Week 2: A big assist from Bush

Originally Published: September 16, 2012
ESPN.com

STUDS

Bush
Bush

Reggie Bush

Running back, Miami Dolphins

Nothing helps a young quarterback quite like a reliable running game. That's exactly what Bush gave Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill on Sunday. Bush rushed for 172 yards, including third-quarter touchdown runs of 23 and 65 yards, to power the Dolphins to a 35-13 victory over Oakland. Lamar Miller also had a TD run for Miami, which had 263 yards rushing.


Manning
Manning

Eli Manning

Quarterback, N.Y. Giants

Yes, Manning was picked off three times, but he also threw for a whopping 510 yards and rallied the Giants to their first victory of the season. Manning was 31-of-51 with three TD passes as the Giants outlasted Tampa Bay 41-34.


Nicks
Nicks

Cruz
Cruz

Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks

Wide receivers, N.Y. Giants

Criticized after the Giants' Week 1 loss, both Cruz and Nicks came up big against the Buccaneers. Nicks caught 10 passes for 199 yards and a TD. Cruz had 11 catches for 179 yards; his 80-yard TD catch and run tied the game at 27 in the fourth quarter.


Newton
Newton

Cam Newton

Quarterback, Carolina Panthers

After a shaky Week 1, Newton quieted any talk of a possible sophomore slump in the Panthers' home opener. Newton passed for 253 yards and rushed for 71 more, leading Carolina to a 35-27 victory over the slumping Saints. Newton threw a 17-yard TD pass to Jonathan Stewart in the second quarter and ran for a 5-yard score in the fourth.


Amendola
Amendola

Danny Amendola

Wide receiver, St. Louis Rams

Do the Rams lack a legitimate No. 1 receiver? Maybe not. Amendola set career highs for catches (15) and receiving yards (160) and had one TD in St. Louis' 31-28 victory over Washington.


Spiller
Spiller

C.J. Spiller

Running back, Buffalo Bills

Can the Bills' offense thrive without the injured Fred Jackson? If Spiller keeps performing like this, yes. Spiller followed his 169-yard Week 1 effort with a superb performance against the Chiefs. The third-year back rushed for 123 yards and a pair of TDs in Buffalo's 35-17 victory.


Bills

The Bills' defense

Spiller wasn't the only star for the Bills. The team's high-priced, Mario Williams-led defense did plenty, too. Kyle Williams had two of the team's five sacks, and Buffalo forced three turnovers. Nick Barnett forced a Peyton Hillis fumble at the goal line to snuff out a Chiefs scoring drive late in the first half. Mario Williams recovered Matt Cassel's fumble, which led to Scott Chandler's 10-yard touchdown catch that gave the Bills a commanding a 21-0 lead.


Rosario
Rosario

Dante Rosario

Tight end, San Diego Chargerss

No Antonio Gates, no problem for the Chargers. With Gates out because of a rib injury, Rosario caught three TD passes for the first time in his career to help the Chargers beat Tennessee for the ninth straight time, 38-10.


Dalton
Dalton

Andy Dalton

Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

The best medicine for a tough Week 1 loss? If you're the Bengals, a visit from the Browns. Dalton threw for 318 yards and matched his career high with three TD passes, leading the Bengals to a 34-27 victory. The Bengals have now won 13 of their last 16 against Cleveland.




DUDS

Patriots

The Patriots

So much for the Patriots being automatic in home openers. New England was outplayed by the underdog Cardinals and fell 20-18. The Pats were in position to pull out a victory in the final minute, but Danny Woodhead's 30-yard run into the end zone was nullified by a holding penalty on Rob Gronkowski. Moments later, Stephen Gostkowski missed badly on a 42-yard field goal attempt.


Saints

The Saints' defense

Do the Saints have issues on D? That might be an understatement. After being torched by Newton and Co. (see above), the Saints' defense has now surrendered 924 yards and 75 points in two games. Is it time to panic in New Orleans?


Morgan
Morgan

Josh Morgan

Wide receiver, Washington Redskins

The Redskins were in position to attempt a potential game-tying field goal -- then Morgan made a huge mental gaffe. After his 7-yard catch put Washington at the St. Louis 29-yard line, Morgan tossed the ball at a defender. The move drew a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, taking the Skins out of prime range. Billy Cundiff missed a 62-yard attempt on the next play, sealing the Rams' victory.


Gabbert
Gabbert

Blaine Gabbert

Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars

Gabbert has made strides since a rough rookie season, but he and the Jaguars' offense did next to nothing against the tough Texans' D. Gabbert completed only seven of 19 passes for 53 yards before leaving with a leg injury. The Jaguars mustered just 117 total yards, a new franchise low, and lost the time-of-possession battle 43:17 to 16:43.


Johnson
Johnson

Chris Johnson

Running back, Tennessee Titans

Johnson couldn't get anything going for the second straight week. After an 11-carry, 4-yard performance in Week 1, Johnson gained only 17 yards on eight carries in the Titans loss at San Diego.


Jets

The Jets' offense

The Jets got off to a promising start, opening the game with a 90-yard TD drive, but did little on offense after that. Mark Sanchez completed only 10 passes for 138 yards while featured back Shonn Greene was held to 23 yards on 11 carries.


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