Week 2 of the NFL season was even crazier than the opening slate. During the early-afternoon action, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense absolutely dominated a once-vaunted Steelers defense.
At the same time, the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings played to a tie in what was one of the most unbelievable regular season games in recent history.
While the games later in the afternoon were not as drama-filled, the Jacksonville Jaguars absolutely took it to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at home — making a major statement in the process. Sunday’s action then concluded with another statement win. This time, it came from the Dallas Cowboys against the division-rival New York Giants.
These are among the top takeways from Sunday’s Week 2 NFL action.
Patrick Mahomes is a freaking robot
There’s certainly a reason Kansas City decided to move on from Pro Bowler Alex Smith, replacing him with this second-year signal caller. We saw it in a big way Week 1 with Mahomes tossing four touchdowns in a win over the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers. But what the former first-round pick did Sunday at Pittsburgh was nothing less than extraordinary.
Proving himself to be something above the human species, Mahomes completed 23-of-38 passes for 326 yards with six touchdowns and zero picks in a 42-37 win over the Steelers. He now has the most touchdowns (10) in a season’s first two games dating back to the start of the Super Bowl era more than a half century ago. It’s really something to behold, and it has Kansas City’s offense looking nearly unstoppable through two games.
Patriots lay a complete egg early
The two-time defending AFC champs didn’t come to play early on the road against Jacksonville in what was a rematch of last season’s conference title bout. The Jaguars went 66 yards and 84 yards on their first two drives, both resulting in touchdowns. That span saw Blake Bortles complete 9-of-12 passes for 118 yards. The Pats themselves put up 47 yards on their first two drives.
While New England would pretty much play Jacksonville even from there on out, it was not enough to avoid a let down on the road. Tom Brady completed 2-of-4 passes to Rob Gronkowski for 15 yards. He also lost a fumble in defeat. More than anything, New England was manhandled from a physical standpoint in this one. That can’t bode well moving forward.
The Bills can’t possibly be this bad, right?
Making his first regular season NFL start, rookie quarterbak Josh Allen wasn’t awful against the Los Angeles Chargers. He completed 18-33 passes for 245 yards with this touchdown and two interceptions. Unfortunately, his Bills are just a bad team. Sean McDermott’s squad headed into halftime down by the score of 28-6. That first half saw Philip Rivers complete 15-of-16 passes 178 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon added three scores of his own. All said, Buffalo gave up nearly 300 total yards before intermission.
Buffalo attempted to make a game of it in the second half, losing by the score of 31-20. The backdrop here being former Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis apparently deciding to call it quits on his NFL career at the midway point of the game. What? After being outscored by 55 combined points in the first two games, McDermott’s squad looks to be the absolute worst in the NFL.
Despite win, 49ers might be in trouble
It looked great for a while there. San Francisco got its running game going behind Jimmy Garoppolo against a lackluster Lions team. That included Matt Breida putting up 138 yards on 11 attempts. Defensively, the 49ers held Matthew Stafford and Co. to just 13 points through three quarters. An early field goal in the final stanza had Kyle Shanahan’s squad up 30-13 and thinking blowout.
That’s when things nearly went off the rails. Stafford finally showed up at Levi’s and led the Lions to two fourth quarter touchdown-scoring drives. The issue here for San Francisco was struggles from a young secondary, including a second-year corner in Ahkello Witherspoon who was ultimately benched. While San Francisco did win, 30-27, these are going to be major issues moving forward. That starts next week against the Kansas City Chiefs and a red-hot Patrick Mahomes.
Eagles defense gets absolutely torched
This could very well be a season-long issue for the defending champs. After seeing Julio Jones dominate Philadelphia’s defense in Week 1, Jim Schwartz’s unit was lit up by none other than Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday. It included two 75-yard touchdown passes, including this one to DeSean Jackson to open the scoring. All said, Fitzpatrick completed 27-of-33 passes for 402 yards with four touchdowns.
The likes of Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills just have not proven themselves worthy starters at this point in the season. Potentially getting Carson Wentz back next week will help the Eagles’ offense moving forward. But as of right now, the defense seems to be a major Achilles heels.
Raiders find a way to lose
What if we told you Derek Carr completed 29-of-32 passes for 288 yards a week after being bottled up against the Los Angeles Rams? Those figures would lead most to assume Oakland would have dominated the division-rival Broncos on the road Sunday. That did not happen. Instead, a couple dumb penalties and a missed extra point played a major role in Oakland dropping this game, 20-19.
