After one of the longest weeks in NFL history, Sunday meant we finally had an excuse to turn our attention back to the field. And that’s a good thing, because while the issues the league faces are many – and, seemingly multiplying by the hour – the beauty of the game itself remains.
Staggering plays of athleticism, gutty fourth-quarter comebacks and galvanizing team efforts; it was almost enough to make you forget about everything currently wrong with the NFL. Almost. And for diehard football fans, that should probably be counted as a win.
Of course, that’s not the game we play. There must be losers as well. And there were plenty of them on Sunday, too. So let’s talk about football, even if it’s just until the Adrian Peterson decision (or Ray Rice appeal) expected later today. At this point, we’ll take what we can get. Here are the Winners and Losers from Week Two.
Winners: Cris Carter and Hannah Storm
Forget everything I just said, for just a second. Because Sunday actually began with two sobering takes on the league’s maladies, courtesy of former pro Carter and SportsCenter‘s Storm. After watching both of these brutally honest takes on domestic abuse, I think we all echo Carter’s sentiments when he says, “Take them off the field.”
Losers: The Saints
The Saints, who were picked by many to come out of the NFC, are now 0-2, after letting one slip away to the Cleveland Browns (more on them in a minute). The only teams to have started 0-2 and won it all are the 1993 Cowboys, ’01 Pats and the ’07 Giants. All Marques Colston has to do is catch one with his head then disappear completely.
Winner: Anyone who started Mohamed Sanu at QB or J.J. Watt at receiver
Sanu had himself a day, becoming the first NFL player since 2001 with a 50-yard catch and a 50-yard pass in a game . Let’s talk about that Sanu pass for a sec. It was damn-near perfect. About a third of the league’s MVP’s can make that throw, right? Like, St. Louis may need to call Sanu up if they lose another QB. Also, aside from having a haircut from this millennium, is there anything J.J. Watt can’t do?
Loser: Spencer Lanning…Again
Last week, Lanning got the Big Boot from Antonio Brown. On Sunday, he almost got killed by the Saints’ defense after a botched extra-point attempt. This poor guy. He probably thought he’d never get demolished as a punter, but it’s happened to him two weeks in a row. #Pray4Lanning
— Eric Kay (@ekaycbs) September 14, 2014
Winner: The pilot of this plane
There are a lot of great mysteries in the world, like the Bermuda Triangle or the pyramids. But only one brave pilot in the NY/NJ metropolitan area was crazy enough to ponder the darkest riddle of all: “How in the warmest recesses of hell does Roger Goodell still have a job?”
Losers: The Jacksonville Jaguars
As if their uniforms weren’t bad enough, the Jaguars are finding new ways to make me feel bad for them. Not only did they allow 41 points and 449 yards of total offense to the Washington Football Club, but they did so without RG III or DeSean Jackson on the field (both were lost to injuries, Griffin’s dislocated ankle looked particularly bad). Chad Henne was sacked ten times in this one, so look for him to physically anoint Blake Bortles as the starter for Week 3.
Winners: Brian Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns
After marching the Browns down the field for the game winning score, Brian Hoyer almost fainted, Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan went to find solace in Totino’s pizza rolls and Browns’ coach Mike Pettine just dealt with it. Cleveland continues to be the most exciting place on the planet.
Loser: Eli Manning
Eli Manning continued his two year “Downward Spiral: Tour De Stink” yesterday against the Carson Palmer-less Arizona Cardinals. He threw two interceptions and could not stop making this face. Though really, this one was all on the Giants’ special teams, which are anything but special. Good day to you, sirs. The G-Men are 0-2, and the ice is getting thinner.
Winners: Tony Romo and Jay Cutler
In victory or defeat, these two are football soulmates. On Sunday, they both came out on top, though (for once) they did it in different ways. Cutler led his team to glory with four touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Romo didn’t have the opportunity to screw up, as DeMarco Murray lugged the ball 29 times for 167 yards and a TD and the Cowboys’ defense held the Titans to only 10 points. He probably threw a backbreaking pick to the equipment manager though.
Loser: Richard Sherman
If you thought the Chargers were going to shy away from “the best corner in the game,” think again. San Diego went right at Sherman and it paid off nicely. “Exposed” is the word San Diego chose to describe Sherman, who refused to speak with the media after the game.
Winner: Muhammad Wilkerson
Yes, he threw some punches And sure, he was ultimately ejected for doing so. But some ejections are too stylish to condemn.
Loser: James Jones
You know those scenes in a movie when things are really bad, then a character says “It can’t get any worse” and it starts to rain? Well, the Raiders were down 17-0 and things could not look worse. Then James Jones made a catch and – cue the rain – he fumbled twice on the same play. Don’t worry, other J.J., it was the Texans and the Raiders…no one was probably watching.
Winner: One-Handed Catches
The coolest thing in football (just behind the front-flip into the end zone), the one-handed catch also serves as an aesthetic reminder that we are not even close to being capable of achieving the things these players can. We belong on the couch. They belong on the field. Thank you, Rueben Randle, Mike Wallace, Kelvin Benjamin and Brandon Marshall, for reminding us of our place in life.
Loser: Marty Mornhinweg
Down seven with five minutes left, Jets QB Geno Smith connected with Jeremy Kerley on a game-tying bomb.What a play. Too bad offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was sprinting downfield to call a timeout just before it happened. The TD came off the board, and we were reminded of the rule that states only the head coach can call a timeout. Good thing the refs blew the call (they had a pretty rough weekend), otherwise we’d have something else to debate today.