1. Maybe the Buffalo Bills are moving, after all. Nearly after a week after the club was sold to a local businessman, it moved into sole possession of the AFC East for the first time in three years … and, suddenly, people are asking: Are the Bills for real? You’ll have your answer Oct. 12. That’s when they play New England, and good luck. The Bills are 2-22 vs. Tom Brady.
2. Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has some explaining to do. He promised his unit would be better after a “stinker” of an opener, and it wasn’t. Instead, it let Brian Hoyer lead Cleveland on a 14-play, 85-yard game-winning drive in the last two minutes and left Andrew Hawkins wide open for a game-clinching catch on second-and-10 at the Saints’ 39 with 13 seconds left. No wonder Sean Payton was barking at Ryan. I’d be seething, too.
3. I know, I want to get jacked up about the Cincinnati Bengals, too … but then I remember: They haven’t won a playoff game since 1991, are 0-5 in the postseason under Marvin Lewis and 0-3 with Andy Dalton, who, incidentally, has one TD and six interceptions in postseason play. Patience, people.
4. Maybe the NFL should put Robert Mueller in charge of replay, too. Guaranteed, the league office viewed videotape of Percy Harvin stepping out of bounds on his TD run, yet nobody acted. “It was terrible,” said the voice on my answering machine. Agreed.
5. In case you missed it, there was only one 300-yard passer (Aaron Rodgers) Sunday. So what? So the last time that happened was the seventh week of the 2008 season.
6. And that, folks, is why Washington refused to trade Kirk Cousins.
7. Now, the bad news, Jets’ fans: In the next five weeks, Gang Green faces, in order, Jay Cutler, Matt Stafford, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
8. Denver is 2-0, and that’s good. But this isn’t: In their two wins — both at home — they’ve been outgained and outscored in the second half and had to hold on in both. Moreover, Peyton Manning hasn’t thrown a TD pass in the second half of either, and this just in: Kansas City pushed the Broncos to the mat without its best playmaker, Jamaal Charles, for most of the game. Just sayin.’
9. Turns out it was defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, not Marty Mornhinweg, who called the timeout costing the Jets a game-tying touchdown. A dejected Richardson faulted himself for the loss, but he’s not to blame. A secondary that failed to cover Jordy Nelson is. All he did was pile up 209 yards in catches, the most for a Packers’ receiver in a non-overtime game since 1956.
10. San Diego’s upset of defending Super Bowl champion Seattle — especially on a short week — was nothing short of remarkable, but you can explain it in two words: Ball control. The Bolts had the ball a staggering 42:15. Couple that with on-field temperatures recorded at 120 degrees, and you have an upset waiting to happen.
11. Don’t tell me Carolina deactivated Greg Hardy because it had a moral epiphany. If there were the case, he wouldn’t have played last weekend. Nope, this was all about bowing to the power of public opinion.
12. Guess this means we won’t be hearing from Larry Fitzgerald Sr. this week.
13. Memo to Adrian Peterson: Put a sock in your twitter account. You should be taking advice … not dishing it out.
14. Biggest winner Sunday? Michigan State. It was 3-0 with ex-Spartan quarterbacks Drew Stanton, Kirk Cousins and Brian Hoyer.
15. There is no overstating the importance of that victory for Chicago. Not only did the Bears overcome injuries to key players and a 17-point deficit, but they won on the road … and here’s why that’s critical: Five of their next seven games are there, including dates with New England and Green Bay.
16. Tampa Bay loses its first two at home, now goes on the road the next three weeks –and it’s to Atlanta, Pittsburgh and New Orleans — before returning home to play Baltimore. Fork, please.
17. Maybe now Dallas will wake up to making a commitment to DeMarco Murray and the run. The more he runs, the less Tony Romo throws — and nothing wrong with that.
18. Once I thought we’d see Johnny Football in Week Five, following Cleveland’s bye. I just changed my mind.,
19. They’re not the Cardiac Cards … not yet … but beware of Arizona comebacks. The Cards are unbeaten because they outscored San Diego and the Giants 27-0 in the fourth quarter.