Up 19-10 in the fourth quarter, Oakland looked to have stopped Denver in a series that should have ended with a field goal. Instead, Bruce Irvin was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty, leading directly to a Broncos touchdown. With Oakland being unable to get enough first downs to close the game out later in the fourth quarter, its pass rush couldn’t get to Case Keenum. Ultimately, it led to a game-winning field goal for the Broncos. Now at 0-2 on the season, Jon Gruden and Co. are in a difficult spot. Having kicked themselves in the back end multiple times Sunday, that’s magnified even further.
Browns are the brownsiest team of all-time
We really have no further explanations to explain away Cleveland’s futility. Following a Week 1 tie against Pittsburgh, Hue Jackson’s squad looked prepared to take out the Saints in New Orleans. They held a 12-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but found new ways to lose a game. That included kicker Zane Gonzalez missing two field goals and two extra-point attempts.
Down 18-12 late in the final stanza, Tyrod Taylor led the Browns on an impressive six-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 47-yard score to rookie Antonio Callaway. But like clockwork, Gonzalez missed the extra-point attempt. Immediately after that, New Orleans drove down the field and took a 21-18 lead with 26 seconds left.
Most figured that’s how the game would end. Not so fast. Taylor would go on to connect on two consecutive passes for 41 yards, setting up a potential game-tying field goal. Obviously, Gonzalez pushed it wide right. Cleveland now still has not won a game on a Sunday since December of 2015, and everyone let the team know about it.
Texans are in trouble
Following a surprising season-opening loss to the Dolphins, most figured Houston would get back on track against the Titans and backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Yes, that Blaine Gabbert. It didn’t happen. Being fooled on some trickery early, the Texans actually found themselves trailing 14-10 heading into the fourth quarter. At that point, Gabbert wasn’t even Tennessee’s leading passer. Think about that for a second.
While Houston’s defense did ultimately bottle up the career backup, its offense couldn’t come through when it counted the most. Deshaun Watson was sacked four times behind a weak offensive line. Meanwhile, the Texans’ potential game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter ended when Watson scambled for far too long to find DeAndre Hopkins just outside the Titans’ 20. Houston couldn’t get off another play, ending the game in the process. Now at 0-2 on the season, we’re concerned that all the preseason hype surrounding the Texans was premature.
Vikings and Packers play to a tie
This was one of the craziest regular season games we’ve seen in a long time. For a while there, it looked like Green Bay was going to romp all over its division rival at home. The team took a 20-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, relaying on a rushing attack that was averaging north of six yards per carry during that span. This is when Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs went off to the tune of two touchdowns in the final stanza, including this 75-yarder two pull the game within two. Instead of attempting to put it away, Mike McCarthy went conservative. It resulted in two field goals to put the Packers up eight.
Like clockwork, Cousins responded by hitting Adam Thielen for a 22-yard touchdown before connecting with Stefon Diggs for the game-tying two-point conversion. Taking a page from the Browns’ book, Minnesota cost itself a win when Kicker Daniel Carlson missed two field goals in overtime. Sandwiched in between that, Packers kicker Mason Crosby also missed a field goal attempt. The end result was the second tie in the first two weeks of the NFL season. Whew.
Sam Darnold’s wake-up call
Following a stirring regular season debut against Detroit last week, Darnold descended from the heavens back to earth for his home debut Sunday. The rookie’s stat line wasn’t terrible, as he completed 25-of-41 passes with his first ever 300-plus passing day. Unfortunately, he also threw two costly interceptions in the 20-12 loss.
That included a pick in the first quarter in which the Miami Dolphins would later turn into a touchdown. Then, in the third quarter, Darnold was intercepted in the end zone after his Jets defense forced a turnover deep in Miami side of the field. This was the difference between New York starting the season at 2-0 and ultimately finding itself at .500. These are rookie mistakes we have come to expect. We also now know that Darnold doesn’t walk on water.
Cowboys make a statement on Sunday Night Football
Following an uninspiring performance in a Week 1 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys made a major statement Sunday night. It came against the division-rival New York Giants and offered the team that big early-season victory. Surprisingly, Dallas’ success initially came via its pass rush. The team’s defense sacked Eli Manning six times and hit him a total of nine times in the 20-13 win
Offensively, Prescott played mistake-free football while the Cowboys relied a bit more on Ezekiel Elliott than we saw last week. With Dallas up 13-3 in the fourth quarter, Prescott led it on a 14-play, 82-yard touchdown drive, taking up over eight minutes in the process. He also completed 5-of-6 passes during that drive. It’s this type of balance that defined the Cowboys’ 2016 season and was missing last year. Now at 1-1 on the season, the hope here is that Dallas has found this balance once again.
