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Sunday Evening Quick-Hitters: Reactions from Week 2 in the NFL

Every Sunday evening throughout the 2011 NFL season I’ll compile quick-hit reactions from the day that was in football. I vow to always overreact, side with sensationalism over rationalism, and draw conclusions based on small sample sizes instead of cold, hard facts. It’s the only way I know how to write…

DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING…

Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler celebrates a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Orchard Park, New York September 18, 2011. REUTERS/Doug Benz (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

- Who knew that with the Bears in New Orleans to take on the Saints and Cam Newton hosting the defending champs that Raiders-Bills would be the most entertaining early game on Sunday? I’m pretty sure neither defense dressed for the second half but this game had it all: a major come-from-behind victory, plenty of big plays (that TD Denarius Moore caught from Jason Campbell was siiiick), and a last-minute touchdown pass on fourth down (see the photo above as Scott Chandler scores the game-winner). It’s actually fun to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick run Buffalo’s dare-I-say-high-powered offense.

- I was impressed by Cam Newton in his pro debut (how could you not be?), but I fully admit that I expected him to fall flat on his face against the Packers. Naturally he comes out and throws for over 400 yards again and is now on pace to pass for 6,832 yards this season. He’s also completing over 60% of his passes and had he not turned the ball over three times, I’m not so sure the Panthers don’t beat the Packers today. I don’t know if this is beginner’s luck or we’re seeing the next great thing at quarterback but I shudder to think what he’ll do once the game actually starts slowing down for him.

- Let me get this straight: the Ravens rack up 35 points on the Steelers’ defense but couldn’t muster more than a touchdown and two field goals against the Titans? Some were concerned that the Ravens would come out flat after their impressive win over the Steelers last Sunday and “some” were right. Matt Hasselbeck took advantage of a depleted Baltimore secondary all afternoon, completing 30 of his 42 pass attempts for 358 yards and a touchdown. Hasselbeck was helped by the fact that the Ravens wanted nothing to do with pressuring him as they finished with zero sacks.

- Jaguars win a gutsy 16-14 game over the Titans in their season opener, then fail to show up today and are blasted by the Jets, 32-3. Titans look hapless in Jacksonville last week, then came out on Sunday and romp a Raven team that destroyed the Steelers last week. The NFL is screwy, I tell ya.

AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount scores a touchdown on a four yard run as Minnesota Vikings E.J. Henderson (R) tries to make the stop and Buccaneers wide receiver Arrelious Benn (L) looks on in the fourth quarter during their NFL game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota September 18, 2011. REUTERS/Craig Lassig (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

- Somebody inform the Vikings that there are two halves in a football game because I’m not sure they’re aware. In its first two games, Minnesota has outscored its opponents 34-7 in the first half and has been outscored 41-3 in the second. Too many missed tackles and broken coverage for the Vikes’ defense again this week.

- The Answer: Protecting Joe Flacco, covering Kenny Britt and pressuring Matt Hasselbeck. The Question: Name three things the Baltimore Ravens had no interest in doing on Sunday.

- Football games are never decided by one play but if Chris Johnson intercepts that Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone with under a minute to play, the Raiders are heading back to Oakland with a 2-0 record to start the season.

- It’s going to be “one of those years” for the Chiefs. I don’t know what looked worse: Jamaal Charles’ injury or Kansas City’s defense for the second straight week. (Update: It has been confirmed that Charles is done for the year. What a horrible start to the Chiefs’ season after such a great 2010.)

- I don’t care how thick your blinders are when it comes to the Falcons: They were lucky tonight. And you must know I absolutely hate it when anyone says a team got lucky. Winning in the NFL has nothing to do with luck, but I don’t know how else to describe the Falcons’ first win of the 2011 season. I don’t classify turnovers as one team being lucky or unlucky. They’re part of the game – period. But the Eagles dominated the first half and yet the Falcons still led 14-10 at halftime. The Eagles dominated defensively (for the most part) and yet the Falcons still scored 35 points. If Michael Vick doesn’t exit the game in the third quarter, I don’t know if the Falcons win. In fact, they probably don’t. That said, a win is a win is a win is a…

- When can we start with the Andrew Luck-to-Indianapolis talk? Oh, we already have?

