The Highs and Lows of the NFL
Being a kicker in the NFL is not an easy job, just ask Zane Gonzalez or Daniel Carlson. Both kickers are looking for a new home since being released after less than impressive performances in Week 2. Gonzalez missed 4 kicks during the Browns 21-18 loss, including 2 extra point attempts and a potential game-tying field goal late in the game. Carlson had an equally tough game, missing three attempts including two in overtime in the Vikings 29-29 tie against the Packers. Let this serve as a friendly reminder that kicking a football is not as easy as it looks.
One player who isn’t struggling right now is Patrick Mahomes. The second-year quarterback has thrown for 10 touchdowns through two games, including 6 last week against the Steelers in a 42-37 win. If that isn’t impressive enough for you, Mahomes set the record for the most touchdowns through the first two weeks of a season, passing Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in the process.
Mahomes isn’t the only quarterback off to a surprisingly good start this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick, aka FitzMagic, has been on fire for the Buccaneers this year. With Jameis Winston serving a three-game suspension to start the season, not many people would have given the Bucs much of a chance to be successful in that time. But Fitzpatrick has been playing arguably some of the best football of his career, and he’s having a lot of fun doing it.
Through two games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 819 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception. Tampa Bay has looked impressive overall, winning a high scoring matchup against the Saints in Week 1, and then knocking off last season’s Super Bowl champion Eagles in Week 2, all without the help of their #1 quarterback. Now as great as it’s been for the Bucs to get off to a 2-0 start, they have a bit of a quarterback controversy on their hands now. Winston is supposed to be the franchise quarterback, but how do you bench a guy who has thrown for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in each game to start the season? All I know is that their head coach, Dirk Koetter, has a very tough decision to make when Winston is eligible to play in Week 4.
In a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, the Jaguars exploited the Patriots’ weaknesses on their way to a 31-20 win. While the Patriots defense struggled all day, highlighted by the 377 yards and four touchdowns that Blake Bortles threw for, the bigger story was their lack production by wide receivers. Hogan, Dorsett and Patterson combined for just 104 yards, despite having a bit of extra space on the field since the Jaguars double-teamed Gronkowski most of the game. It’s clear that Brady misses having Edelman out there, but he can’t return until Week 5.
It seemed that the timing worked out perfectly for New England though. Over the weekend, the Browns announced that on Monday they would either cut or trade Josh Gordon. Then on Monday afternoon, it was announced that the Patriots had traded a 5th round pick to Cleveland in exchange for the troubled receiver.
Now it’s still yet to be seen how often Gordon will actually be on the field, and Belichick likely won’t have much patience for him, but if it works out then this is a move that gives New England their first real deep threat since Randy Moss. It’s not Gordon’s on-field ability that is questioned, but his off-field decisions that land him in trouble.
In other AFC East news, the Miami Dolphins are 2-0 and at the top of the division after beating the Jets 20-12 on Sunday. Despite all the Sam Darnold hype from a week ago, it seems like everyone may have jumped the gun a bit. He was still able to throw for 334 yards and a touchdown, but the accuracy and decision making is still a work in progress, evident by the two picks and 25 of 41 passing. For the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill was effecient, only throwing for 168 yards but with two touchdowns on just 23 passing attempts. Also, the Bills are so bad that Vontae Davis decided he’d rather retire halfway through a game than keep playing.
Nobody should be surprised when Buffalo finishes 1-15 this season.
In case you missed it, check out the Week 1 recap here.