Blake Bortles

Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

NFL Week 2 in review: Bortles so bad he's good, Fitzmagic rolls on, more Bills should retire

September 17, 2018 - 9:33 am

By John Andersen

Last week's "Everything You Need To Know," effectively my debut album, caused quite the uproar on Twitter Dot Com, with many millions of likes and retweets, so we're back for Week 2.


-- Blake Bortles continues tradition of bad QBs tearing up Patriots

Everyone such as myself who thought the Jaguars offense couldn't function without Leonard Fournette was proven quite wrong. Either that or the Patriots defense just can't cover crossing routes. Blake Bortles had all day and night to throw, especially after New England's top pass rusher, Trey Flowers, left with a concussion in the first quarter. Bortles played very well and showed he can do more than just the bare minimum his offensive coordinator and noted Star Wars fan Nathaniel Hackett asked him to do last season.

INJURIES: Patriots S Patrick Chung, DE Trey Flowers; Jaguars LT Cam Robinson

FINAL SCORE: Jaguars 31, Patriots 20

-- Is Ryan Fitzpatrick an MVP candidate?

While we're passing credit around, I'm going to give myself the nod here: while I didn't think the Buccaneers would be good, I at least am not 100 percent blown away by them being 2-0 and knocking off the defending champs. I'm more in the 98-99 percent range. The Bucs offense is loaded at wide receiver and tight end, which is extremely conducive to Dirk Koetter's vertical scheme, given that the current quarterback isn't afraid to give the ball the old Elway treatment. The Bucs will certainly have to outscore teams to win, as a Nick Foles 21 is almost worse than a Drew Brees 40 and sheds some light on how devoid of talent the Tampa defense is. The question now becomes whether or not the Buccaneers return to Jameis Winston in Week 4 when the crab bandit returns from suspension. This could be a Case Keenum-Sam Bradford situation where everyone knows the team wants to go to the other guy but the backup is playing way too well to justify the move. That being said, Eagles with Carson Wentz would've scored 50 in this one.

INJURIES: Eagles WR Mike Wallace

FINAL SCORE: Bucs 27, Eagles 21

-- Vontae Davis escapes Bills season before it's too late, retires at halftime.

In a situation bizarre enough to have OMC looking over their shoulder, Bills cornerback Vontae Davis retired at halftime. If the impending doom of this season wasn't bearing down on the whole team before, now it's in their face. The storyline from this game should be Bills rookie QB Josh Allen somehow managing to avoid a royal blowout despite executing the most unathletic designed QB run maybe ever, but lucky (or unlucky?) for Allen, a Bills player literally just left the sport as a whole smack in the middle of this game.

INJURIES: Bills RB LeSean McCoy

FINAL SCORE: Chargers 31, Bills 20

-- Patrick Mahomes threw six touchdown passes, but is he even good?

This story has unfolded before our eyes time and time again: young quarterback starts out hot but is eventually figured out. Dak Prescott exploded onto the scene his rookie season, but once the rest of the league had a year's worth of tape on him, he struggled. Mahomes may have thrown more touchdown passes than incompletions, but how will he fare later in the season against defenses like those of the Rams and Ravens? Hard to say. But for now it's a safe bet Mahomes won't be getting much help from Kansas City's defense, which was devoid of a pass rush last season and appears to be again this season after the Chiefs front office opted to address the problem by not addressing the problem. Meanwhile teams like the Steelers and later in the season the Patriots, Rams and Seahawks may have to outscore Mahomes in order to win.

FINAL SCORE: Chiefs 42, Steelers 37

-- Sam Darnold plays a real defense

The Lions defense duped Jets fans into thinking Gang Green might have a decent offensive line. The Dolphins don't particularly have much of a pass rush or front seven when they play real offensive lines, but the slight uptick in competition from the Lions to Dolphins shows just how low the threshold is for the Jets offensive line to crumble. Sam Darnold did face a Dolphins secondary that has a lot more manpower and it showed with some really obvious misses/misreads and the two interceptions. Meanwhile Ryan Tannehill's breakout season can finally resume as Miami's favorite blockhead didn't need to do a whole lot but did just enough for Stephen Ross to start printing "AFC East Champs through Week 2" t-shirts.

