With a host of close games, a couple of game delays, and some big plays, if you didn’t know the NFL was back after Week 1, the second installment of football this year left you in no doubt.
As is our way we’re going to celebrate that with our Team of the Week to highlight the best performances. It doesn’t matter if you’re an undrafted free agent, or a perennial Pro Bowler, the only thing that decides these awards are how you play on Sunday.
As ever you can get all grades in the PFF Premium Section.
(Note: Team will be updated after Monday Night Football games are analyzed and on Wednesday when All-22 footage helps us study plays in even more detail where needed with a * noting a change.)
Quarterback: Philip Rivers, SD (+5.7)
Is he back? It’s too soon to tell and he won’t face many defenses as generous as the Eagles. But, and it’s an important but, he looked more composed than he has in a very long time. His 76.6% completions percentage highlighted this, and that was with his receivers dropping four balls.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Running Back: LeSean McCoy, PHI (+5.0)
The Eagles came crashing back down to Earth with a big loss but it wasn’t for the efforts of McCoy. Eight more missed tackles and it’s becoming abundantly clear that he’s going to be the star of the show for Chip Kelly.
Honorable Mention: Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
Fullback: Collin Mooney, TEN (+2.0)
Again? Mooney is our top-ranked fullback on the year and is taking his chance to produce in the NFL with both hands. The fullback position can be a fickle one but Mooney deserves a lot of credit right now.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Sherman (KC)
Tight End: Greg Olsen, CAR* (+3.0)
Decent enough blocking but it’s the 84 yards and a touchdown that got him the due.
Honorable Mention: Martellus Bennett (CHI)
Wide Receivers: DeAndre Hopkins, HST (+4.9) and DeSean Jackson, PHI (+2.8)
Sometimes it’s not just the amount of yards you get, but rather the quality of them. Anyone going to argue with Hopkins in that respect? The Eagles were poor last year and it masked that Jackson was actually pretty good, proving worth the contract he was handed. He looks better this year and he had 193 yards on Sunday to show it.
Honorable Mention: Stevie Johnson (BUF) and Pierre Garcon (WAS)
Tackles: Trent Williams, WAS (+5.6) and Sebastian Vollmer, NE (+4.3)
There were some strong left tackle performances this week, but none as good as Williams’. What more could you ask for as he shut out Clay Matthews and demonstrated his power and athleticism in the run and screen game. On the right side Vollmer stood out on a depressing day for football when the Patriots battled the Jets. He’s on top form already.
Honorable Mention: Duane Brown (HST) and Zach Strief (NO)
Guards: Evan Mathis, PHI (+5.0) and T.J. Lang, GB (+4.8)
After looking sub standard during preseason, our highest-ranked guard from 2012 is on top form already in Week 2 of the year. You just don’t get guards like Mathis who win such a high percentage of their battles in the run game. Lang had the highest grade of any guard this week with a perfect in pass protection performance and some strong run blocking.
Honorable Mention: Josh Sitton (GB) and Brandon Fusco (MIN)
Center: Chris Myers, HST (+5.2)
Myers caught the eye of all offensive line connoisseurs after playing a big role in the Texans’ come from behind victory. They’ll need him to be at his best going forward.
Honorable Mention: Dominic Raiola (DET)
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: Kyle Williams, BUF* (+5.1) and Randy Starks, MIA (+4.5)
It doesn’t matter how the Bills line up on defense, Williams just dominates. He picked up four hurries but it was his five defensive stops in the run game that stood out. Partnering him is Starks who may not be starting but got plenty of playing time (42 snaps) and plenty of pressure (a sack and six hurries).
Honorable Mention: Ndamukong Suh ( DET) and J.J. Watt (HST)
Defensive Interior – Nose: Star Lotulelei, CAR (+4.3)
He looks like a guy who has been doing this at the NFL level for a lot longer than a couple of games. Just a fearsome player against the run who really impacts your ability to get yards on the ground.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Mebane (SEA)
Edge Rushers: Robert Quinn, SL (+9.7) and Michael Johnson, CIN (+5.4)
Give him a weak tackle and Quinn will go to work like few others. He’s feasting at the moment and adding 10 quarterback disruptions to his yearly totals as Sam Baker had a torrid day. Johnson was the star of Monday Night Football with three hits and six hurries.
Honorable Mention: Mario Williams (BUF) and Elvis Dumervil (BAL)
Linebackers: Lance Briggs, CHI* (+4.1) and Lavonte David, TB (+4.1)
Briggs had to wait for his selection but he was well worth it. He had a fine game when Christian Ponder dropped back to pass with two sacks and two hurries as well as a pass break up. Next to him David is a far more aggressive player and this week made his presence felt rushing the passer. Be mindful of him when he lurks around the line of scrimmage.
Honorable Mention: NaVorro Bowman (SF) and Demario Davis (NYJ)
Cornerbacks: Brent Grimes, MIA (+4.9) and Mike Jenkins, OAK (+3.7)
You read that right Dallas fans. That’s the Jenkins you drafted and watched get worse and worse. He looked good for Oakland (against the Jags) with a pass break up and allowing just three receptions for 12 yards. That wasn’t enough to get him the highest grade of the week though as Grimes picked off one ball and deflected another three.
Honorable Mention: Alterraun Verner (TEN) and Walter Thurmond (SEA)
Safeties: Devin McCourty, NE (+3.0) and Troy Polamalu, PIT* (+3.1)
He may no longer be a cornerback but that doesn’t mean McCourty isn’t a fine safety. His talent allows the Patriots to do numerous things with him as they chose and it shows. A healthy Polamalu is looking a big get for the Steelers, even if the rest of their team isn’t producing as such.
Honorable Mention: Rahim Moore (DEN) and Donte Whitner (SF)
Kicker, Nick Novak, SD: Tough conditions meant nothing to this man.
Punter, Shane Lechler, HST: He’s still got it.
Returner, Devin Hester*, CHI: Making teams pay once again.