After a historically busy sports weekend, my attention was still hyperfocused on the NFL. Coming into this week, there were quite a few interesting matchups that caught my eye.
One main takeaway from Sunday was the injuries. It was a brutal day for injuries in the NFL as multiple star players went down with serious season-threatening injuries.
The biggest name to be confirmed out for the season is New York Giants running back (RB) Saquon Barkley. The Giants confirmed Monday that Barkley is out for the year with a torn ACL. Another star player that had a similar season-ending injury was defensive end (DE) Nick Bosa for the San Fransisco 49ers.
There were also a lot of other injuries that are gonna force some big players to miss some time — players like Christian McCaffrey (ankle), Davante Adams (hamstring), Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), and a litany of other names.
Most people’s top concern for this season was COVID-19, and so far the NFL has done a great job of keeping the numbers extremely low. Instead, the consequences of a strange and short offseason are starting to show. Hopefully this isn’t a trend for the weeks to come.
Despite the injuries, Sunday was still an awesome day of football, but one team that still isn’t living up to expectations are the Philadelphia Eagles. After the loss to the Washington Football Team, the Eagles lost another one against the Los Angles Rams 37-19.
This game was another tough one for Eagles fans as the Rams jumped out to an early 14-3 lead in the first quarter. The Eagles did make a come back, including a Miles Sanders touchdown to make it 21-16 Rams at halftime.
After that, though, there wasn’t much happening on the Eagles side of the ball. The Rams rushing attack and the emergence of tight end (TE) Tyler Higbee with three touchdowns proved to be too much for the Eagles. Quarterback (QB) Carson Wentz threw two interceptions, and ended the game with one rushing touchdown and none through the air.
As the Eagles fall to 0-2, everyone is trying to find who to blame. While allowing zero sacks was a huge improvement from last week, Carson’s decision-making and the Eagles’ tendency to fall asleep in the second half still needs to be corrected.
Another noteworthy game was the Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons, which had one of the more exciting endings. After losing to the Rams week one, the Dallas Cowboys were in danger of falling to 0-2, and for most of the game it looked like that was going to happen.
The Cowboys managed to turn the ball over three times in the first quarter, and quickly found themselves down at the half. Dallas found a way to make a comeback, but was still down by two with about two minutes left. Then came the biggest and most impactful play of the game.
After the touchdown that cut the lead to two, kicker Greg Zuerlein somehow converted an onside kick and got the ball back for the Cowboys. It proved to be a game-losing mistake for the Falcons, as QB Dak Prescott led a Cowboys drive down the field to set up the game-winning field goal for Zuerlein. The Falcons were definitely having some Super Bowl déjà vu, as they dropped to 0-2 after the 40-39 lose.
The last big game of the week was the Super Bowl rematch between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. Both teams came out to play in prime time, as Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was hungry for revenge from that 2015 Super Bowl.
Both teams were going back and forth for the entire first half, tying the score 14-14 at halftime. The second half was no different, and after a few impressive drives from both QBs, suddenly Cam Newton and the Patriots were looking to win the game on a buzzer-beating touchdown.
Instead, the Seahawks defense stood Newton up at the goal line and the Seahawks won an instant classic 35-30.
It seems the Seahawks are “letting Russ cook;” he has had nine touchdown passes in two games, and only 11 incompletions. Wilson is an early MVP candidate, but Newton threw for 397 yards and added 2 touchdowns on the ground and one through the air. Another impressive showing for the MVP caliber player that everyone decided to give up on.
There were whispers of the Patriots “tanking” this season with some of the injuries and opt-outs they’ve sustained, but it now seems the Patriots are going to be fighting for the AFC East title with the Buffalo Bills.
Other Notable Headlines:
- QB Kyler Murray has been electric in the first two games: the Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 after defeating Washington in convincing fashion. According to WR DeAndre Hopkins, Murray is his MVP so far and it seems realistic with the way this offense is playing.
- The Las Vegas Raiders got a surprise upset win on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints. RB Josh Jacobs and TE Darren Waller lead the way for the Raiders, and the Saints showed how vulnerable they are without star WR Michael Thomas.
- Tom Brady got his first win as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Bucs’ newly acquired RB Leonard Fournette finally broke out and had a big day on the ground, including the game-sealing touchdown run.
So far the NFL has done a great job of containing COVID-19 throughout the league, but as mentioned before, a shortened offseason and no preseason games could prove to be a huge obstacle. Hopefully they slow down and the players can be better prepared for another 14 regular-season games.
Nevertheless, it was another exciting week of NFL action, and hopefully week three is no different.
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