NFL 2016 Week 2 Recap

NFL 2016 Week 2 Recap

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills was the Thursday night game. For those who love old-school defense, this was not your game. For those who loved the American Football League pinball machine, this was your game. Forget ground and pound. This was an aerial assault.

On the third play of the game, facing 3rd and 10 at their own 25, Ryan Fitzpatrick went deep to Enunwa for a 34 yard gain. After converting four times on third down, the Jets had 3rd and 2 at the Buffalo 5. A killer false start followed by an incompletion ended the drive. Despite running 15 plays and holding the ball for nearly 8 1/2 minutes, the Jets settled for a 28 yard Nick Folk field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Three plays later the Bills faced 3rd and 12 at their own 16. Tyron Taylor went bombs away to Goodwin for an 84 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Bills. The Jets took over at their own 14. On 3rd and 5 from their 30, Fitzpatrick threw incomplete but a 26 yard defensive pass interference penalty kept the drive going. On 3rd and 2 from the Buffalo 12, a shovel pass gained only one yard. On 4th and 1, on the last play of the first quarter, a disappointed Todd Bowles settled for a 29 yard Folk field goal. Despite controlling the ball for 13 1/2 minutes in the opening quarter, the Jets trailed 7-6.

In the second quarter Buffalo went 3 and out. Taking over at their own 34, The Jets saw Fitzpatrick go deep again to Brandon Marshall for a 37 yard gain. Matt Forte ran in for a one yard touchdown to make it 13-7 Jets. The jets got it back at their own 23 and Fitzy kept going deep, hitting Enunwa for 21 yards and Marshall for 21 more. Fitzpatrick then hit Eric Decker for 18 and again for the 5 yard touchdown. With 4 minutes left in the half, the Jets offense was gashing Rex Ryan’s defense for a 20-7 Jets lead.

Taylor moved the Bills from their 25 to a critical 4th and 1 at the Jets 32 with 41 seconds left in the half. Rex Ryan pulled a switch, brought Taylor off the field, and backup EJ Manuel came in for one play. Manuel gained 2 yards and Taylor came back on. With 15 seconds left in the half, the Bills faced 3rd and 1 at the Jets 21. Taylor threw incomplete and Ryan settled for a 39 yard Dan Carpenter field as the Bills trailed 20-10 at halftime. While it appeared the Jets were in total control, this game was just warming up.

On the third play of the third quarter, the Bills faced 3rd and 6 at their own 29. History repeated itself as offensive coordinator Greg Roman went bombs away again. Taylor hit Salas for a 71 yard touchdown as the Bills were right back in it down 20-17. Five plays later, the Jets faced 2nd and 8 at their own 33. A short completion to Marshall saw several defenders swarm Marshall and punch the ball out of his hand. Robey-Coleman returned the fumble 36 yards for a touchdown. Only 3 1/2 minutes into the second half, the Bills had stormed back to take a 24-20 lead. Then things turned again.

After an exchange of punts, the Jets embarked on another long drive. 84 yards, 12 plays, and 6 1/2 minutes saw the Jets move from their own 16 to a critical 3rd and 8 at the Buffalo 46. Fitzpatrick hit Decker for 17 yards and Marshall for 16 more. Forte ran it in for a 3 yard touchdown as the Jets retook the lead 27-24 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. A strong kickoff return had the Bills taking over at their own 47. On the first play of the fourth quarter, on 3rd and 1, OC Roman stayed aggressive rather than play it safe. Taylor went deep again, but this time was intercepted by Williams at the Jets 13.

On 3rd and 9 from their own 14, Fitzpatrick kept the aerial circus going, hitting Marshall for 27 yards and Decker for 35 more. On 3rd and 6 from the Buffalo 20, Fitzpatrick only gained 2 yards. Folk hit the 36 yard field goal to make it 30-24 Jets with 10 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Both offenses were moving at will, as Buffalo took over at their own 22. LeSean McCoy quickly gained 24 yards. On 3rd and 1 at the Jets 45, Rex Ryan again got creative. Emanuel came in at quarterback again and Taylor moved out to wide receiver. For all of that, Emanuel took the carry and got nothing. Midway through the fourth quarter, on 4th and 1, Rex Ryan decided to go for it. In a game with little to no defense, McCoy got the carry and ran into a Gang Green brick wall.

