What we know after Sunday's NFL games
SEP 16, 2013 1:03a ET
History was made Sunday with three quarterbacks throwing for 400 yards without an interception. That wasn't even the best part. Thrilling comebacks, last-second finishes and some overtime highlighted an eventful slate of games. Let's get into what we know after Week 2:
There was an hour weather delay. A Guinness world record was set. A mysterious whistle. And a safety (yes, 2013 is becoming the year of the safety). It was ugly and it was everything we anticipated the NFC West showdown would be.
Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick each struggled against the opposing defense, but the difference was Seattle being able to get its running game going. Marshawn Lynch pounded his way to 98 yards on 28 carries with 2 touchdowns, which helped Seattle to maintain a time-of-possession advantage.
If you're a fan of 400-yard passing games and watching the scoreboard rack up 40-plus points, then this game wasn't for you. The Seahawks hosted the Niners and delivered a black-and-blue, old-fashioned, grind-it-out game. Do you miss the days of the Steelers and Ravens punishing each other for four quarters? Well, this was very similar.
San Francisco had a myriad of problems on offense and it all started with Frank Gore. The nine-year veteran had no room to rush and finished the night with 16 yards on 9 carries. Kaepernick's favorite target from a week ago, Anquan Boldin, was very quiet with just one catch for 7 yards.
And to top it all off, the 49ers turned the ball over five times. Kaepernick, who looked like a Hall of Famer in Week 1, was responsible for four of them. He lost a fumble and threw three interceptions.
Wilson piloted two 10-play, 80-yard drives in the third quarter, which helped Seattle lead seal the game.
It gets worse for the 49ers, who lost defensive tackle Ian Williams to a broken ankle and rookie phenom Eric Reid to a concussion. Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung was carted off with a foot injury.
The next time these two teams see each other will be in three months. How each team will look by then is a mystery. Brandon Browner, Bruce Irvin and Percy Harvin have yet to suit up for the Seahawks, who now sit atop the NFC West.
Who wants a bizarre stat? Alex Smith -- Mr. Game Manager -- was efficient against Monte Kiffin's defense all day, throwing for 223 yards, 2 touchdowns. But he also rushed for 57 yards on eight carries in the Chiefs win. Head coach Andy Reid's disciplined approach has apparently paid off as they haven't turned the ball over in two games. Smith is 5 for 5 in leading the Chiefs to touchdown scores in the red zone this season.
Dez Bryant had an amazing first half and finished with 9 catches for 141 yards, but it was all for naught as the Cowboys couldn't get the win. While the passing game was clicking, it seemed that Dallas couldn't get its running game going. This is a problem as it puts Tony Romo in a bind, typically leading to third-and-longs.
Romo, who was playing with bruised ribs, had an opportunity to lead Dallas to a go-ahead score, but the Chiefs defense prevented that in the closing minutes. Romo ended up throwing three straight incompletions and they had to settle for a 53-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.
Kiffin's defense couldn't get off the field once the Chiefs regained possession with 3:55 remaining. Second-year cornerback Morris Claiborne was called for a pass interference on a play that would have been short of a first down and would have given Dallas a chance to setup a possible game-winning field goal.
The Cowboys must lick their wounds as the St. Louis Rams come to Dallas next Sunday. Kansas City is riding high with an unblemished 2-0 record, but Reid makes his return to Philly in Week 3.
Ravens 14, Browns 6 â No way the defending champs fall to 0-2
Baltimore fans were given two big scares on Sunday. First, from the Browns, who put forth a scrappy effort in the first half and from star running back Ray Rice, who left the game with an injury.
Down 6-0 at the start of the third quarter, the Ravens offense got somewhat in gear in their home opener. A 5-yard TD run by Bernard Pierce put Baltimore (1-1) out front and a 5-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Marlon Brown sealed the lead. The Ravens defense also rebounded from a disastrous Week 1, holding Cleveland to just 85 total yards in the second half.
And as for Rice, the team reported some good news:
And for those wondering about Joe Flacco, whose wife gave birth to a baby boy just before the game began, here is some more info:
The Browns leave licking their wounds after falling to 0-2. QB Brandon Weeden left the game with a thumb injury in the second half. There is no word yet on the severity of his injury.
Peyton and Eli met in what many called "Manning Bowl III" on Sunday. When you look at the stats, the two brothers had similar performances. Peyton threw for 307 yards, Eli had more with 362. Peyton completed 30 passes, Eli had 28.
