Analysis

Takeaways from Every Week 2 Game

What happened this week?

Takeaways from Every Week 2 Game

Browns 35, Bengals 30

Browns: More Chubb and Hunt, Less Mayfield

When Cleveland hired Kevin Stefanski to be its head coach, he brought along the run-oriented offense he used in Minnesota with Dalvin Cook. On Thursday, the power of the running back in Stefanski’s offense was on display. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for four scores and 234 total yards in the win. 

Baker Mayfield’s job becomes a lot easier when the offense isn’t on his shoulders. It also opens up the field more such as the 43-yard play-action bootleg throw to Odell Beckham Jr. 

Bengals: Burrow Functional Despite Lack of Supporting Cast Help

Thursday night viewers could all tell Myles Garrett dominated the Bengals offensive line. At times, A.J. Green and Tee Higgins dropped passes. Joe Mixon has yet to get going on the ground. Nevertheless, Joe Burrow has made this offense flow a lot better than it did last year. The Bengals only reached 30 points or more twice last year, and that’s a testament to Burrow’s play. 

Bears 17, Giants 13

Bears: Trubisky’s Current Form Gives Chicago A Chance

Everyone has made a Mitchell Trubisky joke, or two. However, if he continues to play the way he has the past five quarters it turns the Bears into playoff contenders. Chicago’s defense looks to be back in the top 10 range, meaning Trubisky doesn’t have to be great, just good enough. In the first half, Trubisky was able to use his legs to help throw both of his touchdowns. His day would have been even better had Anthony Miller not dropped a perfect throw in the end zone. 

Giants: Becoming Completely One Dimensional on Offense

Saquon Barkley left Sunday’s game with a knee injury that was later confirmed as a torn  ACL. The Giants were already struggling to run the ball despite having one of the most talented running backs in the league. It’s doubtful Dion Lewis and potentially Devonta Freeman, who the Giants are bringing in for a visit, can do a better job than Barkley was doing. Now, if the Giants have to  drop back and pass all the time, Daniel Jones’ life becomes a lot tougher. 

Bills 31, Dolphins 28

Bills: Buffalo’s Offense Looks Upgrade

The addition of Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen appearing to have taken another step in his progression have unlocked another gear in this offense. Buffalo only averaged 19.6 points per game last season, which ranked 23rd in the league. Now, the Bills have let Allen sling it two straight weeks, seeing him surpass 300 and 400 yard thresholds. Diggs, John Brown and even Gabriel Davis have helped turn a once stagnant offense in the league, to potentially one of the most electric. 

Dolphins: The Defense Still Has a Ways to Go

Josh Allen had never thrown for 300 yards entering this season. He threw for 417 yards against the Dolphins on Sunday. Miami struggled to develop any type of pass rush. After Byron Jones left with an injury, Miami trusted rookie Noah Igbinoghene to cover Stefon Diggs. That did not go well for the Dolphins. A week after New England dominated Miami on the ground, Buffalo did everything it wanted through the air. Miami invested a lot into its defense this offseason, expecting more from Brian Flores’ group after two weeks. 

Cowboys 40, Falcons 39

Cowboys: The Offense Will Keep Dallas In Any Game

Dallas had no business winning this game. Although, Dak Prescott — missing both his starting tackles — willed this team to a win. The Cowboys looked destined for a 0-2 start after a disastrous first half that included three turnovers. Nevertheless, Dallas scored 30 points in the second half and racked up 570 total yards to earn the win because of their playmakers like Prescott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott. This win is one that can change the course of the season for a team. 

Falcons: Keeping Dan Quinn Looks Like the Wrong Choice 

Altanta’s four-game winning streak to end last season saved Dan Quinn’s job. Two weeks into the season, the Falcons still have the same issues from last season. The secondary is a complete liability, the defense still can’t stop anyone. The offense scores plenty of points, but looks stagnant at times. The window for Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the decent pieces of the defense is closing and the 2020 season looks to be a lost one already. Blowing a 15-point lead with eight minutes left doesn’t help Quinn’s case. 

Packers 42, Lions 21

Packers: Don’t Forget About Aaron Jones

Aaron Rodgers stole the show Week 1. Week 2 belonged to Aaron Jones. After leading the league in touchdowns last season, Jones reminded the league how talented he is. He rushed for 168 yards, including a 75-yard dash past the Detroit defense. Then after Davante Adams left due to injury, Jones finished as the Packers leading receiver. If Adams were to miss time, Jones would pick up more of the load similar to last season. The bigger question through two weeks is why the Packers spent their top two picks in the 2020 draft on a quarterback and running back? 

Lions: Where is Matt Patricia’s Defense? 

