Best unexpected emergence: Cardinals tight end Jeff King has 10 touchdowns in his career, and his single-season high is his three scores in 2009. Five quarters into the 2011 season he already had two touchdowns, with his latest coming in the first quarter of Arizona’s 22-21 loss to Washington. King’s 82 yards over two games is 20 percent of the way to his career-high of 406 yards in 2007. He’s growing into Kevin Kolb’s favorite bail-out option after an offseason in which Arizona acquired Todd Heap.
Heap missed three games last year, and at 31 years old he’s become increasingly fragile and had only one catch for eight yards today. But King’s no young cub either, and the 28-year-old isn’t exactly a rising prospect gunning for Heap’s job. Suddenly a hot hand may have already minimized Heap’s impact and his chemistry with a new offense just two games into the season.
Best color contrast: “Yeah, I got here early. There are light blue seats everywhere, and I’m wearing a yellow block of cheese on my head. I’ll wave my hands wildly if you can’t see me.”
Even better unexpected emergence: Similar to King, Scott Chandler is a tight end that’s quickly bubbled to the surface. The emergence of Chandler for the Bills is a little more expected than King’s early success because of his youth and position on the Bills’ depth chart. Chandler is two years younger, but he’s bounced around and received very minimal playing time during his three NFL seasons. Last year the Bills had only one touchdown to a tight end, and between his six-yard TD catch today and his two last week, Chandler already has three.
We’re still hesitant to get overly giddy about the Bills’ 2-0 start since they’ve played the Raiders and Chiefs. But with Stevie Johnson continuing to grow his chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the running game rolling between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, it’s easy to overlook the impact of a tight end capable of being that reliable safety valve and red zone threat.
Best way to spend a quiet retirement Saturday: If Paul Brown finally caves he’ll be able to find Carson Palmer doing a keg stand with the USC psycho.
Best Week 2 comeback: This award is meaningless. Well, they’re all meaningless, except for maybe the one about Terry Bradshaw’s Eskimo boots. That one’s real.
But this one feels especially meaningless, because Donovan McNabb had nowhere to go but up after his Week 1 atrocity…way, way up. McNabb had only 39 passing yards last week, and at that pace it would take him 86.6 games to equal his 2010 yardage total. Now if he can maintain his Week 2 pace of 228 yards that’s down to give or take 14 games.
It’s all about the baby steps.
Most inexplicable fan costume: The Steelers are huge in Mexico.
Best intentional ignorance of the entire blogoshpere’s advice for one half: Last week LeGarrette Blount received just five carries in Tampa Bay’s loss to Detroit, and ran for 15 yards. The decreased workload resulted in Josh Freeman facing increased pressure, and the Tampa Bay offense straying from what made it successful last year. It’s a unit that relied on Blount to gain his rhythm on the ground later in the season once he was established, allowing Freeman time in the pocket to find fellow rookie Mike Williams down field.
The direction Raheem Morris chose in Week 1 rendered Blount useless and non-existent. Tepid complaining ensued, and Morris’ motivation’s were heavily question by those who are paid to heavily question the motivations of coaches. The explanation was likely simple: Blount can’t block well, and the Bucs were behind.
That’s probably why Blount was used sparsely again this week until the third quarter, with Tampa trailing 17-0 before mounting a second half comeback to beat Minnesota 24-20. Five minutes into the third quarter Blount had only six carries for 31 yards, and he then finished with 71 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Blount receiving the ball with more frequency, loosened up the offense and contributed to Tampa’s 24 second half points, showing that Morris is still searching for a delicate balance with his young running back who becomes a liability on passing downs.
Best Mascot reaction: During the insanity that was the Bills/Raiders game, Ryan Fitzpatrick fired one into the end zone and missed, well, everyone several plays before connecting with Chandler on that six-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Buffalo’s mascot nearly received a snout full of pigskin, and he didn’t appreciate it too much.
We doubt Ralph Wilson takes kindly to the furry-haired creatures who represent his team gesturing wildly at his quarterback.