2011 NFL Week Two: 5 Surprises You Never Thought You Would See
It isn't unusual to see jaw-dropping plays in any given week in the NFL season, but what is unusual is to see something you've never seen before.
The NFL gave us this and so much more this weekend and with Monday's game yet to played, fans are still wanting more. Here are the top five record breaking, absolutely entertaining, big time surprises from Week 2 that you won't believe actually happened.
5. Tom Brady Breaks into the Record Books Again
It really isn't much of a surprise to see Tom Brady, QB of the New England Patriots, litter a stat sheet with touchdowns, yards per game and passing attempts. What is surprising, however, is how in Week 2 Brady managed to enter the record books along with a Patriot who had already been there.
On Sunday, Brady backed up last week's 500-plus yard performance against the Miami Dolphins with a 423-yard game against the San Diego Chargers. By doing this, Brady entered the record books as only the sixth person in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games. The ironic and maybe most surprising part of all is that he is not the first Patriots QB to accomplish such a feat.
Matt Cassel, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, was the first Patriot QB to do this by throwing two 400-plus games in a row when he took over for an injured Brady in 2008.
Brady also entered the record books for most yards passed in two consecutive games with 940. He joined rookie phenom Cam Newton as the only two guys to ever throw consecutive 400-plus yards to start the season.
In two games played, Brady has thrown seven touchdowns and only one interception. He leads all NFL QBs in touchdowns thrown, yards per game and QB rating. He is on pace to break the passing yards in a season record of 5,084, set by Dan Marino in 1984.
4. The Indianapolis Colts Are Nothing Without Peyton Manning
Okay, this headline may be a little drastic, but unfortunately for the Colts it is true. I think it is safe to say that most people believed that the Colts would struggle without Manning, but I don't know if they thought it would be this bad.
On offense, Peyton Manning is the heart and soul of that Colts team. In his 14th season with the team he has been everything that the Colts asked for. He helped them win a Super Bowl and has consistently been one of the most clutch players in all of the NFL. When asked, "who do you want to have the ball with two minutes and the game on the line?", I can guarantee 99 percent of people will respond Manning.
On the field he is a team leader. Manning as QB is more than just a game caller and play maker for the Colts. He is the guy who rallies his team, who inspires hope and puts them on his shoulders. He knows just when to be quiet and when to be vocal. He is passionate and driven and because of that, no one on the team questions his love of the game and ability to play it.
In the locker rooms he is a friend. Manning is the guy everyone goes to when they have a problem. He is approachable, friendly and always willing to help his teammates improve. When he succeeds, the team succeeds and that is something Manning truly believes. He talks to the press but is never so vocal as to get caught up in a scandal.
Manning has been obviously the Colts' hero, but he has also been the poster boy for the NFL for quite some time. His name is a household one and the qualities of leadership, love of the game and determination are ones he exemplifies.
Without Manning, the Colts are missing the most important piece of their team. They don't want Manning on the sideline, but more importantly Manning doesn't want to be on the sideline. He has been a Colt longer than most of the team and the feelings of dejection the players are showing not having him in the trenches with them have shown on the field of play, in both offense and defense—and in the hearts of the players
3. The Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins Are Undefeated
Absolutely shocking I know, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. Both Buffalo and Washington are in fact 2-0 in the most improbable starts of the season.
The Redskins, who line-up behind QB Rex Grossman, were not expected to do anything this year. Most people picked them to finish last in the entire NFL. Others thought they would struggle to win games and some even compared them to the Detroit Lions team who managed to go 0-16. Personally, when Grossman was named QB I could only pick out three or four calendar games that they had a shot at winning.
Well Grossman, who echoed the Eagles Vince Young's "dream team" comment by announcing that the Washington Redskins would win the NFC East, has really gotten behind his statements and slowly he is proving that they weren't just a bunch of hot air. He hasn't been perfect, but he has done enough to not only get the Skins out to a 2-0 record but to put them as first place in the NFC East, which is almost unfathomable.
Then there is last year's train wreck, the Buffalo Bills. While not finishing last overall, the Bills plummeted to a start of 0-8 with people wondering when and if they would win their first game. They somehow managed to finish 4-12, but were last in the AFC East.
This year behind the incredibly improbable performance of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills have so far reversed their fortunes by scoring 35-plus points in both games and starting out 2-0. Fitzpatrick has also gotten better from last year by having seven touchdowns to only one interception so far on the season. In a comeback Week 2 win, he also led the Bills to score on all five of their second half possessions. He himself had three TD on those possessions.
Unfortunately for both the Bills and Skins, they are in divisions which don't really help their case to stay 2-0. Next week, the Bills face their biggest challenge of the season so far against rival and also undefeated New England Patriots and the Redskins will have to face both Philly and Dallas twice on the season.
Don't look for either of these teams to stay undefeated for long.
2. Cowboys WR Jesse Holley Is Not Just a Reality Contestant Anymore
I think it would be safe to say that no one, not even Michael Irvin believed that his reality TV show, 4th and Long, whose goal was to find the next Dallas Cowboy, would pan out. That being said, enter Jesse Holley.
Holley, who played his college football at the University of North Carolina, was the contestant who won the show which premiered in 2009. He beat out five other WR and six DB for the victory and received a tryout for Cowboys training camp. Holley ended up making the team but saw little playing time the season after he won the show. All of that was about to change though in 2011.
After Dez Bryant went down with an injury, Holley got the call and was more than just a WR catching passes. On the day, Holley had three catches for 96 yards but the game changer was a 77-yard catch in OT, which put the Cowboys in position to kick the game winning field goal.
After this game, Holley officially put his mark on professional football. There is no guarantee that he will stay with the starters when Bryant is healthy, but Jesse showed the Cowboys that he has something to contribute and as a result he probably isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
1. NFL Rules Once Again Have People Scratching Their Heads
I was fine when the NFL decided that they were going to review all TD plays. I was fine even after I realized it adds unnecessary time to the game with no action. I was even fine when Eagles coach Andy Reid got a penalty for trying to review a TD because review was already going to happen. What I'm not fine with is how in only Week 2, the NFL has already broken this rule.
The play was simple. It was just a basic route from San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers to his top WR, Vincent Jackson. Jackson, who is known for his play making abilities, turned the pass into a touchdown—or was it?
After watching NBC's close-up replay it was obvious that Jackson's foot may have toed the out of bounds line. However close it was, it was certain to be replayed because of the NFL's new replay rule...but it wasn't. The extra point was kicked and that was that. Jackson, without use of review, was awarded the TD.
Now I'm not saying that Jackson did not get the touchdown, but with the NFL's new replay rule examining every other touchdown, even the obvious ones, this definitely should have been given a second look. It was so close that even on the replay it wasn't certain if he stepped out or not. Because the rule is to review all touchdowns it is not even as if Belichick could have challenged, lest he be subjected to a penalty just as Reid was in the preseason.
I'm sure the Patriots aren't complaining because they won the game and as a result this will probably disappear and no one will speak of it again, but I think the NFL needs to not pick and choose. If the rule is to review all questionable touchdowns then the NFL has to be consistent and review all questionable touchdowns—and this was certainly a questionable touchdown.