Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NFL Week 2 Hangover

Denver 27, Cleveland 6

By nearly all accounts, the quarterbacks traded between the Broncos and the Bears in the off-season were not in the same league. Apparently no one told Kyle Orton that he was supposedly the bad one. Orton and the Broncos kept the momentum up from last week’s miraculous win in Cincinnati and look like the class of the weak AFC West. Denver’s offense more than doubled up on Cleveland in total yardage, and the defense forced three turnovers to turn their home-opener into a rout.

Fantasy Studs: Denver defense (1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries, 6 points allowed)

Next Week: Denver (2-0) at Oakland (1-1), 1:15 PM; Cleveland (0-2) at Baltimore (2-0), 10 AM

Chicago 17, Pittsburgh 14

After a dismal first game with his new team, the other half of that quarterback trade faced his home fans for the first time at Soldier Field and helped thousands of Chicago fans justify their new Jay Cutler jersey purchases. Cutler was far from spectacular, but he didn’t turn the ball over and helped the Bears grind out a win over the Super Bowl Champs thanks to a 44-yard field goal with just :15 to play. Pittsburgh’s defense stepped up in the absence of Troy Polamalu and held the Bears’ stud running back Matt Forte to just 29 yards on 13 carries.

Fantasy Studs: Jay Cutler (27/38, 236 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions)

Next Week: Chicago (1-1) at Seattle (1-1), 1:05 PM; Pittsburgh (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1), 1:15 PM

Baltimore 31, San Diego 26

Phillip Rivers put up huge passing numbers for the Chargers, but it wasn’t enough as Ray Lewis’ defense stuffed the San Diego running attack and Joe Flacco did just enough to win. With LaDainian Tomlinson out, Darren Sproles was given the opportunity to show he could be a #1 running back, but maybe this wasn’t the defense he would have chosen to show his stuff against, though he did have a huge day receiving. Baltimore held the Chargers to just 2.5 yards per carry, and Lewis stuffed Sproles in the backfield to end the Chargers’ last possession to seal the win.

Fantasy Studs:Phillip Rivers (25/45, 436 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions), Vincent Jackson (6 receptions, 141 yards, 1 touchdown), Darren Sproles (7 receptions, 124 yards, 1 touchdown), Willis McGahee (79 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Next Week: Cleveland (0-2) at Baltimore (0-2), 10 AM; Miami (0-1) at San Diego (1-1), 1:15 PM

San Francisco 23, Seattle 10

San Francisco’s Frank Gore had extraordinary touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards, and Seattle fans witnessed what has become all-too-ordinary: Matt Hasselbeck missed time with an injury. Hasselbeck was hit hard in the ribs just before halftime and missed the entire second half. Seneca Wallace did a serviceable job as his replacement, but the day belonged to Gore who couldn’t be stopped.

Fantasy Studs: Frank Gore (207 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Next Week: San Francisco (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0), 10 AM); Chicago (1-1) at Seattle (1-1), 1:05 PM

Buffalo 33, Tampa Bay 20

Byron Leftwich showed he is still more than just a game-manager at quarterback, but Terrell Owens’ late score put the final nail in the Buccs’ coffin in Owens’ first game at his new home stadium. Leftwich found 9 receivers on route to his huge day but the Buccs couldn’t move the ball on the ground, and the Tampa defense had no answers for Buffalo’s balanced attack and couldn’t stop Fred Jackson all day. Jackson had a career day starting in place of suspended starter Marshawn Lynch.

Fantasy Studs:Byron Leftwich (26/50, 296 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interception), Fred Jackson (163 yards), Kellen Winslow (7 receptions, 90 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week: New Orleans (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1), 1:05 PM; New York Giants (2-0) at Tampa Bay (0-2), 10 AM

Washington 9, St. Louis 7

Washington was never able to find the end zone and actually lost yardage on 3 of their 4 fourth quarter possessions, but their three field goals proved to be just enough. St. Louis only managed to cross the 50-yard line three times on the day despite a nice day from Steven Jackson and gave up another potential score on a Donnie Avery fumble on the Washington 4-yard line with just over 8:30 to go.

