1. Luck’s Leadership Tested, And Proven Against Vikings
Christian Ponder doesn’t always play a team from the AFC South, but when he does, it’s a classic finish.
The Indianapolis Colts had a substantial lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Andrew Luck had thrown for two touchdowns, and Adam Vinatieri added two field goals.
The same defense that allowed 41 points in Week 1 held the Minnesota Vikings to a modest 6 points from two Blair Walsh field goals through three quarters.
Ponder was not too worried about the scoreboard when he led the Vikings down the field to score (a touchdown) with 5:03 to go, and again with just 33 seconds left on the clock.
The ensuing Vikings kickoff resulted in a touchback leaving Andrew Luck & Co. at the 20 yard line with 31 seconds on the clock.
Luck (seen giving the positive equivalent of a Jay Cutler speech to team mates prior to the drive) led the Colts down the field with two 20 yard passes, one going to Donnie Avery, and another to Reggie Wayne, then another completion to Avery, this time for seven yards.
This brought the Colts to the 35-yard line.
2. Vinatieri Seals Victory With Game-Winner
Cue Adam Vinatieri.
The legend was as flappable as one might expect. In other words, he wasn’t.
He stepped onto the field and hit a 53-yard field goal as though it were a pregame kick with no defense in sight, no crowd on its feet, and no win hanging in the balance.
The veteran kicker is no stranger to the clutch. And 23 game-winning field goals had come courtesy of Vinatieri in his sure-fire Hall of Fame career.
The most recent of his 24 game-winners was as important as any. Not because it meant a playoff spot, a playoff win, or a Super Bowl ring, but because it gave an entire roster of veterans, rookies, and everything in between confidence in one another.
The 23-20 win over the Vikings will always be Luck’s first, but it will be serve as a stepping stone to his second and many more to follow.
3. Houston Hammers Down On Jacksonville
Jacksonville hosted divisional opponent Houston on Sunday. The Jaguars suffered an overtime defeat to the Vikings in Week 1, and looked to bounce back at home against the Texans.
The Texans, on the other hand, were feeling strong coming off of an effortless win against the Miami Dolphins.
The Texans looked strong as well. They accumulated 242 yards of offense in the first half alone, and outscored the Jaguars 17-0.
The Jaguars were able to move the ball a mere 117 yards on the day. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for 53 yards on seven completions. The Texans' defense was dominant on their way to a 27-7 win over the Jaguars.
After two weeks, the Texans lead the league in net points with 40. The defense has allowed a total of 17 points. 10 of those points were scored by a Miami team that put up 35 points in Week 2. It is still early, but the Houston defense certainly looks as promising as any in the AFC.
The defense will be tested in Week 3 when the Texans travel to Mile High Stadium to do battle with the Peyton Manning-led Broncos.
4. Kenny Britt Ineffective In Return
There is little good to say about the Tennessee Titans after a 31-10 blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers. The team had high hopes for an offense that would now feature one of the game’s premier rushers in Chris Johnson, an extremely talented young star in Kenny Britt, and rookie receiver Kendall Wright.
None of the offensive weapons were able to significantly impact the game. Johnson rushed for 17 yards on eight carries, and Wright had two receptions for a total of 24 yards and one touchdown.
Britt made his return from a one-game suspension, and a knee injury suffered last season. Britt, expected to play only 15-25 snaps, was held to one reception for five yards.
The offense depends on these guys producing. Plain and simple. The Chargers possessed the ball for just over 43 minutes on Sunday. If the offense cannot find a way to alleviate pressure being put on Locker, and get the ball moving in the hands of Johnson, it is going to be a long season in Tennessee.
5. Depleted Offensive Line, No Diversion For Jones-Drew
The Jacksonville Jaguars were lacking two starting offensive linemen on Sunday. Tackles Cameron Bradfield and Even Britton were both sidelined with ankle injuries.
Jones-Drew was able to rush the ball 12 times for 60 yards, in spite of two stud linemen sitting on the bench. The Jaguars would like to give Jones-Drew more carries, and they will in weeks to come, but the Texans made it difficult to run the ball when they took an early 17-point lead.
The Jaguars now look ahead to the Indianapolis Colts, who pose much less of a defensive threat to the run game. Look for Jones-Drew to get more carries, and his first 100-yard game of the season in week 3.
Record (Next Opponent)
1. Houston Texans 2-0 (@Denver)
2. Indianapolis Colts 1-1 (@Jacksonville)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-2 (vs. Indianapolis)
4. Tennessee Titans 0-2 (vs. Lions)