The Kansas City Chiefs aren't ones for panic, certainly not in the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes era. Even in the most trying of situations, facing third and long and trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter of their Super Bowl LIV triumph in the 2019 season, Reid and Mahomes kept their cool, the latter unfurling a 44-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill that turned the contest on its head.

While their high-powered offense has no reason to be anything other than coolness personified, with 61 points scored through the first two weeks, there might be some cause for desperation on the defensive side of the ball.

Steve Spagnuolo's defense is the eighth-worst in the league in terms of offensive points allowed (58). No defense is allowing more yards per play (7.56) than that of Kansas City, the Chiefs conceding 9.37 yards per pass (31st) and 6.03 yards per rush (last) after being gashed on the ground in their thrilling Week 2 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.

In other words, through two weeks, the Chiefs are not stopping anybody, whether that be a ball-carrier or a passer, and that is a significant issue heading into a matchup with a signal-caller who has only furthered his case for a place among the elite so far this season.

Los Angeles Chargers star Justin Herbert, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, is fourth in the NFL with 337.5 passing yards per game, producing a pair of hugely impressive performances to start the season.

Missed opportunities, including a pair of Herbert interceptions, doomed the Chargers to a last-gasp defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. Save for those picks, though, it was a display in which the former sixth overall selection continued to demonstrate his ability to make deadly accurate throws on passes of the highest difficulty.

And the numbers suggest the Chiefs will not have many avenues through which to disrupt him.

The Chiefs pass rush has endured an unproductive start to the season, registering only 20 pressures, third-lowest in the NFL, so far this term.

Star defensive lineman Chris Jones has played the majority of his snaps on the edge this season, having spent most of his career on the interior, and the switch has not yielded the desired results.

He has won just six of his 21 pass rushes this season, while Frank Clark has got the better of his pass protector only once in 17 attempts.

Jones and Clark have the talent to drastically improve those numbers. However, even if they manage to pressure Herbert, it may not lead to opportunities to create negative plays.

When pressured, Herbert, according to Stats Perform data, delivers an accurate well-thrown ball 88.2 per cent of the time, first among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts under duress.

One area where the Chiefs defense has excelled is in creating turnovers. Kansas City have four to their name already, including three interceptions.

But those takeaways have not helped Kansas City keep opposing offenses in check, Baltimore prevailing in primetime despite a pair of picks for Lamar Jackson.

Their vulnerability against the run makes the Chiefs defense an enticing opponent for Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. His average of 2.83 yards after contact per attempt is second among backs with at least 10 carries, and all the signs point to another long day for Kansas City on that side of the ball.

There are, of course, changes that can be made to aid their cause. Shifting Jones back inside could up his production, while giving both him and Clark opportunities to rush against Storm Norton, who has allowed a pressure rate of 14.2 per cent in relief of the injured Bryan Bulaga at right tackle, may be a route towards Kansas City disrupting Herbert more often than they have opposing quarterbacks so far this year.

Yet the Chiefs need to not only disrupt Herbert but to affect his throws. Mahomes' ability to put up points can keep the Chiefs in any game; however, if they cannot find a way to impact Herbert or take away the run, Kansas City risk a shootout with a team that can go blow for blow with them and a potential 1-2 start that seemed unthinkable when they led the Ravens by 11 points last week.

It's only Week 3 but, for a Super Bowl favourite, the pressure is on a team that has struggled to generate it.

The only two remaining unbeaten teams in the AFC are tied in the AFC West, but neither will be in action at Arrowhead on Sunday.

While the Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos have made strong starts to move to 2-0 in 2021, division favourites the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers were each beaten in Week 2.

Those results ramp up the pressure heading into Week 3 when leading young quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert meet.

Mahomes sat out last year's Week 17 game, which the Chargers won on the road, but he will be involved this time and hoping to bounce back.

This is one of a number of intriguing matchups to look forward to this Sunday, as explored by Stats Perform.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

That late-season win for the Chargers last year moved them to 2-1 at the Chiefs since the start of 2018. Kansas City are 18-4 at home to every other team in that time.