From the Jets 44, Rex Ryan saw his twin brother Rob Ryan’s defense continue to get torched. Fitzpatrick hit Decker for 27 yards and Forte scored his third rushing touchdown from 12 yards out. With 4 minutes left, the Jets now had a 37-24 lead. Yet in a game of big momentum swings, this game was not over.

Despite leaving the game earlier after taking a hit, Taylor quickly cleared concussion protocol. He showed absolutely no symptoms, and quickly returned to the game. While it was right to pull him, it was also proper to clear him. He showed absolutely no sign of a concussion, and player safety does not mean overreacting either. Taylor quickly moved the Bills 75 yards. An 18 yard touchdown pass to Gillislee gave the Bills life. Gillislee dove and stretched just past the plane of the goal after initially being ruled down at the one. On further review, a reversal properly gave him the touchdown. The Bills were within 6 points with 1:17 to play. Now it was up to the onside kick team.

The try failed but the Bills still had 2 timeouts left. On 4th and 5 from midfield, the Jets punted with 18 seconds left. A fair catch had the Bills at their own 15 with only 10 seconds left. That was enough time to complete a 25 yard pass and set up a Hail Mary. Instead the Bills went for the hook and ladder play. The completion gained 10 yards and the lateral added another 18 yards to the Buffalo 43. Yet Goodwin did not get out of bounds, and the clock ran out before the Hail Mary could even be tried.

Taylor played very well, going 18 for 30 for 297 yards, 3 touchdowns, and one interception. Fitzpatrick was 24 of 34 for 374 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. The offenses ruled this game. The defenses played miserably for long stretches despite the one Buffalo defensive touchdown. The Bills fell to 0-2, and the team is already in a state of total panic. Since Rex Ryan will not fire his own brother despite his being fired by several other locations, Ryan instead fired Greg Roman. This made no sense, give that the offense played well most of the game. The Rex Ryan death watch has officially begun. 37-31 Jets

Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions — After winning a thrilling shootout last week on the road, the Lions had what was supposed to be a much easier game at home against Tennessee. For most of the game, it was. In the first quarter DeMarco Murray was tackled in the end zone to put the Detroit defense on the board first. After the free kick, Matthew Stafford threw a 24 yard touchdown pass to Anquon Boldin as the Lions led 9-0 after the opening quarter. The defenses then dug in. Ryan Succop hit a 46 yard field goal in the second quarter. Matt Prater responded from 42 and then in the third quarter from 27 as the Lions led 15-3 after three quarters.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Marcus Mariota threw a 30 yard touchdown to Walker. Midway through the fourth quarter the Titans took over at their own 17 yard line. Mariota led the Titans down the field, converting a pair of short third down conversions. With 1:19 to play, everything came down to the Titans facing 4th and 4 at the Detroit 9. Mariota found Andre Johnson for the touchdown. The two point try failed but the Titans led by a point. With 28 seconds left needing a field goal to win, the Lions faced 3rd and 10 at their own 45. Stafford was intercepted by Cox as Mike Mularkey got his first win as Tennessee’s head coach. Despite winning last week, the Lions have blown double digit leads in both games this season. 16-15 Titans

Kansas City at Houston Texans — In the playoffs last year in Houston, the Chiefs returned the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown on their way to a 30-0 thrashing over the Texans. This time the Texans won the coin toss, preventing that repeat humiliation. The Texans moved from their own 16 to a critical 3rd and goal at the 2. Brock Osweiler was then intercepted, killing the drive. A few plays later the Chiefs faced 3rd and 6 at their own 44. Alex Smith fumbled a snap out of the shotgun and JJ Watt recovered for the Texans at the Houston 27. One play later Osweiler went deep to Hopkins for the touchdown and the 7-0 Texans lead. The rest of the game was hideously ugly, with Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos and Texans kicker Nick Novak both hitting four field goals.

On the first play of the second quarter, Cairo Santos hit a 53 yard field goal to get the Chiefs on the board. With 4 minutes left in the half, Nick Novak hit a 32 yard field goal to make it 10-3 Texans. A Chiefs fumble gave the Texans a golden opportunity at the Kansas City 14 with 1:40 left in the half. Houston again struggled offensively but Novak’s 24 yarder made it 13-3 Texans. Late in the third quarter Osweiler was intercepted. On the first play of the fourth quarter Santos hit from 43 to get the Chiefs within 13-6. The teams then traded field goals. Novak hit from 31, Santos hit from 35, and Novak hit again from 43 with 3 minutes left for a 19-9 Texans lead.

