NFL Week 2: Another Tie, Missed Opportunities, and Close Finishes Highlight NFL on Sunday

By Michael Vesci
Sep. 17, 2018

If you thought Week 1 was wild in the National Football League, then you were in for a treat this Sunday. Of the 14 games played, 10 of them were decided by eight points or fewer making for an exciting slate of games. So there is no time to waste as MTV's Hot Takes gives a quick recap of every Sunday game the NFL had to offer.

Miami Dolphins 20, New York Jets 12

Miami's pass rush rattled Jets' rookie quarterback Sam Darnold early on which set the tone for the game. DArnold's 334 passing yards were overshadowed by two costly interceptions that resulted in a Miami touchdown and lost red zone opportunity. The run game for New York was nonexistent as the Dolphins held the Jets to just 42 total rushing yards on the afternoon while producing 135 rushing yards of their own. Despite allowing 12 unanswered points in the second half, Miami held its own on defense on a day where Ryan Tannehill had just 168 passing yards and the offense was heavily reliant on the run game. Kenyan Drake was the lead rusher with 53 yards while other exceptional performances were produced by Tannehill who recorded 44 rushing yards, and 25 rushing yards by Frank Gore. Gore also had a huge 19-yard reception on 3rd and 19 in the waning moments of the fourth to help solidify the victory for the Dolphins.

Atlanta Falcons 31, Carolina Panthers 24

Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan rushed for two touchdowns, passed for another two touchdowns, and threw for 272 passing yards on 23-for-28 passing as the Falcons held off the Panthers at home. Despite the Falcons holding a 14-point fourth quarter lead, Cam Newton attempted to lead a comeback for his team and had plenty of opportunities. Trailing 31-17, Newton had the Carolina offense on the outskirts of the red zone before throwing an interception to cornerback Ricardo Allen with six minutes left. They would force Atlanta into a three-and-out and march down the field to pull within seven. After another three-and-out for the Falcons, Carolina had their chance in the closing minutes of the game to tie things up, but Newton's throw to D.J. Moore as time expired fell short, giving the Falcons their first win of the young season.

Los Angeles Chargers 31, Buffalo Bills 20

Josh Allen made his NFL debut as a starter for the Bills, Buffalo cornerback Vontae Davis retired from the NFL at halftime, and Melvin Gordon put together a three-touchdown game to help lead the Chargers to an easy win over the Bills in Buffalo. It did not take long for the Chargers to take control of this one as three first-half touchdowns by running back Melvin Gordon, two receiving from quarterback Phillip Rivers who had three touchdown passes in the half, and one 20-yard rushing touchdown would be more than enough. Los Angeles built a 28-6 lead by halftime which was the most notable part of the game since Vontae Davis retired from the NFL abruptly. The Chargers defense had a field day with Josh Allen, forcing him to throw two interceptions and getting after the rookie for five sacks as the Buffalo Bills look like a team beginning a rebuild, falling to 0-2.

Minnesota Vikings 29, Green Bay Packers 29

Yes, it happened again. For the second straight week, the NFL saw a tie, this time between the Vikings and Packers. The one-legged wonder, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to just one touchdown on offense, but manufactured drives that helped get kicker Mason Crosby in position to add points to the scoreboard. However, a 22-point fourth quarter by the Vikings and a 52-yard missed field goal by Crosby as time expired sent the game to overtime. In the overtime, Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed a 49-yard field goal and then as time expired a much more manageable 35-yard field goal that would have given Minnesota the game. Kirk Cousins had a day with the Vikings, going 35-for-48 passing with 425 passing yards, four touchdown passes, and one interception. Both teams fall to 1-0-1 overall and are tied for the lead in the NFC North.

