Week 1 Overreactions

Like usual, Week 1 was confusing.  Weird stuff happens.  We overreact to it.  We’re gonna do that now.

The Saints are a disaster

One of the funniest moments in this game was the Saints secondary picking up right where it left off, giving up a 58 yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson on the Buccaneers first drive.

There were many more touchdowns given up.

The Bucs, who had Ryan Fitzpatrick/Fitzmagic as their quarterback, came out and threw the ball around like the Saints did last year.  He threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Usually his stat line looks like 237 yards and three interceptions.

The Saints had no match for the Buccaneers big, tall receivers.  Mike Evans scorched Marshon Lattimore, catching seven balls for 147 and a touchdown.  Evans only had seven targets; he caught every ball that was thrown to him.  O.J. Howard had a 35 yard reception, and rookie Chris Godwin, a favorite of mine at Penn State, caught a tough ball for a touchdown in the middle of the 2nd quarter.

Godwin perfectly positioned the route, putting himself in a place where Ken Crawley couldn’t make a play on the ball in the corner of the end zone.  This made it tougher on Godwin, but his talent came through.

Perhaps the most improbable thing about the Bucs’ offensive explosion wasn’t the passing game, but the read option Tampa Bay ran at the end of the first quarter… with Ryan Fitzpatrick!  Tampa Bay came out in a RPO set and actually ran one!  Fitzpatrick took it himself and went right into the end zone, in about the most old guy/unathletic QB way possible.  It was absolutely amazing.

And it was the epitome of the Saints defensive performance.  They were good against the run; Peyton Barber got one long run out of them.  But Fitzpatrick legitimately torched them.  I don’t know if Fitzpatrick has ever torched anyone.

In the NFC Preview, I wrote how the Bucs should consider running some type of air raid system once Jamies Winston returned, since accuracy and error in a scheme like that doesn’t matter as much.  The Bucs must of liked the idea, and they liked it so much that they let Ryan Fitzmagic try it out.  And somehow, he succeed.

The Bucs should be encouraged with Sunday’s performance.  If Ryan Fitzpatrick can succeed in it, shouldn’t Jameis?

That’s the way it should be, but with Jameis, you never know.  Plus, we know there’s a four interception game coming from Fitzpatrick at some point.

As for the Saints, it’s a bad day.  And it happened to come against the worst team possible and in Week 1, where first impressions are unfortunately everything.  They’ll be fine.  The offense put up points, and with the Saints, that might actually be the more important part.

The concerns we had about the Steelers have already arrived

With or without Le’Veon Bell, an offense this talented shouldn’t ever be involved in such a low scoring tie.

The good and bad news revolve around the same player:  Ben Rothlisberger.  The good news is that he represented the only issue with the Steelers’ offense.  They didn’t miss Le’Veon Bell too much, as James Conner rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns.  Receivers were able to get open and be productive assuming the events we’re about to talk about didn’t happen; Juju Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown both had over 90 yards.

The bad news is that Ben Rothlisberger cost them a win by throwing three interceptions and losing two fumbles.  Rothlisberger, who was one of the guys I was giving the benefit of the doubt to when it came to evaluating how close to the cliff he was, only completed 56.1% of his passes as well.

If this is a continued trend for Rothlisberger, Pittsburgh’s in real trouble.  He was bad enough to cost them the game, and as you read in the preview, that type of continued performance is bad enough to tank a season.  The good news is that he’s the only problem they have to fix.  The bad news is that, if it’s not fixed, it wastes the whole roster.

I was very wrong about Patrick Mahomes

The scariest part about what the Chiefs did on Sunday was the fact that they lost the game in just about every way besides the score.

Los Angeles had 14 more first downs, ran almost 20 more plays, won the time of possession battle and gained almost 200 yards more than Kansas City Sunday.  They lost by 10 points.

A couple things killed the Chargers:  Two turnovers, some dropped balls and Tyreek Hill, who took a punt return for a touchdown and caught two more, one on a bomb from Patrick Mahomes.

