The National Football League is back and better than ever. The greatest time of the year for sports fans is here and the NFL has failed to disappoint. With that being said, let’s jump right into the action that occurred in week two of the nation’s biggest league.
The action started off hot with the marquee quarterback matchup of the week having Patrick Mahomes duel Justin Herbert on Thursday Night. This was also the NFL’s first exclusively Amazon Prime-aired game, and it was seen as a success reaching around 12 million viewers. The game was a 27-24 Chiefs win that came down to the wire. Justin Herbert threw a costly pick six at the Kansas City goalline which changed the outlook of the game. But after suffering a rib injury, he came back and drove the Chargers down the field to make it a three point game with very little time left in the game. Herbert delivered a miraculous throw on fourth and one to do so; however, it was not enough.
The 1 p.m. window on Sunday held eight games with five of them being one possession affairs. First off, the New York Jets pulled off what can only be described as a miracle against the Cleveland Browns, as they trailed by 13 points with just 1:55 left on the clock. The Jets scored one long touchdown on blown coverage in just 30 seconds then recovered the onside kick. Quarterback Joe Flacco would then connect with rookie first round wide receiver Garrett Wilson for the game winning touchdown, and kicker Greg Zuerlein hit the extra point to give the Jets the lead with just 22 seconds left, making the final score 31-30.
The Hard Knocks-featured Detroit Lions picked up their first win of the season against the Washington Commandeers. They were led by second year wide-out Amon-Ra St. Brown and second overall pick defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, both of whom had stellar performances. They won 36-27, holding on to their lead despite a late game comeback attempt from quarterback Carson Wentz and the Commanders, who outscored the Lions 27-14 in the second half.
The Buccaneers defeated the division rival Saints in a physical game 20-10 after some costly interceptions thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston. However, the main story of the game circled around the ongoing feud between Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who are always matched up in their contests. Things usually get chippy between them in games, but this past weekend Evans took it to another level, taking a ten-yard head start and full on tackling Lattimore while he was involved in a shouting match with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. This cost Evans a one-game suspension and both players were ejected from the game.
The now 2-0 New York Football Giants defeated the struggling Carolina Panthers 19-16, in a game decided by the kickers. Giants kicker Graham Gano proved once again why he is one of the best in the league, going four-for-four including two that went from over 50 yards. The game was iced when on a critical third and one where if converted the Giants could kneel out the rest of the game. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones rolled out and scrambled for the first down, closing the door on any comeback opportunity for quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Panthers.
The New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in a defensive battle, 17-14, with two dominant defenses and two mediocre offenses. New England held the lead from mid-way through the first quarter on and Pittsburgh could not muster up the offense to beat the stout New England defense.
In the most shocking game of the week, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who seemingly have the Indianapolis Colts’ number, shutout the Colts 24-0. The Colts haven’t won a game in Jacksonville since 2015, and it was where they were eliminated from playoff contention last year in week 18. The Colts are still winless at 0-1-1, with two disappointing games to start out the season. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are in first place in the AFC South at 1-1. The Jaguars dominated in every facet of the game, forcing three Matt Ryan interceptions and sacking him five times. Trevor Lawrence had a very good day with a passer rating of 121.5 and two touchdowns.
The Miami Dolphins faced off against the Baltimore Ravens in Miami. After being down 28-7, the Dolphins stormed back in a comeback led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, whom the team acquired via trade this offseason, also had a great game with eleven catches, 190 yards and two touchdowns. Their second-year wide receiver Jaylen Waddle also had 171 yards and two touchdowns. Lamar Jackson did his best to keep up, but had a colder second half scoring only 10 points.
The Atlanta Falcons gave the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams a scare in a close 31-27 Rams victory. The Falcons attempted to come back from a 28-3 deficit and possibly break their curse from Super Bowl LI. They stormed back to make it a tight game but the Rams pulled it out after an interception with two minutes left and then running out the clock.
In an NFC West matchup, the San Francisco 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks. Even though the Niners lost their young starting quarterback Trey Lance for the year, the Niners still dominated, winning the game 27-7. Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith couldn’t replicate his Monday night magic from week one, only putting up seven points on offense against the always strong Niners defense.
The Dallas Cowboys upset the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17. The Cowboys went up 17-3 at the half, barely pulling out a win despite late game heroics from Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals are now 0-2 in one of the biggest surprises of the NFL season so far. The defending AFC Champions got their first win of the season in week three against the Jets. For the Cowboys, all hopes for the season were thought to be lost after the week one loss of quarterback Dak Prescott for roughly the next four to six weeks of the season. However, the feelings changed after backup quarterback Cooper Rush led the team to an upset victory with 235 yards and a touchdown.
The Denver Broncos pulled out an ugly victory over the Houston Texans 16-9. This game was brutal to watch as the Broncos failed to meet expectations yet again, with quarterback Russell Wilson and the struggling Denver offense reaching the end zone just once. The team was led by three Brandon McManus field goals which seemed to be the tone of the game. There were six field goals made in the game and only one touchdown scored by tight end Eric Saubert on a pass from Wilson.
The Arizona Cardinals stormed back in a big way to beat the Las Vegas Raiders in a thrilling game. The Cardinals went down 20-0 at half but came out in the second half hot, bringing the game within one possession with eight minutes left in the game. On the last play of regulation, the Cardinals scored and converted the two-point conversion to force overtime. Then, after the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs in overtime after a costly fumble committed by wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, Byron Murphy Jr. returned for a long touchdown to give the Cardinals the walk-off victory, 29-23.
On Sunday Night Football, the Packers took on the Bears. The Packers dominated throughout most of the game with a big twenty-one point second quarter in which they took the lead and never gave it back. The Bears attempted a late-game comeback. However, on a fourth and goal, Bears quarterback Justin Fields was ruled short of the goal line in a seemingly controversial call which effectively ended the game, making the final score 27-10.
Monday Night Football featured a double header consisting of the Buffalo Bills playing the Tennessee Titans, and the Minnesota Vikings playing the Philadelphia Eagles. Neither of these games was very exciting for viewers, unless you had Bills or Eagles players on your fantasy team.
The Bills and Titans had the earlier game which ended 41-7, with Buffalo dominating from the first drive. Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw for four touchdowns with three of them going to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The Titans never really got anything going and dropped to 0-2.
Primetime Kirk Cousins came out to play again, helping the Vikings to lose in embarrassing fashion, 24-7. With this loss, Cousins fell to 2-10 in Monday night games and ended this one with three interceptions, giving the Vikings no chance to get the offense rolling. The Eagles dominated the first half, scoring all 24 of their points in the first two quarters, then sat back and let the defense hold the Vikings scoreless in the second half. The Eagles moved to 2-0 and the Vikings dropped to 1-1.
This week was a bit of a wild ride, with upsets all around, fantasy football explosions and disappointments everywhere. However, whether you got burned by starting Kirk Cousins in prime time and lost, or celebrated Amon-Ra scoring roughly 40 points, we can all be grateful that football is here.