Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NFL Week 2 Awards: Miles Austin Has Huge Game for Dallas Cowboys

Big passes, clutch touchdowns and reckless tackles dominated the NFL in Week 2.

People are saying the NFL has become a passing league and some quarterbacks are continuously putting up gaudy numbers. But that also means that the wide receivers are reaping the benefits.

And in clutch situations the best quarterbacks have their go-to-guy, the one they have the upmost confidence in and can rely on to make the huge play.

There was plenty of great quarterback-to-wide receiver combinations that had big days.

Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Week 2.

MVP of the Week

Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys

The Monmouth University alumnus had a huge day propelling the Dallas Cowboys to their first victory of the 2011 NFL season.

Austin collected nine passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdown passes came in the second half and from two different quarterbacks.

He made a fantastic play on the third touchdown, which brought the Cowboys within three points of the lead with 6:55 to go in the fourth quarter. He leaped in the air to make the catch and once the ball was in his hands he began falling to the ground. When it looked like he would be down at the three-yard line, Austin planted his foot before his knee hit the ground and lunged into the end zone.

Honorable Mentions: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots; Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills; Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Bust of the Week

Dunta Robinson, CB, Atlanta Falcons

Robinson must have some kind of secret vendetta against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season Robinson made a helmet-to-helmet hit against Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, giving both him and Jackson concussions. He was fined $50,000 for the hit (Robinson appealed the fine and it was lessened to.

Sunday night Robinson lined up Philadelphia receiver Jeremy Maclin, going in head-first right into Maclin’s helmet, taking him out of the game for a few plays. Even though it was his second offense to the rule, Robinson was fined only $40,000 and received no suspension $25,000).

I’m not sure what’s the worst part of this situation: that Robinson doesn’t know how to tackle a guy without using his head, that head coach Mike Smith supported him, that Robinson didn’t learn from last year or that the NFL didn’t punish him worse for a second offense.

It’s a dirty play, it could hurt not only the guy getting hit but also the guy doing the hitting and it’s making the NFL’s policy look a bit like a farce.

(Dis)Honorable Mentions: Luke McCown, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars; Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs; Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Surprise of the Week

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

He can put up the numbers, we all know that. What we don’t know is what kind of grit Romo has, what kind of poise and clutch ability he has. Time and time again, Romo will find a way to lose the big game, to lose a close game. Turnovers in clutch moments have scarred his legacy thus far in his career.

Sunday, he did something different though.

Romo did not have a single turnover through the game’s entirety, not even in the game’s final and crucial moments. Instead Tony Romo led two scoring drives (one touchdown and one field goal) in the final 6:55 of the game to erase a 10-point deficit. On the drive that sent the game into overtime Romo completed five of six passes. Then in overtime he completed a 77-yard pass to Jesse Holley, who was tackled at the one-yard line before the Cowboys kicked a field goal to win the game.

Oh, and he did all this with a fractured rib.

Romo stepped up big time when many expected him to crumble and fail.

Honorable Mentions: Tennessee Titans; Washington Redskins

Disappointment of the Week

Baltimore Ravens

When the Ravens blew out the Steelers in Week 1 it was thought that it was a statement to the rest of the league that this was going to be the team to beat. Perennial playoff contenders the Ravens put the smackdown on their biggest rival and toughest competition for the division championship.

But the team did not come prepared to play the Titans. It seemed like one of those situations when a team just thinks they’re going to go into the game and wipe the floor with the opposition. The effort and execution weren’t there and the Titans put it to the Ravens.

Turnovers did nothing to help the Raves, throwing two interceptions and fumbling once. Joe Flacco had a bad game posting a 51.2 quarterback rating. And the secondary, something that has been a concern for the Ravens for the past few years, was picked apart by Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselback (30-42, 358 yards).
Proof that in this league you have to do more than just show up.

(Dis)Honorable Mentions: Jason Hill, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars; Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego Chargers; Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

Rookie of the Week

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, Cam Newton threw for 400-plus yards (432) for the second straight week and also rushed for another touchdown. But he threw three interceptions hurting the Panthers chances at a major upset in a game they led 13-0 early on.

Dalton followed up an abbreviated Week 1 debut with a very good game. He completed 66-percent of his passes, threw for 332 yards, had two touchdown passes and did not throw any interceptions.

Dalton completed at least two passes to seven different receivers, really trying to get everyone to have an impact on the game. And the Dalton and A.J. Green combination looked great, combining for 10 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. He also got 136 receiving yards from Jerome Simpson.

The Bengals need to improve on third downs, where they went 1-11, but Dalton has the early makings of a very good quarterback.

Honorable Mentions: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers; A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals; Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins

Tough Luck

Oakland Raiders

Forget that they blew an 18-point first quarter lead.

Forget that the Bills responded to a late-Raiders touchdown with seven points of their own with only 14 seconds left.

The Raiders still had a chance to win it. And they almost did. But as the saying goes, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. It’s just exactly how close they came to pulling off the victory that’s tough.

At their own 44-yard line Jason Campbell tossed the ball all the way into the end zone with no time remaining. Wide receiver Denarius Moore (who already had a 50-yard touchdown catch) caught the ball, but so too did Bills cornerback Da’Norris Searcy and the two came down to the ground each clutching the ball. The two wrestled on the ground for a moment, but Searcy pulled away with the ball.

Game over.

Honorable Mentions: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers; Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets, for not getting to match-up against Jacksonville Jaguars WR Jason Hill; Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Photo Credits.
Miles Austin: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

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