American Football Expert & Columnist
Pick Six: Controversial calls, big-name injuries and the embarrassing Dolphins
Last Updated: 24/09/19 11:21am
It was a night of high drama in the NFL as the Week Two action had a playoff-intensity feel to proceedings.
We had late touchdowns to win games, a monumental back and forth in Denver, significant injuries and another massive officiating blunder.
That's where I'll begin my look at six big talking points from Week Two in the NFL.
Officials let the Saints down… again
The referees let the New Orleans Saints down big time in the NFC Championship Game last season, failing to spot an obvious pass interference call that would have sent Sean Payton's men to the Super Bowl and not the Los Angeles Rams. Amazingly, the officials made yet another massive blunder in a Saints-Rams game on Sunday night.
With a tight, low-scoring game perfectly poised, the Rams were driving for the first touchdown when Jared Goff fumbled. Cameron Jordan scooped up the football for the Saints and ran 80-plus yards for what should have been a score.
But an over-eager official blew a whistle claiming it was not a fumble. Of course, it was ruled a fumble after replay but the touchdown could not stand because the runback had been whistled dead.
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This was a shocking piece of refereeing - you have to let the runback stand up and then overturn that on review if necessary.
Payton must be beside himself with the officiating blunders plaguing his team. The Saints never did find the end zone after that as the Rams ran out comfortable 27-9 winners. But that margin of victory should not detract from such shocking refereeing.
Big-name injuries to monitor
One big reason the Saints needed that defensive touchdown was because star quarterback Drew Brees was sidelined early after damaging his hand while clashing with LA defender Aaron Donald on his follow through.
This proved to be a massive loss as stand-in Teddy Bridgewater - a former Pro Bowler who has fought back from a devastating injury of his own - looked rusty and out of his depth.
It does not look good for Brees making a quick return to the starting line-up and it could be the same outcome in Pittsburgh where Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger left his team's 28-26 loss to Seattle with an elbow injury.
Big Ben has an MRI to assess the extent of that damage on Monday. Stay tuned because these are two massive, season-altering injury situations worth watching closely.
Patriots rolling at a record pace
In recent years, the New England Patriots have made slow and somewhat shaky starts to the new season. And for the past three years, they have ended each season in the Super Bowl. We can keep the ink in our pens this time around though because no talk of a slow start is necessary.
In 33-3 and 43-0 wins over Pittsburgh and Miami respectively, the Patriots have scored 76 points. That is tied for the most in team history with the 2007 squad that won all 16 regular-season games before losing in the Super Bowl.
We don't know how long Antonio Brown will be on the field for this team but they don't really need him. They will roll along with or without him - Tom Brady looks in sublime early-season form, the running game is strong and the defense is one of the best in the league, particularly against the pass.
It's down the Patriots and the Chiefs in the AFC this season.
Dolphins are an embarrassment
I don't care what the long-term plan is in Miami - they cannot put that product on the field every week and expect any fans to turn up to their games. How they can charge good money for the tosh they are serving up every week is beyond me.
Miami lost 59-10 at home to Baltimore on opening weekend and there was a lot of talk about professional pride making things better in Week 2. Well, I suppose 43-0 is better than 59-10, but only just! The cupboard is so bare in Miami that these Dolphins make Old Mother Hubbard look like a denizen of excess and gluttony.
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I find it shocking just how bad this team looks but maybe we should all have seen it coming. After all, the Dolphins did sign the most players in the NFL from the now-defunct Alliance of American Football and more than 25 per cent of their roster was not even on the team a week before this new season kickoff.
It is going to be a historically bad year in Miami. Through two games, the Dolphins have allowed 102 points - that is tied with the 1973 Saints for the most in the opening two weeks of the year in the Super Bowl era.
Machine-like Mahomes leads the Chiefs
The Oakland Raiders were flying around the field and playing with great intensity at the start of Sunday's AFC West showdown with Kansas City. And that urgency led to an early 10-0 lead for the Silver and Black. But all they did was make Patrick Mahomes mad.
He threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns in the second quarter alone and that was enough to secure a comfortable 28-10 win for the Chiefs. Mahomes - who ended the day with 443 passing yards - is truly special and the one true danger to Brady and the Patriots.
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The Chiefs are without injured wide receiver Tyreek Hill but it doesn't matter. Mahomes makes all his receivers look great. Last week, it was Sammy Watkins and this time around he destroyed the Raiders with DeMarcus Robinson, Travis Kelce and rookie Mecole Hardman.
That's what the great ones do - they make everyone around them elevate their game. The Chiefs are going to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season, providing Mahomes stays healthy.
Wild finish in Denver
The first 55 minutes of the contest between the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos was a snoozer at Mile High Stadium. But in true NFL style, we got to witness one of the most explosive and sensational finishes in recent league history.
Denver pulled to within 13-12 on Joe Flacco's seven-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 31 seconds remaining. The Broncos decided to roll the dice and go for two, only to get called for a delay of game penalty. So Denver opted for the game-tying extra point, which Brandon McManus pushed wide right. But a penalty against the Bears moved Denver back closer to the goal-line and they moved into a 14-13 lead on Flacco's pass to Sanders.
But there was enough time for the Bears to drive downfield and for Mitchell Trubisky to complete a 25-yard pass on fourth down with one second remaining. That set up Eddie Pineiro's game-winning 53-yard kick as time expired. Only in the NFL!
It was redemption of sorts for the Bears, who went through severe kicker angst at the back end of last season and all through the summer. But this win should not detract from a second straight poor showing at quarterback by Mitchell Trubisky.