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Week 2 is almost in the books on the NFL schedule (we still have monday night football doubleheader to go) and best performances should be recognized by our MMQB staff. Even if you’re feeling disappointed because your team didn’t win, one of your favorite players might be awarded the Game Ball by our staff. And we had some amazing performances by some of our recipients who weren’t always in the limelight.
Connor Orr: Joe Flaco: The Jets’ wild return loomed over the opening slate of games. It was a wonderful Sunday. But it’s worth noting that I’ve been on flaco bandwagon for a few weeks, It all started in August at a Jets training camp exercise when I saw him dice in a particularly vibrant Jets secondary. After a practice touchdown drive, George Fant came up to him and gave him a high-five, shouting Drop Dimes! While some of this is clearly tongue-in-cheek — deliberately overhyped underhyped Joe Flacco is fun — there was a legitimate curiosity as to whether this offense might excite him and help revive his career a bit. Flacco (26-in-44, 307 yards, 4 TD) plans to play for a few more years, and with an outside field system that now has the pieces needed to support the quarterback, it’s fair to wonder. More of a high-end Josh McCown-ian backup presence as to whether Flacco could climb up.
Gary Gramling: Garrett Wilson: It seems, sometimes you have to find ways to get the ball to the most dynamic player on the field. Wilson, who—based on college, preseason, and now two-week regular-season tapes—looks like the best receiver in this year’s rookie class, had an upcoming party in Cleveland. He capped the Jets’ miraculous victory with a touchdown (no one likes a game-winning PAT) and finished with eight catches for 102 yards and two scores. And good on OC Mike LaFleur for making sure his best player gets fed (15 goals for Wilson on Sunday!). Two things we can all agree on: Wilson is in the making of a star, and only the smartest and most beautiful of us predicted that he would be 2022’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
John Plume: Aidan Hutchinson: The former Michigan star didn’t go No. 1 in the draft, but he’s playing like the best rookie in the league right now. Hutchinson had three sacks of Carson Wentz and could be unblocked at times. He’s a perfect fit in defense of Dan Campbell and has the right attitude for what Campbell is building with the Lions. With Hutchinson anchored in his defense, the Lions should be in almost every game.
Michael Fabiano: Lamar Jackson: It doesn’t often throw the quarterback for six touchdowns and isn’t the top fantasy player of the week, let alone his game! But so was the case with Tua Tagovailoa, who scored 38.9 but was dismissed by Lamar Jackson. The Ravens quarterback threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns, while scoring another 119 yards and fourth in a loss to the Dolphins. He finished with an impressive 142.6 passer rating and more importantly, 42.6 fantasy points. Jackson and Tua combined for Unreal 81.4 points in a serious barnburner.
Claire Gaining: Cooper Rush: Sure, it’s true that the Bengals aren’t looking to be the same team that made the Super Bowl last year—but Cowboys did some after making the move for QB Cooper Rush (19-in-31, 235 yards, TD). Deserves serious credit. Dak Prescott and gave Dallas some hope from the tail of a disappointing season opener (and some seriously bleak talk about the team’s outlook). After defeating the Vikings last season with Prescott, Rush is now 2-0 as the starting quarterback.
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