Welcome to another installment of my weekly NFL Column. My goal is to watch everything so that you don’t have to. I will present to you the best games to watch back; the craziest moments; the best individual performances and the season-long stat leaders and records. I will also be previewing the upcoming gameweek, too.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check in each week.
Not everybody in the UK has the ability to watch almost 20 hours of live NFL every week, but I’ll make sure you don’t miss anything you’d wish you didn’t. Without further delay…
This is what happened This Week in the NFL.
I just want to start off this week by wishing for a swift and full recovery for Nick Chubb. His injury on Monday Night Football was tough to watch, both literally and because of how sad it is. Chubb finally had the backfield to himself and an opportunity to truly dominate and it’s been cut short far too soon.
I just wanted to say that, because I’m a fan of his and it was a real shame to see.
Now onto the column.
Game of the Week
If you can only watch one full game in its entirety, watch this one:
Washington Commanders @ Denver Broncos
This was a blast, go and watch it first and then come back and read the article!
Alright, let’s talk about this wild game.
Washington Commanders 35 – 33 Denver Broncos
Sean Payton’s Denver Broncos wanted to bounce back strong against the Commanders after they took a Week 1 loss to Las Vegas. And, in their defense, they did start off strong. As late as the first-half 2-minute warning the Broncos were winning 21-3.
However, Washington finished the first half strong and built some momentum.
Logan Thomas pulled down an impressive receiving TD, despite getting smacked by a dirty hit as he caught it – with 1:47 to go. The defense then forced a three-and-out and they scored a field goal as time expired. This set the tone.
When they came back out for the second half, there was more of the same, a three-and-out and then another Washington TD. All of a sudden, the game is tied at 21-21.
Ever since the third Denver score, the Commanders had just looked like the better team. The standout was undoubtedly Brian Robinson Jr., who scored two TD’s back to back early in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t looking good for the Broncos. They had a bit of hope restored by a 15-play drive that resulted in a field goal, which they followed up with a quick three-and-out. And then it got crazy.
Down by 8 points, Russell Wilson proceeded to throw a successful hail-mary, with a 50-yard TD to Brandon Johnson, giving them a miraculous opportunity to go for the two-point conversion to force overtime. Unfortunately, Wilson was unable to connect with Courtland Sutton and the Commanders held on for the 35-33 win.
Other games to watch back
Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions
New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals
Upset of the Week
New York Giants 31 – 28 Arizona Cardinals
This result is not an upset. But, when the Giants went into halftime down 21-0, having just gone six quarters without scoring a single point to start a season for the first time since the 1930’s, it looked bleak. This second half performance is what earned them the Upset of the Week.
You can dispute how much you think the Cardinals want to win football games this year, fine, but 21-0 at half time – and after being shut out last week. It was a rough situation.
And then, as if by magic, the Giants showed up. All of a sudden, Daniel Jones was making plays and the offense was waking up. Saquon came alive and with 4:25 to go in the fourth, they tied it at 28-28. Graham Gano put the cherry on top with a 34-yard FG to secure the win with just 19 seconds to go.
Winners and Losers
Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)
Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
New York Giants (1-1)
Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Washington Commanders (2-0)
Miami Dolphins (2-0)
New Orleans Saints (2-0)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Las Vegas Raiders (1-1)
Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
Detroit Lions (1-1)
Chicago Bears (0-2)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Houston Texans (0-2)
Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
Arizona Cardinals (0-2)
New York Jets (1-1)
Denver Broncos (0-2)
New England Patriots (0-2)
Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Standout Individual Performers
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
70.5% completion rate, 364 passing yards and 4 TD’s.
When people think about Kirk Cousins, they can sometimes dismiss the upside he has on a weekly basis. This season he is coming out swinging. In Week 1 he threw the ball 44 times and put up 344 passing yards. This week he threw it 44 times for 364 passing yards. Pretty consistent! The key upgrade in Week 2 was that he threw 4 TD’s and 0 INT’s. With the weapons he has, Cousins can put up some serious numbers. I’m expecting fireworks again this week, so buckle up and get some popcorn.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
28 rush attempts for 175 rushing yards and a TD.
