On the flip side, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Gardner Minshew II – all 24 or younger – passed at least 300 yards and three touchdowns each in Week 2. The biggest buzz, however, was Justin Herbert, an emergency rookie starter for the Los Angeles Chargers. Of the 13 quarterbacks that were the top 10 picks in draft over the past five years, 11 started.
Here’s a snapshot of Sunday’s action with 11 teams (Arizona, Buffalo, Baltimore, Chicago, Green Bay, Kansas City, Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Seattle) making 2-0 for 2008, 2006 and 1998 most of all:
1 p.m. games
The Rams-Bills matchup should get your pulse racing a little. Both are 2-0, and Josh Allen has made a 415-yard performance against the Dolphins that included four touchdown passes. But the Rams look powerful again in a division where three teams are 2-0, so a win here would be particularly important for the Bills. . . .
The Steelers are no surprise when they win. It is what they do. After beating the Giants and Broncos, they should face a tougher test from the Texans, who are 2-0 and are desperate to keep their season from slipping. If there is any consolation for the Texans other than having Deshaun Watson at the quarterback, maybe it is that they made the playoffs twice after starting 2-0 under Bill O’Brien (2015 and 2018) and have not yet played an AFC South game. Their losses went to the Chiefs and Ravens, thanks to the insidious planner. . . .
As with the New England game against the Seahawks last week, it’s difficult not to mention the story of the Patriots and the Raiders, which will be remembered from the January 2002 tuck rule game. Last week in their first game in Las Vegas, The Raiders bounced back from a 10-0 deficit to beat the Saints. Derek Carr outdid Drew Brees by completing 28 of 38 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. Now Las Vegas will face Cam Newton, whom Raiders coach Jon Gruden called “Slam Newton” last week because he is “a power-forward quarterback”. Newton is healthy and appears to be on a mission after completing 30 of 44 passes for 397 yards and one touchdown and taking 47 yards and two points in their Sunday night loss to the Seahawks. With a fourth week game coming up at the Chiefs, Patriots must resist the temptation to look ahead.
4 p.m. games
Tyrod Taylor lost his job in Cleveland when he suffered a concussion and Baker Mayfield showed up. Then, last week, in an injury that could only occur in 2020, Taylor’s lungs were punctured by a Chargers team doctor while he was giving an analgesic injection. Herbert started and played with serenity and only lost when Harrison Butker of Kansas City scored a field goal of 58 yards in extra time. Herbert completed 22 of 33 passes for 311 yards and one touchdown (with an interception) and rushed for 18 yards and one score. Herbert will start again on Sunday and may have better luck against the winless Panthers. . . .
Russell Wilson’s MVP campaign continued with a performance of 288 yards and five touchdowns in Week 2 when the Seahawks saw the Patriots’ final ride hiss at the 1-yard line. As always, you will face an enigmatic team of cowboys. They turned a seemingly certain loss on Sunday into a 40:39 win over the Falcons, who appear to be looking to waste Matt Ryan and Julio Jones’ talents. Dak Prescott became the first player in the Super Bowl era with 300 or more yards (he finished with 450) and three or more quick touchdowns. . . .
Tom Brady’s Buccaneers will play against the Broncos, the only team he has a record loss to (8-9 total; 7-6 in the regular season and 1-3 in the playoffs). This is the first time he has played in Denver since 2017, when the Patriots won at 41-16.
Sunday night game
The Saints are 10-0 at home in Sunday Night Football during the Brees-Sean Payton era. The Packers started strong, albeit against the Vikings and Lions, and Rodgers’ scorched earth tour continues with healthy support by running back Aaron Jones. Rodgers has 604 passes and six touchdowns in two games, and Jones rushed 168 yards and two touchdowns on 18 runs against the Lions on Sunday. But Rodger’s favorite target, Davante Adams, suffered a hamstring injury against Detroit and is doubtful for the game in New Orleans.
There are generally no concerns about the Saints’ quarterback situation, but Brees has never been 41 years old. After losing to the Raiders in Vegas on Monday night, he was full of questions about his arm strength. He went for 312 yards without star wideout Michael Thomas (who will also miss this week’s game) but has averaged 4.82 yards per pass attempt, according to ESPN Stats & Info. That’s the least for a quarterback after two games since Brett Favre in 2009 when he was 40. Note, however, that Favre had one of his best seasons this season, ending with 33 touchdowns and a 107.2 pass rating for the Vikings.