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After an interesting opening weekend in the NFL, week 2 would see if the lessons learned last week could stick. Could the New York Giants score points this weekend? Could the Cincinnati Bengals return to being a strong side?, and how would the Aaron Rodgers-less New York Jets get on?
Let’s review NFL Week 2
From 0’s to Giant Heroes
What a week it has been for the New York Giants. Last week, they lost 40-0 to the Dallas Cowboys, one of the worst losses in franchise history. Many questions were asked, and many fingers were pointed. The main takeaway was that last week was not good enough for the Giants and they need to improve quickly to save their season. The Giants’ opponents were the Arizona Cardinals, a team that is expected to be the worst-performing team in the league this year. So, how would these two teams fare?
The Cardinals would have the opening drive of the game. The drive would go somewhat successfully. Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs would exploit the Giants’ defense and move the ball to the Giants’ 37-yard line. The drive stalled there and the Cardinals attempted a 55-yard field goal, which missed. In reply, the Giants offense did nothing, immediately handing the ball back to Arizona.
In a drive that was similar to their first, the Cardinals again easily passed the Giants’ defense, moving into their red zone. Then from the 4-yard line, Cardinals running back James Connor would score the touchdown to give Arizona an early lead. They would repeat this on their next drive. A 23-yard scramble by Joshua Dobbs gave the Cardinals a two-touchdown lead early in the game. In reply, the Giants again did nothing.Embed from Getty Images
It would be looking like it could be a repeat of last week’s game for New York when Cardinals kicker Matt Prater kicked a 37-yard field goal to give them a 17-point lead. But then, we finally saw some offense from the Giants. Quarterback Daniel Jones began to drive the ball down the field. Then, at the Cardinals’ 36-yard line, disaster struck. Jones threw a pass to Saquon Barkley, who tipped the ball into the hands of a Cardinals defender. Luck (or Talent) was not on the Giants’ side, and as another Pater field goal went through the uprights, it was looking like this New York Giants side could not be saved.
At halftime, the Cardinals had a 20-0 lead. 6 quarters of football for the Giants, 0 points scored. A miracle would be needed.
I have always said that weird things can happen during halftime. Sometimes the break can invigorate a team to improve. Other times it can cause a team to collapse. In this case, I think Giants head coach Brian Daboll gave everyone the hairdryer treatment. But would it work?
The Giants came out for the second half and immediately felt like a different team. On the first play of the half, Jones would throw a 58-yard pass to rookie Jaylen Hyatt. This put them into the red zone and on course to score their first set of points of the season. Two plays later Jones would run the ball in for a 14-yard touchdown, the first points the New York Giants have scored all season.
Arizona would reply to this. While the Giants offense looked to have improved it felt like the defense had not. Dobbs and Conner went through the holes in the defense and made their way to the 3-yard line. From there the Cardinals would score a touchdown and a successful two-point conversion, to increase their lead to 21 points.
However, New York’s offense was well and truly moving. They quickly drove down to the Cardinals’ one-yard line, before Saquon Barkley would score the touchdown to make it a two-touchdown game. The two-touchdown lead would become one on the next drive from the Giants. From Arizona’s 9-yard line, Jones would pass to Barkley, who would dive the ball into the edge of the endzone for the touchdown to make it a one-possession game.
As luck would have it, the next drive would change the whole game. The Giants, who could not move the ball for love or money in the first half, could not stop in the second. The Cardinals’ defense was no match. From the 6-yard line, Daniel Jones would scramble the ball into the endzone to tie the game up. Or so he thought. There was a flag on the play against New York, so that touchdown was removed from the board. It wouldn’t stop the Giants, however, and two plays later, Jones would find Isaiah Hogkins for a game-tying 11-yard touchdown.
The Cardinals had no offense left at this point of the game, and like every drive since their final touchdown early in the half, they punted the ball back to the in-form Giants. Could the comeback they could have only dreamed about at halftime actually happen?
They knew what they had to do. Move the ball into field goal territory, and let the experienced kicker Graham Gano score the points. That is what the Giants did. They quickly moved the ball into field goal range, all ready for the Scottish-born pairing of Gano and Jamie Gillam to score the winning points. However, it was not all good. On the penultimate play before the kick, Saquon Barkley, the star running back for the Giants left the game injured. It was later confirmed that he had sprained his ankle and he will miss their Thursday night encounter with the San Francisco 49ers.
