Sam’s NFL Week in Review: Week One and Two


Photo: Sierra Sellers

Reporter Sam Kuykendall breaks down NFL games from weeks one and two.

Miss any football over the past few weeks? No worries, Reporter Sam Kuykendall is here to break down the matchups that mattered. 

Week One:

Packers 10, Bears 3 

The 100th season of the NFL kicked off on Thursday, and the league decided to feature its most classic rivalry as its first game. The game quickly turned into a defensive slugfest in the Windy City. The only touchdown of the night came in the second quarter, where Aaron Rodgers was able to kickstart the only productive drive for either team, resulting in a connection with Jimmy Graham in the endzone to put the Packers in the lead. The Packers’ new and improved defense looked impressive, holding the Bears to 3 points and picking off Mitchell Trubisky in the endzone to seal the game. The Packers’ defense will be one to watch in the coming weeks, as it has not been the Packers’ strong point the past few years.

Titans 43, Browns 13

Wow. With all the hype surrounding the Browns this season, nobody saw this blowout coming. Tennessee had a quiet offseason, while nobody had one louder and publicized than the newly retooled Cleveland Browns. At the beginning of the game, Cleveland looked impressive, marching right down the field and punching it in on the opening drive. However, it was all Titans after that, as Derrick Henry and Delanie Walker scored two touchdowns apiece. However, the most impressive part of Tennessee’s game was the defense’s performance, picking off Baker Mayfield three times, one of them getting returned for a touchdown. The Browns looked sloppy and undisciplined, committing 17 penalties for almost 200 yards. It will be interesting to see if the first week is a fluke, or if the Browns will be once again left looking for answers as they play the New York Jets next Monday.

Ravens 59, Dolphins 10

The scene in Miami wasn’t a pretty one for the Dolphins, as Lamar Jackson showed that he can pass just as well as he can run. Jackson stole the show, throwing for five touchdowns, two of them to rookie receiver Marquise Brown. Mark Ingram rushed for two touchdowns in his first game with Baltimore, showing his ability to be a workhorse running back. To be fair, Miami is in the middle of a rebuild, but that they gave up 59 points was surprising. The lone Dolphins score came in the second quarter, but the game was already out of reach by the time it happened. Lamar Jackson’s passing ability will be something to keep an eye on as the Ravens begin to play better teams.

Vikings 28, Falcons 12

The Vikings put on a show in Minnesota, as the defense gave Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense a hard time. Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins led the Vikings’ offense, putting up 28 points on the vulnerable looking Falcons. The typically potent Falcons passing attack was thoroughly stifled, as all 12 Falcons points came in the final quarter. The Vikings defense forced two interceptions and a fumble in a complete thrashing in the first three quarters. We will have to see if Julio Jones and the Falcons can rebound Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bills 17, Jets 16

As far as NFL games go, this was an entertaining one. While low scoring, there was no shortage of action on both sides of the ball. The Jets defense was all over the Bills throughout the whole game, scoring the first touchdown on a pick-six, forcing another interception, recovering two fumbles and stuffing running back Frank Gore in the endzone for a safety. However, Josh Allen was able to rally the Bills, leading them to a come from behind victory. Also among the action was running back Le’Veon Bell scoring his first touchdown since 2017, catching a nine-yard pass from Sam Darnold. Both teams look to keep things interesting next week, as the Bills play the New York Giants and the Jets matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Eagles 32, Washington 27

Washington’s ability to score points was a big question mark coming into this season. However, the team impressed, putting up 27 points against a tough Eagles defense. Although Washington failed to hold onto their lead, Case Keenum showed encouraging signs as the starting quarterback, throwing for three touchdowns without being intercepted. If Washington wants to win games, they’ll have to play a little better defensively, although they can be given the benefit of the doubt, considering they were playing a high powered Eagles offense. Desean Jackson showed his blazing fast speed once again with the Eagles, scoring touchdowns of 50 and 51 yards. The Eagles looked really good, and if Carson Wentz can stay healthy, they have a good shot for a deep playoff run.

Rams 30, Panthers 27

Coming off a disappointing Super Bowl loss, the Rams were able to shake off the Panthers to get back on track. Todd Gurley looked impressive, running for 97 yards and dispelling rumors that his knee injury would prevent him from returning to form. Los Angeles consistently got down the field, but were held to field goals on three drives that sputtered out downfield. The Rams will need six rather than three if they want to put up points the way they did last year, but should be content to hold off the Panthers’ comeback. The only real bright spot for the Panthers was Christian McCaffrey, who continues to impress, running for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while also recording ten receptions for 81 yards. McCaffery will likely continue to impress against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, who don’t quite have as good a defense as the Rams. Also look forward to a heated rematch between the Rams and Saints next Sunday, as the Saints will have a huge chip on their shoulder over the way their Super Bowl aspirations ended last season at the hands of the Rams and one badly missed call.

