The Bears are who we thought they were, again.
The Browns showed that perhaps their second-half surge against the Steelers last Sunday wasn't a fluke.
The Bengals might have the nastiest defense in the AFC.
These were just a few of the story lines from an action-packed Week 2 of games this past Sunday. Big comebacks, a few surprising wins, and injuries to key players helped shape the story of Week 2 heading into Week 3 that will begin just three days after the Eagles and Colts round out Week 2 action tonight.
In no specific order, here are a few of my observations from Week 2 of the NFL on Sunday, with most of the observations pertaining in some way to the Steelers.
Bears just one of several teams that enjoyed comeback victories Sunday: Trailing 17-0 in the second half, the Bears stunned the 49ers by rallying to win 28-20 in San Francisco on the strength of four Colin Kaepernick turnovers. It was the Bears' biggest comeback victory since their 24-23 victory over the Cardinals back in 2006, which led to then-Arizona coach Dennis Green's infamous post-game quote: "They are who we thought they were!"
The Bears victory wasn't the only comeback Sunday. The Packers trailed the visiting Jets 21-3 before rallying for a 31-24 victory behind 209 receiving yards by Jordy Nelson and a 346-yard, three touchdown day by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
While it certainly wasn't a game on many people's radars, the Rams' 19-17 come-from-behind victory won by a 38-yard field goal in the final minute by kicker Greg Zuerlein was one of the more competitive games of the day. It just shows that even a game between two mediocre teams can be entertaining in today's parity-filled NFL.
Super Bowl XLVIII teams showing chinks in their respective armor: Before the two play each other in a rematch of last year's Super Bowl in Week 3 in Seattle, both the Seahawks and Broncos struggled in their respective Week 2 match-ups.
Led by Phillip Rivers' 28 completions and three touchdowns, the Chargers upset the Seahawks 30-21 in Seattle. The stat from from that game was 42 minutes,15 seconds, which was San Diego's time of possession on Sunday.
The Broncos moved to 2-0 but nearly blew a sizable lead for the second consecutive week. After nearly surrendering a 21-point lead against the Colts in Week 1, Denver led 21-10 heading into the fourth before needing a goal-line stand in the final seconds to escape with a 24-17 win. Like Seattle, Denver had trouble possessing the ball on offense, as Kansas City's offense was on the field for 36:14.
The Browns show second half of Week 1 game vs. Steelers was no fluke: Cleveland looked a little like the Steelers from Week 1 in their 26-24 victory over the visiting Saints Sunday.
The Browns jumped out to a commanding lead, surrendered it, then salvaged victory with a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds.
Harassing Drew Brees with a solid pass-rush on defense and a balanced attack on offense, the Browns put together a victory over a team many thought would contend in the NFC title chase.
To me, Cleveland's three most impressive facets in this victory were their secondary holding Brees to just 5.9 yards per completion, Brian Hoyer delivering an efficient, mistake-free performance at the quarterback position, and rookie Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell combining to rush for 122 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown. And unlike the previous Sunday, the Browns showed they can pull out a victory in the clutch. It looks like the AFC North could be a very competitive division from top to bottom.
Bengals defense dominant in win over Falcons: The Bengals showed they've got some fight in them.
After being heavily criticized in Cincinnati for their recent playoff failures this past off-season, the Bengals have begun the 2014 season as the only AFC North team to be unbeaten after two weeks. Cincinnati overwhelmed Matt Ryan and the Falcons 24-10 on Sunday behind a defensive effort that could be described as dominant.
Cincinnati forced Ryan into 20 incomplete passes, picked him off three times, and held Atlanta to just 3-of-12 on third-down conversions. The Bengals offense was efficient, amassing 472 yards of offense and picking up 21 first downs.
But I think the most impressive part of the Bengals' victory was the confidence and fight that Cincinnati exuded on defense. Led by free safety Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati's defense played fast and with high energy throughout the game, even as Ryan desperately tried to will his team down the field in the closing minutes.
Steelers to face a confident Panthers squad in Week 3: Steelers fans, meet Cam Newton.
A week before the Steelers face the Newton for the first time, the third-year quarterback has the Panthers at 2-0 after a 24-7 victory over the visiting Lions Sunday.
While Newton was playing for the first time after missing Week 1 with a rib injury, he completed 22 passes for 281 yards and a score on Sunday. The Panthers' defense held Matt Stafford and Detroit's high-powered offense to a single touchdown on 12 possessions. Defensive end Mario Addison had 2.5 of Carolina's four sacks on Stafford, while defensive back Melvin White's interception was one of three forced turnovers by the Panthers' defense. Carolina's defense has allowed just 21 points through two games.
The Panthers weren't perfect Sunday, however, converting just 3-of-12 of their third-down opportunities. They also rushed for just 62 yards on 24 carries, with 22 of those yards coming on one run by Jonathan Stewart. Normally a threat to run the ball, Newton-most likely playing it safe to protect his ribs-rushed just four times for 19 yards. Carolina was without running back DeAngelo Williams, who didn't play Sunday due to a thigh injury suffered in the Panthers' Week One win over Tampa Bay.