Hey everyone, Tyler here, welcome to my weekly NFL column.
I am going to be using this space to keep all of you guys up to date with what you may have missed in the NFL, the biggest takeaways and stats, and then preview the upcoming week and what I think you need to be watching next.
Thanks for reading, now let’s get into this week’s column.
This first iteration of my column is a double-whammy, as we’re going to be recapping two weeks of football instead of just one, which will be the default moving forward. With that being said, we have a lot to cover, so let’s get going!
The NFL Season is now fully into the swing of things and we’ve already seen some incredibly exciting football. The prime time games have all been good, there have been epic performances, wild endings and awesome shootouts. Let’s recap everything that’s gone down so far.
Las Vegas Raiders
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
Standout Individual Performers
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady: 655 yards, 9 TD’s. Gronkowski: 12 receptions, 129 yards, 4 TD’s.
How are they still doing this? A 44-year-old quarterback and his 32-year-old, previously retired, tight end, dominating. Tom Brady is leading the league in passing TD’s, and Rob Gronkowski is leading the entire league in touchdowns. We knew that Tampa Bay were here to stay, having essentially returned with the same team off the back of their Super Bowl win, but it’s still impressive. Brady is going to be elite for as long as he plays this sport (and who knows how much longer that will be) but props to Gronkowski for returning to his redzone dominance of yesteryear. Admittedly, the matchups have been fairly favourable, but it’s still awesome to see these two continually building their epic legacy together.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
67% completion rate, 817 yards, 4 Touchdowns and two clutch performances.
It would have been possible that in previous years I, as a Raiders fan, could have been biased and said Derek Carr was doing great. But I don’t think that’s the case today. The Las Vegas Raiders are 2-0 after playing MNF against a Baltimore Ravens team who just beat the Chiefs, and then flying across the country and playing the Steelers on the road just 5 days later, with a banged-up O-Line and no Josh Jacobs. Both of these wins can be attributed directly to Derek Carr and his uncanny ability in the clutch.
Carr leads the entire league in passing yards, with a pretty ridiculous 817 yards. His 4 passing TD’s don’t set the world on fire, but it’s the context behind them that elevates them. In Week 1, both of his scoring throws came to cement a fourth-quarter [and then OT] comeback, and then on Sunday, he struck again. His first TD came on a beautiful throw, moments after which he got hurt – the same ankle he broke in his memorable 2016 campaign. However, he returned to the game on a sore ankle, and as the Steelers threatened to take the momentum back, he threw a 61-yard bomb to speedster Henry Ruggs that proved to be the game-winner.
For Vegas to come out of their first two games undefeated is impressive, given the matchups and short turnaround, but Derek Carr’s elite performance to start the year could be a sign of something bigger than just a hot start.
Cooper Kupp, LA Rams
21 targets, 16 receptions, 271 yards, 3 TD’s.
It’s easy to say that QB’s have been great, but for a wide receiver to set himself apart is a little more difficult. Not difficult enough to stop Cooper Kupp from doing just that, though. The Rams receiver has completely dominated in the first two weeks of the season. In Week 1, against the Bears, Kupp lit up prime time with 108 yards and a score, and I thought that was impressive. Then he played even better in Week 2. He tormented Indianapolis to the tune of 9 receptions, for 163 yards and 2 TD’s.
The new-look Rams offense, led by Matthew Stafford, is working like a well-oiled machine, despite losing young halfback Cam Akers to injury before the season started. Darrell Henderson has stepped up enough to at least keep the running game a threat, and Stafford and Kupp have done the rest. Sean McVay’s offense is fun to watch, and never more so than when Kupp is targeted. The rapport between the fifth-year wideout and his new QB has been fantastic, seemingly – as every commentator will remind you – because they have breakfast together every morning.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
189 yards in Week 1, 282 yards total.
Probably the most unexpected WR explosion of the year so far, Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers has been absolutely destroying secondaries through the first two weeks. With matchups against the Lions and Eagles, I could have told you to expect some solid production in the passing game, but Deebo Samuel wouldn’t have been my first guess. While Brandon Aiyuk fantasy owners across the land panicked, Deebo Samuel was casually amassing 282 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets in the first two weeks. If this keeps up, and Aiyuk can get more involved, alongside the always-terrifying George Kittle at TE, this passing game could be scary as hell.
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
5 sacks and two forced fumbles in Week 1.
