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Sullivan: Payments proceed their assault on file books

The Payments have gotten his greatest prime-time present. For the second week in a row, Josh Allen and the offense dazzled in a blowout win. I am certain the TV folks do not remorse getting them into so many night time video games, and so they have to be wishing Sunday’s recreation in Miami might be on the massive stage.

They’re additionally an infinite fascination for statistics lovers. Each week, it appears, the Payments problem some sort or file, or lengthen a unprecedented particular person or crew superlative. Granted, it is solely two weeks into the season, however there are attention-grabbing traits which might be value watching within the coming weeks.

As you bear in mind, two years in the past we began monitoring Allen’s passing numbers and questioning if he would break a number of the Payments’ franchise file. He broke Drew Bledsoe’s file for passing yards in a season and Jim Kelly’s marks for landing passes, completion proportion and passer ranking.

Two weeks into the season, they’re at it once more. Monday night time’s 41-7 win over the Titans was the Payments’ twentieth straight victory by 10 or extra factors. This tied a file set by the Chicago Bears in 1941-42. That streak began earlier than Pearl Harbor, when George Halas was the pinnacle coach.

After simply two video games, the Payments lead the NFL in scoring with 72 factors. That is on tempo for 612 factors, which might smash the crew file of 501 factors set, sure, in 2020. By the best way, the Broncos set the NFL file with 606 factors in 2013 – in a 16-game season.

The payments are already plus-55 with a degree distinction. Final season they completed plus-194 factors within the common 12 months, probably the most ever by a crew that misplaced six video games. It is onerous to think about this crew shedding six occasions this season, and a degree differential of plus-200 or extra is definitely doable.

Allen continues to justify his standing as the highest MVP. By two video games, he’s 52-of-69 (75.4%) for 614 yards with seven TDs. He’s tied for first in TD passes, second in completion proportion, fourth in yards and second in QB ranking (123.7) behind Patrick Mahomes.

Does Josh just like the limelight? In his final 4 video games, all nationally televised video games, Allen is 100-for-131 (76.3 p.c) for 1,251 yards, with 16 touchdowns and simply two interceptions. That is in opposition to 4 playoff groups from final 12 months, together with the Tremendous Bowl champions (Rams), the AFC’s prime seed (Titans), the AFC title loser (Chiefs) and the much-maligned Patriots.

Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Payments celebrates after scoring his third landing of the night time in opposition to the Tennessee Titans through the third quarter of the sport at Haymark Stadium on September 19, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Picture by Joshua Baskes/Getty Pictures)

Oh, Stefon Diggs likes prime time too. He joined Jerry Rice, the best large receiver ever, as the one gamers with a number of three-touchdown video games on Monday Evening Soccer. Total, it was his third recreation with 140-plus receiving yards and three TDs. Within the Tremendous Bowl period, solely 4 different males have three or extra such video games: Rice (7), Randy Moss (4), Marvin Harrison (3) and Tyreek Hill (3).

Diggs, who does not fear about private targets, now leads all NFL gamers in touchdowns with 4. He’s second in catches (20) behind Cooper Kopp and second in receiving yards (270) behind Hill. Do you assume these two may be motivated when the groups collide subsequent Sunday in Miami?

What’s? safety? The Payments, who led the NFL in complete protection and scoring protection final season, are again close to the highest of the standings. They’re second in factors allowed (17) behind Tampa Bay; Second in complete yards per recreation (215.0) for the Niners; first in yards per recreation in opposition to with an impressive 3.6; and second in sacks behind the Buccaneers with 9 – by six totally different guys.

Once more, it is solely two weeks. As Sean McDermott and the gamers at all times inform us, they play them one recreation at a time and the opposite is the one one which issues. However additionally they depart behind an unbelievable path of excellence. Historical past notices, and the file books bear in mind.

The Payments weren’t the one AFC East crew to ship folks into the file books in Week 2. The Dolphins staged their greatest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise historical past, coming from 21 factors all the way down to upset the Ravens, 42-38. They outscored Baltimore, 28-3, within the fourth quarter.

The much-maligned Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and 6 touchdowns, tying the crew file for TD passes in a recreation. The Dolphins turned the primary crew in NFL historical past to have a participant throw for at the very least 400 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus have two teammates go for 170-plus receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Tyreek Hill had 11 catches for 190 yards and two TDs in opposition to the Ravens. Jaylen Waddell was 11 for 171 and two scores. Hill joined Rice as the one gamers within the Tremendous Bowl period with 4 video games of 10 or extra receptions, 150-plus yards and at the very least two TD catches in a recreation.

“It was like he was enjoying Madden,” Hill mentioned of Tagovailoa, whose lack of arm power has been a difficulty since Miami drafted him fifth general in 2020.

Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans is tackled by Jordan Phillips #97 of the Buffalo Payments through the first quarter of the sport at Haymark Stadium on September 19, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Picture: Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Pictures)

Tagovailoa turned the third Dolphin to throw for six TDs in a recreation, becoming a member of Bob Grizza and Dan Marino. It was the fifth 450-yard passing efficiency in crew historical past. Marino had the opposite 4, together with 521 yards in a 44-30 loss to the Jets in 1988.

Miami’s comeback was the largest story of the weekend within the NFL, injecting a bit of extra drama into the Payments’ recreation subsequent Sunday at Onerous Rock Stadium. Tua’s six TD throws will need to have caught the eye of the Buffalo defenders. The Payments gave up 12 landing passes final season, the fewest within the league.

Oh, Miami’s 21-point comeback blew my thoughts. I puzzled if the Payments have been concerned within the earlier file comeback. Positive sufficient, Miami got here again from a 23-3 deficit within the fourth to beat Buffalo, 24-23, within the notorious Sage Rosenfels recreation in December 2005.

MVP dialog

Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes have been talked about lots as the 2 front-runners for MVP. However Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts thrust himself into the dialog together with his rousing efficiency in Monday night time’s 24-7 win over the Vikings.

Hurts was 26 of 31 passing for 333 yards and a landing. He additionally ran for 2 TDs. By halftime, Twitter was blowing up with early MVP speak. Within the first half alone, Hurts went 17-of-20 for 251 yards and rushed for 50 yards and two TDs. That is a complete of 301 yards within the half!

This strikes me as a Josh Allen-type recreation, additional proof that cell QBs are all the trend. Actually, Hearts’ stat line seems very acquainted. Allen additionally went 26-for-31 within the opener for the Rams. Allen had 10 carries for 56 yards within the opener. Hurts ran 11 occasions for 57 yards on Monday.

Hurts accomplished passes to eight totally different receivers (as Allen did in opposition to the Titans). That included seven catches for 80 yards by Devonte Smith, who did not have one within the opener in opposition to the Lions.

There have been loads of questions on Hurts as a passer popping out of faculty. He performed three years at Alabama and completed with one 12 months at Oklahoma. He is at all times been a risk on his ft, but when his accuracy and smarts proceed to enhance, he is a authentic MVP candidate.

OK, I do know it is early. However how a few Tremendous Bowl between the Payments and the Eagles, that includes two of the sport’s most dynamic quarterbacks?

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Does he personal it?

This week’s fantasy soccer discover is Dallas wideout Noah Brown, who led the Cowboys with 5 receptions — on 5 targets — for 91 yards and his first profession landing in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Bengals.

Brown leads the Cowboys with 10 catches, another than Sadie Lamb and Dalton Schultz. He has good chemistry with backup quarterback Cooper Rush, who was thrust into the beginning position when Aba Prescott went down with a thumb harm within the opener in opposition to the Bucks.

Throughout his first 4 seasons within the NFL, Brown was primarily a run blocker and particular groups man. He developed chemistry with Prescott final season and caught 16 passes a 12 months in the past, together with a career-high six receptions in an extra time loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving.

Brown, who tied an Ohio State file with 4 TD catches in a single recreation, was listed in simply 0.8 p.c of ESPN leagues as of final week. He’ll be a stable play within the flex this week, particularly if tight finish Dalton Schultz is sidelined with a knee harm.

Superb statistics

  • Guess who’s the one participant within the NFL with two sacks and an interception? It is former Payments defensive finish Jerry Hughes, who had two sacks and a choose within the opener for Houston, who batted away a cross from Matt Ryan. Hughes, 34, was quiet in Week 2. Typical Jerry.
  • Detroit large receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had 9 catches for 116 yards within the win over Washington, turning into the third receiver in historical past with eight or extra catches in eight straight video games. Antonio Brown did it in 2014 and Michael Thomas in 2019.
  • In one other AFC East comeback story, the Jets turned the primary NFL crew since 2001 to beat a 13-point deficit and win within the remaining two minutes of regulation in a 31-30 victory over Cleveland. … In that recreation, Jets quarterback Joe Flacco threw 4 TD passes. It was his first recreation with three or extra TDs in a win since throwing for 3 within the Payments’ 47-3 rout of Baltimore within the 2018 opener.
  • Khalil Mack, now with the Chargers, is second within the NFL in sacks with 3.5. The previous UB star trails Micah Parsons of the Cowboys, who has 4, two in every recreation. Watching Parsons, you are feeling that Michael Strahan’s file of twenty-two.5 is in jeopardy.
  • Eagles cornerback Darius Slay had two stops and allowed only one catch on six targets when matched up with Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson on Monday night time. He was named NFC Defensive Participant of the Week.

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Jerry Sullivan is an award-winning journalist who joined the Information 4 crew in 2020 after three many years as a sports activities columnist for the Buffalo Information. See extra of his work right here.

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