Greatness On The Road  

Marriott  

Kevin Kolb helps deliver the NFL's most unlikely of 2-0 starts

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
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Sometimes -- to quote the famous English wordsmith William Shakespeare -- "some have greatness thrust upon them." Starting in place of the injured starting quarterback, managing to get the best of a future Hall of Fame quarterback, and ultimately getting a fortunate field goal miss from the most accurate kicker in New England Patriots history, is how this week's top road performance came to be. Check out highlights from Week 2's Greatness on the Road winner, Kevin Kolb.

Greatest on the road ...

Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals

It takes a lot to win on the road in the NFL, especially if you're playing a team that has never lost a home opener in its current stadium. The Patriots were a perfect 10-0 in home openers at Gillette Stadium (a streak that dates back to the stadium's opening in 2002). In addition, Tom Brady entered Week 2 play with a 35-1 record as a starter in home games since Week 12 of the 2006 season. Little was expected of the Arizona Cardinals, who were given little hope of victory with Kolb at the helm. Still, Kolb and the opportunistic Cardinals pulled off the biggest shocker of this young pro football season.

Kolb threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Cardinals built a 20-9 fourth-quarter lead. Soon after football fans across the land sensed a huge upset was about to take place in Foxborough, the Patriots mounted a frantic late-game comeback, trimming the Cardinals' lead to the precarious margin of two points with less than three minutes remaining. As the Cardinals attempted to run out the clock, an unfortunate fumble by Ryan Williams nearly derailed the Cardinals' golden opportunity. Instead, the usually reliable Stephen Gostkowski missed a potential winning field goal and the Cardinals emerged victorious, 20-18.

Kolb, it should be noted, has now won three consecutive starts for the first time in his career. The Cardinals will enter Week 3 as one of the NFL's hottest teams, having won nine of their last 11 games dating back to last season. The Cardinals' next opponent? The Philadelphia Eagles, who traded Kolb to the Cardinals before the 2011 season and enter the game as the only team in NFL history to win its first two games by a single point. Who writes this stuff?

Also considered:

Arian Foster, Houston Texans

In one of the most dominant performances of the weekend, the Texans grounded and pounded the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7. Leading the charge was Foster, who finished the day with 110 yards rushing and a touchdown to become the Texans' new all-time leading rusher. Teaming with Ben Tate (74 yards, two touchdowns), Foster anchored the Texans' ball-control stampede.

Houston controlled the clock in epic fashion, finishing the game with a staggering time of possession of 43:17, the highest in franchise history (Jacksonville's miniscule 16:43 time of possession was the lowest in its history). Foster's efforts helped the Texans outgain the Jaguars, 411 yards to 117 (the plus-294 yardage differential was also the second best in franchise history). That's domination, folks.

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

Is there such a thing as a good loss? Losing to the division-rival Cincinnati Bengals might not be the easiest of situations for the Dawg Pounders to contend with, but the emergence of the Browns' first-round draft picks -- quarterback Brandon Weeden and Richardson -- is a promising sign of what's to come. Richardson, in particular, displayed the playmaking abilities that earned him the No. 3 spot in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Richardson became the first Browns rookie running back to rush for 100-plus yards, and have a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game. That's impressive, and also delighted those fantasy football owners with the foresight to pick up the Browns rookie despite the fact that he was missing in action during the preseason. And before thumbing your nose at Richardson's accomplishment because the Browns recently have lacked relative success, consider this ... Cleveland boasts four Hall of Fame running backs (Marion Motley, Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly), not to mention classic backs such as Greg Pruitt, Earnest Byner and "Tecmo Super Bowl" legend Kevin Mack.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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