The Chiefs are a little vulnerable right now, too, having allowed a league-high 938 total net yards so far this season – music to Herbert's ears – and last week lost to the Baltimore Ravens despite leading by 11 points entering the fourth quarter. It was their first defeat with Mahomes under center when leading by double digits through three quarters, having previously gone 29-0 in such scenarios.

But the Chargers have an awful knack of coming up just short. Their 20-17 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys last time out was a league-high 16th loss by seven points or fewer since 2019.

Herbert does not know when he is beaten, though. He leads all QBs in completions (19), passing yards (271) and first-down conversions (16) on third down this season, while he is a stunning five-for-six for 112 yards and four first downs on third-and-11 or more.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Los Angeles Rams

There are also two games this week that could easily be early rehearsals for the NFC Championship Game, starting with Tom Brady versus the Rams defense.

Brady threw for five touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons last week and became the fifth player – including a former Buc in Ryan Fitzpatrick (2018) – ever to toss four or more scores in each of the first two games of a season.

However, the Rams, who gave up a league-low 281.9 yards per game in 2020, recorded three sacks and two interceptions against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.

They pose a threat on offense, too, with Cooper Kupp's 271 receiving yards the third-most by a Ram through the team's first two games of a season in the past 60 yards. Reaching new heights alongside Matthew Stafford, Kupp had just 252 receiving yards over his final five games of 2020.

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers

The Packers and the 49ers will consider themselves worthy challengers to the Bucs and the Rams, with Green Bay hoping they are now back on track after a dismal Week 1.

They restricted Kyle Shanahan's run game to 55 rushing yards in last year's matchup, with the Niners having averaged 176.8 yards on the ground across their previous eight meetings, going 6-2.

On offense, the Packers have obvious threats in the form of Aaron Jones and Aaron Rodgers.

Jones had four total TDs against the Detroit Lions, becoming the fifth running back in the past 25 yards to record three or more receiving scores in a game, while Rodgers has thrown 18 TDs to two interceptions in eight regular-season games against the Niners, with his 106.9 passer rating the highest versus San Francisco in the Super Bowl era (minimum 100 attempts).

Elsewhere...

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off their first loss under Pete Carroll when leading by 10 at halftime (now 31-1) but face favourable opponents in the Minnesota Vikings, who have lost the teams' past seven meetings – a joint-record including playoffs in the Vikings' history.

The Miami Dolphins also suffered a painful defeat last week and are unlikely to find any comfort in Jacoby Brissett's promotion in Tua Tagovailoa's absence at the Las Vegas Raiders. The backup QB has lost five of his past six games as a starter, while his streak of 146 consecutive passes without a touchdown in the NFL is the longest ongoing run.

Jameis Winston's regression for the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 came at a bad time, with the New England Patriots next up. The Pats have had four or more interceptions in a league-high 16 different games in the Bill Belichick era, including against the New York Jets last time out.

Beaten by both the 49ers and the Packers, the Lions' next test is against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson has rushed for 80 yards in four consecutive regular-season games, the most by any QB in the Super Bowl era.

Those numbers pale a little next to running back Derrick Henry's 182 yards and three rushing TDs in Seattle. Only Jim Brown (five) has had more 175-yard, three-score rushing games than the Tennessee Titan's four – tied with LaDainian Tomlinson. He plays the Indianapolis Colts next.

Sam Darnold may never develop into the kind of quarterback who can truly carry a team, but he has been exactly what the Carolina Panthers needed so far this season.  

Despite losing his top offensive weapon early in the second quarter, Darnold turned in yet another efficient if unspectacular performance on Thursday, helping the Panthers defeat the Houston Texans 24-9 to remain unbeaten.  

Darnold did not throw a touchdown pass, but he ran for two TDs and avoided turning the ball over as Carolina remade their game plan on the fly after Christian McCaffrey left the game with a hamstring injury.  

