What We Learned and Takeaways from Week 2 in the NFL

Photo Credit: Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports. (848)

After a week of celebrating the return of the NFL, we are all now invested in this season and what it could bring. As usual, we have the QB controversies, head coaches on the brink of getting fired, and the various storylines that keep us glued to the NFL. Last week, we learned and took away that the Rams looked liked serious NFC contenders, Newton needs serious WR help, and that the Lions defense has serious work to do.

What did we learn and take away from Week 2 in the NFL?

The sad Peyton Manning decline continues

We all know that the greats and superstars of the NFL will eventually see their skills and talent decline, but in the case of Broncos QB Peyton Manning, it has been a sad and miserable decline. He left Broncos fans in worry after how last season ended and now the worry has turned into a real concern. 39-year-old Peyton Manning went 26/45 with 3 TD’s and 1 INT and was sacked three times in his game vs the Chiefs on TNF. It was also Peyton’s first game of at least 3 TD’s in 7 games.

If you did not see the TNF game vs the Chiefs, well, he was out of sync and inaccurate. He was overthrowing passes, under thrown wide open receivers, and struggling to get the deep pass going. He even overthrew Virgil Green on a short pass to his right. It’s still early in the season to say he is done and bench him for Brock Osweiler, but it’s a serious concern for Denver. The defense won’t be making clutch TD turnovers every game to save Peyton.

But when it mattered, Peyton did this:

Steelers defense is not as bad as we thought

A once proud, respected, and feared Steelers defense left fans in sour terms after their performance against the Patriots in the season opener. Brady even had a streak of 16 straight completed passes. Today, the Steelers defense bounced back and had a positive showing.

They held Kaepernick and the 49ers to just 3 points through 3 quarters. 49ers were able to score 15 points in garbage time in the 4th, but that is all they were able to obtain. The Steelers owned the 49ers offensive line as the pressured and hit Kaepernick and made him uncomfortable in the pocket all game long. Their drive of the day was no doubt their goal line stand that ended with a Dawson 47 yard FG. They forced one turnover and sacked Kaepernick five times. The Steelers secondary is still a work in progress in pass coverage, but it showed much improvement. Steelers front seven was impressive in the fact that they had NINE tackles for a loss and contained Carlos Hyde to just 43 yards

Player of the game for the Steelers defense is obviously LB Ryan Shazier: 15 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, and 3 tackles for a loss.

New York Giants defense chokes in the clutch… again

For the 2nd straight week, the Giants defense blew a lead late in the 4th. This time, Matt Ryan and the Falcons went 70 yards all accumulating to a Freeman TD run. Matt Ryan played like an NFL MVP against the Giants defense and Julio Jones was targeted 15 times and had 13 receptions for 135 yards. Romo and Ryan have now combined to throw for 700 yards in just two games against the Giants defense

We knew that the Giants defense would be mediocre at best, but it’s getting ugly. The veteran secondary trio for Brandon Meriweather, Prince Amukamara, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are struggling, especially late in games. Rookie Landon Collins is just adjusting to the NFL, but it has not been a positive start for him either.

Well Giants fans, you could have easily been celebrating a 2–0 but they are just stuck to celebrating OBJ highlight plays:

Redskins defense is no joke, overall, Redskins are not a joke

In two games against the Dolphins and Rams, the Redskins have given up a total of 27 points and 469 yards. They were seen as a mess before the season but so far, it turns out that it was all just a smokescreen, especially with how the RG3 situation had gone down. Trenton Robinson and Ryan Kerrigan are doing their best to hold a stable defense, and so far it has worked. This is a team that was supposed to see an RG3/Gruden controversy play out throughout the season, but so far this team is putting it all behind.

Kirk Cousins has played better than many expected. He was an inconsistent turnover machine during his last couple of years but so far he has been the complete opposite. He has gone 44/58 (75%) for 399 yards and 2 TD’s/2INT’s. Cousins will also now have a lethal duo running threat with Alfred Morris and the emerging Matt Jones.

The next games for the Redskins include: @NYG, vs Philly, @Atlanta, @NYJ, and vs Buccaneers. This team is capable of picking up some wins there and with the mess that the rest of the NFC East is going through, could we be seeing a 1st place Redskins after October?

Tom Brady and the Patriots silence the Bills

After another week of Rex Ryan and Bills trash talk directed towards the Patriots, they had nothing to show for in their Week 2 game against the Patriots. Brady went 38/59 for 466 yards and 3 TD’s. Pats had 506 yards of offense and forced Tyrod Taylor to throw 3 INT’s. Bills missed a gigantic opportunity to make a statement that they are ready to contend, but the Pats weren’t having it.

With another solid game for Gronk of over 100 receiving yards and a TD reception, time to start the #GronkforMVP2016 ?

