NFL Week 2: The Talking Points
Week two has not disappointed with some outstanding performances and major upsets. Here are some of the talking points:
Pats Choke in Home Opener
In ten seasons since moving to Gillette Stadium the New England Patriots had never lost their home season opener, until now. The Patriots were shell-shocked by the Arizona defence who managed to shut out Tom Brady until late in the final quarter. Dramatically, as a result of a missed 42yd field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski the Cardinals walked out of Foxborough 2-0.
The Patriots kicker had earlier slotted through field goals from 46, 34, 51 and 53 yards, but pushed the game winning field goal wide left. They lost 20-18 largely due to the Cardinals’ defence and special teams – who managed to block a punt in the endzone to set up a 2yd touchdown.
C.J. Spiller Ignites to Lead MVP Race
It took the Buffalo Bills less than a half to play the Kansas City Chiefs out of the game and running back C.J. Spiller was a large part of that.
In the opening half Spiller ran for 112 yards, two touchdowns and caught three passes for 47 yards. After the main break, Spiller rushed for another 11 yards before being pulled out of the game and rested in preparation for next week. That’s big raps for the third-year running back out of Clemson – where I went to school!
Continuing the form he found last season when he took over the starting job, Spiller adds to the 169 yards and one touchdown he piled up against the Jets last week.
Rushing for 292 yards and catching 72 yards for three touchdowns in the opening weeks has the halfback leading the MVP race, albeit after two weeks.
Eli Manning Would Be An Awful Ice Hockey Player
Entering the final quarter, the New York Giants trailed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-27 and a blowout upset was in the making. Manning had thrown three interceptions and the Buccaneers’ offseason spending looked to be paying dividends.
But in classical Eli Manning fashion he turned up in the fourth quarter, the same way he did so many times last year to lead the Giants to victory in the dieing stages of the game. Leading drives of 30, 88, and 67 yards, Eli helped put up 18 points in the final quarter.
A quick response by the Bucs which saw quarterback Josh Freeman find WR Mike Williams on a 41 yd pass saw the Buccaneers tie the game with two minutes to go. Alas, Manning’s favorite way of winning is under unnecessary pressure and from behind. He drove the length of the field in 90 seconds allowing RB Andre Brown to run in for a 2yd touchdown and a 41-34 victory.
The Giant’s posted a whooping 25 points in the final quarter and Manning finished with 510 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Andrew Luck Pushes Case For Rookie of the Year
In his first professional game at home in front of his adoring Indianapolis fans, number one draft pick Andrew Luck led the Colts to a 23-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. This was despite the Vikings rallying in the final quarter to tie the game with just 36 seconds left on the clock.
Starting from his own 20 yard line, a composed Luck completed two deep passes for 20 yards as well as a seven yard pass before a Minnesota penalty took the Colts to the Vikings 35 yard line. Kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked the game winning 53 yard field goal with eight seconds left.
In a tough fought battle, Andrew Luck gives Colts fans plenty to look forward too. The Peyton Manning era is over because Andrew Luck has finally arrived in Indianapolis.
Video Referees to the Rescue!
The amount of incorrect decisions made by the replacement referees cannot be ignored. Some would have been game-changing but thankfully for the integrity of the game coaches get two of those little red flags to undermine these semi-professional officials whilst the full-timers are holidaying in Cancun.
The worst on-field decision came in Philadelphia when a replacement ref called quarterback Michael Vick’s incomplete pass as a fumble with a minute left in the game. How a fumble can spiral 15 yards forward is beyond me.
Common sense prevailed and the decision was overturned by the booth. Ironically, the referee who made the errant call had to embarrassingly announce his call had been overturned. Michael Vick ran in the game winning touchdown two plays later and the Eagles got up 24-23 over the Baltimore Ravens.