Tennessee Titans 20, Houston Texans 17

DeShaun Watson found his stride for Houston as the game went on and helped lead the Texans to 17 unanswered points after falling into an early 14-point deficit in the first against Tennessee. Marcus Mariota did not play for the Titans, but a touchdown pass by backup Blaine Gabbert and a 66-yard pass by safety Kevin Byard put Tennessee up 14-0. However, DeShaun Watson led a six-play drive, 53-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins to end the first half, cutting the deficit to seven. The team's exchanged punts in the second half before Houston put together back-to-back scoring drives in the form of a field goal and touchdown pass from Watson to Will Fuller V to give the Texans a 17-14 lead. But Tennessee answered back with back-to-back drives that ended in field goals to pull ahead again and take this divisional matchup.

New Orleans Saints 21, Cleveland Browns 18

It looked like the Browns would finally get their first win since 2016 in this one. After coming so close last week against Pittsburgh, Cleveland had another chance to win against the Saints. The Browns' defense stifled New Orleans for the first three quarters and headed into the fourth up 12-3, but two touchdown passes from Drew Brees in the fourth quarter to Michael Thomas and a two-point conversion by Alvin Kamara put the Saints up by six with under three to play. Then Tyrod Taylor responded for the Browns with a 47-yard touchdown pass on 4th and 5 to tie the game at 18. But the bad luck for the Browns continued as kicker Zane Gonzalez mssed the extra point and the defense fell apart, allowing Brees to drive the Saints into field goal territory and retake the lead, 21-18. With just 21 seconds left, the Browns needed a miracle and managed to get to the New Orleans' 34-yard line where Zane Gonzalez had the chance to tie the game on a 52-yard field goal which he missed badly. Gonzalez finished the day missing two of his four field goal tries and an extra point attempt as the Browns still look for their first win since 2016.

Kansas City Chiefs 42, Pittsburgh Steelers 37

The Chiefs have a keeper in Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback makes himself an early favorite for MVP this season. Mahomes outdueled Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, throwing six touchdown passes on 23-for-28 passing and 326 passing yards. He led the Chiefs to an early 21-0 lead at the end of one which Roethlisberger responded to with a three-touchdown quarter of his own in the second to knot the game up heading into the half. But Mahomes and the Kansas City offense proved to be too much as he hit tight end Travis Kelce, who finished with two receiving touchdowns on the day and Demarcus Robinson with a three-yard score in response to Pittsburgh's game-tying drive to retake the lead, 35-28, heading into the fourth. Mahomes would add his sixth touchdown on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill and the Steelers' late rally came up short as the Chiefs looked impressive again to move to 2-0.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27, Philadelphia Eagles 21

Ryan Fitzpatrick kept up his hot start to the 2018 season, throwing for 402 passing yards on 27-of-33 passing along with four touchdown passes and one interception. Tampa Bay jumped out to a 27-7 lead in part to two 75-yard touchdown passes by Fitzpatrick in the first half to lead the way for the Buccaneers' offense. Similar to Week 1, the offense of Philadelphia was lackluster with Nick Foles leading the way. Philly's offense punted the ball six times, turned it over twice by way of the fumble, and another time by way of downs. Nothing was doing for Foles as the quarterback finished with 334 passing yards and a touchdown on the afternoon. With Carson Wentz cleared to return, Foles will lose his starting job come Week 3 as the defending champions look to return to the win column. As for the Bucs, they start the year 2-0 for the first time since 2010 and a decision on Jameis Winston looms near.

Indianapolis Colts 21, Washington Redskins 9

Although Andrew Luck threw two interceptions in his second game returning to the Colts, the Indianapolis quarterback did enough with the offense to help the Colts get their first win on the year. Luck threw for 179 passing yards and two touchdowns while running back Nyheim Hines added a rushing touchdown to help boost the Colts to victory. As for Alex Smith, his home debut was less than stellar. Smith threw for 292 passing yards and hit seven different receivers, five of which hauled in 30+ receiving yards, but he was unable to find the end zone. Dustin Hopkins was the player of the game for Washington as he hit three of his four field goal tries to manufacture all nine of the Redskins points on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams 34, Arizona Cardinals 0

For the second straight game, the Arizona Cardinals were unable to get the offense going with Sam Bradford manning the quarterback position as the Rams put on a rout against their division rival. Bradford finished 17-of-27 with 90 passing yards and one interception. It was so bad that the Cardinals did not cross midfield until the second to last play of the game. In total, the Arizona offense had five first downs and 137 total yards on the day. Meanwhile, Jared Goff threw for 354 yards, a touchdown, and a pick while running back Todd Gurley had himself a day to the tune of three rushing touchdowns to lead the charge for the Los Angeles Rams offense. As for Arizona, could Josh Rosen be making his NFL debut pretty soon? It is possible.