Oh yeah, about that guy.

Mahomes threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns Sunday, airing it out multiple times while completing 15 of his 27 passes.

KC didn’t throw as much as I expected them to.  But when they did, Mahomes was dazzling.  The completion percentage wasn’t great, but that’s expected when you throw as deep as the Chiefs do as often as they do.  The bottom line is that he didn’t screw up.  If he can keep that going, the Chiefs are in good shape.  They squeezed this one out; the Chargers did just one or two Chargers things but it still cost them.  What happens when they play a team that doesn’t make mistakes?  It’s not Kansas City’s defense was excellent Sunday; it felt like Los Angeles had dudes always running in the open field with no one around them.  The Chargers got multiple big plays, and Rivers threw for 424 yards.  The Chiefs kinda got lit up.  Combine a team that’s more foul-proof than the Chargers and a Mahomes rookie quarterback game and you’ve got a loss.  Don’t worry, those are coming.

Quick hits:

  • I wanted to believe in the Falcons, but Thursday night showed us that nothing has changed.  They’re going to always be plagued by horrible play-calling.
  • They got rocked by injuries in that game.  Keanu Neal is out for the season and Deion Jones will miss a significant portion of it.  Jones is a huge loss as their linebacking core is very weak.  Neal as well.  Damontae Kazee is the replacement, a second year player who I honestly haven’t heard of.  Watch out for these injuries.  If Ryan continues to play like this, the Falcons could be in real trouble.
  • While we’re here, now might be the time to make a list of quarterbacks who sucked in Week 1.  These are guys who I was making fun of as their crappy performance, asking questions like “How old is he now?” and “Should we add him to the ‘Is he over the hill?’ list?’  Here’s the list: Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Ben Rothlisberger, Derek Carr, and Eli Manning.  Yikes!  A lot of those names are ones we didn’t not expect to fall off yet.
  • The Cardinals are just bad.  They gained just 213 total yards against Washington, and were doubled in first downs.  This is what happens when Sam Bradford is your quarterback; the offense does not move.
  • Also, can someone explain why David Johnson only got nine carries compared to Bradford’s 34 pass attempts?
  • Bradford and the offense’s performance makes me want to start Josh Rosen next week.  Just for some entertainment.
  • Good for the Browns not losing.  The tie was the most Cleveland thing that could possibly happen.
  • I know I wrote 500 words about Pittsburgh above, but it may be smart to not evaluate anything from that game.  The weather, the tie, everything involved.  What a crapfest.  Just wash it off the schedule.  It never happened.
  • Poor Andrew Luck.  He did all he could before his team let him down again.  It’s good to have him back though.
  • So long for the Titans hype.  The Miami-Tennessee game might be another one that should be evaluated as if it never happened due to the almost four hours worth of delays suffered in two different stints.
  • That doesn’t change the fact that the Titans lost their most consistent receiver in Delanie Walker for the season due to a broken foot.  Without Walker, the Titans now desperately need Corey Davis to step up in a No.1 role.  I’d also expect Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry to see even more targets out of the backfield, as they can hopefully make up for the intermediate yards Walker would be able to gain.
  • Jimmy Garappolo looked liked someone who was making their 6th start Sunday against Minnesota.  The Vikings defense completely shut down the Niners offense, swarming to the ball on essentially every play and making things hard on Garappolo with extreme pressure.
  • That forced a lot of bad decisions.  Three of them turned into interceptions,  while on most of the other incomplete passes it was Garappolo holding on to the ball way too long and throwing it away.
  • The Vikings looked ridiculous as expected.  The defense was dominant, and Stefon Diggs started right where he left off.  Kirk Cousins also had a couple beautiful throws.
  • DeShaun Watson certainly looked a little rusty, and that’s okay.  It’s been awhile since he’s played competitive football.
  • That game got off to a rough start for Houston with the fumbled snap and never turned around.  They never really deserved to win.
