NFL Week 2 Recap
By Cory Stillman
Proceed with caution.
That’s what many teams around the National Football League will have to do moving forward.
It was another exciting week in the NFL, but the excitement did not come without some major disappointments. Some of the league’s best (and worst) teams lost crucial players during Week 2, and will have to fight on in spite of such losses.
And while many of these pivotal teams still pulled out wins in Week 2, they did not escape unscathed.
First, Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury for the New England Patriots, ushering third round draft pick and N.C. State alum Jacoby Brissett into the starting role. Then, another AFC East team lost a key player when Arian Foster went down for the Miami Dolphins. Jonathan Stewart soon followed for the Carolina Panthers. Then DeMarcus Ware of the Broncos, Josh McCown of the Browns, and Donte Moncrief of the Colts.
The aforementioned names are just a few of the several players to suffer injuries in week 2.
Here’s a recap of all the good and all the bad in the NFL.
Jets vs. Bills – These perennial AFC East rivals started the week off with a bang, surprisingly putting together one of the better games of the week. With Ryan Fitzpatrick playing as consistently as ever, the Jets came out on top and are currently one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. The Bills, on the other hand, continue to struggle with getting the ball to their prized receiver, Sammy Watkins. Whether that is the fault of the struggling Tyrod Taylor, or offensive coordinator Greg Roman remains to be seen.
49ers vs. Panthers – Fozzy Whittaker ran for 100 yards after Jonathan Stewart went down with a hamstring injury, helping the Panthers take care of the 49ers on Sunday. Kelvin Benjamin is becoming an incredible weapon for Cam Newtown, and despite some defensive woes, Ron Rivera’s Panthers continue to be a league-wide threat. The 49ers, on the other hand, could not continue their Week 1 success. Carlos Hyde got nothing going on the ground, and Blaine Gabbert continued to play like, well, Blaine Gabbert.
Cowboys vs. Redskins – Kirk Cousins has struggled mightily for the Redskins thus far, paling in comparison to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. Prescott has looked good, not great, for the Cowboys thus far, but just might add a dimension to Dallas’ offense that Tony Romo cannot. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot also looked impressive in the Cowboys’ win. Washington has arguably the deepest roster in the NFC East, so it’ll be interesting to see if the team can turn things around soon.
Bengals vs. Steelers – The Bengals managed to just about shut down Antonio Brown, but Big Ben made use of his other explosive weapons in a 24-16 win for the Steelers. Quite honestly, I thought this game would feature more bad blood than it did, but that’s why we get to watch these two teams face off twice a year! Pitt alum Tyler Boyd made some plays for Cincinnati, slowly but surely carving out a role in that offense.
Saints vs. Giants – The Giants win another close game in Week 2, this time against Drew Brees and the Saints. The Giants’ decision to fire Tom Coughlin and make Ben McAdoo the head coach seems to be the right one thus far, as they are playing an almost identical brand of football, but with a newfound sense of discipline and strategy. New Orleans’ roster might be the one of the least talented in the NFL, but Drew Brees has enough weapons at his disposal to still make a push in what is a relatively weak NFC South division.
Dolphins vs. Patriots – Jimmy Garoppolo had been playing admirably in place of Tom Brady, throwing for over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Dolphins. However, a hard hit from Kiko Alonso placed Garoppolo on the sidelines. Jacoby Brissett played quite well considering the circumstances, but it was LeGarrette Blount who truly took over for the Pats, turning 29 carries into 123 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins lost Arian Foster to a groin injury that could spell trouble for the veteran RB down the road.
Chiefs vs. Texans – Despite some shaky play from Brock Osweiler, the Texans are 2-0 on the year. DeAndre Hopkins just might have the best hands in the NFL, and he and Will Fuller are quickly becoming one of the league’s eminent WR duos. This game was ultimately a defensive battle, with both teams forcing multiple turnovers. It was Houston, however, that ultimately capitalized.
Titans vs. Lions – I really do not like this Lions team. I can’t quite figure out why, but it doesn’t help that their stable of talented linebackers just cannot seem to stay healthy. And it certainly does not help that RB Ameer Abdullah is nursing a foot injury that could keep him sidelined for an extended period of time. The Titans didn’t look too great either, but Andre Johnson reminded fans he was still around, catching a TD for his third AFC South team and giving Tennessee the win. The Titans also seem to have found a great contributor in UMass grad Tajae Sharpe.
Ravens vs. Browns – How do you do it, Browns fans? They looked great! Isaiah Crowell was running over guys, Corey Coleman was running past guys, and Josh McCown was throwing past guys! Nonetheless, the Browns still failed to stop a second half comeback from the Baltimore Ravens, losing 25-20. Cody Kessler will get the start next week, despite McCown’s respectable attempt to ignore his injury and stay in the game. The Ravens do not look overly impressive thus far in the season, however. Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense need to step it up sooner rather than later.
Seahawks vs. Rams – Back in the L.A. Coliseum, the Rams got off to a fast start. Their defense was swarming early on, giving up nothing to Russell Wilson or Thomas Rawls. This game quickly devolved into a snooze-fest, with multiple Seattle injuries allowing the touchdown-less Rams to hold on for the win. Despite a fumble, Christine Michael seems to finally be developing into the RB he was supposed to be when the Seahawks drafted him in the 2nd round back in 2013.
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals – After an impressive Week 1, Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers looked absolutely terrible against the Cardinals in Week 2. Doug Martin got nothing going on the ground before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Even the solid Bucs defense was anything but on Sunday, surrendering 40 points to Carson Palmer and company. David Johnson showed why he is one of the best young players in the NFL, and Larry Fitzgerald showed why he remains one of the best there’s ever been.
Jaguars vs. Chargers – What is it about the Jaguars that always makes you so foolishly optimistic? Gus Bradley finally has all the pieces in place to put together a competitive football team, yet he still managed to coach his team to a blowout loss against the Chargers. Blake Bortles struggled throughout, only somewhat making up for it with some garbage time touchdowns. This Jacksonville team is too talented to keep losing like this; Gus Bradley is on the hottest seat in the NFL as far as I am concerned. The Chargers lost Danny Woodhead to what looks like a serious injury, but Melvin Gordon seems to be coming into his own in the early part of this NFL season. Phillip Rivers has also found some nice alternative options in the passing game in the absence of Keenan Allen.
Falcons vs. Raiders – I expected this to be a very revealing game. Both the Falcons and the Raiders are talented teams, struggling to put it all together. The Falcons came out on top in this one, but I still think the Raiders are headed in the better direction. Oakland distributed carries amongst its numerous running backs, highlighting potential in all of them. Latavius Murray still managed to score a TD, so the UCF product remains the head of the monster for now. Jack Del Rio’s coaching has been a storyline to watch early on, as he has been making gutsy call after gutsy call. A fourth-down try led to a Michael Crabtree TD early on, but another attempt cost the Raiders the game, after a nice Tevin Coleman run clinched the victory for Atlanta.
Colts vs. Broncos – I still think Trevor Siemian’s inexperience will cost Denver down the road, but the Broncos defense is taking care of business in the first two weeks of the season. Andrew Luck and the Colts could not get anything going against the Broncos, as Von Miller picked up three sacks on the day. Luck has not been the same QB since his injury last season, but this Indianapolis team does not have the talent to make up for it. Let’s hope their Luck turns around soon.
Packers vs. Vikings – The cream of the crop of the NFC North squared off on Sunday Night Football, and despite the dark cloud of an Adrian Peterson torn meniscus, the Vikings have a lot to smile about. Sam Bradford played very well, and Stefon Diggs outran the Packers defense to the tune of 182 receiving yards and a touchdown. Also, that new stadium looks incredible. The Packers played well, but the Vikings defense simply did enough to lead their team to victory.
Eagles vs. Bears – Jay Cutler went down with a thumb injury in this one, pushing the Bears even closer to the NFL’s rock bottom. Outside of a talented group of linebackers, this Bears team does not look very good; Chicago fans could be in for a long season. The Eagles, on the other hand, are one of the league’s more interesting teams. A 29-14 win in this one and a 2-0 start on the season suggests that Philly is on the rise. However, both the offensive line and the receiving corps really struggled on Monday night. Carson Wentz looks like the real deal, and this Eagles defense is one of the better units in several seasons, but Wentz will need his weapons to step up in upcoming games, especially next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.