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Pre-Season Week 2 (Thurs Games): Post-Game Analysis 

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Chargers vs. Bears

Phillip Rivers and Jay Cutler didn’t impress in week two and neither did their offensive lines. Both front lines were inconsistent inevitably resulting in bad turnovers and difficult throws. Both Rivers and Cutler fumbled the ball and threw an interception. The one advantage Cutler has over Rivers is Cutler has a No.1 target in Brandon Marshall. Rivers top target is a down-graded Antonio Gates. Both quarterbacks still looking like they need to get the kinks out.

Matt Forte and Michael Bush had a touchdown each combining for more than 100 yards rushing. The Bears backfield combined for 37 touches for 143 rushing yards almost three times more than their 14 passing attempts. Ryan Matthews averaged 5 yards per carry on nine attempts. He averaged over six yards on three carries his last week. The two big stats, other than turnovers, that will define Matthews 2013 season, yards per carry and yards after contact. 

Brandon Marshall led Chicago with four receptions, 38 receiving yards, and the only with a receiving touchdown. Cutler had 5 passing attempts,  Marshall 5 targets. Second-year Tight End Ladarius Green was the only shinning moment for the Chargers receiving corps, five receptions on five targets for a touchdown and 78 yards.

Lions vs. Browns

One of the most impressive or improved players through the first two games has been Cleveland QB Brandon Weeden who has now totalled for 229 passing yards going 18-of-25 with three touchdowns and no interceptions. No.2 QB Jason Campbell also had an effective week 2 throwing 12-of-14 for 106 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Stafford threw a lot of balls, 16 to be exact, like we are accustomed to seeing but with no Calvin Johnson and best of all no turnovers.

Bush benefitted most from Johnson’s absence catching a team-high five balls for 44 yards. He also had eight rushes but only averaged under 2 yards per carry. Overall, the Lions run game averaged a pitiful 2.4 yards per carry on 21 attempts. On the other side, we finally got to see Trent Richardson in action. He had a nice 17-yard run after getting hit in the backfield and displayed the power we saw from his rookie season. When the second-year back was in the game, they made sure to feed him the rock.

The Brown’s passing game featured Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron who both had three grabs. Gordon had a team-high 72 receiving yards and the tight end had two touchdowns. Gordon will be suspended for the first two games of the season for not abiding by the drug policy. Cameron will be heading into his first season of three in the starter role. Brown’s OC Norv Turner turned Antonio Gates into a hall of famer, not saying he will do the same with Cameron, but he will get his targets. 

Panthers vs. Eagles

The only thing more upsetting than Cam Newton’s 8-of-17 performance for Carolina fans was DeAngelo William’s 39 yards on a team-high 12 carries. With Jonathan Stewart out for the pre-season and the Panthers needing to open up their passing attack, William’s is going to need to do better than 3 yards per carry if this offensive attack plans on moving forward.

There was nothing upsetting about the offensive product Chip Kelly has put on the field through the first two pre-season games. Yes, Vick and Foles each threw an ill-advised interception, but they have completed a combined 24-of-29 for 295 passing yards through the first two weeks. Foles started week 2, but Vick has been the more impressive quarterback early with only two incompletions on 15 passing attempts. LeSean McCoy looked sharp and shifty shaking tackles ending his day on a 1-yard touchdown.

There wasn’t an individual who stood out in the Eagle’s passing game, but, as a whole, the receiving corps played well. Six different players had at least one 15-yard catch. DeSean Jackson had two receptions along with McCoy’s three, but the ball was spread nicely throughout with 13 different players having at least one reception.

Falcons vs. Ravens

Three things stood out to me in this game. One, Torrey Smith has the ability to take a five-yard slant and turn it into a 77-yard touchdown. Two, Steven Jackson will be a top 10 back if healthy. Jackson has been a focal point early touching the ball six of the first 10 offensive plays last week, and this week had nearly double-digit touches in not even a full first half. Three, I was really excited about Smith’s untouched TD catch and run. Off play-action, the strong-side linebacker sucked up and Smith was off to the races against one of the best corners in the game, Asante Samuel. The question of whether Torrey Smith can only run deep routes for big plays was answered.

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