NFL

Steelers, Bills, Saints, Eagles with wildly different Week 2

Hey there, Bills Mafia. How y’all feeling right about now?

What a difference a week can make, right?

One of the sexy preseason picks to be AFC and Super Bowl champion, Buffalo opened up the season last week at home and … struggled offensively, got subpar play from Josh Allen and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Every Monday during the NFL season is for overreactions, and last Monday was no different for Bills fans and many league observers. After a long climb back to not just respectability but regular playoff appearances, Buffalo took the field Week 1 and was humbled.

But this week, everything changed. The Bills went to Miami, where the late-summer heat and humidity has felled many a visitor, and not only won but shut out the Dolphins 35-0.

All of a sudden the wings in Buffalo taste better, the tables are breaking easier, and all is right with the world.

It was a great result for the Bills and their fans. Some other teams can’t say the same, showing again why Week 1 overreactions — in either direction — are almost always premature.

Take those Steelers. The same team that last week won in Buffalo opened its home schedule with Las Vegas and had a forgettable outing. T.J. Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league not named Aaron Donald, went out with a groin injury late in the first half. That further changed Pittsburgh’s defense, which was already without linebacker Devin Bush and cornerback Joe Haden. 

Derek Carr went off for nearly 400 yards and completed three-quarters of his passes to eight different receivers. Steelers guard Trai Turner was ejected for spitting on an opponent, though coach Mike Tomlin said Turner had been spit on also.

Even before Turner went out, the Steelers weren’t doing a great job protecting the already mobility-limited Ben Roethlisberger; the Raiders were credited with 10 quarterback hits.

Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills are among the teams feeling much differenty after Week 2 than they were Week 1. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Speaking of quarterbacks, there may not have been a bigger surprise in the opening week than Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints’ demolition of the Green Bay Packers. Winston threw five touchdowns, the defense held reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and his offensive teammates to just a field goal, and the Saints brought a little “laissez les bon temps rouler” to Jacksonville, where they’re usually shouting “quick, throw a tarp over the empty seats” instead.

But this Sunday, Old Jameis was back against the Carolina Panthers. He completed just half of his 22 pass attempts and had two interceptions.

New Orleans, which was missing several assistant coaches due to league COVID-19 protocols, couldn’t move the ball at all against the Panthers and totaled just 128 yards, the fewest of Sean Payton’s tenure with the team.

And my, did the Philadelphia Eagles come back to Earth with a thud. In a Week 1 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the offense rolled to 434 yards and the defense held Atlanta to just 21 percent on third-down conversions to go along with three sacks and nine QB hits. 

On Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, hosting the San Francisco 49ers, it was all different. Philadelphia’s defense couldn’t get a hand on Jimmy Garoppolo (no sacks, just two QB hits), and the offense, well, that didn’t go well either.

A series midway through the second quarter sums things up: throwing from his end zone, Jalen Hurts completes a 91-yard catch-and-run to Quez Watkins, one of the longest plays in Eagles’ history. With first-and-goal from the 6 and a chance to take a 9-0 lead, Philadelphia ended up turning the ball over on downs at the San Francisco 3 six plays later.

The point is, it’s early. It’s early to get down about your team, it’s early to get too excited.

But really, where’s the fun in under-reacting?




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