Surprising Lessons From Week 2 of the NFL Season

The second week of this year’s NFL season was full of surprises; the Chargers rule the roost, the Atlantic Falcons are addicted to drama, and the Ravens never seem to lose, at least not during the regular season.

After a week wrought by upsets, a semblance of the usual NFL order has been restored, with 14 of the 15 favorites dominating the lead into the gameplay in Las Vegas. The only favorite to face defeat was the Eagles.

However, it was a hard road to those victories, as a number of star players were lost to injuries; someinjuries could even be season-ending.

Here are a few of the surprising things that we learned. Any NFL fan wanting to place a wager at one of the nearby sportsbooks in New Jersey better pay attention. Things are not always as they seem.

The Atlanta Falcons have an addiction to the dramatic. For a team that was already synonymous with bad numbers, such as 28-3, made that even worse with 29-10. Sadly, those were the numbers at halftime before a second-half collapse following the Dallas Cowboys’ win at 40-39. The Cowboys scored five out of six second-half possessions, but still needed a little bit of luck. That came with a recovered onside kick during the game’s final two minutes. Despite the ball bouncing past more than one Falcons player, the ball was easily recovered by the Cowboys.

Don’t automatically count on Cam Newton at the goal line. With just seconds to play, the New England Patriots’ quarterback was right on the 1-yard line, trailing by 5. Newton already had two rushing touchdowns, 47 rushing yards, and 397 passing yards in the game, and the Patriots were on the verge of an unexpected comeback. But, just when the Patriots seemed to have the game in the bag, Newton met his match with Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier. Collier shot into the backfield, upending Newton, winning for the Seahawks, 35-30.

Justin Herbert is one to watch. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor was out of the game at the last-minute after experiencing breathing difficulty. Herbert was quickly off the bench and in his first NFL game. Herbert was nothing short of fabulous, nearly beating Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions. Herbert threw for 311 yards and achieved a touchdown, becoming just the third quarterback in NFL history to have 300 passing yards and a rushing touchdown in their game.

Preseason games are surprisingly important. This week’s number of star player injuries should emphasize this year’s lack of preseason games. The team hardest hit by injuries is the San Francisco 49ers, who added running back Raheem Mostert, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and defensive end Nick Bosa to the injury list, alongside Richard Sherman and George Kittle. But the San Francisco 49ers weren’t alone. The Denver Broncos dropped quarterback Drew Lock for a few weeks with a shoulder injury and the Los Angeles Giants dropped running back Saquon Barkley to a knee injury.

The Packers keep breaking records. Green Bay’s legendary offense has been phenomenal for the last two games, scoring a total of 85 points over two N.F.C. North rivals. According to Pro Football Reference, it’s only the fourth time in Packer history that the team has scored 40-plus in two consecutive games. Moreover, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams dominated Week 1, when he tied a 78-year-old Packers record with 14 receptions. In Week 2, running back Aaron Jones proved himself as the team’s leading rusher and its leading receiver. Jones has an amazing 236 yards from scrimmage and a total of three touchdowns.

The Ravens simply don’t lose, at least not during the regular season. The Baltimore Ravens won their 14th straight regular-season game, defeating the Houston Texans, 33-16. This was despite Lamar Jackson making just one touchdown and throwing a modest 204 yards. In fact, none of the Raven’s notable runners racked up more than 73 yards on the ground. The win was a full-team effort, with Jackson, Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and the rookie J.K. Dobbins with a combined run of 230 yards on 37 carries. In the meantime, Raven’s defense successfully held off Deshaun Watson, scoring points with L.J. Fort’s fumble recovery for a surprising touchdown.

Last Week’s Top Runner: Aaron Jones

Jones was all over the place in Green Bay’s dominating win over the Detroit Lions. Jones ran hard for 168 yards, then topped it off with another 68 yards with four receptions. Finally, Jones scored three times, giving him four for the season.

Last Week’s Top Passer: Josh Allen

Josh Allen became the first Buffalo Bills quarterback to exceed 300 passing yards during a game in four years. As a result, Allen became the first to top 400 passing yards in a game since 2002. According to the NFL, Allen also became the fourth quarterback to have no interceptions, more than 700 passing yards, and six-plus touchdowns in his team’s first two season games.

Last Week’s Top Receiver: Stefon Diggs

A rising tide lifts all boats, and former Vikings star receiver Stefon Diggs floated the boat for the Buffalo Bills. The field has also opened up for both Cole Beasley and John Brown, sending Buffalo off to a 2-0 start. Diggs led Buffalo in both yards and receptions for a second consecutive game, scoring on a 22-yard pass from quarterback Josh Allen in the second quarter. Allen also scored some much-needed insurance points in the fourth quarter, when he was able to throw the ball to wide receiver John Brown.

The Final Word About Last Sunday’s Games

While the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 31-17, quarterback Tom Brady is still not up to his usual standards; Brady threw for just 217 yards, one interception, and one touchdown. But the Buccaneers don’t need Brady to throw the ball while running back Leonard Fournette is hard-charging for 103 yards on just 12 carries. That could mean the Buccaneer’s defense will pile up five sacks while forcing four turnovers.

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About the Author: Brian Novak