Week 1 of the NFL season is in the bag, y’all! I gotta say it was refreshing to FINALLY watch games that matter and see the league’s best players take the field with something to prove. There’s no doubt we were shocked by some of the final outcomes, but I can’t front – throughout the day I noticed how mundane this week’s slate of games actually were. There weren’t many high scoring games or many close games for that matter. There were just 3 games, just 3 – where teams combined to score more than 50 points. There were only 4 games decided by one touchdown or less. The saving grace however was how unpredictable these games were – road teams won 7 out of the 15 games played, and five teams pulled off upsets (based on Vegas’ point spread). We were blessed with performances that left fan bases feeling confident for the time being, delusional with expectations, hopeless of the future, or maybe just a little…Insecure. Let’s get into it!
Kansas City Chiefs – Week 1 of the NFL season got off to a chitty-chitty bang-bang on opening night as the Chiefs shocked the world by blowing out the Patriots on the road. For a team thought to be void of options on offense, rookie Kareem Hunt and Tyreke Hill stepped up to the plate, allowing Alex Smith to play pitch and catch in one of the best performances of his career (368 yds, 4 TDs). Let me tell y’all something. Alex heard ALL that noise through the offseason about how he’s reached his ceiling. He saw the Chiefs draft and groom his successor in front of his face, while claiming he was still “their guy.” He heard the claims that he was washed. Alex spent the summer in his cocoon working on his game like Hoodie Melo. And when the opportunity presented itself Alex proved on national TV his ability to throw the ball downfield. Their offense opened up wider than Issa and Lawrence did during their kitchen conversation in the finale. Man, that was refreshing…and it’s what the people have been asking for since day one.
Jacksonville Jaguars – the 2nd biggest surprise from Week 1. The Jags’ defense was everywhere while Houston was never there. Like never, not once. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette performed as advertised (100 yds, TD) and Blake Bortles somehow managed not to be the worst QB on the field. Bortles did however find a way to make matters worse – while WR Allen Robinson was laid out on the turf clutching his torn ACL, Bortles’ best attempt to console his teammate was to walk over and pat him a few times…ON HIS INJURED KNEE.
Samuel Jacob Bradford – Dude balled all the way out on Monday Night Football, torching New Orleans’ JV defense (346 yds, 3 TDs). Minnesota’s defense kept the great Drew Brees at bay, and the Vikings appeared for the time being a legit force in the NFC North. The key to the Vikings’ success will be their offensive line’s ability to keep Bradford upright. When he has time in the pocket, dude actually looks like a #1 overall draft pick
Philadelphia Eagles – they refuse to be at the bottom of the NFC East after ending their three year losing streak to the ‘Skins, led by an escapist artist’s performance by QB Carson Wentz (307 yds, 2 TDs, INT). The Eagles’ lockdown defense had Kirk Cousins in a worse rhythm than 97% of white people at [insert artist]’s concert. It’s obvious the mix of young talent with veteran leadership is slowly building a “learn how to finish games” mentality in Philly, something they lacked the last year or so.
Dallas Cowboys – they exercised a divisional demon by finally beating the New York Giants, who have had their number the last few years. The Giants used to show up at the Cowboys’ door at 4:17AM on a Tuesday and make them come out the house in their robe and hair rollers, just ‘cause they knew they could. But those days appear to be over after Dak and Zeke led the way, aided by an exemplary defensive effort. And speaking of greatness, Jason Witten became Cowboys’ all-time leading in receiving yards last week. He’s going to the Hall.
The Cincinnati Bungles – They laid an egg Sunday. Literally. They were shut out AT HOME against a division rival whom they have not lost to at home since 2011. The Ravens treated Paul Brown Stadium like Rick James would if he stepped foot into Joel Osteen’s church. Despite missing key players due to injury or suspension, this loss lands on Andy Dalton. He committed two redzone turnovers (5 total), killing any momentum Cincy was able to establish
Carson Palmer – I’m hurt, Carson. Truly hurt. You were outright depressing on Sunday. About as depressing as Lawrence was trying to get his Woo-Woo app off the ground. The Cardinals are only going to go as far as Palmer takes them especially with David Johnson out a few months. But right now, Palmer can’t even take them out to get a Redbox on their birthday
Indianapolis – All you need to know about Indy is after the game their head coach Chuck Pagano gave credit to the 49ers for the win. Aye Chuck, y’all lost to the Rams bruh. They don’t play the 49ers for another month but I can guarantee you they won’t have a single win by that time either. It’s only September but Indianapolis already looks poised to have the #1 overall pick next season
The Saints – I can’t even feel bad for the Saints yo. They knew EXACTLY what this season was gon’ be before it started. They dedicated absolutely zero energy into improving their defense, then turned around wondering how an offense like Minnesota’s could run the score up on them. They looked about as dumb as Issa did taking classes on how to suck, then got mad when they get Fetty Wap’d on national television.
Aye Quintin…DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRO?!
I think we can all agree (except for Mr. Casey) we are all happy to see Marshawn back on the field.
Should the Pats Panic? I’m sure everyone including members of the Chiefs knew this season opener was finna be a BREEZE for the defending champs. They came out in the first quarter and appeared to be headed for a blowout victory. But the Pats’ lacking pass rush and miscues in the secondary turned the table against them, and the champs found themselves on the mat before it was all said and done. Tom Brady struggled in the 2nd half and I refuse to question his mortality after just one loss. But Father Time is 99-0, and whether Brady’s time is this year or five years from now…Father always, ALWAYS gets his big piece of chicken.