The Lions can’t keep playing poorly on defense and Matt Patricia keeps his job. Detroit had zero answer for Aaron Jones. Patricia’s team has allowed over 850 yards of offense over the first two weeks. A head coach’s third year should have a culture or respect earned on the side he’s more proficient in, and Patricia hasn’t done that. Detroit looks headed for another coaching search. 

Titans 33, Jaguars 30

Titans: This isn’t a Derrick Henry Only Offense

Derrick Henry only had 84 yards on Sunday, yet the Titans still scored 33 points. Despite AJ Brown missing this contest, Ryan Tannehill tossed four touchdowns. Jonnu Smith once again showed the ceiling he has as a player. Corey Davis and Adam Humphries each stepped up in Brown’s absence. Arthur Smith remains one of the most underrated offensive coordinators.

Jaguars: Jacksonville Won’t Finish as the Worst Team

Unless Jacksonville goes through a drastic change between now and the end of the season, it won’t hold the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jaguars hired Jay Gruden as their offensive coordinator and he has used the offensive tools very well. Gardner Minshew’s play thus far has put them out of reach from the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, but that can certainly change. 

Colts 28, Vikings 11

Colts: DeForest Buckner Opens up the Defense

The Colts’ investment in DeForest Buckner was one of the biggest moves of the offseason. On Sunday, Indianapolis got a glimpse of Buckner’s impact. The former 49er recorded 1.5 sacks against the Vikings, one for a safety. 

On the safety, Buckner absorbs a double team, meanwhile Denico Autry jumps off his block to get the initial pressure on Kirk Cousins. Buckner ends up with the sack, but his influence on the result came before the sack. 

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Vikings: Minnesota is in Trouble

The Minnesota defense has its own issues between injuries and the inexperienced secondary. Although, that’s not been the biggest issue. In seven quarters — excluding the 24-point fourth quarter against Green Bay that was mostly garbage time touchdowns — Minnesota has scored 21 total points. Stefon Diggs is an excellent player, but his absence doesn’t create this much difference. It starts at the most important position, Kirk Cousins simply needs to play better. 

49ers 31, Jets 13:

49ers: Injuries can Derail San Francisco

San Francisco lost Nick Bosa for the rest of the season. Other players that were injured in the win were Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Soloman Thomas. The 49ers were already without George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. San Francisco had all the pieces for another chance at the Super Bowl, but it won’t do so with all these injuries. 

Jets: How Bad can it get for the Jets? 

Adam Gase’s offense is one thing. How about letting Raheem Mostert score a 80-yard touchdown untouched on a simple toss play? Or allowing the 49ers to convert a third-and-31 on a 55-yard run? New York shows zero signs of life under Gase. Don’t be surprised if Trevor Lawrence is suited up in MetLife Stadium next season. 

Rams 37, Eagles 19

Rams: Sean McVay is Still a Great Coach

People started to doubt Sean McVay’s coaching ability last season. He is quickly making people remember the talented mind that he is. McVay makes things easy for Jared Goff, who started 13-for-13 and two touchdowns against the Eagles. He also made the aggressive call to go for it on a fourth-and-1 on his own 31-yard line late in the third quarter. That goes against his past and McVay adapting is scary for the rest of the NFL. 

Let’s look at this play design to Cooper Kupp. We’ve seen Goff roll out for these throws plenty of times since McVay arrived in Los Angeles. Three receivers run routes to the left, turning defenders’ heads away from the middle of the field. Kupp fakes a seal block before standing wide open for a big gain down the middle. 

Eagles: Carson Wentz’s Leash is Getting Shorter

Wentz had another two-interception game. Eventually the injuries and lack of weapons excuses become overused. The Eagles obviously felt like they needed a backup plan when they picked Jalen Hurts in the second round of the draft last season. Philadelphia’s window for winning is closing quickly and the next one might not include Wentz at this rate. 

Steelers 26, Broncos 21

Steelers: Pittsburgh’s Offense is Fun Again

Ben Roethlisberger isn’t back to his prime or anything like that, but his presence brings the Steeler offense back to a good place. Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron, and James Washington all had a role in the passing game. Pittsburgh even got a healthy dominant James Conner, who had a 100-plus yard game and a touchdown. 

Broncos: Injuries Slowing Down the Offense

Denver lost quarterback Drew Lock and wide receiver Courtland Sutton against the Steelers. Sutton’s season appears over because of a knee injury, meanwhile Lock should return in 2-6 weeks according to reports. The potentially explosive offense looks likely to need another year before coming together. 

Buccaneers 31, Panthers 17

Buccaneers: Tampa Bay’s Defense Good Enough to be Super Bowl Caliber 

Tampa Bay forced four turnovers and generated five sacks against Carolina. Lavonte David led the way earning a 90 PFF grade, one of the best defensive grades from Sunday. Rookie safety Antoine Winfield has also become a nice piece for the Bucs. He had 11 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the win. 

On this play, Winfield is able to stop Christian McCaffrey in space to force a punt. Not many defenders in the league can hang with McCaffrey one-on-one and make a solo tackle. 

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Panthers: Teddy Bridgewater Looking More like a Bridge Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater was responsible for three of Carolina’s four turnovers. The Panthers have plenty of weapons and a good offensive staff, yet Bridgewater was inaccurate and trying to do too much. PFF currently ranks Carolina as the favorite for the first overall pick, and Bridgewater’s contract doesn’t hold down the Panthers enough to pass on Trevor Lawrence. 

Cardinals 30, Washington 15

Cardinals: Kyler Murray Is Slipping His Name Onto the MVP Ballot

All the offseason hype for Kyler Murray has stood true through two weeks. Murray spread the ball around more against Washington, finding seven different receivers on Sunday. Even in the second half when Washington started putting more pressure on Arizona, the former first overall pick used his legs to be a playmaker to find the end zone twice. The Cardinals have Detroit, Carolina, and the New York Jets over the next three weeks.Murray could be building his resume to a potential MVP campaign. 

Washington: Terry McLaurin Continues to be Great

The Washington Football Team has had multiple halves with lifeless offense. The spark in the second half against Arizona came from star wide receiver Terry McLaurin brought in seven catches for 125 yards and a score. There was more out there for McLaurin, but like most of his career his quarterback only did so much for him. 

Chiefs 23, Chargers 20

Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes isn’t Human

The Kansas City offense had one of its worst days since Patrick Mahomes took over. It didn’t matter. Once again Mahomes picked up his team with spectacular play. His connection to Tyreek Hill to tie the game was one of his best throws to date. Mahomes was also able to convert a third-and-20 with his legs to set up the field goal and send it to overtime. 

Chargers: Herbert Impresses in Debut

Justin Herbert found out he was the Chargers starting quarterback on Sunday, five to 10 seconds before kickoff as he told reporters. Inserted for the injured Tyrod Taylor, Herbert played very well versus a solid defense and certainly made the Los Angeles offense look better than it did in Week 1. Coach Anthony Lynn said it’s Taylor’s job if he’s healthy, but Herbert should be the one for the rest of the season. 

Ravens 33, Texans 16

Ravens: Baltimore Looks Top Notch Again

Through two weeks, nobody will argue that the Baltimore Ravens look like the NFL’s best team again. In the dominant win over Houston, the Ravens didn’t even appear to get Lamar Jackson’s best stuff, and frankly it didn’t matter. The defense was flying around, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey made excellent plays to create turnovers. The Ravens from top to bottom appear to be the NFL’s best team thus far. 

Texans: Houston We Have a Problem

The Texans don’t appear to be trending up. Deshaun Watson does everything he can to make this offense function, but thus far it doesn’t matter. He is not getting much from his playmakers or defense. With Pittsburgh’s vicious defense on the horizon, it doesn’t get any easier to get out of the whole. 

Seahawks 35, Patriots 30

Seahawks: Wilson Stays in the Kitchen

Stephon Gilmore had the longest streak in the NFL for not allowing a touchdown. Mr. Unlimited aka Russell Wilson stopped that on Sunday night. Wilson threw another five touchdowns against the Patriots including the 54-yard strike to DK Metcalf over Gilmore. Wilson has been the best player in the NFL through two weeks and the new look Seattle offense is a thrill to see. 

Patriots: Not just Ground and Pound

After Cam Newton ran all over the Dolphins in Week 1, everyone expected a similar game plan against Seattle. There were flashes of it, instead Newton reminded everyone about his arm talent. Throw after thow, Newton was finding pockets to fit balls into. His 397 passing yards were the third most in his career. He found Julian Edelmen for 179 yards, a career-high mark for the veteran wide receiver. 

Raiders 34, Saints 24

Raiders: Waller, Jacobs, and a Solid Offense 

Darren Waller was targeted 16 times while no other Raider got more than three. Waller turned that into 103 yards and a score. Add in the work from Josh Jacobs on the ground, the Raiders gave New Orleans fits on defense. If Las Vegas can start getting those deep balls to Henry Ruggs , then this offense reaches another level. 

Saints: Offense that isn’t Kamara

Alvin Kamara kept the Saints in the contest on Monday night. He had 174 total yards and a pair of scores in an excellent performance. What about everyone else? Drew Brees had a rough night while missing his top target Michael Thomas. Emmanuel Sanders, who was brought in to be the second wide receiver, had one catch. Tre’Quan Smith was the only other Saint to surpass 50 total yards. New Orleans has looked less than ideal through two weeks. 

 

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Brady Vernon

Brady Vernon is a recent graduate of Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree through Gonzaga University. He is an avid sports fan with aspirations of being a NFL Beat Reporter or a role in a NFL front office. Follow him on Twitter @BradyVernon

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