With the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally getting to play their season openers, we’re officially in full swing with the 2017 NFL season.
The second week of the 2017 NFL season was eventful, to say the least. From the continued offensive showing by the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense to Ezekiel Elliott’s dud to Jay Cutler’s winning performance to the Oakland Raider’ continued impressive showing, there was plenty to love and hate this week in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers in Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season:
While the Denver Broncos narrowly staved off defeat by the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1, they showed up in force against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. Here you have arguably the NFL’s best defense (in Denver) versus arguably the NFL’s best offense (in Dallas), and the Broncos flat out destroyed the Cowboys. And they did it on both sides of the football. The Denver defense completely shut down the Cowboys and the league’s leading rusher from a year ago, limiting Ezekiel Elliott to just eight yards on nine rushes and no points. Then quarterback Trevor Siemian put on a show completing 22 of 32 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 42-17 victory over one of the better NFC squads. Anyone who beats down on the Cowboys is a winner in my book.
Baltimore Ravens Defense
Don’t look now, but the Baltimore Ravens defense is putting on a show. In the past two weeks, the Ravens defense has 10 takeaways — 8 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles — as well as held their opponents to a combined 10 points, including a shutout of the Cincinnati Bengals. Granted, they were playing the Bengals and Cleveland Browns, but you can’t use that as an excuse to dismiss Baltimore’s productive defense. Let’s see if the Ravens defense can keep it up as their schedule gets more difficult.
Looks like we have an early Rookie of the Year front runner after two weeks of the 2017 NFL season. Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt impressed in his NFL debut against the New England Patriots racking up 248 all purpose yards and two scores. If there was any doubt that Hunt’s debut was a fluke, he put those doubts to bed with another impressive performance in the Chiefs 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Hunt rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns and racked up 109 all purpose yards. And there’s no indication that Hunt’s success should dwindle anytime soon.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Oakland Raiders are in the Top 3 of NFL teams playing right now. After a period of disappointment en route to a rebuilding period, the Raiders are back and lighting the world on fire with franchise quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders have soared to an easy 2-0 record as they’re proving that the AFC West is perhaps the best division in all of football, which is a far cry from seasons’ past. The Raiders’ latest beat down came at the expense of the New York Jets, who were pummeled 45-20 as Oakland proved that they’re one of the squads teams will have to go through to get to the Super Bowl. And the great thing is that this is only the beginning for the Raiders.
On an afternoon where his former team, the Chicago Bears, were dealt an epic butt-whooping from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, newly minted Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler was busy leading his new team to a season-opening 19-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Cutler completed 24 of 33 passes for 230 yards, his first touchdown as a Dolphin, and posted a 101.8 quarterback rating. Cutty was impressive in his Dolphins debut. I mean, let’s be honest, who got the last laugh here? Certainly not the Bears.
It will be a long time before the Atlanta Falcons will escape the “28-3” stigma. The stigma where, whenever they get ahead convincingly, that there’s a possibility that they’ll blow the game ala Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots. As the Falcons opened their new stadium against the Green Bay Packers, there was an eery feeling as the Falcons headed into the fourth quarter sporting a convincing 34-10 lead. While the Aaron Rodger-led Packers fought back, the Falcons were able to stave off Green Bay and all of the people waiting to cry “28-3” as the Falcons defeated Green Bay 34-23.
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
This is just how bad the Cincinnati Bengals offense is. They join the 1936 Philadelphia Eagles as the only other team to not score a touchdown in their first two games of the season. That’s eight quarters of football. At home. With A.J. Green on your freaking team. They were so bad that offensive coordinator Ken Zampese was fired the day after this atrocious offensive showing. The Bengals offense is, wait for it, offensive.
Thursday Night Football
Honestly, that had to be one of the worst NFL games I’ve watched in awhile. And the only reason that game remained on my television throughout its duration was because 1) It’s football and 2) There was nothing else on since fall TV doesn’t start for another couple of weeks.
After the Chicago Bears stuck with the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons a week ago, the Bears gave a careless fan base hope that perhaps they were better than everyone was thinking they were. And then Sunday happened. Just a miserable performance all around for the Bears in a 29-7 butt-whooping at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And perhaps the most generous aspect of the defeat was the final score — because it was much worse than the score showed. Immobile placeholder Mike Glennon turned the ball over three times in the first half — including a pick six — while Tarik Cohen made a costly special teams mistake that set up the Bucs for their first touchdown of the game in the red-zone.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett did exactly what an NFL head coach should not do: Throw his players under the bus. Following the Cowboys’ embarrassing 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, Garrett placed the blame of the loss squarely on second year quarterback Dak Prescott. He blamed Prescott’s inability to get the passing game going as the reason they lost. Never mind Ezekiel Elliott’s dismal showing. Or the Cowboys defense failing to show up. No, According to Garrett, this loss is on Prescott. Garrett threw his quarterback under the bus. You just don’t do that. You stand tall by your starting quarterback, like Chicago Bears coach John Fox did in blindly defending Mike Glennon’s atrocious performance. Even though we knew he was lying, he stood by his guy. That’s what you need to do as a coach. What Garrett did was despicable.
Not even Dallas Cowboys fans were asking their team to feed Ezekiel Elliott after an unimpressive outing against the Denver Broncos. Elliott, the league’s leading rusher in 2016, resembled anything but that elite rusher Cowboys fans have grown accustomed to. Elliott’s worst game up to this point? A 51-yard rushing performance and a score. But Sunday against the Broncos, Elliott had nine rushes for eight yards and no touchdowns. Hell, there was a point in the third quarter where Elliott had zero rushing yards. Not exactly what you’d expect from the NFL’s leading rusher from a year ago. Not to mention that Elliott gave up on his team. Not exactly what you want from one of your supposed leaders on this team.
New York Giants
Talk about a complete and utter disappointment of a start to the season for the New York Giants. Even with the return of Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants offense continued to embarrass themselves in a 24-10 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions. Just how bad are things? Giants coach Ben McAdoo is throwing his two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning under the bus. For what? Not being able to find receivers that won’t drop the ball behind a makeshift offensive line where Ereck Flowers got his ass beat on a series by series basis?
Who were your winners and losers of Week 2 of the NFL season?