I think I enjoyed week one more than usual this NFL season since the Eagles got their W out of the way early.
It’s kind of like March Madness, when your school plays that 12:15 p.m. Thursday game and you go out and take care of business. That leaves you with the entirety of Thursday night and Friday to just watch and enjoy the rest of the games without worrying if your team is gonna blow a 5/12 matchup with Stephen F. Austin or some other Southland Conference powerhouse.
Sunday really was about taking stock of the rest of the competition, and there was some good and some bad for the Birds.
1) The Bucs.. are for real?
I did not see Ryan Fitzpatrick walking into the Superdome and putting up five touchdowns, four of which he tossed and another that he ran into the end zone.
I also did not see DeSean Jackson going for 146 on five receptions and I didn’t see the Bucs returning a fumble for a touchdown.
They looked good, really good on the offensive side of the ball. Peyton Barber appears to be serviceable as a runner. DeSean turned back the clock and Mike Evans looked like Mike Evans. Chris Godwin, the 2nd year Penn State receiver, also found the end zone.
What did not look great was the defense, which gave up 40 points and 475 yards despite finishing with a +2 turnover margin and winning the time of possession battle 32 to 28 minutes. It was a 48-24 game with 12 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter that ultimately finished 48-40.
I think the Eagles can move the ball against that defense much easier than what we saw against the Falcons, and I also don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick is doing what he did this week against Jim Schwartz’s unit.
Plus, the Saints have had some pretty poor starts these past few seasons. They were 0-2 to begin last year and went to the playoffs, so I’m not surprised to see them come out of gates looking sloppy. I give a lot of credit to Tampa Bay but wouldn’t be biting my nails off if I’m an Eagles fan thinking about week two.
2) How ’bout them Cowboys?
How ’bout ’em?
They looked like poop.
As predicted, they have next to nothing at the receiver position.
This is how they finished up in their 16-8 loss at Carolina:
Swaim and Jarwin are the tight ends, and I’m not sure either is good enough to be an NFL starter. There’s little to work with on the outside and no real deep threat, nobody to stretch the field or go up and grab a contested ball. Beasley is a nice possession receiver in the slot, but he can’t be your main guy in the receiving corps.
So it’s not about Dak Prescott, not for me. I don’t know who he’s supposed to throw the ball to. Carolina has a good run defense but features a bottom-half NFL secondary, so Jerry Jones’ guys should have been able to throw for more than 170 yards in this game. They couldn’t, which allowed the Panthers to focus on stopping Zeke Elliott, who ran for 69 yards on 15 carries and found the end zone in the 4th quarter.
New kicker Brett Maher also missed a field goal, so it looks like the decision to move on from Dan Bailey was dumb.
Here is a “real fact” for you from Dez Bryant, who trolled the Cowboys on Twitter after the loss:
Real fact https://t.co/VEydUUZ6bO
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) September 9, 2018
3) New York football Giants
Saquon looks good, but nabbed 68 of his 106 yards on a single run.
Take away that big 4th quarter touchdown and he ran it 17 times for 38 yards, which I’d say is a result of the Jags’ superior defensive line going up against the Giants’ not great offensive line. That run really looked like something from his Penn State days, where he didn’t get great blocks but pulled off a couple of Barry Sanders-esque moves and made something out of nothing.
New York had a chance to win this game but just came up short on too many drives. They couldn’t get the ball in the end zone until the Barkley run and settled for 4 field goals instead. Eli Manning went 23/37 with a customary late-game interception. The Jacksonville D sacked him twice and put up eight tackles for loss while also stopping a two-point conversion.
The defense looked decent enough on a rainy and crappy day against a Blake Bortles-led offense that lost Leonard Fournette to a hamstring injury. Odell Beckham Jr. looked like his old self as he reeled in 11 catches for 111 yards and got a pair of interference penalties to go his way.
Some positives for the Giants despite losing at home to a better team. I just don’t know if Saquon is going to be wasted running behind that line and I don’t know how much Eli has left in the tank. The Eagles’ defensive line should feast against that offensive unit, unless Eli comes out dinking and dunking like he did last year.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) September 9, 2018
Yes, Adrian Peterson.
