A litany of quarterback injuries, rookie QBs’ rude awakenings and preseason predictions are realized in the NFL Week 2 Recap. (And, I somehow managed to get the words soothsayer and stalwart in here, along with vintage references from Martin and Friday. It’ll make sense when you read it.)
2021 NFL Week 2 Recap
September 20, 2021, 12:54 AM
It’s fitting that Aaron Rodgers wears green (for now) because only Cheeseheads like him when he’s angry.
As we should have predicted following last week’s discount double nut shot, Rodgers has now been victorious in his last nine starts following a loss, throwing 24 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in those games. Three of those TDs were to Aaron Jones Monday night, making for some MNF history. Green Bay’s last dance isn’t over just yet.
I know it’s only Week 2 … but like Washington, Baltimore saved its season by winning a prime-time thriller against a team that previously had its number.
Lamar Jackson’s double triple (his fifth career game with over 100 rushing yards and 200 passing yards) earned him his first win at Kansas City’s expense in four tries, and the Ravens defense forced two late Chiefs turnovers, including Patrick Mahomes’ first career interception in Sept. (made by Prince George’s County native Tavon Young) in what is also his first career loss in this month. Even with a league-leading 15 players in injured reserve, there’s hope in Charm City.
Seahawks 30 (OT)
This could have been a coronation for Seattle. Pete Carroll became the fourth man to coach an NFL team after age 70 and Russell Wilson could have become the third fastest QB to reach 100 career wins. But Derrick Henry stiff-armed all that — and the reigning two-time rushing champ might just be the first player to top 2,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons.
What surprised me: Tony Pollard being this much better than Ezekiel Elliott through two games, the Chargers defense holding Dak Prescott without a touchdown and Justin Herbert having an upside down TD: INT ratio in the first two weeks of the season.
What I expected: Dallas playing a virtual home game in a city that hasn’t embraced the Chargers (and may never) and Mike McCarthy proving himself to be a decidedly mediocre NFL head coach.
Death, taxes and Tom Brady beating Atlanta.
Forget the Super Bowl LI result (as Matt Ryan says he has). Brady is 9-0 against the Falcons in his career, only the sixth QB to win that many games without a loss against a single opponent since 1950. Oh, and Tampa’s the first team to tally nine straight games scoring over 30 points. The two teams to do it eight times? Brady’s Patriots in 2007 and 2010-11. This dude ain’t human.
For as bad a loss as this was for Minnesota, the Vikings broadcast team perhaps took a bigger L with the missed call of Greg Joseph’s missed field goal. The Land of 10,000 Lakes will have a long season that feels like 10,000 games.
I know the Raiders are, for the first time in their illustrious franchise history, off to a 2-0 start over a pair of playoff teams from the previous season — and they did it Sunday despite coming east on a short week to play a 1 p.m. kickoff without several key players (again disproving, and perhaps eliminating, the Dave Preston Corollary) — BUT LOOK AT THIS STIFF ARM!
Now that’s what I expected to see out of Philadelphia this year.
What I didn’t expect to see? Former Washington stalwart Ryan Kerrigan in Kelly Green playing for a defense that let Jimmy “Pretty Ricky” Garoppolo run in the end zone like … well, Trey Lance. With Brandon Graham likely done for the season, Kerrigan is about to play a much bigger role than expected.
If Zach Wilson was feeling whiplash after his debut, he should be screaming over his neck and his back after completing as many passes to Patriots (4) in his first 10 passes as he did his own team. Welcome to the NFL, rookie. Good luck not seeing ghosts like your predecessor.
And welcome to Groundhog Day. You can change the quarterbacks, change the coaches, change the uniforms — it doesn’t matter. New England has 11 straight wins over the Jets to match the longest active win streak over a single opponent with no end in sight.
Buffalo pitched the first shutout of the 2021 season and first shutout of division-rival Miami since 1966 on a day in which Tua Tagovailoa suffered another tough injury. It’s hard not to think this is the game that inspires the Dolphins to bet the farm on Deshaun Watson, no matter how much trouble is swirling around him.
A 2-0 start has become a virtual given in the Sean McVay era in Los Angeles, as the Rams are undefeated in the opening two games for the fourth straight season. We’re about to find out how good the Matthew Stafford-led Rams are when they take on the defending champs in Tampa.
Meanwhile, football season in Indianapolis might be over in a hurry if Carson Wentz is sidelined for multiple weeks. The Colts have to travel to face the Titans, Dolphins and Ravens in successive weeks, so as I said in the NFL Preview, this could be a rough start for a team carrying Super Bowl expectations.
New Orleans had more coaches sidelined by COVID protocols (8) than points scored in Carolina. The Panthers’ plan didn’t just work, it basically justified spending most of their last two drafts on building up the defense. If this team keeps pounding, there’s a path to a playoff berth — and maybe even a gaudy won-loss record.
This should be both scary for Cleveland and encouraging for Houston: If Tyrod Taylor finishes this game, the Texans probably win. As usual, Taylor is better than people think he is and Houston will miss him badly if he’s sidelined for an extended period.
The focus will be on Chicago’s QB situation — as it has been since Jim McMahon left, really — but this was about a return to form for a Bears defense that intercepted Joe Burrow on three straight plays (one of which returned for a touchdown) and sacked him four times in a game they won by just three points. If this unit can do similar damage to Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, Chicago might actually be competitive this year.
Who knew Denver was so full of soothsayers? Von Miller’s Teddy Bridgewater-Peyton Manning comparison looks mighty good through the season’s first two games and Dre’mont Jones looks 100% correct about Urban Meyer being in over his head.
Daniel Jones was 4-0 against Washington and 0-5 in prime-time. Something had to give — and it was New York’s stranglehold on the Burgundy and Gold.
It’s not the least bit hyperbolic to say Washington’s season was saved by its first walk-off win over the Giants in 40 years and second game in franchise history in which there were three lead changes in the final five minutes of the game. Big Blue blew it more than Washington won it but If Taylor Heinicke is even half as good as Russell Wilson, there’s hope in D.C. yet — and gnashing of teeth in New York after its fifth straight 0-2 start.
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