN 9
KC 27 – PHI 20
BAL 24 – CLE 10
CAR 9 – BUF 3
ARZ 16 – IND 13 (OT)
TEN 37 – JAX 16
NE 36 – NO 20
PIT 26 – MIN 9
TB 29 – CHI 7
MIA 19 – LAC 17
OAK 45 – NYJ 20
WSH 27 – LAR 20
SEA 12 – SF 9
DEN 42 – DAL 17
ATL 34 – GB 23
Monday Night Prediction:
DET 27 – NYG 24
Thanks again for reading everyone, hope you all have a great week.