The Vikings and Cowboys are already in crisis mode; Jets bounce back; shootout in DC; hot player of the week; Manning Bowl II; and a cool same-sex commercial.
By Jim Buzinski
How I saw Week 2 of the NFL:
Big trouble: It's not impossible for teams to rebound for 0-2 starts, but it all depends on the team and the situation. In the case of the Minnesota Vikings, their 2010 season is coming close to unraveling.
Brett Favre will be 41 on Oct. 10 and he looks every second of it. After throwing only seven interceptions in 16 games in 2009, he already has four in two games this season. He threw three in the Vikings' 14-10 home loss to Miami (though one was not his fault). He also fumbled in the end zone, which turned out to be the key play of the game. And the Vikings got stuffed late in the game on fourth and goal from the 1 as the Dolphins preserved the win.
|Hot player of the week: Craig Dahl|
The problem for the Vikings is that they have no Plan B at quarterback. Favre had a charmed 2009 and the Vikings had a cake schedule that allowed them to get a rhythm. They have no such luck and with Favre's favorite receiver Sidney Rice out for at least half the season, their passing game will continue to struggle. Rumors have the Chargers possibly trading receiver Vincent Jackson to Minnesota, which would help, but Jackson is suspended until at least Week 5. Things look grim in Minnesota, especially with the Bears and Packers starting 2-0.
They're not much better in Dallas, as the Cowboys lost to Chicago, 27-20. This is the Cowboys' first 0-2 start since 2001. Dallas, which some people predicted would have an unstoppable offense, bungled its way for a second straight games. Tony Romo threw two interceptions and the offense kept stalling in scoring position. Dallas might also be looking for a new kicker as David Buehler is 1 for 3 this season.
No team is more scrutinized than the 'Boys and owner Jerry Jones called the loss “quite a setback.” Fans want the heads of coach Wade Phillips and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. It won't be a fun week to be a Cowboy.
Who's the QB?: It's Week 2 and we already have quarterback controversies. The Raiders yanked Jason Campbell at halftime and replaced him with Bruce Gradkowski. That seemed like a weird moved given that this was only Campbell's second start for the Raiders, but weird and the Raiders go together like strawberries and cream at Wimbledon.
In Tennessee, the Titans yanked Vince Young after he committed three turnovers against the Steelers. The ancient Kerry Collins came in and he committed two. The result was a 19-11 loss to Pittsburgh and more questions as to whether Young will ever be an elite QB; I say no.
The Steelers don't have any quarterback controversy because they only have one quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger's suspension last two more games, Byron Leftwhich was cut last week (but could be resigned) and starter Dennis Dixon went out with an injury against the Titans. That leaves Charlie Batch as the likely starter. “I know it won’t be me,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “I’m not good enough.”
The Steelers, though, are 2-0 thanks to a suffocating defense that has allowed only 17 points in two games. If they continue to play like this, the Steelers become a legit Super Bowl contender once Big Ben comes back.
The Eagles could have a quarterback controversy given how well Michael Vick is playing in place of the injured Kevin Kolb. But coach Andy Reid insists that Kolb is his starter and Vick is saying all the right things about being content in his role. But if Kolb looks shaky when he comes back, the "We want Vick" cries will start early.
Cool commercial: Corona has a new TV spot that shows couples enjoying a brew. In one scene, there are four men sitting around, with two in deck chairs next to each other, the very picture of a content same-sex couple. This is similar to another Corona commercial this summer that showed what appeared to be two gay guys sitting next to each other on the beach.
Upside: Surprises so far include the Bears, Bucs, Chiefs, Texans and Dolphins at 2-0. Tampa is the biggest no-name team in the league, but with games against the Steelers and Bengals coming up, expect the Bucs to be 2-2 soon.
Hot player of the week: The Rams (0-2) aren't much of a team to look at from a playing standpoint, but they are primo in the looks department. Last week, I featured Danny Amendola and this week it's safety Craig Dahl, a 6-1, 209 safety. The photo above is of Dahl at the Playboy mansion.You can watch a video of Dahl being interviewed here; he sounds as good as he looks.
Premature: People buried the Jets after their Week 1 loss where they tied a team record low with only six first downs. Sunday, they faced the Patriots, a team that looked great in slamming the Bengals last week. Say hello to the 0-2 Jets? Not so fast. New England raced out to a 14-7 lead, then the Jets took over the game, forcing three Tom Brady turnovers en route to a 28-14 win.
Mark Sanchez, who was ripped up and down after Week 1, outplayed Brady, throwing three touchdowns. Cyd had declared the Pats a playoff team after Week 1, which just reinforces my point that people read way too much into opening week. If you're a Pats' fans, what has to be of concern is a pass defense that has allowed 550 yards passing and five touchdowns in two games.
Manning Bowl II: Despite being a huge Colts fan, I was not swept up in the hype over Peyton and Eli Manning facing each other for the second time. It's not like they really play against the other and the outcome of the game is as much dependent on how the other players do as on how the two of them do. Plus, we've seen every conceivable Manning angle beaten into the ground the past few years.
The game was a dud (but lovely from my biased standpoint), with Peyton-Indy blowing out Eli-N.Y., 38-14.
Helmet-gate: The most intriguing part of the game was how the helmet of Giants running back Brandon Jacobs wound up in the hands of a Colts fan 10 rows up. Jacobs was pissed at being yanked from the game and threw his helmet in disgust but claims he did not mean for it to travel that far.
"I was a little mad, but to be honest with you, it was a mistake," Jacobs said. "It got caught onto the sticky leather of my gloves." He was very apologetic afterwards (including to the Colts fan) and is lucky the helmet didn't slice somebody's head open. Expect his wallet to be lighter after he gets a fine from the NFL.
Shootout: The fun game of the week was Houston's 30-27 overtime win at Washington, which saw the Texans score the last 20 points and get their first-ever OT win. Matt Schuab (497 yards) and the Redskins' Donovan McNabb (426) combined for 923 yards passing. In cintrast, the teams had a combined 76 yards rushing. Houston is 2-0 but the Texans have allowed 859 yards passing in two games.
Hot is hot: Totally unrelated to the NFL, but I opened today's New York Times while watching games and saw this two-page picture of Cristiano Ronaldo in an Armani ad. It was a nice diversion.