There are few things quite as great as sitting on the couch in the same exact spot for nearly 11 hours watching nonstop sports. That’s what Sunday was with an awesome NFL slate (and a great Lakers/Nuggets game, too) from start to finish. The early slate of NFL action gave us five games down the wire, the KC-LA game went into overtime, and then the nightcap was an absolute slugfest between New England and Seattle. Let’s hope for more of this next week.
Here are the winners and losers from Week 2 NFL action.
Week 2 Winners
The Witching Hour
Every Sunday between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time we have the hope that there will be a few close games that we can keep monitoring as they come to conclusion. This is referred to as The Witching Hour, and Sunday’s was great. We had five games go down to the wire within that hour. Outside of watching your favorite team win, few things can pump adrenaline through your veins like watching Redzone during The Witching Hour on a great Sunday of NFL action, and Week 2 delivered in that realm.
Maybe Murray will get figured out by NFL defenses at some point, maybe he won’t. Either way, right now the second-year quarterback is one hell of a show. After beating San Francisco in the fashion they did last week, the Cardinals’ win over Washington wasn’t the least bit surprising. The NFC West is going to be a bloodbath all year long, but if the Cardinals keep playing like this they cannot be counted out, and if Murray keeps playing like this he’ll be counting how many MVP ballots he appears on at the end of the year.
Los Angeles Rams
After a Week 1 win over Dallas at home, the Rams went east to play Philadelphia and looked great again. This team looks more like the team that made it to the Super Bowl in 2019 than the team that missed the playoffs last season. They’re playing in what is probably the best division in football this season, but a 2-0 start lets them keep pace at the top, and both wins have been very impressive, too.
Last week we said that there was no reason to say that any team other than the Chiefs was the best in football? Well, Baltimore might be that reason. The Ravens look every bit as good as Kansas City, if not better. Last week they shellacked the Browns and it was sort of chalked up to, ‘Oh, it’s the Browns.’ This week they ran the Texans out of their own building. Not only does Lamar Jackson look like he’s ready to repeat as MVP, but the defense looks like it might be one of the best in the NFL. Next week this won’t be as much of a discussion, the play on the field should tell us who the better team is between an undefeated Baltimore and undefeated Kansas City.
Yeah, it’s a bit odd listing a kicker as a winner, but Harrison Butker deserves it. Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers went into overtime thanks to some ridiculous play from Patrick Mahomes in the fourth quarter, but Butker showed some serious stones with the win on the line. Not only did he nail the game-tying field goal as time expired in regulation, but he lined up the game-winning kick THREE total times in overtime. Butker’s first attempt was good from 53-yards, but a very late whistle on a false start wiped that away. The ball was pushed back five yards, a late timeout was called, but Butker still nailed the 58-yard attempt that didn’t count. When the kick was finally for real, Butker made it for the third time giving KC the win. We rag on kickers pretty often when they struggle, but Butker deserves some serious credit for this.
The winners section of this column typically doesn’t include guys that didn’t actually win on Sunday, but Justin Herbert was worth the exception. Herbert got the last minute start after Tyrod Taylor was listed as questionable with a chest injury suffered during pregame and Herbert didn’t disappoint. In his first NFL action Herbert battled one of the game’s best and came up just short. He completed 22 passes for 311 yards, one score, and one pick.
The discussion of whether or not Russell Wilson is underrated took place on the Sunday Night Football broadcast and it’s one that might have some validity. Wilson has never once received an MVP vote, but may be the most consistent signal caller in the league. Sunday night was the perfect way to close out a great day of football. Wilson was fantastic for Seattle. He showed off over and over again that he’s the best deep ball thrower in the game, and made things look really easy against New England. Through two games, Wilson has nine touchdown passes and only 11 incompletions. That’s absolutely insane. Credit to Cam Newton and the Patriots, too.