History almost repeated itself as the Chiefs returned this ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. However, holding on the kick instead had the Chiefs start at their own 12 yard line. Santos would hit a 30 yard field goal with 49 seconds left, but the onside kick failed and Houston had the ugly win. 19-12 Texans

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots — After looking good in his first ever NFL start, Jimmy Garoppolo in his first ever home start looked like the hall of fame he is briefly replacing. Last week Miami’s defense was stellar until the final 60 seconds. This week they were awful from the opening moments. Garoppolo threw first quarter touchdown passes of 12 yards to Danny Amendola and 20 yards to Marcellus Bennett and a second quarter 10 yard touchdown pass to Amendola. Stephen Gostkowski tacked on a 34 yard field goal as the Patriots built a 24-0 lead. Garoppolo was 18 of 27 for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions, but the news was not all good. In the second quarter Garoppolo got leveled and left the game with an injured shoulder. The Patriots were down to third stringer quarterback Brissett. The Dolphins did kick a field goal before the half, but a 9 yard touchdown run by LeGuarette Blount in the third quarter had the Patriots in cruise control up 31-3.

The cruised a bit too early. Ryan Tannehill led a furious rally, throwing a 24 yard third quarter touchdown pass to Kenny Stills. In the fourth quarter Tannehill hit Cameron for a 12 yard touchdown. After drives of 75 and 88 yards, Tannehill led a 74 yard drive that culminated in Drake running it in from 7 yards out with 6 minutes left to get the Dolphins within 7 points. Bill Belichick kept it on the ground, as the Patriots ate up the clock. With one minute left, Gostkowski came in for the 39 yarder to lock up the win. It was no good. The Dolphins took over at their own 29 with 1:04 left. With 9 seconds left, the Dolphins faced 4th and 5 at the New England 29. Tannehill went to the end zone and was intercepted by Harmon. Despite going 32 of 45 for 389 yards, Tannehill aw the Dolphins fall to 0-2 while the Patriots and their 3rd string quarterback are unbeaten. 31-24 Patriots

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns — If ever a game represented the history of the Cleveland Browns franchise since Jim Brown retired, this one was it. Despite RGIII’s Browns career likely ending after one game, veteran Josh McCown came in and played well right away. He hit Coleman for a 31 yard touchdown pass. Then Ian Crowell broke off an 85 yard touchdown run. Then McCown hit Coleman again for an 11 yard touchdown. 3 Browns touchdown had them up 20-0 in the first quarter. This game was turning into a laugher. They were an extra point away from leading 21-0. However, these are the Browns.

Last year the Browns attempted the winning field goal against the Ravens on the final play. In a shocker, the kick was blocked and returned for a touchdown and a Ravens victory. This time, the extra point was blocked and returned all the way by the Ravens the other way. This now counts for 2 points. The Ravens were on the board, but they still trailed 20-2. However, remember. These are the Borwns. With 1:15 left in the half, Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace for a 7 yard touchdown to get within 20-9. 2 plays later McCown was intercepted. Justin Tucker hit a 52 yard field goal at the gun as the Ravens only trailed 20-12. Early in the third quarter Flacco hit Wallace for another 17 yard touchdown. Now the Ravens only trailed 20-19.

One minute into the fourth quarter, Murray came in for a 52 yard field goal try for the Browns. The kick was no good. With 11 1/2 minutes left Tucker hit from 49 as the Ravens now had the 22-20 lead. Baltimore got it back and Tucker hit again from 41. 25 unanswered points had the Ravens up by 5 with 3 minutes left. McCown moved the Browns from their 25 to the Baltimore 30 with 27 seconds. McCown hit Terrell Pryor for a 20 yard gain down to the 10. However, offsetting penalties nullified the play. McCown went deep to Pryor again and this time was intercepted at the one yard line. John Harbaugh exhaled as Hue Jackson wondered if he truly was in charge of a cursed franchise. LeBron James delivering for the Cavaliers has not helped the football team. Once this team won with Jim Brown. Ever since then, they just lose. These are the Browns. 25-20 Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers — This blood feud only got nastier since Pittsburgh escaped with an 18-16 playoff win at Cincinnati last year. As expected, this game featured plenty of hard-hitting defense. In the first quarter, Ben Roethlisberger hit Xavier Grimble for a 20 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Steelers lead. After that the defenses clamped down. Mike Nugent hit a 25 yard field goal for the Bengals. In the second quarter, Chris Boswell hit from 49 and Nugent responded from 33 as the Bengals trailed 10-6 at halftime. Their inability to turn the red zone into the green zone proved costly.

