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Forty-two things we learned from Week 2 in NFL

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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There were some big losses and crazy wins during Week 2. Here are some of our big takeaways from Sunday:

» The Jaguars ran headlong into the ugly reality that they cannot hide Blake Bortles if they don't jump out to a comfortable lead.

» The rust was off Steelers' Martavis Bryant, and the speedy wideout showed he's a difference-maker when he's on the field.

» The Ravens will win games with their defense in 2017.

» Those wondering if the Steve Sarkisian-coached Falcons would somehow deviate from the successful back-centric formula that took Atlanta to the Super Bowl, think again.

» Kareem Hunt continues to make his case for rookie of the year.

Here's what else we learned Sunday:

Steelers 26, Vikings 9


1. The Pittsburgh Steelers displayed just how dangerous and diverse an offense they can deploy. On a day Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown were mostly kept in check until late in the fourth quarter, Ben Roethlisberger spread the ball around and took deep shot after deep shot.

The rust was off Martavis Bryant, and the speedy wideout showed he's a difference-maker when he's on the field. Bryant corralled several big shots from Big Ben. He took a simple slant to the house for a 27-yard TD, snagged a 51-yard bomb, and caused a huge first-half defensive pass interference. When Bryant is on the field, it completely opens the field. Against a good Vikings defense, Roethlisberger spread the ball around, with six different receivers earning at least four targets. 

2. After holding Bell to just 13 touches in the opener, Pittsburgh took off the restrictor plate. The workhorse took 27 carries for 87 yards. Against a stingy Vikings front that got consistent backfield penetration, Bell was held to 3.2 yards per carry, but churned out chunk gains in the fourth quarter to help the Steelers salt away the win. With a diverse receiver corps, Roethlisberger didn't target Bell much in the passing game (four receptions for four yards on four targets). 

3. Sam Bradford sat out with a knee injury leaving Case Keenum to make his first start for the Vikings. In the first half, Minnesota's offense looked more like the bogged down, short-pass operation we saw last season than the field-stretching operation we saw last week. Like most backups, Keenum had his moments -- a sideline strike to Stefon Diggs on the team's only touchdown drive was a beauty -- but the QB looked slow to pull the trigger at times. After a stellar Week 1, the Vikings' offensive line got swallowed by Steelers pass rushers, getting Keenum battered repeatedly. 

-- Kevin Patra

Broncos 42, Cowboys 17


1. It's strange how Cowboys-esque of a win this was for Denver. With six minutes to go in the third quarter, right after Dallas went down 35-10, a quick check of the Time Of Possession meter showed the Broncos holding a 25:54 to 12:52 advantage (Denver ended up holding the ball for a total of 33:50). Even if the Cowboys took control of the fourth quarter (they didn't), it would have been entirely lopsided. This is mostly thanks to Trevor Siemian, who logged another smart performance. At this point, I'm unsure what more anyone could ask of him except to knock off the errant turnover. Siemian clearly won the starting QB job because of his relationship with Denver's top wideouts and on an afternoon like Sunday, where they can essentially use option routes to pick the thin Dallas secondary apart (it backfired once late in the third quarter with that Jourdan Lewis pick) it's nice to put zero additional pressure on a talented running game.

2. I think people should be careful turning this game into an indictment of what Dak Prescott will finally be like if he has to carry the load. It's far too early for that. Far, far too early. Were there concerning moments? Sure. When Dallas was trailing by 25 (the biggest deficit Prescott has faced in the NFL) he missed Cole Beasley high on a routine drag route. He also threw two picks, though one was on a slant route thrown well to Dez Bryant. Bryant simply let it go. The other was a desperation fastball with less than a minute to go which was made far worse when Aqib Talib took it back 103 yards for the score. I seriously doubt he throws that ball in a tie game. So here it is -- a game where Ezekiel Elliott enters the fourth quarter with eight total rushing yards on nine carries. A game where Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and Shaquil Barrett have all logged quarterback hits (Miller had five and two sacks). I still think Prescott battled nicely. The 28-yard touchdown to Jason Witten to make it 35-17 was a tad high but still resulted in a score. He hit Witten again in the end zone with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but Witten dropped the ball.