Fantasy Studs: Steven Jackson (104 yards), Washington defense (7 points allowed, 2 fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 sack)

Next Week: Washington (1-1) at Detroit (0-2), 10 AM; Green Bay (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1), 10AM

Arizona 31, Jacksonville 17

Kurt Warner was as close to perfect as any quarterback has ever been in this Arizona rout, but if you live in Jacksonville, you didn’t have to see it. The game was blacked out because it was not a sellout, and millions missed a chance to see Warner put on a spectacular show, completing his first 15 pass attempts. Though the time of possession and total yards were nearly dead-even, Arizona’s efficiency helped them build a 28-point lead before the Jags tired too late to get back into the game.

Fantasy Studs: Kurt Warner (24/26, 243 yards, 2 touchdowns), Mike Sims-Walker (6 receptions, 106 yards, 1 touchdown), Arizona defense (17 points allowed, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 blocked punt, 1 touchdown)

Next Week: Indianapolis (1-0) at Arizona (1-1), 5:20 PM; Jacksonville (0-2) at Houston (1-1), 1 PM

New York Jets 16, New England 9

It is looking more and more like Pete Carroll was dead wrong in his assessment of Mark Sanchez’ chances for success in the NFL. Sanchez out-dueled Tom Brady and already looks like an unfazed veteran in key situations. New England was held without a touchdown since before Sanchez was even playing at USC, and they were shut out in the second half thanks to a stellar performance by the Jets defense. They never sacked Brady, but he did take seven hits and was flushed out of the pocket repeatedly. Sanchez engineered three second half scoring drives to take the come-from-behind win to the roaring approval of his home crowd, which chanted the young quarterback’s name several times during the game.

Fantasy Studs:New York defense (9 points allowed, 1 interception), Julian Edelman (8 receptions, 98 yards)

Next Week: Tennessee (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0), 10 AM; Atlanta (2-0) at New England (1-1), 10 AM

New Orleans 48, Philadelphia 22

“Brees-to-Colston for the touchdown” is looking like the catchphrase of the new fall season! Drew Brees and Kevin Kolb (in his NFL debut start, in place of the injured Donovan McNabb) put on an airshow, combining for over 700 yards passing, and 5 touchdowns. New Orleans only possessed the ball for about one minute longer than Philadelphia but for the Saints it was the quality of their drives that led to the quantity of their points (one turnover, seven scoring drives).

Fantasy Studs:Drew Brees (25/34, 311 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception), Kevin Kolb (31/51, 391 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions), Marques Colston (8 receptions, 98 yards, 2 touchdowns), Mike Bell (86 yards, 1 TD), Brent Celek (8 receptions, 104 yards), DeSean Jackson (4 receptions, 101 yards, 1 touchdown), Jason Avant (7 receptions, 79 yards, 1 touchdown), John Carney (6 PAT, 2 FG-23 yards, 25 yards)

Next Week: New Orleans (2-0) at Buffalo (1-1), 1:05 PM; Kansas City (0-2) at Philadelphia (1-1), 10 AM

Houston 34, Tennessee 31

Tennessee’s stout almost completely shut down the Houston running game. So Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub went out and won the game with his arm. The Titans’ Chris Johnson may have had a better day over all, but it was Houston’s Andre Johnson who got the last laugh as the two teams traded punches all game long before Tennessee finally relented and allowed the fourth quarter’s only points on a 23 yard Kris Brown field goal with just over two minutes remaining.

Fantasy Studs:Matt Schaub (25/39, 357 yards, 4 touchdowns), Chris Johnson (197 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing, 9 receptions, 87 yards, 1 receiving touchdown), Andre Johnson (10 receptions, 149 yards, 2 touchdowns), Owen Daniels (6 receptions, 72 yards, 1 touchdown), Jacoby Jones (2 receptions, 73 yards, 1 touchdown), Kris Brown (4 PAT, 2 FG-23 yards, 48 yards)

Next Week: Tennessee (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0), 10 AM; Jacksonville (0-2) at Houston (1-1), 10 AM

Oakland 13, Kansas City 10

The Matt Cassell Era has begun in Kansas City and with just under 3:00 to go, it looked like it was off to a great start. Cassell engineered a 9 play, 72 yard fourth quarter drive that put the Chiefs up 10-6 and considering how dismally the Raiders’ offense had played, it looked like that lead would hold. But the Raiders showed that out-gaining your opponents by nearly a 3-to-1 margin doesn’t matter if you don’t put points on the board. JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden marched the Raiders down the field with just 2:38 to go and McFadden punched it in from five yards out to steal a 13-10 win. The Raiders suffered through a miserable offensive day, but committed no turnovers and had just enough in the tank at the end.

