By John Clayton, Particular to the Washington Post
It was an thrilling Week 2 NFL Sunday, however maybe no recreation was extra compelling than the Vikings at the Packers. It included maybe the two greatest groups in the NFC, and a few of the largest on-field points dealing with the sport up to now this season. It captured the present state of the NFL, each the good and the dangerous.
Listed here are 5 issues we discovered from that recreation:
Despite the fact that the recreation was a tie, the outcome skewed in favor of the Vikings.
For causes that may increase upon shortly, each groups might have fairly thought that they need to have come away with the win on Sunday, which led to a 29-29 tie. However the end result truly units up a slight benefit for the Vikings in the aggressive NFC North race. The Vikings didn’t lose at Lambeau Area, with the rematch approaching their house turf the final Sunday of November.
The method they didn’t lose was maybe extra necessary, as Kirk Cousins had his first assertion recreation as Minnesota’s quarterback. Cousins led the Vikings again from a 20-7 deficit getting into the fourth quarter, enjoying nice in the course of: 35 of 48 passing for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns. 21 of these completions, 259 of these yards and three of the scores went to his prime two broad receivers, Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs.
The incontrovertible fact that Cousins might go into Lambeau and go head-to-head with Aaron Rodgers, regardless that Rodgers is restricted by his knee damage, is a really constructive signal for the Vikings. In what figures to be a particularly shut battle for the division title and probably a first-round bye or prime seed general in the convention, Minnesota acquired a slight leg up on Sunday.
Rodgers was wonderful, however this knee damage goes to restrict him.
Russell Wilson proved two issues in 2016: It’s attainable for a quarterback to play by means of a medial collateral ligament sprain (the similar type Rodgers suffered in Inexperienced Bay’s season opener towards Chicago), however it does create limitations for a QB’s mobility.
Rodgers was nice regardless of his mobility limitations on Sunday, finishing 30 of 42 passes for 281 yards and a landing. He was additionally sacked 4 occasions, and on an important second down play in additional time, he misplaced his footing on an obvious zone-read play that derailed what might have been a game-winning scoring drive.
There isn’t any doubting Rodgers’ greatness, and nobody appears to have any questions that Rodgers will proceed to play by means of the ache. And Rodgers in a restricted capability nonetheless provides Inexperienced Bay a bonus towards virtually any staff in the league. However in a division with a razor-thin margin for error, and a really aggressive NFC general (as talked about earlier than, the convention is loaded with high-level quarterback play), the damage might be a deciding issue. The winner of the NFC North can be in the combine for a first-round bye. The second-place finisher will play an opening-round playoff recreation on the street.
The guidelines defending quarterbacks have gotten an issue.
The NFL’s competitors committee is aware of the significance of quarterbacks in a passing-driven league. The Packers dropped out of the playoff race after Rodgers broke his collarbone final yr, and the Vikings assumed management of the NFC North. The rule change to penalize defenders for touchdown on quarterbacks with all or most of their physique weight goes again to Minnesota linebacker Anthony Barr’s hit on Rodgers.
The new rule has overtaken the helmet hit rule as the most complicated and talked-about in the league via two weeks, and, as The Post’s Mark Maske writes, it may need value Inexperienced Bay the win.
Late in the fourth quarter. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews rushed Cousins, decreasing his shoulder and driving into the quarterback. What appeared to be a textbook deal with drew a penalty flag, canceling out a Cousins interception that would have sealed a victory for the Packers, who at the time led, 29-21, with 1:37 left in regulation. Given the second probability, Cousins drove for the game-tying landing and two-point conversion.
Matthews stated he couldn’t consider it.
“I don’t know what else to do,” Matthews stated after the recreation. “Did I put pressure on him? I thought I hit him within from his waist to chest, got my head across, put my hands down. To call it at that point in the game is just unbelievable. . . . You see how it changed the game. I know there’s an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks, but it’s gotten out of control.”
Referee Tony Corrente stated the name had nothing to do with new physique weight rule, however that he as an alternative felt Matthews picked up the quarterback and drove him into the floor. Regardless, the name has created elevated dialogue over the further guidelines put in place to shield quarterbacks have gone too far and at the moment are affecting the outcomes of video games.
It was the second tie recreation in two weeks, creating one other potential situation for the league.
As if the QB hitting rule controversy wasn’t sufficient, the Packers-Vikings tie put in query for a second consecutive week the rule change to shorten extra time from 15 to 10 minutes.
Rodgers stated the tie is shut to a loss. Packers extensive receiver Geronimo Allison stated, “It sucks. This game is about somebody winning and somebody losing.”