"It's always hard playing without one of your best players, but Sam stepped up and did a tremendous job tonight," tackle Cameron Erving told reporters. 

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule did not speculate on how long McCaffrey might be sidelined, but the Panthers had plenty of experience playing without him last year as he missed all but three games due to ankle and shoulder injuries.  

Darnold was not around for that, and like everyone else in the locker room will be hoping for a speedy return by the All-Pro running back.  

McCaffrey's departure during Thursday’s game just put more responsibility on Darnold's shoulders, but he handled it calmly.  

"We're starting to find our identity as an offence," Darnold said. "I've just got to, whatever play is called, we've got to execute that play. That's my job, is to get us in the right play and make sure we're hitting on all cylinders, and the offence is moving in the right direction." 

According to Stats Perform, Darnold is the second quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to throw for at least 250 yards and win in each of his first three games with a team. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is the only other QB to do it.  

Darnold is a different kind of quarterback to Mahomes, but he suddenly has one hallmark of the Kansas City star's game: confidence.  

"One thing about Sam: he has some moxie, man," Rhule said. "I mean, it's him just playing within the system but also I think he has a courageousness, but he's not crossing the line and going over the top. He's protecting the football." 

Turnovers have always been a key concern around Darnold – he had 39 interceptions and lost nine fumbles in 38 games with the New York Jets – but he has only two turnovers this season, just one of them an interception.  

That improved ball security has prompted the Panthers' coaching staff to give Darnold a bit more leeway.  

"If you watch the way we called the game, it means we trust him," Rhule said. "Even in that last drive, we were throwing four verticals with him. 

"I just think in my mind, I say to myself all the time, these are professional football players. Let them go play. Don't try to over-manage the game. Let them go make plays." 

Of course, the season is only three games old, and the Week 4 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys will provide the most difficult test yet – particularly if McCaffrey is unavailable.  

But the much-maligned 24-year-old has earned some respect with his performance so far.  

"Sam, he's a gamer," said Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick. "Guy's a flat-out baller right now." 

The Carolina Panthers lost key players on both sides of the ball to injury Thursday but managed to maintain their perfect record to start the season with a 24-9 defeat of the Houston Texans. 

The win was some consolation for Carolina on a night when they saw All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey depart in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and their top draft pick, cornerback Jaycee Horn, leave in the third with a reported broken foot. 

Carolina entered the game as the only NFL team not to trail in a game this season, and the Panthers once again struck first, with Sam Darnold capping a 10-play drive in the opening quarter by running it in himself for a five-yard touchdown. 

Their defence did surrender its first points in the first half this year, as Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills hit Anthony Miller for a one-yard TD with 29 seconds left in the opening half, but Joey Slye missed the extra point to leave Carolina in the lead entering half-time. 

Darnold had decent numbers, completing 23 of 34 passes for 304 yards, and DJ Moore caught eight passes for 126 yards, but the Panthers could not find the end zone with their passing game. 

That led to some creativity, as rookie tight end Tommy Tremble ran the ball in from seven yards out to give Carolina a 14-6 lead in the third quarter.

After the teams traded field goals in the fourth, the Panthers put the game away when Darnold ran it in from one yard out with 4:07 remaining. 

This marks the fifth time in Panthers history they have started 3-0. They made the playoffs three of the previous four times, most recently their 2015 team that went 15-1 and lost to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. 

Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey was forced to leave Thursday's game against the Houston Texans in the first half. 

McCaffrey entered the medical tent on the sidelines after a two-yard carry rush in the second quarter, and the Panthers later announced he was out for the game with a hamstring injury. 

Carolina felt his absence immediately, as backup running back Chubba Hubbard was stopped short on a fourth-and-one deep in Texans territory on a carry that in any other circumstance would have gone to McCaffrey. 

The 25-year-old had seven carries for 34 yards and two receptions for nine yards before departing. 

He led the NFL with 324 total yards through the first two weeks of this season. 

The Panthers will not want to contemplate another extended stretch without their versatile playmaker, who missed most of last year with a pair of injuries. 