We’re recapping the first two weeks, but we have to give at least a shoutout to the absolute game-wrecking efforts of Chandler Jones last week against Tennessee. The Cardinals pass-rusher was so absurdly good that the unfortunate tackle trying to block him, Taylor Lewan, literally thanked him on Twitter for pushing him to become better so it won’t ever happen again.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
237 scrimmage yards and 3 TD’s in Week 2.
Alright, if we’re going to hype up Jones for one big week, we have to talk about Derrick Henry. He was quiet in Week 1 with just 58 yards on 17 carries. Henry made up for that, though, and still leads the league in rushing yards after bouncing back in a big way. His 35 rush attempts against Seattle translated into 182 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns, as well as an extra 55 yards through the air. One quiet week is about as much as you can expect from the undisputed number one pure runner in football.
Mike Edwards, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4 solo tackles, 3 passes defended and 2 Pick 6’s in Week 2.
Too many people who love the NFL don’t fully appreciate the defensive side of the football, so it’s always good to shine the spotlight on big performances when you can, but wow. This performance was hard to miss. Mike Edwards of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had himself an incredible performance this weekend, scoring two Pick 6’s in a single game. This is a very rare feat. He also recorded 4 solo tackles and 3 passes defended. After Sean Murphy-Bunting got hurt, it was important for someone to step up in the secondary, and that’s exactly what Edwards did against Atlanta on Sunday.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
115 scrimmage yards and 4 TD’s in Week 2.
The Green Bay Packers didn’t look like their usual selves in Week 1, getting dismantled by the New Orleans Saints, however they looked exactly how you’d expect last night. They bounced back with a good win against the Detroit Lions, in large part thanks to their two Aaron’s. Rodgers was back to his usual self, with 255 yards and 4 passing TD’s. Aaron Jones had himself a big night with 17 carries for 67 yards and a score, as well as 6 receptions, half of which found the end zone. After the Packers settled for just a single field goal last week, Jones put himself back firmly in the conversation for the most TD’s on the season, now tied for first in the league after his big night on MNF.
Games to watch back – Weeks 1 and 2
If you don’t get a chance to sit and watch all 10 hours of NFL football each Sunday, that’s fair enough, it’s a lot of football! So each week we are going to give you tips on which games you should go and watch back so you don’t miss out on the best NFL action of the year. We recommend watching the ‘Game In 40’ if you have Game Pass so you can watch as much football as possible.
Week 1 Best Games
Cowboys @ Buccaneers – TNF
Browns @ Chiefs
Ravens @ Raiders – MNF
Week 2 Best Games
Giants @ Washington – TNF
Titans @ Seahawks
Chiefs @ Ravens – SNF
Stat Leaders Through Week 2
Passing Yards – Derek Carr, 817
Passing TD’s – Tom Brady, 9
Rushing Yards – Derrick Henry, 240
Rushing TD’s – Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry, 3
Receiving Yards – Deebo Samuel, 282
Receiving TD’s – Rob Gronkowski, 4
Total TD’s – Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Jones, 4
Tackles (combined) – Bobby Wagner, 33
Sacks – Chandler Jones, 5
Interceptions – Trevon Diggs, Mike Edwards, JC Jackson, Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Reid, 2.
Week 3 Preview – What to watch
Week 3 Best Games
Chargers @ Chiefs, 6PM
Buccaneers @ Rams, 9:25PM
Packers @ 49ers – SNF
Week 3 – Who to watch
Jalen Ramsey vs Mike Evans, Bucs @ Rams, 9:25PM.
Sean McVay’s offense vs Todd Bowles’ defense, Bucs @ Rams, 9:25PM.
Steelers Front 7 vs Bengals struggling O-Line, Bengals @ Steelers, 6PM.
Zach Wilson vs the Broncos defense, Jets @ Broncos, 9:05PM.
Trevor Lawrence vs Kyler Murray, Cardinals @ Jaguars, 6PM.
Patrick Mahomes vs Justin Herbert, Chargers @ Chiefs, 6PM.
Lamar Jackson vs the Lions defense, Ravens @ Lions, 6PM.
There you go!
That is my full recap and preview to get you up to speed and prepare you for Week 3 of the NFL regular season. Keep your eyes on UKFL’s socials and our website for more NFL coverage, as we try and help keep our fellow UK-based fans keep up with everything going on across the pond.
Also, don’t forget to go and enter our NFL London Ticket Giveaway competition, which will be closing at the end of Friday the 24th.
Enjoy Week 3 and we’ll catch up next week!