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In My Defense – 2021 Week 2

Duncan Smith (@duncafc) takes a look back at the week 2 action with a defensive point of view.

By Duncan Smith

After one week of football, it can be hard to judge patterns and trends. Chandler Jones was probably rolled out in most leagues in week 2 and will have ultimately disappointed for example.

After two weeks of football, we can begin to hone in on some truths. For example, the Jets and Jags look bad again, both Lawrence and Wilson are getting hung out to dry by their respective teams. These rookie signal-callers are making mistakes that are costing their teams but if you have the defensive players going up against them it can provide a rich bounty of IDP scoring.

Sacks

Last week’s golden boy Chandler Jones came down to earth with a bump on Sunday. One week after recording 5 sacks of Ryan Tannehill he failed to add a single one against Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins. He managed 3 QB hits but failed to turn any of them into sacks. 

It was a different story for opponent Danielle Hunter, he managed to sack Kyler Murray 3 times. After missing the whole of the 2020 season with a neck injury Hunter looks like picking up where he left off.

Interceptions

On Sunday night football the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Lamar Jackson twice including one he returned for a 50-yard touchdown. 

However, this wasn’t the biggest interception game of the weekend. Tampa Bay cornerback Mike Edwards also had two interceptions. He went one better than Mathieu though and returned both for touchdowns.

Forced Fumbles

There were 22 forced fumbles recorded in week 2. No one player forced more than one so I’m not about to list all 22 players. I will let you know that one of the 22 was TJ Watt, this brought his season total to 2, the same as Chandler Jones, who didn’t record a forced fumble this week.

Fumble Recovery

After two weeks of football, no defensive player has recorded more than one fumble recovery. However, this is a poor metric for judging the success of IDP players in your lineup so there’s no need to panic. For what it’s worth Bills linebacker Matt Milano recorded his first of the season to go with a sack and 5 tackles as he finished the day with a reasonable scoreline.

Passes Defended

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson had 4 passes defended against Joe Burrow to put him at 5 total after 2 weeks. He also recorded an interception to round off a nice day for the sophomore pro.

Tackles

Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner was a tackling machine against Tennessee. The veteran recorded 20 total tackles (16 solo) and a sack on Sunday. That franchise record and career-high total see him take an early lead in season-long totals with 33 combined (22 solo). The next closest player is Minnesota’s Eric Kendricks who’s 11 total (9 solo) takes him up to 26 and 15 after 2 weeks.

I realize this is a clip of his sack and not a tackle compilation but it’s worth seeing. Tannehill is lucky to still have a head.

Tackles For a Loss

Unsurprisingly for a man who recorded 3 sacks on the week, Danielle Hunter also managed 3 tackles for a loss bringing his total to 4 for the year. This leaves him level with the likes of Chandler Jones, Jonathan Allen, and Nick Bosa, all of whom are one behind Bronco Von Miller. His 2 TFL’s this week brings his total to 5 overall.

QB Hits

Las Vegas Raiders defensive edge Maxx Crosby has recorded 5 QB hits in both games so far this season. He will remain a great play in week 3 if Miami is forced to roll out Jacoby Brissett in the desert.

Rookie Watch

A temporary move to defensive edge allowed Cowboy Micah Parsons to record his first professional sacks as a pass rusher, however, he did see his snap percentage fall off to 55%. Expect to see him return to a linebacker role in week 3 with the return of Randy Gregory.

Buffalo Bills rookie Gregory Rousseau was instrumental in the Bills shut out of Miami at the weekend, logging 5 tackles and 2 sacks on a 66% snap share.

Aside from these two, it has been largely quiet from the other rookies over two weeks. Until proven otherwise guys like Kwity Paye and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are flex plays at best.

Team Defense

With Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leaving the game in the first quarter with a rib injury the Buffalo Bills took advantage of a completely ineffective Jacoby Brissett led offense, shutting them out and recording the highest team defense score of the week. Elsewhere Chicago, Tampa Bay, and New England all recorded a successful day’s work in their respective matchups with Cincinnati, Atlanta, and NYJ.

Week 3

It perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise but the three teams with perhaps the worst offensive lines in the league are all providing ample opportunity for defensive scoring. These three are the Bengals, Falcons, and Jets. The Bengals take on Pittsburgh in a start everyone from the Steelers game, the same goes for the Jets who take on Denver while looking like they have made no improvements from last year. The Falcons take on the Giants in week 3 and I would be wary of starting any Giants not named Blake Martinez and as a unit you should definitely find a better streaming option.

If Tua Tagovailoa is unable to go in week 3 then the Las Vegas Raiders could become an excellent streaming option. Brissett got held for zero touchdowns, four sacks, and an interception by Buffalo, while the Raiders have had two tough matchups against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Maxx Crosby should be an auto-start this week for Las Vegas regardless of who is under center for Miami.

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