The punchline of Week 2 in the NFL is, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that.
But there’s plenty more about this week that deserves to be called out. The Giants were anything but, unless you mean a giant disaster. Jacksonville crashed back to earth, while the Colts have yet to get out of bed this season.
There was some good in Week 2 as well — but that’s no fun to snark about, now, is it?
List of the Week: Three teams to avoid in your Survivor Pool in perpetuity
The Jets are the NFL equivalent of “a face only a mother could love.” There’s some talent on the roster, peppered here and there — Muhammed Wilkerson, Kony Ealy, and young hopefuls Darron Lee and Jamal Adams — but nothing near what you’d need to compete in the NFL. When your best quarterback option is 15-year veteran journeyman Josh McCown, then it’s not even a contest:
Sad Stat: In a year when the New York Giants look terrible and are averaging a meager 4.4 yards per play, the Jets would have a great opportunity to finally outshine their more popular sibling. But instead they’re averaging the same 4.4 yards per play.
Six points per game—that’s all the 49ers are managing so far. Why? Well, when the most exciting thing on your offense is your rookie tight end, and he’s not O.J. Howard or Evan Engram, there’s not much reason to be excited. Whether it’s the result of poor scouting or awful decision-making is moot by now; the reality is the 49ers are a terrible, terrible team. Fans literally don’t want to go to watch them — at their season-opener, the stadium was barely one-third full (if that) despite tickets selling right before kickoff for as little as $6 per seat.
Sad Stat: The 49ers are averaging a little more than 24 minutes on offense per game. That’s 1:26 less than the next-worst team, and 12:17 less than the league-leading Carolina Panthers. The good news? This means fans don’t have to suffer through watching them try to move the ball.
The Bengals are reality TV gone horribly wrong. They are the football version of the Kardashians, without the surgically enhanced looks: talentless hacks who wouldn’t be worth discussing, except that the media can’t seem to get enough. That’s not a good thing in any way. People don’t watch the Bengals despite the fact they’re a train wreck; they watch because they’re a train wreck. And just when we thought they couldn’t act more buffoonish, they went and gave Vontaze Burfict a contract extension before the season started. In almost any other city, head coach Marvin Lewis would have been long since fired. In Cincinnati, they keep giving him raises.
Sad Stat: The Bengals have scored nine points — nine! — in the first two weeks of the NFL season. Not including quarterbacks, 55 individual players are averaging more than that right now.
Bonus Sad Stat: Quarterback Andy Dalton’s rating after two games is 47.2 — and it improved since last week.
Meme Me Up, Scotty
When you realize the Buffalo Bills are the best team in New York right now
After two weeks, the Bills are 1-1, despite an offense that is scoring a meager 12 points per game. The Giants and Jets combined are 0-4, averaging 11.25 points per game. The bottom line: the entire state of New York is terrible at football right now.
Keep the gloves up, Memers
Come on, folks, that’s just harsh. Pointing out Ezekiel Elliott’s terrible day in Denver? Accenting it by pointing out that Tom Brady, who isn’t winning any popularity contests outside Boston and who isn’t exactly know as a strong runner, had more yards on the ground than Elliott? That’s just plain...okay, that’s about the funniest thing I’ve seen this week.
Does State Farm insure against Acts of Vic Beasley?
Yes, 28-3 will forever be a cursed score in Atlanta after the Falcons blew that lead in Super Bowl LI. Yes, the Falcons have had a terribly tough time maintaining large, fourth-quarter leads. Yes, they gave up 13 points in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Packers, stoking fears of another epic collapse. No, the Packers did not win. But, no, the jokes will not die any time soon.
The Most Unfortunate (but Deserved) Benching of the Year
The Bengals are considering benching Andy Dalton. They have A.J. McCarron waiting in the wings, and there are even locker-room grumblings that the team should sign Colin Kaepernick.
No matter what, though, Dalton can take solace in one thing: at least he’s not Indianapolis Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien.
If Tolzien doesn’t appear in another game this season — and, after his performance in week one, it would take something nearly catastrophic to get him back on the field — he will finish 2017 with a rating of 33.8. To put that into perspective: If you never complete a single pass, your rating would be 39.6. In other words, his play was so bad that he’s currently a worse quarterback than you, me, our grandmothers, a lump of earwax and figments of my own imagination.
Tweet of the Week
New York Giants: 12 losses— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) September 19, 2017
Golden State Warriors: 9 losses pic.twitter.com/pXb3Umf7jL
And most of that was with Odell Beckham, Jr.
Undefeated Teams Watch
After two weeks, there are 10 undefeated teams left in the NFL: Miami*, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Denver, Oakland, Kansas City, Detroit, Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay*. In Week 3, this is guaranteed to drop by at least one team (barring ties) due to a matchup between Detroit and Atlanta. I can’t come up with anything snarky for this at 1:30 a.m. Sorry.
* Miami and Tampa Bay have only played one game apiece due to Hurricane Irma.
Thoughts that Should Get Me Flagged
Maybe this will become a regular segment here on Snarking Around the NFL. Maybe not. But it occurred to me that I have some pretty off-the-wall thoughts when I watch football — or eat, sleep, breathe, or otherwise exhibit signs of life.
This week, while watching the Bears attempt to football versus the Buccaneers, I pondered why Mike Glennon — who’s listed at 6’-6” and must have been measured on a cold day while slouching — has any reason whatsoever to throw the ball in such a way that it bounces two yards or more in front of his receivers, yet he does so with such alarming regularity. I then spent 10 minutes trying to figure out the physics and came to the conclusion that he’d pretty much need to be actively trying to throw the ball at the ground in order to achieve it, given his Paul Bunyan-like stature.
Then I remembered that the Steelers play the Bears next week, and all was right with the world again.
The NFL took the unusual step this off-season of relaxing its rules against post-touchdown celebrations. Among the rules no longer being enforced is one that outlawed celebrations by more than one person. The Steelers took advantage of this one twice in week two, with both Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster celebrating with others by simulating rolling dice in a casino. Additionally, the ball once again can be used as a prop in celebrations, which led to Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt pretending to use the ball as a pillow.
Sure, celebrations are silly and, at times, over the top. But the NFL took a huge step by taking a small step. By simply letting players enjoy the spoils of their conquests, they have restored at least a modicum of entertainment value in the sport. Most of us watch sports to be entertained and escape the reality of the world around us for a few hours. While professional athletes have the right to speak their minds and use their celebrity as a platform for activism — and in a lot of cases, they absolutely should — it’s nice to see football taking a step back toward what it actually is: a game, intended for fun and entertainment. I, for one, welcome it back.