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A Look Back at Week 2 in the NFL

Two weeks of NFL football are now in the books and seven teams remain undefeated — New England, Buffalo, the Jets and Houston in the AFC and Detroit, Washington and Green Bay in the NFC.

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Tom Brady Just Keeps Winning

Meanwhile, some of the Divisions look crazy after two weeks. Talk about parity (or mediocrity). In the AFC North, all four teams are 1-1. In the AFC East, the Pats, Bills and Jets are 2-0 while the Dolphions are 0-2. In the NFC East, the Washington Redskins are 2-0 while Philadelphia, Dallas and the New York Giants are all 1-1. And in the NFC South, the Saints, Bucs and Falcons are 1-1 while the Panthers, who have put up 854 passing yards in the first two games are 0-2.

Go figure.

It’s a huge week coming up in Week 3. Undefeated New England is at undefeated Buffalo; the Giants are at Philly, but it’s unlikely Michael Vick will be ready for the Eagles; undefeated Houston plays at New Orleans; two rivals, Atlanta and Tampa, go head-to-head at the Pirate Ship; in a pair of NFC North matchups, Green Bay is at Chicago while Detroit plays at Minnesota (the River City Sports Blog will be live at the Metrodome on Sunday); and on Monday night, undefeated Washington is at 1-1 Dallas.

Let’s take a look back at Week 2, just to set us up for Week 3. Dr. Football and I will have our picks posted on Thursday night.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Tampa Bay 24 Minnesota 20

Despite the fact Adrian Peterson rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, the Buccaneers scored in the final minute to win it. For the second straight week the Vikings blew it in the second half. Last week, Minnesota lead 17-7 at the half and lost 24-17, this week they led 17-0 at the half and lost 24-17.

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Matthew Stafford

Detroit 48 Kansas City 3

Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford was 23-for-39 for 294 yards and four touchdowns, but it was the Detroit defense that simply shut down the Chiefs.

Buffalo 38 Oakland 35

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a six-yard TD pass to David Nelson with 14 seconds left to play to win it. The Bills scored TDs on all five of their second-half possessions to overcome a 21-3 halftime deficit. Fitzpatrick finished 28-for-46 for 264 yards and three TDs.

Green Bay 30 Carolina 23

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns while Carolina’s rookie quarterback Cam Newton threw for 432 yards and two touchdowns and lost. Newton became the sixth NFL quarterback in history to have two straight 400-yard passing games and the third to lose both.

Cleveland 27 Indianapolis 19

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Cleveland's Peyton Hillis

The Browns Peyton Hillis ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns while QB Colt McCoy threw for a touchdown as Cleveland improved to 1-1 and the Peyton Manning-less Colts fell to 0-2.

New York Jets 32 Jacksonville 3

Jets QB Mark Sanchez threw for two touchdowns while cornerback Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie had two of the Jets four interceptions. The Jags didn’t get inside the Jets 20.

New Orleans 30 Chicago 13

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was sensational going 26-for-37 for 270 yards and three touchdowns while the Saints defence beat up on poor Jay Cutler. Despite the loss, Brandon’s Israel Idonije had a tremendous game. He had three tackles, three assisted tackles and a sack.

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Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace

Pittsburgh 24 Seattle 0

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 298 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Mike Wallace caught eight passes for 126 yards and that single TD. The Steelers were much sharper this week. After turning over the ball seven times a week earlier against the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers did not make a major mistake and were quite efficient against a Seahawks defence that was better than its offence. The Seahawks were terrible on offence and didn’t take an offensive snap on the Steelers’ side of the field until midway through the fourth quarter. Seattle was shut out  for the first time since their last visit to Pittsburgh in 2007. As all Vikings fans know, QB Tarvaris Jackson just isn’t the answer for Seattle.

Tennessee 26 Baltimore 13

A bit of a shocker as Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck went 30-for-42 for 358 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens held Titans runningback Chris Johnson to 53 yards on 24 carries, but Hasselbeck beat the vaunted Ravens defense through the air.