In the third quarter Big Ben hit James for a 9 yard touchdown. Again Red Rifle Andy Dalton moved the Bengals deep and again they could not crack the end zone. Nugget’s third field goal from 21 yards out had the Bengals trailing 17-9 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter Roethlisberger led a 12 play, 68 yard drive that ate 7 minutes off the clock. Big ben hit Deangelo Williams for the 4 yard touchdown with 6 1/2 minutes left to make it 24-9. Dalton finally got the Bengals to pay dirt with 3 1/2 minutes left with a 25 yard touchdown pass to Bernard. Cincinnati got it bak at their own 25 with 3 minutes left. At the 2 minute warning they were already at the Pittsburgh 39 seeking the tying touchdown. Dalton hit Boyd on a short pass, but Boyd fumbled and the Steelers recovered to lock up the tough win. Despite going 31 of 54 for for 366 yards, Dalton’s red zone troubles were the difference. Roethlisberger’s three touchdown passes were the difference. 24-16 Steelers

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins — Dak Prescott played well in his rookie debut in a one point loss where he got little help when it mattered most. Prescott was very impressive in this game as well, going 22 of 30 for 292 yards. He did not throw a touchdown or an interception. Early on he led a 13 play, 5 1/2 minute drive. Yet an incompletion 3rd and 4 means a 22 yard Dan Bailey field goal to open the scoring. Too many field goals is why Dallas lost last week. On the next series Prescott led a 94 yard drive. This time the Cowboys finished it as Ezekiel Elliott got in from the one to make it 10-0 Cowboys after the first quarter.

In the second quarter the Redskins moved 75 yards and Jones ran for a 14 yard touchdown to get the Redskins on the board. With 4 1/2 minutes left in the half Bailey hit a 31 yard field goal to make it 13-7 Cowboys. Hopkins countered from 36 with 30 seconds left to have the Redskins trailing 13-10 at the break. The Redskins got the ball to start the third quarter and moved 75 yards. Kirk Cousins hit Crowder for an 11 yard touchdown as the Redskins took the 17-13 lead. Prescott then had his turn leading a 75 yard drive that took 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Prescott got the last 6 yards himself for a 20-17 Cowboys advantage.

Jason Garrett then went to his bag of tricks, trying a surprise onside kick. It did not work, as the Redskins took over at the Dallas 38. On 3rd and 6 from the 11, Cousins threw incomplete. Hopkins hit from 29 to tie the game 20-20 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter. 2 plays later Elliott fumbled and the Redskins had another short field at the Dallas 34. Yet despite 2nd and goal at the 4, Cousins threw incomplete twice. Again Washington settled for a field goal. hopkins hit from 22 as the Redskins led 23-20 after three quarters.

Washington got it back at their own 21 and Cousins went deep to Doctson for a 57 yard gain. A 13 yard completion to Reed set up 1st and goal at the 6. Cousins threw incomplete twice, and on 3rd and goal he was intercepted in the end zone. With 10 1 /2 minutes left, the Redskins missed a major chance to create some distance. Prescott led the Cowboys from their 20. With 6 minutes left the Cowboys had moved to a 3rd and 11 at the Washington 24. Prescott hit Cole Beasley for 12 yards and Jason Witten for 8 more. Former Redskins running back Alfred Morris is now with the Cowboys, and his 4 yard touchdown run gave Dallas a 4 point lead with 4:45 to play.

