It was another interesting week in the NFL, as we continue to learn about each team. Let’s recap week 2 with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Mario Williams – There was a lot of criticism directed at Williams when he underperformed in Buffalo last year, but on Sunday he recorded a career high 4.5 sacks to help his team to victory. Williams and the Buffalo defense held Carolina to nothing but field goals in the 4th quarter, which kept the Bills within striking distance so that E.J. Manuel could lead the game-winning drive in the final minutes. The Bills don’t win without a great performance by Williams.
Julio Jones – Both Jones and Roddy White were less than 100% health wise heading into Sunday, but Jones was able to play through his ailments and have one of the best games of the weekend by any wide receiver. Jones caught 11 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown, helping the Falcons take a big first half lead that turned out to be insurmountable.
AFC West – This was arguably the worst division in the NFL last year, but they had a great week 2, with all four teams winning, including two wins on the road. San Diego was the most impressive by traveling 3,000 miles and being able to slow down Philadelphia’s offense just enough to eek out a three point win. Both Denver and Kansas City are off to 2-0 starts after their wins against NFC East teams on Sunday, as the Chiefs have already matched last year’s win total. Even the Raiders won, albeit against Jacksonville.
Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers has had some great games, but the 480 yards passing Rodgers had tied a single game franchise record. He was nearly flawless, completing 34 of 42 passes, and nearly unstoppable, as he led the Packers to 31 unanswered points to begin the game. The Packers don’t have the most impressive roster they’ve had in recent years, but Rodgers helps to hide that.
Tennessee’s ability to close – Following a pick-6 by Alterraun Verner with less than five minutes left in the game, the Titans had most of us convinced that they were about to pull of a pretty significant upset, but they couldn’t quite seal the deal. The Titan’s offense failed to run out the clock, which gave the Texans another chance to tie the game, which they did. Tennessee couldn’t run the ball and Jake Locker missed throws he needs to make, putting too much pressure on a defense that had played well for most of the game.
The hit on Malcolm Floyd – The word “ouch” doesn’t do a justice to what Floyd must have felt during the hit that knocked him out of Sunday’s win over the Eagles. It’s the kind of hit that will make anybody cringe, and it took Floyd out of the game after catching five passes for over 100 yards. The good news is that Floyd did accompany the team on their flight home and will hopefully be okay.
Reggie Bush – Bush went from so good to so bad so quickly. He missed a significant chunk of the game with a knee injury and was largely ineffective, touching the ball just 12 times and averaging less than three yards per carry. He suffered a minor thumb injury last week and played through it, but he couldn’t do the same this week. Bush is a dynamic player, but he’s not particularly useful if he’s not healthy, and Bush didn’t look anywhere close to healthy on Sunday before leaving the game for good.
Giants on third down – Going 1 for 11 on third down is just not going to cut it for any team, especially a team that’s given up 77 points over the first two weeks. Denver doesn’t have a great pass rush without Von Miller, and so Eli Manning and the Giants should have been able to convert more of their third down opportunities against the Broncos on Sunday. To make matters worse, Manning threw four interceptions, in part because he was trying to do too much on third down. Another culprit is the running game, which is putting the Giants in third and long situations, and needs to be fixed after two bad weeks.
Jets and Patriots scuffle – Just like last week with the Packers and 49ers, there was an unnecessary scuffle in the NFL in week 2, this time between the Jets and Patriots, although this one was a little more serious. Both Willie Colon and D’Brickashaw Ferguson were ejected for their role in the mêlée, which is inexcusable for two veteran players who should both know better, and now both could be facing suspensions. If this is how the Jets react to one loss, how are they going to react several weeks from now when they’ll undoubtedly have a lot more losses? The Jets will have to either learn how to win or lose with more dignity, because they can’t be starting fights on a regular basis, no matter how frustrated they are.
Philadelphia’s defense – The offense is certainly working for the Eagles, but the defense is getting in the way. There has been a lot of moving parts on Philadelphia’s defense this season, both in scheme and personnel, and it shows. They’ve given up over 50 points in the last six quarters and allowed over 500 yards against San Diego on Sunday. Unless this unit shapes up, the Eagles are going to be in a lot of shootouts this season.
Washington’s first half – For the second straight game, the Redskins were downright terrible in the first half. They faced a 26-7 halftime deficit in week 1 against the Eagles and went down 31-0 midway through the 3rd quarter against the Packers in week 2. In both cases, they turned it around in the second half, but it was too little too late, even after they were the better team in the second half in both games. Whatever the reason, the Redskins have been as bad as can be in the first half this year, and they need to find a solution to that problem, and fast.
Josh Freeman – It was definitely an ugly game on Sunday for Freeman, who completed just nine passes to cap off a terrible week for him, as the rift between him and head coach Greg Schiano grew deeper. Freeman turned the ball over twice and after a 1st quarter touchdown pass he did nothing to help the Bucs win a game that they should have been able to win considering the way their defense shut down New Orleans offensively. Considering the situation between Freeman and Schiano, things could get a lot worse before they get better.