Some thoughts after Week 2 of the NFL season…
Baltimore 36, Kansas City 35: Some concern for K.C.
I have tremendous confidence in John Harbaugh as a head coach, but I looked at the Ravens coming into this matchup as a team that I thought would really struggle this year. Last week against Las Vegas was concerning, but even more so, I was unsure if they would be able to overcome the number of injuries that they have already dealt with. Then I looked at Kansas City, which was coming off a game I thought they did not play that well in, despite beating a good Browns team. Having worked with Andy Reid, I’ve seen that his teams rarely look subpar in back-to-back weeks, so I thought they were really set up in a good position this week.
That is obviously not what happened, and I am surprised with how Kansas City has looked. I was also surprised with how Reid handled the end of that game, knowing how adamant he is about not taking his foot off the gas until the game is over. After three straight completions by Patrick Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled on second down just outside Baltimore’s 30-yard line, with Kansas City trailing by a point with under two minutes to go. While most teams would be content running out the clock and attempting a field goal, the Chiefs ran it there expecting to be successful. They just got too risk averse by taking the ball out of Mahomes’ hands.
For Baltimore, this game was a really good sign. Harbaugh made the right decision to go for it on fourth down after the fumble, regardless of what the outcome would have been. They also proved on defense that they can generate pressure, when that looked like a real concern a week ago.
Tennessee 33, Seattle 30 (OT): Where’s Jamal Adams?
I am not sure what Seattle is doing to incorporate Jamal Adams. They gave up two first-round picks and gave him a huge contract, and they are essentially playing him as a free safety. Tennessee’s offensive line looked overmatched against Arizona, compiled with losing Taylor Lewan before this game. These should be clear signs to Seattle to bring a lot of pressure. Instead, they attacked Ryan Tannehill very infrequently and gave him time in the pocket. For the game, Adams was unable to generate any pressures for the second straight week. So far in 2021, the AFC South looks like the worst division in football, and with how Indianapolis has played, Tennessee could be in the driver’s seat.
Carolina 26, New Orleans 7: Sam Darnold looks good
I did not think Jameis Winston played so well in Week 1. He had five touchdown passes, but he only had 148 yards and was not making accurate throws to guys that were wide open. In this game, he came out and was sacked four times, had two turnovers, and completed only 50% of his passes. The Panthers are improving, but I would not consider them a dominant defense, so this is concerning.
On the other side of the ball, I was impressed with Sam Darnold. What you have seen over the first two weeks should at least be encouraging and make you hopeful. He is completing nearly 70% of his passes, for 8 yards an attempt, and he only has had one interception.
Chicago 20, Cincinnati 17: Bengals’ o-line lacking
It happens very consistently that once a quarterback loses confidence in his offensive line, it completely changes them as players. I think we are seeing that with Joe Burrow. It had been over four games since Burrow had thrown an interception, and as Chicago’s pressure began to increase in this game, he threw interceptions on three straight possessions. I am not sure what their solution should be at this point. It is very rare you are able to find any developmental guys at this point in the season, and I do not think they are good enough to be making any trades to give up future draft picks. Right now, this is unfair to the player because the team is not putting him in a position to be successful. This is completely consistent with their history. Any time they have had good linemen and good weapons, they have prioritized the weapons. That is not how you become an upper-echelon team.
Los Angeles Rams 27, Indianapolis 24: Colts must regroup
For Indianapolis, I am not sure what is going on. They have major questions about the quality of their quarterback play, and that does not even take into account the health of Wentz, who had to leave this game early because of ankle injuries. Outside of the quarterback, their whole team is not playing well. It was a little better yesterday, but I think even their offensive line has been struggling, and they should be a top 5 unit in all of football.
I do think Indy has a smart coaching staff, and they do have a lot of talent, so they have time to turn it around. I also think because of the division they are in, no team will pull away from the pack, so they should be in it throughout the season. They do, however, need to get more consistent quarterback play.
New England 25, New York Jets 6: Taking it slow with Mac Jones
I actually think New England is holding Mac Jones back a little, which might be smart. He only averaged around 6 yards a pass but for the second straight week, he has not turned the ball over. It looks like they have confidence in him, but it appears they need to see him do more before they totally trust him to open it up like we have seen in the past. For now, I think Jones is good enough for them to win games by throwing the ball over the middle of the field while heavily utilizing their backs and tight ends. That is the best way to have success with a young quarterback, and something that many teams, like Cincinnati, have not realized.