Observations from NFL Week 2: Winners, losers and the wacky onside kick that helped Dallas rally to win on a walk-off FG
Saquon Barkley’s bad week got worse, the 49ers had a costly win and there was a surprise starter for the Chargers. Plus an early look at Week 3's point spreads.
The Eagles going belly-up to the Rams was made even worse when the Cowboys pulled off a miracle to beat the Falcons.
It was one of the all-time gags for a Falcons team, which four years ago blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. On Sunday, Atlanta was up by 15 with five minutes left. Not easy to do.
It took an onside kick that seemed to defy physics, plus a 26-yard drive led by Dak Prescott to set up Greg Zuerlein’s 46-yard field goal at the buzzer to give Dallas an improbable 40-39 victory.
The Cowboys won despite losing the turnover battle 0-3 and being stopped twice on fake punts. Atlanta led 29-10 at the half when the 21,708 in attendance at AT&T Stadium booed their team.
“I don’t know if I’ve been in many games like this thing,” said Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, who threw for 450 yards and sneaked in three short touchdowns. “But to be able to get the win, and in front of those fans that were there, stayed the whole game, they didn’t give up on us. That was a huge difference.”
Best wishes for Saquon Barkley who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury after he was awkwardly twisted down in the first half of the Giants' loss at Chicago.
Barkley had four carries for 28 yards. He had to come out of the game after he suffered an apparent shoulder injury on his previous carry. Barkley was replaced by former Eagle/Patriot/Titan Dion Lewis, who 20 yards on 10 carries.
Early reports are that Barkley suffered a torn ACL. “Obviously," head coach Joe Judge said, "we are all praying for the best.”
It was a rough week for Barkley, who was criticized by former Giants Super Bowl-winning running back Tiki Barber after New York’s loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.
“Saquon Barkley might not be an every down back,” Barber said on his radio show. “He cannot pass protect. It’s becoming glaring ... and it’s going to be a liability.”
Barkley, who was held to six rushing yards on 15 carries in Week 1, turned the other cheek by saying he doesn’t pay attention to those outside the Giants locker room.
New York’s running backs have run the ball 30 times in two games for 55 yards.
San Fran’s misery
San Francisco lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert, and two key defensive linemen Sunday. Good thing they were playing the Jets.
Initial reports are that Garoppolo has a high ankle sprain, Mostert has a sprained MCL, and Nick Bosa, the reigning defensive rookie of the year, has a torn ACL. Solomon Thomas, who would have helped fill the void left by Bosa, left with his own knee injury two plays later. His prognosis also is unclear.
This is all notable for Eagles fans since the 49ers, who already were without George Kittle, Richard Sherman and Deebo Samuel, host the Eagles in two weeks.
Winners & Losers
Rookie Justin Herbert, the sixth overall pick, was a surprise starter for the Chargers when Tyrod Taylor suffered an odd chest injury right before kickoff. His first-quarter touchdown run was the first by a Chargers quarterback in nine years. Herbert passed for 311 yards and made it very difficult for Anthony Lynn not to give him the start next week when L.A. hosts Carolina.
Jonathan Taylor (Salem High School) took advantage of a golden opportunity by running for 101 yards in his second game as a pro. The Colts lost starter Marlon Mack to a torn Achilles last week, and gave it to Taylor 26 times in their win over the Vikings. Taylor gets the Jets next week.
The Lions have lost 11 in a row, and the two so far this season has seen pretty admirable collapses. They were up 14-3, before Green Bay went on a 38-7 run. In Week 1, they were up 23-6 on the Bears and lost 27-23.
Good to see D’Andre Swift rebound from last week’s rough debut to catch all five of his targets for 60 yards for Detroit. He was held to 12 yards on five carries running it.
The Packers have scored 85 points in the first two games, their most prolific offensive start since 1945. They’ve thrown the ball 74 times, run it 67.
The NFC East is 2-6 after Washington was smacked by the Cardinals. (Would’ve been 1-7 if Atlanta didn’t choke.) At one point Sunday, the three teams playing in the early time window -- the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants -- were trailing 48-3.
