Published: September 19th, 2011 | Tags: Around the League, Arian Foster, Atlanta Falcons, Ben Tate, Crypt Keeper, Dallas Cowboys, DeSean Jackson, Houston Texans, Jeremy Maclin, Jessica Simpson, Michael Vick, Music City Miracle, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Brady, Tony Romo
With Sunday’s action in the books, some early impressions of what went down in Week 2:
- It’s hard not to feel good for Bills fans, who were treated to an old-time AFC shootout in Sunday’s thrilling win over the Raiders. Losing four consecutive Super Bowls is tough enough, but the Bills have spent the years since predominantly as also-rans, with their biggest playoff claim to fame in the post-Jim Kelly devastation coming in the form of the Music City Miracle. But now they have Ryan Fitzpatrick — a man who actively promotes himself as the “Amish Rifle” — throwing the ball all over the field and making football exciting upstate again. It’s hard to say the good times will last playing in a division with the Jets and Patriots, but everyone associated with the team should savor 2-0.
- Tony Romo returned from a fractured rib to lead the Cowboys over the 49ers, but it won’t be enough to wipe the target off his chest. For some, he remains the quarterback of an over-hyped team linked annually to a Super Bowl in which it never appears. For others, he recalls the backward-hat-wearing, frat-guy archetype stealing your girlfriend at the bar. Cowboys fans have endured the Jessica Simpson episode, bff Ryan Cabrera and the Buckingham Palace-like wedding video (minus the only ring fans care about) — endless metrosexual infractions without the playoff clout. Listen: Tom Brady promotes UGGs — and that’s atrocious — but he has won enough Super Bowls to prance around in girls’ boots if he wants. The Romo hate appears linked to unearned fame. Still, Sunday was gutsy, and he should be recognized for it.
- Pockets of the fantasy football community are in mind-melt after Arian Foster took himself out of the Texans’ 23-13 win over the Dolphins with an aggravated hamstring. Foster had 300 yards after two weeks in 2010. This time around, he has 33, but the Texans aren’t sweating it. Featured backs are old news, and Ben Tate‘s the hot hand. “I have to realize that it’s only Game 2. It’s a long season, so I have to get healthy,” Foster told the Houston Chronicle, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Foster comes close to his magic from a year ago.
- It has been a long week for the Steelers, who were embarrassed by the Ravens in the opener, then had to listen to the chatter about how they were older than the Crypt Keeper. That narrative will rightfully change after they pitched a shutout against the Seahawks on Sunday. Yes, Pittsburgh is a veteran team with some key players on the wrong side of 30, but it’s ridiculous to write off a group that was one fourth-quarter drive from a Super Bowl win in February. Some teams deserve the benefit of the doubt. This is one of them.
- Try as it might, the rulebook can’t fully erase the game’s most violent hits. Falcons CB Dunta Robinson, who leveled Eagles WR DeSean Jackson with a helmet-to-helmet collision last season — and later called the wideout to apologize — went helmet-to-helmet on WR Jeremy Maclin midway through the third quarter of Atlanta’s 35-31 win over Philly. Plays later, Eagles QB Michael Vick was taken to the locker room after a hit to the head that left him with a concussion and spitting up blood, a concerning turn of events for the so-called “Dream Team.”
— Dan Hanzus and Marc Sessler