Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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What To Look For – Week 2

NO NEED TO PANIC: Since 2002, 136 of the 230 playoff teams (59.1 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including five teams last season and two division champions, NEW ORLEANS (NFC South) and WASHINGTON (NFC East), and the Super Bowl champion TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS. Three of the past four Super Bowl winners lost one of their first two games.

Last season, the first year under the new 14-team playoff format, nine playoff teams began the year by winning their first two games.

Since 1990, 62.7 percent of teams (160 of 255) that start 2-0 advance to the postseason, while 41.6 percent of teams that begin 1-1 (184 of 442) make the playoffs. Out of the 258 teams that began a season 0-2, 30 advanced to the postseason (11.6 percent).

After Week 2, the records of teams that made the playoffs, won divisions and won Super Bowls since 1990:

2-0 62.7% (160/255) 40.8% (104/255) 7.5% (19/255)
1-1 41.6% (184/442) 23.8% (105/442) 2.0% (9/442)
0-2 11.6% (30/258) 5.8% (15/258) 1.2% (3/258)

A look at how playoff clubs in 2019 and 2020 began their seasons:

2019                                                                               2020

Team After 2 games Playoff Result Team After 2 games Playoff Result
Baltimore 2-0 Advanced to Divisional Baltimore 2-0 Advanced to Divisional
Buffalo 2-0 Advanced to Wild Card Buffalo 2-0 Advanced to AFC Champ.
Green Bay 2-0 Advanced to NFC Champ. Chicago 2-0 Advanced to Wild Card
Houston 1-1 Advanced to Divisional Cleveland 1-1 Advanced to Divisional
Kansas City 2-0 Won Super Bowl LIV Green Bay 2-0 Advanced to NFC Champ.
Minnesota 1-1 Advanced to Divisional Indianapolis 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card
New England 2-0 Advanced to Wild Card Kansas City 2-0 Advanced to Super Bowl LV
New Orleans 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card L.A. Rams 2-0 Advanced to Divisional
Philadelphia 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card New Orleans 1-1 Advanced to Divisional
San Francisco 2-0 Advanced Super Bowl LIV Pittsburgh 2-0 Advanced to Wild Card
Seattle 2-0 Advanced to Divisional Seattle 2-0 Advanced to Wild Card
Tennessee 1-1 Advanced to AFC Champ. Tennessee 2-0 Advanced to Wild Card
      Tampa Bay 1-1 Won Super Bowl LV
      Washington 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card

— NFL —

HEY, ROOKIE: Last week in his NFL debut, Jacksonville rookie quarterback TREVOR LAWRENCE passed for 332 yards. It marked the third-most passing yards by a No. 1 overall pick in his first career start in the Super Bowl era, trailing only CAM NEWTON (422 passing yards) and VINNY TESTAVERDE (369).

If Lawrence passes for at least 300 yards on Sunday in his home debut against Denver (1:00 PM ET, CBS), he will join JUSTIN HERBERT (2020), KYLER MURRAY (2019) and Newton (2011) as the only rookies to record at least 300 passing yards in each of their first two starts in NFL history.

The two other rookie quarterbacks that started on Kickoff Weekend – New England’s MAC JONES and the New York Jets’ ZACH WILSON – are scheduled to meet at MetLife Stadium on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

If both players start, it will mark the first game since 1970 featuring two starting rookie quarterbacks from the same division in the first two weeks of a season.

— NFL —

SOPHOMORE SURGE: In last week’s season-opening win at Washington, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT completed 31 of 47 pass attempts (66 pct.) for 337 yards. This marked his ninth-career game with at least 300 passing yards, after he set the all-time rookie record with eight such games last season.

