Last week marked reinvented territory for me, as I recognized one player from each of the 15 NFL teams that were victorious in Week 1.
This week is a little different in the sense that none of the Week 2 games ended in a tie.
Check out the bullet points and text below to see which 16 players got recognized as the Impact Players Of The Week for Week 2:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. Carolina Panthers-The Buccaneers mostly “square peg in a round hole” defense stepped up big time, as they kept the Panthers out of the end zone all night long. The defensive effort was led by outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, whom racked up a career-high three sacks. Plus, he had a very important hit on 2nd-and-10, as his timely hit on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton caused the 2015 MVP to be off target on a possible game-winning touchdown pass to Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore. Barrett also blew up a running play on the Panthers’ final offensive play of the game, as he funneled Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (Barrett’s teammate) for the fourth-year pro out of the University of Florida to tackle the Panthers’ best skill position player short of the first down on a fourth-and-1 play deep in Buccaneers territory. The 20-14 Buccaneers win was only the third time that the Buccaneers have won in Bank Of America Stadium during the Cam Newton era, thanks in large part to Barrett, whom gets the Impact Player Of The Week award for this game.
- San Francisco 49ers Vs. Cincinnati Bengals-For the first time in this revised Impact Player award system, a player wins the weekly award in back-to-back weeks, as 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo clearly resembled the quarterback whom played well in place of Tom Brady back in 2016. Against the Bengals in a resounding 41-17 victory, Jimmy G accounted for three of the 49ers five touchdowns via passes, along with throwing for 297 yards and suffering no sacks.
- Los Angeles Chargers Vs. Detroit Lions-No late lead in a close game is safe when Philip Rivers has the ball with a chance to either tie or take the lead (see Week 15 last season against the Kansas City Chiefs). Down 13-10 with 1:10 to go in regulation, Rivers tried the latter, as he heaved a pass intended to the end zone for his top target in wide Keenan Allen, only for the Lions’ best cornerback in Darius Slay to pick off the pass for a Detroit touchback. The Lions still had to pick up yards to both run out the clock and make the Chargers burn all their timeouts, as the visiting team still had all three remaining. But luckily for the Motor City Kitties, they got the necessary yards to accomplish the former and very nearly the latter. It would have been apropos to pick Lions tight end Jesse James, as his 7-yard reception on 3rd-and-six iced the game for his team. However, Slay put them in the position of running the clock out, thus the Mississippi State alum getting the Impact Player Of The Week award for this game.
- Minnesota Vikings Vs. Green Bay Packers-For the second week in a row, a Packers defensive back gets this award. And just like last week, the award is based on a Packers defensive back coming up with a momentum-killing interception, as third-year cornerback Kevin King picked off a Kirk Cousins pass that was intended for Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the end zone. The pass could have turned a 21-16 Vikings deficit into a 22-21 Vikings lead with a PAT attempt or two-point conversion attempt still to come. But instead, the Vikings came away empty and didn’t get anywhere close to the end zone in their four subsequent offensive plays of that game.
- Indianapolis Colts Vs. Tennessee Titans-The trend of rewarding defensive backs continues, as Colts cornerback Quincy Wilson played air tight coverage against Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown on a Marcus Mariota pass attempt on a 4th-and-two play that could have gotten the Titans in range for kicker Cairo Santos to win the game at the buzzer. But thanks to Wilson, the Colts won a game that they had to have, by the score of 19-17.
- New England Patriots Vs. Miami Dolphins-Sony Michel set the tone with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Patriots an early lead 7-0, and Antonio Brown added to it with a 20-yard touchdown reception. However, the Patriots lead wasn’t insurmountable early in the second half, as they were up 13-0 and had to punt after their first possession of the third quarter. But all notions of the Dolphins getting back in striking distance were thwarted on their first possession of the second half, as Patriots stalwart Devin McCourty picked off a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass at the Dolphins 36-yard line to set up Stephen Gostkowksi’s 28-yard field goal to turn a 13-0 lead into 16-0 lead. Stephon Gilmore and Jamie Collins Sr. had interceptions as well, but both of theirs came when the game was out of reach for the Dolphins. However, the same can’t be said for McCourty’s interception, thus making the 10-year veteran out of Rutgers the Impact Player of this game.
