Paul Gallant recaps EVERYTHING you need to know from the second NFL Sunday of 2019

NFL Sunday Week 2: In a nutshell

ICYMI, here is EVERYTHING important from Sunday's NFL matches...

Rams 27 - Saints 9

Don't be fooled by the final score. This was the craziest game of the day.

And I haven't even touched on the topic that will be beaten to death this week: a DISASTROUS bleep up by the referees that cost the Saints a fumble return touchdown. Who'd have thought the rematch of a game [that was somewhat] decided by a controversial call would feature AN EVEN MORE CONTROVERSIAL CALL?

Saints fans were insufferable whiners after that missed pass interference call in the NFC Championship game. They might secede from the United State if no one faces punishment for this. And there should be some accountability here. That call would have completely changed the flow of the game. Why was the referee so quick to blow the whistle? Why not just wait until the end of the play? Please, explain yourself Walt Anderson.

This was a big win for the Rams, and in particular for LA's defense. Aaron Donald and the Rams pass rush were harassing Brees and Bridgewater all game, and held a pretty explosive (at least historically) Saints offense in check. On offense, Jared Goff bounced back from a shaky season opener with a solid day of game managing, and showed a lot of chemistry with Brandin Cooks. On top of that, Cooper Kupp - not even a year removed from a torn ACL - had a MONSTER game (5 catches for 120 yards). The bad sign? The Rams are being extremely cautious with the work load they're giving Todd Gurley (just 16 carries for 63 yards, 3 catches for 4 yards).

Seahawks 28 - Steelers 26

Ben Roethlisberger is one of the toughest QBs in the game. You could argue that he loves playing hurt, or that he REALLY LOVES talking about playing hurt. Whatever the case, seeing Roethlisberger knocked out of Sunday's game with an elbow injury is EXTREMELY problematic for a supposed Super Bowl Contender. Especially when that team is now 0-2.

The Seahawks have to be feeling significantly better about their defense, which REALLY struggled against Andy Dalton (who also was without A.J. Green and Joe Mixon for nearly a half) last week. But they must be a little nervous about bruising running back Chris Carson's early fumble problems. He's already lost the ball 3 times this season, including twice against Pittsburgh.

Packers 21 - Vikings 16

The Packers are 2-0 (with 2 NFC North wins) despite two mediocre Aaron Rodgers outings. I'm a little concerned about his first two outings, not to mention his relationship with head coach Matt Lafleur. But there was a lot of good to take out of this game. Aaron Jones ran into the heart of a stout Vikings defense for 116 yards and a touchdown. And the Packers defense REALLY impressed, picking off Kirk Cousins twice, forcing 5 fumbles, and holding Minnesota to just 16 points.

Speaking of Cousins, yikes. 14-32? And a QBR of just 4!? Gross.

This is the reality with Kirk Cousins: he's Minnesota's Matt Schaub (classic Gary Kubiak). He can put up statistics, and plays well in games that don't matter. But in big time spots - like a massive game on the road against an arch-rival - he just doesn't play well enough.

Patriots 43 - Dolphins 0

The Dolphins stink, blah, blah, blah. But this Patriots defense - which has allowed 6 points over its last three games - might be the best in the NFL. Hell, they could make a case for themselves as the best defense that Belichick has ever had. Think about it. Belichick defenses usually improve as the season goes along. But the defense is playing at this level ALREADY! How good could they be by January?

This wasn't the crispest game for the Patriots offense and newcomer Antonio Brown. Brown had 3 catches on the first drive of the game, and later caught a touchdown pass (4 catches for 56 and a TD on 8 targets). His rapport with Tom Brady should only improve. That said, it's important to note that Brown is a notorious route free lancer (he improvises a lot instead of running the play called, which led to 11 interceptions on passes thrown his way last year) and COULD rub Brady the wrong way.

Cowboys 31 - Redskins 21

The Cowboys offense has looked outstanding the first two weeks of the season thanks to quarterback Dak Prescott AND new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Prescott has SO MANY WEAPONS (which often gets held against him). Ezekiel Elliott (who had 100+ on the ground), Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup are a fantastic supporting cast. And with that loaded arsenal, Prescott seems to have developed some REAL confidence. How the hell else would he be looking to bomb a TD pass to someone named Devin Smith?

