Donald Trump tweeted his opinion on anti-American protesters and the media flipped.
In many ways, the reaction overshadowed the events on the field.
But here’s a recap of the important happenings that actually took place on the gridiron.
The Broncos, fresh off dismantling the Dallas Cowboys, strolled into Buffalo riding (mile) high. Denver boasts one of the best defenses in the league and a solid running game. But as is the case with almost every west-coast team that travels east to play an early game, the Broncos lost. Denver will need to regroup quickly because division-rival Oakland is next on the schedule, and they’ll be looking to bounce back after an abysmal offensive performance against the Redskins. The Raiders have one of the most potent offenses in the league, so the Broncos will have their hands full.
COLTS HIT THEIR STRIDE
Indianapolis is still without star quarterback Andrew Luck, but they still had enough firepower to defeat the Cleveland Browns. This may not seem noteworthy, it’s particularly strange that the Browns, coming off a 1-15 season and starting a rookie quarterback, was favored to win the game on the road. That sign of disrespect was enough to spur the Colts to an early big lead that they never relinquished. Backup Jacoby Brissett, recently traded from New England, did a serviceable job. If he can keep the team afloat until Luck comes back, the Colts could compete in a lackluster AFC South.
LAMBEAU LEAPS LATE
Aaron Rodgers is perhaps on his way to being considered the greatest quarterback of all time. While he may only have one ring, his statistics and jaw-dropping playmaking skills are unmatched. Despite his excellence, Rodgers was 0-7 in overtime games…until Sunday. The Packers dug a 21-7 hole against the desperate Cincinnati Bengals. They slowly fought back and won on a game-winning field goal in the extra period. Dropping a home game to the winless Bengals could’ve been a crippling blow to a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
The Giants’ season may have just ended in spectacular fashion. Since 1980, only five out of 164 teams that have started 0-3 made the playoffs (3%). The ominous third loss came after clawing back from a late 14-0 deficit, only to take the lead 21-14, then lose 27-24 on a walk-off 61-yard field goal. To make matters worse, the rival Philadelphia Eagles got into field position for the miracle kick with only 13 seconds on the clock. At this point, the only reason to watch Giants’ games is to track Odell Beckham’s fantasy football stats.
61 yards. An #Eagles franchise record. What a moment for Jake Elliott! #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/F4qp10FMs1
NFL football is one of the most unpredictable sports, as evidenced by the 49ers, Bears, and Jets. Some people predicted these three teams to combine for 10 wins, but they didn’t look like it this week. The Bears have been competitive against two contenders; they almost beat the NFC champion Falcons on the last play of the game, and they did beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, running all over them while holding their potent offense in check. The Jets almost pitched a shutout against the Miami Dolphins, and the 49ers likely would’ve beaten the Rams in perhaps the most entertaining Thursday night NFL game if not for a horrendous offensive pass interference call. The penalty pushed San Francisco out of field goal range, and they lost 41-39. Although these teams are rife with problems, they may have some building blocks to work with.
As mentioned last week, the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers look like paper tigers until proven otherwise. Seattle looked sluggish once again, falling to 1-2 against an upstart Tennessee Titans team. Seattle’s usual suffocating defense looked ordinary at best, surrendering 33 points and several huge plays. The Panthers looked even worse and got blown out at home by the previously winless New Orleans Saints. Between the two “contenders,” Seattle is most likely to iron out their issues, but they seem mentally out of sorts. Richard Sherman got in a heated argument with an official and had to be restrained by his own teammates. Later in the game, he almost started a brawl after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tennessee’s sideline. Sherman wasn’t alone in the volatility. As the game slipped away, Michael Bennett got in a heated war of words with a Titans offensive lineman.
After a shaky first two weeks, the level of play picked up considerably around the league. That’s a good sign for a league that’s been beset by a host of problems.