Right, let’s make this weeks ‘Quick Take’ quick shall we – I feel I waffled far too much last week.
Washington Redskins 27 – 20 LA Rams
Yet again the LA Coliseum was only half full as the Rams are still struggling to grow their support in LA after their move from St. Louis. It’s said by many that the fans will only come out in force if/when the team gets good and wins stuff. It must be comforting for the team to know that they’re going to have a genuine and loyal fanbase, huh? Yes, it’s a large stadium and, yes, it’s old but so what? You’ve got a team on your doorstep, go support them, ffs!
To the game; I’m glad to see Jared Goff is starting to play well on a consistent basis. I know he wasn’t on fire but he’s looking better now than he has in the past and I think he’s moving in the right direction and is competent enough to be left in there all season to gain experience and progress as the NFL QB think he can be.
Todd Gurley disappointed me last season after such a great first season in the league and he looked crap during this preseason also. It’s good to see that he’s picked it up a bit during the regular season and seems to be back to the player he can be. 88-yards and 16-carries for a TD and a 5.5-yard average are very good numbers on their own, but when you add them to the contribution he made in the passing game (3-receptions for 48-yards and a TD off 4-targets) I think we can say he’s back.
Having Aaron Donald back is a massive plus for the Rams defense but they didn’t look too good this week. They seemed to struggle against the run somewhat but there were some decent individual performances by the likes of LB’s Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron.
A highlight of the game was the fake punt which saw punter Johnny Hekker complete a nicely thrown 28-yard pass for the first down. I remember thinking at the time, “He might want to have a chat with Mr. Bortles about that throwing motion”.
LA Rams go to 1-1 on the season after this loss.
Tennessee Titans 37 – 16 Jacksonville Jaguars
UH OH! Have the wheels come off again already? After the brilliant 29-7 victory over the fancied Houston Texans last week the Jaguars fell to the also fancied Tennessee Titans this week, 37-16.
I’m not surprised at all by this result, to be honest, as I have the Titans winning the division and have even had a cheeky little bet on them winning it all this year (I know, crazy eh?) I just think they have a good offensive line with a great young QB, two very good running backs and great depth at wide receiver. Their defense is also competent.
Leonard Fournette continues to be a beast and looks just so difficult to take down – he’s the player I’m looking forward to seeing at Wembley this week as they come over to take on that brilliant Ravens defense. That should be a great battle to watch and I just hope the Jags offensive line can step up their game and help Fournette out.
Towards the end of the game the Bortles to Hurns and Lee game looked good but, as is the norm with Bortles, it was all too late because they’d already lost. He seems to play better when he doesn’t have the pressure to perform on him but that only comes when it’s too late. If he can sort his head out and play like that from the start I honestly think they’d have a good run this year before he’s replaced by a rookie next season.
Although I’m looking forward to seeing Fournette do his thing on the Wembley turf this Sunday, I’m not sure it’s going to be a great game to watch. I say that because the Jaguars offense is boring to watch now that they have to rely on Fournette up the middle so much.
Another note I made was about the fact that I’m glad to see they aren’t relying on Fournette exclusively and am glad to see RB Chris Ivory has picked his game up a bit and is helping out on offense instead of being a liability.
Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns 10 – 24 Baltimore Ravens
Hmm, I could bang on again for hours about the Browns, but I won’t.
The migraine thing…WTF!? So DeShone Kizer is the future of your franchise, right? If he’s the future of your franchise and everyone knows he needs time to learn and adjust to the NFL, why the hell do you throw him into a game against the best defense in the league right now? Not only that, but you take him out for a while after it’s obvious he’s not up to the task, take him to the locker room (or where ever) before bringing him back out and throwing him back in the game again when backup Kevin Hogan was doing a better job! It just makes absolutely no sense to me AT ALL! If he’s truly your man for the future you leave him out of the game either from the start or after you’ve taken him off and leave him out. You don’t throw him back in there if he genuinely has a migraine. Have you ever had a migraine? Holy shit are they painful and mess up your vision. Maybe he just needed a break to compose himself or something but this migraine explanation seems very odd to me.
