Week 1 of the NFL season always has its share of surprises. Opening week of 2017 was no different.
Kansas City Hustle
We knew the Kansas City defense was stout, but to kickoff the 2017 season, the Chiefs put on an offensive show to boot. Alex Smith pushed the ball down the field, Tyreek Hill continued his speed dominance. However, the most pleasant surprise was rookie RB Kareem Hunt. His all-aground game and explosiveness was something New England was ill-equipped to handle.
Young Jags Showed Teeth
The Jaguars came into Week 1 equipped with much uncertainty after an uninspiring preseason. But, in their opening win over Houston, they were physical on both sides of the ball. Leonard Fournette became the first in franchise history to rush for 100 yards in his debut. And the defense racked up 10 sacks, including a franchise-record 4 from Nelly-signed Calais Campbell.
More heroics from the Watt family. Big brother J.J. broke a finger during the Texans’ loss and matter-of-factly quipped afterwards “The bone broke through the skin. I just wrapped it up and kept playing.” Now if he could only play quarterback.
Then in Cleveland, Steelers’ rookie T.J. Watt made his NFL debut a splash with a tam leading 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and interception in a win over the Browns. Promising start for the youngest Watt brother,, to say the least.
Stafford Earning His Keep
After a slow start, Stafford and the Detroit offense came to life in the second half. After throwing a pick-six on his first play of the season, Stafford was really good Sunday against the Cardinals. He finishes with 292 yards, four touchdowns and that lone early interception. Stafford also picked up a huge first down with a 15-yard scamper, and he was sacked just one time despite the Lions’ offensive line being without starting left tackle Taylor Decker. Stafford was the catalyst as the Lions defeated Arizona 35-23.
I’m A Real Boy!
I admit,, it was a bit weird watching the Rams and Browns with the realization that they looked like actual NFL teams. The Rams were pretty damn bad season year, averaging a mere 14 points per game, easily last in the NFL. Then rookie Jared Goff was by far the worst quarterback in the NFL, averaging just 155 passing yards per contest. Sunday, in Sean McVay’s first game as the Rams’ head coach, they beat the Colts 46-9, with Goff totaling 306 passing yards despite not throwing much in the second half after L.A. jumped out to a huge lead.
The Browns’ defense have the Steelers’ explosive offense fits all game long,, essentially rendering all-everything running back Le’Veon Bell useless. The offensive line and running game were effective. And rookie QB, DeShone Kizer showed why Hue Jackson trusts him as the starter. No moral victories here, but Cleveland appears to be on the right track finally.
The Dallas Cowboys have to be relieved that Ezekiel Elliott will likely be around for the entire season. With that, it was Dak Prescott who led this offense to a big victory over the Giants. Prescott showed the progression and maturity effected of him going into year 2. The Dallas defense was fast and aggressive, limiting a Giants offense minus Odell Beckham Jr.
While Odell Beckham Jr’s absence from the Giants’ week one loss to the Cowboys, his importance to the offense — and therefore leverage for a huge payday — are even more evident. Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants offense were completely inept from “Oh, say can you see” until the final whistle. Beckham is the heart and soul of, not only the offense, but the entire team. A few more weeks without Beckham and the Giants will render Alvin Glymph correct in his claims.
Now that the New England Patriots showed us they have human beings behind those facemasks, people can nix all the rhetoric about an undefeated season for the Pats. On the other hand, let’s not get ahead of yourselves and deem the Patriots done. It was one game. And while they are still a work in progress, my moneys still on them as the league’s best.
Opening week NFL ratings are the lowest they’ve been since 2014. Last season’s dip was dished off on it being an election year. However, they are dropping continuously. Whether you want to attach the decline to those fans tuning in due to protesting players or those boycotting in response to Colin Kaepernick being unemployed, the NFL has to be trying to figure out a way to reverse the downward trend.
I Can’t With Carson
Cardinals’ aging QB Carson Palmer continued a steady decline in play in week one. Head coach Bruce Arians madder it clear he was not happy with Palmer’s performance that included two horrible Interceptions countless bad reads. Going back to last season, it appears as if Palmer simply can’t pull the trigger any longer…like an over-the-hill boxer.
I had a chat with a Colts’ fan Sunday, and something dawned on me. The Colts are really no different than the same terrible franchise they were in the early 90s…minus a couple of can’t miss draft picks. Think back about moribund the Colts were before they drafted Peyton Manning in 1998. Now remember how horrible they were when Manning was hurt and missed an entire season, giving them the pick to draft Andrew Luck. And now look at how bad they were in Sunday’s beat down to the Rams with Luck injured. For the Colts to go into this season with no better option than Scott Tolzien to quarterback their team was foolish. The Colts just happened to have the first-overall pick when Manning and Luck — the two best QB prospects of the last 30 years — entered their respective NFL drafts. If not for those two drat picks, we’d likely see the Colts the same light we view the Browns or Jets.
Back To The Bungles?
The Cincinnati Bengals are reverting back to the days of hopelessness fast. An opening day shutout loss to division rival Baltimore shed light on just how bare the Bengals’ cupboard appears to be. The offensive line is in shambles, making the Bengals susceptible to a strong Ravens’ front seven. Young offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher were completely overwhelmed all day, being bullied physically. The defense also had trouble covering over the middle of the field, particularly backs out of the backfield. It’s hard to imagine the Bengals improving in the amount they need to improve along the line in order to be competitive on a consistent basis in 2017.
What Up Cuz?
The Washington offense didn’t show as it had hoped in week one. Kirk Cousins finished 23 of 40 for 240 yards with a TD pass. He was under duress all day because of the relentless Eagles pass rush and was sacked four times. Cousins was also threw a costly pick at the goal line and fumbled twice. His second fumble was forced by Eagles’ pass rusher Brandon Graham and returned 20 yards for a score by defensive lineman Fletcher Cox in the closing minutes, shutting the door on Washington.
That Had To Be A JV Game…
Not that many were expecting this to be one of the week’s better games, but the Jets – Bills matchup was about as bad as I’ve seen in quite some time. Neither offense was in sync, nor were the defenses anything to write home about. Pretty much confirmed what most already knew…the New York Jets are easily one of the worst teams of the last decade.