This is going to be a new feature on the Sports Zone, as this will be a weekly article, recapping the NFL games.  This week will be a two parter, with this first part covering 8 of the 9 one o’clock games, with the remainder being covered in Part 2.  And away we go:

– On Thursday’s show I picked Oakland to beat Miami, and apparently Reggie Bush took it personally.  Remember when he was considered “fragile”?  He sure didn’t look fragile on either of his two touchdown scores, including this one, and this 65 yarder that preceeded it.  He sure looked like a top 10 RB on those, didn’t he?  Where did Darren McFadden go?  He managed only 22 yards on 11 carries, and dropped a sure-fire TD pass with a minute left in the first half, with the only productive running back being Mike Woodson, who caught three recptions for 83 yards (including this 65 yard TD pass) from Carson Palmer, who actually put up 373 yards by the time it was all said and done.  If anybody ever wondered how vital Run- DMC was to Oakland’s offense, let this be the proof.  Last Dolphins point, Ryan Tannehill didn’t look entirely overmatched, putting up 200 passing yards with one rushing and passing touchdown each, and he had a good rhythm going with Brian Hartline and Anthony Fasano.  He’ll need to keep it going against the Jets next week, while the 0-2 Raiders face the Steelers, in what should be a stiff challenge for Palmer, DMC and the rest.

– Andrew Luck gets his first NFL win, as he went 20 for 31 with 224 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one to Reggie Wayne in the Colts win against the Vikings, clinched by Adam Vinateri’s 53 yard field goal with eight seconds left.  Highlights here, the two standout points for me is Dwayne Allen marking his arrival with a 3 yard touchdown pass, just enough to pierce the heart of every Coby Fleener owner in the country, and how about The Return of Donnie Avery to Fantasy Relevence?  Austin Collie’s absence has seen Avery go from training camp invitee to #2 receiver, as he caught 9 passes for 111 yards, with his longest reception for 41 yards.  For the Vikings, AP only managed 3.8 yards a carry, but Christian Ponder had an impressive line, with 27 of 35 for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns, while hooking up with Percy Harvin 12 times for 104 yards.  Ponder could be ranked within the top 20 QBs by season’s end barring injuries to AP or Percy, of course he’s no Luck, but he could still be pretty damn good.  Unfortunately the Vikings draw the 49ers next week, so he may not be that good, while the Colts get the offensively challenged Jaguars.

– If you own any players on the Cleveland Browns, you can finally breathe after Sunday’s game.  The Browns lost to the Bengals 34-27, but Brandon Weeden, Greg Little and most importantly Trent Richardson all came to life in big ways, as Weeden went 26 for 37 for 322 yards and two touchdowns, one to Little (who caught 5 passes for 57 yards), the other to Richardson (who erupted for 145 total yards and two total scores).  Adam Jones started the game off for the Bengals with an 81 yard punt return for a touchdown, and then Andy Dalton did the rest, throwing for 3 touchdowns and over 300 yards on the day.  Cincy gets RG3 and the Redskins next week, while the Browns get to face the Bills at home.

-Stephen Gostkowski’s missed field goal as time expired sealed the Upset of the Week, as the underdog Arizona Cardinals beat the New England Patriots 20-18.  Aaron Hernandez injured his ankle and left the game in the first quarter, and if its the dreaded high ankle sprain, he could much as the next six weeks of action, which is a huge loss.  Give the Cardinals defense credit for holding the Patriots to 4 field goals and only one touchdown (plus they stopped their 2 point conversion attempt), and Kevin Kolb did an admirable job of leading the Cardinals offense in place of the injured John Skelton (except for the whole “Larry Fitzgerald only had one catch for four yards” part).   The Patriots have a big test next week in the Ravens, while the Cardinals hope their good fortune can continue against another huge challenge, the Eagles.

-Speaking of the Eagles, they were able to squeak out a victory late over the surging Baltimore Ravens, 24-23.  Michael Vick threw two picks, lost a fumble, and was under constant pressure from Rey Lewis and Company, but still threw for 371 yards, and ran for a one- yard score that won the game for the Eagles.  DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin both played, with Jackson catching seven passes for 114 yards, and Maclin catching a touchdown pass for 23 yards in the third quarter.  Joe Flacco was solid yet unspectacular, completing 22 of 42 passes for 232 yards with one TD and one pick, while Ray Rice chipped in 152 all- purpose yards.

-Think Buffalo came into Sunday pissed off? After being embarrassed by the Jets last week, the Bills smacked Chiefs 35-17 in a game that was over after the first quarter.  CJ Spiller dissected the Chiefs defense with 15 carries for 123 yards and two scores, while catching three passes for 47 more yards.  Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t have to throw much, but he did throw TD strikes to Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson, while return-man Leodis McKelvin put the game away with an 88 yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.  Jamaal Charles could only managed three rush yards on six carries to go with 19 yards on three receptions.  Peyton Hillis ran 11 times for 66 yards, but also had a fumble, while Dwayne Bowe caught eight passes for 102 yards and two garbage times scores to make it respectable.  The Chiefs play the Saints in Week 3.

-The Giants trailed the Bucs by as many as 14 during Sunday’s game, as Eli Manning threw three first half interceptions.  But Eli also threw for a total of 510 yards as the Giants came from behind to win 41-34, in a game overshadowed by Tom Coughlin chastising Bucs coach Greg Schiano after a Buc defensive tackle lunged for Eli as he was taking a knee on the game’s final play.  Have to agree with Coughlin on this one, going for the ball on the final play has been done for ages, you don’t go after the QB if you know he’s going to be vulnerable, especially not in Today’s NFL.  Anyway, Victor Cruz rebounded with a vengeance, catching 11 passes for 179 yards and a score, while Hakeem Nicks added 10 catches for 199 yards with a score.  Unfortunately Ahmad Bradshaw, Domenick Hixon, and guard David Diehl all left the game with injuries and didn’t return.  Andre Brown filled in for Bradshaw, and ran for 71 yards and a score on 13 carries, more than covering the load.  If he’s available in your fantasy league, grab him, because he should be the lead back if Bradshaw misses signifigant time (he’s already gone in my league).  Tampa Bay played a good game until the fourth quarter, as Josh Freeman threw for 2 scores on 15 for 28 passing for 243 yards.  Vinny Jackson had his best game as a Buc, with five catches for 128 yards, including a 29 yard TD pass in the second quarter, while Mike Williams caught a 41 yard TD pass late in the fourth.  The Giants now look to their game with the Panthers next week, as the Bucs take on Dallas.

-Ben Tate and Arian Foster had their way with Jacksonville, as expected, and the Texans steamrolled the Jaguars 27-7.  Tate and Foster combined for 184 rushing yards and 3 scores on 40 carries, while Jacksonville had 141 yards of total offense, had the ball for a total of 16 minutes, and saw Blaine Gabbert leave late with a leg injury after completing 7 of 19 passes for 53 yards, with Chad Henne taking over.  Didn’t matter in this game. The Texans fly to Denver next week, while the Jaguars take on Indy, in what looks to be the early favorite for Dave’s Game of The Weak.

 

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