Every game during the NFL season tells a story. GIFs -- pronounced "gifs", "jifs" or "gee-oafs" -- can do the same thing. Let's explain the world of Week 2 through GIFs.
Ah, it's not September in the NFL until we see Tom Brady going volcanic on his teammates. Historically, the Patriots under Bill Belichick take a month or so to get ramped up. Since Belichick took over in 2000, New England has a winning percentage of "just" .656 (40-21) in the first month of the season. In October, the Pats jump to .760 (57-18), in November they sit at .710 (49-20), and December they elevate to an ungodly .831 (64-13). So perhaps consider the Jaguars fortunate to catch the Pats before they go Full Invincible. Let's not take away anything from Jason Mendoza's favorite team, though: The Jags thoroughly outplayed the Pats on Sunday, and if not for #MylesJackHadIt, they probably would've knocked off New England in January's AFC title game, too. Is the changing of the guard finally upon us?
We'll see all about that, but the Pats clearly have some work to do. One more angry sideline GIF? Go 'head, twist my arm!
That's one angry coach, man.
The Vikings invested a fifth-round pick in Carlson, but you can't fault them for their decision to cut the rookie and replace him with former Cowboys stalwart Dan Bailey on Monday. I thought Carlson would get more time based on his draft pedigree -- aka The Roberto Aguayo Clause -- but Minnesota is in Super-Bowl-or-bust mode and they don't have the luxury to hope Carlson would make like a great closer in baseball and forget yesterday ever happened.
Things were somehow worse for poor Zane Gonzalez, who left eight points on the field ... including two extra points! The second PAT miss would have given the Browns a 19-18 lead with 1:24 to play. He had a chance at redemption in the final seconds, but pushed a final 52-yard attempt right to seal the Browns' fate in a crushing -- even by Cleveland terms -- 21-18 loss at the Superdome.
I honestly cannot remember ever seeing the kicker of the opposing team jog all the way over from the enemy sideline to console a contemporary. Well, a contemporary at the time. As expected, the Browns moved on from Gonzalez on Monday. Kicking really is a brutal business. My goodness.
The universe just felt a little bit off when ESPN spent the final quarter of the Jets' blowout win over the Lions last Monday training its cameras on elated Gang Green fans celebrating the team's unlikely dominance at Ford Field. Cut to Sunday at the Meadowlands, a mistake-filled mess for the home team in a 20-12 setback against the Dolphins. Sam Darnold looked every bit like a 21-year-old rookie and the Jets kicked away numerous opportunities to get back into the game.
On the subject of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the fickle nature of Fitzmagic, I wrote this on Friday: "It would not at all be a shock if Fitzpatrick throws three picks in a loss to the Eagles on Sunday. But you should also be prepared for a scenario in which Fitzpatrick leads the NFL in every relevant passing category on Monday morning. The Beard is weird."
Fitzpatrick showed up for his postgame presser on Sunday in DeSean Jackson outerwear, clearly reveling in the moment. And you can understand why! Fitzpatrick has had a roller-coaster career, and I think most of us believed his wild run with the Jets in 2015 and 2016 would be his final moment of true NFL relevance. And yet ... here we are. Barring a total Fitzpatrick meltdown next week against the Steelers, Jameis Winston isn't sniffing the starting job when he comes off suspension.
I get it, Cardinals. You invested $15 million guaranteed in Sam Bradford to be your hold-the-fort guy. But you've been outscored 58-6 in the first two weeks and have a first-round pick sitting on the bench who -- we were told a million times -- was more pro-ready than any other quarterback in his draft class. Put Josh Rosen in before everyone falls asleep.
There is nothing more frustrating for a sports fan than to see a game decided by a questionable call. The controversial roughing-the-passer penalty on Clay Matthews wiped out a game-sealing interception for the Packers and allowed the Vikings the opportunity to tie the game and force overtime. The game finished in a tie. The league can stand behind the call all it wants, but that is not -- and cannot -- be a penalty.
Matthews was justifiably perplexed that his hit on Kirk Cousins drew laundry: "I have so many emotions running through as far as just what a terrible call it was. But at the same time, I don't know what else to do. I mean, I don't know. You let me know. Tell me: Did I put pressure on him? I thought I hit him within his waist, his chest. I got my head across, put my hands down. To call it at that point of the game is just unbelievable."
The NFL needs to protect its quarterbacks. But they also need to make sure that protection doesn't undermine the product. Tricky business.
It's always fun when an overexcited road player scores a touchdown and attempts a Lambeau Leap. Also fun: Salty Packers fans turning away said player with extreme prejudice.
Until next week.