What We Learned in Wee 2 in the NFL:
- Replacement refs are getting better…at ruining our Sunday afternoons
- Rookie class of QB’s bounce back in Week 2
- Vick pulls out another game winning drive
- Greg Schiano brings bush-league to the NFL
- Steelers ground Jets in spite of horrible officiating
If the first Monday after Week 1 in the NFL is overreacting Monday, than the second Monday should be known as back to reality Monday. Who had the Arizona Cardinals at 2-0 and the Saints at 0-2? Fans finally get to see if their team’s week 1 win or loss was a fluke, or a sign of how the season might go. For a lot of teams, it’s the first chance to iron out the kinks that might have held them back from starting their season with a victory. Except for maybe Cowboys fans, it’s less likely to overreact after the Week 2 games than after Week 1.
One glaring issue is the replacement refs. I repeat what I’ve said before, I hold nothing against these guys specifically, they are doing the best they can do with what they’ve been given. They are so unprepared and unqualified for the task they’re being asked to do on a weekly basis its ridiculous. The amount of time they’re taking to figure out what to call, and how to announce it is beyond painful to watch. There are missed and bad calls all over the place, every game, every season, we get that. What is unacceptable is the fact that it’s so clear that the only thing that’s going to improve from each week will be the players and coaches ability to manipulate these inexperienced scabs into calling what they want to call. Some of the greatest hits of bonehead calls this week included giving Jeff Fisher and the Rams a challenge on a play that wasn’t challengeable, a fumble ruled on a textbook incomplete pass by Vick and a pass interference call against Ike Taylor that had the entire league scratching their heads. Now I happen to think the real refs are asking for a bit too much when it comes to a part-time job, but the failures of these negotiations and the crew of replacement refs falls squarely on the shoulders of Roger Goodell. The fact that he can’t get an agreement in place now that games have begun and the quality of officiating is this poor is astounding. Goodell’s biggest strong point is the fact that he is a good businessman and he’s turned the NFL from a multi-million dollar business to a multi-billion dollar business but he can’t solve a squabble over a few hundred thousand dollars? How is that good business?
Week 1 showed the first time in NFL history where 5 teams started rookie QB’s and 10 teams started either rookie or 2nd year QB’s. Last week’s standout by far was RG3 who was able to handle the Saints defense in a noisy Super Dome like a veteran, while the rest of the rookie class like Tannehill, Wilson, Weeden, and Luck weren’t quite as successful. This week Luck, Tannehill, and Wilson were able to pull out wins and look impressive in the process. Tannehill had a turnover-free day and benefitted greatly off of Reggie Bush’s 172 rushing yards to give the Dolphins a win for their home opener. Luck has people a little overreacting, as I’ve seen him already called a younger version of Peyton. Slow down, it’s just his second NFL game in ever. RG3 had another good performance, but couldn’t outlast Sam Bradford and the Rams for the win.
The Eagles have got to be the worst playing 2-0 team right now. In spite of mistake after mistake, they seem to be able to put themselves in position the last two weeks to allow Vick to put together a game winning drive. After the Ratbirds completely dominated the Bungles in their Week 1 Monday night game, everyone was ready to crown Joe Flacco as the greatest quarterback of all time not named Brady or Manning and predicting his contract extension is of the same numbers too. Vick seems to be able to pull out a game winning drive out of nowhere but I’m still thinking Week 6 will be the week he goes down with some kind of rib or shoulder injury, just because that’s how he plays the game.
The NY Giants and Tampa Bay Bucs game started off with warm and fuzzy feelings with the Giants allowing former Rutgers player, now paralyzed Eric LeGrand be the ceremonial captain for the Bucs during the coin toss. That’s where the pleasantries ended. The game was surprisingly back and forth with Eli making some costly interceptions allowing Tampa to stay in the game. The scoring was basically back and forth up until the final minute of the game where the Giants controlled the ball and the clock. Take the game down to the 5 second mark and the Giants line up in their victory formation ready to take a knee and call it a day. Not so fast says first time NFL head coach Greg Schiano, his team plays to the bitter end of the game and they lined up to go after the ball and the quarterback. I’m definitely not one of those “unwritten rules” or game traditions type of fan, if something new can shake things up and improve the game I’m all for it but this move by Schiano and the Bucs was nothing but bush-league. There as 5 effing seconds on the clock, don’t give me that “We play till the very end” BS. You don’t have the ball or the lead and there’s 5 seconds on the clock, you’ve lost the game. The Giants earned the right to kneel it out and take down the clock. Schiano’s defense was that that’s how they did it at Rutgers. Um, yeah, you’re not at Rutgers anymore dude, this is professional football, be professional about it.
The Jets started off the day with a touchdown on their very first possession, the Steelers with 2 field goals and all of Steeler Nation thinking “here we go again” but the Steelers put it together and clicked on almost all phases of the game from that point on. The Jets never got close to the endzone since their first quarter scoring drive. In spite of about half a million pass interference calls, the Steelers secondary played outstanding thanks to Santonio Holmes’ drops and Taylor and Lewis’s coverage. Can I just say how much I love Ryan Clark as well? Clark in the middle of the field was outstanding, and Ike Taylor was shadowing Holmes the entire day. I’d have to look closer but I think Santonio got more pass interference calls than actual receptions yesterday. LaMarr Woodley got his first sack of the season and the Steelers defense held the Jets scoreless in the entire second half. And did anyone notice if Tebow played? I didn’t seem to find him out on the field at all. Strange.
Ben Roethlisberger might consider taking up another profession as he was a surgeon against the Jets defense yesterday. Ben went 24 of 31 with 275 passing yards and more importantly, no interceptions. The running game left little to be desired aside from a couple of breakout runs by Redman and Dwyer, the running game certainly isn’t where I thought it would be, and probably isn’t anywhere near where the coaches thought it would be either. I don’t think anyone didn’t enjoy seeing Ben air the ball out to Wallace for a touchdown but Ben completing passes to 10 different receivers is something so impressive, Steeler Nation has got to be excited over what this offense can accomplish this season. Bring it on Week 3!
If you’re following along with the Nice Pick Cowher staff’s weekly picks, I have already clinched the victory for the week with 12 games correct. The standings will be posted when the Week 3 picks are made, get your picks in and compete with us!
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