Week 1 Review
Week 1 is in the books an we’ve had a little bit of everything. QB controversy, O-line failures, a huge blow out and a blocked punt for a TD (it could only be the Browns). Below is a complete list of results with a handful of observations and news-worth items included. Winners in CAPS.
CHIEFS @ Pats: 42-27
Alex Smith threw for 368 yards and 4 TDs as he orchestrated the most points against a Bill Belichick defense since 2000. In truth Smith was allowed to run the show as the Pats pass rush was pathetic and the backfield seemed to struggle with communication. Even Tom Brady struggled as he completed just 16-36 and 0 TDs. With Edelman out for the year, Amendola carted off with a concussion (6 rec for 100 yrds before said bell-ringer) and Gronk looking out of sorts (2-6 and a dropped TD) the offense was almost as bad as the D. Special mention for Kareem Hunt the rookie running-back for The Chiefs, 148yrds on 17 carries + 98 receiving yards and 3 TDs in total. Wow. Sterner defences await the Chiefs but they certainly seem to have a few weapons to play with.
Jets @ BILLS: 12-21
Ok, so the Jets were far from the worst team of the week (Hi Colts), but against an average Bills squad there was hardly much else that could be said on the positive side for Gang Green. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell combinded for 38 (yep-38) yards on 13 carries whilst Shady McCoy and Mike “Toldozer” Tolbert paired up for 152 yards from 34 attempts. For the Bills. This success on the ground allowed Tyrod Taylor to limit his attempts to 28 (2TDs, 1INT) and pick his targets carefully. T.E Charles Clay (1 TD) and newcomer W.R Jordan Matthews had 53 and 61 yards respectively. Jermaine Kearse led the Jets W.Rs in his second week with the team, 59yards from 7 receptions. The Jets passing game looks unlikely to go into overdrive with McCown under centre as he threw 2 INTs and 0 TDs and the team totalled just 11 first downs all game. The Bills top AFC East for the first time since week 2 in 2014.
FALCONS @ Bears: 23-17
It all came down to the final drive as Mike Glennon had pushed the Bears to within 5yards of an unlikely win. Sadly T.E Zach Miller couldn’t reel in the Touchdown pass and on the following play Glennon was sacked by Reed for a game ending 9 yard loss. 26-40 for 213 and 1 TD showed that Glennon can move the ball and Rookie RB Tarik Cohen led both rushing and receiving stats for Chicago (113 yrds combined). Matt Ryans numbers eclipsed his counterpart (321 yrds 21-30) and a wide open Austin Hooper snared a long TD pass which was the difference in the score line in the end. The Bears kept Julio quiet as he had just 4 receptions for 66 yards. Both teams look to have more to give on offense. Former 1st round pick for Chicargo, Kevin White, is on I.R again for the 3rd time in 3 years. His career could be over before it ever really started.
RAVENS @ Bengals: 20-0
Bengals shut out on opening day for the first time since 1979. Andy Dalton throws 4 INTs and loses a fumble Joe Flacco completes a very pedestrian 9-17 on his retrun from a back issue. Danny Woodhead moved the chains early for the Ravens (33yrds on 3 touches) before damaging a hamstring and being ruled out 4-6 weeks. JemerY Maclin only had 2 catches but 1 of those was a 48yrd TD. Newly anointed star Running back Joe Mixon managed just 9 yards on 8 attempts as The Bengals offense disappear in a heap under their own offensive line which look truly awful, giving up 5 sacks and a ton of pressure. On this showing the Bengals are the worst team in the AFC south.
STEELERS @ Browns: 21-18
The Browns conceded a TD on a blocked punt following their first series, but it didn’t seem to affect them too much as they kept pace with the Steelers throughout the game. 12th week 1 starter since 2004 DeShaun Kizer went 20-30 with one rushing TD, one passing TD and an INT. He looked mobile and assured, held the ball a little too long (as rookies do) but showed why Cleveland were happy to start the season with him. A lack of weapons may hold the Browns back as Coleman led the receivers with 53 yards and a TD, but the D looked solid and limited LeVeon Bell to just 32 yrds rushing and gave up just 263 passing yards in total. Big Ben and Co. will blow many teams away, the Browns should be pleased with how well they did against a playoff contender and Super Bowl favourite considering Myles Garrett wasn’t available to play.
