Record Number of Close Games & Comeback Wins in First Two Weeks of NFL Season
The first two weeks of the NFL season have been filled with close games and come-from-behind victories.
There have been 22 games decided by seven points or fewer, the most through the first two weeks of any season in NFL history. And 11 games have been decided by three points or fewer, tied for the most at this point of any season in league history (1988, 1997).
"What people love about the NFL," says New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, "is that every game, every week, no matter who is playing, anything can happen. So many games come down to that last possession."
There have been 14 games in which a team came back from a fourth-quarter deficit to win, tied for the most through the first two weeks of any season in NFL history (1997). In Week 2, six teams overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win:
|Winning Team||Opponent||4th Quarter Deficit||Game Result|
|Houston||Tennessee||24-16||W 30-24 (OT)|
|San Diego||Philadelphia||27-23||W 33-30|
|Saints||Tampa Bay||14-13||W 16-14|
In three of those six contests, the winning team scored the game-winning points while trailing in the final 10 seconds:
Buffalo rookie quarterback EJ MANUEL threw a two-yard touchdown pass to STEVIE JOHNSON with 0:02 remaining to give the Bills a 24-23 win.
Chicago quarterback JAY CUTLER threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to MARTELLUS BENNETT with 0:10 remaining to give the Bears a 31-30 win.
New Orleans' GARRETT HARTLEY kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the Saints' 16-14 win.
As the NFL enters Week 3, eight teams -- Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New England, New Orleans and Seattle -- find themselves undefeated at 2-0. Of those eight, half of them -- Chicago, Kansas City, Miami and New Orleans -- did not make the playoffs last year. But that's the unpredictability of the NFL. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four clubs made the playoffs that were not in the postseason the previous year. Will that streak continue in 2013?
And don't count out any of the 1-1 or 0-2 teams. Since realignment, 79 of the 132 playoff teams (58.8 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including nine teams last year. Among those nine were the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens.
It's two weeks down -- but there is a long way to go. Here's a look at some of the key showdowns in Week 3:
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2-0) at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-1)
(Thursday, NFLN, 8:25 PM ET)
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid returns to Philadelphia, where he guided the Eagles to 140 total victories in 14 seasons. He will join CURLY LAMBEAU and HANK STRAM as the only head coaches in NFL history to face a team he led for at least 14 seasons.
"It's not about me," says Reid about his return to Philadelphia. "It's about our football team."
That football team is one of the league's eight unbeaten teams and just the fifth team in NFL history to start 2-0 after losing at least 14 games in the previous season.
Kansas City will prepare to face a dynamic Philadelphia offense.
The Eagles are the only team in the NFC to score at least 30 points in each of its first two games. Quarterback MICHAEL VICK ranks third in the NFL with a 119 passer rating and running back LE SEAN MC COY leads the league with 356 scrimmage yards (237 rushing, 119 receiving).
"I know that every game we're going to play is going to be close, and that's what this league is all about," says Eagles head coach CHIP KELLY. "It's important to execute every single snap you get out there on the field."
Houston Texans (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
(Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)
In Week 2, the Texans forced overtime on an ARIAN FOSTER touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:53 remaining in the fourth quarter and then won in OT on rookie wide receiver DE ANDRE HOPKINS' three-yard TD catch. With the victory, Houston became the first team since 1970 to start 2-0 with both wins coming on the game's final play.
"It's probably not the best for your blood pressure, but we find a way to win and that's all that matters," says Texans defensive end J.J. WATT.
The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens notched their first win of the season last week against Cleveland (14-6) to even their record at 1-1. Baltimore also started 1-1 last year en route to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII. Against the Browns in Week 2, the Ravens allowed just 259 total yards and recorded five sacks.
"We have a chance to be one of the best pass-rushing teams in the league," says Baltimore head coach JOHN HARBAUGH. "We have to make that happen."
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (2-0)
(Sunday, FOX, 4:05 PM ET)
Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and two touchdowns and JULIO JONES had 11 catches for 182 yards and a TD in the Falcons' Week 2 31-24 win over St. Louis. Jones, who had an 81-yard TD catch, is the first player in NFL history with an 80+ yard touchdown reception in each of his first three seasons.
