NFL Week 2 Studs and Duds
Photo Credit: Star Tribune
The second week of the 2018 NFL season is in the books and it gave us quite a lot to talk about. This week was full of surprise performances so without further ado, here are the top five studs and duds from week two.
Stud: AJ Green
Cincinnati’s star wideout didn’t catch a lot of footballs during the Bengals Thursday Night win over the Ravens, but he was extremely efficient.
Five catches for 69 yards might not typically be a solid stat line, but when three of those five catches are touchdowns, you’re going to make fans and fantasy owners very happy. Baltimore has a solid secondary but Green was able to make them pay despite not always being open.
Andy Dalton and Green may not have the greatest chemistry in the world, but the two know how to connect for some big plays.
Dud: Sam Bradford
We’re only two weeks into the season but Arizona Cardinals fans are already screaming for Josh Rosen to take the reigns at Quarterback. I don’t blame them either, Sam Bradford has been dreadful thus far in 2018.
Through two games, the Cardinals only have six points and look like a total mess on offense. Bradford only has 243 passing yards on the season and has shown zero upsides up to this point. Supporters often cite Bradford’s ability to be safe with the ball, but he has thrown an interception in each game as well.
Rosen better develop quickly, otherwise, it’s going to be a long season for the Cardinals.
Stud: Patrick Mahomes
It’s official, the Chiefs have found their Quarterback.
Many doubted whether Patrick Mahomes’ gunslinger nature would work in Kansas City after the safe style of Alex Smith, but the Kansas City offense has surged thus far. Through two games Mahomes has outdueled two potential hall of fame Quarterbacks with 587 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. No Quarterback in NFL history has ever thrown ten touchdowns through two weeks.
Many may write off his performance given how poor the Pittsburgh defense has been, but that doesn’t change the fact that Heinz Field is one of the hardest stadiums to win in and Mahomes won there convincingly. He also had a near-perfect passer rating of 154.8
If Mahomes can stay even somewhat consistent with numbers like this, he’s on pace for a record-breaking season.
Dud: Oakland in the Second Half
The Raiders had a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter in Denver and looked poised to earn their first win in the Jon Gruden era, but they let it slip away.
With just under six minutes left the Raiders couldn’t stop Case Keenum on fourth and goal. On the following drive the Raiders were not able to pick up the last first down they need to win the game. On the final drive, they were not able to stop the Broncos offense from setting up a Brandon McManus game-winning field goal.
The Raiders defense looked surprisingly sharp at times, but they lacked a big-time playmaker—specifically someone on the edge.
Stud: Ben Roethlisberger
The Steelers had ten million issues during their 42-37 home opener loss to the Chiefs, but poor Quarterback play was not one of them.
Big Ben threw for 452 passing yards with a 104.9 passer rating while accumulating four total touchdowns. With plays breaking down left and right, Roethlisberger was able to regularly find the likes of Jesse James, Antonio Brown, and JuJu Smith-Schuster in what was a classic Big Ben performance. No. 7 struggled mightily in the season opener against the Browns, but he bounced back in a big way against the Chiefs.
If the Steelers want to make the playoffs, they may need this Roethlisberger to show up on a regular basis.
Dud: Seattle’s Offensive Line
Another year of Seahawks football, another year of Russell Wilson running for his life every other play.
Wilson has been sacked twelve times across two games, but that stat alone doesn’t justify how bad Seattle has been in pass protection. Even when Wilson wasn’t going down, the Broncos and Bears were regularly in the face of Seattle’s star quarterback.
It doesn’t matter if Seattle has weapons on offense with a star quarterback, if they can’t keep him upright, they won’t win football games.
Stud: Brandin Cooks
So far Brandin Cooks has been everything the Rams hoped he would be and then some. Cooks torched the Arizona Secondary with seven catches for 159 yards and looked completely unstoppable.
What’s even more important is that he has finally established some chemistry with Jared Goff. In week one, Goff often misjudged just how fast Cooks really is, but now seems to have a feel for his route timing.
The Rams put the NFL on notice week two by making it clear they’ve added a speedy deep threat to an already loaded offense.
Dud: Another Tie
Have whatever opinion you want about ties, but this writer thinks they aren’t good for the game.
The showdown between the Packers and Vikings at Lambeau field was a can’t miss thriller that ended in the most anti-climactic way possible.
Stud: Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense were an unstoppable force against the Patriots on Sunday—seriously.
Bortles finished the game with 412 yards of total offense, four passing touchdowns, and a 111.1 passer rating. The only blemish on his stat line was a late interception, but even that play wasn’t his fault.
He is one of the streakiest quarterbacks in the NFL, but Bortles was on fire in week two.
Dud: Kickers … Pretty Much All of Them
It was a really bad week for kickers across the board.
Chris Boswell, who just got a major contract extension for being insanely clutch and automatic, missed both a field goal and an extra point. Zane Gonzalez played himself out of a job by missing two field goals—one to potentially tie the game—and both of his extra point attempts. Daniel Carlson missed all three of his field goal attempts, the latter two both would have been game-winners.
Not all of the kicker woes involved bad play either, Greg Zuerlein suffered a mysterious groin injury and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks for the Rams.