Good Morning, Broncos fans! It was a Sunday of lopsided games for Denver's AFC West brethren.
Dante Rosario, who caught seven passes for zero touchdowns last year for Denver, caught three touchdown passes from Philip Rivers, as the Chargers punished Tennessee 38-10 despite the absence of Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews. San Diego is now 2-0 and atop the AFC West, although they've gotten there by beating the lowly Raiders and Titans; they will host Atlanta next.
Oakland got the snot kicked out of them in Miami, as Reggie Bush piled on 197 yards from scrimmage and two scores to help Ryan Tannehill to his first NFL win, 35-13. The rookie QB ran for a TD and threw for another.
Kansas City got drubbed by the Bills 35-17, with the Chiefs scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to primp up the pig. C.J. Spiller performed like Bush did, amassing 170 yards from scrimmage for two touchdowns, but on 18 touches to Reggie's 29.
And you'll never guess who fumbled at the Buffalo one-yard line heading into halftime, blowing a chance for KC to cut into the Bills' 21-0 lead. Well, those of you who remember Peyton Hillis's eight fumbles for Cleveland two years ago might have a good idea.
Rest of the AFC
Kubes & Company, who will visit SAF@MH for a Week 3 matchup during which Rod Smith will officially enter the Ring of Fame, thrashed the Jaguars 27-7, thanks to 244 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns from the backfield duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
Despite a boneheaded decision by their returner not to bring out a kickoff which would have burnt the two-minute warning, and a head-smacking fumble by Ryan Williams while trying to run out the clock, the Cardinals pulled off a stunning 20-18 upset at New England when Stephen Gostkowski yanked a 42-yard FG attempt wide left at the gun. All across the country, knockout pools will be starting over later in the week.
The Patriots offense struggled after losing Aaron Hernandez early on to a sprained ankle; the dynamic TE left in a high walking boot and on crutches, and Mike Florio is reporting that Hernandez will miss as much as six weeks. Denver visits New England Week 5 in a matchup that would appear much less daunting without Hernandez as a factor.
Pittsburgh bounced back from their opening loss in Denver by stifling the Jets in a 27-10 victory; naturally, the outcome would have been flipped had the Ultimate Teammate played a larger role. 1950s football gave the Jets 34 yards on two third-quarter carries before handing the Sanchize the ball in a QB's nightmare situation at 2nd-and-16. Gonna be a fun week in New York.
Baltimore lost to Philly 24-23 despite taking the ball away four times; the Eagles have nine offensive turnovers in their 2-0 start. But Philly converted two Joe Flacco turnovers into 14 points, while the Ravens extracted just 10 points out of their four takeaways.
Cincy held off Cleveland 34-27, getting a PR TD from Pacman Jones and three TD passes by Andy Dalton to three different receivers. Brandon Weeden bounced back from his horrific debut with 322 yards, two scores, and no turnovers.
Andrew Luck got his first career win yesterday by leading the Colts on a last-minute drive, setting up Adam Vinatieri to complete a 23-20 victory over the Vikings with a 53-yard FG.
Eli Manning and the G-Men bounced back from an opening-night loss to Dallas and a dreadful first half yesterday to beat Tampa Bay 41-34 in a wild shootout. Eli threw three first-half picks, including a pick-six before halftime that staked the Bucs to a 24-13 lead, but he ended up with 510 yards and three TD passes, including two second-half gems to Victor Cruz and Martellus Bennett. Bucs coach Greg Schiano showed himself to be a bush-league sore loser, as he had his guys blow through the Giants' offensive line and knock down Manning on the final play of the game with New York in victory formation. Afterward, Tom Coughlin rightly told Schiano to screw off.
The Niners continue to laugh off claims by irresponsible statheads who said they would regress, beating Detroit 27-19 as Alex Smith and Vernon Davis connected for two scores. San Francisco has now allowed the explosive Packers and Lions just 41 points total; those two teams averaged 32.3 points per game last season.
As for why a stat guy like Bill Barnwell overstepped his bounds by saying the Niners would regress, it was the same faulty methodology he used to say the Broncos would fall back from their 8-8 record. Not only is every team different from one year to the next, there is nowhere near a large enough sample to make predictions about how teams will fare simply based upon a sudden increase in wins. We've said it many times before, but it bears repeating: stats are incredibly valuable, but they can be dangerous when people use them to prove an already-existing opinion. This is not a fault of statistics; it is a matter of how they are handled.
Drew Brees and the Saints are in unfamiliar territory at 0-2, after the QB again got upstaged by an electric QB; Cam Newton had 313 net yards from scrimmage, threw for one score, and ran for another, in leading the Panthers to a 35-27 home win over New Orleans. Brees has now been picked of four times in two games after throwing 14 interceptions in all of 2011.
Shanny & Co., who beat the Saints last week, lost at St. Louis 31-28. WR Josh Morgan committed a mind-blowingly stupid penalty by throwing the ball at noted ball-buster Cortland Finnegan, after RG3 had led Washington into range for a potential game-tying kick. The loss overshadowed another electric performance from Griffin, who threw a 68-yard TD pass, ran for two scores, and had another long would-be TD pass dropped by a receiver.
Dallas and Tony Romo are back to being letdown enigmas after the Seahawks shut them down 27-7. Seattle's special teams staked them to an early 10-0 lead, and Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and a score as Russell Wilson earned his first NFL victory.
Georgia native Demaryius Thomas will have a slew of friends and relatives in attendance tonight, and he tells of growing up there picking peas and pulling corn.
Sam Monson is looking forward to tonight's matchups of Ryan Clady and John Abraham, Champ Bailey vs. Anyone, and Von Miller against Tyson Clabo (if he plays).
Like last week, Jeff Legwold thinks both run defenses and both pass offenses will hold an edge tonight, and that Denver's special teams are better than their opponent's.
Among his keys to the game, Mike Klis says the Broncos must handle the noise in Atlanta well and pick on new Falcons nickel corner Chris Owens.
The Falcons say they must run the ball well tonight, so as to keep it out of the hands of Peyton Manning; LB Sean Witherspoon says he hit the books extra hard this week in preparing to face Peyton.
Andy Benoit, Mike Tanier, Matt Bowen, Chase Stuart, Will Brinson, Don Banks, Clark Judge, John Clayton, Jason Cole, and Alex Marvez recap the day's action; Bill Rhoden is wistful for the days of the pre-instant replay NFL.
Now that the franchise is fully constructed in his egomaniacal image, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has nobody else to blame, and Kent Babb thinks Pioli's insecurities will be too much for the team to overcome under his watch:
Pioli craves credit and validation on good days, and he wants to hide and blame others after days like Sunday.
Following this epic takedown (after two games!), it'll be interesting to see how Babb is treated at Chiefs HQ going forward; he had been on the team's beat for 4.5 years before becoming a columnist for the Star this past June. Stay tuned...