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#pounditThursday, September 16, 2021

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 2

Ezekiel Elliott

Week 2 of the NFL season was filled with excellent performance, but there were also a number of players and units that simply did not live up to expectations. Be it a star who didn’t produce or a group with a solid matchup who offered pretty much nothing, there were plenty of disappointments in this slate of NFL action.

Here’s a list of 15 major disappointments to come out of Week 2 of the NFL Season.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Sunday was going to be the day that Elliott, the reigning NFL rushing champion, was going to rise up and show us just how good he was against one of the NFL’s top defenses. The opposite happened. Part of it was the gameplan, but Elliott was dominated by Denver, getting an astonishingly inept eight yards on nine total carries. He had more yards receiving — 14 on four catches — than he did on the ground. One could argue that perhaps he was mentally impacted by the drama surrounding his suspension, but he rushed for 100 yards last week, so it doesn’t hold water. This was easily the worst game of Elliott’s professional career, and while it’s too soon to raise any red flags, it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from this.

Cincinnati Bengals’ offense

Andy Dalton offered next to nothing, again failing to throw for a single touchdown. No running back had more than Joe Mixon’s 36 yards on nine carries. Normally mild-mannered A.J. Green was criticizing the team’s offensive gameplan. The Cincinnati offense was so bad that offensive coordinator Ken Zampese didn’t even make it to the weekend. It’s not exactly clear where they go from here, but it’s quite obvious that things aren’t working — they were stymied by a Houston team that had been eviscerated by Blake Bortles the week before.

Cleveland Browns quarterbacks

The Browns’ quarterbacks made like Andy Dalton against the Baltimore Ravens’ defense. DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan combined for five turnovers in the game. Kizer threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Hogan also threw a pick during his limited action. Collectively, Cleveland’s QBs were 20 of 42 for 293 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. The completion percentage is somewhat deceptive though, as the Browns dropped several passes and didn’t really help their QBs.

Sam Bradford, QB, Vikings

Bradford remains a disappointment, mostly because of his inability to stay healthy. Coming off one of his best games ever as a pro, one in which he shredded the Saints’ defense, Bradford injured his left knee — the same one he had two ACL surgeries on in the past. The injury caused him to miss Sunday’s game against the Steelers, leaving Minnesota to start Case Keenum. Keenum predictably did very little in a 26-9 loss. Mike Zimmer says Bradford is “fine” but he’s unsure when the QB will be ready to return. The injury is just another reminder that you can’t get your hopes up about Bradford, who has played in 37 of a possible 66 games since 2013.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

One only needs to look back to the 2015 season to know what Cam Newton is capable of. When at his best, he can make all kinds of plays and carry a team. He has not shown that form so far this season. Newton was 20 of 32 for 228 yards and rushed for 27 yards in a 9-3 win over the Bills. He was sacked six times and hurt his ankle in the game, which may have impacted him late as he missed a very easy touchdown pass. This was the second week in a row in which Newton was not at his best. Luckily the defense has been able to carry Carolina. But with Greg Olsen out with a broken foot, you have to wonder whether things will improve for the Panthers’ offense.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

The Cowboys asked a lot of Prescott, having him throw 50 times against one of the league’s elite passing defenses in Denver. Part of that was due to the fact that the Cowboys were playing from behind for much of the contest, but Prescott simply couldn’t take the heat. Though he completed 30 of his 50 attempts, he only racked up 238 yards, a rather modest 4.8 yards per completion. He was sacked twice and threw two interceptions, including a 103-yard pick six to Aqib Talib late in the fourth quarter. It was a day to forget for Prescott and the Cowboys.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

Carolina’s defense has the early look of what may be one of the top units in the league. A week after holding San Francisco to three points, they similarly stymied the Bills, holding Buffalo to three as well. Shady McCoy failed to break loose against the Panthers, being held to just nine yards on 12 carries. He did lead Buffalo with six catches for 34 yards. Still, the Bills need much more from McCoy to win games. It’s also important to note that the Bills said a groin injury McCoy dealt with during the week was not a factor in his Week 2 performance.

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