The Redskins moved from their own 25 to a 3rd and 1 at their own 44. Thompson got the carry and gained nothing as the clock hit the 2 minute warning. On 4th and 1, Cousins threw incomplete. The Redskins had all 3 timeouts left and got the ball back at their own 10 with 90 seconds left. On 3rd and 10 Cousins found Thompson for a 38 yard gain. A critical false start penalty on Washington led to a 10 seconds runoff. With 4 seconds left from the Dallas 41, Cousins threw the Hail Mary. It was incomplete. Despite Cousins finishing 28 of 46 for 364 yards with one touchdown and one interception, Jay Gruden saw the Redskins fall to 0-2. Rumors of locker room frustration with Cousins were quickly shot down by Gruden. Meanwhile, Dallas has a very impressive rookie at the helm. He just got his first NFL win. 27-23 Cowboys.

New Orleans Saints at New York Giants — Last week Drew Brees threw for 423 yards as the Saints lost a pinball shootout. This week the Saints were in a defensive slugfest. Last week the defense gave up 35 points including the critical two point conversion. This week the Saints defense did not yield a single touchdown. For the second week in a row, Ben McAdoo saw Big Blue play blue collar football. After a scoreless first quarter, Saints quarterback Lutz lined up for a field goal. The kick was blocked and returned by Janoris Jenkins for a 7-0 Giants lead. Then came a slog. Lutz would make a 39 yard second quarter field goal and Josh Brown countered with a 48 yarder in the third quarter as the Giants led 10-3 entering the final quarter.

On the third play of the fourth quarter, Brees hit Snead for a 17 yard touchdown to cap a 74 yard drive and tie the game 10-10. The Giants moved from their own 25 to a 1st and goal at the one. Twice Shane Vereen got the carry, and twice he was stopped cold. On 3rd and goal, Eli Manning threw incomplete. On 4th and goal at the one, Ben McAdoo ignored the crowd and opted for the field goal. Mccadowo is not from the Bill Parcels-Tom Coughlin-Sean Payton “go big or go home” coaching tree. Josh Brown hit the 19 yard field goal to make it 13-10 Giants with 9 minutes left.

After an exchange of punts, the Saints moved from their 26 to a 2nd and 8 at the Giants 27. Brees threw incomplete twice. Lutz hit from 45 to tie the game 13-13 with 3 minutes left. Manning then had his turn, moving the Giants from their 25 to a 3rd and 8 at the Saints 36 with 1:49 left. Rather than set up for a very long field goal, Manning went deep to Victor cruz for 34 yards down to the 2. When the Giants won their last Super Bowl, they scored too early. This time they refused to score a touchdown. Manning took a knee three times and took the clock down to 2 seconds. If anything went wrong on a 23 yard field goal try, McAdoo would get pilloried. Brown made the kick and the Giants got to 2-0. After 9/11, the Giants won with inspired defense. One day after a bomb explosion injured 30 people in New York City, Big Blue again played inspired defense. Manning was a superb 32 of 41 for 368 yards without a touchdown. Neither signal caller was intercepted. Brees was 29 of 44 for 263 yards and one touchdown, but it was the Saints staying winless. 16-13 Giants

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers — Last week the 49ers won by 28 while the Panthers lost a one point heartbreaker at the gun. This week was a return to reality. Cam Newton was intercepted on the second play of the game, leading to a 29 yard Phil Dawson field goal and a 3-0 49ers lead. With 4 minutes left in the first quarter Carlos Hyde fumbled and the Panthers returned it 9 yards for a touchdown and a 7-3 Panthers lead. In the second quarter Blaine Gabbert found Torry Smith for a 28 yard touchdown to make it 10-7 49ers. One play later Newton went deep to Greg Olsen for a 78 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 Panthers. With 42 seconds left in the half, a field position game had the Panthers taking over at their own 46. Graham Gano hit a 39 yard field goal as the Panthers took a 17-10 lead into the locker rooms. In the second half the Panthers exploded, and Chip Kelly had no answers.

In the third quarter Newton threw touchdown passes of 10 and 9 yards to Kelvin Benjamin to turn a close game into a 31-10 Panthers blowout. Newton fumbled early in the fourth quarter, setting up the 49ers at the Carolina 17. After 3 plays lost 4 yards, needing 3 touchdowns, Chip Kelly opted for a field goal. Ted Ginn then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, as the 49ers recovered at the Carolina one. Gabbers got in as the 49ers were now only down 31-20. Garo hit a 31 yard field goal to get it back up to 14 points, but then Gabbert threw a short pass to Vince McDonald that turned into a 75 yard touchdown pass. with 8 minutes left in regulation, the 49ers were now only down 34-27.