Cardinals @ LIONS:23-35
Wondered why the Lions chose to pay Stafford a bazillion dollars to re-sign with them? Wonder no more. Another 4th qtr comeback (8 last season), 4 TDs, nearly 300 yards against a much-feared D and a refusal to accept defeat are all good reasons. Kenny Golloday looked like the 2nd coming of Calvin Johnson as he grabbed 2 TDs on debut and Tate average 10.7 yrds per catch. On the other side of the field Carson Palmer continued to regress, thowing 3INTs and just 1 TD. More disastrously, David Johnson broke his wrist and is set for surgery which may see him out until December. CJ2K has been re-signed to replace his former teammate but a team that was already struggling on offense just got worse. The D wasn’t great either with just 1 sack (Jones) and 1 INT (Bethal).
JAGS @ Texans:29-7
For all the pre-game hype surrounding the return of JJ Watt it was an opposing defensive player who drew all the praise following this surprisingly one-sided game. Jags defensive tackle Calais Campbell set a franchise record with 4 sacks as the Floridians racked up 10 in total. Blake Bortles was restricted from throwing the ball away by a good running game from rookie Fournette (26 carries/100 yards) and sensible play calling. Alan Robinson (WR) damaged an ACL and may miss the season so Marquise Lee had best be ready to step up after seeing no targets on Sunday. DeShaun Watson (102 yrds 1 TD pass to Hopkins and 1 INT) finished the game for the Texans as he was thrown in at half time following Tom Savages inability to move the chains (7-13 for 62). 2nd time in 3 seasons that Bill O’Brien looked unsure of who to trust in his quarterback room for opening day.
RAIDERS @ Titans: 26-16
Ever wondered what would happen if a pro team started a game in a madden-esque way with an on-side kick? Well, just ask Mike Mularkey. The Titans failed to recover, handed the advantage to the Raiders and they never looked back. Lynch had 76 yards on his NFL return and barrelled over a few defenders on the day and Derek Carr threw TDs to Cooper and Roberts (they’ve never lost when he scores) with Crabtree picking up a team high 83 yards receiving. Star of the show though was debutant kicker Tavecchio who signed for the Raiders on the day to replace Janikowski (I.R) and then went 4/4 including 2 from 52 yards. The Titans did very little right, just 69 yards between Murray and Henry on the ground and 3 receptions to supposed no.1 receiver Eric Decker. Titans need to player tougher on both sides of the ball or all the pre-season promise will come to nothing.
EAGLES @ Redskins: 30-17
Carson Wentz did his best impression of Aaron Rodgers, evading the rush, spinning out to one side and heaving the ball long downfield for a huge TD to Nelson Agholor. Alshon Jeffrey only had 38 yards but Wentz still had over 300yrds. The running game was average, although Blount had a receiving TD (2nd career). Cousins (23-40) didn’t look like a star player in this one, 240 yards 1TD and 1 INT. Rob Kelly averaged 3 yards per carry meaning Cousins had to air the ball out there and it just didn’t come off. The connection to Terrell Pryor needs work, the ‘skins should improve, but for now they look shaky at best.