McCaffrey suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and went on injured reserve before returning in Week 9. 

That game saw the 2019 All-Pro selection go down with a shoulder injury that would cost him the rest of the season. 

Those setbacks came on the heels of McCaffrey playing in every game in each of his first three NFL seasons. 

 

Is it Week 3 already? The advent of a 17th game means the regular season will stretch further into January, but the NFL campaign always seems to fly by at breakneck speed.

In the world of fantasy football, plenty of managers may be seeing things spiral out of control in a hurry after an 0-2 start.

Or maybe you're on the other end of things, with at least one win on the board and feeling satisfied that your draft-day decisions were the right ones.

Either way, it's important to remember that fantasy is a weekly game, and success hinges on the selection calls made each weekend.

Stats Perform is here to try to help you make the correct calls. Here's this week's look at four players and a defense in strong spots to produce matchup-winning fantasy scores.

Quarterback: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Herbert was frustrated in Week 2 as the Chargers let opportunities go begging in their defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, with two interceptions undermining an otherwise impressive display that saw him throw for 338 yards and a touchdown.

However, Herbert should be enticed by a matchup with a Chiefs defense that has produced turnovers but has proved extremely hospitable to opposing offenses.

Indeed, the Chiefs are allowing a league-worst 7.56 yards per play through two games. Only the Detroit Lions (9.44) are allowing more yards per pass play than the Chiefs (9.37).

Going against a porous defense and with Patrick Mahomes a near-certainty to deliver points on the other side, Herbert has a clear opportunity to record his third successive 300-yard game to start the season and put up a massive fantasy performance in a potential shootout.

Running Back: Ty'Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions

Despite seeing their running back depth decimated by injuries, the Ravens saw their backfield get going in a huge way in their stunning Week 2 win over the Chiefs.

Baltimore gashed Kansas City for 251 yards on the ground at an average of 6.1 yards per carry. The complexity that quarterback Lamar Jackson's running threat brings to their rushing attack played a significant role, but the Ravens will have been extremely encouraged by Williams' performance.

Williams averaged 5.9 yards per carry as he put up 77 yards on 13 carries, and he now gets the opportunity to go against a Lions defense that has been relatively stout against the run but has given up a league-high nine offensive touchdowns.

For fantasy managers light at running back, Williams could be an intriguing option.

Wide Receiver: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans

On the surface, there is not much intrigue in Thursday's primetime clash between the Panthers and Texans.

However, with Sam Darnold showing signs of improvement in Carolina following his departure from the New York Jets, potential fantasy matchup winners can be found among their passing game options.

Aside from Christian McCaffrey, Moore is the top threat on the Panthers' offense. He had eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown last week against a New Orleans Saints defense that is superior to that of the Texans, which allowed Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield to complete 90 per cent of his passes in Week 2.

Targeted 19 times across his first two games, if Moore gets a double-digit share as he did versus New Orleans, he will be set up perfectly to deliver another productive performance.

Tight End: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens

While the Lions may be in a rebuilding year, Hockenson is constructing an excellent case for him to be considered among the NFL's premier players at the tight end position.

He has 163 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games and now gets to face a Ravens defense giving up the most fantasy points per game in the league to opposing tight ends.

Shredded for 109 yards and a touchdown by Travis Kelce in Week 2 and for 105 yards and a score by Darren Waller in Week 1, the odds of the Ravens preventing Hockenson from producing a similar statline appear slim.

Defense: Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Backing a defense to excel after a game in which that unit gave up 26 points in a 34-33 shootout win may seem foolhardy.

While the Cardinals' defense is certainly vulnerable, as the Minnesota Vikings proved last week, Arizona could hardly ask for a better matchup in which to bounce back on that side of the ball.

Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is tied for the league lead in interceptions having tossed five already this season. His air yards per attempt average of 10.49 is second among quarterbacks with at least 10 passes, but he is delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball just 66.3 per cent of the time.

That combination of aggressiveness and inaccuracy is a recipe for a bounce-back performance from the Arizona defense.

