Tuesday Afternoon Football: Week 2
Week Two of the 2018 NFL season has come and gone, and it had some great moments, some bad moments, and some downright weird ones. It might not have been as exciting as Week One, but it still featured plenty of noteworthy events, and instead of losing by over 20 points in fantasy football, I lost by just 0.2 points. Let’s just get right to the good stuff, welcome to Week Two of Tuesday Afternoon Football.
Patrick and his ma-Homies
Through the first two games of the 2018 NFL season there has been no offense more potent than the offense of the Kansas City Chiefs. That offense, while loaded with weapons on the outside and in the backfield, looks like it finally has the final piece of the puzzle to become an actual Super Bowl contender.
That piece, is Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes was drafted with the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent nearly the entire year on the bench behind Alex Smith, who was steadily guiding the Kansas City Chiefs to a playoff berth with a 9-6 record. Smith made the Pro Bowl after throwing for over 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only five interceptions.
As good as Alex Smith was last season, there were stories throughout the entire season about Mahomes performing much better than him at every practice. There were even ideas of starting Mahomes in the middle of the season because they felt he was a much more explosive option to lead the offense and help them in the postseason.
After they burned out in the playoffs against the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round, they decided to finally pull the trigger on Patrick Mahomes. They shipped Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, officially blowing the door open for Mahomes to become a franchise quarterback.
In his first two games this season, he has delivered. He has thrown for 582 yards, 10 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He now holds the record for most touchdowns from a single quarterback through two games of a season. He also set the record for most touchdowns thrown in the first three games of a career.
It’s safe to say that Mahomes has been everything Andy Reid and the Chiefs hoped he would be to this point. He’s got an absolute CANNON, and he is deadly accurate with it. He has taken the Chiefs to a whole new level offensively, one that a more conservative quarterback like Alex Smith could only dream of.
Through his first three games, Mahomes is currently on pace to be the greatest quarterback in the history of professional football. Obviously there will be regression as the season goes on and more teams get more film on him, but regardless of any regression, the Kansas City Chiefs certainly have found their quarterback of the future.
Not only is he incredibly talented, he is also surrounded by incredible offensive weapons. He can throw to Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watson, Chris Conley, and even De’Anthony Thomas. That receiving corps features a top-two tight end in the NFL, two of the fastest players in the league, a top-tier deep threat wide receiver, and another very solid receiver. Oh, and he can hand the ball off to Kareem Hunt, last season’s leading rusher.
Due to the sheer explosiveness of this offense that has averaged 40 points per game through two weeks, I feel it’s only right to give them a nickname, and it will only become more fitting if they remain just as potent as the season continues.
The Kansas City Chiefs, or Patrick and his ma-Homies, look to be the best offense in the NFL this season by a longshot. If they manage to keep up their high-scoring efforts or add to their defense, they will be one of the last four teams left in the NFL when January rolls around.
Fitzmagic is here to stay
Last week I talked about the resurgence of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who stepped up after Jameis Winston got suspended for the first couple games of the season. He threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in his first game, which was simply incredible, but was also met with plenty of skepticism regarding being able to perform at a high level consistently.
I mean, there was legitimate reason for that skepticism. Throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns is no easy feat. Fitzpatrick doesn't have a massive track record of success, and he did have a long time to prepare to face the Saints, especially for someone who went to Harvard.
Fitzpatrick put that skepticism to bed on Sunday. He was dominant again, throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns. He became just the third player in NFL history to have back-to-back games with over 400 yards and four touchdowns. The other two players in that group are Dan Marino, you may have heard of him, and Billy Volek.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ryan Fitzpatrick has the highest quarterback-grade through the first two games since they started tracking the stat in 2006. The five QB’s behind him?
Tom Brady in 2011 - The Patriots went on to make it to the Super Bowl, and Brady threw for 5,235 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
Ben Roethlisberger in 2015 - The Steelers went 10-6, while Big Ben threw for 3,938 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions in just 12 games.
Peyton Manning in 2007 - The Colts went 13-3 and Manning threw for 4,040 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
Patrick Mahomes in 2018 - We talked about this earlier, but he has 10 touchdowns in 2 games.
That’s some pretty damn good company. It’s hard enough to win games in the NFL, and doing it for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who many expected to be the worst team in the league this year, is even more impressive. I think Ryan Fitzpatrick has been able to take advantage of the weapons that the Bucs have more than Jameis Winston ever had, and I mean they do have some weapons in the receiving corps.
They have Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, and OJ Howard, who are all well above-average at their position, but are playing even better thanks to the stellar play of Fitzpatrick.
When Jameis Winston is eligible to return, he should not be inserted as the starter. The Bucs need to ride on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s back as long as they possibly can, he is playing better than Jameis ever has.
On top of his incredible performance in game, during his postgame press conference he borrowed Desean Jackson’s clothes, which is easily the funniest thing to happen around the NFL this season.
Fitzmagic is absolutely real, he’s on a historic pace through three games, and he’s made the Bucs more watchable than they’ve been at any point in Jameis’ tenure. If the Bucs keep winning, regardless of whether or Fitzpatrick regresses, the smart move might be to try and trade him for help in the running game, help on defense, or for a high draft pick to try and land another franchise quarterback to learn under Fitz.
The Year of the...Tie?
