NFL

Cowboys stun Falcons, Barkley leads lengthy casualty list

By Sports Desk September 20, 2020

The Dallas Cowboys produced a stunning comeback while Tom Brady clinched his first win with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during an eventful Week 2 of the NFL season. 

Having lost in New Orleans last time out, quarterback Brady steered the Bucs past the plucky Carolina Panthers in their home opener. 

There were victories for the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers too, while the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans also moved to 2-0. 

However, Sunday's early games were beset by injuries, most notably to Saquon Barkley. The San Francisco 49ers also suffered key losses, though still came out on top against the New York Jets. 

BRADY UP AND RUNNING 

Tampa Bay looked set to be sailing away with the game against the Panthers when they led 21-0 at half-time, Brady helping open up the lead with a 23-yard touchdown throw to Mike Evans. 

Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette scored on the ground to open up a commanding advantage, yet a pair of touchdowns for Christian McCaffrey - who was later sidelined with an ankle issue - put the game back in the balance. 

Both teams traded field goals to leave the score at 24-17, but the Bucs clinched the result when Fournette galloped in from 46 yards out inside the final two minutes. 

PACKERS AND BEARS STILL UNBEATEN 

Aaron Jones was the star of the show as the Packers thrashed the Detroit Lions, the running back rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns, as well as posting four catches for 68 yards and a score. 

The Bears are also unbeaten in the NFC North - holding off the New York Giants in the closing seconds to seal a 17-13 triumph - but the Minnesota Vikings were beaten again, going down 28-11 to the Indianapolis Colts 

To add further woe for the Giants, star running back Barkley left the game in the first half with a right knee injury. It was later reported by a number of sources that he had suffered a torn ACL. 

COWBOYS LEAVE IT LATE

It appeared Dallas were set to suffer a second straight defeat as they trailed against Atlanta for the majority of a high-scoring contest. 

Calvin Ridley caught two of quarterback Matt Ryan's four touchdown throws as the Falcons impressed on offense, helping them hold a 39-24 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. 

Yet Mike McCarthy avoided losing his home opener as Cowboys head coach thanks to a remarkable rally. Quarterback Dak Prescott's third rushing touchdown cut the deficit to two and, after a successful onside kick secured possession again, Greg Zuerlein kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired. 

For the Falcons, the 20-point blown lead is the largest they have let slip away since Super Bowl LI, when they were 25 points up on the New England Patriots. 

INJURIES A PAIN

Barkley was not the only leading name to be forced out of action.

The already depleted 49ers defeated the Jets 31-13, but the win may have come at a cost. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert were both hurt during the game, while defensive duo Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas suffered knee injuries.

The Denver Broncos also had to make an enforced change at quarterback, Drew Lock sidelined with a shoulder issue. Jeff Driskel replaced him during the loss to Pittsburgh.

Week 2 scores:

Chicago Bears 17-13 New York Giants 
Dallas Cowboys 40-39 Atlanta Falcons 
Green Bay Packers 42-21 Detroit Lions 
Tennessee Titans 33-30 Jacksonville Jaguars 
Indianapolis Colts 28-11 Minnesota Vikings 
Buffalo Bills 31-28 Miami Dolphins 
San Francisco 49ers 31-13 New York Jets 
Los Angeles Rams 37-19 Philadelphia Eagles 
Pittsburgh Steelers 26-21 Denver Broncos 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-17 Carolina Panthers 

Related items

  • Ravens-Steelers moved to Tuesday after Lamar Jackson tests positive for COVID-19 Ravens-Steelers moved to Tuesday after Lamar Jackson tests positive for COVID-19

    The Baltimore Ravens' game at the Pittsburgh Steelers has been moved again - this time to Tuesday - as their coronavirus outbreak showed no signs of easing.

    The AFC North match-up was moved from Thanksgiving Day to the weekend after several Ravens players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

    However, further cases followed, including a positive test for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, widely reported on Thursday.

