NFL Debrief: Cardinals, Saints Shock The World For Very Different Reasons

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals is unable to catch a ball as Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots defends in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Cardinals beat the Patriots in New England, the Saints are 0-2 and we have another postgame handshake incident. All that and more in this week's NFL Debrief.

The San Francisco 49ers are the NFL's best team. The Kansas City Chiefs are the most disappointing. The Arizona Cardinals are the most surprising.

NFL Week 2 taught us a lot of things, including how not to execute a postgame handshake (again), the replacement refs are miserable and the Saints may not even make the playoffs.

Expecting the unexpected. Or, another week in the NFL.

More: Monday Morning Jones | Week 2 Injury Report | Week 2 Recap

The Cardinals step in with the biggest upset of the year (so far)

I picked the Patriots to beat the Cardinals 45-17 and there wasn't a lot of disagreement. New England has never lost a home opener at Gillette Stadium and they're one of the best teams in the league. Even this Cardinals fan, who wrote in the comments section of my NFL picks post, didn't disagree very much.


But when Stephen Gostkowski's kick sailed wide right the Cardinals were celebrating. They just beat the Patriots in their own house, 20-18.

This is not only the biggest upset of the week but one of the biggest over the entire season. Arizona is now 2-0, the same Arizona team that I predicted would be in contention for the No. 1 overall pick. They're now tied with the 49ers for first place in the NFC West.

So, yeah, kinda shows how much I know.

VIDEO: Recapping Week 2

Are the 49ers the best team in the NFL?

Bomani Jones is wondering the same thing.

I got some flack last week for putting the 49ers third in SB Nation's power rankings. Watching them beat the Lions on Sunday Night Football and you realize that this team is not a fluke. They really are that good.

The defense is the obvious strong suit and it showed it on Sunday, limiting Calvin Johnson to only (yes, only) 94 yards. They created turnovers. They made stops when they needed it. The defense is scary good.

The one area of the team that I figured would doom San Francisco is quarterback. Alex Smith has been average at best in his NFL career, yet there he was on Sunday night throwing beautiful passes, like this one to Vernon Davis.


Once again, I look like an idiot after suggesting before the season that the 49ers weren't for real.

The replacement refs are horrible, and Saints (and Seahawks!) fans

On early Sunday morning, ESPN reported that one of the replacement refs set to work the Saints-Panthers game was a Saints fan, a big enough fan that he had pictures of himself in Saints gear on his Facebook page.

The NFL, who didn't realize this, pulled the ref from the game. NFL Network later reported that a referee set to work the Seahawks game had connections to the Seahawks.

Not only is a referee wearing team gear a bad look, the timing is awful because the replacement refs on Sunday were also awful. We'll have much, much more on the ineptitude of the referees. There's not enough space here to cover it.

We want the real referees back....Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Speaking of referees unable to control the game....

Pretty sure you can't throw a punch in a game.

Award for the most disappointing start goes to the Chiefs

I'm a Chiefs fan, so this is especially depressing for me. Some folks picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West with a talented roster and a so-so quarterback. The defense, which finished in the top 12 the past two years, was supposed to be one of the strong suits, along with Jamaal Charles and the running game.

Last week, it was a 40-24 loss to the Falcons. This week, it's a 35-17 blowout to the Bills, a game that wasn't as close as the score indicates. Charles, who I thought was the one bright spot on this team even when it loses, carried the ball six times for a Chris Johnson-esque three yards.

This sums up the Chiefs play through two weeks:


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Aaron Hernandez is the big Week 2 injury

Hernandez suffered what is believed to be a high ankle sprain, a big injury to a Patriots team that lost in a huge upset to the Cardinals. High ankle sprains can last anywhere from a week to six weeks. Hernandez, according to reports, is facing a six week timetable, give or take a week.

The Patriots, for some reason, haven't given Wes Welker a ton of playing time. With one of their receivers (OK, a tight end) off the field, maybe they'll be forced to play Welker.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

The Saints are suddenly 0-2

The Saints are winless through two weeks just like everyone thought, right?

Most thought the Saints would still be successful despite the loss of Sean Payton as their head coach, and the other bounty-related suspensions. It seems Payton's absence has affected the defense, not the offense. The Saints defense has given up 35 and 40 points in the last two weeks. As good as their offense is, you can't expect to consistently win games like that.

Things don't get much easier with games against the Chiefs, Packers and Chargers. Is it unreasonable to think the Saints could be facing a 1-4 start?

The only thing worse than an 0-2 start would be an injury to Drew Brees


He re-entered the game after that play and appeared to be fine. But watch that GIF again and see his leg get rolled up.

You can overcome an 0-2 start. You can't overcome an injury to Brees.

A handshake incident, but not Harbaugh vs. Schwartz

Kudos to Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz for executing a postgame handshake without incident. While the world was focused on the handshake between those two, Tom Coughlin and Greg Schiano treated us to this:


The backstory: The Giants, who won, were kneeling the ball to end the game and the Bucs defensive linemen charged through the line on the kneel down, knocking over several Giants players. The game ended and the Giants won, but Coughlin was not happy with Schiano's end-of-game tactics with the kneel down.

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