Mark Sanchez plays like a veteran; Tony Romo flops again; Bengals lineman has five sacks; Tennessee in free fall.
By Jim Buzinski
How I saw Week 2 of the NFL season:
New sheriff in town: Rex Ryan of the New York Jets is my favorite among the new coaches. He is brash and chippy but not the a-hole his dad, Buddy, was. And he put together a great game plan that shut down the New England Patriots, 16-9.
|NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez is 2-0 as a rookie and posed as a swimsuit model for GQ in the offseason (gallery here).|
Tom Brady was not sacked, but was hurried more than 15 times and he finished a shaky 23 for 47 for 216 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. Brady finished with an anemic 53.1 QB rating. Brady consistently threw the ball away as he was pressured. In contrast, rookie QB Mark Sanchez outplayed the Golden Boy and had a touchdown pass and a 101.1 rating.
It is the Jets' first home win against the Patriots since 2000 and came after a week of bravado by the Ryan and some of his players. But the Jets backed it up and the Patriots looked rattled, committing 11 penalties. It was the fewest points New England has scored since 2006.
The Patriots had two red zone possessions in the first half and only got two field goals out of it. The Jets' defense kept it close and allowed Sanchez to settle down as his offense came alive in the second half.
Overworked: I would be a tad nervous if I were a New England fan. Brady has thrown 100 passes in his first two games, not a good sign. For some reason, the Pats have abandoned the running game, and this leaves Brady to get hit a lot. Teams have also done a good job of keeping Randy Moss from torching them deep. The Pats were lucky to win Week 1 against the choking Bills or else there would be full-blown panic in Patriot Nation. As it is, there is a lot of time to right a suddenly shaky ship, but one thing is clear: the Jets clearly are going to be a factor in the AFC East.
Opening night flop: Jerry Jones is not a happy man. He threw a party for 105,121 people at his new football palace and Tony Romo threw up on the guests' shoes. The Dallas Cowboys dominated the New York Giants, but the game stayed close thanks to Romo's three critcal interceptions. The result was a last-play field goal that lifted the Giants to a 33-31 win. Romo has yet to prove he can win the marquee games and Sunday night will only add to that perception.
Sack master: There is no doubt who the AFC Defensive Player of the Week will be - Antwan Odom, defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals. Odom owned the Green Bay Packers offensive line, sacking Aaron Rodgers five times in the Bengals' 31-24 win.
It was quite a comeback for the Bengals, who lost last week on a miracle play against Denver. Something similar almost occurred Sunday. The Packers had pulled to within seven, then recovered an onsides kick. A last-gasp pass got the Pack inside the Bengals' 10, but time ran out and Cincinnati held on.
Redemption: Last week, I heard Chicago Bears fans give up on the season after Jay Cutler threw four picks in a loss at Green Bay in a game where they lost linebacker Brian Uhrlacher for the year. They're all back on the bandwagon after the Bears upset the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-14, on a last-second field goal by Robbie Gould.
Pinball machine: When the Saints rang up 45 points last week against the Lions, the reaction was nice, but it's the Lions. After putting up 48 at Philadelphia on Sunday, there is little doubt that the Saints have the league's most explosive offense. Drew Brees has nine touchdown passes in two games; at this rate, he would finish with 72 for the season (Tom Brady has the record, 50).
Weird call of the day: For some inexplicable reason, San Diego coach Norv Turner kicked a field goal on third-and-goal from the Baltimore Ravens' 6 with 10 seconds left in the first half instead of taking one more shot in the end zone. The Chargers didn't have a time out, but the call still made no sense to anyone save Turner.
Weirder call of the day: The Chargers could not run the ball against the Ravens (they had 58 rushing yards) and faced a fourth-and-2 inside the Ravens' 20, down 31-26, with 37 seconds left in the game. Philip Rivers had already passed for 436 yards, so the logical call was a pass. But logic and Norv Turner don't mix well -- he called a run up the middle (the strength of the Ravens' defense), Darren Sproles lost five yards and the Chargers lost another game they could easily have won.
Rivers seemed to question the call when he said. "You can't keep throwing it, throwing it and throwing it -- well, you can. It was a play that we didn't execute. It's tough to end that way."
Free fall: The Tennessee Titans started last season 10-0. Since then, they have gone 3-6. In Week 1 this season, the Titans held the Steelers to 13 points but only scored 10. Sunday, the Titans exploded for 31, but the defense fell apart, giving up 34 to Houston. In two games, the Titans have given up 720 yards passing; think they regret not resigning Albert Haynesworth?
Snoozer: The Kansas City-Oakland game was so exciting, I .... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.