Dallas 27 San Francisco 24 (OT)

Receiver Jesse Holley caught a 77-yard pass from Tony Romo to set up the winning field goal. It was the third pass Holley had ever caught in the NFL. Dallas outscored the Niners 13-3 down the stretch. Romo broke a rib on the third play of the game and still came back to win it for the Cowboys.

Washington 22 Arizona 21

Graham Gano kicked a 34-yard field goal with 1:45 remaining to win it for Washington. The Redskins are now 2-0. Washington rallied from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Cardinals for the eighth straight time.

Denver 24 Cincinnati 22

Denver RB Willis McGahee rushed for 101 yards and a and touchdown while QB Kyle Orton threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Tim Tebow played briefly for the Broncos, not as a quarterback, but as a “blocking” wide receiver. The Broncos have now lost nine players to injury — six starters.

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Houston QB Matt Schaub

Houston 23 Miami 13

Houston QB Matt Schaub went 21-for-29 for 230 yards and two touchdowns while Ben Tate carried for 103 yards. Tate became only the 11th player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his first two NFL games. He joins a list that includes, Alan (The Horse) Ameche, Earl Campbell, Ottis Anderson, Billy Sims, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James and Carnell (Cadillac) Williams. Meanwhile, Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 93 yards and a touchdown as the Texans improved to 2-0 and took sole possession of first place in the AFC South. Meanwhile, he Dolphins gave up a pair of turnovers, had a 22-yard field-goal attempt blocked and missed a 34-yarder to fall to 0-2 for the fifth time in the past six years.

New England 35 San Diego 21

Another great home opener for the Patriots who are now 61-12 (.836) since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. Quarterback Tom Brady completed 31-of-40 passes for 423 yards and three touchdowns, two to tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Pats are now 2-0 this season and have 15 of their last 17 home openers. the Patriots have now won 10 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the NFL.

SUNDAY NIGHT

Atlanta 35 Philadelphia 31

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Tony Gonzalez (88) and Matt Ryan (2) of the Falcons.

This is how things went for Michael Vick in his return to Atlanta: Great first quarter, so-so-second quarter, a pretty decent third quarter and a concussion. Vick didn’t finish the game, but he left with a 31-21 lead. However, with Mike Kafka at quarterback, Philly did nothing, Atlanta outscored Philadelphia 14-0 in the fourth quarter and came back to win 35-31. Meanwhile, with seven catches on Sunday night, Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez moved past wideout Terrell Owens (1,078 career receptions) for fifth on the all-time receiving list.

MONDAY NIGHT

New York Giants 28 St. Louis 16

On Monday night football, the Giants took advantage of four huge mistakes by St. Louis to score four touchdowns and beat the visiting Rams. Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes and linebacker Michael Boley returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown. It was a tough loss for the Rams who moved up[ and down the field at will, but couldn’t convert in the Red Zone. Sam Bradford threw one TD pass while Josh Brown kicked three short field goals.

The Coach went 12-4 (23-9) straight up last week and 10-6 (19-13)  against the spread. As we prepare to enter Week 3, it would appear most teams are playing according to form and that’s rare, early in the season. 

 



It’s Week 2 in the NFL. Here are the 10 things you need to know.

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s Week 2 in the National Football League and we’re here in the press box at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis for a pretty important matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings.

One of these teams will shuffle out of the Humphrey Dome with an 0-2 record and after both teams were borderline dreadful in Week 1, no one will be surprised which of these two teams it is.

As he was called in a headline in the Twin Cities Star-Tribune this morning, Indy’s Peyton Manning is the "rusty, slow, dangerous quarterback." Granted, he and the Colts were drilled at home by Chicago last week, but you can never underestimate the things Manning can do.

The Vikings, meanwhile, are a team that didn’t pass the consistency test last week in Green Bay. They lost 24-19, but had a dozen opportunities to win the game. In the end, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw an interception on the final drive to lose it.

One of these teams will snap out of it today and we’ll have all the action and colour right after the final gun.

In the meantime, here are the 10 things you need to know heading into Week 2. (By the way, go see Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Burn After Reading. Spectacular flick.)