Gano had to kick a 34-yard field goal. This was child’s play for him. He was successful. As the ball went through the uprights, the Giants knew that they were so close to winning. The Cardinals had one more drive to steal the game. On the last play of the game, Dobbs attempted a Hail Mary throw that was short.
The Giants had done it. They had come back from nothing to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 31-28.
This equals the largest comeback in the history of the New York Giants. To make it even more historic, all the points were scored in the second half. Quarterback Daniel Jones had a second half to remember and played like an elite quarterback. For the Cardinals, it was a second-half collapse. Only time will tell how this season will turn out for Arizona. Next week, the Giants are on a short week, as they face a tough test, the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, while the Cardinals face the high-scoring Dallas Cowboys.
Overtime in Motor City
The Detroit Lions are riding the high of their opening night victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. After last year’s poor start, the Lions became one of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL. They narrowly missed the playoffs, but will hope to make it this year. Their opponent this week was the Seattle Seahawks, who had a surprising loss to the Los Angeles Rams during week one.
The Seahawks had the opening possession of the game. From their 25-yard line, Seattle began to drive the ball down the field. Led by quarterback Geno Smith, last year’s comeback player of the year (though I do not know what he came back from), Seattle quickly moved into the Lions’ red zone and the down to the one-yard line. From this, Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker would score the touchdown to give Seattle the early lead.
In reply, the Lions came out of the block on all cylinders. Lions quarterback Jared Goff very quickly moved the Lions’ offense down to the edge of the red zone. Then, Goff threw to Josh Reynolds for a 22-yard touchdown to tie the scores up.
A few drives later, the Seahawks tried to retake the lead. Their drive stalled at the Lions’ 27-yard line which forced a field goal. However, the 45-yard attempt failed. Detriot would be more successful on their next drive, which ended with a 36-yard touchdown from a deep pass by Goff.
After two drives that ended in punts, Seattle would miss another field goal. This would hand Detriot the ball. On the last play of the half, Goff threw a deep pass, with the hope of scoring another touchdown. Amon-Ra St Brown caught the pass and moved the pass to the 3-yard line. He then fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Seahawks to end the half. As the teams returned to the locker rooms, the Lions had a 14-7 lead.Embed from Getty Images
The Lions would start the second half in the same way they ended the first. On the opening play of the half, David Montgomery fumbled the ball, which was again recovered by the Seahawks deep into Lions’ territory. This gave the Seahawks an incredibly strong field position, something on which they would soon capitalize on. Kenneth Walker would score a 3-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game.
As we have seen in this game, anything Seattle can do, Detroit can do better. On their next drive, the Lions would quickly move down the field, aided by long penalties against the Seahawks’ defense. Then, from the Seahawks’ 18-yard line, Goff passed to Montgomery for the touchdown. But, there was a penalty for offensive pass interference, meaning that the touchdown was removed from the board. The Lions would be successful a few plays later when Montgomery would run the ball into the endzone to retake the lead.
The Seahawks finally would have some success in their field goal kicking when Jason Myers kicked a 25-yard field goal from a drive that should have ended in a touchdown. Seattle would score that touchdown on their next drive. Geno Smith would mice his Seahawks’ offense down to the Lions’ 3-yard line. Smith would then score a touchdown with a 3-yard pass to Tyler Lockett.
Seattle would continue their scoring soon after. A Jared Goff would be intercepted by the Seattle defense, who would run the ball into the endzone for a pick 6 touchdown. This was Goff’s first interception since November. Things would get better for Goff on his next drive. He would move the Lions’ offense down deep into the Seahawks’ red zone. Then, from the 4-yard line, Goff would throw the touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds to make it a one-possession game.Embed from Getty Images
On their final drive of the game, the Lions had the ball and slowly began to drive the ball down the field. They reached the edge of the Seahawks red zone before the drive stalled. This forced the Lions to make a field goal to tie the game. Lions kicker Riley Pattinson stepped up and successfully kicked a 38-yard field goal. This meant we were going to overtime at Ford Field.
Seattle had the opening possession of overtime and wasted no time in moving the ball. Geno Smith and company reached the Lions’ 6-yard line and then passed to Tyler Lockett. The pass was successful and the Seattle Seahawks had beaten the Detroit Lions 37-31.
Next week, the Seahawks will hope to continue their winning form against the Carolina Panthers. For Detroit, this defeat should have little impact on their season due to the poor performances of the other NFC North teams in the early part of the season. The Lions face the Atlanta Falcons next week.