3. Elliott's worst game heading into Sunday was a 51-yard performance with a touchdown in his first career game. Sunday night (nine carries for eight yards and no touchdowns) wasn't even close. It's incredible how lifeless the Cowboys' offense can be without the gashing runs. When Elliott isn't draining the life out of a defense, there are so many more ways to get after Prescott and scramble the game plan. How strange is it to see Dallas in that frantic, down-by-a-mile scramble in the fourth quarter when the defense knows Prescott is throwing and sends the house every time?

-- Conor Orr

Patriots 36, Saints 20


1. Tom Brady's response to an uneven Week 1 was perhaps the best first quarter of his career. Brady had 177 yards, five perfect third-down tosses and a personal record three touchdowns in the first 15 minutes on the way to 447 yards for the game, third most of his career. Don't just attribute this to his opponent.

Brady had a number of breathtaking throws, often into tight windows. His footwork and ability to connect on difficult passes under pressure somehow looks better than it did a decade ago. He toyed with some of the Saints' youngsters, looking off defenders and often winning before the snap.

2. It wasn't all good news for the Patriots' offense. Rob Gronkowski's return to form was cut short by a groin injury that knocked him out of action in the third quarter. (Before that, Gronk was back to his usual physical self with safeties bouncing off him on the way to six catches and 116 yards, including a 53-yard score.) Wide receiver Chris Hogan limped through the second half of the game and receiver Phillip Dorsett left with a knee injury late. The Patriots had only one fully healthy wide receiver by the end of the game.

3. For the second straight week, Drew Brees and the Saints' offense was fine. Just fine. But they are going to need to take it to another level to compete with a Saints defense struggling this much to get stops. Brees just hasn't been in synch with his receivers, with Ted Ginn, Brandon Coleman and Michael Thomas occasionally making timing errors. More importantly, the Saints' running game is an afterthought. Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for only 53 rushing yards before a last-minute garbage time run by Ingram. 

4. New England's defense is a work in progress, but it might have found a keeper in fourth-round rookie defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. He finished with five QB hits, two tackles for loss and a sack. He and undrafted rookie Adam Butler, who started over veteran Alan Branch, gives the Patriots some much-needed youth up front.  

-- Gregg Rosenthal

Falcons 34, Packers 23


1. The backs are back. After Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for just 52 rushing yards in Week 1, the Falcons' dynamic duo fell right back into 2016 form, rushing for 126 combined yards and two scores. Maybe it was the speedy home turf, or maybe it was the absence of the aforementioned Daniels. But for those wondering if the Steve Sarkisian-coached Falcons would somehow deviate from the successful back-centric formula that took Atlanta to the Super Bowl, think again.

2. Kevin King proved to be a welcome addition to Green Bay's beleaguered secondary, closing in on tackles and shadowing Julio Jones occasionally. But the rookie cornerback wasn't enough to contain the Falcons' unstoppable wideout whose lateral speed gave the Packers secondary fits once again. Julio set the tone early with four catches of 10-plus yards, all in the first half. Green Bay fans would be forgiven for suffering serious deja vu from the NFC Championship game, when Jones burned the Pack for 180 yards on nine catches. But it's hard to blame Dom Capers' unit; there are few, if any, defensive back groupings in the nation who can slow Jones to a halt.

3. Green Bay was bit by the injury bug before and during Sunday night's loss. Starting tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari were both inactive, thrusting Kyle Murphy and Justin McCray into the unenviable positions of blocking Vic Beasley and De'Vondre Campbell. For a quarter or so, the backups stood firm. But as the game wore, the pocket collapsed, forcing Rodgers to improvise from outside the hashes and behind on the scoreboard. Beasley's game-sealing strip-sack, if you could call it that, was the direct result of five failed cut blocks along the offensive line and was the defining image of a night marred by injuries and miscommunication along the Green Bay front. Adding injury to injury, the Packers lost their two most indispensable players on both sides of the ball, Mike Daniels and Jordy Nelson, in the first quarter to respective hamstring and quad injuries, changing Green Bay's game plan out of the gate. If these injuries are long-term deals, the Packers will be in deep trouble.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Chiefs 27, Eagles 20


1. Doug Pederson was visiting former sensei Andy Reid but seemed far more deferential to Reid's defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton. The Eagles tried to develop their running game by force feeding the veteran Darren Sproles, who led the team with 10 carries. Philly also tried to use the screen game to negate what was a brilliant job by Sutton to match up some of his best pass rushers against Philadelphia's least dependable offensive linemen. The result was a much more frantic Wentz who had defenders in his face constantly (10 quarterback hits, six sacks). However, it was that screen game that ended up biting the Eagles in the end. A Wentz inside screen bounced off Justin Houston's shoulders and landed into the arms of Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones. Five plays later (including a shovel pass!) the Chiefs were up a touchdown.

