NFL Research offers the best nuggets from each week of games in the NFL. Here are the most eye-popping statistical accomplishments from Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season.
1) Puka Nacua sets record start for rookie WRs
Nacua, the newest member of the Ramily, has seen his hype level elevated from “sleeper” to “top waiver priority” in the past week — and he somehow lived up to it all.
Nacua set an NFL rookie record with 15 receptions in the Rams’ Week 2 loss at home against the 49ers. (Four rookies had reached 14 receptions, most recently Najee Harris in 2021.) His total through two career games is 25 receptions, also a rookie record.
The 23-year-old wideout became one of five players in the Super Bowl era to record at least 10 catches and at least 100 receiving yards in his team’s first two games of the season, with Nacua being the only rookie to do so. The other four players to accomplish that feat are Cooper Kupp in 2022, Miles Austin in 2010, Isaac Bruce in 1998 and Andre Rison in 1994. For those keeping score at home, that is three Rams players.
Another thing worth mentioning, Nacua’s teammate Kyren Williams found the end zone twice for the second week in a row. Williams is the first-ever Rams player with multiple touchdowns in the first two games of a season.
2) Tua Tagovailoa continues undefeated run over Patriots, Bill Belichick
Tagovailoa and the Dolphins defeated the Patriots, 24-17, on Sunday Night Football, moving Tagovailoa’s record against Bill Belichick to a perfect 5-0. Tagovailoa is the first quarterback to win five consecutive games against Belichick since the 71-year-old took over the reins in New England back in 2000.
Overall, Tagovailoa is 9-1 in starts against head coaches who had won a Super Bowl prior to that matchup. His .900 winning percentage in those games is the best in NFL history (minimum five such matchups).
3) Anthony Richardson joins elite company with rushing scores
Two games, two milestones mentions so far for Richardson. The Colts’ No. 4 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, Richardson has been setting records ever since he stepped foot in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.
Richardson unfortunately left the Colts’ 31-20 win over the Texans early due to entering concussion protocol, but not before running in two touchdowns, becoming the first Colts player with multiple rushing TDs in the first quarter of a game since Hall of Famer Edgerrin James in Week 11, 1999.
Richardson is the fifth rookie drafted top-five overall to rush for at least three touchdowns in the first two weeks of a season, joining running backs Marshall Faulk (1994), Eric Dickerson (1983), Billy Sims (1980) and Earl Campbell (1978). Those players all won Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, and three of them are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
4) Bills benefit as Josh Allen gets back on track in big way
Allen took a break from his turnover woes this week, throwing three touchdowns and completing 83.8 percent of his passes against the Raiders. It was the fifth time in Allen’s career that he has thrown at least three TDs in a game in which he also completed at least 80 percent of his passes, breaking a tie for the most such games in a player’s career prior to turning 30. The other players who did so in four games are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Kirk Cousins.
5) Giants’ second-half turnaround ties franchise record after historic futility
In the first six quarters of their season the Giants were outscored 60-0. That is not good.
In fact, it was the second-most points a team has allowed before finding the scoreboard in the Super Bowl era, trailing only the 1978 Colts.
The Giants’ six scoreless quarters to start the season was the franchise’s longest such drought since Big Blue went seven quarters without scoring a point to open the 1934 season. That New York team turned the season around and finished as NFL champions.
Now we’re not saying the 2023 Giants are going to be Super Bowl champions, but they did have a remarkable turnaround in Week 2.
After trailing, 20-0, at halftime, the Giants outscored the Cardinals, 31-8, in the second half. The largest deficit New York faced was 21 points. The comeback tied a franchise record and was the largest deficit overcome by the Giants in the Super Bowl era.
6) C.J. Stroud efficient in two defeats
Stroud has not won an NFL game yet, but he has put up efficient numbers for a rookie starter. Stroud has thrown for 626 yards and has not been intercepted. That is the most yards by a rookie without a pick thrown through two starts since the 1970 merger.
7) The sacks keep coming for Micah Parsons
Parsons brought down Jets quarterback Zach Wilson twice in Sunday’s 30-10 victory, his 10th career game with two-plus sacks. The only players who have tallied more games with two or more sacks in their first three seasons are Reggie White (16), Richard Dent (12), Shawne Merriman (12) and Aldon Smith (12).
8) Travis Kelce moving up TE leaderboard
Kelce had four receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown in his season debut against the Jaguars. Those four receptions brought his career total to 818, moving him past Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (815) for the fourth-most receptions by a tight end in NFL history. Next up: Antonio Gates, who had 955 catches in his career.
9) Davante Adams passes Larry Fitzgerald, sets sights on Packers legend
Adams caught his 88th career touchdown in the Raiders’ 38-10 loss to Buffalo. That score moved him past Fitzgerald for the sixth-most receiving touchdowns in a player’s first 10 seasons. Next up: Hall of Famer Don Hutson, who had 90 receiving TDs in his first 10 seasons.
Research shoutouts: Jack Andrade (@RealJackAndrade), Tony Holzman-Escareno (@FrontOfficeNFL), Michelle Magdziuk (@BallBlastEm), Blake Warye (@bwaryeofblake)
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