Peyton threw 0 interceptions and Eli had 4. Wait, what? You read that right. Amazing how not throwing the ball to the other team can make a difference on the final score.
But what's more, the Giants running game is officially bad. When David Wilson leads your team with 17 yards and 7 carries, you know you have issues. So, while Peyton can leave MetLife Stadium with his third win over his brother in three meetings and the Broncos are 2-0, this was more about the mistakes his opponents made.
Fantasy note: Remember Eric Decker's almost non-existent performance in Week 1? He had 9 catches for 87 yards in Sunday's game. Wes Welker? Just 3 catches for 39 yards, but he did pull in a touchdown pass.
In a game in which Devin Hester returned five kickoffs for a team-record 249 yards, the Bears put away the Vikings in one of the most entertaining games of the week. Jay Cutler threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett (the play above) with 10 seconds left to seal the victory. Although Cutler threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a score, the eight-year veteran put the team on his back to win the game.
The Vikings got off to a hot start as rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, tying a team record. That didn't sit well with Hester, who had some sensational comments after the game. "It pissed me off to have someone take one out (of the end zone) and take one to the house. Oh, it pissed me off," Hester said via the Chicago Tribune. "Before the kickoff, I just said, âI don't care how deep this guy kicks it, I am bringing it out."
Ponder led the Vikings on two 13-play drives which led to field goals, but they still fell short.
Falcons 31, Rams 24 â Falcons need to buckle up after halftime
The Falcons needed a solid effort after losing a tough one last week against the Saints.
However, Atlanta let St. Louis back in the game after halftime as Sam Bradford piled up some numbers including 352 yards and 3 TD tosses. However, a Jason Snelling touchdown run padded the Falcons' lead and helped secure the win.
The good for Atlanta: Julio Jones' 11 catches for 182 yards. The bad for Atlanta: Their lack of a running game. Jackson (who left with an injury in the first quarter), Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers combined to gain just 36 yards on 16 carries. That's not going to get it done. Also, the injury bug hit Atlanta hard, as Cliff Matthews, AsanteSamuel, Kroy Biermann and Sean Weatherspoon all left the game with ailments.
That undoubtedly played a role in the Rams being able to close the gap late in the game.
EJ Manuel's 2-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson was an emotional one as the Bills rookie quarterback fell to his knees after the go-ahead score. How can you not love that? Manuel, who ended up trending on Twitter after the Bills beat the Panthers 24-23, wasn't the sharpest QB all day but he came up big when it mattered most, finishing 27 of 39 for 296 yards and a touchdown pass. The same can't be said for third-year quarterback Cam Newton, who was very spotty in large part because of Mario Williams, who racked up 4 Â½ sacks.
The new-look Bills have shown grit and toughness under Doug Marrone, one week from a devastating 23-21 loss to the Patriots.
For the Panthers, they fall to 0-2 and are in clear jeopardy of letting this thing get out of control. They host the Giants next week, but what's most concerning is their offense lacks scoring power as they settled for three fourth-quarter field goals against the Bills.
Let's deal with Green Bay first. Stinging from a tough loss in San Francisco, the Packers were looking to beat up on somebody at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers took care of that, tying a Packers team record (and setting a career high) with 480 passing yards. He also picked apart a porous Redskins secondary with 4 TD passes. When Rodgers is on, he makes it look easy.
James Jones had 11 catches for 178 yards, Jordy Nelson pulled down a pair of scoring grabs and James Starks pounded out 132 rushing yards. If I'm coach Mike McCarthy, I couldn't be happier with this effort.
Now, about the Redskins: So much hype and now they're 0-2. So much talk about the greatness of Robert Griffin III and now he's had consecutive weeks with terrible a first half. He has some fans saying crazy things like:
Yes, the Redskins did put up 20 points after halftime and RG3's stats look respectable on paper (26 of 40, 320 yards, 3 TDs), but Green Bay was playing prevent. Bottom line is this: Head coach Mike Shanahan can't afford to spot opponents big leads and expect to be competitive. With his team now at 0-2, something has to change or they'll be out of playoff race before they know it.
Six days after choking away a 21-point lead in their season debut, the Chargers went round for round with the Eagles in a 33-30 win. Philip Rivers piloted a nine-play, 51-yard fourth quarter drive to set up a game-winning Nick Novak field goal. The Chargers offense dominated time of possession (40:17), was efficient on third downs (10 of 15) and scored seven times on 11 drives, one of which was used to run out the clock of the first half.