FINAL SCORE: Dolphins 20, Jets 12

-- NFL enters the upside down with second tie in as many weeks

I've heard science people say that if one were to reset the universe, things wouldn't happen this way a second time. You wouldn't get Earth or humans. It's about the same probability as a tie in the NFL (don't look that up). Last week's Browns-Steelers tie/moral Browns win occurred at the intersection of mother nature and Ben Roethlisberger's carefulness tank being bone dry. This week's Packers-Vikings tie happened at the crossroads of a swollen knee, Kirk Cousins getting more second chances than John Cena and Nikki Bella, and the Vikings rookie kicker being allergic to success. There's no way you hit reset and this happens again, but we'll see if the NFL can go 3-for-3 next week.

INJURIES: Packers CB Kevin King, Vikings RB Dalvin Cook

FINAL SCORE: Vikings 29, Packers 29

-- Bungles No More?

Cincinnati's turnaround was dependent on two stipulations: improved offensive line play and the emergence of a No. 2 wide receiver. While right tackle Bobby Hart was noticeably manhandled for most of the game, the Billy Price draft pick and the Cordy Glenn trade have bolstered the unit that Andy Dalton's play is reliant upon. Many suspected last year's ninth overall pick, John Ross, as the WR2 candidate, but Tyler Boyd shocked the NFL cognoscente this week with six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. If the offense keeps it up then the defense will either stay consistent or improve when notable hothead Vontaze Burfict returns from suspension before an inevitable re-suspension.

Also, this is what happens when Joe Flacco throws the ball 55 times.

INJURIES: Bengals RB Joe Mixon, Ravens LB CJ Mosley

FINAL SCORE: Bengals 34, Ravens 23

-- Maybe Sark isn't that atrocious of an offensive coordinator?

The Falcons were extremely aggressive in, not being afraid to pound the rock against what last week looked like the best front seven in football. It famously took Kyle Shanahan's scheme a full year to click in Atlanta so maybe Steve Sarkisian's will see the same treatment. Atlanta's pass rush is a cause for concern, however, as for the second week in a row the only players recording sacks were DE Takk McKinley and slot CB Brian Poole. The absence of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones was felt, as the Panthers went well over 400 yards of total offense, with Christian McCaffrey himself catching 14 passes for 102 yards.

FINAL SCORE: Falcons 31, Panthers 24

The Colts might be good…?

There are so many new faces in Indy and so many moving parts like the switch to a 4-3 defense that the team is rather difficult to figure out. Jabaal Sheard graded out as an elite edge defender in Pro Football Focus' 2017 players grades and Margus Hunt had pressure on Alex Smith all day while facing two decent tackles in Washington's Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. The Colts offense will always be at the least "fine" with Andrew Luck, but it'll make it a lot easier on Luck if his defense gets a consistent pass rush going this season.

FINAL SCORE: Colts 21, Redskins 9

-- No, there's no QB controversy in Tennessee

Marcus Mariota gives the Titans the best chance to win. While there's an apparent degree of competitive flare when it comes to Blaine Gabbert, it's overwhelmingly clear that this is a dumb conversation. Gabbert did what he needed to do for the Titans to win, but the win was more dependent on the 66-yard fake punt touchdown pass from all-pro safety Kevin Byard to fellow safety Dane Cruikshank. With a healthy Mariota, the Titans become a major threat to the top teams in the AFC, especially considering their offensive line has allowed just two sacks in two games despite missing both starting tackles. The pass rush is finally seeing better days after a rough 2017 as the Titans sacked DeShaun Watson four times and hit him nine more. Watson did expose the perennial underachieving Titans secondary, throwing for 310 yards, but the Titans and new head coach mike Vrabel took enough chances to get a big team win despite who was under center.