  • I was intrigued by the Giants offense but the performance by Eli Manning still makes me very hesitant.
  • Saquon Barkley is gonna be sooooooooo good.
  • The Jaguars defense won them that game.  Blake Bortles wasn’t much better than Manning.
  • Hey Bills, start Josh Allen next week.  For your fans and for NFL fans.  Just do it.
  • Carolina did a fantastic job getting pressure on Dak Prescott Sunday.  That was impressive considering Dallas had most of their offensive line healthy. It goes to show how much they miss Travis Frederick though.
  • The Panthers offense couldn’t get going though.  They were bailed out by Dallas’ incompetence on that end.  16 points is not getting it done against opposing NFC South teams.
  • It won’t get better with the loss of Greg Olsen, who though a fine target seems to miss at least eight games a season.
  • It’s amazing that we haven’t heard anything about whatever injury Aaron Rodgers had Sunday night.  I’m not degrading his performance by any means, but it must not be that serious.
  • What an incredible game and gutty show by Rodgers though.  He was literally on one leg and brought Green Bay back single handily.
  • That is with some help by the Bears coaching staff, who went into Falcons Super Bowl mode and took the foot off the gas once they were up big.
  • The first half was a glimpse of what this Bears offense can be though.  The concerns I had about them shined brightly in the 2nd half, but that doesn’t degrade the show before that.  Mitchell Trubisky looked the best I’ve ever seem him, and Chicago spread the ball around to all of their dynamic weapons.  Where did Trey Burton go though!?
  • These are the struggles I imagined the Bears having, and it’s why I couldn’t project their record too high.  It’s frustrating, but know it’s only part of the process.  They’ll be fine.
  • Did anyone see the Rodgers post-game interview Sunday night?  No wonder he came out and put 21 points on Chicago in the 4th quarter.  That man was jacked up on something.
  • Last night was a classic Lions game.  Starts out great, then crumbles.  The Lions still have no running game, as the Jets defense swarmed them whenever they tried to do anything.  Stafford looked like he was 35, which didn’t help.
  • Seriously, two of those picks had be to the worst balls Stafford has ever thrown.
  • The Lions defense was in some ways a bigger let down.  They let a rookie QB torch them all night.  Every time Sam Darnold threw, there was an open Jets receiver.  This Jets receiving core is awful!  How do you let that happen?
  • There was one time Darnold threw without an open receiver, and that was on the very first play of the game when he made the dumbfounding decision to throw the ball across the field after scrambling out of the pocket with a safety coming down on his receiver.  It’s hard to justify saying this now after rebounding last night, but throws like that pick six are the ones that made Darnold my QB4 in the draft.  He always tries to do too much.
  • The theme Monday night was QBs who should be good sucking.  Stafford took that responsibility in the first game, and Derek Carr held it in the 2nd.    Both were so bad that it seemed like they were hurt over the course of the game, which may not be entirely off course because both were shaken up twice during the game.
  • Besides Carr being a disaster, the Raiders offense actually looked quite good.  Marshawn Lynch and Jared Cook couldn’t be tackled, and that was by one of the best defenses in the league.  If Carr is on, this offense might be a little better than we think.  At the same time, Amari Cooper completely disappeared, which is not surprising at this point.  To make that into a positive, we could say that anything Cooper contributes only adds to the potency of this group.
  • The Raiders defense had no chance against LA.  Todd Gurley ran all over them, and they got no pressure on Jared Goff.
  • Oakland had a chance last night.  Carr and the penalties killed it though.
  • Last quick hit is an important one:  It’s Week 1.  This column was written somewhat sarcastically, at least the top section was.  Some teams haven’t played competitive in nine months, others seven.  Some players haven’t played in a whole year.  Everyone’s rusty, and that means anyone can have a bad week.  A lot of teams and players did.  It’s gonna take awhile before whether we know what happened was legit or not.