The second week of the 2016 NFL season is in the books and I am back with my NFL notebook. This week wasn’t as thrilling as Week 1, but there is still plenty that caught my attention.
Welcome home, Los Angeles Rams
It is still weird to say, write or read Los Angeles Rams, but low and behold, the Rams are back in the City of Angels. The Rams had a housewarming party at the expense of the Seattle Seahawks. Los Angeles won the game 9-3, in the first NFL game played in Los Angeles since Christmas Eve, 1994. After looking like a team that could flirt with 0-16 a week ago, the Rams stepped up and took down one of the NFC powerhouses. The defense gave quarterback Russell Wilson fits all game, something that they are accustomed to doing, as Wilson fell to 4-5 in his career against the Rams. The win will likely be the one that ensures head coach Jeff Fisher another year as head coach, despite having only six winning seasons in his 22-year head coaching stint. How that works is one of the NFL’s greatest mysteries, that remains unsolved.
New England is in an unfamiliar situation
Heading into the season, the New England Patriots knew they would be with Tom Brady for the first four weeks. Jimmy Garoppolo was the backup that would help weather the storm until Brady returned. While Jimmy G looked good in his first career NFL starts, he went down with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder on Sunday against Miami. Now, the Pats will look to rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett to take the reins against the Houston Texans on Thursday night. Brissett was drafted in the third round and that had some scratching their heads. However, the Patriots have a great track record of drafting players, so this isn’t such a bad thing. He was a two-year starter at North Carolina State after transferring from Florida. In his two years as the Wolfpack starter, Brissett threw for 5,268 yards, 43 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions, while rushing for 899 yards and nine touchdowns. While it may seem like the sky is falling in New England, it’s not as bad as many would think. Bill Belichick will have the young man ready. Also, many believed if the Pats could go at least 2-2 in Brady’s absence, they would be just fine. After two weeks, they are 2-0. On Sunday against the Dolphins, Brissett went 6-of-9 for 92 yards and did what he had to do to ensure the Pats walked away with a win.
Was the right person fired in Buffalo?
Last Thursday night, the Buffalo Bills lost to the New York Jets 37-31. A day later, the team fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Here’s the odd thing about the firing; he was fired after being included in the team picture. Talk about petty. The Bills offense ranked 29th in yards per game at 276.5. Assistant head coach and running backs coach Anthony Lynn will now take over play calling duties. On the flip side of that, Rex Ryan is a defensive genius, especially alongside his brother Rob. That hasn’t been the case through the first two games as the defense ranks 25th in total defense. Rex Ryan is a great defensive coordinator, but not so much as a head coach. For someone who prides himself in defense, his defense has been lackluster to say the least, especially when the Jets hung 37 points on them. The seat will only get hotter for Ryan as the season continues if the Bills can’t figure it out.
The Sam Bradford era is off to a good start in Minnesota
Let me preface this by saying it was only one game, which is a miniscule sample size. With that being said, Sam Bradford’s time in Minnesota got off to a good start. Bradford led the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the divisional rival and favorite Green Bay Packers. Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. His newfound weapon was second-year receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Peterson left the game with what would later be revealed as a torn meniscus, but that didn’t faze the former No. 1 overall pick. It’s not like AP helped his former Oklahoma teammate as he rushed 12 times for 19 yards. Not only did Bradford lead his new team to victory, but he outplayed Aaron Rodgers, who went 20-36 for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Rodgers also fumbled three different times, losing one. Some looked at the Bradford trade as a steal for the Eagles, but after one game, that is not the case. The pairing of Bradford and offensive coordinator Norv Turner was the best thing that has happened to Bradford in his career, something many people overlooked when the trade went down.
The Giants defeated the Saints in a defensive, not offensive battle
The New York Giants and New Orleans Saints were engaged in a defensive battle, just like everyone thought. Wait, that’s not right. Many believed this would be a similar game to last year, when the two teams combined to put up over 1,000 total yards of offense. That was not the case in this contest. The Giants won 16-13 when kicker Josh Brown nailed a 23-yard field goal with two seconds remaining. The play was aided by a third down, 34-yard pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. In the 2015 meeting, Drew Brees threw for 511 yards and seven touchdowns. This time around, the G-Men held Brees to 263 yards and one score. Eli Manning didn’t find the end zone nor did he throw an interception, but threw for 368 yards. The lone New York touchdown came on a blocked field goal, which was returned by cornerback Janoris Jenkins in the second quarter. In total, the two teams combined for five field goals, including Brown’s game-winner.