The Little Giants? Y’all remember a few weeks ago when Odell Beckham said he should be the highest paid player in the NFL and everyone looked at him crazy…like he was Amy Shumer demanding Dave Chappelle/Chris Rock money from Netflix? OBJ was trippin’, right? Well he didn’t play last Sunday night and the entire Giants team looked decrepit without him. Their offense was stagnant and their defense had to fend for themselves. They bent and eventually broke. NYG needs another receiver to step up and they must establish some sort of rushing attack – or they’ll be in trouble. And when contract time comes around for Mr. Beckham, the only question he’ll need to answer is if he prefers his 100 million via check or direct deposit.
What happened in the LA Coliseum? What if I told you Jared Goff was sharp last Sunday? What if I told you Sammie Watkins can do more than run deep routes and hold a clip board? What if I told you the Rams are the only NFC West team with a win? You wouldn’t believe me, because no one attended the Rams’ game on Sunday to actually witness it. Someone should tell the new people of Inglewood that NOT attending football games isn’t quite the way gentrification works.
Houston, Do We Have a BIGGER Problem? We all knew it was a matter of time before the Texans benched Savage in favor of DeShaun Watson. But even with Watson under center, the Texans’ problems on offense were still blatant. They couldn’t establish the run. Their receivers couldn’t get open. They still couldn’t protect their QB. The reason for that is directly related to th e fact O-lineman Duane Brown was at home continuing his holdout and not on the field. The Texans have a bigger question to answer – how much do they value Brown NOW? If they’re going to start Watson moving forward, they can’t afford to get him killed. It’s time Houston pays Mr. Brown what they owe! And we’ve seen this movie in Houston before when they put a rookie draftee under center that they couldn’t protect. And trust me, it doesn’t have a happy ending.
Sleepless in Seattle? Speaking of shitty offensive lines…any time your QB leads the team in rushing yards and his name ISN’T Michael Vick, it’s because he was running for his life. Yo, look at this bullshit Russell Wilson was up against last week: But this is no real surprise – Seattle’s O-line was just as terrible last year. It will be interesting to see what Pete Carroll and the Seahawks’ brass does knowing how they stack up against another NFC contender now. And Green Bay has one of the weaker defenses in the conference and Seattle still struggled against them
Moral Victories Do Exist. For perennial playoff teams, a loss is a gotdamn loss – no matter how many ways you slice it. But for teams with as many losses over the years as they’ve had starting quarterbacks, incremental progress is better than none at all. Both the Bears and Browns should have their chins up after their performances Sunday, each going toe-to-toe with a playoff team from last year. The Bears dropped two game-winning touchdowns in the endzone – just one of them would have beaten the Falcons. QB Mike Glennon was impressive despite them seemingly losing an offensive weapon every time they take the field. Rookie Tarik Cohen emerged on the scene as a viable option out of the backfield. The Bears’ defense appeared capable of containing the most talented offense in their conference. The Browns on the other hand suffered a Week 1 loss vs Pittsburgh. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer’s debut was promising despite being sacked 7 times; the Browns were still in the game in the 4th quarter. Their young defense also hung in there against the most talented offense in their respective conference, bottling up the great Le’Veon Bell the whole game. Only time will tell if these two presumed bottom feeders have closed the gap between themselves and the best teams in the league.
Why Quarterbacks Get Paid. The reoccurring theme from Week 1’s action is undoubtedly the level of quarterback play across the league. Surprisingly, we saw quality production from some unexpected names (Smith, Goff, Bradford) and heroics by some players out to prove they’ve earned their praise. (Prescott, Wentz, Stafford). But by and large, the performances we saw under center were flat out underwhelming. Two quarterbacks were benched mid-game. Another was sacked five times and committed five turnovers. Nineteen QBs threw interceptions, and only 5 threw for over 300 yards in their games. With all this mediocrity on the field, you would think by now teams would swallow their pride and give Colin Kaepernick a call. Despite what the owners say in their press conferences, football isn’t simply about winning. It’s about money. Or maybe it’s more so about perception than anything else. But as long as NFL owners are more concerned with how their brand “looks” than how it actually performs, expect more below-average quarterback play behind below-average offensive lines throughout the NFL for the foreseeable future.
In retrospect, this is also the reason why the Detroit Lions did the right thing by locking in their QB for the future. Of course their decision would come with a bit of irony. After signing a $135M contract and becoming the highest paid player in football, what does Matthew Stafford do on his first pass of the season? He throws a pick-six. You could hear the rumblings in the stands and the doubters already counting Stafford’s coins. But just as the Detroit [un]faithful were ready to write Stafford off, he bounced back by continuing his late game heroics, completing yet another 4th quarter comeback win for the Cardiac Cats – the 27th of his career in the D. Anyone questioning whether or not Stafford deserved that contract, right here is your proof and pudding.
That’s all I got from Week 1 guys. Hopefully no one is on the edge just yet – all 32 teams still have a lot to play for. Looking ahead to Week 2 we’ll get to see a matchup between 2 forty-year old, Hall of Fame QBs (Brady vs. Brees) go up against each other’s non-existent defense. The Buccaneers and the Dolphins get to play their first games. And both our Sunday and Monday night primetime games feature NFC playoff teams from last season. Let me know what y’all think.