Chiefs 40, Jaguars 26

The Patrick Mahomes show picked up right where it left off last year, as the Chiefs came swinging right out of the gate with a 68-yard score on the third play of the game. Bad news for both teams though, as Nick Foles and Tyreek Hill both left the game with injured clavicles. The Jaguars will look to the rookie Gardner Minshew to lead them at quarterback. Minshew exceeded expectations filling in for Foles, throwing for two touchdowns to keep the score respectable. As for the Chiefs, Sammy Watkins had a career night in the absence of Hill, catching nine passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 MVP, threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns, which seems to be somewhat standard nowadays for the young superstar. Expect the Chiefs to be putting up 35 to 40 points a night with arguably the NFL’s best offense firing on all cylinders. As for Jacksonville, they’re hopeful that Foles’ injury doesn’t derail their season. They will need Minshew to put on another good performance if they hope to beat the rival Texans next Sunday.

Seahawks 21, Bengals 20

The Seahawks defense was talked about a lot coming into this game, with the new addition of Jadeveon Clowney headlining a group of new players expected to improve Seattle’s defense. The defense looked as advertised, allowing the Seahawks offense to score enough to squeak out a win against a mediocre Bengals team. Russel Wilson looked in form, connecting on a beautiful 44-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett to win the game. Chris Carson rushed for a touchdown and caught another score in an impressive day. The Bengals came into the game with an understaffed offensive line and their best player, wideout A.J. Green, out for multiple weeks with an injury. The Bengals’ rushing game struggled, with star running back Joe Mixon leaving early with an injury.  However, Andy Dalton and the Bengals passing attack looked really good, as Dalton threw for 418 yards and two scores, both of which were on deep connections with the speedy John Ross. As far as takeaways, the Seahawks look to continue to rack up wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the Bengals look to translate a promising start into the win column against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Cowboys 35, Giants 17

Between Ezekiel Elliott’s contract holdout and Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper’s contracts coming to an end, the Cowboys certainly made a lot of noise this offseason. Did they warrant all the attention? The way they manhandled the Giants would suggest that they did. The Cowboys offense had a field day against a depleted Giants defense that lost many key starters last season. Dak Prescott threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came to different receivers (Blake Jarwin, Jason Witten, Amari Cooper, and Randall Cobb). Ezekiel Elliott added 53 yards and a score on the ground as the Cowboys looked like one of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses. The Giants had some decent plays of their own, as Eli Manning threw for 306 yards and a score while Saquon Barkley ran four 120 yards on the ground. The rebuilding Giants seem to have some good pieces left to build around while the Cowboys look to make a playoff run, continuing next week against Washington.

Chargers 30, Colts 24 (OT)

One of the best games from Sunday to watch, the Colts and Chargers had an entertaining bout that was one of two games on Sunday to go to overtime. The Chargers looked like the playoff team they were last year, with Austin Ekeler turning in a magnificent three-touchdown performance in place of Melvin Gordon, who is still holding out for contract reasons. Philip Rivers had the Bolts’ passing attack going smoothly as well, throwing for 333 yards and three scores. They look to continue to win next week against the Lions. With Andrew Luck’s surprising premature retirement hanging over their heads, the Colts put up a fight against the stout Chargers defense. Jacoby Brissett looked comfortable in the Colts offense, throwing for 190 yards and two scores. Marlon Mack looked impressive in the ground game, rushing for 174 yards and also breaking free for a 63 yards touchdown run in the third quarter. The Colts have another tough test coming up on Sunday, as they take on a Titans defense that made the much-hyped Cleveland offense look silly.

49ers 31, Buccaneers 17

Coming into this contest, the San Francisco 49ers were pleased to have their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, back after he missed most of last season with an injury. The 49ers looked most impressive on defense, however, picking off Jameis Winston three times and turning two of them into touchdowns. The 49ers will look to ride their defensive success into next week against a Bengals team that put up potent passing numbers against the Seahawks last week. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, look for answers on offense as they only scored one offensive touchdown. They won’t have time to take a break as they play the Carolina Panthers, who came close to knocking off the Rams earlier Sunday with a stellar performance from Christian McCaffery. The Bucs will have to contain him if they want a shot at winning next week.

Lions 27, Cardinals 27 (OT)

This game was a weird one. The Lions looked completely in control of the game up until the final quarter. Matthew Stafford looked poised, throwing for 385 yards and three touchdowns. The Lions defense looked good in the first three quarters too. They’ll need to be able to close out games if they want to win next week against the Chargers. The Cardinals came in with their number one overall pick Kyler Murray at quarterback and finally unveiled their secretive air raid offense. The Cardinals looked awful in the first three quarters until they finally seemed to pull it together to tie the game in the final quarter. It will be intriguing to see if this air raid offense will be able to work against a much tougher Ravens team which put on a clinic earlier in Miami. 

