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NFL

NFL Week 2 roundup: winners, losers, comebacks, blowouts, injuries and doubts for next week

With the 2022 NFL season now in full swing, we look at each of the matchups and the winners, losers, and surprises across the entire league

Update:
With the 2022 NFL season now in full swing, we look at each of the matchups and the winners, losers, and surprises across the entire league
David EulittAFP

Week two brought us a few surprises, a few disasters, and a lot of action across the league. Let’s take a look at each game and what it means going forward.

Los Angeles Chargers 24-27 Kansas City Chiefs

In a top shelf game that was as close as you would like, the turning point came not from one of the duelling quarterbacks or even one of their highly-rated receivers, but from a lowly seventh-round draft pick. Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson, who was working alongside his mother at a Georgia Wendy’s just three years ago, took his first NFL interception back 99 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

In a game where both offenses showed that they belong at the top of the conference and are true contenders for the post season, it is only fitting that the difference between them was an amazing defensive play.

The Chiefs come out of this as the 2-0 leader of the AFC West, but the Chargers sit just below them at 1-1, with the thinnest of margins between the two teams.

Miami Dolphins 42-38 Baltimore Ravens

In a game that was record-setting for both teams, this was definitely the game of the week. Lamar Jackson rushed for over 100 yards for the 11th time, breaking Michael Vick’s NFL record as the Ravens posted 38 points on the Dolphins.

Amazingly, that performance was not enough to win the game as Miami set a few records of their own. Tua Tagovailoa threw for six touchdowns, tying a team record set by Bob Griese and Dan Marino, en route to a 42-38 win. With the Ravens up by 21 points as the fourth quarter started, the Dolphins also set the new team record for the largest fourth-quarter comeback margin in their history. They are the first team in the NFL to accomplish the feat in over 12 years.

Miami are on top of the AFC East at 2-0, a place that they are ill accustomed to find themselves in, with the Bills in week 3 as the ultimate test of their mettle. Come through that and they could be in for a bright season indeed.

The Ravens, by contrast, are in a three-way tie in the AFC North with the Steelers and Browns at 1-1 and will need to dig deep to top the Patriots in week 3 to stay on top of their division.

New York Jets 31-30 Cleveland Browns

You would feel sorry for the Browns if it were anybody else that managed to capitalize on their blunders and pull off a two-touchdown comeback in the final two minutes to win the game. But when it is the hapless New York Jets, you find it difficult to begrudge them the win. They need it, perhaps more than Cleveland do.

Joe Flacco went 26 of 44 for 307 yards, the first Jets quarterback since Vinny Testaverde over two decades ago to pass for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

Ultimately, this game came down to kicking, an art that is often overlooked in the modern NFL, with the missed extra point by Cade York being the difference.

The Browns slip to 1-1 in an AFC North that has no clear favorite at the moment, while the Jets join the Patriots at 1-1 in the AFC East dominated by the Dolphins and Bills. Neither is too deep to climb out of, but they can’t leave it too long with such a strong division.

Washington Commanders 27-36 Detroit Lions

Almost a game of two halves, but not quite, the Commanders imploded in the first half and then came up short in the second. The legendary John McKay quote, “We didn’t tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking” seems tailor-made for the Commanders.

Detroit posted 22 unanswered points in the first half, and while the Commanders flipped the script in the second, it was just a hill too steep for them to climb. They managed to hold the Lions to only a touchdown in each quarter of the second half, but the hole they had dug for themselves was too deep.

Both of these teams now go to 1-1 and with the Lions facing a strong Vikings team in week 3, they face a difficult task in a packed NFC North. The Commanders, although the more sluggish of the two, will face an Eagles team that has yet to stamp their authority on the NFC East and could come out of this in a pretty good spot if they can keep that second half momentum going into next week.

Indianapolis Colts 0-24 Jacksonville Jaguars

The Colts are having an embarrassing start to 2022. Those are not my words, they were from Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. “The shit was embarrassing. We got our ass whooped. We have to come in tomorrow, take it on the chin and grow from this.”

After letting their kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, go following a dismal performance that led to that most unusual of NFL occurrences, a tie, in week 1, it was perhaps too much to hope for that they would pick themselves up. And indeed, as it turned out, it was.

Coach Frank Reich hit it on the head when he pointed to the Colts lack of offense as the main source of their problems. “We were just not productive in the first half. We just couldn’t get a completion, we couldn’t run the ball on first and second down. It seemed like in the first half every run was 2 yards. And with us, when we’re humming, we’re effective on first and second down.”

The Jags are at 1-1 and sit atop perhaps the weakest division in all of football, the AFC South. They will have their work cut out for them in week 3 when they face a Chargers team that is superior to them in every way, while the Colts at 0-1-1 are set up for more pain when they face the Chiefs in week 3.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-10 New Orleans Saints

The Saints are heavyweights, and have the tools to deliver the knockout blow, but right now they look punch-drunk, teetering around, landing heavy shots, but ready to collapse. Having squeaked their way past the Falcons in week 1, they were dealt a tough hand when the Bucs posted 17 fourth-quarter points on them.

The Bucs have looked strong in both of their outings so far, handing the Cowboys a decisive defeat in week 1 and then kicking into high gear when it counted most in New Orleans. They now go to 2-0 and sit atop the NFC South, but will have a serious test against the Packers in week three.