    Coach John Harbaugh then told ESPN the team would not be able to return to their training facility - shut down earlier in the week - until Monday at the earliest, putting the Steelers game in serious doubt.

    And the second postponement of the game followed on Friday, also affecting next week's Thursday night fixture between Baltimore and the Los Angeles Rams.

    Jackson would appear a major doubt to play in either match due to the recency of his positive test.

    Back-up quarterback Robert Griffin III appeared to confirm Jackson had contracted the virus as he posted on social media.

    Griffin wrote on Twitter on Thursday: "Praying for my brother @Lj_era8 and every player, staff member and their families dealing with COVID-19.

    "Ensuring the safety of the entire organisation is important. Handling this outbreak within the team is bigger than football."

    Jackson has had a more testing campaign in 2020, throwing for 15 TDs but six picks - already matching his total interceptions for 2019.

    He has added three rushing scores, yet the 23-year-old has been sacked 24 times - one more than last year - for 138 yards and has had six fumbles.

    However, the news still represents a blow to the Ravens, who can ill afford a third straight defeat after losing to the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans.

    Baltimore have fallen to 6-4 and third in the division, a game behind the second-placed Cleveland Browns and four back of rivals the Steelers.

    Heading into this game, Pittsburgh are the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, top of the AFC North with a 10-0 record.

    Griffin has taken just 17 snaps across three games this season. Jackson had built a big lead on all three occasions, with Griffin completing only one pass this year and also throwing a pick.

    Griffin's last regular season start came against the Steelers in 2019, when Baltimore ran out 28-10 winners but the QB threw 11-of-21 for no touchdowns and an interception.

  • NFL Talking Point: Should the Lions still be a Thanksgiving tradition? NFL Talking Point: Should the Lions still be a Thanksgiving tradition?

    The day after Thanksgiving is a day for eating leftovers, doing some Black Friday shopping and if you have the misfortune of being a Detroit Lions fan, ruminating on another demoralising defeat.

    After a particularly chastening 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday, even Lions fans must be wondering whether it is worth having their team spoil their holiday with consistently poor performances on Thanksgiving.

    The Lions, along with the Dallas Cowboys - who were blown out by the Washington Football Team - are an NFL tradition when it comes to Thanksgiving. 

    But gone are the days when Barry Sanders would spend Thanksgiving making defenders look foolish and recently it is the Lions who most frequently leave the field red-faced.

    Here we examine the numbers the Lions have put up in Thanksgiving games to assess if their presence on the schedule is a tradition worth maintaining.

    The losing streak is stretched

    The raw win-loss numbers do not make for pretty reading for Detroit. After the defeat to the Texans, the Lions are 4-13 in Thanksgiving games since 2004.

    Detroit had stopped an eight-game losing streak in 2013, a victory over the Green Bay Packers starting a four-game winning streak.

    However, they are now firmly back on the wrong track, Houston's triumph making it four turkey day defeats in a row for the Lions.

    Turnovers again prove costly

    Detroit went into Thursday's game with opponents having dominated the per-game numbers in Thanksgiving matchups since 2004.

    Prior to the meeting with the Texans, opponents had averaged 28.1 points per game to the 21.1 for the Lions, with Detroit also being outgained 364.3 to 360.4 yards per game.

    The major difference between the Lions and their Thanksgiving foes in that timeframe has been Detroit's inability to protect the football.

    Before the Week 12 clash with Houston, the Lions had doubled the number of turnovers of their Thanksgiving opponents, committing 36 compared to 18 by the teams they faced.

    That trend continued on Thursday. Though the Lions marginally outgained the Texans, they ended the game with three giveaways while Houston turned the ball over just once.

    It was a performance in keeping with the ineptitude they have displayed under Matt Patricia on Thanksgiving.

    Patricia the main problem?

    Across the three games the Lions have played under Patricia, they have committed six turnovers.

    Their opponents, by contrast, have given the ball away three times. Given that discrepancy, it is no surprise the Lions are 0-3 on Thanksgiving under the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator.

