Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 2, Buckle My Shoe

The NFL's second week is almost complete (leaving the Giants/Colts and 49ers/Saints matchups), and I just wanted to take a look back at the day and point out any intriguing things I noticed:

Matt Schaub and Mark Sanchez combined in Week 1 to put up this impressive statline: 19 for 38, 181 yards (4.8 per attempt), 1 TD, 1 INT.  That's a 61.4 QB rating COMBINED.
This week? Combined 59 for 82, 717 yards (8.7 per attempt), 6 TD, 1 INT.  They averaged a 119.2 QB rating.  Now, the reasons for the discrepancies are different for the two guys (the Texans ran the bejeezus out of the ball last week, and the Jets were inept against the Ravens D but faced a soft Patriots D this week), but I just thought that the improvement was stark for these two guys.

Both Michael Turner and Ryan Mathews went down with injuries during the games today, but the Falcons and Chargers fans didn't have to worry long; backups Jason Snelling and Mike Tolbert put up impressive numbers in their stead (129 yds and 2 TD rushing, 57 yds and 1 TD receiving for Snelling, 82 yds and 2 TD rushing, 13 yds and 1 TD receiving for Tolbert).  Just goes to show you that having a versatile and tough runner as your backup can pay big dividends, as well as having an offensive line that doesn't care who it's blocking for.

Some teams that have started 2-0 this year: Chiefs, Buccaneers, Steelers (without their Pro Bowl quarterback and two offensive linemen).  The best quarterback for those 3 teams? It can't be Matt Cassel, can it?

Some teams that have started 0-2 this year: Cowboys, Vikings, Rams, Browns.  Notice a difference in stature between some of those?  Cowboys O-line doesn't look good, and Favre looks worse.  The Rams lost to the Cardinals (who lost by 34 to the Falcons today) and the Raiders, and the Browns lost to the Chiefs and Buccaneers (who, in the Browns' defense, are in the above section, but combined to win 8 games last year).

Wide receiver of interest #1: Mike Sims-Walker.  In his 17 games since Week 2 of last season (he missed the first game), he has had 8 games with 6 or more catches (each with at least 60 yards), but has had 6 games with 2 or less catches (each with less than 30 yards).  This does not include the game from which he was scratched pre-game because he violated a team rule.  This is especially odd since the Jaguars passing game isn't exactly one with a bevy of weapons to spread it around to.  Talk about inconsistency... here's a comparative case.

Wide receiver of interest #2: Miles Austin.  In his 14 games since becoming a starter last year, he has had  10 games with 6 or more catches (each with at least 70 yards), which includes 8 straight going back to week 12 of last year.  Conversely, he has had one game with less than 4 receptions, and it was one catch for a 49-yard game-winning touchdown.  While people generally consider the Cowboys to have more varied weapons than the Jaguars, keep in mind that Roy Williams is starting opposite him and Jason Witten had a big reduction in the number of deep routes he ran last year.  This begs the question, WHY DOESN'T ANYONE COVER MILES AUSTIN???

Oh, and just in case anyone cares, my Eliminator pool pick was the Falcons versus the Cardinals.  I think I'm still alive after that demolition.  Next week's pick for me may be the Redskins versus the Rams, since I may not be confident enough in that team to pick them against any other team.

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