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Andy Richardson

A Day of Football

Higgins, Moss among the comebacks

Week 2 is mostly in the books, with overall a higher level of play than we got in the opener. There were big games (including Puka, again), injuries (Saquon, again) and an upset or two. Hopefully you started more of the stars and benched more of the duds. On to the games.

Packers at Falcons: Entertaining game. Early, the Packers looked far superior, and Desmond Ridder threw one pick and had another horrific throw dropped. Jayden Reed scored twice. But Ridder figured some things out, threw some good passes to Drake London, including a touchdown, and ran in another. And oh yeah, that guy Bijan Robinson (172 total yards) had what you might call a breakout game. The two Packers who seemed best going in -- AJ Dillon and Romeo Doubs -- were not. Dontavion Wicks, of all receivers, had a touchdown and was interfered with on a deep ball. Might be hard to lock in on a Green Bay receiver. And the Packers missed Aaron Jones.

Raiders at Bills: This was interesting early on, with the Raiders scoring first and looking like they might make things interesting. But then the Bills started moving the ball up and down the field at will, racking up huge numbers and winning going away. James Cook with a big game (159 total yards), but a little painful to see both Latavius Murray and Damine Harris come in to score short touchdowns. Not surprising, just kind of disappointing, clouding an otherwise great day for Cook. Bills offense did whatever it wanted. Be glad Josh Jacobs has a passing downs role, because as a runner he carried 9 times for minus-2 yards.

Ravens at Bengals: Fearing the Bengals offense wouldn't do much looked good for a little while, as their only touchdown for about three quarters was on a punt return. But the Ravens got a lead, defense softened, and Tee Higgins, probably benched in a lot of leagues, caught 2 TDs and nearly a third. Quiet game for other Bengals skill guys (JaMarr Chase had a near-TD broken up in the end zone, not that that helps anyone). Even banged-up, pretty tough Ravens defense. Baltimore used a committee at running back, hope you didn't blow the whole waiver budget on Justice Hill. Odell Beckham left with an ankle injury.

Seahawks at Lions: Slugfest without a lot of defense played, except for a Seattle Pick Six that gave them a late 10-point lead. But the Lions battled back to tie it, before losing the overtime coin toss and watching the Seahawks march the field. Refs swallowed flag on an obvious hold that enabled the winning touchdown pass to be scored, but the Lions can take plenty of blame for this loss, too, not fully taking advantage of Seattle's offensive tackle injuries. Big news is that David Montgomery was having another nice game before leaving with a leg injury. Jahmyr Gibbs caught 7 passes to have a nice PPR outing, but Craig Reynolds was also playing after Montgomery left. Big passing numbers for both sides, including Josh Reynolds, again, and Tyler Lockett (both had 2 TDs). DK Metcalf ruled inches short on one, left with rib injury, returned, we'll see Lions not a great Survivor Pool pick, obviously. My 2nd choice after Buffalo. One entry remains.

Colts at Texans: 2 early rushing touchdowns for Anthony Richardson, but he slammed his head on the ground on the second one and left with a concussion. Gardner Minshew came in and the offense didn't miss a beat. Big game running it for Zack Moss, kudos to those who picked him up, arm injury and all. Dameon Pierce is finding no running room. Maybe C.J. Stroud throwing for 384 changes that, but it was mostly garbage time. Still, nice outing for Nico Collins, serviceable for a couple of other Houston receivers. I do not think this makes Stroud a must-add, but maybe Collins a regular starter going forward.

Kansas City at Jaguars: A weird defensive and offensive miscue struggle for much of it, not the high-scoring shootout expected. But Patrick Mahomes wound up with big numbers, Travis Kelce scored, Kansas City's defense showed up to frustrate Jacksonville. Isiah Pacheco, well, another not great outing. 70 scoreless rushing yards, 1 catch. Plusses: he had 12 carries, CEH and McKinnon each had 1. But they both had more catches and targets. Not enough to make either one viable, but people need more than 8 points out of Isiah. If Kansas City doesn't commit to running the ball at some point, he's not gonna be a great start. Looks good when given chances, but you don't get points for that. For Jacksonville, that's why you don't drop Christian Kirk after one bad week. Big against KC last year, as noted; we'll see if it continues. Zay Jones had 2 near misses in the back of the end zone. Off day and some bad luck for Jacksonville's offense, I'm not going to overrate it.

