Gibberman: Week 2 thoughts and observations
The second Sunday of the NFL season has passed. Early statements were made, the first big coaching mistake took place, there were intriguing rivalry games, lots of surprises, and a tremendous stadium was unveiled.
I just finished watching the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Sunday Night game (will have more on the game in a little bit), and Jerry Jones’ stadium is magnificent to look at. It is truly a piece of modern art. As a fan watching the game I don’t really think it is the type of stadium I would want my favorite team to play in. It is more about the stadium and everything going on around it than the actual game. The seats seemed like they were far away from the field – making the players look like ants. That was my biggest complaint about the new Yankees Stadium; I sat in the mezzanine and I couldn’t believe how far away the seats were from the action compared to the old Yankees Stadium. Cowboys Stadium has a similar feel. For everyone who wants the BCS to expand and include more teams, thank Jerry Jones, because that stadium will be added to the rotation is no time. Now let’s get back into Week 2 of what has been a very entertaining early season, it’s time for the Sunday 12 pack:
1. A quarterback can be good from the 1st minute of the game to the 58th minute of a game. The QB I want if I am building a team is one who can handle the pressure of the last two minutes. Right now there are four signal callers that I would build my team around: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Big Ben. The one thing they all have in coming is jewelry on the fingers. The two QB’s I will get criticized for leaving out are Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. I love both quarterbacks, but I need to see them get the job done in the playoffs before I pick them to lead my team. It isn’t all about numbers.
2. What a phenomenal Sunday Night game between what looks like the two teams that are the class of the NFC East. The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys squared off and battled til the clock hit triple zero. New York Giants Wide Receivers Mario Manningham and Steve Smith had their coming out parties on a national stage. The G-Men were helped by two incredible plays that happened almost back to back; Safety Kenny Phillips (who is quietly becoming one of the best safeties in the league) had an incredible interception off of Cowboys TE Jason Witten’s foot, and Manningham had a juggling TD catch as he stumbled to the ground. Eli Manning was cool, calm and collected as the Giants marched down the field for the game winning field goal. His awareness of the clock and how to use timeouts was right on point. This was a classic Giants-‘Boys game.
3. The other team in New York put its foot down in the Meadowlands earlier in the day. The New York Jets defeated their archrival New England Patriots, who had won eight straight games at Giants Stadium. The rookie NYJ QB Mark Sanchez outplayed the veteran Pats QB Tom Brady. Rex Ryan’s brash crew backed up all their talk from earlier in the week. Right now the Jets are the top story in the NFL. The Jets have both sides of the ball clicking, the golden boy rookie QB is leading the offense and the Jets are playing an aggressive, physical style of defense that has not allowed an offensive touchdown through two games. Belichick was classy as always after the game, not making eye contact with Ryan and barely even shaking his hand.
4. San Diego Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner is the worst in the NFL. His last offensive play call in the Bolts’ loss to the Ravens was despicable. On 4th and 2 with under a minute left Turner went with a jumbo package and ran the ball up the middle with tiny Darren Sproles and a beat up offensive line. With LT out Philip Rivers was clearly the Chargers’ best offensive player on the field and Turner did not give him an opportunity to make a play on the most important down of the game. In Turner’s post game press conference he did not explain his decision making in the play call, and Philip Rivers would not blame it on that one specific play. Jay Cutler, take notes of how Philip Rivers conducts himself during a post game press conference; you could learn a thing or two.
5. There are not many games that are must win in week 2. The Arizona Cardinals, coming of their disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers, could not afford to lose against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. The Cards traveled to the East Coast and showed maturity by kicking the Jags in the mouth. With the Indianapolis Colts coming to Glendale next Sunday it would have been a tough spot if the Redbirds were 0-2.
6. The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans had a little rumble that got the juices flowing. It was late fourth quarter and the camera angles they had didn’t give you a great view, but it looked like some serious action took place. I know I should be talking about the back and forth game between the two teams, but lets all be honest: watching the teams fight was way more exciting. In this one minute brawl more punches were landed than Marquez had during his 12 round fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. the night before.
7. If the Green Bay Packers want to live up to the lofty expectations that were put on them by people such as myself they need start protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Chicago Bears and Cincinnati Bengals both lived in the Packers’ backfield, forcing Rodgers to move around more than he would like and to rush throws. Green Bay has the skill position players to make a run deep into the winter; their O-Line has some catching up to do.
8. The Denver Broncos have made a surprising appearance atop the AFC West. I know it is only week 2, but I didn’t think there would be one week the entire season that the Broncos would be able to claim sole possession of the division lead. Denver has one more W lined up with Oakland coming to town on Sunday – after that they hit the meat of the schedule with games against the Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, Ravens and Steelers in the next five.
9. I admit, if I could redo my Super Bowl picks I would put the Baltimore Ravens as the AFC representative instead of the San Diego Chargers. The Ravens finally have offensive talent to go with their always ridiculous defense. Now if the Ravens D has an off game, for once the offense can be asked to pick up some of the slack. Joe Flacco gets overlooked, but he is just as good as Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons who gets all the attention.
10. The Tennessee Titans are the most surprising 0-2 team. It doesn’t get any easier for them, with a rising New York Jets squad up next. They couldn’t get a win Sunday when Chris Johnson broke off two huge TD runs and a long TD reception.
11. The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears and Houston Texans all bounced back with W’s after tough losses last week; the Bills and Bears had heart wrenching loses to division rivals and the Texans were embarrassed by the New York Jets. All these teams were under the microscope and came back with strong week 2 performances.
12. Last week I said the Monday Night double header was going be awful, wow was I wrong. The only thing awful about it was the announcing of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. Can we please end that experiment?
Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin is having an immediate impact with the team. He has scored two touchdowns in two games and the Vikes have been playing with a very conservative game plan.