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Maybe it’s not too late for the Seattle Seahawks to call Marshawn Lynch and see if he’ll give up carving up pigs to play again.
The Seahawks could use a shot in the arm on offense. One of the preseason favorites in the NFL has been mostly inept moving the ball through two games.
If it wasn’t for one great Week 1 drive, in which the Seahawks converted two fourth downs and Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for a touchdown with 31 seconds left, Seattle would be 0-2 without a touchdown this season. They won 12-10 against a mediocre (at best) Miami Dolphins team in the season opener. Then they lost 9-3 to a Los Angeles Rams team that was the laughingstock of the league after its Week 1 debacle at the San Francisco 49ers.
Wilson finished last season on one of the hottest streaks we’ve ever seen from a quarterback. He was on the fringe of the MVP conversation. And the Seahawks offense that was on such a roll late last season is nowhere to be found through two weeks this season.
The problems are likely related to injuries. Wilson has a high ankle sprain, and although he said after the game that he wasn’t limited, that seems untrue. He didn’t look 100 percent but the Seahawks don’t exactly have much choice; their backup is undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin. No matter how far short of 100 percent Wilson is, the Seahawks need him to play.
Running back Thomas Rawls, who didn’t start in Week 1 because he was still working back from an ankle injury suffered last season, hurt his leg on Sunday. Tyler Lockett injured his knee and missed most of the game, though returned for Seattle’s final series and had a long catch. Baldwin has been battling back spasms and will get an MRI on his ailing knee Monday, ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia said. Tight end Jimmy Graham has been brought back slowly from knee surgery. Rookie guard Germain Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick, hasn’t played yet due to an ankle injury. Running back C.J. Prosise, a third-round pick, has a cast on his hand and was inactive Sunday.
The Seahawks’ injury list is no joke. One has to assume if the Seahawks get reasonably healthy soon, the offense will play well again. But it’s possible that not all of these pieces will get fully healthy this season. And it’s possible that the offensive line isn’t good enough, and maybe defenses have figured out the adjustments the Seahawks made to compensate for that leaky line in the second half last season.
The Seahawks’ only sign of life in the second half Sunday was a 53-yard completion to Lockett on their final drive, a drive that ended on a Christine Michael fumble. That came against the same Rams defense that allowed 28 first downs and 28 points to Blaine Gabbert and the San Francisco 49ers last week. And on Sunday the same Dolphins defense that shut the Seahawks down made Jimmy Garoppolo look like a Hall of Famer before Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury.
It’s not good for the Seahawks right now. It will probably get better when some of their injuries clear up. Until then, it will be a weekly struggle.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 2:
Von Miller: Like many others, I picked Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack to win NFL defensive player of the year. And for that, I apologize to Miller.
It’s incredibly early, of course, but Miller looks like he wants another trophy to go with his Super Bowl MVP. Miller had three sacks on Sunday, including one that looked a lot like his first Super Bowl strip-sack of Cam Newton. With the Indianapolis Colts trailing by six points, Miller came from Andrew Luck’s right and just took the ball out of his hands. Shane Ray scooped it up and scored to seal the win. There are times Miller is unblockable, and Sunday was a fine example.
The Broncos defense looks as good as ever, with two touchdowns on Sunday. Miller looks driven to capitalize on his Super Bowl success and live up to the massive contract he got in the offseason. With J.J. Watt still working toward 100 percent after back surgery, Miller is the best defensive player in football right now.
Houston Texans defense: The Texans defense looks like one of the best in the NFL.
With Jadeveon Clowney contributing more and Watt rounding back into form, the Texans can put a lot of pressure on an offense. Houston had four sacks against the Kansas City Chiefs, allowed only 14 first downs and 291 yards and did not allow a touchdown in a 19-12 win. The Texans’ offense wasn’t great, but good enough to improve to 2-0. If the offense, which has many new pieces including quarterback Brock Osweiler, becomes more efficient then the Texans could become one of the NFL’s best teams. Coach Bill O’Brien has done more with less on offense already in Houston.
The Texans have an interesting test in Week 3, playing at the New England Patriots and perhaps against rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Thursday night. A national audience will be able to see how far the Texans have come.
Anyone who didn’t write off the Arizona Cardinals after one loss: We always see terrible overreactions after Week 1. Still, I was surprised how often I heard the Cardinals aren’t really that good after they lost in the final minute to the New England Patriots.