I think we're all in agreement that the Cowboys could do better at head coach than Jason Garrett. So here's a hot take: should Dallas continue to dominate on offense, the 'Boys MUST find a way to promote Moore to head coach. They have been big fans of Moore for a while. And with every team hoping to hire the next Sean McVay, he'll draw a lot of interest.

Falcons 24 Eagles 20

I learned something today: if you're diving headfirst into the end zone, you better make sure your knee isn't down. I'll keep that in mind the next time I lace up that cleats.

I don't feel good about the Falcons offense after this game. But their defense played well. Atlanta sacked Carson Wentz three times, picked him off twice, and stopped the Eagles on downs deep in their own territory to clinch the game.

For Philly, this loss will LITERALLY hurt, and potentially for a while. Take a look at all these injuries:

  • Dallas Goedert (calf)
  • Desean Jackson (groin)
  • Alshon Jeffery (calf)
  • Carson Wentz (ribs)
  • Jason Kelce (concussion? he seemed confused and went to the Atlanta sideline)
  • Nelson Agholor (head)
  • Corey Clement (shoulder)
  • Tim Jernigan (foot)
It'll also hurt because the game actually slipped through their fingers. Wentz hit Agholor in stride for what could have been a late go ahead touchdown, but Agholor lost the ball in the stadium lights.

Ravens 23 - Cardinals 17

If you drafted Lamar Jackson in fantasy football, you may be well on your way to a championship. He had another solid day passing (272 yards and 2 TD tosses) and a great day on the ground (16 carries for 120 yards after just 3 carries against Miami).

But I want to focus on Kyler Murray's performance. The first overall pick and Heisman winner was 25-40 for 349 yards against a very good Ravens defense. And if you watched him, he just LOOKS the part. He has a rifle for an arm, an unconventional Frank Tarkenton-esque drop back style, and is exceptionally quick. He'll need to improve in the red zone, but with time, this Murray/Kliff Kingsbury combination SHOULD only get better.

By the way, shoutout to 36 year old ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald having 5 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. The man is the Tim Duncan of NFL wide receivers: unflashy, but a guy who consistently produces year in and year out.

Arizona may have lost, but congratulations! They're the first recipients of my coveted "Moral Victory of the Week!" Award.

Chiefs 28 - Raiders 10

I was curious about how Patrick Mahomes would look...

  • Just a week after suffering an ankle injury
  • AND in his first game without speed demon Tyreek Hill
And when the Raiders jumped out to a 10 - 0 lead, I started thinking to myself "maybe he won't be able to overcome this..."

And then Mahomes threw for 278 yards and 4 TDs in the second quarter, including 2 to someone named Demarcus Robinson. Robinson - a 2016 4th round pick out of Florida - had 7 catches for 172 yards and 2 TDs. Unbelievable.

Also unbelievable: Sunday may be the last time that we ever see a football game played on a baseball diamond. Oakland is on the road for four of its next five games, and their only "home game" will be played against the Bears in London. Assuming they're playing in another stadium next season, that's that.

Lions 13 - Chargers 10

It's hard to take the Chargers seriously as Super Bowl contenders, and this stretch on the same drive in the early third quarter is the epitome of why:

  • Justin Jackson ran for a 60 yard touchdown, but it was nullified due to a Dontrelle Inman holding penalty
  • Austin Ekeler scored a 22 yard touchdown 2 plays later, but it too was nullified because of an illegal block by Sam Tevi
  • Austin Ekeler fumbled the ball on 1st and goal from the 1

To make matters worse, Rivers screwed up twice at the end of the game:

  • Taking an AWFUL delay of game penalty to force a 3rd and 19
  • Chucking up a home run into double coverage on that 3rd and 19 (which was intercepted) despite being in field goal range AND down just 3 points
The Los Angeles San Diegos have a lot of talent. But this self-inflicted doom that they experience so often seems to be a part of their DNA.

49ers 41 - Bengals 17

THIS is what a Kyle Shanahan offense can do for you

  • Help Jimmy Garoppolo go 17-25 for 297 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT
  • Run 42 times for 259 yards and 2 TDs (averaging 6.2!!! yards per carry)
Shanahan deserves the majority of credit for helping the 2016 Falcons dominate on offense (Atlanta hasn't been the same since he left) and definitely has the ability to recreate that success in San Fran. But I'd like to see the 'Niners do this against a real contender.

