Welcome to the Fifth Quarter, the only NFL recap column you’ll ever need. It’s the only one to provide a full day’s supply of Vitamin C, after all. Here’s what was going on around the rest of the league while you were selfishly focused on your home team and your fantasy players.
Theoretically speaking, an 0-2 start shouldn't be too damaging to an NFL team. Most playoff teams fall in the five-to-seven-loss bracket anyway, so what does it matter when a loss comes? Truth is, two losses to open the season are like stabbing your prom date when you're pinning on the corsage: it could get better, but it's not likely.
Since 1990, only 22 of 190 NFL teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs. The last time an 0-2 team reached the postseason? 2008. And while some teams start 0-2 because, well, they suck (Hello, Cleveland!), some find themselves holding the shortest straw two weeks in a row. Some of the 0-2 teams who are looking rugged:
• The New York Football Giants look absolutely awful. There's nothing to like about this team unless you're a fan of the train-wreck-comin'-up type of team. David Wilson now has trouble holding a milk carton, Eli Manning is twitching at phantom defenders from every direction, and Tom Coughlin looks like he's ready to bite the head off a ferret. The Jets are actually the more stable team in New York, and that's a line that hasn't been uttered in decades.
• From messiah to mess in six days. Robert Griffin III has looked utterly lost in six of eight quarters he's played, the problem being that those quality fourth quarters came after horrific starts. Was he rushed into service? Have the Redskins tuned out coach Mike Shanahan? Is Washington just OH-VER-RA-TED? Whatever the cause, last year's rookie darling is this year's sophomore chump.
• Another playoff team, the Minnesota Vikings, is probably in the worst shape of the three, as both of their losses have come against division opponents. The Vikings have been victims of two straight "where the hell did THEY come from?" games, where first Detroit and this week Chicago suddenly goes off-script and punches the Norsemen in the mouth.
Add Carolina and Tampa Bay, sleeper teams who are still asleep, to this list. And Monday night, another team will join this ugly trio, as either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati will fall to 0-2. (Cleveland and Jacksonville are there too, but you expect that.) Granted, the season isn't over; only seven teams are 2-0, and only two of those are in the NFC. But in a league where everyone is beating up on everyone else, you can't afford to take two hits before delivering even one.
Running down the biggest stories of Week 2. We'll try not to catch you offsides.
• The Greatest Game Of The Year stunk on ice. We were all looking forward to the Seattle-San Francisco Sunday night showdown, and even with the hour-long rain delay this was a hot mess of a game. The Seahawks absolutely mutilated the 49ers on both sides of the ball, and while both teams are likely to head deep into the playoffs, Seattle left no doubt who's running the show in the NFC right now.
• Andy Reid, coaching mastermind. By the time Andy Reid stumbled out of Philadelphia, you'd think the guy couldn't even figure out how to put on a baseball cap properly. Truth is, he's one of the most successful coaches of the last couple decades; he'd just turned rotten by staying in Philly for too long. Now, in Kansas City, he's got new life, new hope and a bright new color in which to wrap himself. And guess who the 2-0 Chiefs play on Thursday? (Spoiler: Philly.)
• Spinebuster! When the Falcons' William Moore tucks you in bed, mister, you stay tucked.
• Who's clutch? Who's elite? Who's, uh ... elutch? Several quarterbacks this week got the chance to live out that backyard dream, a two-minute drill to win the game. Buffalo's EJ Manuel, Chicago's Jay Cutler, Arizona's Carson Palmer, New Orleans' Drew Brees, and — wait, is this right? — San Diego's Philip Rivers all engineered game-winning drives late in the fourth. Dallas' Tony Romo and Philly's Mike Vick? Not so much. And in our snap-judgment world, that makes them complete and total failures. Until next week.
• Philip Rivers executes the rare double-flop. Speaking of Rivers, it's a good thing he was able to win the game on Sunday, because boy, did he look like a goof on this double-flop play. He tried to draw a penalty on Fletcher Cox, then flopped, then reached to ask Cox to help him up, then flopped again. That's a special breed of jackassery right there.