Those questions should be put on ice for a while. The Cardinals dismantled a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that many think is a dark horse for a wild-card spot, winning 40-7. They picked off Jameis Winston four times. Carson Palmer had 308 yards and three touchdowns on only 18 completions. It’s the same old aggressive defense and big-play offense we’re used to with the Cardinals. They’re just fine.
Andre Johnson: This offseason, when Johnson was unsigned until late July coming off a poor season for the Indianapolis Colts, it seemed like he might be one of those great players who fades away without a proper goodbye.
Sunday must have felt pretty good for him.
Johnson was signed by the Tennessee Titans in late July. On Sunday he completed the Titans’ comeback win over the Lions with a great 9-yard touchdown catch against tight coverage. A Matthew Stafford interception came a few moments later and the Titans had a really nice victory.
Maybe it doesn’t make complete sense why the building Titans are giving snaps to the 35-year-old Johnson and taking them from some of their younger, developmental receivers, but it’s still cool to see a potential Hall of Fame receiver having at least one more big moment.
Victor Cruz: Speaking of receivers producing unlikely stories, Cruz did it again. A week after catching a game-winning touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys, Cruz made a circus catch to set up the Giants’ game-winning field goal as time expired.
Cruz’s big play came immediately after Odell Beckham dropped what would have been a sure touchdown. It’s almost like Cruz was reminding the world that he was the fan favorite among Giants receivers long before Beckham arrived, and he still has a lot to offer. Cruz, who suffered a bad knee injury in 2014 and missed 2015 with a calf injury, had a masterful catch to help the Giants win. Eli Manning threw one up to him down the sideline and Cruz out-wrestled the cornerback for a 34-yard catch.
After missing a season-and-a-half, Cruz looks like he can be a major contributor for this year’s Giants.
Gus Bradley: Bradley is 12-38 as an NFL head coach. Among all coaches in NFL history with at least 50 games, only Bert Bell has a winning percentage worse than the .240 on Bradley’s record.
No team looked less prepared in Week 2 than the Jacksonville Jaguars. They were demolished by the San Diego Chargers, 38-14. The Jaguars were never in the game.
How much longer can Bradley have before his seat gets hot? The Jaguars spent a ton in free agency, had a draft that looked great on paper and got some positive buzz in the offseason. Now they’re 0-2 with a competitive Week 1 loss to the Packers and an awful loss to the Chargers, who didn’t have Keenan Allen and lost running back Danny Woodhead to a knee injury early on.
Bradley has mostly gotten a pass in his career. Think of how much grief Jeff Fisher or Rex Ryan gets. Bradley would kill for a 7-9 season that makes Fisher the butt of jokes. At some point, either the Jaguars have to start winning or it’ll be time for them to try something else. Sunday’s loss made it look like Bradley is in over his head.
The Oakland Raiders and Jack Del Rio: Funny how things change in a week. Last week Del Rio’s bravado was the toast of the NFL and the Raiders got a huge win.
This week the Raiders gave back that win with a bad loss at home, and partially because of a weird play call.
Last week, Del Rio went for a two-point conversion and the win and got it against the New Orleans Saints. That’s the kind of win the Raiders need if they want to be a playoff team. Sunday was also the type of win the Raiders need to be a playoff team, in a different way. You can’t blow those kinds of games at home and expect to make the postseason.
The Raiders trailed by a touchdown late when they decided to go for it on fourth-and-2. And they handed off to 5-foot-8, 207-pound rookie Jalen Richard, who was stopped one yard short. Oakland probably regrets that call. Given all its options there, it seemed strange.
That’s how things go in the NFL sometimes. Everything you gain one week can unravel the next.
Cleveland Browns: This isn’t to pile on the Browns, but if they make a run at 0-16 this season (I don’t think they will), we’ll all remember them letting a game slip away in Week 2. The Browns led the Baltimore Ravens 20-0 in the first quarter. Then the Ravens returned a blocked extra point for two points of their own. The Browns never scored again. The Ravens won 25-20.
Even worse, the Browns have another injured quarterback. Like Robert Griffin III last week, Josh McCown hurt his left shoulder on Sunday. McCown stayed in, but his effectiveness waned, and we saw after Week 1 with Griffin how quickly a shoulder injury can go from bad to worse. It wasn’t a good week for the Browns.
The barbershop quartet member who lost his hat to Cam Newton: We all know by now the Carolina Panthers quarterback has a unique fashion sense, but what on earth was he wearing at his postgame news conference Sunday?
Come on, you knew the jokes were coming:
While I’m partial to the “Simpson” monorail reference, you really have to hand it to whoever made a Twitter feed as Cam’s hat:
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