The Browns went into Thursday night’s game against Cincinnati with a ton of pressure on them. It felt like if Cleveland didn’t play well, Baker Mayfield’s status as the starter was going to be questioned, Odell Beckham Jr. trade rumors were going to be deafeningly loud, and rookie head coach Kevin Stefanski was going to have a lot of explaining to do. Instead, the Browns looked great on offense against a below-average Bengals squad. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt looked like the best running back duo in the NFL, Mayfield played his best game in almost a year, and we don’t have to hear about any more chemistry issues between Mayfield and Beckham Jr. for at least another week.
Week 2 Losers
It’s no secret that football is a violent game but this might be the worst Sunday in recent memory in terms of injuries. A number of guys were forced to leave the game with significant injuries throughout the course of the day. It felt like everyone’s phone kept buzzing with a new Adam Schefter tweet every three minutes to pass along more injury news. Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, and Solomon Thomas all have likely ACL tears, Jimmy Garoppolo, Breshard Perriman, and Christian McCaffrey all left with ankle injuries, Raheem Mostert sprained his MCL, and Drew Lock had to leave the game with a shoulder injury just to name a few. Here’s hoping to quick recoveries for everyone that suffered some sort of significant injury on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers
It definitely looks odd to see a team that actually won – and in convincing fashion – in the losers column. The win was nice over a bad New York Jets team, but the cost of the victory could prove to be quite a bit. Nick Bosa likely tore his ACL, same thing with Solomon Thomas, and Jimmy Garoppolo left the game with a high ankle sprain that might knock him out of game action next week. Raheem Mostert also left the game with a knee injury and could stand to miss some time. The NFC West might be the best division in football, and this win might set the Niners playoff hopes back quite a bit.
New York Football
Where to even start here? The Jets absolutely stink. They just drafted Sam Darnold back in 2018 but right now they look like the team that’s in the driver’s seat for Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft. Darnold doesn’t look good, the defense looks worse, and there just isn’t much of a reason to have any sort of optimism if you’re a Jets fan right now.
As for the Giants, Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears tried giving the game away to the Giants but Daniel Jones just wasn’t good enough to go and take it. This was Jones’ 15th career game in the NFL and it featured his 26th and 27th turnovers, which isn’t great. But above all, Saquon Barkley tore his ACL during the loss and will be out for the year. Just an absolutely brutal day for football in the Big Apple.
The Atlanta Falcons, big leads, and the State of Texas don’t go well together. Matt Ryan and company raced out to a 20-0 lead over Dallas on Sunday and found themselves up by 19 points at half. The second half was a shootout that saw the Falcons implode. Sure, 39 points scored should be plenty to win most weeks in the NFL, and this loss shouldn’t be put on the offense. Allowing Dallas to come all the way back and win on a last second field goal? That’s bad. Watching the onside kick spin past 10 yards allowing the Cowboys to jump on it? Absolutely inexcusable. This all-time choke job by the Falcons was the biggest blown lead they’ve had since, you guessed it, the 28-3 lead over the Patriots in Super Bowl LI in Houston. The Cowboys do deserve some credit for pulling this off, but this felt way more like a choke than a comeback.
The Eagles definitely lost to a better team in the Rams on Sunday afternoon. That’s what needs to be said first and foremost. Wentz didn’t play well and very well may not be the same guy he was when he was an MVP favorite prior to a torn ACL ending his season back in 2018. The worst part of the day for him wasn’t either of the interceptions he threw, but rather the fact that he got booed off the field, at home, WITH NO FANS IN ATTENDANCE. If you’re not an Eagles fan, that may be the best moment of the season so far, and certainly one of the funniest.
The Minnesota Vikings look nothing like the team that’s been in the playoffs in two of the last three seasons. Kirk Cousins turned in an absolute dud in the loss to Indianapolis. The Vikings’ first drive of the game saw Cousins lead them down the field for a field goal. The next eight drives saw Minnesota gain only 43 total yards, turn the ball over three times, and take a safety. Just absolutely brutal stuff. The Vikings just inked Cousins to an extension, but maybe for them it’s time to go all-in on the tank for Trevor Lawrence.