2. While the New England Patriots certainly rebounded on Sunday, where do the Chiefs end up on everyone's power rankings Tuesday morning? These are two marquis wins to start the season (beating a talented team constructed with your head coaching principles is never easy). Some will say Alex Smith returned to a conservative style of play, but he still hit on passes of 44 yards and 35 yards. Andy Reid's movement of Travis Kelce early in the game set up an unwinnable chess match for the Eagles defense. Kareem Hunt (two straight games with a touchdown of more than 50 yards and five touchdowns overall in two weeks!) continues to make his case for rookie of the year. There may not be a team more difficult to game plan for in the NFL right now.

3. Eagles fans will not be happy with a loss, but have to be a little bit fired up about the final five seconds of the game. A fantastic onside kick and corresponding special teams play by Trey Burton on the recovery, and then Carson Wentz comes on to the field enthused. This team has taken on an edge under Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, which showed against a difficult opponent on Sunday.

-- Conor Orr

Ravens 24, Browns 10


1. Baltimore might have the best rushing attack in the league. A week after the Ravens ran the ball 42 times for 157 yards, they again kept it on the ground, gaining 137 yards on 31 carries. Alex Collins, a recent promotion from the practice squad, churned up 42 yards on seven carries. Javorius Allen rarely went down on first contact, adding 66 yards on 14 carries. Terrance West added 22 yards on eight carries. Joe Flacco was markedly better in an expanded passing role, completing 25 of 34 passes for 217 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

2. The Ravens will win games with their defense in 2017. The unit shut out Cincinnati last week, intercepted Browns quarterbacks four times (Kevin Hogan once, DeShone Kizer three times) and forced a fumble. When Cleveland found itself deep in Baltimore territory, the Ravens stood tall, allowing just one touchdown on a microburst drive led by Hogan. Baltimore's pass rush is consistent, and its secondary is playing aggressive, opportunistic football.

3. Week 2 was a step back for DeShone Kizer. The quarterback looked a beat slow in the pocket, taking too long to get rid of passes or escape the rush. It cost him when he was sacked and fumbled inside Cleveland's 35, and again when a pass glanced off the hands of Duke Johnson and was intercepted by Eric Weddle. A migraine knocked him out until the third quarter, and he was up and down after he returned in the third. Head coach Hue Jackson didn't do him any favors with his playcalling, either, having the rookie attempt to throw from inside Baltimore's 5 on first and second down, with the latter resulting in an ugly end zone interception. Another ugly interception late in the fourth capped a bad day for Cleveland. The only minor positive to take away offensively was the play of receiver Rashard Higgins, who caught seven passes for 95 yards.

-- Nick Shook

Panthers 9, Bills 3


1. It was interesting to see how tactically each team was attacking one another defensively (for example, the Bills stacked the A gap and shoved two defenders up the middle to create havoc with the Panthers missing center Ryan Kalil, who tweaked his neck Sunday morning) before realizing they could be just as effective by beating one another off the edge. In a stroke of brilliance, Bills head coach Sean McDermott kept showing the A gap blitz before calling it off last-second and letting Jerry Hughes rip on the outside. By the time Cam Newton briefly visited the medical tent after twisting his ankle in the fourth quarter, the Bills had logged six sacks to the Panthers' three.

2. Regardless of outcome, this was a showcase of two good defenses and two offenses that badly need to diversify. Christian McCaffrey was averaging fewer than two yards per carry for a majority of the afternoon. LeSean McCoy was averaging less than ONE yard per carry (he finished the game at 0.8 yards per carry). The game took on a backyard feel, with both quarterbacks running for their lives hoping that something could happen via a broken-off route (Newton missed McCaffrey for what would have been a knockout blow touchdown with less than three minutes to play). Without the threat of Newton constantly taking off on a zone read-type look out of the shotgun, the Panthers' offense seems to be in a holding pattern.