Week Two: 

The Packers have a good defense, the Bears kicked a game-winning field goal, the Buffalo Bills are 2-0, and Lamar Jackson has proven he can throw the ball? Really? Bet nobody saw this coming. The NFL kicked into a strange gear in week 2, featuring several games that could prove to be important down the road. The trail of injuries has also begun, leading to uncertain futures for fans and teams alike. Here are some of the highlights and important games from Week 2:

Packers 21, Vikings 16

Well, it’s official: at long last, the Packers once again have a good defense. After Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdowns in the first quarter and Aaron Jones ran in for another, the Packers were up 21-10. The two Aarons looked impressive, with Jones running for 116 yards (a rare feat for Packers running backs nowadays). However, the Vikings gave Green Bay fans like myself a scare after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter, making it 21-16. Fortunately for those at Lambeau, the Packers’ defense stood tall and closed out the game without letting up any more points. The Vikings had a great day from Dalvin Cook, who ran for 154 yards and a touchdown. The Packers offense will need to be consistent through an entire game in the coming weeks, but another win against a division rival is nevertheless a great outcome for all Green Bay fans. Meanwhile, the Vikings look to rebound next week against an Oakland team that just got steamrolled by the Patrick Mahomes train.

Colts 19, Titans 17

This game was a close one right down to the end. In an important AFC division matchup, the Colts managed to squeak by the Titans behind three touchdown passes from Jacoby Brissett. The defenses for both teams had the most impact on the score, with the Colts defense forcing two fumbles and the Titans intercepting Brissett once and forcing a fumble of their own. Both offenses will need to produce more points if they hope to win next week. The Colts face a tough Atlanta Falcons passing attack Sunday while the Titans look to get another shot at an important division win on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Seahawks 28, Steelers 26

In a matchup between two playoff regulars, the Seattle Seahawks barely managed to edge the Steelers, who suffered a major blow with the exit of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has been reported to be out indefinitely with an elbow injury, while Steelers running back James Conner also left with an injury. This does not bode well for the Steelers, who are down two games already and now playing with their backup quarterback Mason Rudolph. They look to hopefully limp back into the playoffs this year, beginning with a matchup against the much improved San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks look to continue to fly high against the Brees-less Saints on Sunday. Quarterback Russell Wilson looks as good as ever, giving Seattle a very good shot to soar into the playoffs once again.

Texans 13, Jaguars 12

I have done enough puzzling already about why in the world the Jaguars went for two after they scored a touchdown with 30 seconds left in the game. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew looks like exactly what the Jaguars hoped for when he stepped in for the injured Nick Foles last week. Minshew has been impressive, throwing for 213 yards and a touchdown this week. He was hot in the final quarter of the game, leading the Jaguars to what should have been a game-tying score after being down 13-3. So why didn’t they just kick the extra point and ride their offense into overtime? Your guess is as good as mine. As for the Texans, they are fortunate to be walking away with a narrow win over a division rival. We will see if their luck continues next week against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Bears 16, Broncos 14

What? The Bears kicked a long game-winning field goal? That’s exactly right, as Eddy Piniero became Chicago’s favorite kicker after knocking down a 53-yard game-winner in Denver. After a Denver score, a two-point attempt in which the Broncos play clock ran out, a point after that got called back due to a Bears offside, and then a successful 2 point conversion (it was wild), the game seemed to be over in Denver’s favor. However, after a clutch pass from Mitchell Trubisky and a questionable roughing the passer call, Piniero settled many a Bears fan’s doubts about their kicking this season. However, there was no covering up that the Bears offense hasn’t looked good this season. Next week’s game against Washington will be telling for many fans wondering what is going on with their offense. Meanwhile, the Broncos find themselves in an 0-2 hole and a tough matchup against the Green Bay Packers next week. It might be time for some concern in Denver.

Rams 27, Saints 9

This highly anticipated matchup between the NFC’s best teams last year was only made more important by the infamous no-call that led to literal rioting on the part of the Saints fan base. However, things once again did not go their way as Drew Brees left the game with a thumb injury that is projected to sideline him for the next six weeks. The Saints’ offense was stagnant without Brees and was not able to score a touchdown against the Rams, who pounced on the chance to chalk a loss up for the Saints once again. Next week, the Saints, now helmed by Teddy Bridgewater, play a high flying Seahawks team that will be telling for how the offense will be able to play without their Hall of Fame quarterback. Meanwhile, the Rams hope to continue to roll next week against the Browns.

Falcons 24, Eagles 20

In yet another nail-biting game, the Falcons were able to squeak out a win against the Eagles, thanks to a Julio Jones score on 4th and 3. Both quarterbacks struggled with interceptions (Wentz threw two and Ryan three), but they were both able to overcome their mistakes to make it an edge-of-your-seat game in the fourth quarter. On the upside, the Eagles and Falcons are both very good teams and there’s no shame in losing a close game to one of the top teams in the NFL. The Eagles play an easier Lions team on Sunday while the Falcons hope to extend their win streak to 2 against the Indianapolis Colts.