Andy Reid and Pete Carroll will go down as two of the greatest NFL coaches of this generation. They each have won a Super Bowl, are annual playoff contenders, and probably will end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But, boy, did their teams choke in Week 2.
In the best game of the week, Reid’s Chiefs lost to the Ravens, 36-35, despite leading by 11 points entering the fourth quarter. An offense that is one of the most potent in NFL history ended the game with an interception, punt, and fumble while Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson led two touchdown drives.
And Carroll’s Seahawks lost to the Titans, 33-30, in overtime, despite leading by 15 points at halftime, and by 14 points early in the fourth quarter. This wasn’t as bad as losing Super Bowl XLIX to the Patriots, but Carroll’s team completely melted down in crunch time.
Their improbable losses are where we begin the Week 2 Review:
▪ The Chiefs might be in trouble. They escaped with a 33-29 win over the Browns in Week 1, but had to climb out of a huge hole in the second half. And in Week 2, they blew a big lead against the Ravens. Last year, teams that led by 11 points or more after three quarters went 112-4. Since the 1970 merger, teams win 96.2 percent of those games.
The Chiefs may regret this loss when it comes time for playoff seeding, considering only one team gets a first-round bye. The Kansas City defense is currently ranked 27th in points allowed (32.5 per game) and dead last in yards (469 per game).
Conversely, major props to Jackson and Ravens coach John Harbaugh for pulling off the unlikely comeback. This was a huge moment for Jackson to prove, in front of a national TV audience, that he can be a comeback quarterback. Jackson had been 0-9 when trailing by at least 7 points entering the fourth quarter. And he had been 1-13 when trailing by at least 3 points.
Per NFL Next Gen, Harbaugh’s decision to go for it instead of punting on the critical fourth-and-1 play increased the Ravens’ win expectancy by 24.8 percent.
▪ Carroll looked shellshocked in his postgame press conference. Last year, teams were 50-2 when leading by 15-plus points at halftime, with the Falcons authoring both losses. Carroll, the Seattle coach since 2010, had been 23-0 when leading by at least two touchdowns at halftime.
This was a tough loss for the Seahawks, who play in the NFL’s toughest division and now sit in last place in the NFC West at 1-1. And this was a huge win for the Titans, who were staring down an 0-2 start. It was the second time in 15 years that the Titans won after trailing by two touchdowns at halftime.
The Titans offense finally awoke in the second half, rolling up 345 yards; they had 532 for the day. Derrick Henry racked up 187 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone.
▪ Only two undefeated teams remain in the AFC, and both play in the AFC West, but perhaps they aren’t the ones we expected. The Raiders proved that they are for real with an impressive 26-17 dismantling of the Steelers on the road, on the heels of their impressive overtime win over the Ravens in Week 1.
Quarterback Derek Carr is putting up huge numbers — his 817 passing yards are 128 more than anyone else in the NFL — and for the first time in franchise history, the Raiders are 2-0 with both wins coming against playoff teams from the previous season.
The Broncos also have been impressive, though it is less clear whether they are contenders or pretenders. On one hand, their two wins are against bottom-feeders, the Giants and Jaguars. On the other, they have two road wins by double digits, which is always a difficult feat. Steady Teddy Bridgewater was terrific in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, and through two games, he is second in the NFL in completion percentage (77.1) and sixth in passer rating (120.7) thanks to four touchdowns and no interceptions.
▪ Week 2 tested teams’ quarterback depth charts, as four starters suffered injuries — the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, the Texans’ Tyrod Taylor, the Bears’ Andy Dalton, and the Colts’ Carson Wentz. Only Bears backup Justin Fields was able to pull off a victory, though he threw an interception and led only two field goal drives.
The Dolphins may have reached a crossroads with Tagovailoa, who left Sunday’s 35-0 loss to the Bills with a rib injury. He came into the NFL with injury concerns, hasn’t played well, and is injured again. If the Dolphins were thinking about Deshaun Watson before, they must really be thinking about him now.
And Wentz continues to be unable to stay healthy, as he suffered an ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter in a 27-24 loss to the Rams. It’s one injury after another for Wentz, and this one cost the Colts, as backup Jacob Eason threw an interception to seal the loss.
▪ The Rams had the best goal-line defense of Week 2. The Colts reached first-and-goal from the 1 on their opening drive, but the Rams stuffed them on three straight runs and sacked Wentz on fourth down. Two drives later, the Colts got to the 3-yard line, but Wentz threw an interception. In a 27-24 game, those two possessions were the difference.
▪ The Bills had a blowout win in Miami, but Josh Allen still doesn’t seem right. He completed just 17 of 33 passes for 179 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. And a year after he made a massive jump in completion percentage from 58 to 69 percent, he now ranks 29th in the NFL at 56 percent.
▪ The three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Vikings kicker issues. The team that lost a playoff game six years ago thanks to a missed 27-yard field goal attempt lost, 34-33, to the Cardinals Sunday after Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard attempt at the buzzer.
“We are indoors, perfect surface. I am thinking this should be an easy one here,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
▪ The Panthers defense is definitely for real, and the Saints’ Week 1 win over the Packers sure seems like a fluke. The Saints gained just 128 total yards in a 26-7 loss, and Jameis Winston threw for only 111 yards with two interceptions. The Saints may have to get Taysom Hill, who has just one pass attempt and four rushes this season, more involved.
▪ A few early-season trends: The two West divisions are a combined 13-3. All four AFC East teams are 0-1 at home. Home teams went 7-8 on Thursday and Sunday, and were 15-16 entering “Monday Night Football.”
Ranking the rookie QBs
1. Mac Jones, Patriots: One of eight starting quarterbacks yet to throw an interception this season.
2. Trey Lance, 49ers: Did not play a snap Sunday, therefore giving him the second-best rookie performance.
3. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars: Out of 33 quarterbacks, he ranks 29th in yards per attempt (5.36) and 33rd in completion percentage (50.0).
4. Justin Fields, Bears: Led two field goal drives but threw a pick and couldn’t do much else.
5. Zach Wilson, Jets: Tied with Lawrence for the league lead with five interceptions.
6. Davis Mills, Texans: Pieced together two nice drives but also completed just 44 percent of his passes.
Also did not play: Kyle Trask, Buccaneers, and Kellen Mond, Vikings.
Tracking former Patriots
▪ Texans WR Danny Amendola: Had one catch for 9 yards and left with a hamstring injury.
▪ Texans WR Brandin Cooks: Had nine catches for 78 yards and a TD, and is fifth in the NFL with 210 receiving yards.
▪ Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski: Became the third tight end in NFL history with multiple receiving touchdowns in each of his team’s first two games, joining Dee Mackey (1962) and Ben Coates (1994).
▪ 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: A modest 189 passing yards and a touchdown, plus 20 rush yards and a TD, in a 17-11 road win over the Eagles.
▪ Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson: Scored multiple TDs for the second time in 134 career games.
Stats of the Week
▪ Jackson became the second player in NFL history with 200 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns in a game, joining Colin Kaepernick.
▪ Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw his first-ever interception in September. He now has 38 touchdown passes against one pick in that month.
▪ Rams’ 2-0 starts from 2002-17: 0. From 2018-21: 4
▪ The Eagles are the only team yet to commit a turnover.
▪ Dolphins CB Xavien Howard joined former Ravens S Ed Reed as the only players in the last 30 years with 25 takeaways in a 40-game stretch.
▪ There were no coach’s challenges in the first 15 games of Week 2. Instant replay czar Walt Anderson overturned 7 of 11 calls, all of which were automatic reviews.