Week Two Exposes frauds, Showcases Contenders

The Miscellany News.

Between the 644 points scored on Thursday and Sunday, we saw record-breaking comebacks, overtime thrillers and, well, the Chicago Bears did what the Bears do. If anyone could make Baker Mayfield superior to his predecessor (Tom Brady) it would be that paper-mache Chicago defense. Mayfield completed 26 out of 34  passes for 317 yards and a touchdown as the Bears fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. 

Rewinding three nights, quarterback Jalen Hurts’ Philadelphia Eagles posted an impressive 34 points in a 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Philly saw signs of last year’s Super Bowl magic on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Hurts to wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is on pace to have a historic season, as the 24-year-old already has more receiving yards than any Chicago Bears receiver in team history (more than 100 years). In just his third season in the NFL, Jefferson has accomplished more than any Chicago Bears receiver in their team’s century- plus history.  

Perhaps the biggest news in Week One came Monday night as New York Jets fans witnessed their first glimpse of hope this decade—Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers—tear his achilles without having completed a pass. The cruel occurrence was perhaps karma for my words towards my roommate (and die-hard Bears fan) Casey last week as my Jets are now forced to rely on the struggling young quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson had some nice throws against the formidable Dallas Cowboys this week, but unfortunately it was not enough. 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons applied the pressure to Wilson’s Jets, forcing two sacks and two fumbles as New York fell 30-10 to Dallas. In Los Angeles, the San Francisco 49ers flaunted their tenacious offense at the whims of a better-than-expected Los Angeles Rams team. LA’s lackluster defense was their downfall as their offense looked solid despite all-pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp missing time due to injury. Stepping into Kupp’s absence was rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua, who posted 15 receptions for 147 yards. 

In Denver, Russell Wilson’s Broncos fell to 0-2 despite posting 33 points. It was an impressive comeback for the Washington Commanders, overcoming a 21-3 deficit. Running back Brian Robinson put Washington on his shoulders, contributing two touchdown carries in this high-scoring affair. Denver needs to get things figured out sooner or later, otherwise a rebuild is approaching. 

The New York Giants, meanwhile, seemed to undergo a rebuild in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon, coming back from a 21-0 deficit (a franchise-record comeback) against the Arizona Cardinals. In the second half, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was sharp, totaling 321 yards on 26 completions and three touchdowns. If Jones and his Giants can keep this up against better competition, things look good for them this season. 

The Green Bay Packers fell in a one- point loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but with quarterback Jordan Love (150 yards, three touchdowns) at the helm, Packers fans have hope as Love showed that his Week One dominance was not a fluke. Unfortunately for Love, he went head-to-head with another young stud, rookie running back Bijan Robinson, who put on a show for Atlanta, leading them their second straight win. 

The Kansas City Chiefs were under pressure to pick up a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars after a tough loss to open up their season, and they were barely able to get it done. With Travis Kelve and Chris Jones back, the Chiefs should have been convincing, but they seemed apprehensive and ambivalent. If the Jaguars had their best stuff, the Chiefs would have fallen to 0-2, but luckily for them, quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s Jags struggled to find a rhythm, losing in a low scoring 17-9 outing. 

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 due to another deplorable showing from the Cincinnati offense. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow signed a five-year $275- million contract extension this offseason and has since all but retired. Cincinnati has a stellar offense that needs to get active, and soon. 

In Texas, the Indianapolis Colts topped the Houston Texans 31-20. After getting off to a hot start with two rushing touchdowns, Indianapolis’s rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson went down with an injury and was replaced by Gardner Minshew. Minshew did not miss a beat, going 19 for 23 with 171 yards and a touchdown in a truly glorious showing of Minshew Mania. 

In Nashville, the Tennessee Titans had their way with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Titans played very well while the Chargers were disappointing. LA had good moments but could not go the distance, converting on just two of 14 third downs. Meanwhile, the Titans looked like they could make some noise in the AFC South when quarterback Ryan Tannehil gets going. He certainly did on Sunday, going 20 of 24 with 246 yards and two touchdowns, and making the Titans hard to beat. 

The Detroit Lions fell to the Seattle Seahawks in overtime at home after an impressive win in Week One against the reigning champions, proving their upside, but even more so their weaknesses when playing as sloppy as they did against Seattle. Still, the Seahawks deserve credit—quarterback Geno Smith made good use of his offensive weapons, posting 328 yards for two touchdowns in this overtime win. 

In Buffalo, the Bills bounced back against the Las Vegas Raiders after an embarrassing defeat against the shaken- up Jets in Week One. The Bills were composed and sharp, displaying their multifaceted offense that posted 183 rushing yards. As Buffalo remedies their weaknesses (poor run game, below average defense) they look to be emerging as a potential championship contender. 

Rounding out Sunday, the Miami Dolphins were steadfast and aggressive in their win against the New England Patriots. Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa attacked New England’s defense from every -which way, targeting nine different receivers, six of which had 20 or more receiving yards, perhaps due to the Patriots subduing Miami’s star receiver Tyreek Hill (who only had 40 yards on five catches). New England was not bad, but they just were not good enough. They shot themselves in the foot with sloppy turnovers and a lackluster offensive showing when it mattered most. 

As two intriguing games round out Week Two on Monday night, NFL fans can get excited about an energetic season to come. Will the Bengals avoid 0-3 next week and get their act together? Can the Jets still make some noise with Aaron Rodgers (who aims to return for the playoffs)? And will Casey and Bears fans everywhere muster up the strength and willing ignorance to sport Khalil Mack jerseys once again this upcoming Sunday?

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