Justin Fields will start for the Chicago Bears in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, though head coach Matt Nagy remains committed to Andy Dalton when healthy. 

Dalton suffered a knee injury during the Bears' 20-17 Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. 

Fields stepped in and the 11th overall pick in the draft produced an underwhelming display, completing six of his 13 passes for 60 yards and an interception. He also had 10 rushes for 31 yards. 

And, with Dalton unavailable due to what has been diagnosed as a bone bruise, he will get the start at quarterback on the road this week. 

"Andy is still battling through his injury. We're not expecting him to practice today or have him available this week," Nagy told a media conference on Wednesday. 

"He'll be week to week. Justin's going to be our starter. He's looking forward to it, it's a great opportunity for Justin and for all of us as a staff to be able to take this thing and see where he goes with this. 

"When Andy is healthy our plan continues for him to be the starter." 

Yet calls to start Fields long term will only grow should he excel against a playoff-calibre opponent in the Browns. 

Just 73.3 per cent of Fields' 15 passes this season have been accurate, well-thrown balls compared to 87.5 per cent for Dalton. 

However, Fields is third among quarterbacks to have attempted at least 10 throws with an air yards per attempt average of 10.33. Dalton has averaged just 4.33 per attempt, highlighting the downfield upside Fields could add. 

Fields' sole touchdown through the first two games came on the ground in the season-opening defeat to the Los Angeles Rams and his mobility adds another dimension to the Bears' offense that Dalton cannot provide. 

Across his two seasons as a starter at Ohio State, Fields' 15 rushing touchdowns were tied for the seventh-most among FBS quarterbacks.

That kind of production will be tough to replicate at the NFL level but, if he rises to the challenge in Week 3, Nagy's public backing of Dalton could well prove to be lip service. 

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not play against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday after suffering fractured ribs.

Tagovailoa was helped off during the first quarter of the Dolphins' 35-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2.

Initial X-rays were negative but further tests revealed the extent of his injuries, meaning Tagovailoa will have to play the role of spectator as Jacoby Brissett leads Miami's offense in Week 3.

"He's in good spirits. He's a tough kid," head coach Brian Flores said, adding that Tagovailoa had been pushing to play this week but the Dolphins have to "save him from himself".

"He's doing everything he can ... he's getting better. He wants to be out there with his team-mates, but this is the right move for him from a health standpoint."

While the door is seemingly open for Tagovailoa to return for Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts, the Dolphins have faith Brissett can be successful this week.

"I think guys have confidence in Jacoby and his ability to lead the offense," said Flores.

"But we have to prepare the right way and work throughout the week to put ourselves in position to execute."

Brissett finished the game against the Bills with 169 yards and an interception in relief of Tagovailoa, who has completed 54.8 per cent of his passes for 215 yards, one touchdown and an interception this season, the 2020 fifth overall pick having endured an underwhelming rookie year last term.

 

 

Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been ruled out of Thursday's clash with the Carolina Panthers due to a hamstring injury, with rookie David Mills confirmed to step in as starter.

Texans head coach David Culley announced on Tuesday that 32-year-old Taylor will not face the Panthers, having suffered the injury in the 31-21 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.

Taylor will be placed on injured reserve, meaning he will miss three weeks at a minimum.

Culley said veteran Jeff Driskel may be called up to back up 22-year-old Mills, who was a third-round pick in the 2021 Draft.

"He is ready," Culley said about Mills, who came off the bench against the Browns. "He's been exactly what you want your backup quarterback to be."

Mills went eight from 18 for 102 yards, including one touchdown pass against the Browns.

"When he went in the game this past week it had nothing to do with other than the one time that they got him on a blitz, he executed very well, he was sharp, he did exactly what we needed to do, even in the run game," Culley said.

"I just think he'll be a lot more comfortable now, simply because he has been out there and against a very good defensive football team."

He added: "We'll actually have the same playbook, obviously there's some things that he is a little different than Tyrod, but we actually have the same kind of plays.

