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Week 2 Judgements: Cam superb, green early in pro career

by | CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

1. It's hard not to roll out the superlatives when talking about Cam Newton, who for the second straight week surpassed 400 yards -- and this time vs. Green Bay. But there are a couple of hiccups to watch: 1) Those three interceptions and 2) his performance inside the 10. Newton had his chances there (five, if you're counting at home) but missed wide-open receivers, and, yeah, maybe that changes as he matures. For now, at least, it's something to watch.

2. Yep, that's two straight 400-yard games surrendered by the Green Bay pass defense, and I don't want to sound the alarm, but it's one thing to get blistered by Drew Brees and another to have it done by a rookie. Granted, playing without cornerback Tramon Williams was a factor, but the Packers fought through injuries to their defense last season and weren't sand-blasted like this.

3. The more I see of Tom Brady the less Eli Manning reminds me of him.

4. You can't help but pull for Buffalo, now an unlikely 2-0. But you can't help but feel for them, too. The reason: They play New England next, and the last time they beat them Lincoln was president. At least it seems that way. The Bills lost their last 15 to New England and 20 of the past 21.

5. Lay off Tony Romo, Dallas. The guy had something to prove Sunday, and mission accomplished. But he accomplished it with a broken rib, and I don't know how that happens. "Tony Romo had every excuse to quit," said NBC analyst Rodney Harrison. Yeah, but he didn't. And he won.

6. Don't tell me it's not hard for West Coast teams to play in the East. There were four that tried it Sunday, and all four lost. It didn't matter if the games were early or late; they were 0-4, with the closest calls by Arizona and Oakland -- both of which started at 1 p.m. ET.

7. I'm sorry, but the clock should be ticking on Miami coach Tony Sparano. Reason: The guy lost 11 of his last 12 home games, and that will make the natives restless.

8. Another year, another Felix Jones injury. At least the guy's consistent.

9. Hey, look at it this way, Denver: At least Tim Tebow got on the field.

10. I know Greg Jennings is a terrific pass catcher, but did you see that block on Captain Munnerlyn that sprung Jordy Nelson for the game-clinching touchdown? I know Munnerlyn didn't.

11. Quick, now, tell me what Indianapolis and the Cleveland charter have in common? Both got stuck in mud this weekend.

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12. So I guess we find out why Philadelphia was OK letting Kevin Kolb go. Mike Kafka looked decent as the backup Sunday night, but he's not supposed to be the No. 2. Vince Young is, and good luck with that. With Michael Vick suffering a concussion I guess we find out soon, and the smart money is on Kafka. He looked solid Sunday, but here's hoping the Eagles' offensive line does a better job protecting him than it did Vick.

13. And that, Warren Sapp, is why it's not "over" for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, they're old and they're slow on defense, and, no question, their offensive line is a concern. But they play Indianapolis next weekend. Can you say, "2-1?"

14. I know it was a close call, but until Oakland cuts down on penalties and proves it can beat non-division opponents it's hard to take the Raiders seriously. They won their last eight against AFC West opponents, which is great, but they lost 12 of their last 14 to non-division opponents, which is not.

15. Forget the injuries. Here's what's killing Kansas City: turnovers. They had 14 last season, second fewest in the league. They have nine already, including six on Sunday. Bad, huh? Try this: In two games Matt Cassel has as many interceptions (four) as he had through his first 12 starts in 2010.

Five Things I Like

1. Matt Forte's leverage. The more he plays, the more Chicago will pay. Matt Forte not only had 166 yards rushing and receiving vs. New Orleans, he led the Bears with 10 catches -- or one more than the rest of the team. The Bears should've signed him to an extension before the season. By waiting, they just cost themselves more dough.

2. Tom Brady at home. Not only has he won his last 29 regular-season starts; in his last six he threw for 1,537 yards, with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Brady is 71-12 at home, the best record of any quarterback in NFL history.

3. That standing ovation for Drew Bledsoe at halftime of the San Diego-New England game. The guy practically gave his life for the franchise. New England fans let him know they never forgot. Good for them. No, good for him.

4. The Jets' first touchdown. It was their first score in the first quarter in 16 games, and hallelujah.

5. Green Bay's defense inside the 20. Opponents have three touchdowns in 11 series there. Not bad ... for Green Bay, that is.