Matt Ryan comes alive in win
We had a good old-fashioned battle for former MVPs on our hands with Ryan and his Falcons hosting Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Neither quarterback disappointed. Newton threw three touchdowns and tallied nearly 400 total yards of offense. But it was not enough with Atlanta’s offense finally clicking on all cylinders. Instead of struggling in the red zone Sunday, Ryan led Atlanta to four touchdowns. That included two scores through the air and two rushing touchdowns for the former league MVP, including this impressive scamper.
We’re not ready to say that Atlanta’s red-zone issues are behind them. However, it was a darn impressive performance after this team struggled big time in its season-opening loss to the defending champion Eagles. Ryan was the primary reason for that.
Steelers are in trouble
Last week in a tie against Cleveland, it was all about turnover issues on offense. This wasn’t a problem at home Sunday in what was ultimately a 42-37 loss to Kansas City. Ben Roethlisberger rebounded from last week’s horrible outing to throw for 452 yards and three touchdowns without a pick. Jesse James, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown combined for 27 receptions and 326 yards. Obviously, Pittsburgh’s offense was more than up for the task.
Unfortunately, it was the defense that failed to live up to its end of the bargain. Pittsburgh got to Patrick Mahomes for just one sack while seeing the second-year quarterback toss six touchdowns. Kansas City also added 127 yards on the ground. Now at 0-1-1 on the season, Mike Tomlin’s squad is in trouble. Letting Mahomes toss the rock all over Heinz Field was the latest example of this.
It’s Fitzmagic’s world, we just live in it
Forget for a second that Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 400-plus yards and four touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the defending champion Eagles. That’s cool. Really cool. But the backdrop here is just how all sorts of awesome he looked after the game. This is 1980s grunge rock meets the millennial emo, and we’re all witnesses to it.
On the field, Fitzpatrick had himself yet another brilliant outing after last week’s career-best performance. It included 75-yard touchdown strikes to both DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Did we mention that it came against the defending champs? Now, through two weeks, Fitzpatrick has more total touchdowns (nine) than he put up in six of his first 13 NFL seasons. That’s just ridiculous.
Dolphins could be legit
For the second consecutive week, Adam Gase’s squad didn’t necessarily play pretty football. It took two Sam Darnold interceptions and a suddenly stingy Dolphins run defense to bring this squad to 2-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill put up another solid outing to start the season. He completed 17-of-23 passes for 168 yards and two scores in the victory.
Time will tell whether Miami is legitimate moving forward. But it has a favorable home date with Oakland next week. If the team is able to find its way to 3-0 on the season, questions about sustainability will then bleed over to late September. That’s a lot more than most of us figured possible heading into the season.
Michael Thomas is so good
They really can’t guard Mike. As true to his Twitter handle as anyone, Thomas roasted the Cleveland Browns to the tune of 12 catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. New Orleans needed all of that production to come away with the narrow home win.
This follows up a Week 1 performance in which the third-year receiver caught 16-of-17 passes for 180 yards and a score. He now holds an NFL record with 28 catches in his first two games of the season. More impressive? Thomas has hauled in 28 of his 30 targets thus far this season. That’s what we’d call unstoppable.
Statement win for the Jaguars
As much as the focus will be on New England coming up small Sunday, these Jaguars made a major statement in front of their home crowd. In avenging their loss to the Pats in last season’s AFC Championship Game, Jacksonville came out on top by the score of 31-20. But it’s how this team did it that shocked onlookers.
Blake Bortles was the centerpiece of Jacksonville’s offense. With running back Leonard Fournette sidelined, he completed 29-of-45 passes for 377 yards with four touchdowns in completely outplaying Tom Brady. That doesn’t happen often. And it has Jacksonville thinking Super Bowl in September.
Steve Wilks is in over his head
Whether it’s a lack of in-game adjustments or something completely different, this first-year Cardinals head coach just doesn’t look the part. At no point Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams did it look like Arizona stood a chance. Ultimately, Wilks and Co. dropped the game by the score of 34-0.
In providing absolutely nothing on offense, Sam Bradford completed 17-of-27 passes for 90 yards. All said, Arizona put up 137 total yards and five first downs in being blanked by the Rams. Through two games, Wilk’s squad has been outscored 58-6. That’s about as bad as it gets.