NFL Week 1 Recap
Del Rio goes for two, the Pats can’t be slain, Jameis is famous, the Colts prevent D prevents a win, and more analysis.
Down 34-33 with less than a minute left, conventional wisdom says to go for the point after kick and play for overtime. Jack Del Rio, head coach of the Oakland Raiders, threw conventional wisdom out the window. Derek Carr threw a back shoulder fade route to Michael Crabtree, who made the catch in stride and converted the two point conversion to seal a gutsy Raiders 35-34 win over the home New Orleans Saints.
The whole game seemed to be dominated by the Saints, including a 98-yard bomb from Drew Brees (423 yards/4TDs) to Brandin Cooks (6 receptions/143 yards/2TDs) that put an emphatic stamp on the game. Brees was finding targets left and right, finding Willie Snead to the tune of 9 catches for 172 yards and a TD, while torching newly acquired, high profile Raiders corner Sean Smith on multiple occasions. The Raiders, despite the tandem of Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack, managed only one sack and recovered a fumble as Brees picked apart their secondary.
Towards the end of the game, the Raiders mounted a comeback, led in part by a tying 75 yard TD run by rookie Jalen Richard on his first career carry. Not a bad way to start a career. That TD tied the game, and would see the Saints march down the field and score on a Brees to Travaris Cadet TD to go ahead by 7. The Raiders got the ball back with 6:03 left on the clock, scored with 47 seconds, made the 2, and started the season 1-0 for the first time since 2011.
On the second drive of the game, second year QB and alleged crab leg thief Jameis Winston threw an interception. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were down 10-3 at the time, and would never trail again. What audiences witnessed was the maturation of the young QB in front of our eyes. Winston had a 284yd/4TD line with a 69% completion rate, finding 8 different receivers in the process while making throws like this in the process. Mike Evans looked sharp for Tampa, Charles Sims had a Charles Sims-like stat line (4 rushes/9 yards, 3 catches/32 yards/1TD), and rookie receiver Adam Humphries (3 catches, 34 yards) showed promise for down the road.
On the flip side of the ball, the Falcons appeared afraid to use their greatest weapon and near 2,000-yard receiver Julio Jones. Jones hauled in 4 receptions for 66 yards and a score on 8 targets, good for third on his own team. Offseason acquisition Mohammed Sanu caught 5 balls for 80 yards, while second year Indiana University product Tevin Coleman led the team in receiving yards, netting 95 on 5 catches, while tacking on 22 yards on 8 carries rushing.
Speaking of Coleman, Falcons coach Dan Quinn stated that Coleman and 2015-fantasy football stud Devonta Freeman would be in an even timeshare. Most times, this is coach speak for “ride the hot hand”, but in this instance, Quinn was spot on. Freeman toted the ball 11 times for 20 yards, adding 4 catches for 20 yards while looking relatively slow and inefficient in doing so. As a whole, Coleman showed his trademark pop while hitting holes with speed, while Freeman maintained his status as a plodder.
Defensively, the 4-3 scheme the Falcons employed last year was expected to take a leap in how effective it was. There was promise through one quarter, but it appears to be back to the drawing board for Quinn and the Falcons as they racked up no sacks only two tackles for a loss, and the lone interception. The Bucs on the other hand, managed three sacks with continual pressure to QB Matt Ryan and had 8 tackles for a loss. A win was much needed for the Bucs, who see their schedule increase in difficult, with matchups against the Cardinals, Rams, Broncos, and Panthers in their next four weeks.
Jimmy G in AZ
Many teams institute the motto “next man up” in their locker rooms, but perhaps no team exhibits this better in recent memory than the New England Patriots. Feelings about the Pats aside, what QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the depleted Patriots were able to do against the Super Bowl hopeful Arizona Cardinals was downright impressive. Garoppolo dispatched the feared secondary of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu with a stat line of 264/1TD and a 71 percent completion percentage. Most of the damage was done with shorter, safer routes, but they were able to lead methodical drive after methodical drive, ultimately winning on a Chandler Catanzaro missed 44-yard field goal as time expired.
