It’s Week 2 of the first extended 18 week NFL season, and Week 1 showed us once again that we all are privy to some over-exaggeration spurts. The Saints had a week where their quarterback put up touchdown numbers to a level Drew Brees would have hoped for, and the 49ers went from a Raheem Mostert led backfield to some odd alternate universe timeshare with Elijah Mitchell ahead of Trey Sermon, the assumed running back in waiting, seemingly on the outside looking in. Just to showcase to you how quickly things can change in the NFL, it seems as if both of the previous storylines may already be ready to be buried. What excited you from this slate of Week 2 Moments?
Gronk Smash in Stereo
Rob Gronkowski has become something of a living urban legend. From a constant product peddler the likes of which Shaquille O’Neal would be jealous to the famed party circuit drop-in, we’re just two years removed from Gronkowski looking slimmer, trimmer, and completely out of the NFL. And now, we may just be looking at the resurgence of Gronkowski as a league-winning tight end, or at the very least a potential top-3 tight end. Out there in Tampa Bay, Tom Brady found Gronkowski for just 4 passes, and for under 40 yards, but half of those receptions went for touchdowns. There’s new life for Gronkowski, and if you decided to take him somewhere in the first half of your draft, a large pat on the back is in store for yourself. Go have that extra cookie you’ve been eyeing.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) September 19, 2021
Young Quarterbacks have a Week to Forget
There is seemingly a new face to the NFL, with a large portion of young quarterbacks taking over their team’s playcalling. In this Week 2 of matchups, many of those young quarterbacks would likely look to take this one back. Joe Burrow, heading into Soldier Field, ended his game 19 for 30 with two touchdown passes, but the biggest takeaway was his inability to secure the football for his squad, as he threw an interception on three straight passes.
Zach Wilson, the new face of Jet’s football, finished his day up with a sub-40 QB Rating, as he like Burrow also had 19 completions, but one-upped Burrow with four picks to the Patriots’ defense. A second pick overall out of BYU, there were hopes that Zach would be the solution to what has ailed the Jets for years, but just two games into the season, he has five picks, and the boos were already raining down heavy from the Jet’s somehow still faithful.
And, adding injury to the insults, we saw Tua Tagovailoa get carted off in the Miami game with a rib injury that thankfully showed no structural damage on the MRI. We know that there are always bumps in the road for younger quarterbacks in the NFL, but this week highlighted just some of the potential pratfalls they may end up facing.
Lamar Jackson Proves the Haters Wrong
Alright, I can officially admit that I have had a sore spot since the Patriots passed on the Lamar Jackson hype just a couple of years back, instead deciding to take a perennial o-line magnet, Sony Michel, at pick 31 in 2018. It was clearly reaching the end of the Brady joyfulness, and a new quarterback who was able to adjust in the pocket and either fire off a misguided but gargantuan rocket toss, or take off with the ball at a moments notice for 20 yards was very exciting a premise to hear about. Since then, I’ve been one of the many who have often thrown wet blankets at the feet of Lamar Jackson, after spending half of his career continuously building up his cache, the balloon was mostly deflated last year as the fires were extinguished for Baltimore and their playoff hopes pretty quickly.
After last night’s coming out party against the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar may just be the next big thing in the NFL quarterback scene again. He was the bar none number one player on the field against the Chiefs, and in the same breath as Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Frank Clark, that’s no small feat. Lamar was decisive with the ball, and his team’s defense made Mahomes’ dynamic playstyle irrelevant. Lamar rushed for over 100 yards on the day, taking the mantle as the chief beneficiary on the ground, but also met up with his dynamo Marquise Brown on potentially one of the seasons’ best plays with a Lonzo Ball like jump pass over the line where Brown was separated by over 8 yards per NFL Next-Gen stats.
A Lamar Jackson jump-pass finds a WIDE-OPEN Marquise Brown for the touchdown 🔥pic.twitter.com/iv3j3t53mg
— TWSN (@TWSN___) September 20, 2021
Are the Raiders for Real?
It’s just two weeks into the season, so there’s plenty of time for them to screw this up, but the Las Vegas Raiders have started to exercise some demons of the Al Davis’ drafting debacles of yore, and are quietly becoming an AFC contender right in front of our very eyes. Derek Carr has been on the outside looking in of top-20 quarterbacks for seemingly his whole career, but the past two finishes have showcased just what these Raiders may have found most appealing about him in the first place when they drafted him. Carr’s passer rating was a scorching hot 126.2, and he did everything he could to bury Ben Roethlisberger and his stat line in the dirt on Sunday.
Sans Josh Jacobs, the Raiders had barely a rushing game to speak of on Sunday, tallying to the tune of 52 yards (9 of which Mr. Carr himself had), but that seemingly didn’t matter. Carr aired it out early and often and finished the game with 382 passing yards. Carr targeted Henry Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller 7 times each, and the Raiders took a game on the road against the consistent AFC playoff stalwart Steelers, and seemingly with ease. Carr now has 817 passing yards over the course of the first two games, which is first overall, with four touchdowns to hang on the coat rack as well. The rushing game of the Raiders may be suspect, and the defense has a bit to prove, but this was a huge showcase for a team that has often been seen as an afterthought in the AFC, and could lead to some more exciting NFL football to watch.
HENRY RUGGS IS FAST. #RaiderNation
— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2021
The Michael Pittman Glow-Up Begins
Michael Pittman was an absolute treat on Sunday, as he showcased himself in a matchup not many would see him succeeding in. Set up across the field from a legitimate defense largely patrolled by Jalen Ramsey, Pittman was going to eat up the whole sundae. Of the 36 passes combined from the Colts quarterback duo, Pittman caught one-eighth of those and was targeted on one-third of them. He was an absolute terror to the Rams secondary, and was seen on short routes, caught up to a large pass aired out, and showcased what the Colts were looking to get into when they took him out of USC. As of two weeks in, the target share for Pittman is absolutely massive, and if this is how he decided to come back returning from injury, most Colts fans will welcome this with open arms. Here’s to hoping whoever continues to take the snaps behind center can find him going forward.
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