WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 2013 — After another week of incredibly close, intense games, young quarterbacks have emerged as stars and one of last year’s worst teams has emerged as a legitimate playoff threat. Here are five things we learned from Week 2 of the NFL season.
Young quarterbacks are showing they belong in the league
Excluding Robert Griffin III’s struggles, which will be discussed later, Week 2 was a banner week for showcasing the NFL’s young quarterback talent.
In Indianapolis, sophomore quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill combined for 640 passing yards in a tremendously entertaining game. The most eye-opening statistic, though, was the fact that Tannehill outdueled Luck in almost every way, and we all know how good Luck is. The fact that the Dolphins pulled that win out tells the rest of the league just how scary they might be.
In Buffalo, EJ Manuel was not about to let another close game slip through his fingers. He found a wide, wide open Stevie Johnson in the end zone for the win with all of two seconds remaining in the game. Drew Brees’ kid could have made that throw, but the drive and game overall were impressive nonetheless.
The Seahawks are the only team with a hope of winning in Seattle
After the 2011 season, the Seahawks decided to risk a third round pick on a guy named Russell Wilson.
They have not lost a home game since.
It is not that the Seahawks’ opponents are coming unprepared to play, it is just that the world’s loudest fans and the world’s best defense in the world’s worst weather can bother the other team just enough to blink, or in San Francisco’s case, close their eyes for a full 60 minutes.
Seattle’s defense is the most fundamentally sound in the league, with smart players going for consistent tackles rather than taking risks to find themselves on TV. If you combine that with an offense that is already good and will add Percy Harvin before the end of the season, this team is just downright terrifying in any venue.
The Kansas City Chiefs are legit
A year after being bad enough to claim the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Chiefs might find themselves playoff bound after a nice team overhaul.
New head coach Andy Reid is proving that he has not lost his touch, guiding the Chiefs to two fine offensive performances, albeit while playing Jacksonville in the season opener. Reid has the team playing disciplined defense, and that is something that will greatly aid the Chiefs when looking for a playoff spot in the depleted AFC.
Alex Smith is proving to be exactly who the Chiefs thought he was, guiding the team with two performances that had few shining moments, but almost no errors. With a steady field general, the Chiefs offense should be able to ride Jamaal Charles to around ten wins.
Last year was a season to forget in Kansas City for several reasons, and the Chiefs are doing their best to make sure the city does not look back.
Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the league
After several years of dominance, Aaron Rodgers finally accomplished something that no other Packers quarterback could. He threw for as many yards as Matt Flynn did in a Green Bay uniform.
All condescending jokes aside, the Packers looked downright frightening on Sunday. Given their Week 1 burnout against San Francisco, it would be easy to attribute their success against Washington to the fact that the Redskins defense would be improved if you just replaced the whole thing with Alabama’s.
But Rodgers remains as sharp as he ever was, and he is letting the league know. The Packers seem to have sole access to a bottomless pit of incredible receivers. They pull one out every time one gets too expensive. Oh, Greg Jennings is gone? That is not a problem, we will just have James Jones shatter his career highs.
Green Bay’s defense is as bad as ever. The fact that their coordinator has not been fired is beyond mind-boggling. Aaron Rodgers, however, might be able to carry this team to a playoff berth by himself. In a stacked NFC, that is saying more than you might think.
RGIII just is not what he used to be
A huge problem in sports culture today, and you can blame Adrian Peterson for this, is the celebration of athletes who are able to come back from injuries before their estimated return dates.
RGIII, soon after horribly injuring his knee on national television, declared that his goal was to be ready for Week 1. After two weeks of somewhat abysmal quarterback play, players across every sport should be seeing that their goal should be to come back when they’re ready.
Without a run threat, RGIII’s offense has been falling apart, and with a putrid defense trotting onto the field for the Redskins, it is not looking very likely that Washington will repeat last year’s playoff trip.
To contact Nick Goralka, see above to send him an e-mail containing a question, comment, or scathing insult. His work appears in Alley-oops for Touchdowns! at the Washington Times Online.
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