20. One question: When Minnesota GM Rick Spielman says “all options are on the table” when it comes to Peterson, what exactly does that mean?
FIVE HALL-OF-FAME PERFORMANCES
- New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham. Sorry, but he’s playing at a different level than any TE in the league — including Julius Thomas. Ask Joe Haden. He’s the poor sap who had to cover him. The only reason the Saints had a chance was because of Graham, who tied a career high with 10 catches for 118 yards and two TDs.
- St. Louis QB Austin Davis. An undrafted free agent, he makes his first NFL start … and wins, the Rams’ first in a road opener since 2001. Can you say … Kurt Warner?
- Washington TE Niles Paul. Stepping in for the injured Jordan Reed, he catches a team-high nine passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
- The crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium. When former quarterback Jim Kelly tried to speak prior to Sunday’s game he couldn’t … not for two minutes … and it was because the cheering for him wouldn’t stop. Nice. Don’t say fans don’t forget.
- Cleveland LB Paul Kruger. It took him a year, but he’s finally earning his money.
FIVE HALL-OF-SHAME FIZZLES
- Jacksonville’s pass protection. The Jags’ offensive line has more holes than Augusta National, with Henne sacked a franchise-worst 10 times. Blake Bortles, get warm.
- Minnesota QB Matt Cassel. Apparently, he thinks he still plays for New England. How else do you explain those four interceptions? Start the Teddy Bridgewater Watch.
- San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick. Maybe he should just take the second week of the season off. A year ago, he had four turnovers in a loss to Seattle; then he went for four more Sunday vs. Chicago. Yes, the guy makes big plays … but he makes big mistakes, too, and they killed the 49ers. Chicago’s last two touchdowns followed Kaepernick interceptions.
- New York Giants’ special teams. Let’s see, there was the Ted Ginn punt return for a touchdown, followed by a fumbled kickoff. Result: 10 points in a game decided by 11. Tom Quinn, you’re wanted in the principal’s office.
- Oakland WR James Jones. Congratulations, James. You’re the only guy Sunday to fumble twice on the same play.
WHAT WOULD LOMBARDI DO?
Washington is up 21-7, with precious few seconds left in the first half. It frantically rushes to get off a last-second snap on fourth-and-20 at the Jacksonville 38, but it won’t succeed … that is, until the clock stops. For some reason, Jacksonville called a TO with three seconds left … and W.W.L.D.? What do you think? Take your lumps, let time expire, get to the locker room and hope the second half is better than the first.
ON THIS WEEK’S HALL-OF-FAME RADAR
- Denver QB Peyton Manning. With that win, he’s 12-1 vs. Kansas City.
- New England QB Tom Brady. He’s never started a season 0-2. Never.
- San Diego TE Antonio Gates. Three years ago, a national writer told me Gates was finished. Yeah, sure. The earth is flat, too. Gates just caught three TD passes — including one with one hand — against the Legion of Doom.
- Houston DL J.J. Watt. Now he makes a touchdown catch. Q: Is there anything this guy can’t do?
- Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. So he trailed 21-3. He led an explosive comeback to produce his 29th regular-season victory in his last 31 tries.
THIS WEEK’S HALL-OF-FAME NOMINEE
Chicago WR Brandon Marshall. He wasn’t supposed to play vs. San Francisco, but he did. Then he played the leading role in a remarkable come-from-behind victory, with three touchdown catches — including a leaping one-hand stab of a Jay Cutler pass that jump-started the Bears and launched them on a 28-3 run to finish the game … and San Francisco.
2 — Saints’ sacks this season
4 — Ryan Kerrigan sacks
8 — Seasons in the past 10 years where Kansas City started 0-2
9 — Consecutive games with Greg Olsen producing four or more catches
16 — San Francisco penalties
30 — Straight games with a Tony Romo TD
31 — Eli Manning interceptions in his last 18 starts
200 — Regular-season victories for Bill Belichick
2007 — Last time Sean Payton was 0-2