by Ryan Meehan
Week two got wild with some of the noon games going all the way down to the wire. The Bears got packed away on Thursday, and on Sunday the high scoring began. You can’t help but wonder how some of these games would have played out five or six years ago, when you could play defense the way it was intended to be played and we started protecting everybody to the extent that we do now. But nonetheless, touchdowns sell beer, so let’s take a look at what transpired the second week of football.
Packers 23, Bears 10
A lot is being made of Jay Cutler’s attitude and overall approach towards crisis management. To be fair, we all struggle with it because you can’t recreate crisis situations. I don’t hold the opinion that Jay Cutler is a bad guy. He’s quiet, and that doesn’t earn him many style points in a league where everybody spends the majority of their time screaming at each other. So when he does snap like he did during that little outburst he had on Thursday night, not a lot of us really knew how to take it. Jay Cutler makes stupid football decisions. That’s just a fact. Since the day he was drafted, the scouts and all of the other people at the combine thought he could do everything. He can’t. I don’t care one bit how he comes off to his teammates, I don’t care about his facial expressions, I just don’t think that Jay Cutler is as good as everyone’s been saying he is since the rookie symposium. Green Bay on the other hand is in really good shape here – They avoided starting 0-2 and their only loss was against the team that might win the Super Bowl. Clay Matthews got in there all night long like Lionel Richie, and what do you know the Packers have a defense again.
Bengals 34, Browns 27
Cincinnati may have got away with one here. This was a game that if you look at their schedule you would say they have to win, so thankfully for them they don’t have a lot of explaining to do. The Browns have two really tough to swallow losses on their backs, and that’s going to be a lot to carry especially when they have the meat of their year coming up right about now.
Dolphins 35, Raiders 13
Sooner or later, the Oakland Raiders are going to have to figure out what to do with Carson Palmer. It’s looking like it’ll be more sooner than later, because he isn’t playing very well. Not that the defense allowing five touchdowns is helping, but their main problem is they are the least explosive team in the NFL on the offensive side of the football. Tannehill played well, so have fun hearing about that all week if you live in Florida. Reggie Bush finally put his money where his mouth was for the first time in NFL history and cranked out plenty of useful yardage.
Giants 41, Buccaneers 34
This one was real nail biter. New York came out looking every bit as awful as they did in the season opener against Dallas, and then started to get their heads back in the game and eventually mounted a comeback. When they tied this game at 27, it brought a renewed sense of control of the matchup, and that ended up being the difference. Eli threw for a career high 510 yards, but they made him throw a lot Sunday so that statistic is a little deceiving. I don’t know what to think of Tampa yet, they’re just weird. There was a bizarre moment at the end of the game where Bucs coach Greg Shiano told his players to specifically go after Eli Manning on the final play when he was taking a knee. It was most likely uncalled for as the game was virtually over, but it’s not like the Giants can use it for fuel because Shiano probably won’t even have that job the next time these two teams meet. It is what it is, it made Coughlin mad but really what doesn’t? Domenik Hixon, Ahmad Bradshaw, and David Diehl were all hurt here so we’ll be monitoring each of those injuries closely this upcoming week.
Eagles 24, Ravens 23
I don’t know anybody that works there, but I’m guessing that the higher ups at PETA and the ASPCA can’t stand it when this happens – Michael Vick is in a position to score a game winning touchdown, but then doesn’t blow it. That has to be very difficult for them to watch. It’s difficult for me because hating the Eagles is such a huge part of my life, and the Ravens should have won here. Towards the end of this one, you could see their age really coming out. I know they looked good against Cincinnati but they might have hit a wall this weekend. Flacco wasn’t as good as what seems like everybody is saying, and they just gave off an aura of being a tad gassed. I also want to remind all Eagles fans that although they’re 2-0, both of those wins were by just one point. Just throwing that out there. It makes me feel a little better, but not nearly as good as I would feel if they had managed to piss away one of those games they stole.
Cardinals 20, Patriots 18
Even in the years where they’ve won the Super Bowl, New England always has a game or so like this that they’re going to look back on and say “How the hell did we lose that?” That happened to them on Sunday. From everything I understand the Patriots just couldn’t get in the end zone at all – They had four field goals but only one touchdown. Very disappointed in their offensive production today, and in their kicker Stephen Gotkowski who missed a crucial chip shot late. You don’t see the Patriots fail on two point conversions either, New England was not themselves at all that afternoon.
Colts 23, Vikings 20
Andrew Luck took his first steps towards riding Adam Vinateri’s leg to mediocrity, and got his first NFL win. However neither of those two things mean that I have to give a shit about this game, so enough already.
Panthers 35, Saints 27
I’m about to say something a lot of people aren’t going to like here, so strap in: The Saints’ “defense” is a mirage. In fact, I’m starting to think they have been for quite some time. Even before any of the bounty stuff happened, even before they lost Jonathan Vilma – They were pulling a fast one on all of us. What I believe happened is since the Saints were going to the Super Bowl in 2010, America collectively became Saints fans because people are generally sympathetic towards anybody that has suffered from a natural disaster. (Not trying to be rude here, but it’s true) Then of course they went to the Super Bowl and held Peyton Manning (who had an incredible year) to only 17 points. Add that to the fact that the lasting image from that Super Bowl was Tracy Porter’s interception, and it’s easy to see why they got a free pass here. Now, I’m not saying that they couldn’t use Vilma at the moment because we all know that’s not true. My point here is you can’t drive an Acura and tell people you drive a Rolls Royce, someone is eventually going to find out and probably laugh at the fact that you bought an Acura. But overall they’ll think you’re a douchebag because you lied to them. I can’t figure out what the Panthers are yet so I’m not going to make any snap judgments on them.
