September 19, 2012
In a Week Two in which the inconsistency of replacement referees led Washington Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall to comment he felt his locker room “could pot up some cash and try to help the cause” of getting NFL veteran officials back on the field in order to bring the game back under control, here were some of the more interesting things to take note of:
- How about Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller following up a career-best 169 yards against the New York Jets in Week One by going for 123 yards and two touchdowns in Week Two’s 35-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs? With a combined 364 yards rushing from scrimmage, Spiller now sits third-best in franchise history for yards gained on the ground through the first two contests played in a season. The only others, as ESPN.com points out, are currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas).
- Spiller also became the fourth Bills player to reach 100 yards rushing in each of the first two regular games of a season. Little wonder, then, why Buffalo center Eric Wood said after Sunday’s win, “C.J.’s a stud. That kid can run.”
- Which teams in the NFL have the worse records in games played in Weeks 1 and 2 since 2000? If you guessed the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns, you’d be absolutely correct, with the pair combined having each gone 7-19. In second place? The St. Louis Rams at 8-17, while the Miami Dolphins (surprise!) come in with a 9-16 record.
- Speaking of Bad and the Cleveland Browns, Part One: In the three career games he’s played against Cleveland, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton has gone 55-of-77 passing (that’s a 71 percent completion rate ) for 669 yards, five touchdowns and one interception – good enough for a 114 passer rating.
- Speaking of Bad and the Cleveland Browns, Part Two: Cleveland’s defense racked up 10 penalties for 103 yards in Sunday’s loss, including a personal foul for unnecessary roughness on Bengals’ linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
- Speaking of Bad and the Cleveland Browns, Part Three: In Week One of the NFL regular season, only one of five rookie quarterbacks – Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins – emerged having led his team to victory. Week Two painted a different picture, with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson also earning the first-ever win of their young professional football careers. Now, only the Browns’ Brandon Weeden sits 0-2 as a starting rookie quarterback, and this with the red hot Buffalo Bills scheduled to come to town this Sunday.
- Losing One’s Stripes: Cincinnati’s defensive unit is anything but intimidating to this point in the season, not only giving up 20 plays of 10 yards or more in a Week One loss to Baltimore, but also surrendering 17 similar plays to the Browns this past Sunday.
- One of the unsung heroes of a surprisingly strong showing by the Miami Dolphins over the Oakland Raiders in Week Two? How about punter Brandon Fields, who consistently pinned Oakland back in its own territory by averaging an impressive 53.2 yards per punt for the game.
- When Less is More: New England embarrassed itself Sunday by not being able to pull out a win at home against the Arizona Cardinals even though it outgained its opponent by 142 yards. The last time the franchise lost to a team in such fashion? Back in 1989, when the New Orleans Saints downed the Patriots 28-24 in Week 10.
- Despite Sunday’s loss, the Patriots were left with at least one thing to celebrate Sunday evening: By grabbing five receptions on the day, wideout Wes Welker became the most prolific pass catcher in the history of the franchise with 562 catches.
- Bombs Over Foxboro? According to ESPN.com, New England quarterback Tom Brady has since 2011 overthrown 12 of 19 total passes of 30 yards or greater – that’s 63.2%, the highest percentage in the NFL.
- Simms City: With 510 yards passing in a whirlwind win over Tampa Bay, quarterback Eli Manning moved into second place for the best passing performance by a Giants quarterback in franchise history. Just ahead of him with 513 yards? Phil Simms.
- While Manning’s passing numbers Sunday were impressive, he was far from perfect, tossing three interceptions in the game as well. The last of those, returned for a touchdown by the Buccaneers’ Eric Wright, accounted for the 40th defensive score Tampa Bay has earned since 2000. That’s third most in the NFL behind Baltimore and Green Bay.
- One of Manning’s top targets against the Bucs was wide receiver Victor Cruz, who, with an 80-yard catch for a touchdown in the game’s fourth quarter, brought his total number of scoring receptions equaling 70yards or more since the start of the 2011 season to five. The next closest player to Cruz has two.
Some extra figures catching our eye in Week Two:
- Too Close for Comfort: With a 24-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week Two, the Philadelphia Eagles became the first team in NFL history to ever win both of their first two season-opening contests by one point – and this despite turning over the ball at least four times in each game.
- Running the Score Up: By taking in a five-yard pass from quarterback Blaine Gabbert for a touchdown in the third quarter of Sunday’s game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, tailback Maurice Jones-Drew earned the 75th score of his career, joining Randy Moss, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates as the only other active players in the NFL to reach such a milestone.
- On Again / Off Again: It seems counter intuitive given his successful run (no pun intended) in Denver, but fact of the matter is the New York Jets have so far this season averaged 25% fewer yards per play with Tim Tebow on the field (4.08 yards) than with him off the field (5.45 yards).
- Streaking by the Bay: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has now gone nine straight games without throwing an interception (that’s better than Steve Young and John Brodie ever did!) and owns the longest active streak in the NFL for passes without an interception with 284. Prior to this streak, Smith never went more than three games without turning the ball over through the air.
- When 8=3: The three interceptions Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning threw in the first quarter of Monday night’s game against Atlanta came on just eight attempts – the fewest passes he’s ever thrown to account for that number of turnovers.