Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NFL Week 2 recap

The latest news from the NFL in 1000 words or less…

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The NFL’s Week 2 featured several high-profile matchups, headed up by the “Manning Bowl,” and an NFC West matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks. Brothers Peyton and Eli Manning met for the third time when Peyton’s Broncos traveled cross-country to take on Eli’s Giants in New Jersey. Older brother Peyton continued his dominance over Eli, leading Denver to a convincing 41-23 victory, making him 3-0 in games versus his younger sibling. Eli outgained Peyton in yardage, piling up 362 yards to Peyton’s 307, but the Broncos intercepted Eli four times, blowing open what had been a close 10-9 halftime lead. The Giants are now 0-2, while Denver remains undefeated at 2-0.

San Francisco had to deal with a hostile and deafening Seattle home crowd, an hour’s delay due to thunderstorms, and a Seahawk defense which pretty much dictated the tempo of the contest from the start. Neither QB (SF’s Colin Kaepernick, Seattle’s Russell Wilson) performed as expected, but Wilson’s teammates, especially defensively, were thoroughly dominant, intercepting Kaepernick three times, forcing two fumbles, and limiting Anquan Boldin to one reception (for 7 yards) less than a week after the new 49er latched onto 13 balls in the season opening win over Green Bay. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 98 yards, scoring 3 TDs in the 29-3 win, elevating the Seahawks to 2-0 while the ‘Niners fell to 1-1.

Probably the biggest surprise of Week 2 occurred in Philadelphia when San Diego “out-offensed” Chip Kelly’s Eagles to come away with a rare 33-30 East Coast victory. QB Philip Rivers threw for 419 yards and 3 TDs as the Chargers rolled up 539 yards, offsetting a sterling performance by Philadelphia QB Michael Vick (24-37, 428 yards). San Diego more than held their own against Kelly’s up-tempo attack, while Rivers and the offense more than doubled up Philadelphia in time of possession. Both teams are now 1-1. There were also several nail-biters across the league, including Houston’s overtime win over Tennessee, Buffalo’s last-second comeback over Carolina, New Orleans’ last-play FG win over Tampa Bay, the Chiefs one-point victory over Dallas, and Chicago’s 31-30 come-from-behind win over Minnesota.

Top Performances

Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers joined Vick and Rivers in the week’s “400+” club by rolling up 480 yards and 4 TDs against Washington, while Doug Martin of the Bucs rushed for a week’s best 144 yards in a losing effort against the Saints.

Week 2?s top receivers were the “JJ” boys, Julio Jones of Atlanta and James Jones of the Packers with each hauling in 11 receptions, while Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson gained 193 yards on 9 catches in the loss to San Diego.

Rookie QB EJ Manuel of Buffalo overcame a mediocre start to lead the Bills on a last-minute game-winning drive, while rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins hauled in the game-winner in Houston’s OT victory over Tennessee.

Defensively, Buffalo’s Mario Williams recorded 4.5 sacks in the Bills’ win over Carolina, while Atlanta’s Osi Umenyiora, Chicago’s Tim Jennings, Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner, Detroit’s DeAndre Levy and Tampa’s Mason Foster all returned interceptions for TDs.

Additionally, Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson ran the opening kickoff back 105 yards and Denver’s Trindon Holliday returned a punt 81 yards for scores.

Top Stories

Overall, Week Two’s top stories were Seattle’s thrashing of the 49ers, Peyton Manning improving to 3-0 versus brother Eli, San Diego’s offensive fireworks versus the Eagles, New England’s inefficiency at wide receiver, Green Bay’s convincing “bounce-back” thrashing of the Redskins, RBs Ray Rice and Reggie Bush’s injuries, and the continuing controversial new guidelines for helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless players.

Teams already facing almost “must-win” situations heading into Week Three include the New York Giants, Pittsburgh, Washington, Minnesota and Carolina, while the woes continue in Jacksonville, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. The Giants, Steelers, Redskins, Vikings and Panthers are all 0-2, with Minnesota and Carolina both the victims of last-minute (or less) collapses in each of their first two games after seemingly having victory well in hand. Carolina, in particular, continues their disturbing penchant for late-game failures, placing third-year head coach Ron Rivera squarely on the proverbial hot seat. Their Sunday home contest with the Giants promises to be one of Week 3?s more “at stake” games, with the loser definitely putting themselves in a less than enviable position for the rest of the season. In fact, all the winless teams have a steep climb, since only 12% of teams starting out with an 0-2 W-L mark have advanced to the postseason since the NFL added “wild cards” to their playoff template.

Pittsburgh’s loss to Cincinnati on Monday night only affirmed the serious issues they have offensively, while in the nation’s capital, it’s obvious that RG III isn’t anywhere near the player he was in 2012. Griffin’s problem appears to be more mental than physical, which is understandable following the serious knee injury he suffered. It appears that Adrian Peterson’s remarkable 2012 comeback from a similar injury may have been the exception rather than the rule.

Speaking of the Vikings, their passing attack falls far short of providing balance for Peterson’s efforts, leading to speculation that Christian Ponder’s time as starter at QB may be on borrowed time, with Matt Cassell waiting in the wings.

This article was written by Don Phan, an online marketing specialist with Fanatics Inc. He works on Fanatics’ flagship brand FansEdge, who sells licensed sports merchandise of professional and collegiate teams and players.

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