Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has a bad day at the office, the Packers can't get going and more of this week's worst
With Chicago and Philadelphia in the books in a game that was difficult to watch at times unless you’re an Eagles fan, it’s time to look at the lowlights from Week 2. We’ll consider terrible team efforts, individual performances by coaches, players, officials and even fans and media members if/when necessary. If it’s bad and it’s relevant, it’s fair game. Here we go.
The Detroit Lions may as well wear yellow
It’s challenging to win in the NFL when a team competes against the opposition as well as itself. That was the plight of the Lions, who were flagged for an absolutely absurd 17 penalties for 138 yards on Sunday. (Not quite a record but close). The Lions racked up six offensive holding penalties, three offsides penalties, two each for offensive and defensive pass interference, two turtle doves, a delay of game, an illegal shift and even one unnecessary roughness.
Three of those penalties came on back-to-back-to-back plays with the first two nullifying touchdowns. An additional touchdown run by Ameer Abdullah was nullified due to a holding penalty. The Lions had a chance to improve to 2-0 but about… six or 10 too many self-inflicted wounds puts them at .500 and they won’t finish better until they tighten up a comical lack of discipline.
The Oakland Raiders defense makes history
And it’s not the good kind. After getting shredded for 507 yards by the Saints in Week 1, the Raiders gave up 528 to the Falcons, becoming the first team since the Falcons in 1967 to allow 500-plus yards in the first two weeks of the season, per Pro Football Reference. Falcons QB Matt Ryan carved up the linebackers and safeties in particular with a combined eight passes for 159 yards to tight ends Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper plus a touchdown to Tamme.
With the Raiders’ offseason additions of cornerback Sean Smith from the Chiefs, linebacker Bruce Irvin from the Seahawks, free safety Reggie Nelson from the Bengals plus its own ascending linebacker Khalil Mack, the Raiders D was supposed to be at least a decent unit. “Priority No. 1 has to be getting our guys to stop having eye violations” head coach Jack Del Rio said on Monday. “Get your eyes where they belong and do your job." Well, the defense hasn't come together yet.
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is not looking the part of a franchise player
The box score looks fine (28-of-46 for 364 yards) but Kirk Cousins was erratic and indecisive in a crucial division game against the Cowboys, with a few costly overthrows and underthrows to open receivers. Worse than just missing his own men: in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins up 23-20 on a third and goal from the six yard line, Cousins had ample time and he reached back and threw it directly at Cowboys safety Barry Church. Dallas then drove 80 yards for the winning score.
Cousins is earning top dollar on the franchise tag and so far he’s proving that general manager Scot McCloughan was wise to tag him rather than commit bigger money for a long-term deal. Washington now heads up to New York to face a made-over, vaslty improved Giants defense that will bring heat on Cousins and look to drop the Redskins to 0-3.
The Jaguars laid a total team egg
Someone call an archaeologist because it was a real big egg against a depleted Chargers offense that lost star wideout Keenan Allen last week and running back Danny Woodhead on Sunday to a torn ACL. The Chargers ran the score to 35-0 before Jacksonville finally answered. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles turned the ball over three times (two interceptions) and the Jaguars racked up a Lions-esque 14 penalties that resulted in five Chargers first downs. Next time someone talks up the Jaguars in August and says "this year might be the year," feel free to rudely hush that person.
The officials for that taunting penalty against Browns WR Terrelle Pryor
In what appears to be a response to the league’s desire to stamp out unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, officials have been been throwing laundry for taunting fast and furiously so far this season. Officials called 22 taunting penalties all of last season (including one in the Super Bowl) and this year have already called eight through two weeks, including the late-game flag on the Browns’ Terrelle Pryor for tossing a ball to a referee that tapped Ravens defender Lardarius Webb on the shoulder as he stood up. It did not appear at all intentional. Too bad.
The foul came after a 20-yard completion and, offset against Webb’s interference, put the Browns back on the Ravens’ 30 yard line with 20 seconds to go. Josh McCown threw an interception on the next play. Can officials please err on the side of not issuing a costly penalty unless it is plainly obvious, particularly in late-game situations?
The Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers offenses
They’re getting paired together here because the NFL Media Research Group noted that the only two teams that have failed to gain 300-plus total yards in both of their first two games are, yep, the Rams and the Packers.
The Rams’ offensive woes have been pretty widely documented and ridiculed but the Packers managed only 294 against the Jaguars and then 286 against the Vikings. It looks like shades of last season where receivers just aren’t getting open, Aaron Rodgers is buying time and of course when that happens the risk rises of a sack (five against the Vikings) or a strip (three Rodgers fumbles) or an injury. The Packers now head back to Lambeau Field for four straight home games, but won’t be safe there if they can’t iron out the problems on offense.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston anchors his passer rating
The Arizona Cardinals enjoyed a pretty hearty get well game against the visiting Buccaneers. Arizona kept the heat on Winston all game and forced him to throw under pressure on nearly half of his 55 dropbacks. Winston looked uncomfortable (as one might expect with large men repeatedly bearing down on him) and threw four interceptions, plus he lost a fumble. The turnovers resulted in 17 points for the Cardinals. It was a very forgettable and inaccurate day for Week 1’s NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsJoe Camporeale
Thomas Rawls and the Seahawks offensive line go backwards
I’m not sure how many times it’s worth listing the Seahawks offensive line here. Because it could be a weekly staple, perhaps a reminder of the importance of the big, unsung heroes in the trenches.
Anyhow, at the Rams-Seahawks game, which was more like the Johnny Hekker punting clinic, no thanks to penetration allowed by Seattle’s line, this is how running back Thomas Rawls’ day unfolded on the ground: rush for a loss of 2, rush for a loss of 9, run up the middle for no gain, rush for 4 yards, rush for 1 yards, rush for no gain, rush for loss of one. And then he was injured in the third quarter and left the game. Add up those rushing figures and you’ve got seven carries for negative seven yards. As Russell Wilson is playing through a high ankle sprain, it remains to be seen how this offense is going to find some success.
The Chicago Bears rushing attack doesn’t go very far at all
Well it was more than the running game -- Jay Cutler was under siege most of Monday night and threw a pretty bad interception to Nigel Bradham with his receiver a solid five yards behind the linebacker. But take away presumptive starting running back Jeremy Langford’s 16-yard run and he’s left with 10 carries for 9 yards. Backup Jordan Howard fared slightly better on an overall dreadful night for the Bears offense that ended for Cutler with a hand/thumb injury on his throwing hand that sidelined him in the third quarter in favor of backup Brian Hoyer.
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Everything that is ailing the Buffalo Bills
The final score -- 37-31 Jets -- indicates a game much closer than it actually was. The Bills twice took advantage of blown Jets coverage for long gains which accounted for about half of the Bills’ yardage. The rest of the game was peppered with some shaky coaching decisions, such as burning a timeout after the Bills attempted to draw the Jets offsides on a fourth down. Then the Bills ran it up the gut and got stuffed.
How about Ryan’s defense? Peter King noted in MMQB that this game represented the first in which a Rex Ryan defense allowed more than 35 points, more than 450 yards, more than 350 passing yards and a 100-yard rusher. Naturally, the Bills responded by firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Ryan has invited scrutiny as well as his ouster and he’s likely to get both.