They would get no closer. On 3rd and 10 from the Carolina 29, Newton found Benjamin for 25 yards. Garo hit a 49 yard field goal with 4 minutes left to make it 37-27 Panthers. 2 plays later Gabbert was intercepted to give Carolina a short field. On 3rd and 4 from the San Francisco 16, Newton hit Devon Funchess for the touchdown. Despite the blocked extra point, Gabbert was intercepted again and Gano added a 41 yard field goal to complete the scoring. Newton did have a couple turnovers, but he was 24 of 40 for 353 yards and 4 touchdowns. This was a complete team win for Ron Rivera. 46-27 Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals — Last week the Buccaneers got a quality road win while the Cardinals did not look like a Super Bowl contender in losing their opener at home on the final play. However, after this week the Cardinals may be exactly what we thought they were. That is not good for the rest of the league and certainly not for the overmatched Bucs on this day. After a scoreless first quarter, the Cardinals blasted the Buccaneers in the second quarter. Carson Palmer threw a 4 yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald and Chandler Catanzaro added a 22 yard field goal. Palmer then tossed a 1 yard touchdown to Malcolm Floyd and a 51 yard touchdown to Josh Brown for a 24-0 Cardinals halftime lead.

The second half was just a formality. Jameis Winston did throw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans, but that was it. After Catanzaro added a 40 yard field goal, the Arizona defense put a lid on the game. Cooper returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter Chris Johnson ran in from three yards out to complete the blowout. Palmer finished 18 of 31 for 308 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Winston was 27 of 52 for 243 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. This is what Bruce Arians expects from a Super Bowl contender, and on this day the team delivered. 40-7 Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams — This was the first Los Angeles Rams home game since 1994. After losing by 28 points last week on the road and scoring 0 points, the fans expected better. Meanwhile, Seattle last week did nothing for 59 minutes yet pulled out a win. Jeff Fisher and Pete Carroll both know defense, and Fisher’s Rams are always tough at home against division opponents. This game was all defense. Greg Zuerlein hit a 39 yard field goal for Rams. In the second quarter Steve Hauschka hit from 23 and Zuerlein hit from 28. In the fourth quarter Zuerlein hit his third field goal from 47. Despite trailing by 6, Seattle had a chance for the second week in a row to pull of heroics. With 57 seconds left, on 3rd and 10 from the Rams 35, A short pass by Wilson to Ogletree was fumbled. The Rams recovered. Jeff Fisher is a Buddy Ryan disciple, and Buddy was up in heaven beaming over this one. 9-3 Rams

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos — This was the battle between Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and the Super Bowl Denver defense led by Von Miller. Early on Adam Vinatieri hit a 48 yard field goal for the Colts and Brandon McManus answered from 23 for a 3-3 game. in the second quarter CJ Anderson ran it in from 4 yards out for a 10-3 Broncos lead. The field goal kickers each struck again, Vinatieri from 52 and McManus from 43 as the Broncos took a 13-6 lead into the locker rooms. In the third quarter Luck led a 13 play, 79, 7 minute drive yard drive capped off by Turbin running in from 5 yards out to tie the game 13-13. Denver also moved 13 plays and 60 yards over 7 minutes but settled for a 33 yard McManus field goal. The Broncos only led 16-13 after three quarters, but the fourth quarter saw the best defense since the Orange Crush remind the league why they are the defending champions.

Aqib Talib intercepted Luck and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to make it 23-13 Broncos. Luck then led a 12 play, 80 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive. Luck hit Frank Gore for a 7 yard touchdown to get the Colts within 23-20 with 4 minutes left. The Broncos moved from their 25 to a 3rd and 1 at the Indy 17 at the 2 minute warning. Anderson failed to get the yard as the Colts took their last timeout with 1:54 remaining. Gary Kubiak on 4th and 1 decided not to go for it and put the game away, a very curious decision. McManus hit the 35 yard field goal, but the Broncos only led 26-20. From the Indy 25, Luck had 1:51 to get the win. The defense bailed out the Broncos and Kubiak. Von Miller sacked Luck and Ray returned the ensuing fumble 15 yards to put the game on ice. Chuck Pagano has an 0-2 squad while Denver remained unbeaten. 34-20 Broncos

Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders — The Falcons suffered an embarrassing home loss last week while the Raiders pulled out a thrilling road win. By now the whole world knows that Jack Del rio called the 2 point conversion that won it. However, the Raiders have plenty of weakness on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Ken Norton Jr. did not see things get any better in this game. After a scoreless first quarter, Matt Ryan began carving up the Oakland defense as Drew Brees did last week.

