The second week of the regular season saw a whole cavalcade of stars fall to injury. That didn’t stop these big performers though, so with Week 2 officially in the books we name our coveted NFL Ireland team of the week!
Offense | Defense
Quarterback: Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
The Super Bowl champs are in town, boasting a secondary so good it graces the cover of Madden. So what does Philip Rivers do? Oh, just throws for 28 of 37, 284 yards, three TDs, and zero interceptions. No biggie.
Running Back: DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys
Murray was a stud running back last year, and behind this offensive line he can expect more performances like this 167 rushing yards-plus-a-touchdown effort against what had looked a stout Titans D.
Tight End: Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers
How good was Gates? Well, apart from his 3 TDs and team high 96 yards against the Seahawks, when Philip Rivers threw to Gates the QB had a passer rating of 158.3, which is perfect. So very good indeed, then.
Wide Receiver: Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers
The Jets secondary is terrible, and Nelson took full advantage posting 209 yards including an 80-yard touchdown, burning Dee Milliner and dodging Calvin Pryor. There’s no doubt now that he’s one of the top receivers in the game.
Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills
The rookie receiver made the Bills blockbuster draft-day trade look like shrewd business as he pulled in 8 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. The Bills now sit alone atop the AFC East, and Watkins could see plenty more appearances on these pages as the season progresses.
Offensive Line: St Louis Rams
An impressive performance from tackles Joe Barksdale and Jake Long highlighted impressive work by the Rams line, as they kept 3rd-string QB Austin Davis upright and pressure-free against a Gerald McCoy-less Tampa Bay. With Rodger Saffold also impressing, this unit might just have a chance to keep their team in games regardless of St Louis’ QB problems.
Defense | Offense
Defensive Line: Arizona Cardinals
I’m not going to lie, this award is based solely on Calais Campbell. With eight total tackles and a sack, he seemed to be a one-man Defense in a unit that is riddled with injuries and suspensions this term.
Linebackers – New England Patriots
The Pats got to Matt Cassel early and often in a blowout win over the Vikings. The linebackers helped ensure that a Vikings offense missing Adrian Peterson couldn’t establish any kind of running game, and for added measure they had Chandlers Jones, playing largely at outside linebacker, block a field goal and return it for a TD. Yeah, that’s a good week.
Cornerback: Leon Hall – Cincinnati Bengals
He was dominant in an excellent Bengals secondary that allowed just 231 yards to Matt Ryan and forced last week’s TOTW QB into three interceptions. Hall himself got one of them, and allowed just 31 yards into his area of coverage.
Cornerback: Kyle Fuller – Chicago Bears
The Bears made sure Levi’s Stadium was christened with a defeat for the San Francisco 49ers, and rookie Fuller played his part with 4 tackles and two interceptions, including this beauty on a Kaepernick pass intended for Derek Carrier. The Bears lost Charles Tillman to injury, but if Fuller can continue this form they won’t suffer too much.
Free Safety: Tashaun Gipson – Cleveland Browns
With a pick six and just four passing yards allowed into his area of coverage per PFF – against Drew Brees! – Gipson was comfortably the best safety in the game this weekend. With defensive play like his, the Browns could be a sneakily good team in 2014.
Strong Safety: George Iloka – Cincinnati Bengals
The third-year defensive back secured two interceptions on Matt Ryan on Sunday. That’s double his total for all 16 regular season games in 2013, and enough to earn him a spot in our team for Week 2. This Bengals D is seriously deep and talented.