• Go back to college, Chip Kelly! The Chip Kelly honeymoon period lasted exactly one week. While the entire NFLosphere was frothing over Kelly's fabulous new hellbent-for-leather fancy-time offense, San Diego wandered into Philadelphia and managed to not lose. Therefore, Kelly's just another college guy who can't get the job done in the pros. Amirite, Pete Carroll?
In which we recap every game in seven words. Ready ... go!
New England 13, New York Jets 10: Geno Smith: The Legend Begins! No, wait...
Atlanta 31, St. Louis 24: Falcons' motto: "Always leave a door open."
Baltimore 14, Cleveland 6: Joe Flacco missed a birth for this.
Buffalo 24, Carolina 23: 58:30 of strong football, Panthers. So close.
Chicago 31, Minnesota 30: Jay Cutler, clutch QB? Is this real?
Green Bay 38, Washington 20: Washington fans already turning on RG3. Classy.
Houston 30, Tennessee 24 (OT): Houston has now played 2 1/2 games.
Miami 24, Indianapolis 20: In Miami, Andrew had no (/sunglasses)... Luck.
Kansas City 17, Dallas 16: Tony Romo falls short in final drive.
San Diego 33, Philadelphia 30: Chip Kelly: "We play offense AND defense?"
Arizona 25, Detroit 21: And the Lions bandwagon empties out.
New Orleans 16, Tampa Bay 14: Tampa: two weeks, two losses on FGs.
Denver 41, New York Giants 23: Eli gets swirlied in the Manning Bowl.
Oakland 19, Jacksonville 9: Jaguars have 11 points for 2013. Juggernaut!
Seattle 29, San Francisco 3: I CANNOT HEAR A WORD YOU'RE SAYING.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: Someone will be in trouble after this.
Champ: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay. Rodgers did his best Peyton impersonation, throwing for 480 yards and four touchdowns against a woeful Redskins secondary. Look, folks, if this isn't the golden age of quarterbacking, it'll do until one comes along. Rodgers might be the best quarterback in the game, or he might be the sixth-best, that's how deep we run. Hope you weren't facing him in fantasy this week.
Chump: Eli Manning, New York Giants. We could give this award to pretty much anybody in Giant blue this week, but Eli's four-INT crapcake won him this one. The cherry? An on-the-numbers throw to Denver's Tony Carter without a Giant within five yards. Oh, Eli. Some warm milk will make it all better.
This looks like the unholy spawn of a Raiders-Saints union. Ten bucks says these are a couple of elementary school teachers getting their Oakland freak on. And at last, they've got a team that's kind of worth getting freaky about. And before you laugh: if you're not wearing a fist-sized ring of your team's logo on your hand on game day, you're doing fandom wrong.
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There's plenty of good writing every day on the NFL. Here are a few choice reads to keep you busy while there's no football. Because the other alternatives are talking to your family or doing chores, and nobody wants that. (Send us your favorite words of the week.)
• Yahoo's Eric Adelson took a look at Ndamukong Suh, and how the problem player might still be the answer to Detroit's woes.
• If we could start referring to black quarterbacks as just "quarterbacks," that'd be great.
• Here's an exceptional profile of Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome, who's quietly built a two-time Super Bowl champion.
• In case you missed "Two Carries, Six Yards," an impressive profile of former Buccaneer Ricky Bell, make some time to read it.
• A comprehensive breakdown of how the NFC West went from pathetic to world-beating.
• Got thoughts on the NFL on TV? Here, some of the media's most insightful observers ask questions and seek answers on how networks can keep improving on their product.
Each week, we’ll make a random Super Bowl pick based on trends, stats or general nonquantifiable gut feelings. One of these weeks, we’ll be right. Probably right after both conference championships.
Seahawks vs. Broncos. Both of these teams got better as their respective games went on, with Peyton Manning piling on points against New York (granted, not a high bar to clear) and Russell Wilson and the Seattle D winning The Greatest Game of the Season So Far against Colin Kaepernick. These teams would be an exceptional matchup of strength on strength, and the quarterbacks' games are negative-images of one another. Yeah, this would work.
Super Bowl picks, full season: Denver 2x, San Francisco, Seattle.
And that's a wrap for this week's edition of Fifth Quarter. Got a question? Comment? Concern? Rant? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jaybusbee. We’ll run your words here or in Thursday’s weekly letters column. For now, enjoy the week. It's not long 'til more football!