3. How quickly was the air taken out of Buffalo's sails on their final drive? Tyrod Taylor completed his first seven passes and for the first time all afternoon the Bills were moving the football. Until...Tyrod Taylor scrambles on a first-and-20 from the Panthers' 42 and is tackled in the middle of the field. Sean McDermott ops not to use either of his two timeouts and the Bills don't get another snap off until the 30-second mark. What a heartbreaking final play, by the way. Fourth down, 14 seconds left. Bills rookie receiver Zay Jones runs a great corner route, his defender slips and Tyrod Taylor throws it just a little high. 

-- Conor Orr

Titans 37, Jaguars 16


1. Switching from a two-tight end to a three-wide receiver attack, the Titans seemed to lose their identity behind a tentative and sluggish DeMarco Murray in the first six quarters of the season. Upon turning to second-year power back Derrick Henry in the final two quarters Sunday, the offense finally clicked. Blowing the game open with a tackle-breaking 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Henry finished with 92 yards -- and an unofficial changing of the guard in the backfield. After fading down the 2016 stretch run and battling a hamstring injury in preseason action, Murray has lacked the agility and explosiveness he showed upon breaking out of the gates last September and October. Henry is the better player right now, and the Titans seem to realize it.

2. The Jaguars desperately want to pound opponents into submission with a talented young defense and the piston-churning rushing tandem of rookie Leonard Fournette and veteran Chris Ivory. It's a formula with the potential to propel Jacksonville out of the AFC South basement and into the driver's seat had the team's braintrust bothered to install a backup plan at the sports' most important position. In contrast to the season opening victory in Houston, the Jaguars ran headlong into the ugly reality that they cannot hide Blake Bortles if they don't jump out to a comfortable lead. Don't let Bortles' typical garbage-time production fool you; he was just 5-of-12 for 41 yards, a pair of interceptions and a 16.3 passer rating at halftime.

3. Carrying the weight of a dysfunctional passing game, the back of Jacksonville's defense broke in the third and early-fourth quarters. That said, it's fair to point out the disappearing pass rush. After generating a staggering 10 sacks versus a slow-motion Tom Savage and inexperienced Deshaun Watson last week, the Jaguars managed just one takedown and two quarterback hits against the more elusive Marcus Mariota, operating behind a stout offensive line.

-- Chris Wesseling

Buccaneers 29, Bears 7


1. The Bucs boat raced the hapless Bears in their season opener. A swarming Tampa defense forced three Mike Glennon first-half turnovers and got another on special teams to race out to a 26-0 halftime lead. The Bucs linebacking corps of Lavonte David (9 tackles, fumble recovery), Kwon Alexander (left with an injury after an early interception) and rookie Kendall Beckwith (five tackles, two for loss, pass defended) was all over the field. The Bucs' defensive front dominated the Bears offensive line, destroying Glennon repeatedly. With the front seven suffocating the run (20 yards on 16 carries), the defensive backs could play aggressive against the pass, as evidenced by Robert McClain's pick-six.

2. The extra week off caused no rust to collect on the Jameis Winston-Mike Evans connection. Winston targeted his favorite receiver often, relentlessly picking on overmatched Bears cornerbacks. Evans finished with seven catches for 93 yards and one touchdown. Evan's TD catch displayed how unguardable he is in one-on-one matchups in the red zone. Winston also gave several deeps shots to speedster DeSean Jackson. The two couldn't connect on the bombs, but Winston proved he wouldn't be shy giving his deep-threat a chance to make big plays. When the two eventually connect, the Bucs offense will be nearly unstoppable.

3. Glennon's lack of pocket mobility showed up as the Bucs collapsed blockers around the QB, leading to several poor decisions and the three turnovers. The Bears lack of playmakers was evident, and a reason we aren't likely to see Mitchell Trubisky anytime soon, even as fans remain frustrated with Glennon's play. Emblematic of Glennon's day: On 4th-and-10 in the fourth quarter of a blowout, in the red zone, the quarterback threw a 6-yard incompletion across the middle to a tight end Zach Miller who was blanketed.