The Falcons moved right down the field until the Raiders finally held near the goal line. Matt Bryant opened the scoring with a 21 yard field goal. Derek Carr quickly moved the Raiders 91 yards. On 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 38, Carr hit Amari Cooper for 25 yards. Defensive pass interference on the next play moved the ball 36 yards down to the one and nullified an interception. Latavius Murray got in on the next play to make it 7-3 Raiders. Ryan quickly moved the Falcons 75 yards. A 21 yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones had the Falcons up 10-7 with 5 minutes left in the half. With 1:53 left in the half, Marquette King punted a solid 55 yard shot to the Atlanta 9. Eric Weems returned it 73 yards with a horse collar tackle penalty tacked on. Despite starting at the Oakland 9, the Falcons could not get it in. On 3rd and goal at the 3, Ryan completed a one yard pass. Bryant hit the 20 yard field goal as the Falcons led 13-7 with 37 seconds left in the half. On the last play of the half, Sebastian Janikowski missed a 58 yard field goal.

The Silver and Black came out hot in the second half on offense from their own 19. They received a break when they punted on 4th and 3 from their own 36 when the Falcons had too many men on the field for the punt. Given new life, Carr threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Clive Walford to put the Raiders back in front 14-13. Matty Ice quickly went to Hooper for a 44 yard gain and Freeman gained 18 more yards to the Oakland 11. Yet on the next play Ryan was intercepted in the end zone by David Amerson as the Raiders held the lead. It was the only mistake Ryan would make all day and the last solid play by the Oakland defense.

Atlanta got it back at their own 15 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter and moved the ball at will. Ryan hit Coleman for 24 and Hooper for 34. Ryan threw a 14 yard touchdown to Jacob Tamme. Ryan got in the 2 point conversion himself for a 21-14 Falcons lead. Carr responded with a 13 play, 75 yard, nearly 7 minute drive. Early in the fourth quarter the Raiders had 1st and goal at the 2. Murray got the carry and got nothing, and Carr threw incomplete twice. Jack Del Rio decided to gamble again on 4th and goal at the 2. Carr hit Michael Crabree for the touchdown. With 12 minutes left in regulation the game was tied 21-21 and Del Rio’s legend was growing.

Yet the defense could not get a stop as the Falcons quickly moved from their 25. A deep pass from Ryan to Jones gained 48 yards. With 9 1/2 minutes left the Falcons faced a critical 3rd and 6 at the Oakland 8. Ryan threw a ball over the middle that was deflected off an Atlanta receiver high in the air. With several defenders looking for it, Justin Hardy came down with the freak doink pass for a ridiculous touchdown and a 28-21 Falcons lead.

Midway through the first quarter with the Raiders just shy of midfield, Carr on 3rd and 2 found Amari Cooper near the sideline. Cooper split the seam and was off to the races for a 51 yard touchdown. Just like that it seemed the game would be tied 28-28. Just like that it was not. Cooper was called for an illegal touch because he accidentally stepped out of bounds and was the first player to touch the ball. Instead of a touchdown, it was an incomplete pass. Del Rio again decided to go for it on 4th and 2.

While it is nice to say that he trusts his offense, and deservedly so, the big problem is that he does not trust his defense, again deservedly so. This time Jalen Richard got the carry and only gained one yard. Del Rio was right to go for it anyway since he was right not to trust his defense. Ryan hit Jones for 20 and Coleman ran up the middle for a 13 yard touchdown. with only 4 1/2 minutes left, the Falcons led 35-21.