San Francisco 49ers 30, Detroit Lions 27

Jimmy Garoppolo got back in the win column on Sunday in what ended up being a down to the wire game. San Francisco found themselves up 30-13 about four minutes into the fourth quarter, but Matthew Stafford and the Lions were not going to go down easy. Stafford led back-to-back touchdown drives to pull the Lions within three, putting the pressure on the 49ers to do something to end the game. The Detroit defense forced a punt and had a chance to win, but the magic of Matthew Stafford ran out as the offense turned the ball over on downs and the 49ers took the win. After a four-interception performance versus New York on Monday, Stafford turned in a nice three-touchdown game to go with his 347 passing yards on 34-of-54 passing. As for the Niners' offense, they were led by a huge rushing day from running back Matt Brieda who carried the ball 11 times for 138 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo also chipped in 206 passing yards and two touchdown passes for San Francisco as he improves to 6-1 as a starter.

Denver Broncos 20, Oakland Raiders 19

The Oakland Raiders took a 12-0 lead into the half and 19-7 lead over halfway through the third quarter before squandering it to the Denver Broncos. Kicker Mike Nugent got Oakland on the board first with a 26-yard kick and extended their lead with a 46-yard kick in the second. Marshawn Lynch rounded out the first half with a one-yard touchdown run en route to the 12-point halftime lead. Denver would creep closer on a Royce Freeman rushing touchdown, but Derek Carr responded with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts to up the lead back to 12. Case Keenum then helped lead Denver to three consecutive scoring drives which consisted of two field goals and a Keenum one-yard touchdown run. The Brian McManus 36-yard field goal in the final seconds of the game proved to be the difference maker. A heart-breaking loss for Coach Gruden and his team, but it does not get any easier for them as they head down to South Beach to face the 2-0 Dolphins next week.

Jacksonville Jaguars 31, New England Patriots 20

Without star running back Leonard Fournette, the Jacksonville Jaguars offense dismantled the New England defense. Blake Bortles looked like Tom Brady yesterday, going 29-for-45 with 377 passing yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. He hit receiver Keelan Cole seven times for 116 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon. The Jaguars jumped out to a 24-3 lead by the halfway point of the third quarter and their defense held Tom Brady to 24-of-35 with 234 passing yards and two touchdowns. The closest New England ever got in this one was 24-13 at the beginning of the fourth quarter before Bortles tacked on a 61-yard touchdown pass to Dede Westbrook, extending the Jacksonville lead to 31-13. Brady would get another touchdown toward the end of the fourth on a 29-yard pass to Chris Hogan, but the Patriots did not look like themselves and were dominated by the Jaguars.

Dallas Cowboys 20, New York Giants 13

The score of this one does not dictate how badly the Cowboys dominated the Giants. New York was playing from behind the entire night after a 64-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Tavon Austin put the Cowboys on top by seven on the opening drive. They would tack on three more on the next drive on a 37-yard field goal by Brett Maher before the teams would exchange punts for the remainder of the first half. On the opening drive of the second half, Eli Manning fumbled the football on a sack which led to three more Dallas points on a 29-yard field goal by Maher this time. The Giants immediately responded with a six-minute drive that resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas to finally get on the scoreboard. But the nail in the coffin was an eight-minute, 14-play drive by the Cowboys that ended in a six-yard rushing touchdown by Ezekiel Elliott to put the Cowboys up 17 with just under six to play. Although Manning responded with a touchdown drive and the Giants recovered an onside kick to get three more points and pull within seven points, it was far too late for a comeback.

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