Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season saw some teams return to form (we see you, Cam and the Panthers), others continue to bulldoze their way to wins (we also see/are afraid of you, Von Miller and the Denver defense), and others begin to make us believers (hey there, NFC North-leading Vikings). Let’s run through the highlights from NFL Sunday.
Early Game Highlights:
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots: It’s hardly newsworthy that the Patriots pummeled the Dolphins early in their Sunday matchup at Gillette Stadium, but the big news coming out of Foxborough is the health of Jimmy Garoppolo’s throwing shoulder. The Patriots quarterback left the game and didn’t return after taking a huge (but legal) hit from Kiko Alonso. That means rookie QB Jacoby Brissett will likely be the starter for the next two weeks before Tom Brady is finished serving his four-game suspension. That could be a problem, considering Miami was able to come back, battling to a one-touchdown loss after being down 31-10.
Up next: Miami hosts Cleveland; Patriots host Texans
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers: The Panthers sure do look good (when they aren’t playing the Broncos). Both the offense and defense came up with big plays on Sunday resulting in a 46-27 win over the 49ers. Cam Newton looked like the MVP we remember from last season, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns. It helped that he ran less and the offensive line held strong as he took his time in the pocket. Carolina’s run defense stepped up this week as well. Next up, another tough defensive test when the Vikings roll into town.
Up next: San Francisco at Seattle; Panthers host Minnesota
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Bengals were looking to right their wrongs from last season when they faced the Steelers on Sunday, but they once again fell short. The Steelers improved to 2-0 with their statement win during a muddy day at Heinz Field. Ben Roethlisberger was solid, throwing for 259 yards and notching three touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams contributed 94 yards on a hefty 32 carries.
Up next: Cincinnati hosts Denver; Steelers at Eagles
Late Game Highlights:
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos: No Peyton Manning? No problem. Trevor Siemian has done just enough to ensure points on the board, while Denver’s otherworldly defense continues to beat the crap out of opponents. Interceptions, strip-sacks, touchdown returns – Von Miller and Co. are the No. 1 reason why Denver has a great chance to repeat.
Up next: Indianapolis hosts San Diego; Broncos at Cincinnati
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams: Some teams just have your number. We’re sure that’s how the Seattle Seahawks feel this morning as the Los Angeles Rams held them to 3 points in Los Angeles Sunday. In fact, the Rams have beaten the Seahawks three times in the last two seasons. One week after stinking it up against the 49ers, the Rams defense took control of the game and had Russell Wilson scrambling all afternoon. They also completely shut down the run game on their way to a 9-3 win.
Up next: Seahawks host San Francisco; Los Angeles at Tampa Bay
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: In a battle for NFC North supremacy, Sam Bradford proved he was up to the task as he torched the Packers defense for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, wasn’t looking himself as he was sacked five times and never could get into a flow as the Vikings defense kept the Pack unbalanced all game long.
Green Bay hosts Detroit; Vikings at Panthers