NFL week 1: Ups & Downs
The Raiders came into the season as my favorite to win the AFC West. With a gigantic question mark at quarterback in Denver, the overrated Chiefs and the underperforming Chargers, the Raiders seem like the team to beat. Down 14 at one point the Rrrrrrraaaaaaiiiiiddderrrrs (say it, you know you want to) came storming back. Derek Carr was cool, calm, and collected, dropping dime after dime to put the Raiders back in the game. Then it happened, down by one after just scoring a touchdown and only needing the extra point to tie, Derek Carr proceeded to wave the field goal unit off the field and line up to go for it. They ended up going for it and winning the game, all due to a gutsy call led by Carr. In the end, a win is a team effort, but sometimes you need a little bit of crazy confidence from your quarterback. Derek Carr is that dude.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots
You couldn't write the script any better. Hall of Fame-bound Tom Brady is suspended, Gronkowski injured, and two starting offensive lineman were out of play up against one of the best teams in the NFL, not to mention they were on the road. Jimmy Garoppolo performed admirably in Brady’s absence going 24/33 for 264 yards. The most important statistic of his though? Zero interceptions. While Jimmy did fumble it once, for the most part, he played error free football. The Cardinals thrive when their defense is at its best. Last night, the Cardinals simply didn’t have an answer. They looked frustrated and out of sync. The best part about it all is that the Patriots now go home for three straight games playing against three of the weaker teams on their schedule - the Dolphins, Texans and Bills. Guess who’s back??
The Houston Texans’ front office
The offseason acquisitions looked good in the opening week. Osweiler started off a bit shaky, but ended up finishing strong. Lamar Miller eclipsed 100 yards in his first game in a Houston uniform. Will Fuller looked fantastic as a quick playmaker and is what seems to be the perfect pairing to Hopkins. The offense looked exciting compared to a year ago when Hoyer was at the helm. I will admit I am a huge Osweiler critic, but after yesterday, it was hard to argue with the results. If Osweiler continues to play at that level, paired with their defensive strengths, I think they have a shot at winning the division. The Texans aren’t world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but a win to start the season is always a positive thing.
Up 21-3 at half in Kansas City the Chargers still found a way to lose...How do you do that? I found myself getting frustrated, and I don’t even like the Chargers. You simply can’t squander opportunities like that in the NFL, going up by that margin on opening week against a division opponent on the road, and not closing the game out. To top it off, Keenan Allen goes to Injured Reserve with an ACL tear, meaning Rivers’ favorite target is done for the year. On the bright side, Melvin Gordon looked promising, but will he be enough to keep the Chargers alive? Yeah, I don’t think so either.
RG3 and the Browns
The NFL is absolutely brutal. During the offseason when I heard that RG3 was relocating to Cleveland I thought it would be the perfect fit. Both needed a fresh start and under new coach Hue Jackson, I thought they might be able to give Browns fans some hope. The Browns offense with RG3 was completely stifled. To add insult to injury, Wentz (the guy they passed on), took the defense to school. To add injury to injury (that’s a saying right?) RG3 is out for AT LEAST the next eight games. Yeah, rough start to the 2016 season. Most people already considered the Browns to be a lock for the first pick next year, and with Josh McCown stepping up to the plate that’s all but guaranteed. They do have Cody Kessler on the roster, and by the end of the season I’m sure they will give him a shot to see what they have there. The cupboard is pretty empty for the Browns, but Cleveland did win the NBA championship. I think it’s back to the drawing board, but I will resist making the “bring in Lebron at QB” joke.
There is no excuse for being destroyed by a weak 49ers team like that. Not only did the Rams put up a goose egg on the scoreboard, they didn’t even make it into the red zone once. Don’t get me wrong, the 49ers came out strong and the Chip Kelly offense looked impressive, but ultimately this loss falls squarely on Fisher’s shoulders. The Rams had no creativity in their play calling, they lacked discipline, and simply looked outmatched at every turn. For a front four that boasts probably the best defensive tackle in the league, not to mention Robert Quinn and William Hayes, to have zero sacks is simply unacceptable. Gurley had 47 yards on 17 carries, Keenum routinely made horrible throws, and the defense couldn’t find an answer for…Blaine Gabbert?! I have long thought that Jeff Fisher was an extremely overrated head coach and he continues to prove just that. 3/15 on third downs? 10 penalties for 102 yards? Those statistics scream unprepared and not well coached. The old saying “things can only get better” certainly applies here. In order for it to be true, they need 3 points next week, or 4 first downs, more than 50 yards from Gurley, or a single sack from the defense….. way to start off strong in LA.
All in all football is back, and whether your team won or lost, it was nice just to see them on the field again. This season looks like it will be another fun season in the NFL. Just remember kids, no choreographed dances or celebrations of any kind unless you want a 15 yard penalty! No fun allowed!