Tennessee Kick to Victory
The Los Angeles Chargers are an entertaining team to watch. Last week, they were narrowly defeated by the Miami Dolphins. Coming into this game, the Chargers were without Austin Ekeler, whose absence would be felt in the Chargers offense The Tennessee Titans were also narrowly defeated last week by the New Orleans Saints. Only one team could be narrowly defeated this week. Which one would it be?
Both teams would open the game poorly. The Chargers would punt on their first drive, while the Titans would take a page out of the Tennessee Volunteers book and turn the ball over on a failed fourth-down attempt. The Chargers would have the first score of the game when their drive would stall at around the Titans’ 9-yard line. Cameron Dicker, the Chargers kicker would score the field goal, giving Los Angeles an early lead.
We would then have a period of poor offense from both teams, resulting in many punts. I would call it a Festival of Kicking, but Festivals are meant to be fun. There was no fun in this.Embed from Getty Images
The Chargers would soon extend their lead. Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert would find Keenan Allen for the 8-yard touchdown. The Titans would quickly reply to this. On the opening play of the drive, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill would record an impressive 70-yard pass to move Tennessee into the red zone. From there it was all about Derrick Henry, who would score the one-yard touchdown to put the Titans on the board. A pair of field goals from each team would occur before halftime. This meant that as both teams returned to their locker rooms, the Chargers would have a 14-10 lead over the Titans.
Tennessee would have the first possession of the second half. They would also have the first score of the second half. In a drive aided by penalties against the Chargers’ defense, the Titans would easily make it into the red zone. Then, Ryan Tannehill would run the ball in for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Titans the lead. This was followed by another period of punts.
Los Angeles would soon retake the lead. Herbert and company would move the ball up the field before Herbert would find Allen again for his second touchdown of the game. This was followed again by a period of punts. It is nice that a game has some form of rhythm to it.
The Titans would then put themselves in front with time running out. Tannehill would throw a 4-yard touchdown to give Tennessee a 3-point lead. However, the Chargers had enough time to score and either win the game or send it to overtime. As the rain began to fall at Nissan Stadium, the Chargers drove the ball down the field. They made it to the Titans’ 7-yard line. It was third down. Could Justin Herbert score the winning touchdown?
No, he couldn’t. Herbert was sacked on third down. Then, Cameron Dicker, the Chargers kicker (I will always refer to him as this) scored the field goal as time ran out. We were going to overtime in Tennessee.Embed from Getty Images
Los Angeles had the opening possession of overtime, meaning that they had to score a touchdown. They didn’t even record a yard and quickly punted the ball to Tennessee, who would need a field goal to win the game. Ryan Tannehill and company would drive the ball down into field goal territory. Then Titans kicker Nick Folk would have a 41-yard field goal attempt to win the game. He would be successful, and the Tennessee Titans would defeat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24.
This was a match for the defense and kickers. Neither offense appeared strong and the game ending on a field goal seems most appropriate. With this loss, the Los Angeles Chargers fell to 0-2 but could have easily been 2-0. Tennessee improved to 1-1. Next week, the Titans go to Cleveland to face the Browns, while the Chargers face the Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota lose another
Last week, the Minnesota Vikings experienced a shock defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite good performances from Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson. The Philadelphia Eagles started to dominate against the New England Patriots, before just surviving to win the game. These teams met on Thursday night, and both were hungry to win.
The Eagles would have the opening possession of the game, and the offense would waste no time in moving the ball down the field. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and company drove down to the Vikings’ red zone. At the 10-yard line, their drive stalled, and Philadelphia struck an easy field goal from a drive that should have been 7 points.
There would then be a period where both teams would have major errors on offense. Jalen Hurts would be intercepted near the 50-yard line. This would have given the Vikings a strong position to start a good drive to the endzone. This did not happen, however, as on their second play of the drive, Minnesota would fumble the ball, which would be recovered by Philadelphia. The subsequent Eagles drive would not go far, and Philadelphia would be forced to take another field goal. Unlike last time, this attempt would miss, leaving the Eagles lead a 3 points.
Soon after, the Vikings would finally have some luck. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins would lead a slow-moving drive that took them from just outside the 50-yard line to deep into the Eagles red zone. There, Cousins would pass to TJ Hockenson for a 5-yard touchdown and the lead of the game. This lead would last for one drive, as the Eagles would immediately strike back with a 16-play drive that culminated in a one-yard rushing touchdown from Hurts.