FINAL SCORE: Titans 20, Texans 17

-- At least half of the Browns are for real

Holding the Saints to 21 should not be glossed over. The Browns have one of the league's best defensive lines, with early defensive player of the year candidate Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah sandwiching Larry Ogunjobi and Trevon Coley. A man-bear-pig of not only linebackers that can blitz, but a great pass rush and stacked secondary is a lethal recipe against any offense. But of course it's the Browns and they can't have nice things; kicker Zane Gonzalez accounted for eight point that could have been, missing two extra points and two field goals, including the field goal that would've tied the game at the end of regulation. Under the assumption Dan Bailey will be courted with the keys to Cleveland by tomorrow morning, the Browns' first win since 2016 will be coming around real soon.

FINAL SCORE: Browns 18, Saints 21

-- 49ers tried their best to lose.

The Lions are never out of a game. Strange things tend to happen when Matt Stafford goes on a diet of desperation heaves to Marvin Jones in triple coverage at any point in the game. The score was 30-13 49ers entering the fourth following San Francisco running back Matt Breida ripping a 66-yard touchdown run in which he pulled the old Mario Kart trick of drafting behind other bodies before propelling to the finish line. The Lions brought it to the eventual final score before Jimmy G. almost succeeded in giving the ball back to the Lions had it not been for defensive holding. The Niners defense held on for the win.

INJURIES: Lions CB Darius Slay

FINAL SCORE: 49ers 30, Lions 27

-- Denny Green Memorial "We Are Who They Thought We Were"

There may not be much to say about the Rams here. They toasted a defense that while having an elite cornerback and an elite pass rusher is riddled with first round busts and continues the endless cycle of being unable to find a viable CB2 to play opposite Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals offense is the biggest story, as the team now falls to 0-2, meaning their chances of missing the postseason skyrocket to over 90 percent. Rookie QB Josh Rosen will undoubtedly be in at some point and be at the mercy of an offensive line that nearly had David Johnson killed on Sunday.

INJURIES: Rams K Greg "The Leg" Zeurlein

FINAL SCORE: Rams 34, Cardinals 0

-- Broncos eat last second W

It's a lot harder to tell if Derek Carr actually played well for the first time in two years of if the Broncos just have issues in the secondary. There are clear deficiencies when it comes to Pacman Jones and Tramaine Brock being on the field in nickel/dime packages and to Darian Stewart being on the field any time he's on the field. Regardless Derek Carr still went 29-for-32 against a secondary that has Chris Harris Jr., and Courtney Roby as its starting cornerbacks -- let's be positive for once. For Denver, Case Keenum continued his poor man's Favre impersonation, being unafraid of making the Next-Gen Stats passing chart look like Jackson Pollock's easel. This makes for fun football but also for a low completion percentage and the necessity for game-winning drives against far inferior opponents. Luckily for the Broncos, undrafted free agent rookie running back Phillip Lindsay, who may have usurped fellow rookie Royce Freeman's starting role, rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries. 

INJURIES: Broncos RT Jared Veldheer

FINAL SCORE: Broncos 20, Raiders 19

-- Giants OL is not fixed

The strange part about this one is it's not like the Giants did nothing per se to fix an apparent problem. They signed Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh, drafted Will Hernandez and replaced their starting center. But for reasons incomprehensible to the human mind, they decided to move Ereck Flowers from left tackle in 2017 to right tackle in 2018, maintaining a starting role despite being the offensive line version of trying to throw a feather on your roof. The Cowboys sacked Eli Manning six times and held off a late-game comeback attempt. The Giants are filled with talent, but for the second season in a row their offensive line could tank the whole operation.

FINAL SCORE: Cowboys 20, Giants 13


Seahawks at Bears; 8:15 on ESPN

John Andersen is an award-winning NFL journalist and has written books on Maurice Morris and Mohamed Massaquoi, maybe. You can follow John on Twitter @_JohnAndersen.