Melissa's Monday Musings - Week 2
By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 17, 2012
Week 2 is in the homestretch and it feels like some trends are taking form. We can see how certain teams are clearly dominant, while others are at crossroads. Of course those teams can easily reverse roles next week as is the nature of this fine game we love so dearly.
Who’s Got it Better Than the 49ers?
Nobody. Literally nobody. After two weeks and two impressive wins it’s safe to consider the 49ers an early Super Bowl contender. There were so many impressive elements to the Detroit win, but let’s focus on the guy who deserves it most – Alex Smith. I have been a Smith apologist for years, pining for the day he could have some continuity in his coaching. Bam. What Smith lacks in physical attributes (elite arm and scrambling ability, although those aren’t bad) he makes up for with really smart decision-making. His audibles last night were almost all successful, and his accuracy was actually at an elite level. Sure, Smith will never have a 5,000-yard passing season but he is turning into one of the most efficient passers in the league. He is absolutely perfect for Harbaugh’s system. The coolest thing about Smith is that he’s a bust-turned-above-average quarterback, which is a kind of trajectory that almost never happens in the NFL.
NFC West Supremacy
When you look at the NIners schedule that includes upcoming games against the Giants, Saints, Bears and Patriots, perhaps the toughest competition will come from within the division. The NFC West is the only division with two 2-0 teams (SF and Arizona), and where all four teams won yesterday. And the other division wins were equally impressive. Arizona displayed a punishing, turnover-inducing defense against the Patriots. Seattle’s defense also looks as it was billed, - spectacular - while Russell Wilson showed improvement with decision-making and Marsahwn Lynch looked well, like a beast. And the Rams were able to move the ball around and bring a lot of pressure to RG3. Overall, the coaching in the division is at a high level and with Carroll and Harbaugh, in particular, we’re starting to see more guys gel under their systems.
Here are the final scores, all victories against teams who were 1-0:
Arizona 20 New England 18
Seattle 27 Dallas 7
St. Louis 31 Washington 28
San Francisco 27 Detroit 19
Fooled Us Once
The Jets went back to being the Jets today. How can a team that put up 48 points last week only muster 10 this week? The disparity between the Steelers defense and Bills defense is great, but not that great. Sanchez was supposed to have broken the inconsistency, and help put an end to all these ridiculous Tim Tebow specials. While Sanchez was poor, his receivers weren’t doing him any favors. In particular, I was surprised WR Stephen Hill, with his nice combination of strength and speed, wasn’t more in the mix.
As for the Cowboys, sigh. I know there are a lot of you Cowboys fans out there. Why don’t you make your laundry list for us?
The Other New York QB
Eli Manning had 510 yards and 3 TDs, yet somehow it’s hard to call what we saw an elite performance. This was a classic case of Good Eli/Bad Eli – except within one game.
Speaking of elite QBs, the list is short if you’re just looking at 2012. Here is mine:
Robert Griffin III
Peyton Manning (subject to change tomorrow night)
Matt Ryan (see Peyton)
Aaron Rodgers (overthrowing)
Drew Brees (underthrowing)
Eli Manning (too many picks)
Matthew Stafford (lack of accuracy)
The Replacements: Part Deux
Despite Roger Goodell continuing to call the replacements “credible,” the consensus is they were far from it. Now I generally agree with that assessment, particular when it comes to blowing the whistle and calling the defenseless receiver penalty. However, as I am starting to notice every missed pass interference call, I wonder how pixelated the microscope we’re viewing these refs through really is. They are being ridiculously scrutinized at this point – for pretty much everything. I am not suggesting we cut them any slack; this is simply a reminder that the grass isn’t really as greener as you think. Fans will have problems with the regular refs when they return, too. So is the nature of the position.
Welcome to the League, Trent Richardson
After a subpar start, Trent Richardson had his first big game in the NFL. He went over 100 yards but really showed us why the Browns took him at #3 on a screen pass in the third quarter in which he juked his way past three tacklers to reach the end zone. It was the type of highlight you could watch over and over again. And no, I don’t own Richardson in fantasy.
Jackson vs. Smith
One thing I never really thought about until yesterday is how similarly the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson and the Panthers’ Steve Smith react to getting receptions. In a way, I think of Jackson as a young Steve Smith in terms of his emotional play. Smith has matured in a lot of ways and his enthusiasm seems to come from a good place now, and not one with a side of trash talking and brawling. Jackson, on the other hand, is an explosive, and it always comes as a shock when he is involved in a play and doesn’t draw a flag, As far as actual toughness, that has to come to Steve Smith for the sole fact that he wears a bandana.
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