Time to panic after an 0–2 start Lions, Saints, and Bears?

Panic time Saints? If it has not been evident yet, Drew Brees misses Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. Last week, RB Mark Ingram led the team in receptions and yards. Not the sign you want to see. This week, Brees got Cooks and Colston involved in the offense but it was not enough for the Saints. Defense has allowed over 700 yards combined to the Buccaneers and Cardinals.

The Saints have the Cowboys, Eagles, Falcons, and Colts next month. They will have LB Dannell Ellerbe back by then, but it will not be enough. Time for playmakers Browner and Vaccaro to step up, especially in next week’s must win game vs the Panthers. Verdict: If they lose next week’s game vs the Panthers, PANIC TIME

Panic time Bears? This Bears team was not expected to compete in the NFC, but it’s going to be a long miserable season for John Fox and company. They gave up 4 TD’s to Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler has a shoulder injury, and the defense looks like a trainwreck with no playmakers. Poor Jared Allen. 3 of their next 4 games will be road games against the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Lions. Verdict: PANIC TIME

Panic Time Lions: After allowing 30 straight points to Rivers en route to blowing the game vs the Chargers last week, they looked to have a bounce back game vs the Vikings. Well, instead they had another letdown loss. Stafford was forced to throw 53 times due to no running game. They looked lost and Adrian Peterson knocked out their defense with 134 rushing yards. Next three games? Broncos, Seahawks, and Cardinals. Verdict: No panicking in Detroit… just yet

Dysfunctional NFC East

With Dez Bryant already out for 8–12 months, Tony Romo was injured during the Cowboys/Eagles game fracturing his left clavicle. That means Brandon Weeden will be slated to start for the next two months. We also learned how the Eagles offense is a mess. They paid millions for Demarco Murray only to see him with 11 rushing yards TOTAL in 2 games. Only team in the division that has played well has been the Washington Redskins. Yes…the “mess and worst organization” Redskins.

NFC Championship rematch goes to…

In a rematch of the thrilling 2015 NFC Championship, the Packers got their revenge and beat the Seahawks 27–17. No surprise, Rodgers was invincible at Lambeau again going 25/33 with 249 yards and 2 TD’s. Packers held Lynch to just 41 yards. Even though Lacy went down due to injury, James Starks came off the bench with 20 carries for 95 yards. Putting up 361 yards against a tough Seahawks defense (even without Chancellor) is still impressive.

Safe to say that the Packers are the current best team in the NFC. The NFC East is in dysfunction, Vikings/Lions/Bears have not impressed, no team has stood out in the NFC South, and the NFC West is still looking for that clear leader, even though the Cardinals have played well so far. This win for the Packers could easily be their biggest of the season, considering the Seahawks win over GB last year gave them home-field advantage in the 2015 NFC Championship game.

So far, life without Jordy Nelson has been ok for the Packers.

Letdown players of Week 2

These players had a great start to their season last week in Week 1 but they had under performing games today:

Keenan Allen: Week 1- 15 receptions on 17 targets for 166 yards

Week 2- 2 receptions on 4 targets for 16 yards

Carlos Hyde: Week 1- 26 carries for 168 yards with 2 TD’s

Week 2- 14 carries for 43 yards

Aaron Donald: Week 1- 9 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, and 3 QB hits

Week 2- 5 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss

Quote of the day: “I mean we playing against Drew Brees, anything can happen”- Jameis Winston

Upset of the day: Carr leads the Raiders to a 37–33 win over the Ravens for their 1st win of the season.

Monday Night Football preview: Jets at Colts

The Todd Bowles era began for the Jets last week in a 31–10 win over the Browns were they forced 5 turnovers against Manziel and company. The Colts under performed in Week 1 turning over the ball 3 times in a 27–14 loss to the Bills.

One aspect to look forward to in this game is the Jets front seven pressure against Luck. Luck was pressured all game long vs the Bills as he was not able to get in a rhythm throughout the game. Getting Williams/Richardson as well as linebacker blitzes from David Harris and Calvin Pryor will be something that the Jets should look forward to if they want to see Week 1 Andrew Luck. The offensive line is just not strong, and if it gets ugly, bring in corner back blitzes to finish off the job.

Andrew Luck also needs to get Andre Johnson involved in the offense as he was targeted 10 times but caught only 4 balls for 24 yards. Assuming Hilton plays, he will likely be paired up Revis, leaving Johnson to get a favorable match up against likely CB Buster Skrine.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will hope to get the Jets to 2–0 but the Jets gameplan will likely involve more of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell on the running game. Both combined for over 150 yards rushing and they should be effective against the Colts defense.

Writer’s Note: All videos and gifs are credited to the NFL and their respective teams.