Falcons, Broncos dominate in Week 2, Giants underperform

After an exciting opening week in the NFL, full of some tremendous individual performances, NFL fans were definitely ready for Week 2 action.

In Week 1, Kareem Hunt and the Kansas City Chiefs had a monster game, taking out the defending champions on opening night. Other rookies, such as Leonard Fournette, Kenny Golladay and Deshaun Watson, had great debuts as well, leaving fans waiting for more.

Week 2 was worth the wait, loaded with unbelievable twists and turns.

Thursday Night Football started off the week fairly slowly. Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals continued their slide offensively, failing to score a touchdown yet again. The Houston Texans took advantage of a John Ross fumble and never looked back. Watson, Houston’s rookie quarterback, made his first career start. Right before the end of the first half, he rushed for a 49-yard touchdown. This proved to be the difference maker in the Texans’ 13-9 win. The Bengals would fire offensive coordinator Ken Zampese two days later.

There was a full slate of action at 1 p.m. on Sunday, featuring huge interdivisional matchups. The Cleveland Browns traveled to M&T Bank Stadium looking to avoid a second division loss to start the season, as the hometown Baltimore Ravens looked to continue their defensive dominance.

Cleveland’s rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer left the game early with a migraine, but he would return in the second half. Kizer’s return, however, was not enough for the Browns. Joe Flacco threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns, ultimately leading the Ravens to a 24-10 win.

There was not much to talk about in North Carolina. Neither the Carolina Panthers, nor the Buffalo Bills scored a touchdown. Cam Newton took a beating and missed a part of the game with an ankle injury. The Bills’ running back LeSean McCoy was held to a mere nine rushing yards by the Panthers’ defensive front. Graham Gano kicked the Panthers to a 2-0 start with a 9-3 win over Buffalo.

Similarly, the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals faced off in Indianapolis without each of their best players. With David Johnson out for 12 weeks, and uncertainty about Andrew Luck’s return, both teams got off to sluggish starts on offense. The Colts led early on, but the Cardinals scored 10 in the  4th quarter to send the game into overtime. Right after, Arizona kicked a game-winning field goal — a 16-13 win.

Last week, the Minnesota Vikings found out that quarterback Sam Bradford would not be able to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, which ended up being a big deal. The Steelers dominated time of possession, as well as the scoreboard at 26-9 to move to 2-0.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally got to open up their season after their Week 1 matchup was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. They hosted the Chicago Bears, who found themselves in a 26-0 deficit almost immediately. There were very few bright spots for the Bears in this 29-7 loss, but the Bucs started off their season on the right foot.

The New England Patriots went into New Orleans last week to avoid a dreaded 0-2 start, and did just that in their overwhelming victory over the hometown Saints. The Patriots, led by Rob Gronkowski’s monster performance, outscored Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints 36-20. Gronkowski finished with six receptions, 116 yards and a touchdown.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles played an exciting game last weekend. It was only a mere 6-3 Chiefs lead going into half, but the offenses picked it up in the second half. Two 4th  quarter touchdowns by Kansas City proved to be too much for the Eagles to overcome in the 27-20 Chiefs win. Hunt had another impressive performance with 81-yard run and two more touchdowns.

The matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans featured a very similar story. The game featured very little offense in the first half, however the Titans exploded for 31 points in the second half, expanding their 6-3 halftime lead into a 37-16 victory. Fournette was held to 40 yards, and Derrick Henry led the Tennessee backfield with 92 yards on the ground.

If not for a turnover late in the first half, the New York Jets could have made a run at an upset over the Oakland Raiders. However, Oakland’s pure talent advantage started to show as they dominated in the second half. Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree looked solid, connecting for three touchdowns. The Raiders' first home game since the Las Vegas relocation announcement ended in a 45-20 victory over New York.

In a game that featured very little scoring, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers battled it out at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Russell Wilson struggled, but the defense kept the lowly 49ers in check, holding them to three field goals. A 4th quarter touchdown by Paul Richardson gave the Seahawks the lead, and they held onto it and won by a score of 12-9.

The Los Angeles Chargers made their debut against the Miami Dolphins, who were playing their first game of the season.

After a heartbreaking blocked field goal attempt against Denver derailed the Chargers’ chances of winning in Week 1, fans believed that the team would bounce back against the Dolphins.

However, while they held a lead for most of the game, the Chargers were unable to seal the deal. Younghoe Koo missed another game winning field goal attempt as time expired, as the Chargers suffered through heartbreak once again, losing 19-17. Jay Cutler led the Dolphins to a win in his debut with the team.

Coming off a dominant win over the Colts, the Los Angeles Rams were looking for another huge win against the Washington Redskins. However, the Kirk Cousins-led Redskins had other ideas. Behind Chris Thompson’s 61-yard touchdown, the Redskins beat the Rams 27-20.

In a game that featured an hour-long rain delay, the Denver Broncos dismantled the Dallas Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott was held to 8 rushing yards, and Aqib Talib had a 103-yard interception return touchdown in the win. Denver’s defense led the team to a dominant 42-17 win.

The primetime game on Sunday featured a rematch of the NFC Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers. The game was the first in the Falcons’ new stadium, and the energy of the excited fans definitely fueled their home team.

In what looked like a replay of the Falcons’ dominant NFC Championship game performance, Julio Jones and the Falcons dominated and an already gravely injured Packers team could not keep up. The Falcons won 34-23, but the game was not as close as the score suggests.

Week 2 ended with Odell Beckham Jr’s return to the New York Giants lineup. Beckham was hardly on the field as the Giants’ offense was held to 10 points by the stout Detroit Lions’ defense. A punt return touchdown by the Lions put the game away as they went on to win by a score of 24-10.

As we look forward to Week 3, there are a few must see matchups. The matchup between the Giants and the Eagles is arguably the biggest matchup of the week. The Giants cannot afford to start off 0-3 if they want to make the playoffs, and a suspect offensive line might be their downfall against the Eagles’ front seven.

Another huge divisional game this week will take place between the Saints and the Panthers. The Panthers will look to advance to a strong 3-0 start, while the Saints will look to avoid a crippling 0-3 start.

The Falcons and Lions are both 2-0. However, one of them will suffer their first loss of the season, as the teams face off in Detroit on Sunday.

Two weeks are already in the books, and there is a ton of excitement to look ahead to this season. While teams like the Giants look to avoid an 0-3 start, surprise teams like the Ravens and Panthers will look to jump out to 3-0 starts, increasing divisional leads.

SportsRay MaurerComment