Final NFL Week 2 Observations ... With Dolphins Angles

The second week of the 2021 season saw a lot of taunting penalties, no coach challenges and some interesting developments involving future Dolphins opponents
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Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season began with another thriller, but unlike Week 1 it ended with a dude — just as we had predicted.

It was a strange week in some ways, with officials going crazy calling taunting penalties but no one coach challenging a ruling on the field — the first that's happened since 1999.

There was a lot of chatter on Twitter about how ridiculous a lot of those taunting penalties were and how inconsistently the rule was enforced, so allow us to chime in here.

From this vantage point, we absolutely love celebrations after big plays, particularly group touchdown celebrations that never should be penalized.

But there's simply no need, again from this vantage point, for a player to stare down an opponent after making a big play, which is exactly what happened to Bills cornerback Levi Wallace after he broke up a pass intended to DeVante Parker.

Here's the thing: No issue whatsoever with Wallace making an emphatic "incomplete pass" motion after making a nice play on the ball, but where he crosses the line is staring at Parker while doing it and appearing to talk smack. As somebody who watches NFL games as a big part of his job, I don't have a great need to see that kind of behavior and have no problem with a flag being thrown there.

On the flip side (literally), I saw nothing wrong with Lamar Jackson flipping into the end zone when he scored a late touchdown against Kansas City on Sunday night — because he didn't do anything in a Chiefs player's face.

That's the major distinction here.

On to more thoughts from Week 2:

THE BIG WINNERS

-- Have to go back to Lamar Jackson and his Baltimore Ravens, don't we?

Wow, what a win there against the Kansas City Chiefs — who, by the way, should be just fine despite the loss.

But for Baltimore, as banged up as it is, to pull off that win was big time. Oh, and can we please stop questioning Jackson's standing as an elite quarterback?

We get it, he's not a pretty passer. Ask the Chiefs if that really mattered very much on Sunday night.

-- In another matchup between teams from the AFC West and AFC North, what the Las Vegas Raiders did at Pittsburgh was some kind of impressive.

The Raiders, who the Dolphins will face Sunday, went to 2-0 on the season by winning at Pittsburgh on a short week after their wild Monday night win against Baltimore in Week 1.

That's some heavy-duty work there by the Raiders, who finally might have something going under Jon Gruden.

While QB Derek Carr deserves a bulk of the credit — and maybe it's time to acknowledge the dude is a pretty damn good quarterback — what can't be overlooked is the fact the Raiders made a massive addition at all three levels on defense with pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue, linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Casey Hayward.

-- The Carolina Panthers, who the Dolphins will face in late November, are one of seven teams that have started with a 2-0 record but just may be the most surprising.

Former Jets QB Sam Darnold has looked solid early in his Carolina time, but it's the defense that's been really impressive.

Shutting down the Jets in Week 1 was no big deal (because the Jets offense is really bad right now), but what the Panthers did to New Orleans in Week 2 was massively impressive — particularly after what Jameis Winston and the Saints did to Green Bay in the opener.

The Panthers already have 10 sacks on the season, including three by former Arizona Cardinals first-round pick Haason Reddick, who has provided a nice complement at linebacker for first-round D-linemen Derrick Brown and Brian Burns.

Needless to say, with that Carolina pass rush, the Dolphins better straighten out their protection issues before that Nov. 28 game at Hard Rock Stadium.

QUICK HITTERS

-- Justin Herbert put up big numbers on Sunday, but it was deja vu all over again for the Chargers in losing a close game they easily could have won. This time, it was red-zone issues and the inability of the defense to prevent Dak Prescott from putting Dallas in field goal range that did them in. And because it's the Chargers, of course, Greg Zuerlein was going to make that 56-yard field goal attempt after having a brutal Week 1 outing.

-- And on the flip side, of course former Dolphins training camp kicker Greg Joseph would miss his 37-yard attempt in the final seconds because that's what Minnesota kickers do, and allow Arizona to escape with a wild victory.

-- Old friend Ryan Tannehill had a productive outing Sunday when the Tennessee Titans rallied for a 33-30 overtime victory at Seattle as he passed for 347 yards. But, and stop us if you've heard this before, it was Derrick Henry who brought the Titans back with his 182 rushing yards, including a 60-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter when they trailed 30-16. Oh, and Henry also had 55 receiving yards. Let's be clear, the Titans are dangerous on offense because of Henry, and that's the guy the Dolphins are going to have to contain when they travel to Tennessee on Jan. 2 — no offense to Tannehill.

-- Lastly, we'll close with a more optimistic outlook when it comes to the Dolphins, and that involves the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 0-2 under Urban Meyer and look headed for the first overall pick for a second consecutive draft. It's hard to imagine the Jaguars turning things around very much before the Dolphins face them in London on Oct. 17. How bad is it? Well, consider this tweet by the team Monday: