Quarterbacks are fragile, referees are fallible, advice can be dangerous and Gardner Minshew is forever. It was a fun — if not particularly eventful — Week 2 of the N.F.L. Here’s what we learned.
New Orleans vs. the referees is still the N.F.L.’s most intense rivalry. After the debacle of last season’s N.F.C. championship game, you would think officials would be bending over backward to not have a huge missed call go against New Orleans. But in the first half of the much-hyped rematch between the Saints and Rams, Jared Goff fumbled the ball to Cameron Jordan of the Saints who had a clear path to the end zone for what would have been a game-changing 87-yard touchdown. Not so fast. The play was incorrectly blown dead as an incomplete pass, so New Orleans could not advance the ball. The Saints — who lost Drew Brees to an injured hand — never recovered and lost, 27-9. Oops.
The best performances in Week 2 heading into Monday night’s game.
Adam Vinatieri Is, Apparently, a Human Being
In his 24-year N.F.L. career, few have been as unflappable as Adam Vinatieri, the Colts’ 46-year-old place-kicker. Those days may be over, as Vinatieri, the N.F.L.’s all-time leading scorer, had another terrible week — he missed two extra-points a week after missing two field goals and an extra-point — and told reporters they will be hearing from him on Monday, which is an off-day for Indianapolis.
“This is a man of very tough cloth, and I know all our fans, like I, hurt with Adam,” Jim Irsay, the Colts’ owner, told reporters. “No one hurts worse than Adam does.”
If Vinatieri is retiring, he will leave with 2,605 points, which is 61 more than the previous record-holder, Morten Andersen. The active leader would be Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots, who had seven points on Sunday giving him 1,765 for his career.
More Pain for the Saints
LOS ANGELES — Sean Payton coped by quarantining himself for three days. He binged Netflix programming (“Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” and “You”) and scarfed Jeni’s Splendid ice cream. He could excavate his grief, compartmentalizing but not forgetting — really, you can’t forget an injustice like that — because the officiating debacle that most likely denied his New Orleans Saints a Super Bowl berth occurred in their final game of the season.
Yet Payton, the Saints’ head coach, watched another blown call benefit the Los Angeles Rams and infuriate his team again on Sunday, nullifying a go-ahead touchdown in the first half. This time, he and the Saints did not have an off-season to work through their emotions. More than two quarters remained, and the Saints’ star quarterback, Drew Brees, loitered on the sideline, out with a hand injury.
The Saints eventually lost, 27-9.
Antonio Brown’s Patriots Debut Is Business as Usual
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The New England Patriots’ season rolled right along on Sunday with more celebration than complication for the N.F.L. defending champions.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A week after leading Buffalo to a victory at MetLife Stadium against the Jets, Bills quarterback Josh Allen appeared to feel right at home on Sunday afternoon, passing for 206 of his 253 yards in the first 23 minutes of a 28-14 win over the Giants.
The home crowd grew less and less amenable to Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense, which opened the game with a five-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown, then feebly ended the next four drives with punts and a first-half-ending interception.
The Best of the Rest
Sunday’s top games as recounted by The Associated Press.
Lamar Jackson Triumphs in Battle of Heisman Winners
BALTIMORE — Lamar Jackson kept the Cardinals guessing all afternoon, supplementing an effective passing attack with more than an occasional jaunt out of the pocket.
Jackson threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 120 yards and helped the Ravens beat the Cardinals, 23-17, Sunday in a showdown between two of the league’s most exciting young quarterbacks.
“I feel it was all right. It could have been better,” Jackson said of his performance. “A lot of passes I want back. Some sacks I want back.”
Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, outdid the 2018 Heisman winner, Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who went 25 for 40 for 349 yards but fell short of carrying the Cardinals to a second straight fourth-quarter comeback.
Dak Prescott Does Everything in Cowboys Win
LANDOVER, Md. — Dak Prescott probably could have kept running — maybe all the way to the end zone.
Instead, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback stiff-armed Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman to put an exclamation point on his longest run of the game. Prescott spent Sunday afternoon carving up the Redskins’ defense with his arms and legs to the tune of 26 of 30 passing for 269 yards and three touchdowns and 69 yards rushing in a 31-21 Cowboys victory to improve to 2-0.
“If Dak could run the ball well and he can pass the ball well like he showed today, how can you prepare for us?” wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “We as a team can run the ball well and pass the ball well. It’s hard to prepare for that.”
A week after putting up a perfect 158.3 passer rating, Prescott responded from an interception to lead Dallas on consecutive touchdown drives of 97, 83 and 75 yards.
Quiet for a Quarter, Patrick Mahomes Gets Very Loud in Win
OAKLAND, Calif. — Patrick Mahomes bounced back from the first scoreless opening quarter of his career in the regular season by throwing four touchdown passes in a near perfect second period that led the Kansas City Chiefs to a 28-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The Raiders (1-1) held Mahomes in check for the opening 15 minutes before he carved up an overmatched defense with big play after big play in the second quarter for the Chiefs (2-0).
Mahomes didn’t take long to strike, finding Demarcus Robinson open on a blown coverage for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play in the second quarter. He didn’t slow down from there.
Mahomes finished 30 for 44 for 443 yards. Robinson had six catches for 172 yards and two scores and Kelce had seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown to give the Chiefs their ninth win in the past 10 meetings in this longtime rivalry.
Defensive Stand Saves Texans Victory
HOUSTON — Justin Reid stopped Leonard Fournette on a 2-point conversion attempt with 36 seconds left, and the Houston Texans held on to edge the Jacksonville Jaguars, 13-12, on Sunday.
Houston led by 7 in the fourth quarter when Jacksonville rookie Gardner Minshew led a long drive that included an 18-yard run on fourth-and-10, and he capped it with a 4-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Chark.
Instead of trying to tie it with an extra point, Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone opted to go for the potential win by having Fournette attempt to run it in for the 2-point conversion. But the big running back was stopped by Reid. The play was upheld by video review, giving the Texans (1-1) the victory.
Watson threw for 159 yards, and Hyde had 90 yards rushing for the Texans.
The Bears Win an (Extremely) Weird One
DENVER — Eddie Pineiro kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Bears a wild 16-14 win Sunday over the Broncos and their former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whose gutsy 2-point call 31 seconds earlier had given Denver the lead.
“Well, that was a crazy one,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “Absolutely crazy. Just a whirlwind of emotions going back and forth.”
Like the game.
“It’s not how you draw it up,” Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky said. “It’s definitely not.”
The Broncos, who are off to their first 0-2 start since 1999, thought they’d survived and that time had expired when cornerback Chris Harris Jr. tackled Allen Robinson after he hauled in a 25-yard pass on fourth-and-15 from Trubisky at the Denver 35.
The clock showed all zeros and both teams milled around on the field not knowing whether to celebrate a win or lament a loss. Then referee Adrian Hill announced there was 1 second remaining and Chicago was using its last timeout.
Pineiro’s third field goal, a day after his 24th birthday, sent the Bears (1-1) streaming back onto the field in celebration of a victory that seemed so unlikely after they’d surrendered the lead moments earlier.