Chicago couldn't run the ball early, with Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard averaging a combined 1.3 yards per carry. The pint-sized Cohen was Glennon's go-to passing target, seeing 9 targets, catching 8 for 55 yards. After his phenomenal debut, Cohen was mostly corralled by Tampa, but is clearly going to play a huge role this season. His muffed punt in the first quarter, however, displayed Cohen's youth. The rookie tried to do too much, instead of letting the ball get touched down. The Bears gave up a TD on the follow play at the game was never again close.

-- Kevin Patra

Cardinals 16, Colts 13 (OT)


1. A late offensive surge coupled with an overtime interception by Tyrann Mathieu helped cover up what might have been the ugliest performance of the Carson Palmer-Bruce Arians era in Arizona. Through three quarters, the Cardinals were held hostage by an anemic offense that struggled to match the output being produced by a quarterback making his first start for the Colts. Palmer connected on 19 of 36 passes for 332 yards and a touchdown and found a smidgen of redemption with a fourth-quarter comeback. Still, the Cardinals were lucky to escape with a victory following Phil Dawson's 30-yard field goal in the first overtime game of the season. "A win's a win. We'll never say sorry for that, but we can play a lot better than that," coach Bruce Arians said.

2. It wasn't a repeat of the spectacle he achieved in his first NFL win last September, but Jacoby Brissett's steady performance kept the Colts ahead for most of the game. Tyrann Mathieu's interception on Brissett in overtime clearly hurt, but he played about as well as can be expected for a quarterback put in his situation. He finished with 20-of-37 passing for 216 yards.

3. Adam Vinatieri kicked two field goals for the Colts, and his 29-yarder in the fourth quarter gave him another NFL record. He's now kicked 177 field goals from between 20 and 29 yards, breaking a tie he held with Morten Anderson. Until Andrew Luck returns, he'll likely continue to add to that total.

-- Austin Knoblauch

Seahawks 12, 49ers 9


1. This one was ugly, from the Cascadia weather to the sloppy play on the field on both sides. Let's start with Seattle. The Seahawks, as we once knew, are broken. But then again, we said that last September, when Seattle nearly lost at home to the Dolphins under similar circumstances. Injuries on the offensive line and a stalled running game forced Russell Wilson to, once again, run for his life and create on his own. Wilson took 10 quarterback hits from the 49ers' front, sailed a few passes and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt, but overall held his composure down the stretch. His day was best exemplified by his lone TD pass: A perfect toss while being hit at the knees after another O-line breakdown and lengthy scramble.

2. Chris Carson is the Seahawks' present and immediate future at running back. Seattle made that clear down the stretch when the rookie back tallied 58 yards on six touches during the Seahawks' final two drives. Thomas Rawls, the starting back coming off of injury, was nowhere to be found, finishing with more carries (5) than yards (4). What about Eddie Lacy? He didn't even dress, a healthy scratch in his second game with the team. Until Seattle's line woes are remedied, the offense must move on the backs of the backs, and the only one producing anything at the moment is the dual-threat Carson.

3. Through two games, Kyle Shanahan's Niners offense has yet to find the end zone. Their opponents, Carolina and Seattle, are notoriously stingy fronts, but that's where the excuses stop. Save for one 61-yard Carlos Hyde scamper, San Francisco failed to muster any chunk plays against the Seahawks, once trademarks of Shanahan's unit in Atlanta. Brian Hoyer threw for just 99 yards and averaged an anemic 3.7 yards per attempt. It barely gets easier next week, or next Thursday rather, when San Francisco takes on Wade Philips, Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Raiders 45, Jets 20


1. It took a half, but Oakland's offense finally got rolling against the visiting Jets when they turned on the speed. In Marshawn Lynch's regular-season return to the Black Hole, the tackle-breaking back was an afterthought, save for an impromptu jumbotron dance session. Lynch tallied 45 hard-earned yards on the ground, but it was his faster counterparts, Jalen Richard and Cordarrelle Patterson, who broke this blowout wide open and led the team in rushing. Patterson's 43-yard touchdown run on a third-quarter draw play caught the Jets by surprise and put the Raiders ahead by a double-digit lead it wouldn't relinquish; Richard scored later on a 53-yard sweep. This is the beauty of Oakland's offense; it can kill you up the middle, around the edge and...

