American Football Expert & Columnist
Pick Six: North stars, San Francisco 49ers injury trouble and the Los Angeles Chargers find their man
Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds breaks down six storylines from Week Two of the 2020 NFL season
Last Updated: 25/09/20 5:05am
That was one wild Sunday across the NFL, especially with a whopping 10 games being played in the 6pm slot. There were plenty of dramatic finishes, outstanding individual displays and more devastating injuries.
In other words, there is more than enough to re-name this column 'Pick 12' this week. But, with sleep having been limited overnight, let's stick to the half-dozen headlines that caught my eye in NFL Week Two.
The NFL is back… and it has been brilliant!
There were plenty of fears during the offseason about what kind of 2020 NFL campaign we would have and there was even the worry of there not being a season at all.
That's what makes this start to 2020 all the sweeter. The two weeks played out so far have served up one massive headline after another and the entertainment value has been off the charts with scoring at an all-time high. This 2020 season has seen the highest average points scored per game (50.1), total touchdowns (179) and offensive touchdowns (175) through the first two weeks of any campaign in NFL history.
- The latest NFL standings
- Patriots RB White's father dies in car crash
- Belichick: Wilson hurt us in every way possible
And Sunday served as another mouth-watering reminder that game after game is going right down to the wire. Sixty-eight percent of all games have been within one score in the fourth quarter and 48 percent of games have been decided by seven points or fewer. It's also proving to be never over until it's over with 10 teams coming back to win after trailing in the fourth quarter.
The NFL has done a tremendous job of getting the Covid-19 protocols in place and getting the players on the field, knowing that once the games began; the drama would come as thick and as fast as ever. Long may it continue.
Cowboys conjure up a miracle
The Dallas Cowboys looked to be in a world of trouble on Sunday night as they trailed the Atlanta Falcons 20-0 at the end of the first, 29-10 at the half and 39-24 with just over five minutes left on the clock.
But as the Falcons blew their largest lead since that infamous Super Bowl 51 disaster against New England at the end of the 2016 campaign, Dallas fought their way back with 16 points in the final 4:57 to win 40-39 on Greg Zeurlein's 46-yard field goal as time ran out.
Dak Prescott was so impressive in leading Dallas back as he threw for 450 yards and rushed for three touchdowns. This has the power to be a galvanising win for the Cowboys, who were threatening to fall to 0-2 on the season. But you have to really worry about Atlanta's psyche as they somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Chiefs dig deep
Somebody forgot to tell the Los Angeles Chargers that the script dictates an explosive day at the office for Patrick Mahomes every time he and his Kansas City Chiefs take to the field.
That did not prove to be the case at all. The Chiefs had to dig really deep to win this game in overtime. They trailed 17-6 in LA and needed all of Mahomes' magic to force the extra period. Kansas City also needed the leg of Harrison Buttker and his kicks proved that good teams always seem to grind out improbable wins.
Buttker converted a 58-yard field goal in regulation before converting from the same distance to win the game in overtime. Mahomes was roughed up for much of this game but also came up big in the fourth quarter and the extra period, as did receiver Tyreek Hill, who saw all of his five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown come in the second half.
Chargers have their man
The NFL is becoming proliferated with exciting young quarterbacks who can make plays with their arm but also their legs. Baltimore have Lamar Jackson, the Chiefs have Mahomes, Houston have Deshaun Watson and Buffalo have Josh Allen.
And now the Chargers seem to have their man as rookie first-rounder Justin Herbert was a late addition to the starting lineup against Kansas City after Tyrod Taylor suffered a chest injury in pre-game warmups.
Herbert produced a very encouraging debut indeed as he threw for 311 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 18 yards and another score. He just offers so much more playmaking ability to this offense than Taylor, yet the Chargers have stated the veteran is their man if healthy. I'm not buying that. This should be Herbert's team from this moment forward. He was energising on Sunday night.
Painful win for the Niners
San Francisco went into Sunday's game against the New York Jets without key performers such as wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and cornerback Richard Sherman. It got worse during the visit to New York.
The 49ers romped to a 31-13 but lost defensive end Nick Bosa to a season-ending torn ACL, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas to a serious knee injury that looks likely to also end his 2020 campaign, running back Raheem Mostert to a knee sprain and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a high ankle sprain.
The defending NFC champs cannot buy a break on the injury front and you have to wonder how badly this is going to impact on a return to the Super Bowl. It has to take its toll. By the way, how bad are the Jets? San Francisco were falling apart at the seams and still absolutely hammered Adam Gase's winless team!
The Baltimore Ravens were especially physical and dominant in their 33-16 demolition of the Houston Texans, rushing for 230 yards and a touchdown on offense while recording four sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery score on defense.
But the Ravens are not alone at the top of the AFC North and there is a familiar feel to proceedings in that division as Baltimore's fierce rivals, Pittsburgh have also won two out of two to start the new season.
Pittsburgh's defence reminded us of its elite status in Sunday's 26-21 win over Denver, sacking Broncos quarterbacks seven times with the outstanding T.J. Watt leading the way with two and a half takedowns.
And while this now appears to be a young quarterback's league, Ben Roethlisberger is getting it done for the greybeard passers as he threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He looks in pre-elbow injury form and it is going to be quite the battle for AFC North supremacy the rest of the way.