Colts @ RAMS: 9-46
BLOW OUT! The Luck-less Colts looked god-damned awful with Scott Tolzien under centre. Twice he kindly passed the ball to the Rams for pick-6s. Former Patriot Jacoby Brissett came in in the second half and immediately threw a 50yard completion to Moncrief and despite only a week with the team he looked more assured than Tolzien. The Colts should have had an early TD when Mack appeared to touch the pillon as he was forced out of play but no challenge came and the Colts eventually settled for a field goal try. Vinatieri who is usually perfect actual hit the post and was 1-2 on the night. The D couldn’t get near Jared Goff who won his first game at the 8th attempt with 306 yards and a TD. Rookie Cooper Kupp had 76 of those yards and the TD too. He looks a real threat. The Rams D scored 28 fantasy points with 4 sacks, 2 INTS and 2 forced fumbles. Maybe they can challenge for the playoff this year…
Seahawks @ PACKERS: 9-17
Not a great offensive show but another class in why O-Lines are so important. Neither performed that well, but the Seahawks were by far the worst. Russell Wilson seemed to be under pressure all night long, took 3 sacks and managed just 158 yards of passing offense. The line can also take some blame for Eddie Lacy managing just 3 yards on 5 carries on debut. Without Rawls the backfield looked a bit messy. Aaron Rodgers recovered from an early INT to pass for 311 yards and a TD to his favourite target Jordy Nelson whilst taking 4 sacks himself. It seems likely that better is to come from both teams, but only if the O-lines improve drastically.
PANTHERS @ 49ers: 23-3
The San Fran 49ers looked pretty darn terrible. Unable to generate any offense of note on either the ground or in the air. Hoyer went 24-35 for 293 and 0TDs and 1 INT. Hyde managed 45 yards rushing and 32 receiving but didn’t really trouble the Panthers. New T.E Kittle did look promising however, 5 receptions for 27 yards with a long of 13. Cam played well enough to win without excelling (2 TDs and 1 INT). Christian McCaffrey excited the fans with some great plays as he combined with Stewart for 112 yrds rushing. Kelvin Benjamin had only 1 catch for 25 yards, T.E Olsen had 2 for 18. The Panthers D looked dominant with 4 sacks and a ton of pressure throughout. Tougher tests will follow. The 49ers Linebacker Rueben Foster (31st pick in rd1 this year) had a good start to his career with 3 tackles and plenty of aggression before sustaining an ankle sprain.
Giants @ COWBOYS: 3-19
No OBJ, no offense. Eli couldn’t have looked more lost on a night where he needed to show leadership in a tough situation. Ditto Brandon Marshall who went missing during the game and came up with just 1 catch. The running game still lacked punch and the O-Line (again) failed to stop the Cowboys pressuring Manning all game long (3 Sacks). Dak went 24-39, Elliott racked up 104 yards rushing and Witten passed Michael Irvin for most receptions in a Cowboy uniform. All the receivers played some part though Dez Bryant was kept quiet by Jenkins to the tune of 2 catches. The Cowboys have hit the ground running, the Giants have flopped across the start line and desperately need to see their no. 1 WR on the field sooner rather than later.
Saints @ VIKINGS: 19-29
Surgical Sam Bradford picked the Saints apart with ease on Monday night going 27-32 and 346 yards-3 TDS. Dalvin Cook eclipsed the return of former Vikes great Petersen as he notched up 127 yards, and Adam Thielen had 157 yards from 9 receptions. Stephon Diggs caught 2 TDs on 7 catches with T.E Rudolph collecting the third. Vikings D kept Brees quiet all night, allowing only 291 yards from the QB. There was plenty for the Saints to like about their game though. Alvin Kamara looked great from the backfield both rushing and receiving, and Fleener, Ginn, Lewis, Ingram and Thomas all surpassed 45 yards receiving. If the D can become competitive then Brees may get another shot at glory.
Chargers @ BRONCOS: 21-24
A close game separated by a deflected FG attempt from new chargers kicker Y.Koo at the death. Rivers went 22-33 for 3 TDs and a pick but only 192 yards total. 6 receivers had multiple catches as he spread the ball around and nearly dragged the Chargers back from the brink at 24-7 down. Trevor Simien had 219yrds, 2 TDs and an INT, worked really well with Demarius Thomas (5rec-67 yrds) and Bennie Fowler (both TDs). Both defences looked playoff bound and the division may be even closer than many think. Joey Bosa with 1.5 sacks looked dominant again for the Chargers. Neither team deserved to lose.