- I don’t want to hear any media members criticizing Jay Cutler this week. He looked jittery at times but anyone would look jittery if they had defenders draped all over them the second they took the snap. If it weren’t for Matt Forte the Bears wouldn’t have scored today thanks to shoddy play by their offensive line. (By the way, what are you waiting for, Jerry Angelo? Give Forte a new contact already – clearly he’s worth every penny.)

- Ladies and gentlemen, Luke McCown.

- I suppose that 20-for-29, 159-yard passing performance by Tarvaris Jackson buys him another shot to start next week, huh Pete Carroll? (Jackson was the Seahawks’ leading rusher today with 12 yards, so maybe I should cut him some slack.)

- Good tweet by Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers today: Panthers proved you can pass against Arizona. Washington proved you can run. Cardinals have proven they have problems on defense.

- Is it just me or does the Packers defense suddenly have an issue limiting the big play? It was another lackluster day for Dom Capers’ defense, this time against a rookie quarterback, no less.

- I’m not going to bemoan the Chargers for not winning in New England but at some point the Bolts are going to have to have that marquee win to give them the confidence heading into the postseason (if they make the postseason, that is). It seems like every year this team is a Super Bowl contender on paper, but it plays second-fiddle to the elite teams in the AFC.

“CHAMPIONSHIP…”

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warms up on the field before the start of their Thanksgiving Day NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Detroit, Michigan November 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

- I knew the Lions were going to be competitive this year. I even figured they would spend most of the season challenging for a playoff berth before finishing somewhere around .500. What I didn’t know was that they had already made plans to become an unstoppable rebel force poised to leave a path of destruction on their way to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February…

- Seriously, the Lions were unbelievable today. Every time I looked up they were in the red zone one minute and scoring the next. I’ll probably write this every week but if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy there’s no telling how far Detroit can go this season.

- Why were the Seahawks so willing to let Matt Hasselbeck walk this offseason? It’s befuddling. He’ll only take a team so far but he lit up a pretty solid Baltimore defense today for 358 yards and a touchdown. Even at his age, he’s five-times the quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is.

- Colt McCoy’s stat line: 22-of-32 for 211 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs. He also spread the ball around to eight different receivers and only took one sack. He may not light it up on a weekly basis but the kid is going to be an efficient quarterback in Pat Schmur’s West Coast offense.

- I think LeGarrette Blount needs a small attitude adjustment but after voicing his disappointment with his limited role in the Bucs’ loss to the Lions last week, he made the most of his opportunities today. He carried the ball 13 times for 71 yards at a 5.5 yards-per-carry clip, and scored the game-winning touchdown (his second on the day) with 31 seconds remaining in the game. If he’s patient, he’s going to see his carries increase throughout the year and has a bright future in Tampa Bay’s offense.

- Mark Ingram only gained 3.6 yards per rush (14 carries, 51 yards) against the Bears, but those numbers aren’t indicative of how hard the rookie ran today. He’s going to allow Sean Payton to stay balanced with his playcalling and keep opponents on their heels, especially if Drew Brees (26-of-37, 270 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) continues to light up defensive backfields.

- Unlike the Ravens, the Jets didn’t allow their emotional Week 1 victory stop them from coming out and crushing an inferior opponent on Sunday. Rex Ryan’s defense looked like it was in midseason form, forcing four turnovers and two sacks while making Luke McCown’s life a living nightmare.

- That was a gritty performance by the Redskins in the fourth quarter. They weren’t overly impressive by any means but this is a game the Skins have found a way to lose in the past. They outscored Arizona 12-7 in the fourth quarter and produced a huge turnover late in the game to seal the win. (They actually forced two turnovers on the Cardinals’ final offensive possession but one play was reversed.

- Say what you want about Tony Romo but any man who fractures a rib and comes back into a game earns my respect.

- Speaking of the Cowboys, they may have won the battle but they suffered a ton of injuries. Along with Romo’s injury, Miles Austin may be out until the team’s Week 5 bye after re-pulling his hamstring, while Felix Jones has a separated right shoulder. Oh, and Dez Bryant didn’t even play because of a quadriceps injury. This is the same nightmare Dallas just woke up from last year…

- The Texans are 2-0 but there’s no doubt that Arian Foster’s hamstring is going to be a problem for a while. I’m not a doctor and thankfully I don’t have to worry about making personnel decisions for a NFL team, but if I were the Texans I’d seriously consider allowing Foster to fully heal up for a couple of weeks. If they can manage without him while he recoveries, maybe he returns in the second half and has a monster rest of the season.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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