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  • Plus, a terrible roughing call gives the Bears a boost, Cowboys outclass another rival, a back-pat for Doug Marrone’s bold move, Lamar Jackson keeps impressing, the Chiefs’ explosion, don’t sleep on the Lions, shaky Vinatieri, toasted Josh Norman, Packers offense still not clicking, and more from the second Sunday of the NFL season.
By Gary Gramling
September 15, 2019

Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened in the Sunday afternoon games. Get the full Sunday breakdown on The Monday Morning NFL Podcast. Subscribe to The MMQB Podcasts now and it will be in your feed first thing Monday morning

Things That Made Me Giddy

Eddy Pineiro Can’t Miss!: Not unlike how Parker Lewis. Though in Lewis’s case, that was in regards to losing. The new Bears kicker is 4-for-4 on field goals, including the game-winner in Denver.

Josh Allen Owns New York: Or, at the very least, East Rutherford, N.J., which is still very impressive. There were lowlights, but Allen led the comeback against the Jets last week, and made a couple of highlight reel plays in a much more even performance in the victory over the Giants on Sunday.

The Chiefs’ Second Quarter in Oakland: They had their first-quarter scoring streak snapped at 22 games. In response, Patrick Mahomes connected with Demarcus Robinson for a 44-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. They went on to score touchdowns on each of their other three second-quarter possessions, pulling away from the Raiders.

Lamar Jackson and the Forward Pass: It was a solid day against a legitimate NFL defense to push the Ravens to 2-0. More fun next week when the Ravens travel to Kansas City, but the arrow is pointing so very up on Jackson.

Demarcus Robinson Goes Berzerker: With an expanded role in place of the injured Tyreek Hill, Robinson filled up his YouTube highlight reel with six catches for 172 yards and two TDs.

Doug Marrone Goes for Two: It doesn’t matter that they didn’t get it. (If we’re being honest—which we always are—nothing that happens in these games truly matters.) Marrone had a red-hot underdog quarterback and a chance to steal a road game rather than play for overtime. Going for two in Houston was the right move for the Jags.

Colts Do the Monster Mash: Protecting a two-point lead in Nashville with 2:24 left and the ball at their own 35, Frank Reich calls a time out then had Brissett sneak it behind that huge O-line. Fourth down converted, as Indy holds on for a division road win.

Cowboys Out-Class Another NFC East Also-Ran: Win the games you are supposed to win. And Dallas has put away each of their first two opponents by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

Joe Flacco Can Not Be Stopped: Actually, he can be stopped quite often. But the final drive, on that Bears defense, he converted two fourth downs and the go-ahead two-point conversion.

Chargers Charging Into Halftime: Facing third-and-8 from their own 5 with only 25 seconds left in the first half, Philip Rivers hit Keenan Allen twice and Mike Williams to set up a 39-yard field goal for Ty Long as time expired.

Lions Are Better Than You Think: I’m letting you know that, but still, try to look surprised as the season goes on. They were gutsy in a come-from-behind victory over the Chargers.

Dalvin Cook from Deep: His performance in Green Bay included a 75-yard TD run; if he’s healthy, he’ll be your 2019 NFL rushing champion.

Hayden Hurst With the Fake Fall Down Play: I’ve perfected that play with the nerf ball.


Regrets

The Game-Altering Roughing Call on Bradley Chubb: The crew in Denver was out of their minds with roughing the passer calls, but this, to “spark” Chicago’s game-winning field goal drive, is as bad as it gets:

This Kirk Cousins Failed Throwaway: Cousins was utterly brutal all day in Green Bay. It was capped by this, on first-and-goal in the fourth quarter while trailing by five. This is, in the most literal sense, a game-losing play:

Thumbs Down for Brees in L.A.: It was a bad day to be a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger went down in the early set, then in L.A. Brees mangled his hand when he hit Aaron Donald on a follow through.

Big Ben’s Injury: Tough to come up with a worse-case scenario than a non-contact elbow injury for your 37-year-old franchise quarterback.

Bears Offense Is All Smoke and Mirrors: This is year two for the No. 2 overall pick of the 2017 draft and the man hired to mold him, and through two games they’ve put forward an offense that looks like Georgia Tech’s triple-option. On their only touchdown so far this season, nine of their 10 plays were runs (the other was defensive holding on a tight red-zone third down), including a Cordarrelle Patterson toss play for 46 yards and a Taylor Gabriel fly sweep for 14 yards. This is not a recipe for sustainable success.

Steelers Are Out of Weapons: They have JuJu Smith-Schuster and nothing else in that receiving corps. It was frustrating to watch Ben Roethlisberger try to work with that, and it’s probably not going to get much better if Mason Rudolph is going to be under center going forward.

Donte Moncrief Has Issues, Part VIII: His first six quarters as a Steeler were brutal, as he desperately struggles to separate and fails to make play after play on balls that hit his hands. This, though, is absurd:

We’re All Rooting for Teddy Bridgewater, But . . . : He’s now played a game-and-a-half of live action for the Saints, and there’s been nothing to suggest he can keep this offense going. The penalties on Sunday didn’t help, but the Saints are going to have to re-think their entire philosophy if Drew Brees is going to miss time.

Adam Vinatieri Misses Two More PATs: Vinatieri is now 1-for-3 on field goals and 2-for-5 on PATs this season, for a team that has a two-point win and an overtime loss. After the game, he implied he'll have an announcement tomorrow.

Josh Norman Getting Toasted: Along with getting beat on Devin Smith’s 51-yard touchdown, he let Michael Gallup get behind him while Norman was peeking into the backfield. An off-target throw was the only thing that prevented another big play.

Isaac Yiadom’s Tackling: Two missed tackles early for the Broncos second-year corner against the Bears, including one against the never-elusive Adam Shaheen that let to a third-down coversion.

Things Look Bleak for the Dolphins, But . . . : Just imagine how good this team—which has been outscored 102-10, at home, to start the season—will be once they drop Tu’a into the lineup.


Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About

Who Is Blowing This Dead?!: Somehow, this was ruled an incomplete pass on the field. Even though it was an obvious fumble, returned for a touchdown, upon reversal everything after the recovery was wiped out because the call had been blown dead on the field. Now, we get to enjoy six months of Sean Payton complaining until we change the rule book again. Something requiring the creation of reverse whistles.

Kupp After Catch:

Gardner Minshew and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Those aren’t clothes that people usually wear!

Fire at the Titans Game: You see very few raging infernos on the sideline of NFL games these days.


What We’ll Be Talking About This Week

That Packers Offense: A win is a win, but even when the offense was working early against the Vikings it still looked like a whole lot of Rodgers improv as opposed to a well-oiled McVay/Shanahan machine. Which probably explains the 164 yards and zero points they put up over their final 11 drives on Sunday. Plus there was this exchange, which we can only assume, based on body language, is Rodgers threatening to burn the city of Green Bay to the ground if he's not traded immediately.

Antonio Brown: Yeah, we’ll probably be talking about him.

I’m Looking At My Watch: And the big hand is on “Daniel,” and the little hand is on “Jones.” And the seconds hand just kind of ticks slightly without moving forward, because I never should have bought a watch on Canal Street, especially one that doesn’t have numbers on it.

49ers and Bills, Both 2-0, Both on the Road: Those are a couple of legitimate playoff sleepers off to a great start. Take us out, Chuck Mangione…

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