"But we'll use the things that fit him more so than what we did with Tyrod. Some of the things we did with Tyrod we may not do with him in the run game, but as far as the pass game it will basically be the same thing."

Culley declined to offer up any timeframes on Taylor's likely return from injury, stating he was "not sure what the timetable is right now".

Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb is determined to return this NFL season after re-injuring his ankle in Sunday's 23-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Broncos confirmed that the Pro Bowl outside linebacker Chubb will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his ankle on Wednesday after being assisted off the field on Sunday.

The 25-year-old had been battling a bone spur in his ankle and has now opted for surgery to "clean it up", meaning he will be sidelined for the "foreseeable future".

"I'm going to push everything I can to get back to these games and hopefully it's sooner rather than later," Chubb said.

"My mindset is just going to be attack it 100 per cent every day."

Chubb's timeframe to return will be determined by how the surgery goes, but he is determined to get back this season.

The 2018 Draft fifth pick missed the Broncos' Week 1 game due to the ankle issue as the team's medical staff took a conservative approach, trying to avoid surgery.

"I did everything I could to manage it and to try to come back and play," Chubb said. "The thing [to do] is now just to go in, clean it up and be right back.

"I know these guys are going to do everything they can to make that playoff push, and I'm going to be right there with them.

"We're 2-0 … and I know these guys are doing everything they can to keep that win streak going. I just wish I could be a part of it. But I know I'm going to be back on the back end of it and making that playoff push. I'm excited about that."

The linebacker posted 12 sacks in his rookie season in 2018, but injuries have curtailed his progress leaving him frustrated.

Chubb missed two games in 2020 with an injured right ankle, as well as 12 in 2019 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is battling injury which coach Mike Tomlin means they will need to be "adjustable" for Sunday's Week 3 game with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers veteran was hit 10 times and sacked twice in Pittsburgh's 26-17 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2.

Roethlisberger was also sacked twice in the Steelers' 23-16 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.

The 39-year-old is nursing a left pectoral injury which will impact his preparation for the Bengals game, and potentially his on-field role.

"We'd better be ready to be adjustable," Tomlin told NFL Network.

"He took too many hits. We can run the ball better. We can get the ball out of his hand quicker.

"We can stay on schedule and not get behind the sticks and get in situations where the line of the game is so far that that that enhances the rush."

Tomlin added that he was unsure how Roethlisberger picked up the pec complaint.

"I don't know specifically when Ben got injured in game. I don't know that he does," he said.

"Sometimes just in the midst of competition, adrenaline and so forth, you just don't know. Sometimes things just come up after."

The Steelers have numerous injuries including T.J. Witt, Alex Highsmith, Devin Bush and Joe Haden.

The Cleveland Browns have placed wide receiver Jarvis Landry on injured reserve because of a knee injury.

Landry suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in the first quarter of the Browns' 31-21 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Having been placed on IR, Landry now must miss at least the next three games before being allowed to return to action.

That rules him out of Sunday's home game with the Chicago Bears and the trips to face the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers.

And, with Odell Beckham still yet to make his 2021 debut as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Browns suddenly look thin at the receiver position.

There is reportedly a good chance Beckham will be ready to face the Bears, but Landry's absence means there will be more pressure on Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins and rookie Anthony Schwartz to produce for Cleveland.

Landry caught all five of his targets for 71 yards in the Browns' opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs before hauling in one pass for nine yards against the Texans.

He finished last season with 72 catches for 840 yards and three touchdowns.

The Browns can afford to have faith in Higgins, who in 2020 was third among wide receivers in burn percentage. Higgins won his match-up with a defender on a play where he was targeted 78.4 per cent of the time.

Higgins was also seventh with a big-play percentage of 43.3. Peoples-Jones (42.6 per cent) was ninth in that metric and finished the year third with 17.11 burn yards per target, albeit across the small sample size of 20 targets.

Aaron Jones has got his father's ashes back, and it's all thanks to the late-night dedication of a Green Bay Packers stalwart.

