NFL Week Two Observations
Here We Are Now, Entertain Us Could it be? Have the Detroit Lions finally turned the corner? Consider this stretch in the second half against Kansas City: Chiefs turnover, Lions touchdown, Chiefs turnover, Lions touchdown, Chiefs turnover, Lions touchdown. With blood in the water Detroit went in for the kill, the mark of a team that is learning how to win. Matthew Stafford is looking like a franchise quarterback and the rest of the offense is falling into place.
In Bloom Ryan Fitzpatrick looks nothing like he did in 2008 when he started 12 games for the injured Carson Palmer. This is a good thing. Fitzpatrick, like Stafford, has emerged and with it the Buffalo offense has come to life. Fred Jackson is running well, Steve Johnson has emerged as a go-to receiver and Scott Chandler provides a needed red zone target. The question now is can the Bills take down one of the top AFC teams? Hosting New England in Week Three provides the first test.
Come As You Are There are always knee-jerk reactions to Week One so usually Week Two provides a stronger dose of reality. However, looking at a handful of 1-1 teams: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, are they as good as their win, as bad as their loss or somewhere in between? Reality usually falls somewhere in between but with these Super Bowl contenders one thing is clear: everyone has flaws so catching teams at the right time will once again be the difference between a postseason trip and a disappointing season.
Drain You Is Cam Newton really for real? Carolina certainly thinks so based on the number of times the Panthers have run the ball. Newton has shown poise not normally seen in rookie quarterbacks. We know he can run but here's something to look for: wearing down at the end of the season and I'm not just talking about the "rookie wall." Newton likes to scramble but he rarely goes out of bounds or slides. He has already absorbed a lot of hits and that wear-and-tear could lead to a breakdown before year's end.
Lounge Act I've always like Donovan McNabb but after two games he's starting to look like a long-ago heartthrob relegated to the washed up Vegas lounge act circuit. In other words, he's looking like a guy who has hung around a bit too long. In two games McNabb has thrown for only 267 yards and one score. So it's no surprise the Vikings have blown fourth quarter leads in both games. How long will it be before Minnesota inserts rookie Christian Ponder into the lineup?
On A Plain What can you say about Tom Brady? He just continues to amaze. Very little seems to faze the guy and his numbers after two games are beyond gaudy: 940 yards and seven touchdowns. The scary part? His numbers could get better. Chad Ochocinco has barely been involved in the offense and Julian Edelman has been buried on the depth chart. The feeling is regardless of the year and regardless of the wide receiver talent Brady just piles up numbers.
Something In The Way Was it really Peyton Manning keeping the Colts together for all those years? Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark are all still with the team but the Indianapolis offense can't seem to do anything right. Against the Browns Indianapolis made four trips inside Cleveland's 30 and only scored one touchdown. Most telling was a five possession stretch in the second half when the Colts ran 15 plays and gained a total of six yards. Manning's presence is missed but it seems like without him all that offensive talent is going to waste.