Fantasy Studs:Raiders defense (10 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble), Sebastian Janikowski (1 PAT, 2 FG-48 yards, 54 yards)

Next Week: Denver (2-0) at Oakland (1-1), 1:15 PM; Kansas City (0-2) at Philadelphia (1-1), 20 AM

Minnesota 27, Detroit 13

No one has ever started more NFL games in-a-row than Brett Favre, and the way he is playing, it is not hard to see why the Vikings wanted to held him keep his streak alive. Another streak was preserved in this game as well as Detroit still hasn’t won a game since 2007. Minnesota came back from a 10-0 deficit to score 27-straight. #1 overall draft pick Matt Stafford showed some growing pains and likely took a few lessons from Favre, who only threw for three more yards than Stafford, but still led the Vikings to a dominating win. Adrian Peterson had a relatively quiet game and lost a fumble, but still rushed for over 6-yards per carry.

Fantasy Studs: Adrian Peterson (92 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 fumble lost), Minnesota defense (10 points allowed, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)

Next Week: San Francisco (2-1) at Minnesota (2-0), 10 AM; Washington (1-1) at Detroit (0-2), 10AM

Cincinnati 31, Green Bay 24

Cincinnati almost saw their second last-second collapse in as many weeks, but were saved by a false start penalty on the Packers that nullified their chance at one last play from inside the Bengals’ 10. Green Bay only managed 3 points in the second half, but Aaron Rodgers continues to look like more than just “the guy that played after Favre left.” Chad Ochocinco made good on his promise to do a “Lambeau Leap” if he scored, when he caught a 13-yarder from Carson Palmer late in the third quarter that would eventually be the game-winner.

Fantasy Studs:Carson Palmer (15/23, 185 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions), Cedric Benson (141 yards), Donald Driver (6 receptions, 99 yards, 1 touchdown), Chad Ochocinco (4 receptions, 91 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week: Pittsburgh (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1), 1:15 PM; Green Bay (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1), 10AM

Atlanta 28, Carolina 20

Jake Delhomme was able to find his old form after an absolutely miserable game in Week 1, but Matt Ryan was just a little better in Week 2. Ryan led the Falcons on a 5-play, 56-yards drive in the final minute of the first half before to take the lead for one last time and the teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter to preserve the win for Atlanta. Tony Gonzalez and Steve Smith were their respective quarterbacks’ favorite targets once again as each had big games.

Fantasy Studs: Matt Ryan (21/27, 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception), Michael Turner (105 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 fumble lost), Tony Gonzalez (7 receptions, 71 yards, 1 touchdown), Steve Smith (8 receptions, 131 yards)

Next Week: Carolina (0-2) at Dallas (1-1), Monday at 5:30 PM; Atlanta (2-0) at New England (1-1), 10 AM

New York Giants 33, Dallas Cowboys 31

It was supposed to be the grand opener celebration for Jerry Jones’ new Everything-Is-Bigger-In-Texas-Dome. It was supposed to be a huge mismatch between the Cowboy’s veteran quarterback and wide receivers, and the Giants’ depleted, inexperienced secondary. It was supposed to be a huge mismatch between the Cowboys’ veteran secondary and the Giants’ inexperienced receivers. It was supposed to be a defensive battle won by the team who could run the ball better. It wasn’t. The Giants defense allowed a staggering 251 rushing yards, but picked off Tony Romo three times. The Giants had two receivers (Mario Manningham and Steve Smith) catch 10 balls for at least 134 yards and 1 score each. Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, and Miles Austen combined for three catches for Dallas and Romo only threw for 127 yards, to Eli Manning’s 330. Neither ferocious defense managed a single sack. And Brandon Jacobs was held to just 58 yards, but the Giants toughed out a huge win on the road in Dallas to ruin the party on Lawrence Tynes last second field goal.

Fantasy Studs:Eli Manning (25/38, 330 yards, 2 touchdowns), Marian Barber (124 yards, 1 touchdown), Felix Jones (96 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 fumble lost), Mario Manningham (10 receptions, 150 yards, 1 touchdown), Steve Smith (10 receptions, 134 yards, 1 touchdown), Lawrence Tynes (3 PAT, 4 FG-30 yards, 28 yards, 36 yards, 37 yards)

Next Week: Carolina (0-2) at Dallas (1-1), Monday at 5:30 PM; New York Giants (2-0) at Tampa Bay (0-2), 10 AM

Originally published Sept. 21, 2009 on SoCalSportsHub.com

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