The Saints fall to 1-1 and will face a Carolina team that have yet to find their spark.

Carolina Panthers 16-19 New York Giants

The Carolina Panthers have now not won a game in 10 months, and blew every chance thrown their way to change that. Their defense kept the game close but the Carolina offense is simply abysmal.

The Giants made use of all of the paltry opportunities that they had, slotting home four field goals. The last one came with the game tied at 16 in the fourth quarter, where the Giants ate up a large chunk of the clock, knocking a 56-yarder through the uprights with 3:38 to go. The fact that, with so much time left, Carolina had no answer, tells you everything you need to know.

The Panthers go to 0-2 and will face a New Orleans team in week 3 that should make light work of them, while the Giants are now 2-0 and sitting atop the NFC East. Their lack of production will find them out soon if they manage to get past a solid Dallas Cowboys team in week 3.

New England Patriots 17-14 Pittsburgh Steelers

After a week 1 wobble against Miami, Mac Jones battled through illness and a back injury to hand the Steelers a loss. The Steel defense is a stiff as any and gave their team every chance to win, but Pittsburgh’s offense was seen as too conservative by the home crowd, who booed Mitch Trubisky several times throughout the game.

The Steeler defense, while formidable, was lacking playmaker TJ Watt and didn’t manage to get to Jones at all during the game. By way of contrast, the Patriots dropped Trubisky three times for a sack.

Both of these teams now go to 1-1, but in vastly different circumstances. In a topsy-turvy AFC North, the Steelers are in a three-way tie for the lead, while the Pats find themselves clinging on to the bottom of the mighty AFC East. The Steelers will face the Browns, one of those three teams that share the divisional lead, and have the chance to set themselves out front, while the Patriots will go up against a Ravens team that is as strong as any in the league.

Atlanta Falcons 27-31 Los Angeles Rams

The Super Bowl champion Rams need to take a deep breath and thank their lucky stars for this win. They went up fast before watching the Falcons mount a fourth-quarter comeback that fell just short. In an NFC West that sees all four teams locked at 1-1, they can ill afford to drop a game.

The Falcons fall to 0-2 and will have a tough week three where they face the Seahawks in Seattle. The Rams will have a conference matchup with the Cardinals meaning that these two games can decide who sits at the top and who falls to last place in the division.

Seattle Seahawks 7-27 San Francisco 49ers

With the big takeaway from this game the loss of Trey Lance for the season by the 49ers, and the subsequent return of Jimmy Garoppolo, the NFC West just got very interesting indeed.

Both of these teams now go to 1-1, making the division a four-way split, and with the Seahawks facing the Falcons in week 3, there is cause for optimism in Seattle. San Francisco have a more difficult hill to climb in Denver, but with Jimmy G back in the drivers seat, there is a feeling that he may lead them back to the playoffs. Watch this space.

Cincinnati Bengals 17-20 Dallas Cowboys

The Bengals have had a terrible start to the season. After an electric run in the playoffs last year, they fall to 0-2, both in last-second nail-biters. The Cowboys are in a better position at 1-1, but are still off the pace in the NFC East, and have had trouble of their own, after losing Dak Prescott for several weeks to a broken finger in week 1.

Week 3 will see the Cowboys face the Giants to see who has the right to sit at the top of the division, while the Bengals will try and recapture some of their mojo against the New York Jets.

Houston Texans 9-16 Denver Broncos

Both teams showed up with their defenses and left their offenses packed on the bus. The dismal start of Russell Wilson is the story on everyone’s lips, but it is perhaps a little early to panic. It was ugly, but they got the win. And in the NFL, that is all that counts.

Going now to 1-1, Denver will need to find their feet quickly to meet a 49ers team that is perhaps getting their act together. The Texans, on the other hand, fall to 0-1-1 and will face a strong Bears team in week three, making their job a daunting one indeed.

Arizona Cardinals 29-23 Las Vegas Raiders

In the only overtime game this week so far, the Cardinals came up trumps on a defensive play that saw a turnover get run back 59 yards for a touchdown to end the game. The Raiders had jumped out to a commanding lead in the first half, but Kyler Murray looked unstoppable, as the Cardinals erased a 20-point deficit to tie the game up.

Somewhat unbelievably, the Raiders are 0-2 and dead last in the AFC West. They will have a chance to redeem themselves to an extent if they can top the also-struggling Titans in week 3. The Cardinals are locked into that four-way tie at 1-1 and will face their divisional rivals the LA Rams in week 3 to see who gets the bragging rights in the NFC West.

Chicago Bears 10-27 Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers might have struggled in week 1 against the Vikings, but he showed exactly why he is the reigning two-time MVP with an effervescent performance against the Bears. With the Packers running game firing on all four cylinders, the pass was opened up and Green Bay were able to post 21 unanswered points on Chicago in the second quarter.

With both of these teams at 1-1, the Bears will face a weak Houston team in week 3, while the Packers will have a much more difficult proposition entirely, facing a solid Tampa Bay team in what promises to be a straight duel between legendary quarterbacks.

Monday Night Football

Monday will see fans treated to a two-course feast, with the Tennessee Titans taking on the Buffalo Bills on ESPN and then the Minnesota Vikings attacking the Philadelphia Eagles on ABC. For fans of the Titans and Bills, we will be offering a live text stream of all the action here on AS USA for you to follow along.