Kyler Murray passed for 286 yards and ran for another 67 as the Cardinals improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2015. Couldn’t agree more with FOX analyst Brady Quinn, who said Murray will be in the MVP conversation.
The Jets gave up a 55-yard running play on a 3rd-and-31 to San Fran’s Jerick McKinnon. (SMH.) Niners kicker Robbie Gould completed the drive when his 46-yard field goal clanged off the upright and through. McKinnon’s a guy to root for. He missed all of the last two seasons with a knee injury, including San Fran’s Super Bowl run last year.
Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals last week, but rallied to hit the game-winner with 17 seconds left. On Sunday, he clanged an extra point, but kicked a 49-yarder with 96 seconds left. He also drilled a 51-yarder just before half.
Did you notice?
Kansas City beat the Chargers for the 12th time in 13 games when Harrison Butker kicked a 58-yard field goal in overtime. Butker, who had a 58-yarder earlier, originally kicked a 53-yarder that was wiped out by a false start penalty. He then made a 58-yarder that came off the board when the Chargers called a timeout at the last moment. It’s no wonder his teammates put him on their shoulders after his game-winner. Pretty cool.
The refs missed an obvious unsportsmanlike penalty when Tyreek Hill took his helmet off after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown. (We can debate whether that should even be a penalty, but that’s for another day.) Kansas City converted a two-point play, which should have been from the 17-yard line if the zebras were paying attention.
The Bills-Dolphins game was delayed 36 minutes because of lightning. Gotta see this catch by Miami’s Mike Gesicki, who had the best game of his career (8-130-1).
Buffalo’s Josh Allen (417 yards) is the fourth Bills quarterback to throw for 400 yards in a game. Joe Ferguson, Jim Kelly (twice) and Drew Bledsoe (twice) are the others.
Raheem Mostert was clocked at 23.1 miles per hour on his 80-year TD run to open the 49ers’ win over the Jets. It’s the second consecutive week he has set the mark for the fastest time registered on a touchdown.
Colts cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (Temple) missed Sunday’s win over Minnesota with a stomach illness and was evaluated at an Indianapolis-area hospital. Ya-Sin was not on the injury report during the week.
Denver’s Jeff Driskel, who replaced Drew Lock, was the 14th of 15 quarterbacks selected in the 2016 draft. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were the first two.
NFL Network’s Scott Hanson is determined to bring the word “octopus” into football’s lexicon. He (and other nerds like us) defines it as a player who scores a touchdown and converts the two-point conversion for eight points. I’d prefer “snowman” as a nod to my golf game when I just totally meltdown on a hole.
Baltimore linebacker L.J. Fort, who played four games for the Eagles last season, had an acrobatic fumble return for a touchdown. Stellar for a guy who weighs 232 pounds.
He said it
"It’s tough to put a loss like that in place. I told the team there has to be a lesson in the pain of that loss. We’ll work into that as we put in preparation for next week, but definitely that one stings.”
-- Head coach Dan Quinn of Atlanta, which hosts the 2-0 Bears in Week 3.
Saints 5.5 RAIDERS (48.5), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
JAGUARS 2.5 Dolphins (44), 8:20 p.m. (NFLN)
Sunday, Sept. 27
PATRIOTS 6.5 Raiders (NL), 1 p.m.
BILLS 3 Rams (44.5), 1 p.m.
STEELERS 6 Texans (45), 1 p.m.
49ers 6.5 GIANTS (NL), 1 p.m.
Titans 2.5 VIKINGS (45.5), 1 p.m.
BROWNS 6.5 Washington (44.5), 1 p.m.
EAGLES 6 Bengals (45.5), 1 p.m.
FALCONS 3 Bears (48), 1 p.m.
COLTS 9.5 Jets (45), 4:05 p.m.
CHARGERS 6.5 Panthers (NL), 4:05 p.m.
CARDINALS 5.5 Lions (51), 4:25 p.m.
Buccaneers 6 BRONCOS (44.5), 4:25 p.m.
SEAHAWKS 4.5 Cowboys (NL), 4:25 p.m.
SAINTS 4.5 Packers (NL), 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Monday, Sept. 29
RAVENS 3 Chiefs (52), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)