It did make me laugh when I suggested in a Twitter group I’m in for a fantasy league that the Browns should keep playing Hogan and I got accused of having “tankish behavior”. How the hell can I be wanting my team to tank by suggesting they play the better QB. LOL, some people (I need a ‘rolling eyes’ emoji here).
Kevin Hogan was good to watch when he came into the game and had a fantastic first drive with a couple of long completions followed by a TD pass to rookie TE David Njoku. He followed that up by getting the team into position for a FG that gave them the only 10 points they managed all game.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope Kizer is the future at QB for the Browns so that they can spend all those draft picks on different areas of the team for once but right now he just looks over-awed by the whole NFL thing. This is bound to happen as he’s a rookie but he looks like he either can’t diagnose what’s going on downfield or is afraid to try and throw it sometimes. He’s holding onto the ball far too long and taking sacks for it. This year people can’t blame the offensive line as they are doing a good job of giving him time, he’s just not able to utilise that time effectively enough just yet. I hope and think it will come but it’s going to be a long season as a Browns fan watching and waiting for it to come.
Oops, I’m banging on again so other notes:
Duke Johnson is a really good running back in the running and passing game and seriously needs to be used more – did you see that one-handed 35-yard catch? Brilliant it was. Catch of the year so far by a mile. A quick Google search will bring up the footage.
Get that guy involved more, please.
As for the Ravens, their defense is still looking great. I bigged them up during the preseason but thought they might slip a bit in the regular season. This doesn’t look like happening anytime soon and I’m glad I got them in a few of my fantasy teams, *smug face*.
I’m a fan of the Tight End position in the modern game and the Ravens used both Maxx Williams and Benjamin Watson well in this game. They both caught all their targets and battled for yards. I can see a pattern here of the TE’s featuring a lot during this season for the Ravens.
On defense, Terrell Suggs is still getting about but, from what I saw, wasn’t as effective as he has been but then again he was up against the legend that is Joe Thomas at Left Tackle who passed the 10,000 consecutive regular-season snaps count in this game….amazing!
A downside of the Ravens has been the running game previously, but this season has seen Terrance West play well in week one and then Alex Collins, who was promoted from the practice squad just this week, play well in week 2. He went for 42-yards on 7 carries and looked good doing it.
Minnesota Vikings 9 – 26 Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s be honest, the Vikings were never going to beat the Steelers with Case Keenum at the helm. Although he didn’t give up any interceptions he also wasn’t good enough to move the offense and get a score. It can’t all be put on his shoulders though as his offensive line was bad as well. It seemed like he was allowed to be under pressure all day and when he did get a bit of time to complete a good pass it was because a lineman had held and the plays got called back. I really hope this is the offensive line the Browns come up against at Twickenham later this year!
For me, Dalvin Cook was the highlight of the offense again as he went for 64-yards on 12 carries and was by far the best runner of either side on the day. He’s a great player to watch and I say it every week but I really can’t believe he fell out of the first round in this last draft.
I think the Vikings defense played well but they were on the field far too much as the stagnent offense had too many 3-and-outs.
Miami Dolphins 19 – 17 L.A. Chargers
It still feels weird writing “L.A.” in front of the word “Chargers”.
This Dolphins offense is looking good to me. I think they’ll get the win against the Saints at Wembley in a couple of weeks time but it could be a shootout. Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and now Devante Parker are all looking good at Wide Receiver this year and Jay Cutler is doing well with them all. Add to this improving passing game the running of Jay Ajayi and you’ve good a really good offense that could have this team going places again this season. The stats show that Jarvis Landry is the sure-hands guy but I think all three of the receivers will only get better as the season progresses.
Ajayi is still gaining yards after contact but the offensive line is doing a decent job as well as he broke the magic 100 yards per game target by running for 122-yards on 28 carries.