    And, with those games making up the majority of their now four-game losing streak, perhaps it is worth seeing whether the Lions stay the course with Patricia before calling for them to be removed from the Thanksgiving slate.

    With Detroit's hopes of making the playoffs basically extinguished for another season at 4-7, the decision appears a simple one for the Lions brass.

    Patricia is 13-29-1 as a head coach. Few coaches survive posting such a record and, if the Lions decide to move on, then they merit the opportunity to turn things around on Thanksgiving in 2021.

    However, if they elect to give him another season at the helm, then it is clear that NFL fans deserve the opportunity to have something else on their Thanksgiving menu.

  • Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: Brady and Mahomes go head-to-head Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: Brady and Mahomes go head-to-head

    The last two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are set to face off on Sunday as Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs face Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Defending champions Kansas City have a 9-1 record this season, while the Buccaneers are 7-3.

    Though Tampa have lost two of their past three games, the Chiefs' most recent two victories have been by tight margins, and now an all-time great in the form of six-time Super Bowl champion Brady goes up against the league's current star quarterback.

    The game in Florida is among the key Thanksgiving weekend matchups we preview with Stats Perform data.

    FEATURED GAME

    Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sunday, 4:25pm (all times Eastern)

    - This game is a matchup of the quarterbacks who won the past two Super Bowls, with Brady winning Super Bowl LIII two seasons ago with the New England Patriots and Mahomes and the Chiefs winning the Lombardi Trophy last February. The Bucs are 1-4 this season versus QBs who have started in Super Bowls, and 6-0 in all other games.

    - Kansas City have reeled off five straight victories, scoring 30 or more points in each of the last four contests. In the franchise's 61-year history, the team has scored 30 or more points in five successive games on two occasions, in 2004 and 2018 (both streaks ended at five games).

    - With a 13.5 touchdown-interception ratio (27 TD passes, two picks), Mahomes is tied for the second best single-season mark among qualifiers in league history. He is topped by only Brady and his 14.0 mark in 2016 as a member of the Patriots (28 and two).

    - Twenty years and six days after making his NFL debut, Brady will look to snap a two-game home losing streak. It is the third time in his career and first since 2006 that the veteran campaigner has lost consecutive home contests in the regular season; he has never suffered a three-game home losing streak.

    OTHER KEY GAMES

    Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots - Sunday, 1pm

    - New England have won six of the last seven games between these teams dating back to 1993, with Arizona's only win coming in 2012 in Foxborough. The Cardinals have not scored more than 21 points in any of those seven games – they had at least 24 in six of the first seven all-time meetings between these teams (6-1).

    Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday, 1pm

    - Ryan Tannehill has 44 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his 20 starts with Tennessee. His 4.89 TD/INT ratio is the best all-time by a quarterback in his first 20 starts with a team, surpassing Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos (4.82).

    Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers - Sunday, 8:20pm

    - Green Bay are 15-3 against Chicago since the 2011 season – the third best record by one team against a divisional opponent in that span, behind the Patriots against the New York Jets (17-2) and the Steelers against the Cinciannati Bengals (16-3). Since the start of last season, the Bears have gone 14 games scoring fewer than 20 points. Only the Jets (17), Bengals (15), and Washington (15) have had more such games.

    Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles - Monday, 8:15pm

    - The Eagles are 2-5 against the Seahawks in Philadelphia, their worst home record against any active franchise. Losers of the last five such matchups, Philly have not dropped six consecutive home games to a single opponent since losing six straight to the Cardinals from 1973 to 1978.

    ELSEWHERE...

    Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills - Sunday, 1pm

    - The Chargers have won four straight over the Bills by a combined 80 points, winning each by double digits. The last time the Bills beat the Chargers was on October 19, 2008 – that 12-year span without a win is the fourth-longest active drought by any team against a conference opponent.

    Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons - Sunday, 1pm

    - Atlanta's Matt Ryan is set to play in his 200th career game on Sunday. His tally of 54,164 passing yards (though 199 games) is the second-most in NFL history in a player's first 200 games, trailing only Drew Brees (55,439).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.