Fans are flummoxed, coaches are confused, and pundits are perplexed. Yes, after week two of the NFL season people are collectively saying, “What just happened?”
After week one of the season, a general sorting out of good and bad teams typically occurs. Most losing teams have their collective weaknesses shown to the public and are deemed to not be playoff material. While on the other side, the winning teams show their strengths on the football field and the narrative becomes, “How far can they go?”
Well, the NFL revealed in week two that no team is guaranteed to have continued success.
The week began for the NFL on Thursday night. A week after losing to the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers were able to dismantle the Chicago Bears. This coming after an impressive week one showing from the Chicago Bears in which they beat the Indianapolis Colts handily.
After that the surprises kept on coming. Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden, who played so poorly in week one that some questioned his ability to play in the NFL, threw for over 300 yards in a losing effort to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The aforementioned Indianapolis Colts, who again were beaten convincingly by the Bears, held off the Minnesota Vikings to get their first victory of the season.
The Miami Dolphins, who had very little offense at all in week one, put up 35 points on the Oakland Raiders, including 28 points in the second half of the game.
New England Patriots fans were stunned to find their team down in the fourth quarter to the Arizona Cardinals. With little time remaining, the Cardinals fumbled the ball while trying to run out the clock, and allowed the Patriots one last chance to win and prevent an upset. After only gaining six yards on as many plays, the Patriots lined up for a field goal to win the game, but kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed the field goal attempt, sealing the win for the Cardinals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans were equally stunned after the game against the New York Giants. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants scored a stunning 25 points in the fourth quarter to win the game and their first win of the season.
Cam Newton, of the Carolina Panthers, was able to keep the New Orleans Saints from having a tally in the win column. As the Saints continue to try and find a way to win without their head coach Sean Payton, who is out because of a suspension.
The Washington Redskins were coming off a big win over the Saints in week one. Traveling to St. Louis to play the Rams, the Redskins found out that repeating success is hard to do. Trailing in the fourth quarter, the Redskins drove down the field looking to tie the game. After making a catch, Josh Morgan of the Redskins was called for a costly 15 yard penalty after throwing a ball at the opposing team’s cornerback. This left the Redskins with a 62-yard field goal attempt to tie the game, which they missed.
In Seattle, the Seahawks were able to take care of the Dallas Cowboys, who were heaped with praise all week after beating the New York Giants in week one. But, the Cowboys were unable to stop Seattle’s potent running game.
The Pittsburg Steelers looked sluggish in their week one loss to the Denver Broncos. However, at home against the New York Jets, the Steelers locked down the Jets allowing only 219 yards of total offense out of New York.
Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, saw a few events Sunday that were consistent with week one. The Philadelphia Eagles again turned the ball over multiple times; the game was won by a single point and they were again the winning team. However, the Eagles were only able to beat the Baltimore Ravens after the Ravens were called for a questionable offensive pass interference call. The call cost the Ravens a touchdown and paved the way for the Eagle win.
Down in Houston, the Texans continued to look to be the team to beat in the AFC’s South division, by beating the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars by 24 points.
Keeping with some of the few teams favored to win that were able to triumph, the San Diego Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans convincingly. The Chargers had almost twice as much total offense and three times the points as the Titans, in a 38-10 win.
Sunday concluded with a game in San Francisco. The San Francisco 49ers played the Detroit Lions. The 49ers jumped out to an early lead and never let go, beating Detroit 27-19.
Monday Night Football brought a surprise to the Denver Bronco fans. After winning in week one, the Broncos lost to the Atlanta Falcons. The surprise came from Peyton Manning, who threw three interceptions on his first eight passing attempts.
Week two of the NFL season is now over. Will this week, full of shocking games, prove to be the norm, or an aberration? In any case this week proved to be as addling to analysts as it was to everyone else.