Generally ties are rare in sports, and they’re especially rare in the NFL. There had not been a tie in the league since 2016, when there were two ties across the entire season. So far this year, there have been two ties in two weeks. That isn’t great in any sport, but especially in the NFL, where each team only gets to play 16 games in the regular season.
Simply put, a tie leaves a sour taste in the mouth of viewers and fans. No normal sports fan tunes into a game and thinks “Man, I sure hope we tie today.”
You could argue that there shouldn’t be any ties in the NFL this season, as the Browns missed a potential game-winning field goal in overtime in Week One, and the Vikings’ kicker missed three field goals that would have won them the game. Regardless of whether or not the kickers missed kicks, a professional sports game should never end in a tie, in any sport.
Now, I don’t have an immediate solution, and this happens pretty rarely, but I do have a couple questions about how overtime works in the NFL. My main question is this: why is there only one overtime period?
I understand that limiting the amount a team plays is smart because it helps prevent injuries, and my understanding is that the overtime period was shortened from 15 minutes to 10 minutes for that exact reason. If you are going to shorten the overtime period, why not have a second overtime period that’s five minutes long, or seven minutes long?
If the average fan hates ties as much as I do, which I assume they do, then that seems like a logical solution. I think the NFL needs to add the ability to have a second overtime period, for either five or seven minutes. They could also adopt the NCAA overtime rules, which is almost like a shootout.
The bottom line is this: there isn’t an easy fix to stopping ties in the NFL, but there needs to be some changes to the overtime period in order to prevent such an dissatisfying result.
Update from the Jimmy G Hype Train:
This week was a good week to be a fan of the San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo. They picked up their first win of the season, and Jimmy Garoppolo looked much better than in Week One until the last couple minutes of the game.
The 49ers beat the Detroit Lions 30-27, and Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 206 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The running game looked good, as Matt Breida became the NFL’s leading rusher with a breakout 138-yard performance. The defense looked pretty good in the first half, but fell apart down the stretch in the second half.
A win’s a win, but this win didn’t feel as good as a regular win, thanks to poor performance of the defense in the second half. At one point, the 49ers had a 30-13 lead in the fourth quarter. That lead quickly fizzled, and within the last two minutes the Lions were down by just three points as Matt Stafford was able to find any reciever on the left side of the field that was covered by Ahkello Witherspoon.
The 49ers hung on to win though, so that was good. Jimmy G looked like he was getting his form back, even if his receivers weren’t getting as much separation as they normally do. Richard Sherman completely shut down his side of the field to the point where Matt Stafford didn’t even bother to look to his right. Matt Breida was incredible, and Alfred Morris also did a nice job picking up 4 yards every time he got the ball.
The defense still needs work, obviously, and going to Kansas City to face the scorching-hot Chiefs next week could be a nightmare for that exact reason. Though the defense will get a nice boost, as Reuben Foster has now been reinstated from his suspension, and the pairing of him and Fred Warner could become deadly. Warner has been dominant in the first two weeks, and hopefully seeing him and Foster in a real game at the same time will give us flashbacks to the days of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
This team still has a ways to go before they are going to contend for a Super Bowl, but seeing some of the key pieces perform how they have is promising. Next week against the Kansas City Chiefs should be fun.
The Good, the Bad, and the Odd:
The Good, the Bad, and the Odd is a new weekly segment for Tuesday Afternoon Football, and it will be a quick hit of information that should summarize all the action of the previous week in a concise way.
The Good: NFL quarterbacks had an average passer rating of 105.1 during Week Two, that’s a higher passer rating than Aaron Rodgers has in his career (103.9). Rodgers has the highest career passer rating of all time, so in general, quarterbacks had a pretty damn good week.
The Bad: There were 19 missed field goals in the NFL on Sunday, and they completely changed the outcome of games. The Browns kicker, or former-kicker, Zane Gonzalez missed four field goals, which was the reason the Browns lost. The Packers-Vikings tie was also due to several missed kicks from both teams. There’s good news for at least one of these teams though, as the Vikings signed Dan Bailey (the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history), to avoid any more mishaps.
The Odd: Buffalo Bills cornerback Vontae Davis went into halftime as his team was losing 28-6 after losing 47-3 in Week One. He had seen enough, and literally retired from the NFL at halftime. It was by far the most odd thing to happen on Sunday, but only the second-funniest due to Ryan Fitzpatrick postgame outfit.
CK Collusion QB of the Week:
Sam Bradford. He completed just 17 passed for 91 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. He now has just 243 yards through two weeks, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. He’s never led a team to a record better than .500, and has only played at least 10 games in five of his nine seasons. Oh, and he somehow has a $20,000,000 contract this season. At least he stands for the anthem though.
Breakout Player of the Week:
Matt Breida: He ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, and his touchdown was a 66-yard run. He is now the NFL’s leading rusher despite being undrafted. He has stepped up in a massive way after Jerick McKinnon tore his ACL before the season.
Biggest Loser of the Week:
New England Patriots: The perennial Super Bowl contender was absolutely torched by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Blake Bortles had the best game of his career. They let Bortles throw for 377 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. This matchup could’ve been a preview of the AFC championship game, and the Patriots are going to need to improve if they want to reach their third-straight Super Bowl.
Honorable Mention: Zane Gonzalez, who missed four field goals that cost the Browns their first win in two calendar years.