After a wild week one, it would be expected if Week 2 failed to match the same excitement. Instead, it exceeded that, with so many field goals and yet another tie, this one between the Vikings and Packers. Let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from Week 2.
Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
Without running back Leonard Fournette, it was fair to question if the Jaguars were going to be able to put enough points to compete with the reigning AFC Champion Patriots. They were able to do more than that. Jacksonville put up 31 points on the Pats, as quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 377 yards and 4 touchdowns, while also rushing for 35 yards. All the Jags need is for Bortles to be a game manager, however, their ceiling is through the roof if Bortles continues to make plays like he did on Sunday. The defense did everything they could so as well, as they pressured quarterback Tom Brady constantly and held tight end Rob Gronkowski to two catches for 15 yards. Jacksonville’s 31-20 win was done in dominant fashion, and they are starting to look like possibly the team to beat in the AFC.
Loser: Pittsburgh Steelers
After last week’s tie with the Browns, the Steelers were expected to take care of business at home against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Instead, Mahomes threw for 6 touchdowns, the Chiefs had two receivers with over 100 yards, and the Chiefs dropped 42 points on them. It was a pathetic effort by the defense, as there were countless amounts of blown coverages and missed tackles. The defense simply looked too slow to keep up with all the playmakers Kansas City has. The offense scored 37 points, but their slow start caused them to fall behind 21-0. Because of this, their offense became completely one dimensional as Ben Roethlisberger had a whopping 60 pass attempts, while James Conner rushed the ball 7 times for 18 yards. Add in the fact that receiver Antonio Brown added an extra level to their drama by ranting on the sidelines and sending skeptic tweets, and the Steelers sure don’t look like Super Bowl contenders at the moment.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Instead of slowing down like everyone expected after beating the Saints in New Orleans 48-40, the Buccaneers continued to roll along in Week 2 against the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles. Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently playing like an MVP candidate, as he threw for 402 yards and 4 touchdowns. His chemistry with the team’s top two receivers is evident, as #1 receiver Mike Evans had 10 receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown while DeSean Jackson had four receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. Second-year tight end OJ Howard also turned in a promising performance with 96 receiving yards and a touchdown. With so many playmakers, Tampa’s offense should continue to produce at a high level, at least until Fitzpatrick comes down to earth. On defense, Tampa did allow 412 total yards, but they only allowed 21 points. They bent, but they didn’t break, and that’s all that matters. Tampa Bay was expected to start the year 0-3 in what was considered a brutal opening stretch, but they have a chance to start 3-0 if they can beat the Steelers and their horrendous defense at home on Monday Night Football.
Loser: Houston Texans
It’s safe to say that the Texans are not the team that they were hyped up to be. After a tough loss to the Patriots last week, Houston had a chance to get to 1-1 by simply defeating a Titans team that was without its starting quarterback, tight end, or either of its tackles. Instead, Houston found a way to lose this game. They won almost every statistical category. They had nearly 200 more total yards, more yards per play, and were much better in third downs. Tennesee, however, was able to sneak away with the win with a 66-yard fake punt touchdown pass thrown by safety Kevin Byard, and a couple late field goals by Ryan Succop. The main reason Houston lost this game was that they put themselves in a 14-0 hole early. They’ve yet to have a lead in a game and are constantly playing in catch up. If Houston wants to contend with top-tier teams, they can’t be practically giving teams a free two-score lead. The Texans’ ultimate goal is to compete for a Super Bowl, but right now they can’t even beat Blaine Gabbert. It might be time for the Texans and head coach Bill O’Brien to part ways, as he doesn’t look like the right fit to lead this team.
Winner: Miami Dolphins
Before the season, many saw the Dolphins as the worst team in football. I had them for three wins. Well, they better go 1-13 the rest of the season because they’re already 2-0 and turning heads. Miami’s victory at the Jets yesterday wasn’t flashy, but it didn’t need to be. A couple Sam Darnold interceptions gave Miami an early edge, and they never looked back from there. They jumped out to a 20-0 lead at halftime and ended up winning 20-12. Ryan Tannehill didn’t put up super numbers with 168 yards and two touchdowns, but he completed 74% of his passes and also rushed for 44 yards. If he continues to be efficient and not careless with the football, Miami’s offense should consistently produce. Running back Kenyan Drake had 4.8 yards per carry, and seven different players had a reception for the Dolphins. On defense, Miami forced four turnovers and held the Jets to 42 yards. They weren’t perfect- they missed an extra point and had two fumbles- but they were good enough to win on the road, which is never a small task. They may not be as talented as other teams, but the Dolphins seem to mesh together extremely well. With an extremely winnable game at home against the Raiders next week, Miami has a chance to be 3-0 when they travel to New England to try to dethrone the Pats.
Loser: Washington Redskins
With the Eagles losing and going to 1-1, the Redskins would have been in first place if they were able to beat the mediocre Colts at home. They instead came out flat, losing 21-9. On offense, their running backs combined for just 22 rushing yards and they struggled on third down. They continuously failed to capitalize on their opportunities and looked completely out of sync with a struggling running game. The defense wasn’t much better, as Washington let rookie running back Jordan Wilkins average 6.1 yards per carry and sacked Andrew Luck just once, surprising considering Indianapolis’ offensive line is still one of the weaker ones in the NFL. Washington had first place right in front of them and just let it slip away in a game they needed to have. With a tough schedule, they may have just squandered any chance of them making a playoff push unless they are able to win some of their tougher games they aren’t expected to win. Next week’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers should give us a quick understanding of what this team’s identity truly is.