2. Through the air. One week after Amari Cooper led the Raiders in targets with 13, it was Michael Crabtree who earned most of Derek Carr's attention and best tosses. Crabtree, in the third year of a career renaissance with the Raiders, caught three touchdown passes on Sunday, victimizing New York's second-tier cornerbacks, Buster Skrine and Juston Burris. Crabtree, Cooper and tight end Jared Cook earned an even share of targets, but Crabtree's size and skill matchups were too one-sided for Carr to overlook.

3. For the Jets, muted progress. New York was actually within striking distance, down four near the end of the first half, but a muffed punt inside the five turned the tables. The defense gave up big plays to elusive ballcarriers for the second straight week -- LeSean McCoy ran rampant over Gang Green in Week 1 -- but they stood tall against Lynch. Josh McCown took four sacks and lost a fumble in the shadow of his own end zone, but also spread the ball around and established a nice rapport with Jermaine Kearse, who caught two TDs. The running backs, who struggled to find any room behind a limited offensive line last week, averaged 5.0 yards per carry against Oakland.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Redskins 27, Rams 20


1. It was a Sean McVay-Jay Gruden reunion at the Coliseum, but it was the Redskins' offense that stole the show. The Rams' defense had a hard time stopping the run game. At the half, the Redskins already had 167 rushing yards, with running backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson both over 70 yards on the ground. The Redskins' offensive line continued to open up huge holes in the second-half. Rookie running back Samaje Perine finally got into rhythm after Kelley left the game with a rib injury. He finished the game with almost 70 yards.

2. Todd Gurley comeback year? Gurley showed flashes of what he showed when he won Rookie of the Year two seasons ago. His 136 yards from scrimmage are his most since Week 14 of 2015. Gurley tried to keep the Rams in the game even leaping over defenders and stretching the ball near the goal line for an 18-yard touchdown, but that wasn't enough. He doubled his stats this week with 88 rushing yard and 48 receiving yards for two touchdowns -- but his two fumbles (one of which was recovered by the Rams) can't be repeated.

3. Injuries plagued the Redskins throughout the game. They had three offensive starters -- Kelley, tight end Jordan Reed and right tackle Morgan Moses -- go down Sunday. Reed returned momentarily in the fourth-quarter. The Redskins survived Week 2, but they're going to need all their weapons if they want to build off this performance when they play against the Raiders at home next week.

-- Lakisha Jackson

Dolphins 19, Chargers 17


1. The Chargers were as up and down as their season has been. Philip Rivers completed 31 of 39 passes for 331 yards and a touchdown, but when they were leading 17-10 and needed just one score to put Miami away for good, they repeatedly stalled. It was great entertainment for the fans in their opener at the Stubhub Center, until the mood turned anxious as Miami continually crept closer with field goals. Los Angeles averaged over four yards per carry, gaining 44 yards on 10 totes between Melvin Gordon and Branden Oliver, but 26 of those yards came on one Oliver run. Inexplicably, the Chargers abandoned the ground game late when clinging to a small lead, running it just four times in the second half (with one being a Rivers sneak to set up Koo's late field goal attempt). The lack of clock movement afforded Miami enough time to record multiple stops and chip away even as its own offense struggled to reach the end zone.

2. Miami has an embarrassment of riches at the receiver position. Jarvis Landry caught 13 passes on 15 targets for 78 yards, DeVante Parker caught four passes on nine targets (with two being fantastic jump-ball grabs), Kenny Stills caught two of five targets (including a touchdown) and tight end Julius Thomas caught all three of his targets for 26 yards. Cutler was 24-of-33 passing for 230 yards and a touchdown on a pass thrown well on the run. Despite being his usual gunslinging self, Cutler avoided throwing an interception. It's remarkable to think he was almost out of football this season.

3. The true engine of Miami's offense is, unsurprisingly, Jay Ajayi. The hammer back carried the ball 28 times for 122 yards and looked exactly like the breakout runner he was in 2016. With a running back every defense must respect, Cutler will continue to get opportunities to find his skilled armaments. Watching Miami is exhilarating because with Cutler, this squad is talented enough to win the majority of its games in entertaining fashion, but it also seems to be constantly teetering on the edge of disaster. As long as Cutler doesn't hold onto the ball too long and take too many risks -- which he's prone to do and did occasionally Sunday -- this is a formula that could very realistically put Miami back in the playoffs. And it might be fun to watch on a weekly basis.

-- Nick Shook

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