We're only finished with the second week in the 2011 NFL season and there've already been some incredibly outstanding plays and, of course, some incredibly terrible plays. Here's a look back at the five best and worst plays from Week 2 of the 2011 season. We'll start with...
|5: Vince Wilfork Picks Off|
As time was winding down in the second quarter, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers dropped back to pass against the Patriots in New England. It was first-and-10 on the Patriots' 29-yard line and the Chargers were looking to at least get within a touchdown of the Patriots before heading into the locker room at half time. That's when this happened:
So it might not be the biggest play of the week, but there's nothing more awesome than watching one of the fat guys running the ball. That was Wilfork's first career interception. I hope he makes another one next week so I can watch him try to make his way to the end zone again.
|4: Rey Edwards RecoversFumble|
With the Philadelphia Eagles threatening to score on the Atlanta Falcons' four-yard line and already up by a touchdown, Peria Jerry sacked Mickael Vick causing him to fumble the ball. Defensive end Ray Edwards picked up the ball and ran it 64 yards before DeSean Jackson caught up with him.
Matt Ryan threw a touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez on the next drive. If Peria doesn't make that sack and Edwards doesn't pick it up, it's possible that the Eagles score and the Falcons would have lost the game.
|3: Cam Newton MakesMiss|
Against the Green Bay Packers' defending Super Bowl Champion defense, Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton threw for over 400 yards. Newton's arm isn't what I'm going to talk about though. With a 10-0 lead over the Packers, Newton and the Panthers were in a third-and-eight situation on their own 33-yard line. Newton dropped back to pass but was forced out of the pocket by left defensive end Jarius Wynn. Newton started upfield only to come face-to-face with Clay Matthews.
Newton, who stands at 6'5" and weighs 248 pounds, planted and cut to the left causing Matthews, one of the better linebackers in the NFL to tackle nothing but air. Newton ran on for a first down, extending the drive and eventually led the Panthers to get into field goal range, giving them a 13-0 lead.
Of course they ended up losing the game but Newton showed that he can run past some of the best defenders in the NFL as well as throw for 400 yards against some of the best secondaries.
|2: Tony Romo Finds Jesse Holley in Overtime|
With Dallas and San Francisco tied at 24 in overtime, the Cowboys took the ball after stopping the 49ers on their first drive at the Dallas 22-yard line. After one play, the Cowboys found themselves on the 49ers one-yard line. That's because this happened:
That's Jesse Holley, and at this time last year, he was selling cell phones in North Carolina. He was the winner of Michael Irvin's reality TV show, Fourth and Long, in which the winner got an invitation to Cowboys training camp. On the next play, Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey kicked a field goal, giving Dallas the win.
|1: Ryan Fitzpatrick Gives Bills the Win|
The Buffalo Bills are down 35-31 to the Oakland Raiders. They have the ball on the Raiders' five-yard line with 18 seconds left in the game and it's fourth-and-one. This is the scenario that every kid imagines himself in. Fitzpatrick takes the snap, drops back and ...
The Bills won the game. Fitzpatrick found David Nelson wide open across the middle and got him the ball in the end zone to give Buffalo a 2-0 record with only 14 seconds left. That was the fifth lead change in the fourth quarter.
And the Worst:
|5: Bengals Allow Second Touchdown to Eric Decker|
The Broncos' receiving corps was so banged up when they played the Bengals that quarterback Tim Tebow had to play wide receiver. He didn't make any catches but Eric Decker did. The Broncos had a 17-15 lead in the fourth quarter when this happened:
You can clearly see Nate Clements getting beat by Decker and then, just to top things off, safety Chris Crocker collided with Clements just as Decker caught the pass, taking them both out of the play and allowing Decker to walk right into the end zone. The Broncos took a 24-15 lead and even though the Bengals scored again, they would lose the game. Even if Decker caught the pass, if he was stopped where he caught it instead of being allowed to score, the Bengals could have won the game.
|4: Michael Vick Meets Todd Herremans Face-to-Face|
With the Eagles threatening to score on the Falcon's 18-yard line, Michael Vick took the snap in shotgun on a third-and-eight play. He completed the pass to Jeremy Maclin for a first down but that was the last pass he threw in the game. He left after the next play after suffering a concussion.
The guy who accidentally head-butted Vick, right tackle Herremans was doing his job. However, running back LeSean McCoy, who was watching Vick's back as an extra blocker completely whiffed on his block. He was trying to pick up a blitz from safety William Moore and just totally missed. Moore hit Vick and Vick's head hit Herremans. If Vick stays in the game, maybe the Eagles come back and win.
|3: Bengals Try on Fourth Down|
Trailing by two points late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals had the ball on the Broncos 36-yard line in a fourth-and-one situation. Andy Dalton had looked impressive in the game, despite the fact that the Bengals running game never quite got going. Head coach Marvin Lewis faced a decision: Go for it and give your offense a chance to score a touchdown or give kicker Mike Nugent a closer shot, kick a 53-yard field goal from there and try to take the lead or punt.
The Bengals decided to go for it. That may sound like a reasonable decision except that on three straight third-and-one plays earlier in the game, the Broncos stopped the Bengals and that's exactly what happened this time. Dalton faked a handoff to Cedric Benson, but the defense wasn't fooled. Before Dalton could even turn his head to find his target, A.J. Green, Robert Ayers was on top of him. Dalton got rid of the ball quickly but the pass was incomplete and the Bengals lost the game. Nugent kicked a 55-yard field goal in the preseason and was three-for-three on the day. The Bengals should have kicked, especially in the light Denver air which could have added a few feet.
|2: Raiders Allows Buffalo to Score|
With a 38-35 lead over the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders had Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense in a fourth-and-one situation just five yards away from scoring. Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass and found his target, a wide open David Nelson, in the end zone.
And by wide open, I mean there wasn't a defensive player anywhere around him. Nelson was in motion from the left wide out towards the line when the ball was snapped and he just ran directly towards the middle of the field where there was nobody within five yards. He wasn't even covered. I know there are miscommunications in defense but this was the absolute worst time to have one.
|1: Luke McCown's 1.8|
There isn't really one single play to point out here, but a there is a single performance. Facing the tough defense of the New York Jets in New York, Luke McCown, named the Jaguars starting quarterback in the wake of David Garrard's release, played terribly. Before he was taken out of the game, McCown completed only six of 19 passes for 59 yards no touchdowns and four interceptions for a whopping 1.8 passer rating.
He was replaced by rookie Blaine Gabbert, who completed five of six passes for 52 yards, which was enough to convince Jack Del Rio to start him in Week 3 against the Panthers in Carolina. I wonder if anybody in Jacksonville misses Garrard yet.