Minnesota would quickly strike back with Cousins throwing a 30-yard pass to Justin Jefferson. Jefferson would fumble the ball, but the review ruled that the ball was out of play, striking the play of the board. Cousins would try another 30-yard pass to Jefferson and the same result would happen. Another fumble. This time the ball went out of the endzone, being ruled a touchback and handing possession to the Eagles. From this, Philadelphia would strike a 61-yard field goal before halftime. This meant that the Eagles had a 13-7 lead at the break.
The second half began similarly to the way the first ended for the Vikings. Another fumble. This time, the Vikings fumbled deep in their own territory, and the ball was scooped up by the Eagles defense, giving them a good field position. This is something that they would capitalize on, as Hurts would soon run the ball into the endzone for another rushing touchdown for the quarterback.
The Eagles would widen their lead soon after, as Hurts recorded a 63-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith. In reply to this long touchdown, the Vikings did the same. Kirk Cousins threw a 62-yard touchdown to Jordan Addison to keep Minnesota in the game.
Minnesota would score again a few drives later to make it a one-possession game. Cousins’ 10-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Osborn reduced the Eagles’ lead to 6 points. In reply, the Eagles quickly drove down the field in a drive that ended in another touchdown to increase their lead.Embed from Getty Images
The Vikings would score one more touchdown before the game ended. They were lucky to do this, as, like they have done a few times this game, the Vikings offense would fumble the ball which was recovered by the Eagles. However, there was a penalty against the Eagles on this play, handing the ball back to the Vikings, who would later go on to score the touchdown. It would not change the result of the game, however, as the Philadelphia Eagles recorded a 34-28 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
With this victory, the Eagles go to 2-0, and get off to a good start in a competitive NFC East. The Vikings are now 0-2, but Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson are statistically having a strong start to the season. They just need to improve the other parts of the team. Next week, the Vikings play the Chargers, while Philadelphia faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What Happened in the Other Games?
The Green Bay Packers were in charge of their matchup with the Atlanta Falcons for three periods. The Falcons would dominate the final quarter, with kicker Younghoe Koo kicking the winning points in the Falcons’ 25-24 victory.
After losing their opening game in overtime, the Buffalo Bills faced the Las Vegas Raiders. The Bills were dominant in this game, with Quarterback Josh Allen throwing for three touchdowns and most importantly no interceptions in the Bills 38-10 victory.
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals underperformed again in their matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore would win the game 27-24, which is better than what the Bengals did last week, but still not good enough for this team.
For the second week in a row, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield played well. He threw for over 300 yards in the Buccs 27-17 victory over the Chicago Bears.
On paper, the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars should have been one of the stand-out matches of the week. In reality, it was a low-scoring affair. The Chiefs would win the game 17-9.
The Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans faced each other in a matchup between two teams with new quarterbacks. Unfortunately for the Colts, Quarterback Antony Richardson left the game with a concussion. This meant that Gardner Minshew played the majority of the game. The change of quarterback did not stop the slowly improving Colts team, who would record a 31-20 victory.Embed from Getty Images
History was made in Los Angeles this weekend during the San Francisco 49ers game with the Los Angeles Rams. This was the first time that a number one pick (Mathew Stafford) faced a last pick of the draft (Brock Purdy). Brock Purdy’s record of never losing a regular season game continued, as the Rams collapsed in the fourth quarter to give the 49ers a 30-23 victory.
The Dallas Cowboys continued their destruction of New York teams. Last week they defeated the Giants 40-0. This week they played the Aaron Rodgers-less New York Jets. Jets quarterback Zack Wilson threw 3 picks and struggled on offense as the Cowboys won the game 30-10.
Tony Jones Jr. was the difference maker for the New Orleans Saints as they defeated the Carolina Panthers 20-17.
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary pass in the dying seconds of the Broncos matchup with the Washington Commanders. However, Denver failed their two-point attempt, meaning that the Commanders would win the game 35-33
Tua Tagovailoa’s good record against the New England Patriots continued this week. The Patriots were well and truly outplayed, as the Miami Dolphins defeated them 24-17Embed from Getty Images
In a game marred by the horrific injury to Nick Chubb, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 26-22. T.J. Watt would score his first touchdown in the victory.
That was week 2 in the NFL. Next week, we will start to see which teams could have a playoff run this year, as going 3-0 is a strong way to start the season and on many occasions, almost guarantees a playoff spot.