- Buffalo Bills Vs. New York Giants-Another quarterback gets the award in back-to-back weeks, as Bills second-year signal caller Josh Allen appears to be the team’s first franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly. The Wyoming alum led the Bills to a second victory at MetLife Stadium in as many weeks, by accounting for 258 total yards (237 net passing, 21 net rushing) and two total touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), and is starting to look like the 2017 version of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. The back-to-back road victories for the Bills have them at 2-0 for the first time since the 2014 season, thanks in large part to Allen, the Impact Player of this game.
- Seattle Seahawks Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers-Back-to-back weekly winners seem to be a common thread in this entry, as Seahawks running back Chris Carson dashed any hope of a Steelers buzzer-beating field goal, by picking up two yards on a 4th-and-one carry to advance the ball to Pittsburgh’s 31-yard line following the two-minute warning. The run then led to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson taking a knee, thus making the Steelers use their last timeout and putting them at the mercy of more Seattle clock-killing. Carson had a modest 60 yards on 15 carries, but it was the last carry for those two yards that mattered most, thus making him the Impact Player of this game.
- Dallas Cowboys Vs. Washington Redskins-Dak Prescott joins Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Allen and Chris Carson in the company of back-to-back Impact Player winners. Against the team that he earned his first career victory against, the 2016 Offensive Rookie Of The Year did it with his arm again, as he went 26-for-30 for 261 net passing yards and three touchdowns. Plus, he did it with his legs, as his 42-yard run helped set up his 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten.
- Arizona Cardinals Vs. Baltimore Ravens-The common thread continues in back-to-back Impact Player award winners, as Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson did it with both his arm and legs this time around. In a game that featured Terrell Suggs’ first game as a Ravens opponent, Jackson accounted for 378 total yards (258 passing, 120 rushing) and two touchdown passes. However, it was a completion that didn’t go for a touchdown that iced the game for the Ravens, as Jackson hit rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown for a 41-yard completion on 3rd-and-eleven from the Baltimore 44-yard line and their team nursing a six-point lead late in that game.
- Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Houston Texans-The Texans seemed to be in danger of losing back-to-back games late in the fourth quarter, as the Jaguars elected to go for two following a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew to wide receiver DJ Chark. But thanks to Texans free safety Justin Reid making a tackle against Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette that caused the beastly running back to lose his momentum on the carry, the Jaguars failed on the two-point attempt. The tremendous and successful effort of Reid makes him the Impact Player of this game.
- Kansas City Chiefs Vs. Oakland Raiders-After falling behind 10-0 after the first quarter, the Chiefs reeled off 28 unanswered points to turn that deficit into a 28-10 victory. All of those points came from via touchdown passes from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whom threw for 433 net passing yards to go along with those four touchdown passes. Hands down, the 2018 NFL MVP is this game’s Impact Player.
- Chicago Bears Vs. Denver Broncos-After seeing that horrible roughing the passer call against Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, I’m not going to give Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky the Impact Player award of this game. However, I will give it to Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro for beating the buzzer with a 53-yard field goal. Especially with how last season ended for the Bears.
- New Orleans Saints Vs. Los Angeles Rams-Keeping it “special” with this award, as another special teams player gets it in the person of Rams wide receiver/return specialist JoJo Natson, whom returned a Thomas Morstead punt to the Saints 26-yard line to set up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Brandin Cooks to turn a 13-6 Rams lead into a 20-6 Rams lead.
- Philadelphia Eagles Vs. Atlanta Falcons-Late-game defensive back play gets a Falcons player from that position group this award, as Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver tackled the Eagles’ all-world tight end Zach Ertz a yard shy of a first down on a 4th-and-8 play. The play helped the Falcons hang on for a 24-20 victory, along with preventing an 0-2 start.
- Cleveland Browns Vs. New York Jets-Myles Garrett would be my choice for this game’s Impact Player award. However, it’s too hard to ignore Odell Beckham Jr.’s six receptions for 161 yards, one of which went for a career-long 89 yards and a touchdown. Beckham’s highlight reel performance on Monday Night Football in a stadium that used to be home for him makes him the Impact Player of this game.