Five Things I Don't

1. Minnesota in the second half. In two games the Vikings have been outscored 41-3, including 24-3 Sunday. Somewhere, Brad Childres doesn't feel so bad.

2. Jay Cutler vs. his next opponent -- Green Bay. Cutler had one touchdown and four interceptions vs. the Packers last season, or as many TDs as backup Caleb Hanie had in one half vs. the Pack in the NFC Championship Game. In two seasons against Green Bay, Cutler has four touchdowns and 11 interceptions and one DNF. Good luck, Jay, you're going to need it.

3. That concussion to Michael Vick. You knew it would happen sooner or later. Watching Philadelphia's offensive line, you had to think it would be sooner.

4. Anyone taking on Matt Ryan at the Georgia Dome. The guy is 21-2 in regular-season play there and just completed an unlikely four-touchdown performance vs. Philadelphia.

5. Seattle in the Eastern Time Zone. The Seahawks are 1-11 there the past four seasons.

Five Guys Who Have Some 'Splaing To Do

1. Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson. NBC's Cris Collinsworth was harsh in his criticism of him, and he should have been. You're supposed to learn from your mistakes, and Robinson failed that exam. He's the guy who blew up DeSean Jackson a year ago with a shot to the head, forcing Robinson to apologize. Great. But then he does it again, this time with the Eagles' Jeremy Maclin. What part of "no" don't you understand, Dunta?

2. Philadelphia's Maclin. Kafka had two incompletions Sunday night, and Maclin was the guy responsible for the first -- dropping a perfectly thrown fourth-down pass that ricocheted off his chest and ended the Eagles' chances of winning.

3. San Diego running back Mike Tolbert. Fumbles killed the Chargers in the first half of 2010, and Tolbert's fumble killed their comeback chances Sunday. "I was thinking too much," he said. "I'm used to just hitting the hole and not thinking about it. On that play I just thought too much and tried to get around the corner. I'm upset, but it's football."

4. Anyone in Oakland's front seven. Buffalo ran for 217 yards, averaged 8.7 yards a carry and put up two rushing TDs. What's more, it produced no sacks and allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills' offense to score touchdowns on all five of its second-half series. Just lose, baby.

5. Jacksonville wide receiver Jason Hill. He said the Jets were overhyped, provoking cornerback Darrelle Revis to wonder who Hill was. Good question. He said he never heard of him. Well, he never saw him, either. Hill did not play Sunday. "If you do trash talk," said Revis, "you got to be able to back it up. I guess he got that New York Jets' flu or something." Or something.

Just Asking ...

 Ryan Fitzpatrick? Are you kidding me? Ryan Fitzpatrick?

 Which team is a bigger surprise -- Buffalo or Detroit?

 Who starts first: Christian Ponder, Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert?

 How worried should Houston be about Arian Foster?

 Why didn't Leslie Frazier use one of his three timeouts on Tampa Bay's last drive?

Monday Morning Quarterbacks

I can't stop tracking veteran quarterbacks in new uniforms, most of whom haven't found much success. Here's how they stand after two weeks.


Donovan McNabb, Minnesota/45/25/267/1/1/0-2
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle/66/41/356/2/1/0-2
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee/76/51/621/3/2/1-1
Kevin Kolb, Arizona/57/35/560/4/1/1-1
Kerry Collins, Indianapolis/69/35/388/2/1/0-2


0 -- Combined catches for Plaxico Burress, Antonio Gates

9 -- Consecutive losses by Cincinnati in Denver

10 -- Straight regular-season games where New England scored 30 or more points in each

10 -- Straight home-opening wins for New England

34 -- Buffalo first downs, a franchise record

77 -- Chris Johnson yards rushing, an average of 38.5 yards per game.

940 -- Tom Brady yards passing in two weeks

2004 -- Last time Philadelphia opened 2-0

My Top Five

1. Green Bay
2. New England
3. Houston
4. N.Y. Jets
5. New Orleans

My Bottom Five

32. Kansas City
31. Indianapolis
30. Seattle
29. Minnesota
28. Miami

Next Weekend's Three Best Games

New England at Buffalo ... The certainties in life: Death, taxes and Brady over the Bills.

Houston at New Orleans ... Time to test that Saints' secondary on the road.

Green Bay at Chicago ... Pack give up lots of passing yards, but not to Cutler.


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