Peyton takes aim at the Patriots, Lamar conquers his kryptonite

NFL WEEK TWO ROUND-UP: Peyton Manning takes aim at the Patriots, Tom Brady breaks ANOTHER record, Lamar Jackson conquers his Kansas City kryptonite and JJ Watt channels his inner Ted Lasso

  • More of the same in week two as Tom Brady’s Bucs continue to break records
  • But Lamar Jackson flipped his story on its head as the Ravens beat the Chiefs
  • Green Bay silenced their critics for a week with a comeback win over Detroit
  • Peyton Manning aimed a jab the Patriots during ESPN 2’s MNF telecast 
  • The NFL’s taunting ban continues to infuriate players, coaches and fans  

If week one gave us compelling storylines, week two has heightened the intrigue.

Tom Brady beat Atlanta again (he’s 9-0) as the Buccaneers became one of five NFC teams to go 2-0. Joining them are the Cardinals, Panthers, 49ers and the Rams.

In the AFC, only the Broncos and the Raiders are unbeaten. Just as everyone predicted.

After Patrick Mahomes suffered his first defeat in September, the Saints and Jameis Winston came crashing back down to earth. Tough times for Zach Wilson and Joe Burrow, while five quarterbacks suffered varying degrees of injury. 

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs fell to defeat in a prime-time thriller in Baltimore

There were ship steadying wins for the Packers, Bills, Browns, Patriots, Titans and Cowboys as Sean McVay made it 39 wins from 39 when leading at half-time.

Kyler Murray is just about edging out Derek Carr in the early MVP race and Peyton and Eli Manning are revolutionising broadcasting… 

COMPULSIVE VIEWING 

After 16 years hosting Monday Night Football, ESPN have finally hit on a winning formula. Perhaps that’s not surprising when one of the best quarterbacks of all-time breaks down a game with his brother, who just happens to be a two-time Super Bowl-winner.

The Manning Bros made the second of ten appearances on ESPN 2 (or Game Pass) covering MNF – with the telecast overshadowing the admittedly much-improved improved main presentation.

With great guests (Rob Gronkowski, Brett Favre, Pat McAfee), brotherly banter and breaking down quarterback play, it is becoming essential viewing.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=tke9scPEGJE%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

And not only do the Mannings reveal anecdotes, insights and regular barbs (‘Nice call, Romo’), they also provide talking points. Here’s Peyton on playing in Foxboro.

‘Every time I played against New England, I used to talk to my receivers in the showers. Don’t talk about a play next to my locker because I know it’s bugged. I know it’s got a hot mic in there. Very strange to see seven guys hanging out in the shower.’

During his career with the Colts and Broncos, Manning faced the Patriots 19 times, winning just six. 

Peyton Manning (left) receives his Hall of Fame ring with fellow Colts great Edgerrin James and Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay during Sunday’s defeat by the Los Angeles Rams 

JONES RIDES THE EMOTIONS

Aaron Jones lived up to his four-year, $48million (£35m) deal as Green Bay came back from a half-time deficit to see off the Lions – and silence the doubters for a week at least with a 35-17 win.

Jones scored four touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing) as he paid tribute to his late father at Lambeau Field in the first game without him cheering in the stands.

Jones Snr passed away in summer due to complications with Covid-19 and No 33 wore a necklace containing some of his father’s ashes. But while celebrating one of his scores, he lost it.

Aaron Jones does the Lambeau Leap to celebrate his third touchdown of the night

‘I think the grounds crew is about to go out there and look right now,’ Jones said of the necklace. ‘But if there was any place to lose it, that’s where my dad would’ve wanted me to lose it, so I know he’s smiling.’

Green Bay shook off a miserable defensive showing in the first half to hold the Lions scoreless after the break.

‘I think that there’s, even more now than when I started playing, there’s so many overreactions that happen on a week-to-week basis,’ Rodgers said.

‘So it’s nice to come out and have a good performance and get the trolls off our back for at least a week.’

But at least here’s one fan who Rodgers won’t have to worry about. 

LAMAR FIGHTS BACK AGAINST SUPERMAN 

Lamar Jackson had faced Patrick Mahomes three times, losing them all. His record against everyone else is 30-5, so it’s little wonder Jackson labelled Mahomes his ‘kryptonite’ last season.

Before Sunday night’s game, the Ravens paid tribute to one of Baltimore’s finest and the meeting appeared to be following the same script. Jackson threw two early interceptions and the Chiefs were up by 11 points midway through the third quarter.

But after their stout defense held firm and Jackson acrobatically scored his second rushing touchdown – John Harbaugh trusted his quarterback on fourth down to cap a 36-35 win.

Lamar Jackson acrobatically leaps into the end zone as the Ravens fight back against KC

2019 MVP Jackson passed for 239 yards and a touchdown and rushed for an additional 107 yards and two scores.

2018 MVP Mahomes was equally sublime, completing 24 of 31 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns and one interception.

Here’s hoping for a fifth meeting between the duo later on this season…

BUCS BREAK RECORDS 

The Buccaneers made it nine games in a row scoring at least 30 points, breaking the eight-game streaks set by Tom Brady in New England in 2007 and 2011.

