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NFL Week 2 observations

Keelan Cole had the catch of the year so far. Jacksonvillejaguars.com

Week 2 of NFL action is in the books. Some teams are as bad as they looked in week 1, some looked completely different, and some have shown two different sides. Here are a few observations I’ve made:

The Good

-Jags receiver Keelan Cole had seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, but he had perhaps the catch of the year. About 4:30 left in the first quarter, Jags up 7-0 already, it was 1st & 15 when Blake Bortles threw one up to Cole and he proceeded to catch the ball over a Patriots defender one-handed, pull it in and keep it away from being knocked out.

-Chiefs second year quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 10 touchdowns in his first two games this year! Nobody in NFL history has ever thrown this many touchdown passes in the first two games of the year. What’s more impressive is the fact that he hasn’t thrown an interception yet.

- The Dallas Cowboys entered this season with questions on the defensive side of the ball. They signed defensive end Demarcus Lawrence to the franchise tag, but don’t have anything proven other than him as far as a pass rush goes. They totaled six sacks against division rival New York Giants Sunday night. If this keeps up, that maligned defense will be feared.

The Bad

-The “Aaron Rodgers Rule” is becoming a boil on the ass of the game. Defenders are now penalized for roughing the passer if they land all of their body weight on a quarterback. It earned that nickname from the hit Vikings’ linebacker put on the Packers quarterback and broke his collarbone last year. Karma bit the Packers as Clay Matthews was assessed one at a crucial point Sunday that may have cost the, the game. Competition Committee needs to address this.

-Speaking of the Packers, their game with the Vikings ended in a tie, just as the Browns/Steelers game the previous week. Ties are like kissing your Aunt Hilda who has weather-beaten leather for cheeks. How about a field goal competition starting from 40 yards and moving five yards back after every make until someone misses?

-The Seahawks offensive line gave up five sacks in the first half against the Bears! This is just the latest in teams having franchise quarterbacks and not giving them an offensive line to protect them. Colts’ Andrew Luck, Packers’ Rodgers, Texans’ Deshaun Watson, and others are all at risk because teams don’t invest well enough in protecting these guys.

The Ugly

-The Buffalo Bills are bad at football. They are so bad in fact that cornerback Vontae Davis apparently retired at halftime. Reports state that he got dressed and left the stadium. A team has to be bad for a guy to walk away from the game. But at halftime of a game in week two of the season?

-Kickers have it bad. No matter what they do, they’re not seen as “real” football players to many. However, they are real people who have high-pressure jobs that are on the line each week. Former Browns and Vikings kickers Zaine Gonzalez and Daniel Carlson respectively were cut because of poor performances this week. Hopefully those guys land on their feet. Such is the life of a kicker that costs their team games.

-The Arizona Cardinals are abysmal. They may give the Bills a run for their money in the number one pick sweepstakes. They’ve been outscored 58-6 and outgained 861-350 in total yards in their first two games. Don’t know about you, but this isn’t a recipe for success.

The league is in a healthy place right now because of parity. Teams come out of nowhere every year to make playoff appearances. There are also perennial Super Bowl contenders. It’s too early to tell, but there will be a mix of both when the playoffs roll around. Let’s see if water finds its level when the Wildcard round rolls around.

 

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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