The Raiders offense fought back valiantly. Carr moved them 75 yards and hit Andre Holmes for a 6 yard touchdown to get the Raiders back within 7. With 2:12 to play, the Raiders had all 3 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. Del Rio decided to kick it deep and not try the onside kick. This time he decided to trust his defense, despite their poor play. The Falcons were pinned at their own 13. On 3rd and 3 with everything on the line, Ryan hit Mohammed Sanu for a 15 yard gain. The Raiders did finally hold, but they got it back at their own 20 with 2 seconds left. Carr threw over the middle to Cooper, but the hook and ladder just led to a few laterals and no miracle. Dan Quinn got his first win this year while the Raiders have to figure out what to do with a defense that is clearly not helping the offense. Del Rio is a defensive guy, but he and Ken Norton need to find answers quickly. 35-28 Falcons.

Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers — Last week both these teams lost heartbreakers, as San Diego blew a 21 point second half lead. This game was a blowout from the start. Melvin Gordon ran for a 3 yard touchdown pass to open the scoring for the Chargers. Then came the Philip Rivers show. He tossed 4 touchdown passes. In the second quarter he hit Travis Benjamin from 6 yards out and Antonio Gates for a 2 yard score. In the third quarter Rivers threw a 44 yard touchdown to Williams and a 45 yard score to Benjamin as the Chargers led 35-0 after three quarters. Blake Bortles finished 31 of 50 for 329 yards, but most of that including his 2 touchdown passes came in garbage time. Bortles was also intercepted twice while Rivers was not picked off. Jacksonville remained winless and Gus Bradley may soon face the wrath of owner Shad Khan. 38-14 Chargers

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings was the Sunday night game. For those who love old-school black and blue football, this was it. The very first game played in the new Minnesota stadium was a bare-fisted slobber knocker. Sam Bradford started his very first game for the Vikings. He was sharp and did not make a mistake. In the first quarter Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 1 yard touchdown to make it 7-0 Packers. In the second quarter Bradford found Kyle Rudolph from 8 yards out to tie the game. Blair Walsh hit a 46 yard field goal to give the Vikings the lead. In the third quarter Bradford moved the Vikings 87 yards. He hit Diggs for a 15 yard touchdown as the Vikings led 17-7 after three quarters. Early in the fourth quarter on 3rd and goal at the 10, Rodgers scrambled for the touchdown to get the Packers within 3 points. After that Mike Zimmer’s defense cracked down on Mike McCarthy’s offense. Midway through the fourth quarter Rodgers was hit and fumbled. The Packers fumbled four times, losing that one. With 1:50 left, Rodgers was intercepted to lock up the brutal Vikings win. Adrian Peterson left the game injured, so this may be a very costly win. 17-14 Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears was the Monday night game. Sometimes a pair of bad teams can combine for an NFL thriller. This was not that game. In the first quarter Caleb Sturgis hit a 25 yard field goal for the Eagles. In the second quarter the Bears cracked the end zone when Jeremy Langford got in from one yard out for a 7-3 Bears lead. Surges added field goals from 29 and 53 to have the Eagles up 9-7 at the break. Late in the third quarter the eagles reached the Chicago 3. Ryan Mathews went straight up the gut, got stopped cold, and somehow bounced off the tackles, maintained his feet, and got outside. He dove just past the pileon for a 16-7 Eagles lead. Jay Cutler then quickly did what he does. He can always be counted on for a touchdown pass, but the question is to which team. Cutler’s interception set up the Eagles at the Chicago 2. Carson Went hit Tre Burton for the touchdown. The extra point doinked off the upright but the Eagles led 22-7 after three quarters.

To add injury to insult, Cutler injured his hand on the interception. Bryan Hoyer played the fourth quarter. To add insult to injury, Langford fumbled to give the Eagles a short field. On 4th and goal at the 2, Doug Pederson decided to go for it rather than kick the field goal. Although a run up the middle was stopped short, the Bears defense was in the neutral zone. Given a second chance on 4th and goal from the one, a pitchout to Mathews saw him get to the corner before everyone else for another touchdown and a 29-7 Eagles romp. Hoyer completed his first 9 passes, but on 4th and 1 in the red zone, Hoyer retreated about 25 yards before throwing a prayer to the end zone incomplete. John Fox had no answers, but good coaches can only do so much without players. The Bears did get in the end zone again when Eddie Royal returned a punt 65 yards for the score with 5 minutes left. This is what Chicago considers offense. 29-14 Eagles

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