Rivers was impeccable during the game. Although Malcom Floyd was taken to the hospital with a neck injury, Eddie Royal continued his dominant play, hauling in three touchdowns. The Chargers turned the ball over twice in the red zone, but Philly was never able to make them pay. Mike Vick exploded for a career-high 428 passing yards for two touchdown passes and a rushing score, but the offense settled for three field goals. James Casey dropped a third-down pass in the end zone and another TD pass in the third quarter was nullified, which led to field goals.
The Eagles are known for their tempo at running plays, but only ran 59 plays because the Chargers had some extended drives.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace wasn't happy with his lack of touches after Week 1. Well, in Indy on Sunday the Dolphins shut him up. QB Ryan Tannehill threw 3 passes at Wallace in Miami's opening drives and connected on all three, including an 18-yard scoring strike. Wallace finished with 9 catches for 115 yards. Happy now?
While Tannehill did throw for 319 yards and managed to hand Colts QB (and fellow 2012 draftee) Andrew Luck just his second home loss, he's gonna have to step up his ball security. Tannehill fumbled three times on Sunday, losing one.
The Colts just couldn't take advantage. On fourth-and-10 from the Dolphins' 23-yard line late in the game, Luck was sacked by Phillip Wheeler. Miami was able to run out the clock and move to 2-0 on the season.
First they pulled off an amazing comeback against the Chargers in Week 1. Then, they laid low for most of Sunday's game against the Titans.
However, with the game on the line, Arian Foster struck. With the Texans down 24-16 with less than two minutes left in the game, Foster scored from a yard out and added a two-point conversion to tie the score.
Then DeAndre Hopkins pulled down a 3-yard TD pass from Matt Schaub in overtime to give Houston its second straight win to open 2013. If the cardiac kids continue to play this way, they're going to get burned at a bad time. But for now, why ruin a good thing?
Saints 16, Buccaneers 14 â Tampa Bay loses in second-worst way possible
The worst thing that could happen to the Buccaneers in Week 2 would be to get blown out at home by the Saints. That didn't happen. Instead, the second-worst thing did.
Following a tumultuous week filled with reports of tension growing in the locker room between starting quarterback Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano, the Bucs fumbled away a 14-13 fourth-quarter lead with less than two minutes left. After subpar play by Freeman, the Bucs decided to ride their workhorse Doug Martin. The second-year running back racked up 144 yards throughout the game, but couldn't do it all. The Bucs had a chance to go up 4 points, but Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal.
With a little over a minute remaining, Drew Brees was given an opportunity to win the game and do what he does best: find his playmakers downfield. Brees completed three passes to get the Saints to the Bucs' 9-yard line and Garrett Hartley nailed the game-winning field goal. Brees wasn't perfect on the day, getting sacked four times and throwing 2 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Mason Foster. Jimmy Graham continues to be Brees' favorite target, making 10 receptions for 179 yards and a touchdown.
Freeman struggled, to say the least. He completed 9 of 22 passes, but made an egregious mistake eyeing down his receiver, which led to a Malcolm Jenkins interception. The Bucs as a whole played well, but penalties continue to plague this team in critical times.
On top of all of that, there was an hour weather delay due to lightning. Are you noticing a pattern?
They're just not that good of a team. Things were looking good for Detroit, especially when DeAndre Levy picked off a Carson Palmer pass and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown. Leading 21-13, the Lions just needed to be smart and play keep-away with the Cardinals.
That didn't happen. A pass interference penalty on the Cardinals' next possession, gave Arizona an easy field goal. A roughing the passer penalty on the next possession set up another Cardinals field goal. The Lions also missed a field goal down the stretch. Was it any surprise that Rashard Mendenhall was able to score the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes remaining?
The Lions have a lot of talent. If they can stop giving away free yards and points, they should be fine and in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt. Oh yeah, and Bruce Arians got a Gatorade bath.
The Jaguars were missing key players as Justin Blackmon (suspension), Marcedes Lewis (calf) and Blaine Gabbert (hand) were sidelined for different reasons and the Raiders made them pay in a 19-9 win. Chad Henne made the start, but the offense still struggled to score a touchdown until the closing minutes of action. Maurice Jones-Drew left the game with an ankle injury in the first half and the Raiders held the Jaguars without a first down in over 36 minutes of action.