NFL Week 2 Recap: Bucs shock Saints, Romo hurt
By Ian Meisner
Cincinnati Bengals 24 (2-0), San Diego Chargers 19 (1-1)
After a statement win in Oakland Week 1, Andy Dalton and the Bengals kept the momentum rolling with a win over the San Diego Chargers in a sloppy showing by both teams. Dalton spread his passes between multiple receivers, tossing three touchdowns and no interceptions for 214 yards in the process. Bengals starting running back Jeremy Hill was pulled in favor of Giovanni Bernard after Hill lost two fumbles. Bernard finished the game with 123 yards on the ground.
Philip Rivers was 21-27 on Sunday, throwing for 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon added 88 yards on the ground.
As the Bengals travel to play division rival Baltimore in Week 3, the Ravens should utilize coverages that neutralize tight end Tyler Eifert. Dalton has connected with Eifert for three of his five touchdowns on the season, and the tandem have quickly established themselves as formidable opponents.
Game Note: Philip Rivers passed Dan Fouts to take hold of the Chargers’ club record for passing touchdowns.
Atlanta Falcons 24 (2-0), New York Giants 20 (0-2)
The New York Giants can’t seem to get out of their own way. After a disappointing loss to Dallas Week 1, the Giants fell victim to yet another fourth quarter meltdown, allowing the Falcons to score two touchdowns in comeback fashion.
The Matt Ryan to Julio Jones connection was a constant throughout the game, as the wideout caught 13 balls on Sunday. Matt Ryan finished the game 30-46 with one touchdown, logging an impressive 363 yards through the air. Jones was responsible for 135 of those yards, most notably a fourth quarter grab down the left sideline behind cornerback Prince Amukamara with only 90 seconds remaining. The Falcons didn’t get much help from their running game, although they were able to punch in two touchdowns on the ground.
Eli Manning’s stat line isn’t exactly representative of his performance, especially late in the game. On the Giants’ last drive, Manning missed an open receiver on two separate occasions. Manning finished the game 27-40 with two touchdowns for 292 yards. Sunday’s bright spot for the Giants was Odell Beckham Jr., who had 7 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. It was nice to see the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year return to form after a lackluster Week 1.
Game Note: Giants starting left tackle and 2015 first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers left the game with a left ankle sprain.
Minnesota Vikings 26 (1-1), Detroit Lions 16 (0-2)
Vikings fans everywhere can officially stop holding their breath: Adrian Peterson is still Adrian Peterson. Peterson carried the rock 29 times for 134 yards as the Vikings took care of business at home. Teddy Bridgewater was an effective game manager, completing 14 of his 18 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Bridgewater added another touchdown on the ground. Going into the next few weeks of play, keep an eye on Adrian Peterson. If the 30 year old running back can continue to replicate performances similar to this week (192 yards from scrimmage), Teddy Bridgewater has the opportunity to thrive in his second year.
On the other hand, how can one not feel bad for Matthew Stafford? Stafford’s offensive line didn’t do him any favors on Sunday as the quarterback took hits on seemingly every other drop-back. It didn’t help that he had to attempt 53 passes due to the total absence of the running game. Coach Jim Caldwell has to find a solution on the offensive line to better protect Stafford. Stafford finished the game 32-53 with two touchdowns and an interception, tallying 286 yards. Calvin Johnson had 10 receptions for 83 yards and a score.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 (1-1), New Orleans Saints 19 (0-2)
This divisional upset may be the most surprising of all Week 2 outcomes. One week after critics jumped at the opportunity to write off Jameis Winston as a viable NFL starter, he managed the Tampa Bay offense efficiently enough to upset Drew Brees’ Saints and mark his first NFL victory. Winston went 14-21 for 207 yards and a touchdown, and added another touchdown on the ground, but lost a fumble as well. Winston showed willingness to distribute his throws, completing passes to 6 different receivers. Doug Martin added 78 yards rushing.
The new-look New Orleans Saints still have a lot of development ahead of them. The young team has quickly fallen to last place in the NFC South, and may be losing Brees for multiple games due to a right rotator cuff injury, reports NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. The turnover-prone Saints have a tough road ahead with Brees potentially sidelined, and the Atlanta Falcons off to a strong start. Brees did play the entirety of Sunday’s game, going 24-38 for 255 yards, a touchdown, and one interception. Mark Ingram ran for 53 yards on 16 attempts, notching one touchdown and losing a fumble.
Dallas Cowboys 20 (2-0), Philadelphia Eagles 10 (0-2)
The Cowboys’ victory over the Eagles came at a great price: Tony Romo’s collarbone. Romo is projected to be out for at least 8 weeks, with no surgery to be performed on the injury. With Dez Bryant already out at least 10 weeks due to a broken foot, the Cowboys are thin on offensive weapons. Brandon Weeden stepped in after Romo to complete all seven of his passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Whether the Cowboys stick with Weeden or sign another quarterback to fill in for Romo is yet to be determined. One thing is certain: whoever is under center for Dallas for the next few weeks won’t have much help from the healthy Cowboys skill players.
After all of the offseason buzz surrounding Chip Kelly’s personnel changes, the third year head coach has yet to win a game with his new scheme. Coming into the season, the Eagles looked poised to challenge the Cowboys for the NFC East title—oh, how quickly things can change. The Eagles’ running game is basically nonexistent thanks to a patchwork offensive line which is only putting more pressure on a quarterback who had been out of football for two consecutive years due to injury. Bradford has looked uncomfortable in his first two games as an Eagle, which has resulted in heaps of turnovers. This isn’t to say Bradford or the OL are all to blame for the lack of success, as dropped balls have been an issue for the Philadelphia receivers as well. On Sunday, Bradford finished 23-37 for 224 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions, and one lost fumble. The Eagles offense combined for a grand total of seven yards rushing. There’s no one quick-fix that can reroute the Eagles’ offense, but in a decimated NFC East, there’s still hope for Chip Kelly and company.
Perhaps Washington is the new division favorite?