Well, what a week 1 it was. It really had everything didn’t it? From the stones on Jack Del Rio to go for 2 for the win with his Raiders, to the Chiefs coming back from a 21 point deficit to win their game against the Chargers in overtime. Here are some takeaways looking back.
- Is the TNF game against the Bills a must win for the Jets? The Jets fell to the Bengals 23-22, after Darrelle Revis was made to look very ordinary going against AJ Green. Coming up, the Jets travel to the Bills in TNF. After Buffalo, the Jets travel to the Chiefs, host the Seahawks, and then are on the road against the Steelers and Cardinals. The Jets will want revenge for being swept last season, but if they don’t get something out of the game with the Bills, they may regret those missed special team points in week 1 staring down at a brutal game schedule.
- Write off the Broncos at your peril. I was guilty of it. Coming in to the season opener, I scoffed at the Broncos chances to compete with Cam Newton and the Panthers. I didn’t give them a chance with Trevor Siemian at the helm. But the Broncos showed last year they could win with the shell of Peyton Manning at QB, and they did it again here with that Super Bowl winning defense. All Trevor has to do is be careful with the ball in Kubiak’s bootleg offense; the Broncos D should keep them close each week.
- The Brock is back in Houston, TX. Another omission here, I was maybe too quick to write off Brock Osweiler. I was feeling pretty smug after his first throw ended in the hands of a Bears DB, but Brock regained poise and showed remarkable willingness to remain in the pocket and keep his eyes downfield with pressure on coming. This Texans team should be fun to watch on both sides of the ball, with Lemar Miller finally getting the volume his talent deserves, not to mention potential breakout star Will Fuller. This could be the receiver Nuk Hopkins has been waiting for to start opposite him, as Fuller finished with 5 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. Maybe they won’t need to play JJ Watt at TE this year eh?
- Luck back to his best, but will it matter? It was great to see Andrew Luck back to his best, having spent the most of last season battered and bruised before finally being shut down for the year after getting a lacerated kidney. He went 31 for 47 and 4 TDs, not to mention 21 rushing yards on 3 attempts. However, it was to no avail when the Colts D weren’t able to keep out the Lions, and fell 39-35. Jim Bob Cooter invigorated Stafford aside; I can’t see the Lions being this dominant every week. The Colts D simply lacks any talent, especially with Vontae Davis still out injured. I also worry about that fragile o-line, how long before we see number 12 getting hit multiple times a game. Luck could be the quarterback of this generation, but only if the Colts management chooses to support him with a competitive D.
- Chiefs show Ware they need help. Apologies for the pun, remarkable comeback aside, this Chief side showed they wouldn’t be a non-factor without talismanic running back Jamaal Charles. Spencer Ware finished with 70 yards on 11 rushes and a touchdown, not to mention adding a huge 129 yards receiving on 7 receptions. This is production too good to ignore, and perhaps once Charles is back to full health, we might see more of a running back by committee (sorry fantasy owners). Given the Chiefs conceded 3 TDs to the running back position (2 rushing and 1 receiving), it’ll be Justin Houston who will be welcomed back as quickly as possible.
- No Brady? No Gronk? No Problem?! Well this was probably my favourite game of the weekend, but I didn’t expect it to end in this result. Even with the aforementioned missing Patriots (not to mention Dion Lewis or Rob Ninkovich!), Jimmy Garoppolo leant on Edelman and Blount to help the Patriots to a 23-21 victory. Granted, the victory was assured when Cardinals kicker Cantanzaro missed a 47 yard field goal, but Garoppolo made some assured throws, especially to the likes of Chris Hogan, targeting rookie Brandon Williams who was beaten badly on a few throws. Should we have ever doubted Belichick and co? A tough loss for the Cardinals, but with David Johnson looking like he did last year, and Larry Fitzgerald evergreen; they should bounce back next week.
- 7-9? The Rams will be lucky. PUNT, PUNT, PUNT, INT, PUNT, PUNT, PUNT, PUNT, PUNT, PUNT, INT, PUNT, TURNOVER ON DOWNS. No, I’m not broken. This is the legitimate Rams drive chart from Monday night football, in their humiliating loss against the 49ers, which finished 28-0. Case Keenum has already been named starter for week 2, and surely it can’t get as bad as this again, can it? If Jared Goff still isn’t ready to start soon, he might be thrown in due to necessity and pressure on the Fisher/Snead regime. I think Goff would be ruined behind that awful offensive line, especially with limited offensive weapons to throw to (I don’t count Tavon Austin as a legitimate WR1). It’s telling that the 49ers defense disrespected the Rams passing attack that much, they stacked the box constantly on first and second down, holding Gurley to a pathetic 2.8 yards per carry. Jeff Fisher started off Hard Knocks by saying he “Wouldn’t stand for 7-9 Bullsh*t”. How long before Jeff Fisher takes some responsibility for it?