Jones lost a necklace containing the ashes in the course of scoring four touchdowns for the Packers against the Detroit Lions on Monday night.

Although he was saddened to be parted from the necklace, Jones said after the Packers' 35-17 win: "If there was any place to lose it, that's where my dad would've wanted me to lose it, so I know he's smiling."

He was optimistic it would be found and was proven right.

Alvin Jones Sr died in April from complications related to COVID-19, having been an important guiding hand behind his son's football career.

The Packers understood the significance of the necklace and long-serving head athletic trainer Bryan Engel set out shortly before 2am to scour the end zone where Jones believed it had gone missing.

"Our trainer Bryan Engel – 'Flea' – he went out there and he found it," Jones told the Steve Czaban Show on 97.3 The Game.

"It's really small. A lot of times it just sits inside my shirt. A lot of people won't even see it or recognise it."

Engel is in his 25th year on the Packers staff and is responsible for managing the team's medical care, but he went the extra mile this time.

Asked how the necklace could prove so difficult to spot on a football field, Jones said: "I'm not sure, maybe because it's so small, but Flea found it so we're perfect.

"Thank you to him. He was out there at like 1:45am. It shows how much they care about us."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers labelled criticism levelled at his side for their Week 1 loss as "b******t" after they bounced back with a 35-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday.

The Packers were humbled 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 but Rodgers responded by throwing 22 from 27 passes for 255 yards including four touchdown passes against the Lions.

Rodgers was forthright when he spoke to reporters in his post-game news conference, after biting his tongue immediately after the game when speaking to ESPN.

The 37-year-old said it was nice to put in a good performance to "get the trolls off our back", labelling the media attention on his side as an "over-reaction".

"I think people like to say a lot of b******t and it's nice to come back in here after a game like that," Rodgers said.

He added: "I think there's even more now than when I started playing, there's so many over-reactions on a week-to-week basis.

"It's nice to come out and have a good performance and get the trolls off our back for at least a week."

Rodgers, who was the subject of a drawn-out saga about a move away from Green Bay in the off-season, admitted the Packers were "disjointed" in Week 1 but would not getting carried away with one win.

"It's one game. We're 1-1 now. We're 1-0 in the division," Rodgers told ESPN. "So we feel good about things but it's early."

The Packers trailed 17-14 at half-time against the Lions but found their "rhythm" with three second-half touchdowns.

"The rhythm was good," he said. "We got the ball to our playmakers, like this guy [Jones].

"Last week we were really disjointed on offence. The first half went the same way but the second half we came out, got into a better rhythm, got a turnover and put the game away."

The Packers will next take on the San Francisco 49ers, who have started 2-0, on Sunday.

Aaron Jones scored four touchdowns as Aaron Rodgers guided the Green Bay Packers to their first win of the new season with a 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions in Monday Night Football.

The Packers had gone down 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 but bounced back although the Lions threatened an upset early on. Detroit led 17-14 at half-time, scoring two of the first three touchdowns of the game with quarterback Jared Goff completing 13 of 16 passes for 137 first-half yards.

Rodgers and Jones initiated the response, with the running-back finishing with four TDs, with 17 carries and six receives. Three of Jones' touchdowns came from Rodgers' passes, while Robert Tonyan's third quarter touchdown put them ahead of the first time in the game.

The Packers quarterback completed 22 from 27 passes for 255 yards with four touchdowns for the game, going at 9.4 yards per attendance.

Goff was excellent in the first half, finding Quintez Cephus for an early touchdown, while he delivered a pinpoint pass for TJ Hockenson, to sandwich Jones' first-quarter TD.

After Jones' second touchdown, Austin Seibert's 43-yard kick put the Lions ahead by three at the long break.

Rodgers found Tonyan with a 22-yard strike to put Green Bay in front after a 50-yard play to Davante Adams, while Jones leapt into the Lambeau Field crowd with his third touchdown with seven seconds left before the final change.

In the last quarter, Jones crossed again with one yard to run, before De'Vondre Campbell's interception from Goff's pass put an underline on a good Packers response.

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