Week 2 of the NFL season saw several Super Bowl favorites show their weaknesses in atypical early season losses. The once powerful Patriots suffered a setback to the trash-talking Jets and new coach Rex Ryan without once getting into the end zone. The Titans — 13-3 a year ago — fell in a shootout at home against the Texans. Even the defending champion Steelers lost to the Bears on a late field goal.
And for the second straight week, fantasy sports imitate life. At least here in the NESN Fantasy Football League.
Leading the upset brigade was John Chandler and his "More Cowbell" squad, which trounced self-proclaimed preseason favorite Cole Wright and his "I MEAN BUSINESS" team 155.30 to 81.15.
"I really hate my team right now," said a stunned Wright, who fell to 1-1 with the loss. "I just did some shuffling and in Week 3, like Arnold [Schwarzenegger] said, I'll be back! Believe that, because I MEAN BUSINESS!"
Yet after his record-setting 74.15-point margin of victory thanks to huge performances from Frank Gore (36.60), Philip Rivers (30.80) and Ronnie Brown (25.60), Chandler was able to keep the win in perspective.
"You always want to win, of course, that's why you play," said the Belichickean NESN studio host/reporter, whose team improved to 1-1. "But I'm not really into getting excited about one win in Week 2. I mean, that's for you guys to get excited about. I'm just concerned with watching film right now."
Also falling on the fantasy gridiron this weekend was Week 1's top scorer Heidi Watney and her "Favre Forever" bunch, which got trounced 147.75-111.95 by Kathryn and "The Tappenators."
With big days from Kurt Warner (24.05), Marion Barber (21.50) and Darren Sproles (21.00) — plus a ridiculous 46.40 points from Titans running back Chris Johnson — it was clear that the Tappenators responded well to a brutal week of practice.
"Chris Johnson!?!?" exclaimed an incredulous Watney following the matchup. "What the h—?!"
"After a tough loss to Cole last week, I think my team rebounded nicely against Heidi," Tappen told reporters after the game. "Although we still have areas to improve on, we did what we could with what we had. It's nice to get a win under our belts and hopefully we can continue to build on this game."
With the two upsets in the NESN.com Fantasy League's Western Division, there is now a four-way tie atop the standings. Of course, there's also a four-way tie for last place. It all depends on how you look at it.
Moving over to the East, however, there's one team that stands above the rest. After a 109.15-98.70 triumph over John Carchedi's "Italian Ninjas," Adam Hirshfield's "Gray Cutoff Hoodies" are the league's only unbeaten team at 2-0. The Hoodies made use of a 31.45-point day from Saints quarterback Drew Brees and managed to overcome a major coaching blunder from Hirshfield.
"I felt like such an idiot starting [Patriots wide receiver] Wes Welker [who missed Sunday's game due to injury]. That turned out to be a big ole goose egg. I might as well have started Wes Anderson. I like his movies, at least.
"But [Bills running back] Fred Jackson picked up the slack and [Cowboys tight end] Jason Witten had a solid game Sunday night and I was able to pull it out. I'll take 2-0 regardless of how I get there."
Carchedi took a completely different tack, claiming that he threw in the towel for his Week 2 tilt.
"I'm not proud of it," he said in an exclusive interview with NESN.com, "but I intentionally lost this week."
Well, believe it or not, Carchedi says he took the fall to help save humanity.
"You see, I'm all about morale in the workplace. And if I crushed the competition on a weekly basis, my colleagues would start moping around the studios, our shows would lack their usual zip, ratings would dip, advertisers would get nervous, unemployment would rise, swine flu would intensify, the ozone layer would deplete and there's a slight chance we'd get slammed by an asteroid.
"So, you're welcome, America. I took one for the team."
In the final match of the week, Terrence Johnson's "Crooked Lettas" earned their first win of 2009, knocking off Naoko Funayama's newly named "UNITAS" team 112.35 to 86.70.
The quietly confident Terrence was extremely quiet following his successful week, refusing to talk to the media. League officials have confirmed to NESN.com that the Crooked Lettas will be fined for their postgame conduct.
But despite falling to 0-2 on the campaign, Naoko put a positive spin on her team's performance.
"In a weird way, I'm glad I'm losing. It means I'm spending all my time on my actual work: hockey. Go Bruins!
"And go [Joe] Flacco," she continued, touting her pregame addition of the Ravens signal-caller who has now thrown five touchdowns in two games. "I like my pickup, but now I need to fix my RB and WR issues somehow."
Best of luck to you, Naoko, and to everyone else as we look ahead to Week 3.