Despite missing two starting offensive linemen, in addition to missing the most lethal non-WR in the league in Rob Gronkowski, Garoppolo played the role of game manager in excellent fashion, leading the Pats on long drives and hitting Chris Hogan (3/60/1TD) on a 37 yard TD reception in the first quarter. The Pats D also played well, limiting the high-powered Cardinals offense to 21 points while racking up 3 sacks and 6 TFL in the process.
As for Arizona, they face a tough bounce back against a suddenly strong looking Buccaneers team. Although the Cards still have Larry Fitzgerald (8/81/2TDs), they’ll need no shows like John Brown (1/8yards/4targets) to step up and play to their potential, otherwise Bruce Arians and the Cardinals could be facing 0-2 with another effort such as the one on Sunday Night Football.
All Hail Jim Bob
Ever since the institution of Jim Bob Cooter as offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, he has transformed his offense from barely watchable to formidable opponent. Their backwards-hat-on-the-sideline-wearing QB Matt Stafford shredded the Colts depleted secondary, amounting a stat line of 340/3TDs with only 8 incompletions on 39 attempts.
Theo Riddick proved to be a true thorn in the sides of the Colts and Colts fans alike, racking up 45 yards on 7 carries and a TD to go along with 5 catches for 63 yards and another score through the air. Seemingly every first down needed down the stretch involved Riddick in some way, as he justified the four year/22 million dollar contract by delivering clutch plays down the stretch.
The true story of this game was the Colts defense, seemingly unable to stop the Lions. Despite a herculean effort from QB Andrew Luck (385/4TDS), the Colts were unable to hold onto a one-point lead with a mere 37 seconds left, as Matt Prater drilled a 43 yard field goal with 4 seconds left to dash the hopes of Colts fans. A safety on the last play sent the Colts to their third straight season opening loss, 39-35. Quite the win probability graph, if I do say so myself.
Denver 21, Carolina 20
Trevor Simian looked passable (pun intended). Pray for Cam Newton and his brain cells.
Green Bay 27, Jacksonville 23
Jacksonville might be good, but Aaron Rodgers is not human.
Baltimore 13, Buffalo 7
A snoozer if you enjoy offensive football; the Bills had less than 200 yards.
Houston 23, Chicago 14
Philadelphia 29, Cleveland 10
Carson Wentz shows promise, RGIII out for the year. Make that death, taxes, Jay Cutler having at least one turnover, and the Browns having QB trouble.
Minnesota 25, Tennessee 16
No Bradford no offense, so defense scores 2 TDs against Mariota.
Cincinnati 23, NY Jets 22
AJ Green sunk Revis Island; Bengals win on last minute FG
Kansas City 33, San Diego 27 (OT)
Keenan Allen saw his season end, Chiefs complete biggest comeback in franchise history
Seattle 12, Miami 10
Nearly ruined sports parlays and eliminator pools around the country; Wilson throws TD pass to Baldwin with under a minute to win
NY Giants 20, Dallas 19
Pittsburgh 38, Washington 16
The Steelers offense is terrifying, and that’s without Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant.
San Francisco 28, Los Angeles 0
What better way to ring in the new move than with a goose egg
Week 2 Picks
Home team in CAPS (All lines as of 9/14)
NY Jets (Even) over BUFFALO
STEELERS (-3.5) over Bengals
Tennessee (+5.5) over DETROIT
Baltimore (-6.5) over CLEVELAND
Dallas (+2.5) over WASHINGTON
New Orleans (+5.5) over NY GIANTS
San Francisco (+13.5) over CAROLINA
NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) over Miami
HOUSTON (-2.5) over Kansas City
Los Angeles (+3.5) over SEATTLE
Tampa Bay (-7) over ARIZONA
Jacksonville (+3) over SAN DIEGO
OAKLAND (-5) over Atlanta
DENVER (-6) over Indianapolis
MINNESOTA (+2.5) over Green Bay
Philadelphia (+3) over Chicago
Last Week: 0-0
All Time: 0-0