Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season was one of the weirdest weeks in recent memory, littered filled with high-quality games and countless big-name injuries.
Star running backs Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley are out for extended periods of time. CMC will miss 4-6 weeks due to a sprain while Barkley will miss the entire rest of the season (can we list their specific injury?). The 49ers lost two of their running backs, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, for multiple weeks (maybe list their injuries as well for consistency). Wide receiver Courtland Sutton is out for the season, while wide receivers Parris Campbell of the Colts and Sterling Shepard of the Giants are also out indefinitely. Denver quarterback Drew Lock is set to miss 2-6 weeks. Two star linebackers, San Francisco’s Nick Bosa and Seattle’s Bruce Irvin both reported torn ACLs and will miss the season.
Injuries can be brutal, with the Broncos and 49ers experiencing the worst of them. One can only hope for a full recovery for every name across the board. Regardless, the show must go on. Among the several games played to completion over the weekend, three in particular stood out.
In Los Angeles, Justin Herbert of the L.A. Chargers took to the field for the first time in his NFL career after starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a last-minute chest injury that sidelined him. Herbert delivered on his opening drive, leading a touchdown drive that he ran in himself in the end. In fact, those seven points gave the team a surprising amount of room against the Chiefs (this doesn’t seem relevant to the current story). They ended up trading scores in the second, and the Chargers somehow led going into halftime. In the third quarter, the teams traded field goals before Kansas City tied it up with another touchdown. Field goals were traded one last time in the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime. After the Chargers went three-and-out to start, they punted it to the Chiefs. Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker drilled a 53-yard field goal to win the game, but it was called back due to a penalty, setting them back an additional five yards. Butker again came through, drilling the subsequent 58-yard field goal, but it again didn’t count as a timeout was called. For the third and final time, Butker hit the final field goal to win the game in what was somehow the second-most clutch moment of the day.
The Atlanta Falcons scored first against the Dallas Cowboys, going up 7-0. Dallas fumbled on their next possession, and Atlanta scored again. 14-0. On fourth down, Dak Prescott’s throw fell incomplete, and Atlanta turned that change of possession into a field goal. 17-0. Dallas fumbled again and the Falcons kicked another field goal. 20-0. Over the remainder of the first half, the two teams traded field goals and touchdowns, making the halftime score 29-10. Coming out of the half, Dallas scored two touchdowns on consecutive drives, cutting the lead to five points. Atlanta scored another touchdown, making the score 36-24 as the game headed into the fourth quarter. A failed fourth-down conversion gave Atlanta another field goal, making it 39-24. The Cowboys scored a touchdown, but they were still down 39-30 with just four minutes to go. The Falcons had a 99.9 percent chance to win the game. Prescott, with ice in his veins, drove 91 yards in one minute of game time to make it 39-37. The Cowboys had to convert an onside field goal, something that has been successful less than 10 percent of the time over the last two years. The ball didn’t travel the necessary ten yards to be picked up until the last moment, and the Cowboys made it happen. Over the next six plays, they got within field goal range, which allowed Greg Zuerlein to be the hero in what was a truly miraculous game.
This incredible day of football was capped on Sunday night, as the new-look Patriots came to town to face the Seahawks. Both teams had strong showings in Week 1, and this game alone might have set the power rankings for weeks to come. However, it didn’t start off well for Seattle. A fluke interception bounced off the hands of Greg Olsen, which was returned for a touchdown, putting the Patriots up 7-0. Seattle then marched it down the field on the next play to tie the game. But in New England’s first offensive possession, they re-took the lead 14-7. The only score made in the second quarter was through another Seattle touchdown, tying the score at 14 heading into halftime.
The Patriots opened the second half with a field goal; Seattle answered with a touchdown. It was 21-17. The next Patriot drive was interrupted by a touchdown from newly acquired cornerback Quinton Dunbar, which set up another touchdown drive for the Seahawks. It was 28-17, but the Pats scored again on their next drive, lowering the deficit to five heading into the final 15 minutes. The teams traded punts before Seattle scored again, extending the lead to 35-23 with just six minutes left to play. New England marched 75 yards in two minutes to make it a five-point game and to force a Seattle punt, which gave them under two minutes to make the magic happen. They worked it to the one-yard line.
Flashback to February 1, 2015: it was a Super Bowl between the reigning champions, the Seattle Seahawks, and the New England Patriots. The Seahawks were down four on the one-yard line. They called a pass play. It was intercepted. Game over. Football fans to this day say the Seahawks should have ran the ball with Marshawn Lynch.
Now the Patriots were in the same spot, and ready to make the right choice. They called a designed quarterback sneak for Cam Newton. L.J. Collier was there to make the tackle. It was his hero play and the Patriots were stuffed. Sure, the last time around was a Super Bowl and this was just Week 2, but on some level there was justice for Seahawks fans. Seattle took the victory to advance 2-0.
Thus ended an exciting week of football. Some upsets were sprinkled in as well: the Raiders beat the Saints on Monday night, the Bears beat the Giants, and the Colts handily beat the Vikings. Other, more predictable games happened: Brady won his first game as a Buccaneer, the 49ers smacked down the Jets, and Baltimore routed Houston. Amidst all the loses and wins, the Seahawks still emerged as a premier team in the League. The NFL website even ranked them fifth overall. Heading into Week 3, the Seahawks will play the 1-1 Cowboys at home on Sunday afternoon.