Feb. 26, 2019
Who Fed It And Who Ate It: 2018 Week 2
Two games in the books of a given season have the tendency of establishing at least a rough draft of a pecking order that can be used for the coming weeks. There are some surprises, one of which is the fact that the defending conference champions are 1-1, both suffering losses in today's action. So let's cover a couple of teams who may not have been foreseen as capable of a hot start.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in general and journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in particular have made an improbable 2-0 run for an early lead in the NFC South. Expectations were, to be polite, greatly tempered due to the overall state of the roster and the impending suspension of Jameis Winston for violation of the league's personal conduct policy for the first three games of the season. Thanks to a scorching start by Fitzpatrick to open the 2018 campaign (78.7% completion, 819 yards passing, with 8 TD's & 1 INT for a sterling 151.5 passer rating), the Bucs have run out to an improbable 2-0 record to lead the volatile NFC South by a game. This has led to speculation that Fitzpatrick will remain installed as the starter under center once Winston returns. If that were to occur, one could make the claim that Winston's career in central Florida is essentially over. Because, let's be fair, Fitzpatrick is a stop gap starting quarterback at best, given his career 60% completion percentage and 81.1 passer rating. Pro football players have many abilities, but one of the most crucial is availability. If Winston cannot be trusted, either by head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht, then Winston will ultimately be forced out and left to continue his career elsewhere. The coming weeks will be a harbinger of things to come for the future of this franchise.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw six touchdown passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving him an NFL record 10 TD tosses in the first two games of a season. When the Chiefs traded Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins to clear the way for Mahomes to take the reins as the new leader under center. For those in the Chiefs' organization, they believed Mahomes was ready for the promotion. To those on the outside, it was prudent to expect a period of transition. For right now, Mahomes has proven worthy of KC's faith. In two convincing wins, both against teams believed to be playoff contenders, Mahomes has turned in effective games that give him a 69.1% completion rate, 582 passing yards, 10 TD's, & no picks for an impressive 143.3 passer rating. Mahomes will inevitably regress as the season wears on, the current pace is simply unsustainable. But if this is what he can do now, this early in his development, then the Chiefs may have nailed down a franchise cornerstone QB for the next 10 years minimum. And for the record, he's fun to watch. If the opportunity arises to watch his young man play, make it a point to do so.
The administrator of the Ass Kicking of the Week, the Los Angeles Rams (a 34-0 drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals), have not fallen ill to the presumed curse of being "Champions of the Offseason" So far, so good for the Curly Horns. After handling the Oakland Raiders on prime time television on Monday, the Rams left the Cardinals in a heap on the LA Coliseum grounds on a short week of preparation. While a hot streak in September does not always translate into a Super Bowl berth, rest assured that the Rams will be a team that each of their opponents going forward must take seriously. The new pieces in place to complement the existing core look to build upon their 11-5 regular season last year and make a playoff push come January. This team can be scary if they're firing on all cylinders.