Two unheralded quarterbacks dazzled for the second week in a row and a pair of clutch field goal kickers were in the spotlight during the second week of the National Football League season.
Patrick Mahomes equalled a franchise record with six touchdown passes as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-37 on Sunday.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is making his case for being a starter by throwing for four touchdowns and 402 yards to power the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 27-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Second-year player Mahomes delivered another impressive offensive display as he tied Len Dawson’s team record for touchdowns in a game. Dawson threw for a half a dozen touchdowns against the Denver Broncos in 1964.
Mahomes was one touchdown pass from tying the NFL record of seven touchdown passes in a game shared by eight others, including Drew Brees for the New Orleans Saints in 2015.
Fitzpatrick is right behind Mahomes with eight touchdowns on the season so far.
He has more than 800 passing yards the last two weeks while stepping in for suspended starter Jameis Winston.
Against the Eagles, Fitzpatrick added a couple more long touchdown passes. His four 50-plus-yard touchdown throws tied him with Joe Namath, in 1972, for the most through a team’s first two games in league history.
Fitzpatrick credited his teammates for helping him get off to a blazing start.
“We just developed a lot of confidence in the offseason,” said Fitzpatrick. “With how we worked and the way things were going, the rapport with the guys — I think that confidence has carried over into the season.”
Said teammate DeSean Jackson, “He’s playing his tail off. He said he’s 36, but he’s playing like he’s 28.”
In Nashville, Tennessee, Ryan Succop kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:00 left, and the Tennessee Titans held off the Houston Texans 20-17 for Mike Vrabel’s first win as an NFL head coach against the team he coached for the past four seasons.
Succop also kicked a tying 42-yarder in the fourth quarter as Tennessee improved to 1-1 on the season.
Not to be outdone, Brandon McManus booted a 36-yard field goal with six seconds left, pushing the Denver Broncos to a 20-19 win over the Oakland Raiders and denying Jon Gruden his first win as a head coach since 2008.
With no timeouts and 18 seconds left, Case Keenum hit Tim Patrick for a 26-yard gain to the Oakland 18.
Cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Leon Hall failed to keep him inbounds and McManus came on to kick the game winner.
Quarterback Derek Carr had a stellar outing by completing 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and a score in the loss.
Rodgers plays with brace
Elsewhere, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 281 yards and a touchdown while playing with a brace on his injured left knee as the Packers settled for a 29-29 tie with the Minnesota Vikings.
The 34-year-old Rodgers was questionable for the game after injuring his knee in a hotly-contested game last Sunday.
A hobbled Rodgers suffered a sprain in the first half then returned to throw three touchdown passes to lift the Packers to a 24-23 comeback victory.
He took part in just one practice this week but didn’t skip a beat against the Vikings.
Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed two field goals in overtime, including one from 35 yards as time expired.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby matched a career high with five field goals, but his potential game-winner from 52 went wide left as time expired in regulation.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional Edits By Oisin McQueirns)