This was Miami’s first game of the season after last weeks game being called off against the Buccaneers due to hurricane Irma, and they could be accused of being a bit rusty. I think they looked ok but the game was closer than I expected with the Chargers kick, Koo, helping the Dolphins get the win by missing two field goals of which one would have won them the game. You can keep your silly social media trick-shot field goal footage, thanks.
Arizona Cardinals 16 – 13 Indianapolis Colts
The Colts seem to have got a little of their dignity back with this performance after the appalling showing of week one. Are the Cardinals going to be missing David Johnson this season? Eh, yeah, durr! Chris Johnson did look better this week than he did at any time during the preseason and he ended up with some decent stats, but the running game still needs to improve. To do that though, the offensive line needs to improve and was a problem in this game. They didn’t pass protect well enough either and Carson Palmer isn’t looking as good as I thought he was going to this season, although he did throw for 332-yards in this one with 1 TD and 1 INT. I don’t know what his contract situation is but I suspect the team will have yet another average year and he’ll hang up his cleats at the end of it. Maybe a bold prediction to be making this early, but that’s what I’d be thinking in his position right now.
I think the defense played well and Tyrann Mathieu had the interception in overtime that led to the winning field goal and a very close W for the team.
I think the Jacoby Brissett pickup will be good for the Colts as he looked ok in his first start. Yes, it wasn’t a brilliant performance but it will take a bit of time and I feel it takes the pressure off Luck’s return to the team and gives him time to get fully fit. The Colts aren’t getting many wins this season but they’ll lo0k better now Brissett is there.
New Orleans Saints
New England Patriots 36 – 20 New Orleans Saints
Well, the Saints defense is still shite then! I know it was only preseason but I thought they looked good then. They would appear to have reverted back to the 2016 regular season unit now though. A perfect example of their play was the bad tackle attempt by the DB on Gronkowski as he was on his way to his first TD. It didn’t appear there was an attempt to wrap his legs up and bring him down rather then the usual throwing yourself at him and hope he falls over attempt. Yes, there’s a size difference but surely that’s why you attempt to wrap his legs up? Anyway.
It looks like they are trying to get rookie running back Alvin Kamara involved more in the passing game as he was targeted 7 times by Brees for just 3 receptions but a decent 51-yards (17-yard average). Apparently, Adrian Peterson didn’t go to New Orleans to only have 9 carries a game? Well, he only got 8 this week! To be fair though, #1 RB Mark Ingram also only got 8 as the Saints had to chase the game through the air.
We could be in for a show at Wembley when the Saints faceoff against the Dolphins on October 1st as Drew Brees is linking up for some exciting completions to WR Michael Thomas and Brandon Coleman. I predict a Dolphins win in that one but if their defense doesn’t play to their best ability the score could get run up.
The big downside to the New Orleans Saints right now is the same as it was last season. Even with the moves that were made during the off-season, that defense is still crap. Not a lot of pressure was put on Tom Brady all night and the pass coverage was picked apart. Yes, people think Brady is the G.O.A.T. but that defense just had holes in it all over the place.
I also didn’t understand the decision to challenge the Patriots TD play that had a penalty on it by the Patriots and was coming back anyway. Why challenge it even when you know it’s not going to count because it’s coming back and whether you won or lost the challenge it would make no difference. Someone, please explain that one to me!
One bright spot for me on that bad Saints defense is rookie Linebacker, Alex Anzalone. He’s looking good and is in on a lot of the good that the defense does. I think he’s one to watch.
NFL Week 2, Done
So, that’s it. Week 2 of the NFL regular season is in the books. How did your team do and what performances stood out for you. Obviously, the above waffling is just how I saw things, but how did you see these NFL London 2017 teams this week or how did your team do? Let us know in the comments below.
Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, London for me in week 3! If you’re going then, SEE YOU THERE!
Title image source: Derick E. Hingle – USA Today Sports