The Top Eight Storylines From Week 2
Drum roll, please…
8. THESE AREN’T THE SAME OLD BUFFALO BILLS
Admit it – you had thought the Buffalo Bills (2-0) Week 1 41-7 demolition of the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) was a big mirage, and the Bills weren’t all that. After watching Buffalo come from behind to stun the Oakland Raiders (1-1) by a final of 38-35, there is no doubt the Bills’ offense is for real. Through Week 2, Ryan Fitzpatrick, a.k.a. “The Amish Rifle,” has compiled a rock-solid 472 passing yards and seven touchdown tosses against just one pick. Fitzpatrick isn’t giving Buffalo fans any Jim Kelly flashbacks, but the Harvard educated Fitzpatrick is the best triggerman they’ve had in Orchard Park since Kelly. Fred Jackson has rolled up 257 total yards and two total touchdowns. Stevie Johnson has amassed 12-162-2 as Fitzpatrick’s go-to wideout. Head coach Chan Gailey has created a surprisingly productive and fantasy friendly offense in just his second year on the job.
7. TOM BRADY MAKES IT LOOK EASY AGAIN
Coming off a stellar Week 1 showing with a New England Patriots (2-0) franchise record 517 passing yards to go along with four touchdown passes against the Miami Dolphins (0-2), Tom Brady absolutely torched another defense in Week 2 – the San Diego Chargers (1-1). Brady amassed 423-3-0 while completing passes to seven different receivers – including stud tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Brady has thrown for 940 yards and seven touchdowns just two weeks into 2011.
6. MATTHEW STAFFORD AND THE SURPRISING LIONS ARE ROLLING
After watching the Chicago Bears (1-1) stumble badly during a 30-13 road loss to the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings throw one away to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) by a count of 24-20, it looks like the NFC North title will come down to the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers (2-0) and the dangerous upstart Detroit Lions (2-0) – as long as Matthew Stafford stays healthy. Detroit pounded the faltering Kansas City Chiefs 48-3. With the first two weeks of 2011 in the books, Stafford has amassed 599 passing yards and seven touchdown passes against just two picks.
5. BANGED UP TONY ROMO LEADS THE COWBOYS TO AN OVERTIME WIN
Even Tony Romo’s harshest critics in Dallas have to respect the man for playing with a cracked rib and rallying the Cowboys (1-1) to a desperately needed 27-24 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. After backup Jon Kitna struggled early in the second half, Romo reentered the game and led the Cowboys to 10 unanswered points to send it into overtime, and he led the drive that set up the game-winning field goal. Romo passed for 345 yards and two scores. His playing status for Week 3 is a question mark.
4. ATLANTA 35 PHILADELPHIA 31 – VICK SUFFERS CONCUSSION
Michael Vick was knocked out of the exciting and extremely physical “Michael Vick Bowl” on Sunday Night Football with a concussion. Many had witnessed him coughing up blood, but that was because Vick bit his tongue. At the time I’m writing this, Vick’s playing status for Week 3 is a big question mark. He had passed for 242-2-0 before leaving the contest with the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) up by 10, which completely changed the momentum of the game. Since Vince Young (hamstring) was inactive and second-year pro Mike Kafka couldn’t lead the offense to any scores, the Atlanta Falcons (1-1) engineered a come-from-behind win.
3. THE SINKING CHIEFS LOSE JAMAAL CHARLES FOR THE SEASON
When I think of the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) nowadays, I keep having flashbacks to that NFL Films highlight of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi standing on the sideline yelling, “What the hell is going on here?” Sure the Kansas City offense misses former coordinator Charlie Weiss, but this whole team is stuck in a shocking nosedive.
Through the first two weeks of 2011, the Chiefs have been outscored 89-10, and now they’ve lost fantasy stud Jamaal Charles to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This means more targets for Dwayne Bowe, but who will tote the rock? Thomas Jones looks slow and well past his prime. Dexter McCluster is speedy, but he’s too small to handle a heavy workload. Le’Ron McClain is a surprisingly solid rusher and receiver for his size, but he is not a big-play threat. Is it RBBC in KC? Stay tuned.
2. CAM NEWTON IS FOR REAL
Rookie triggermen aren’t supposed to play this well. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft received a mix of accolades and skepticism after he torched a porous Arizona Cardinals (1-1) secondary for 422-2-1 and 8-18-1 on the ground last week. Newton and the Carolina Panthers (0-2) would come back to earth against the defending Super Bowl champions in Week 2, right? Nope. Newton shredded a horribly overrated Green Bay Packers secondary for 432-1-3 while amassing 10-52-1 on the ground. Brace yourself for the inevitable Michael Vick comparisons. Newton is a fantasy starter in all scoring formats.
1. ARIAN FOSTER SUFFERS ANOTHER BOUT OF “ANTI-AWESOMENESS”
This is an absolute nightmare for Arian Foster owners – myself included. After compiling an unimpressive 10-33-0 and 2-7-0 in one half of play against the Miami Dolphins (0-2), Foster, according to many credible media reports, reinjured his left hamstring and missed the rest of the game. With Derrick Ward (ankle) inactive, Ben Tate filled in, amassing 23-103-0 and 4-32-0 through the air. Following the game, head coach Gary Kubiak insisted Foster’s problem was conditioning and not the hamstring (nope, Foster has not posted a new MRI of his relapse of “Anti-Awesomeness” online)
Later on, Foster admitted that he pulled himself out of the game, because the hamstring tightened up. I’m not a doctor, but it looks like Foster is going to miss more time. Since Tate has rushed for 100-plus yards in back-to-back games, there is no reason for the Houston Texans (2-0) to rush Foster back. His Week 3 status is officially up in the air. If you’re a Foster owner and you managed to land Tate, consider yourself lucky. Even if Foster is healthy, are we looking at a committee backfield going forward?