In the season-opener for Philadelphia, Kenneth Gainwell assumed the lead role in a congested backfield and D’Andre Swift just picked up two touches (1 rush and 1 reception). However, with Gainwell sidelined due to a rib injury, Swift got a massive 31 touches on Thursday Night Football. Jalen Hurts handed him the ball a whopping 28 times (the second most in his entire career) and he turned those carries into a new career-high 175 rushing yards. If he can cement the lead role and get even remotely close to this level of volume more reliably, Swift could easily double the amount of 100-yard games he’s had by the time this season ends.
Raheem Mostert, RB, Miami Dolphins
18 rush attempts for 121 rushing yards and 2 TD’s.
Everybody who watches the NFL should know by now – when Raheem Mostert is healthy and gets touches, he is a dangerous player. If you let him get up to full speed, he will fly past your defense. This week he was the lead back on a potent Miami Offense. Seeing a whopping 18 carries (for just the third time in his career), he put up 121 rushing yards and found the endzone twice. Mostert’s performance was a key part of the Dolphins’ 24-17 victory.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6 receptions on 8 targets for 171 receiving yards and a TD.
Prior to the season, discussions about Mike Evans’ situation in Tampa were all about his contract, and whether he’ll stick around to see the end of the season. My focus was more on the fact that I think Baker Mayfield is a fantastic match for the veteran wideout. Evans is an elite deep threat, he wins vertically and he is great at attacking the ball at the point of the catch – and Baker excels at throwing it deep. This connection was on show this week, as Evans pulled in 6 of his 8 targets for a whopping 171 receiving yards. He also found the endzone for the second week running.
Danielle Hunter, DE, Minnesota Vikings
5 solo tackles including 3.0 sacks and 3 assists.
Minnesota weren’t able to hold on, but that wasn’t for the lack of trying from their star defensive end. Danielle Hunter wreaked havoc in the Philly backfield. He made 5 solo tackles and 3 assists, and was able to sack Jalen Hurts three times. This was only the Vikings veteran’s fourth three-sack game in his 8-year career. He will be hoping to repeat this against the Chargers this week as both teams fight for their first win of the season.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
8 receptions on 10 targets for 111 receiving yards and 2 TD’s.
The Chargers’ loss this week wasn’t without an impressive performance from one of their star players. Keenan Allen was back to his usual ways, seeing double-digit targets and making good use of them. On 8 receptions, he was able to score twice, and he had 111 receiving yards to go with it.
Tre Brown, CB, Seattle Seahawks
4 solo tackles including 1.0 sacks and a 40-yard pick-six.
The Seattle Seahawks defense isn’t quite the ‘Legion of Boom’ anymore, but they still have some big plays in their locker. Tre Brown proved that this week, in the best performance of his young career. The second-year cornerback made 4 tackles, including a sack. Plus, he returned an epic 40-yard pick-six. This play was absolutely key, in a very close-fought game. If it wasn’t for Brown’s defensive score, they may not have forced overtime, where Tyler Lockett was able to win it.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons
19 rush attempts for 124 rushing yards, plus 4 receptions for 48 receiving yards.
In Week 1, Bijan Robinson got eased into things, and still managed to leave an impression, scoring a beautiful touchdown. This week, he was given more opportunities, and he continued to demonstrate his ridiculous skillset. Atlanta’s rookie superstar rushed the ball 19 times for 124 yards, juking defenders out of their shoes with every change of direction. He also added on another 48 yards through the air, on 4 receptions. This kid is special.
Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams
15 receptions on 20 targets for 147 receiving yards.
If you’ve been keeping up with the NFL over the past fortnight, I am almost certain that you have heard this name now – especially, if you play fantasy football. Somehow, this 5th-round-pick has become a near household name, through sheer volume. With Cooper Kupp out injured, rookie Puka Nacua has stepped into a huge amount of volume. Matt Stafford keeps feeding him, and he just keeps on catching it!
