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Eric Decker

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NFL is full of surprises

  • September 19, 2011 - 11:14 PM

The Bills and Lions are 2-0? The Colts and Chiefs are 0-2? Better believe it. The NFL never cheats you when it comes to story lines and surprises. This season, through two weeks, is no different. Here are some of the emerging stories to watch:

• One of us: When Brandon Lloyd was unable to play -- much to Denver's surprise -- and Eddie Royal injured his groin, it opened the door Sunday for former Gophers standout wide receiver Eric Decker. The second-year pro delivered with 113 yards receiving and a pair of TDs in a victory over Cincinnati. Decker told the Denver Post: "I'm still trying to get better. I want to be consistent and I want to be reliable. Those are the two words I always tell myself. 'Consistent' and 'reliable.'"

Lion kings: The Lions aren't just undefeated, they are dominant. Detroit walloped the Chiefs 48-3, and it heads to Mall of America Field this Sunday with a full head of steam -- and an uncommon label. According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, the Lions opened as 3 1/2-point favorites against the Vikings -- the first time they have been favorites at Minnesota since at least 1990.

T-Jack talk: New Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson actually posted decent numbers Sunday -- 20-for-29 passing, 159 yards, no interceptions -- but the Seahawks still were shut out by the Steelers. The assessment of T-Jack's play from coach Pete Carroll, per the Seattle Times: "I have to see how it happened. I know that he was working it, and he avoided some pressures and he made some good throws and missed a few." Sound familiar, Vikings fans?

Ponder next? Speaking of QBs, rookie Blaine Gabbert got his first taste of action for the Jaguars, subbing for the comically ineffective Luke McCown (6-for-19, four interceptions) in a blowout loss to the Jets. Jags fans are beating the drum hard for Gabbert to start next week, though coach Jack Del Rio has yet to commit. If Gabbert joins fellow rookies Cam Newton (lighting it up for the Panthers with back-to-back 400-yard games) and Andy Dalton (105.7 rating), the Vikings fans lobbying for Christian Ponder to get behind center will be even louder.

Earning his spurs: If Tony Romo keeps leading comebacks like that, Dallas fans are going to insist he plays every game with a broken rib and punctured lung -- injuries he was reported to have suffered in the midst of Sunday's overtime thriller over San Francisco.

Ticking away the moments: The Bills had to sweat out a 9-minute review of the final play of their game against Oakland before finding out the ruling of an interception on the Raiders' last-ditch pass was upheld.

"A lot of the wind in our sails went out," Fred Jackson told the website Pro Football Talk when asked about waiting for the review.

But all was well that ended well. Bills fans, though, might want to wait a little while before celebrating. The 2008 squad started 4-0, only to finish 7-9. Next week? Buffalo plays host to New England. Now there's a real test.

MICHAEL RAND

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