"Julio and Matt seemed to be in sync, seeing the defense the same way," says Atlanta head coach MIKE SMITH. "When you have your receiver and quarterback doing that, you have a chance to be successful."
The Dolphins are 2-0 with both wins coming on the road. They'll return to South Florida for the team's home opener this Sunday after a 24-20 win at Indianapolis. In Week 2, RYAN TANNEHILL passed for 319 yards and Miami had two 100-yard receivers: MIKE WALLACE (nine catches, 115 yards, TD) and CHARLES CLAY (five catches, 109 yards).
"That was a lot of fun and any time you can get a win on the road, that's a big accomplishment," says Tannehill.
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) At San Francisco 49Ers (1-1)
(Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)
The Colts and 49ers -- two 2012 playoff teams -- will look to rebound from losses last week. The game will also be the first NFL meeting between former Stanford head coach (San Francisco's JIM HARBAUGH) and quarterback (Indianapolis' ANDREW LUCK). Harbaugh and Luck were together at Stanford for three seasons (2008-10), with Luck starting two of those years (2009-10). In 2010, the Cardinal finished 12-1, including a victory in the Orange Bowl.
"He's a terrific player," says Harbaugh about Luck. "There are not a lot of weaknesses that he has. He's a top-notch player. We're going to have to be very sound against him. This is the third week in a row we're playing one of the top quarterbacks in the league."
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0)
(Monday, ESPN, 8:40 PM ET)
Two AFC West rivals will meet on Monday night a week after the division posted a 4-0 record for only the second time in the past eight seasons (Week 2, 2010).
Oakland running back DARREN MC FADDEN rushed for 129 yards in Week 2 as the Raiders evened their record at 1-1. The Raiders boast the league's No. 1 rushing attack, averaging 198.5 yards per game. McFadden leads the AFC with 177 rushing yards and Oakland quarterback TERRELLE PRYOR is third with 162 yards.
"It was very important to get a win," says McFadden. "We want to just keep going and keep building on the win."
The Broncos lead the NFL with 90 points and are only the third team in the past 30 years to score 40+ points in each of their first two games. The other two clubs to accomplish the feat are the 2009 Saints and the 2001 Colts, who were led by Denver's current quarterback, PEYTON MANNING. Manning, who leads the league with a 131 passer rating, is the only player in NFL history with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions through the first two weeks of a season. He threw seven TDs in the opener against Baltimore and added two more last week versus the New York Giants.
"It was a good team victory," says Manning about the win over the Giants. "To go into New York and beat a good football team on the road, hopefully we can build off that."
NFL 2013 Week 2 Results (September 12, 15-16)
NEW ENGLAND 13, NY Jets 10
Miami 24, INDIANAPOLIS 20
ATLANTA 31, St. Louis 24
New Orleans 16, TAMPA BAY 14
San Diego 33, PHILADELPHIA 30
ARIZONA 25, Detroit 21
HOUSTON 30, Tennessee 24 (OT)
Denver 41, NY GIANTS 23
GREEN BAY 38, Washington 20
OAKLAND 19, Jacksonville 9
BALTIMORE 14, Cleveland 6
SEATTLE 29, San Francisco 3
BUFFALO 24, Carolina 23
CHICAGO 31, Minnesota 30
KANSAS CITY 17, Dallas 16
CINCINNATI 20, Pittsburgh 10
NFL 2013 Week 3 Schedule (September 19, 22-23)
(All times local)
Thursday, September 19
Kansas City at Philadelphia, 8:25 PM (NFLN)
Sunday, September 22
San Diego at Tennessee, 12:00 PM
Detroit at Washington, 1:00 PM
Atlanta at Miami, 4:05 PM
Houston at Baltimore, 1:00 PM
Buffalo at NY Jets, 4:25 PM
NY Giants at Carolina, 1:00 PM
Indianapolis at San Francisco, 1:25 PM
Green Bay at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM
Jacksonville at Seattle, 1:25 PM
St. Louis at Dallas, 12:00 PM
Cleveland at Minnesota, 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay at New England, 1:00 PM
Arizona at New Orleans, 12:00 PM
Chicago at Pittsburgh, 8:30 PM (NBC)
Monday, September 23
Oakland at Denver, 6:40 PM (ESPN)