After a Week 1 outing with 10 receptions on 15 targets, this week he pulled in a whopping 15 receptions on 20 targets. This insane volume wasn’t all on short easy throw and catches, either. He is averaging over 10 yards per reception. This week, his 15 catches were good for 147 receiving yards. Until Kupp returns, it seems like Nacua is here to stay.
Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans
7 receptions on 9 targets for 146 receiving yards and a TD.
The Houston Texans aren’t the most electric team in the league, at the moment, but one real highlight for them is the emergence of Nico Collins. Last week he caught 6 passes for 80 yards – a solid line. In Week 2, he stepped it up to the next level. Rookie C.J. Stroud found his wideout 7 times on 9 targets, for 146 receiving yards. Collins also pulled in his first touchdown of the season. It might be a difficult year for Houston, but a Collins breakout would be a welcome storyline.
Shaquil Barrett, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2 solo tackles including 1.0 sacks, plus a pick-six.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the team they were when they were Super Bowl favourites, but this defense is still terrifying. Shaq Barrett managed to write the headlines in this one, by getting the ultimate combination of a sack and a pick-six.
Micah Parsons, DE, Dallas Cowboys
4 solo tackles including 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
You can make a very very strong case that the best player in the NFL, right now, is on the Cowboys defense. Micah Parsons is a problem. The Dallas edge rusher continues to absolutely decimate offensive tackles week after week. This week, he prayed upon an Aaron Rodgers-less New York Jets offense. He made 4 solo tackles, including 2.0 sacks, and forced and recovered a fumble. Plus, that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the endless plays where his presence and the threat of his rush derailed a play.
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
8 receptions on 12 targets for 89 receiving yards and 2 TD’s.
After an incredibly disappointing Week 1, the Bengals did their best to somewhat emulate the type of football we expect from them. They were unsuccessful, as Baltimore stole the win in Cincinnati. Despite their inability to get the W, Tee Higgins looked much better. He caught 8 passes for 89 receiving yards and 2 TD’s.
Stat Leaders Through Week 2
Passing Yards – Tua Tagovailoa MIA, 715
Passing TD’s – Kirk Cousins MIN and Jordan Love GB, 6
Rushing Yards – Christian McCaffrey SF, 268
Rushing TD’s – Raheem Mostert MIA, Anthony Richardson IND and Kyren Williams LAR, 3
Receiving Yards – Justin Jefferson MIN, 309
Receiving TD’s – Tyreek Hill MIA, 3
Total TD’s – Kyren Williams LAR, 4
Tackles (combined) – Zaire Franklin IND, 30
Sacks – Danielle Hunter MIN, 4.0Interceptions – Jordan Whitehead NYJ, 3
Week 3 Preview – What to watch
Week 3 Best Games
Los Angeles Chargers @ Minnesota Vikings, 6pm
Los Angeles Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals, MNF (1:15am) [If Joe Burrow plays]
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, MNF (12:15am)
Tyler’s Bold Week 3 Prediction
The Chargers and Vikings game will go to overtime with over 55 points scored in regulation.
Week 3 Storylines
Can Atlanta continue their momentum in the battle of the rookie HB’s… Bijan vs Jahmyr. Falcons @ Lions, 6pm
Who will win this all-but-guaranteed shootout? Chargers @ Vikings, 6pm
Can a 2-0 Washington team fend off one of the AFC-favourites? Bills @ Commanders, 6pm
Just how much damage is the Dallas defense capable of? Cowboys @ Cardinals, 9:25pm
Which of these two 1-1 teams will outlast the other in primetime? Steelers @ Raiders, SNF
Can the Tampa Bay defense stifle a dominant Philly running game? Eagles @ Buccaneers, MNF (1:15am)
Will Joe Burrow play on Monday night? Rams @ Bengals, MNF (1:15am)