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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Zwiller: Let’s overreact 2.0

Last week I wrote about the crazy opening weekend: The Titans’ crazy game against the Cardinals, the Browns’ great showing against the Chiefs, the Saints rolling the Packers and the Steelers locking down the Bills. 

I think I did pretty well. The Titans’ offense bounced back against the Seattle Seahawks, and the Browns seem to be rolling along offensively. The Saints came back down to Earth, and the Bills put up 35 on the Dolphins.

A code I live my life by is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So while week 2 wasn’t nearly as crazy as week 1, I still think it’s worth exploring some instant reactions from the week and seeing if they merit freaking out.

Saints 7 @ Panthers 26

Panthers’ Reaction: Sam Darnold is the franchise QB.

As a Panthers fan (gotta get the bias out of the way now) one calendar year ago, the idea of Darnold being MY franchise QB would be simply laughable. But in his two games as a Panther, Darnold is 50/73 (68.5%), netting 584 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. He has looked good and has improved from game to game.

Overreaction: Every part of me that loves all things Carolina sports wants to say Darnold is a franchise QB. I am not going to say it just yet, but I think he is on the right track. I have maintained since the trade that Darnold need only be a Tannehill, not a Mahomes. Darnold looks to be well on his way.

Saints’ Reaction: *confusion*

I was stunned by this one. After the win last week against the Packers I was worried for Sam Darnold and the Panther’s defense. Now, after this week, I have no idea what to make of the Saints.

Jameis threw two interceptions, was sacked four times, passed 50%, and had 80 net yards. The Saints’ rush game had a mere 48 yards on almost 20 attempts. 

Overreaction: The Saints entered Bank of America Stadium down eight (yes, eight) assistant coaches because of a COVID outbreak. They had an (in my opinion) flukey week 1 outlier win against the Packers; this is their flukey outlier loss. My view on the Saints is officially reset to neutral. 

Bills 35 @ Dolphins 0

Bills’ Reaction: *offensive confusion*

Much like with the Saints, the Bills have now shown us two very different results on offense. 

So, which is the one closer to the genuine Buffalo offense?

Reaction: This is the real deal.

I am inclined to think it is this performance. The Steelers were able to hold the Vegas Raiders to 26 points which kept them in the game. Like I said last week, Bill’s performance was a testament to the Steeler’s defense. 

Now, I’m not saying you can expect 35 from the Bills each week, but they ought to do better than 16 like last week. And I am genuinely concerned about Allen’s accuracy and turnovers thus far. But I think he is going to continue to improve throughout the season.

Patriots 25 @ Jets 6

Jets Reaction: Zach Wilson is in major trouble. 

It was a long day for rookie QB Zach Wilson. He dropped back to throw 33 times and completed 19 times. While he did get 210 yards on those 19 completions, he had zero touchdowns and an astounding FOUR interceptions. So yeah, not a good day for the young rookie.

This performance comes on the heels of a 14-19 loss to the Carolina Panthers, in which he had a 54% completion percentage on 37 attempts. In that game, he had two TDs and only one INT, so it was significantly better. 

The last Jet’s QB to have a four-interception game was Sam Darnold, now in Carolina. His replacement, of course, was Wilson. 

Not an Overreaction: I want to be upfront here; I have never believed in Wilson, and I have been skeptical of him as a franchise-saving QB, and I was against the Jets as the number two pick in the draft. I’m just letting you know because that genuinely could be coloring my opinion. 

But if I had to pick a QB in this draft class that was a bust, it would be Wilson. In defense of the guy, he is playing for the Jets. As Sam Darnold proves, you likely aren’t seeing a QB’s full potential in New York: They simply don’t have enough to support a young rookie QB. 

Trevor Lawrence corrected his errors from his game one performance, and Wilson seemed to worsen. 

I could be wrong considering that Wilson is playing the Patriots, and I have been saying all offseason that the Pats could have the best defense in the league. But I think this performance is indicative of a more significant problem. 

Vikings 33 @ Cardinals 34

Cardinals’ Reaction: Kyler Murray continued his MVP caliber campaign. 

Last week, after Murray dominated the Titans, I said the idea that he could be the MVP was not an overreaction. This week, Murray proved me correct. 

Murray completed 29/36 passes, which is incredibly good! He also had 400 passing yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked three times and threw two interceptions but made for it with his 31 rushing yards and touchdown. 

I have been impressed with Murray so far in the season, and I do not think he will slow down anytime soon. He is simply incredible, and I think after last night’s Chiefs-Ravens game, better than Lamar.

This season, he will be tested, seeing that he has to play both the Rams and the 49ers twice. The first matchup against the Rams comes in week 4, and the 49ers in week 5. If he plays well in those games, he should emerge as the MVP frontrunner.