Bills 35, Chiefs 17
Was this game even on? I didn’t so much as see one clip from this matchup. Since we’re not sure if it’s real (like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or affordable health care) let’s do a little exercise in fiction here: Before the game started, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was abducted by alien beings and for lack of a better term, was anally probed. When he returned to earth, he did so with a newfound sense of wonder and focus (as well as a new respect for assplay) and went out and had a field day against the Chiefs. CJ Spiller rushed for enough yards to break Emmitt Smith’s all time rushing record, and no one bothered to tell Stevie Johnson that it’s ridiculous for a grown man in his physical prime to be called “Stevie”. Additionally, Matt Cassel played really well and nobody mentioned that season where he played for the Patriots and got handed a Super Bowl team even once. I told you it was fiction, and now you know why I’m not a fiction writer.
Texans 27, Jaguars 7
Nothing terribly out of the ordinary here. Does anybody know how two expansion franchises ended up in the same division? It would be interesting to do some research on that. This was a home game for the Jaguars, which you’d never know unless I told you because they play poorly at home and on the road and only have a fanbase of about sixteen people. Foster looked great in this one and Schaub is slowly working his way back from that injury, but the real story is they didn’t let Jacksonville produce any kind of offense at all.
Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7
This makes no sense at all, but it does reinforce the idea that first impressions can be dangerous things. Although I didn’t (and still don’t) think the Cowboys are this elite offensive juggernaut I’d be a liar if I didn’t bring up the thought that I expected them to crush Seattle in this game. Apparently even though you can’t take your fanbase with you, you can use them as a way to mask a below average franchise eight times a year so that you can win games like this one. Romo looked awful, and the whole team seemed to be rattled.
Steelers 27, Jets 10
It’s pretty easy to see that this was a huge win for Pittsburgh. At the end of our preview piece I briefly discussed the similarities between what both the Packers and Steelers were facing in week two. Both teams came out and dominated against teams that had impressive week one showings, but the Steelers made the louder statement by ripping the Jets’ hearts out. Although I do not personally believe that it would have made a significant difference to anybody except for oddsmakers like myself, the Jets got screwed out of a potential turnover. And worse yet, the drive that it would have stopped ate a ton of clock. Although I have a tendency to hate all things Jets as long as Rex Ryan is in power, I also like to see the game called correctly. Additional note: When a decision like this is reached, and you can hear dead silence from the announcers’ booth right afterward, that means it was a bad call. Since in a roundabout way all of those guys are employed by the NFL, they can’t say anything, but they’re thinking it. But it would not have mattered Pittsburgh was just way too huge for the Jets on this day. In an unrelated note, you still wouldn’t want Ben Roethlisberger around your daughter if he’s been drinking.
Rams 31, Redskins 28
Fresh off of one of the best debuts by any rookie quarterback in recent history, Robert Griffin the Third was dealt his first NFL loss in week two. The Rams I think feel a little bit disrespected. All they have heard all year is people wanting to just give San Francisco that division before they earn it and every time they’re name is brought up they are immediately tossed to the side. (I’m guilty I admit to doing it) They’ve looked extremely determined and just upset in general the first two games, one of which they lost at the last minute. RGIII looked good at times but still has some mental errors to clear up.
Chargers 38, Titans 10
Even if you’re not the world’s biggest Philip Rivers fan, you have to admit that Philip Rivers makes Jake Locker look like Betty White. San Diego did whatever they felt was necessary to the Titans on Sunday and you have to wonder if Tennessee really belives in this kid. He hasn’t shown any sort of leadership at all so far, and even though the Titans don’t have the greatest offensive line in the world, he’s getting his ass kicked. Tennessee is exactly why you probably don’t watch AFC South games.
49ers 27, Lions 19
Why is it that whenever an analyst is talking about the Detroit Lions they never really say that they are a dirty team? They use every other word in the dictionary to dance around it, but all of those words mean the same thing: They ARE dirty. Words like scrappy, chippy, angry are just dressed up ways to say that when it comes down to it, the Lions hit more defenseless players after the whistle than any other team in the NFL. Sometimes it allows them to create momentum that they can turn into positive energy, but unfortunately for them they played San Francisco this week and the 49ers tore them a new one. This score doesn’t really reflect the fact that the Lions never held control of where the game was headed and San Francisco still managed to cover the spread in what became a one possession game at the end.
Falcons 27, Broncos 21
I seriously doubt a lot of analysts had this one right, but then again Peyton Manning never usually throws for three picks in the first 8 minutes. Truth be told, he’d never EVER thrown 3 picks his first three possessions and it looked almost spooky. It was a good win for Atlanta for two reasons: It showed them that they can come out and really intimidate a good team on their home turf, but also that they have to play the extent of the game because they’re going to have face someone like that who can rebound from their mistakes well. The Falcons approached tonight like they just had no room for error at all. Krazy Koz’s fun fact of the evening: Manning threw for more picks on the first three drives than he had in his last five Monday Night Football games.
First things first: Anybody you run into this week that says something along the lines of “Don’t look now, but Arizona is 2-0” you have my full permission to beat to death with a goon stick. Seattle fans will also be super annoying because they’re so used to being .500 it means all is right in their world. We still can’t be sure what’s going on just yet, but we are starting to pick up on the nuances that define some of these NFL teams in 2012. I’m going to keep the end of it short because there’s lots of other work to do, but more from me Thursday.
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