Texans 13 - Jaguars 12

Shoutout to Gardner Minshew taking a page out of Miami Pawl's playbook.

Whitney Mercilus had a great offseason for the Texans, and he's off to an INCREDIBLE start. Hell, he's a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate right now. He had 2 sacks Sunday after a sack and an interception last Monday, and has developed a Dwight Freeney esque spin move.

I'm not sure that Doug Marrone is long for Jacksonville. First off, the Jags should be BENDING OVER BACKWARDS to make Jalen Ramsey happy / convince him to stay, not getting in mid-game shouting matches with him. Second, while I liked Marrone's decision to go for two points and the win (instead of a game tying PAT) after scoring a last minute touchdown, I HATED the playcall: a run up the middle from the 2 by Leonard Fournette. Justin Reid made a great tackle stopping Fournette JUST SHORT of the goal line.

Colts 19 - Titans 17

It's never a good omen when your field catches fire before the home opener and delays the kickoff.

The most feel good moment of the week? When David Quessenberry - former Houston Texan and cancer survivor - caught a touchdown pass.

But there were some depressing moments too. Watching Adam Vinatieri - one of my childhood heroes - miss 2 extra points a week after missing 2 field goals and another extra point made me very sad. It sounds like he might retire on Monday at age 46.

This was such a classic Titans loss: following up a dominant victory with a complete dud. Indy is no pushover. But no one will take Tennessee seriously until they upgrade at quarterback. Marcus Mariota - who was sacked 4 times and averaged a paltry 5.5 yards per attempt - is only dangerous when he runs. And he constantly checks down when passing, likely due his struggles throwing the ball downfield.

His worst moment? On the heels of back to back fourth quarter three and outs, Mariota spiked the ball twice in three plays - INCLUDING ON A THIRD DOWN - on Tennessee's last drive of the game.

Bills 28 - Giants 14

Some quick observations:

  • The Bills defense is excellent
  • First round pick / former Coog Ed Oliver deflected an Eli Manning pass into an interception
  • The NFL is a worse place with Eli Manning under center.
Buffalo - now 2-0 - was a trendy "don't be surprised if they make the playoffs" pick by several pundits this offseason. They've won their first 2 games on the road (Jets, Giants), and could easily be 3-0 after they host the Bengals next week.

But this game is MORE important because of what you see above. NFL Primetime - my favorite sports show as a kid - made its triumphant return to ESPN Plus Sunday night. In a world before YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, this was THE ONLY WAY to see highlights from around the league. And the best way to find out if your team was nationally relevant. Add in Chris Berman's one liner heavy highlights AND great chemistry with former Bronco Tom Jackson, and you had a fantastic wrap up show that led into Sunday Night Football on ESPN.

The duo was a little rusty early. But once the show got into full gear, you got VINTAGE Boomer. And best of all, during THE CRITICAL moment of the show, Berman knocked it out of the park. NFL Primetime is BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK!

Bears 16 - Broncos 14

Watching Eli Manning is hard enough. But thoughts and prayers to the many who made it through an entire game featuring both Joe Flacco and Mitchell Trubisky under center.

The end of this game was wacky. Before we discuss the bad call above, how about this sequence of events:

  • Denver scored a TD, and attempted a 2 point conversion. BUT, they got called for a Delay of Game
  • The next play, the Broncos tried an extra point. THEY MISSED IT. But, the Bears were offsides
  • On try 3, the Broncos went for 2, and converted, taking a 14-13 lead
The Bears got the ball back with :31 seconds to play and 1 timeout. Considering Trubisky is the Bears starting quarterback AND that the Broncos defense is good, it would have been very easy to call Game Blouses. But that awful call above gave them a MASSIVE extra 15 yards.

Trubisky threw 3 straight incompletions, and a too many men on the field penalty left Chicago in a 4th and 15 situation from their own 40 with just 9 seconds left. But on the very next play, Trubisky found a WIDE OPEN Allen Robinson for over the middle for 25 yards, and called that final timeout with just 1 second left on the clock. That set up Eddy Pineiro for a game winning 53 yard field goal.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 on Kube 57. He also hosts "NFL Rush", Sundays 3-6 on SB Nation Radio. Have any questions? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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