NFL Week 2 Recap — Injuries Happen To The Best Players & Other Things We Learned
Key injuries and late rallies ruled Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season. Here’s what we learned this week:
Vikings Beat Packers, But May Have Lost Adrian Peterson
Sam Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers, 17-14, on Sunday night. While Minnesota (2-0) celebrated beating Green Bay (1-1) in back-to-back games for the first time since 2009, the Vikings lost running back Adrian Peterson to a right knee injury, the extent of which was not yet known.
If Peterson is out for a while, he’ll join Danny Woodhead (San Diego); Doug Martin (Tampa Bay); Ameer Abdullah (Detroit) and Arian Foster (Miami) as running backs who suffered impactful injuries during games this Sunday. A lengthy loss of Peterson is likely to further impact the defending NFC North champs' title hopes.
The Packers had a chance to tie or win the game in the fourth quarter, but Vikings’ defender Brian Robison strip-sacked Aaron Rodgers with seven minutes left, then Trae Waynes intercepted A-Rod with 1:56 to go to seal the win.
The Patriots May Not Even Need A Quarterback
Most NFL teams use extraordinary resources to find and keep a franchise quarterback, but the Patriots may not even need one. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 18 of 27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns before being forced from the game due to a shoulder injury, and New England still held on to beat the Miami Dolphins 31-24 on Sunday.
Garoppolo, starting in place of the suspended Tom Brady, had his team up 24-0 when he was hit by linebacker Kiko Alonso after a late first-half completion. Patriots’ rookie Jacoby Brissett took over, leading New England (2-0) to a touchdown on the first possession of the second half. Miami (0-2) rallied, but fell short when Ryan Tannehill was intercepted by Duron Harmon in the end zone on the Dolphins’ final drive.
Brissett, virtually anonymous prior to today, was 6 of 9 for 92 yards for the Pats. At this rate, New England can just keep an open roster spot and pick a lucky fan to QB each game and still win. Joking aside, the Patriots have a short week at the worst possible time: they play Houston — and J.J. Watt — on Thursday night.
The Bengals Haven’t Figured Out How To Beat The Steelers
Lifelong Bengals fans would like to think that this is finally their year: the year they win a playoff game; the year they win the AFC; the year they win the… Nah.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 259 yards and three touchdowns and the Steelers beat Cincinnati, 24-16, in rainy Pittsburgh on Sunday. Steelers’ running back DeAngelo Williams ran for 94 yards and caught one of Big Ben’s TDs, as Pittsburgh (2-0) seized early control of the AFC North by beating their current most hated rival.
Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals, but he found star wide receiver A.J. Green just twice for 38 yards. Cincinnati (1-1) did pick off Roethlisberger twice in the first half, but the Bengals bungled away their final two drives on turnovers.
The teams played a relatively clean game, combining for just 10 penalties — a stark contrast to their near-street fight in the playoffs last January.
The Rams Now Have More Wins Than Touchdowns
Football has returned to L.A., but touchdowns will take a little longer. The Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks, 9-3, on Sunday thanks to three Greg Zuerlein field goals. Los Angeles (1-1) won their first home game in Southern California in 22 years, beating Seattle (1-1) for the fourth time in five games.
Just like last week when they were shut out 28-0 by the 49ers, the Rams failed to score a touchdown. L.A. quarterback Case Keenum completed 18 of 30 passes for 239 yards, helping drive the team into position for each field goal.
A crowd of more than 90,000 fans cheered on their new/old team at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but they have yet to celebrate them crossing the goal line in 2016. Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson was 22 of 35 for 254 yards, with two sacks. He was unable to rally Seattle to yet another miracle win.
Rallies Were Trendy On Sunday
Several teams rallied in the fourth quarter, creating dramatic finishes that made for plenty of must-see NFL Red Zone moments around 4 p.m. on Sunday:
Former Redskin Alfred Morris scored the go-ahead touchdown on a four-yard run with under five minutes to play, and the Dallas Cowboys rallied by Washington, 27-23 on Sunday. Ahead 23-20, the Redskins seemed poised to put the game away, but Barry Church intercepted a Kirk Cousins’ pass in the end zone to jumpstart Dallas (1-1). Washington (0-2) stayed winless and watched their former leading rusher celebrate the game-winning TD. Oof.
Marcus Mariota threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson with 1:13 to play, and the Tennessee Titans edged the Detroit Lions, 16-15. Tennessee (1-1) rallied after trailing 15-3 entering the final quarter. Detroit (1-1) lost after winning in the closing seconds against Indy last week.
Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Mike Wallace, and the Baltimore Ravens rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the Cleveland Browns, 25-20. Baltimore (2-0) trailed 20-0 in the first quarter, but since Cleveland was (0-2) their opponent, the outcome was truly never in doubt. The Ravens blocked the extra point that would have put them down 21-0 and returned it for two points to start the comeback. Baltimore linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepted Josh McCown at the goal line with 13 seconds left to preserve the victory.
Josh Brown kicked a game-winning, 23-yard field goal as time expired and the New York Giants beat the New Orleans Saints, 16-13, on Sunday. Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz with a 34-yard third-down pass to set up Brown’s kick, giving New York (2-0) an undefeated record after two games for the first time since 2009. New Orleans (0-2) rallied to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t prevent the Giants from marching down the field for the clinching kick.
Thursday, Sept. 15
N.Y. Jets 37, Buffalo 31
Sunday, September 18
Houston 19, Kansas City 12
Carolina 46, San Francisco 27
Arizona 40, Tampa Bay 7
San Diego 38, Jacksonville 14
Atlanta 35, Oakland 28
Denver 34, Indianapolis 20