1.  By Tuesday morning, only 16 teams will be able to boast about having a perfect 2-0 record. That leaves at least 16 clubs at 1-1 or 0-2. Since NFL realignment in 2002, 42 of the 72 playoff teams (58.3 per cent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2.  Four of the past seven Super Bowl champions began their seasons with a 1-1 or 0-2 record, including the Super Bowl XLII Champion New York Giants. In case you’ve forgotten, the Giants started 0-2 last season and coach Tom Coughlin nearly got his butt fired.

2.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a scoop: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. However, the NFL still has plenty of durable quarterbacks. New York Jets QB Brett Favre (I still have trouble writing, "New York Jets QB Brett Favre), who goes head-to-head against Matt Cassel and the Patriots today (more on that later), holds the NFL record for consecutive regular-season starts with 254. Indy’s Peyton manning will start No. 162 here in Minnie today.

3. Speaking of Peyton, he’s had plenty of success against the Vikings. According to the league, Manning has thrown four touchdowns in each of his two career games against Minnesota. With a similar performance today, he can become the first NFL quarterback to pass for four touchdowns in three consecutive games against an opponent. OK, that’s an obscure milestone, but it’s still pretty good.

4. And on the topic of obscure milestones the Eagles Donovan McNabb can break a 22-year-old record this Monday night when Philadelphia plays the Cowboys in Dallas. McNabb, coming off a three-touchdown performance last week against St. Louis, needs two TD passes against Dallas tomorrow night to surpass former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski (1977-86) as the Eagles’ career leader. Oh yeah, and Jaworski will be covering the game in Dallas for ESPN.

 5. When the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals meet up in the Cards home opener today, history suggests there will not be very many incomplete passes. Dolphins QB Chad Pennington (65.5) and Cardinals starter Kurt Warner (65.1) lead the NFL with the highest career completion percentages. That’s right, Pennington and Warner are 1-2 ahead of No. 3 Steve Young and No. 4 Peyton Manning.

6. Perhaps the most intriguing game of the weekend will feature the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Before the season began, this was going to be a matchup between Jets QB Brett Favre, the NFL career leader in all the major passing categories, against three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. But Brady’s gone for the duration (knee surgery) and a seventh-round draft choice from 2005 named Matt Cassel is the quarterback. Cassel, who backed up Carson Palmer and Matt Leinert at USC, hasn’t started a game since high school. However, be fair. Brady was a sixth-round pick who carried a clipboard for a year before replacing the injured Drew Bledsoe. Favre, who now calls himself "a New Yorkian," was a second-round pick who was traded after his rookie year (and no starts) from Atlanta to Green Bay before he got his chance. This will be an intriguing matchup because after Brady’s success, you can’t write off Cassel quite yet.     

7. Atlanta Falcons rookie QB Matt Ryan’s 62-yard touchdown pass on his first NFL attempt last Sunday was the first time a player threw a TD pass of 50 or more yards in the first quarter of his NFL debut since Roger Staubach hit Lance Rentzel on a 75-yard TD bomb on Sept. 21, 1969.

8. The Cleveland Browns will try to bounce back, as they did last year, from a 28-10 opening game shellacking at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and end an ugly streak. After losing 34-7 in their 2007 opener to the Steelers, the Browns roared back in Week 2 last year with a 51-45 win over Cincinnati, so they know a quick turnaround is possible (they eventually finished 10-6). Problem is, the Browns are playing Pittsburgh a team that has won nine in a row over the Browns and 14 of the last 15.

9. What a Monday night matchup. Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles amassed  522 yards of total offence while the Cowboys picked up 487, to rank 1 and 2 after Week1. That means, Monday will be the first time since Nov. 19, 2006 (Cincinnati, 545 at New Orleans, 513) that teams have met the week after posting at least 475 yards of offense.

10. Oh yeah, and the quarterbacks were pretty hot last Sunday, too. Philly’s Donovan McNabb threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns while three Eagles receivers (rookie DE Sean Jackson, Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett) each  put up at least 100 receiving yards (the first time that has happened for Philly since 1960). Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ Tony Romo threw for 320 yards while putting together four long touchdown drives against the Browns.