The NFL obtained away from pure sudden-death overtimes once they figured it was fairer to give the different workforce an opportunity to tie or win if the group that gained the coin toss kicked a area aim on its first possessions. Then, for security causes, the league shortened the extra time from 15 minutes to 10.
Right here’s the drawback: When neither workforce scores on their first possessions, there’s little time left for both workforce to rating. Solely Three:48 remained in additional time after the Vikings and Packers exhausted their first possessions. Final week, there was 5:29 remaining after two possessions in the Cleveland-Pittsburgh tie. Missed subject objectives performed into each finishes.
Ten video games Sunday have been determined by eight factors or much less. We might be seeing extra ties earlier than the season is out.
Sunday was a very, actually dangerous day for kickers.
After the name towards Matthews gave Minnesota new life, and Cousins led the group again to tie the recreation in regulation, the Vikings actually ought to have come away with the win. However rookie Daniel Carlson had two of his three missed subject objectives in additional time, a part of an general atrocious day for the place throughout the league.
Kickers missed 11 area objectives and 7 additional factors. Zane Gonzalez had an entire meltdown in the Browns’ 21-18 loss to the Saints, lacking two subject objectives and two additional factors. Most individuals round Cleveland assume Gonzalez can be let go, and Carlson might be in an analogous place. I used to be on the sidelines for Minnesota’s preseason recreation towards Seattle, when Carlson missed two area objectives, and Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer was livid on the sideline.
Listed here are a number of extra key story strains popping out of Week 2:
- Two AFC groups established themselves as bona fide contenders following robust performances from their quarterbacks. Blake Bortles beat Tom Brady in the Jaguars’ 31-20 victory over the New England Patriots, throwing for 377 yards and 4 touchdowns with out an interception or operating again Leonard Fournette (hamstring damage). With a protection that options eight Professional Bowlers and a budding Professional Bowler in linebacker Myles Jack, the Jaguars simply want Bortles not to screw up issues with turnovers. Rapidly, the Jaguars have the seems of a staff that would safe a No. 1 seed.
- However then once more, so do the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, led by rising star Patrick Mahomes. He has been one among the league’s greatest quarterback in the first two weeks, finishing 38 of 55 passes for 582 yards and 10 touchdowns. His quarterback score is a staggering 143.Three. The Chiefs are averaging 40 factors a recreation with wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers – each of which got here on the street. His six TD tosses Sunday had the league buzzing.
- After which there’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has crushed the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles in his first two weeks as Tampa Bay’s quarterback. The method he’s enjoying, there isn’t any means Jameis Winston will get again his beginning job after his suspension ends subsequent week. Fitzpatrick is finishing 78.7 % and has posted a 151.5 quarterback score.
- Might any workforce have extra halftime drama than the Buffalo Payments? Cornerback Vontae Davis retired midgame, leaving his teammates livid, and Coach Sean McDermott took the play-calling away from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier earlier than the start of the third quarter. The Payments are a multitude. Their loss to the Los Angeles Chargers was a remaining rating of 31-20, however they have been down 28-6 at the half. They misplaced to Baltimore, 47-Three, final week. They will’t get off the Redzone Channel. In the first six quarters, that they had given up 9 red-zone touchdowns.
- Then there’s the Arizona Cardinals, who additionally seem to be uncompetitive. They misplaced to the Rams, 34-Zero and are getting nothing out of their offense. The Cardinals have six factors in two video games and are averaging 175 yards per recreation on offense. Enjoying rookie quarterback Josh Rosen wasn’t a consideration Sunday, in accordance to Coach Steve Wilks, however you’ve obtained to assume he’s getting nearer to changing Sam Bradford.
- The seven new head coaches went Zero-7 in Week 1, and are 2-Four thus far in Week 2. Pat Shurmur’s New York Giants couldn’t shield Eli Manning. Matt Patricia had a greater day than his horrible Detroit Lions opener, however misplaced to the 49ers. The Cardinals have been shut out. And the Oakland Raiders blew an ideal efficiency by Derek Carr (29 of 32 for 288 yards) in a 20-19 loss to the Denver Broncos. Afterward, Gruden stated he may need to blitz extra to get strain on the quarterback. Not buying and selling Khalil Mack may need helped.
- It wouldn’t be shocking if the 49ers acquired Josh Gordon, whom the Browns are giving up. Broad receiver Marquise Goodwin missed Sunday’s recreation, and Coach Kyle Shanahan is aware of about Gordon’s expertise from their season collectively in Cleveland.