We are already halfway through this 2022 NFL campaign. This season has been full of surprises and abnormal storylines. One of those has been the surprisingly hot start of the New York Jets. This week, however, the New England Patriots dismantled them 22-17. Bill Belichick did what he does best: beat the Jets and embarrass young quarterbacks. This was the first time since 2001 that New York entered a matchup with New England with a better record. As New York lost to the Pats for the 13th consecutive time, their second-year QB Zach Wilson struggled heavily. He threw three interceptions and completed less than 50% of his passes. Despite his 355 yards and two touchdown passes, he had a quarterback rating of 24 out of a possible 100.
For New England, QB Mac Jones was able to recover from a rough start with one interception and another called back in the first half. He finished with one touchdown and 194 passing yards as well as picking up multiple–clutch first downs on the ground. Another player that did a lot of this was Rhamondre Stevenson. He has been quietly putting together a Pro Bowl-caliber season, ranking in the top 10 for rushing and receiving yards for running backs. This week he ran for 71 yards and caught seven balls for 72 yards, leading the team in both categories. Jakobi Meyers scored the team’s only touchdown with a 5-yard pass from Jones. Veteran safety Devin McCourty had two picks with JaWhaun Bentley having the other. With the win, the Pats moved to 4-4 and Bill Belichick moved into second place in the all-time wins list, trailing Don Shula by 22 victories.
Another shock of the season has been the Minnesota Vikings starting off 6-1 after they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 34-26. Their only loss came to the still-undefeated Eagles in week two on Monday Night Football, a prime time slot that has not been kind to Kirk Cousins. He is 2-10 on Monday night games and 10-18 in prime times. Luckily the majority of Minnesota’s games are early. Also luckily for Captain Kirk, he has a loaded offense featuring “Griddy” inventor and All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson, former All-Pro receiver Adam Thielen, Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook and is just finalizing a trade for Pro Bowl tight end TJ Hockenson this week.
As for this game, the offense was firing on all cylinders, with Cousins throwing for 232 yards and two scores. Dalvin Cook led the day rushing by picking up 111 of the team’s 173 ground yards. The Vikings defense gave up over 400 yards of offense but were able to cause three turnovers. For the Cardinals, in his second game back from a performance-enhancing drug suspension, Deandre Hopkins absolutely balled out with 12 catches, 159 yards and a touchdown. Kyler Murray put up solid numbers except for the turnovers. Perhaps Kyler got distracted this week with the new Call of Duty release, which he has done in the past instead of watching film.
For once, the Chicago Bears offense did not cost them the game. They lost to the Dallas Cowboys 49-29. The Bears went over 200 yards rushing for the third game in a row. Unfortunately, the defense did not hold up their end of the bargain and play up to their normal standards. They allowed 200 rushing yards, 250 passing and seven total touchdowns. Three of them belonged to Tony Pollard, who has really become the feature back in the offense, taking the top spot from Ezekiel Elliot. Pollard had 147 total yards on just 15 touches. Dak Prescott was very efficient for the Cowboys by missing only six passes, throwing two touchdowns and rushing. Dallas moves to 6-2 before their bye.
The Indianapolis Colts lost the first game after the brief Matt Ryan era to the Washington Commanders 17-16. The former MVP has been benched for rookie Sam Ehlinger after a disappointing start to the season. He has likely played his last game as a Colt, as the team has Ehlinger and cheaper veteran Nick Foles. As for the game, Ehlinger did fine in his limited role, as it was his first start. He had no touchdowns but lost a fumble. Taylor Heineke won his second straight game for Washington and was also their leading rusher this game. Heineke threw his only touchdown pass to Antonio Gibson, and he ran one in as well.