Oh, how things can change in just a week. Week 2 of the NFL is already over and after some very exciting football most teams flipped the script to the start of their season, either in victory or defeat. Some teams continue to shine and others continue to struggle. Here are the notable winners, losers, and surprises Week 2 had to offer.
Los Angeles Rams: 1-1
The Rams are back in LA and kicked off their home opener by beating the Seattle Seahawks, 9-3, in a low scoring defensive battle. The Rams are yet another team enjoying the success a new week can bring after their embarrassing Week 1, scoreless loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams defense held Russell Wilson and the Seahawks to just a field goal and forced them into some uncharacteristic penalties in a grind-it-out game. HC Jeff Fisher gave the game ball to Greg Zuerlein for kicking in the team’s first win going 3-for-3 on FGs. The Rams are a young team with a lot of work to do, but a win against Pete Carroll, Wilson, and Seattle gives hope back to a fan base demoralized in Week 1.
New England Patriots: 2-0
The Patriots proved to be in good hands with Jimmy Garoppolo starting at quarterback for the suspended Tom Brady. He followed up his great Week 1 performance with a hot start in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins. He led the Patriots to three straight touchdowns on their first three possessions and took a 21-3 lead at halftime. Garoppolo would not return in the second half due to a shoulder injury suffered in the second quarter but ended the game with 234 yards going 18-for-27 before being replaced by rookie third-rounder Jacoby Brissett. Despite missing Brady, and losing Garoppolo early, the Pats would hang on to win 31, 24. Brissett went 6-for-9 behind very conservative play calling.
Dallas Cowboys: 1-1
The Cowboys evened out their season behind the power of young and ready talent. Rookie QB Dak Prescott continues to prove he is the real deal since appearing on the scene this preseason. Prescott led Dallas to a 27-23 road win over the Washington Redskins by orchestrating three scoring drives and even rushing for a touchdown himself. Prescott went 22-for-30, had 292 yards, and another errorless game with zero interceptions. Prescott’s surprising pro-readiness is something the Cowboys can be excited about moving forward while Tony Romo recovers from injury.
Arizona Cardinals: 1-1
The Cardinals got back on track after suffering a devastating loss in their home opener Week 1. They pummeled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 40-7 behind Carson Palmer’s 308 yards and 3 TDs. Larry Fitzgerald led Cardinals’ receivers in catches with six for 81 yards and a 4-yard score. His longest reception came on a 25-yard pass from Palmer as the Cardinals found the rhythm in their passing game that went missing Week 1. The Cardinals’ offense was aided by the defense who forced QB Jameis Winston into five turnovers.
New Orleans Saints: 0-2
The Saints lose another close game in Week 2 after suffering a painful Week 1 loss at the Superdome. The New York Giants beat the Saints 16-13 at home without any scoring from their offense. Despite the Saints’ scoring the only offensive touchdown of the game, they could not sustain their momentum and were held to just 288 yards overall. Drew Brees went 29-for-44 and passed for 263 yards of the Saints’ offense. In excruciating fashion similar to their Week 1 loss, the Saints lose behind a blocked FG attempt. New Orleans has been playing just okay on offense and defense and find themselves last in their division early in the season.
Cleveland Browns: 0-2
To add insult to injury, or in this case injury to injury, Browns quarterback Josh McCown came out on fire leading Cleveland to a 20-point lead over the Baltimore Ravens, only to be slowed down by a shoulder injury in the first half. The Ravens would fight back scoring 25 straight points and although McCown toughed it out and tried to lead a game-winning comeback, a taunting call on the Browns sealed the victory for Baltimore. The injury to McCown is a devastating blow to Cleveland whose offense began to click after only putting up ten points in Week 1. McCown finished the game going 20-for-33 with 260 yards, 2TDs, and 2 INTs—he will be replaced by third-round pick Cody Kessler in Week 3.
Jacksonville Jaguars: 0-2
The Jaguars are just bad. So bad, they made a notoriously middle-of-the-pack team in the San Diego Chargers look elite. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles’ three turnovers in the first half, poor time management, and horrific third down percentage of 18.2% aided the Chargers in a blowout victory. Bortles threw for 329 yards and had two touchdowns to go along with his two interceptions and fumble. Jacksonville’s first score came in the fourth quarter while trailing 35-0 with the game well out of reach.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-1
Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers did a complete 180 in Week 2 after an impressive Week 1 win. The Arizona Cardinals handed the Bucs a 40-7 beat down off of four interceptions and a fumble from Winston. While poised under pressure in Week 1, Winston imploded against the Cardinals’ stout defense literally giving away the game. Winston still has what it takes for a breakout year, but has to prove it against contending teams. The second-year QB was 27-for-52, adding 243 yards and a touchdown to his costly mistakes.
Indianapolis Colts: 0-2
Remember back in 2012 when the Indianapolis colts decided Peyton Manning was old, injured, and wouldn’t be the same so they drafted Andrew Luck. Well since, Peyton has enjoyed two trips to the Super Bowl and a second NFL championship. Meanwhile, the Colts have struggled for significance in the postseason. After falling in Week 1 and again in Week 2 against the defending champion Broncos, the Colts still lack the necessary talent on both sides of the ball to get over the hump. They have started 0-2 for the third-straight year, while Luck continues to struggle with decision making when it comes to passing. He ended the night with just 197 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Giants Defense: 2-0
The Giants are winning alright, but they’re doing it with their defense. After two weeks, and a 2-0 start with relatively low-scoring games, the Giants find themselves in first place in their division. They spent a ton of money in the offseason beefing up their defense and it is already paying off. The Giants turned the ball over three times and did not reach the end zone on offense. Instead, their defense saved the day with a game-winning TD after blocking a Saints’ FG attempt.
Seattle Offense: 1-1
The Seahawks offense continues to struggle after two weeks of play. Despite coming away with the win in Week 1 they were still held to just 12 points. After Week 2 the offense has been exposed as extremely lacking. Perhaps Russell Wilson’s hindered mobility due to an ankle tweak is affecting their offensive flow more than anticipated. Being able to scramble and stretch out plays is one of the better aspects of Wilson and the Seahawks game. Without the threat of Wilson on the run, the Seahawks’ offense may be mediocre at best.