Two contenders emerged with impressive victories in Week 2’s Monday Night Football doubleheader.
First it was the Buffalo Bills defeating the Tennessee Titans in a total blowout, 41-7. Starters on both sides were pulled in the third quarter, as the Bills stormed out of the half with 24 unanswered points. Buffalo is now 2-0, outscoring its opponents 72-17 through two weeks.
In the second game, Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles proved they were ready for prime time with a 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles are 2-0, looking even better this season after a surprise playoff berth in 2021.
Here are some winners and losers from Monday’s doubleheader:
Winner: Bills’ road to a perfect season
This seems crazy, right? It’s Week 2 of the 2022 season. But the Bills look like an absolute juggernaut after another dominant win over a 2021 playoff team.
Buffalo owned Tennessee in all three phases of the game on Monday night. Josh Allen led a nearly flawless passing attack, completing 26 of 38 passes for 317 yards and four scores (three to Stefon Diggs). The Bills’ defense held the Titans to just 187 offensive yards, with two interceptions. And Buffalo’s first two punts of the night were muffed by Tennessee’s returners (Bills recovered one). That’s what you call a complete game.
The next few weeks will determine if a perfect season is actually realistic. Buffalo has upcoming road tests against the Dolphins (Week 3), Ravens (Week 4) and Chiefs (Week 6) – win those three, and the undefeated chatter will pick up.
Loser: Ryan Tannehill
The man running the Titans’ anemic offense has to be among Monday’s biggest losers. Tannehill completed 11 of 20 passes for 117 yards and two interceptions before rookie Malik Willis took over in the third quarter.
If the game was closer, Tannehill likely wouldn’t have been benched. But for as long as the Titans continue to lose games, the more his job security will be questioned. Willis looked great in the preseason before a choppy relief performance in his debut on Monday. The Liberty product was 1 of 4, with six passing yards, 16 rushing yards and a fumble lost.
Tannehill needs a bounce-back performance in Week 3 when the Raiders visit Nashville. Luckily for him, the AFC South remains wide open. Even if the Titans continue to struggle, no team is running away with the division crown.
Winner: Jalen Hurts is him
Since his days at Alabama, Hurts’ passing ability has been questioned. There was never a doubt about his mobility, but many wondered if he would ever be a capable pro passer. Two weeks into his second full season as a starter, he’s not just been capable – he’s been thriving.
Hurts’ skills were on full display Monday night, both through the air and on the ground. He had 333 passing yards and 57 rushing yards, with three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing). It was, without a doubt, the most impressive performance of Hurts’ young career.
At this point, it’s unfair to put a limit on Hurts’ ceiling. He’s gotten better every year dating back to college. Just 24 years old, there’s no reason to believe the consistent improvement will suddenly stop.
Loser: Kevin O’Connell’s offense
After a convincing Week 1 win over the rival Packers, new Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell rightfully received heaps of praise. The pendulum will swing back after Monday, with Minnesota’s new-look offense sputtering.
Kirk Cousins was at the center of the Vikings’ struggles, with three costly interceptions. But his receivers didn’t help him out, dropping a handful of passes. Irv Smith Jr., notably, dropped a likely touchdown in the first half that would’ve kept the game within reach. Elsewhere, Justin Jefferson was held in check by Darius Slay and Adam Thielen didn’t have a target until the fourth quarter. There’s plenty of blame to go around.
There’s not a huge cause for concern just yet, but O’Connell definitely has some work to do. A date with the 1-1 Lions next week is suddenly intriguing for the 1-1 Vikings, who still have a lot to prove.