Raise your hand if you though that Steelers @ Browns would have the lowest point differential of all the games through Sunday in week one. Bueller? Bueller? Huh, seems like none of you. Yes, with a final score of 21-18, Steelers/Browns was the closest game by number in week one. Week one was pretty tame, especially on Sunday. Even though there were some surprising results, there were no real upsets (despite a good effort by Chicago). In the end, I was just happy to have football back in my life.
Where Dallas and Green Bay may be getting the top of the hour attention in most NFL media outlets I want to go where the most excitement was, and it’s only fitting that it’s in our nation’s capital. It turns out if there’s smoke there’s fire, and that the controversy in D.C. extends from the White House to the gridiron. Let me set the scene: It’s Washington ball down 5 who has 2 & 3 with 1:39 left in the game. Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Redskins have been shooting themselves in the foot all game, but with a touchdown drive they can make that all go away and pick up a huge win against a division rival in week one. Cousins takes the snap, looks left, then comes back to his check-down Chris Thompson. He begins to throw, but the ball is smacked out of his hands by Brandon Graham on the release and is picked up by Fletcher Cox who takes it in for the nail-in-the-coffin touchdown. As all scoring plays are, this is under review, and there’s a real question as to whether the ball has been released before Graham gets a hand on it, which would make it a pass deflection and 3&3 rather than a TD and game over. In fact, it seems obvious that it was a pass and that this will be overturned, take a look for yourself.
This is clear and conclusive evidence that it was not a fumble. Mike Pereira said as much on the broadcast, yet shockingly the referees stayed with the call on the field. This was inexcusable, and frankly a disgusting look for NFL refs. They get a lot of lee-way for not seeing things correctly in real time which I will afford them. Their job is hard. Their job is not hard, however, when they get to look at a play from 20 camera angles at a bajillion frames per second to decide a play. To put it nicely, they botched it, all while robbing us of seeing a captain Kirk comeback in Landover.
Oh, you thought that the refs’ day was over? Wrong. In the first quarter of a 0-0 game, Aaron Rodgers throws a pick into the lap of rookie DT Nazair Jones, who returns it 60 yards to the house. It’s called back due to penalty on a block in the back by Cliff Avril. The penalty was the wrong call at best. You can watch the play here. In a game that featured minimal offense, this play would’ve been huge. Instead the Seahawks got the ball on their own 50 and didn’t score. Avril called it part of the “Michael Jordan rules” on Rodgers. I couldn’t agree more.
I wouldn’t go as far to say Seattle would have won if it weren’t for the call, because they struggled mightily. It’s almost if starting Rees Odhiambo and Luke Joeckel on the left side of your offensive line isn’t a good idea. Imagine that. I’d be feeling pretty good about my pick of them not making the playoffs if it weren’t for the Cardinals looking like sparrows in Detroit. Seattle may just make the playoffs by default, but not if Boy King and Sean McVay have something to say about it.
Ok, ok. I’ll pump the brakes on the Rams, but it’s undeniable that this was an impressive week one even if the opponent was the Colts. 46-9 wins don’t grow on trees, all while the Rams were missing their best player in Aaron Donald, who reported on Saturday. Without Luck, I think I’d pick 31 other teams on any given Sunday to beat the Colts.
In some AFC news, Oakland and Derek Carr haven’t skipped a beat. I picked Tennessee to win, but I’m by no means surprised Oakland won. The Titans are young and weren’t quite ready to beat a team of that caliber yet. I still like them to win the AFC South, despite whatever you may have think you saw in Houston today.
Lastly, Go Lions. Kenny Golladay is everything Ochocinco advertised and has that #EndzoneClout. I’d venture to say that the Detroit Lions have found their Anquan Boldin red-zone replacement. A nice resilient win in the new unis today at Ford Field. Let’s bring the Baller/Faller/Holler BackJudge trademark segment to written word.
Giorgio Tavecchio-K-Oakland Raiders
Get yourself a game ball kid, all while forcing Sebastian Janikowski to put some respect on your name. The Raiders have seemingly found their next south-paw banger in Tavecchio, who became the first kicker in NFL history to make two 50+ yard field goals in a debut. His 4/4 day proved to be the difference in a 26-16 win.
Kenny Golladay-WR-Detroit Lions
The third-round pick proved he was more than a preseason player. Golladay was the Lions trump card in their win over Arizona scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the 4th quarter. He wasn’t done yet, and proceeded to put the Cardinals to bed with a 46-yard full extension touchdown reception. He seems like a good one.
Tarik Cohen-RB-Chicago Bears
Another preseason guy who proved he could get it done in a real game. Cohen totaled more than 100 yards and also had a 19-yard touchdown catch. Where the Bears have nothing in the way of receivers, they have a backfield duo with Cohen and Howard that may just be the best in the NFL.
Eli Manning, Tom Savage, Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Scott Tolzien, and Brian Hoyer all sucked on Sunday. Altogether, the 6 QBs combined for 1,069 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 10 interceptions, and 2 benchings. That’s bad. Manning, Dalton, and Palmer will be starters for the remainder of the season, but their teams have serious long-term QB questions.
Bobby Hart, RT, Giants
Just two days removed from saying he was the “best right tackle in the league”,Hart was awful. He couldn’t handle DeMarcus Lawrence tonight, who I mean no disrespect to, but isn’t any more than an average defensive end. You’ll find plenty better ones in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, and Ryan Kerrigan in your own division. Good luck.
The Seahawks may not know how to draft an o-lineman, but they sure do know how to draft defensive backs. Griffin is a 3rd round pick from UCF who has legit 4.3 speed. He did a nice job today on the many talented Packer pass catchers.
Monday Night DH Preview
I like the Saints to steal one on the road from Minnesota. I’m greatly looking forward to the matchup of what I believe to be a top 5 NFL offense verse a top 5 NFL defense. Plus, AP is back in enemy colors. What’s not to love?
I like the Chargers in a substantial win over Denver. This is the Chargers’ year, and Philly Riv and the Riversmobile will be ready to go.
NOLA 38 MIN 13
LAC 27 DEN 13