On the one hand, Brady is dominating through the air. He became the fourth quarterback to open a season with back-to-back games throwing four or more touchdowns, joining Drew Bledsoe (1997), Patrick Mahomes (2018), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018) and Russell Wilson (2020).

On the other, Tampa Bay’s defense put up the points too – safety Mike Edwards scoring two fourth-quarter pick sixes, the first player to do so since in 2012. 

Tom Brady’s Bucs made it nine games in a row scoring at least 30 points, breaking the eight-game streaks set by Brady in New England in 2007 and 2011

THE NO FUN LEAGUE 

Like all sports leagues, the NFL is hell bent on breaking what doesn’t need fixing.

This season’s taunting rules – so joylessly introduced by Giants owner John Mara – punish players by 15 yards for trash talking, celebrating a little too much and even spinning the ball.

As someone who thought Antoine Winfield Jnr retaliating to Tyreek Hill was one of the highlights of the Super Bowl, this tweet from Ari Meirov assembled all the terrible decisions from Sunday’s slate.

There were 10 total taunting penalties last season – already that number has been racked up after two weeks.

The NFL needs to act fast before it turns off more fans – and costs a team a playoff place, or worse.

PENALTY KICKERS 

Mike Zimmer is not one to hold back about malfunctions on offense (see Keenum, Case) and special teams (see Walsh, Blair; Forbath, Kai and Bailey, Dan).

So after Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard, game-winning field goal at the end of regulation it was surprising to hear Zimmer say: ‘This kid has kicked well. He missed a couple this week. That wasn’t the reason why we lost the game.

‘Lots of kickers miss field goals so let’s give the kid a break, OK?’

Mike Zimmer has a chequered history with kickers during his eight seasons with the Vikings

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Daniel Carlson made it 26 consecutive field goals with four in the Raiders’ 26-17 win in Pittsburgh.

Carlson was drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2018 draft and was cut after two games.

After being swiftly picked up by the Raiders, last season he booted a franchise record 144 points, converting 33 of 35 field goal attempts and 45 of 47 extra-point kicks.

SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE 

First came this from the downtrodden Jaguars.

Not to be outdone, the equally hapless Falcons posted this.

It’s quite a claim, but the Jaguars replied with the worst tweet of all-time.

Then the Cardinals stuck the boot in.

GROUND FORCE 

Tony Pollard looked every inch an RB1 as the Cowboys crunched the Chargers. His output overshadowed that of two-time rushing champion Zeke Elliott, who was handed a $90million (£65m), six-year deal in 2019.

Pollard gained more with less, his 109 yards off 13 carries while Elliott’s 71 came from 16. Could this be the year the Cowboys have two 1,000 yard rushers? 

‘TP, he ran his tail off today,’ said Elliott. ‘He’s a great back, all-around, can catch it and run it. He’s smaller but he runs hard, breaks a lot of tackles. He had a hell of a day. I’m proud of him.’

Tony Pollard showcased his speed and explosiveness against the Los Angeles Chargers

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hO9MROQ0mpg%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

In further good news for the Cowboys, defensive rookie of the year elect Micah Parsons slotted in at defensive end to give Justin Herbert a torrid afternoon.

And Greg Zuerlein found his feet, kicking the longest walk-off field goal (56 yards) in franchise history.

I DO LOVE A LOCKER ROOM. IT SMELLS LIKE POTENTIAL 

On the night Ted Lasso swept the board at the Emmys, JJ Watt paid homage to the motivational manager ahead of the Cardinals’ thrilling win over Minnesota.

Chelsea fan Watt sported an AFC Richmond jumper at Glendale and channelled his inner Ted.

TESTING TIMES 

A rough week for quarterbacks. Andy Dalton is still starter in Chicago despite a knee injury and Justin Fields leading them to a win over Cincinnati.

Luckless Tyrod Taylor looked to be leading the Texans to another upset win, but with the scores tied 14-14 at half-time, he was replaced by Davis Mills due to a hamstring injury. 

The Texans lost to the Browns – whose signal caller Baker Mayfield flirted with injury too – and Taylor is headed to IR. And no, Deshaun Watson won’t be replacing him.

Speaking of cursed quarterbacks, Carson Wentz sprained both ankles in the Colts’ 24-27 defeat by the Rams.

Carson Wentz did some very Carson Wentz things as the Colts were defeated by the Rams

While Miami lost 35-0 at home against Buffalo, there was better news for Tua Tagovailova, who had tests on his bruised ribs. No issues were revealed.

And MVP candidate Derek Carr suffered an injury to his right ankle during the Raiders’ win in Pittsburgh. Jon Gruden called him questionable to play Miami on Sunday but added: ‘I think he’s going to be able to play.’

NOTHING TO SEE HERE 

Kenny Golladay appeared to be giving Daniel Jones an earful during the Giants’ defeat at Washington. 

Turns out that wasn’t the case. Instead, the newly acquired receiver was shouting at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. 

IT’S A SHORT WEEK FOR 

The 2-0 Panthers and the 1-1 Texans. Houston head coach David Culley has exceeded expectations but admitted he got it wrong when he opted to punt on fourth down instead of retaining the ball on third down during the defeat by the Browns.

Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense leads the league after holding new Orleans to 128 yards, their lowest ever total against the Panthers. 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=h9e0gIX3oAI%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

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