Bears at Bucs: Bucs now 2-0, which highlights the problems on their first two opponents, the 0-2 Vikings and Bears. Kudos to Tampa and all, and a nice game for Rachaad White and a huge one for Mike Evans, but the Bears are really really bad on defense. DJ Moore a decent game in defeat, but Justin Fields struggled again, throwing a late Pick Six near his own goal line to seal the loss. At least Chicago has a lot of draft picks. They're gonna need them.

Chargers at Titans: Two games, two tough, last-minute heartbreaking losses for the Chargers. Did a nice job to rally to force overtime, but made should have pushed a little more aggressively to get that ball in the end zone late rather than settling for a tying field goal. It seemed watching it, anyway. Titans win and there were a couple of nice throws by Tannehill (including a bomb to Treylon Burks), but Tannehill got sacked about 10 times and he's not gonna stay healthy for long. Derrick Henry a big game and the Titans are still a competitive team in the AFC South. Chargers, well, they've got to figure out how to win these close games. Huge game for Keenan Allen, my favorite player of the week and fortunately I bet it, successfully. So there's that. Other Chargers receivers (Quentin Johnston, Josh Palmer) had near misses in the end zone, I'm still not sure how Palmer failed to drag his second toe, looked like he did.

Giants at Cardinals: Two late games featured one team roaring out to a big lead and the other coming all the way back. The Giants looked dead in the water at halftime, but either the Cardinals remembered they're not trying to win games this year or the Giants had a couple of plays go their and got some momentum. Having a quarterback who can run is a big plus in today's NFL. Nice games for James Conner, Marquise Brown and Zach Ertz, the only Cardinals you needed to roster, and then ultimately for Daniel Jones. Saquon Barkley sidelined late with ankle injury that doesn't look good.

49ers at Rams: Rams were more competitive in this game than in either of last year's meetings. They've figured out some things on offense and their defense also looks better than expected. And of course Puka is lighting it up. Another decent game from Tutu Atwell and 2 more touchdowns from Kyren Williams, who I apparently will lament cutting in my dynasty league this past offseason for some time. Brandon Aiyuk hurt in this one, I've yet to see an update, helping Deebo Samuel have a good day. Two additional observations: Christian McCaffrey played every offensive snap. And second, the last play of the game was the Rams, trailing by 10, kicking a field goal to lose by 7. There were 8-point underdogs.

Jets at Cowboys: This went about as expected. The most troubling thing was the grim realization that the Jets' offensive struggles are probably going to torpedo the Jets defense in a lot of games, lowering opponents' aggressiveness and reducing chances for sacks and takeaways. I won't pile on Zach Wilson too much but his game probably puts us one step closer to New York adding someone else. Big game for CeeDee Lamb, clearly no one need to bench top wide receivers against the Jets just because of Sauce Gardner. Garrett Wilson rewarded those who started him by catching a long touchdown, saving his day (he caught 1 other pass on 8 targets).

Commanders at Broncos: New year, but another season of the Broncos losing some heartbreaking games. Never mind the completed Hail Mary and blatant interference on the 2-point conversion try that the refs didn't call, obviously the completion itself was dumb luck. But Denver had it all going well with a 21-3 lead and then a couple of careless penalties helped let Washington back into it. I'm convinced that Sam Howell won't still be starting by the end of the year, nice comeback win or not. Troubling game for Denver's top 2 wideouts, with Marvin Mims and then Brandon Johnson doing a little more. (Courtland Sutton caught 5 balls but all of them came very late, which was just weird.) Nice stats for Russell Wilson (including running for 56 yards, surprising) but it doesn't seem like a weekly occurrence. Lots better than the Nathaniel Hackett era, anyway.

Dolphins at Patriots: Amusing (to me) halftime sideline interview, with Melissa Stark asking Mike McDaniel "How have you been able to move the ball like this on New England's defense?" and McDaniel saying "Well, I haven't done anything." It didn't seem rude. Bill Belichick came up with a strategy to limit the passing game, so Raheem Mostert went wild. Miami's pretty good and their defense is better than I expected, too.

Monday, Monday times two: Two games tonight, not the best for those of us publishing a Weekly on Wednesday morning. They also didn't exactly give us dream encounters, unless there are people who love a nice Saints-Panthers and Browns-Steelers tilt. But I'll be watching around a platter of wings at a local watering hole, and I think the Saints are definitely better while Week 1 suggests I overestimated Pittsburgh and underestimated Cleveland. But I'm going with the Saints 24, Panthers 17, and the Steelers by a 23-21 margin. And the over-under on sick George Pickens catches will be 1.5.

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