With at least 300 passing yards on Sunday at SoFi Stadium against Dallas (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Herbert will tie PATRICK MAHOMES (10 games) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (10) for the most games with at least 300 passing yards by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 300 passing yards in their first two seasons in NFL history:

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City 10
Dan MarinoHOF Miami 10
Jeff Garcia San Francisco 9
Justin Herbert L.A. Chargers 9*
Andrew Luck Indianapolis 9
Kurt WarnerHOF St. Louis Rams 9
*In second season    

Other quarterbacks that can reach career passing milestones in Week 2:

  • With at least 98 passing yards on Monday Night Football against Detroit (8:15 PM ET, ESPN/ABC), Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS (51,378 career passing yards) will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (51,475) for the 10th-most passing yards in NFL history.
  • With at least 103 passing yards at Tampa Bay on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX), Atlanta quarterback MATT RYAN (55,931 passing yards) will surpass DREW BREES (56,033) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 14 seasons in NFL history.
  • With at least three touchdown passes on Sunday against Las Vegas (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER (397 career touchdown passes) will become the eighth player ever with 400 career touchdown passes.
  • With a win against Tennessee on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON (99 career regular-season wins) will join Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (105) as the only quarterbacks to win at least 100 career regular-season games in their first 10 seasons in NFL history.

— NFL —

WALLER BALLER: In last week’s Monday Night Football victory over Baltimore, Las Vegas tight end DARREN WALLER totaled 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. Dating back to Week 15 of last season, this marked Waller’s fourth-consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards.

If Waller records at least 100 receiving yards on Sunday at Pittsburgh (1:00 PM ET, CBS), he will become the first tight end in NFL history to eclipse the 100-yard receiving mark in five consecutive games.

The tight ends with the most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:

Darren Waller Las Vegas 2020-21 4*
Tyler Higbee L.A. Rams 2019 4
Travis Kelce Kansas City 2016 4
Jimmy Graham New Orleans 2013 4
Jimmy Graham New Orleans 2011 4
Tony GonzalezHOF Kansas City 2000 4
*Active streak      

— NFL —

FASTEST TO 900: In the league’s annual primetime Kickoff game against Dallas, Tampa Bay wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN recorded five catches for a team-high 121 receiving yards and a touchdown reception. In 140 career games, Brown has 891 receptions for 11,867 yards and 80 total touchdowns.

With at least nine receptions against Atlanta on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, FOX), Brown will become the fastest player (141 games) to reach 900 career receptions in NFL history, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (149 games).

The fastest players to reach 900 career receptions in NFL history:

Marvin HarrisonHOF Indianapolis 149
Andre Johnson Houston Texans 150
Brandon Marshall Denver, Miami, Chicago, N.Y. Jets 157
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh, New England, Tampa Bay 140*
*Has 891 receptions  

— NFL —

HOT START IN THE DESERT: Last week on Kickoff Weekend, Arizona linebacker CHANDLER JONES totaled a career-high five sacks with two forced fumbles in the Cardinals’ victory in Tennessee. He became the third player to record at least five sacks in a Week 1 game since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (six sacks in 1998) and BILL GAY (5.5 sacks in 1983).

With at least two sacks on Sunday against Minnesota (4:05 PM ET, FOX), Jones will tie ANTWAN ODOM (seven sacks in 2009) for the most sacks by a player through the first two weeks of a season since 1982.

The players with the most sacks through Week 2 since 1982:

Antwan Odom Cincinnati 2009 7
Bill Gay Detroit 1983 6.5
Many tied     6
Chandler Jones Arizona 2021 5*
*Through Week 1      

— NFL —

SAY WATT: Last season, Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. WATT led the league with a career-high 15 sacks and, after totaling 14.5 sacks in 2020 and 13 sacks in 2019, became the sixth player since 1990 with at least 13 sacks in three consecutive seasons. Last week, he registered two sacks in Pittsburgh’s season-opening victory in Buffalo and enters Week 2 with 51.5 career sacks.

T.J.’s brother, J.J. WATT, made his Arizona Cardinals debut last week and his 101 career sacks rank third among all active players.

The brothers have combined for 152.5 sacks in their careers and can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer HOWIE LONG and his son, CHRIS LONG, (154 combined sacks) for the second-most combined sacks among brother or father-son duos since 1982, where each player recorded at least one sack. Only the father-son duo of CLAY MATTHEWS SR. and CLAY MATTHEWS JR. (161 combined sacks) have more.

The brother or father-son duos with the most combined sacks since 1982:

Clay/Clay Matthews 161
HowieHOF/Chris Long 154
J.J.*/T.J. Watt* 152.5
John HOF/Ervin Randle 145.5
Arthur/Chandler Jones* 112
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