26 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown. And Chris Thompson looked healthy while putting up 128 all purpose yards and a receiving touchdown.
The Redskins looked more like the 2001 Rams en route to a 429 yard outburst in Arizona. They logged 30 first downs and really put the game away early. The Cardinals were hardly even in it.
Alex Smith looked great. In the first half alone he went 17 for 20 for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He’s just so efficient when he’s on his game, and yeah he’s checking down and throwing swing passes, but when you have skill guys around you who know how to play, then that’s all you really need to do in week one.
Here’s his passing chart from week one, where you can see he completed 5 of his 21 attempts at or behind the LOS and only tried two passes beyond 10 yards:
Peterson, Thompson, and tight end Jordan Reed caught 12 of Smith’s 21 competions. Jamison Crowder grabbed three balls and Paul Richardson four. I don’t know how much of a vertical threat this offense is, but we’ll find out well before the Eagles and Redskins meet for the first time in week 13.
5) You like that?
Good debut for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, who went 20-36 for 244 yards and two touchdowns.
Hard to throw a pass better than this one:
Kirk Cousins with his first TD as a member of the Minnesota Vikings pic.twitter.com/BYrfXJMSsr
— No Huddle NFL (@NoHuddle_NFL) September 9, 2018
Cousins didn’t turn the ball over while Jimmy Garoppolo threw three interceptions in the Niners’ 24-16 loss, which did not feel like a one-score game to me. The Vikings defense forced four turnovers on the afternoon.
Cousins is poised and he isn’t gonna get rattled. But we know he’s not a world beater, and I don’t know if that offense has the horses to keep up with a full strength Philly if Carson Wentz is ready to go by week five when the Vikings come to town. Even if Wentz is still out by then, you’re looking at a more comfortable Nick Foles with Alshon Jeffery back in the fold and a hungry Eagles defense playing Minnesota at home again, so while it’s going to be a challenge, I think we all know who the better team is.
6) Frank Reich’s team
The Colts come here in week three without much of a running game and look reliant on Andrew Luck to carry the load.
He ended up throwing the ball 53 times while the combo of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines could only run it for 59 yards on 19 carries. Marlon Mack should be healthy by the time the Eagles and Colts square off.
Indy had a 4th quarter lead and shipped 17 points to the Bengals, with a late drive turned upside down by an 83 yard fumble return as the Colts were moving into the red zone. They were up 23-10 and couldn’t close it out.
7) Delay of game
The Titans/Dolphins matchup was the longest game since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger.
Delays for lightning lasted a total of 3 hours, 59 minutes, and the game took 7 hours, 10 minutes to play. The previous longest game since 1970 was a Bears overtime victory against the Ravens in 2013 that took 5 hours, 16 minutes.
Of note to Eagles fans, who will watch the Birds play in Nashville in week four:
- Marcus Mariota threw two picks and came out of the game with an elbow injury
- tight end Delanie Walker and tackle Taylor Lewan also both went out injured
- Dion Lewis got the bulk of the carries, 16 compared to 10 for Derrick Henry
Here’s the Mariota injury:
Mariota injured on this DIRTY play by Williams Hayes. He had the ball out for more than a second and Hayes didn’t hold up pic.twitter.com/DetOOREOTz
— Abdul Memon (@abdulamemon) September 9, 2018
Miserable start for Mike Vrabel.
8) Pat Mahomes
Gotta be honest:
I thought Mahomes was going to be another Big 12 system quarterback that turned into an NFL flop.
He just never really impressed me at Texas Tech and I was highly skeptical of the Andy Reid match, but he looked phenomenal yesterday, throwing for 256 and four touchdowns on only 15 completed passes. Obviously having Tyreek Hill as a YAC monster is going to make any quarterback look good, but he made some wonderful throws yesterday, like this one:
Dime after Dime from Patrick Mahomes!
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 9, 2018
9) The Browns
Undefeated this season. They turned a +5 turnover margin into a 21-21 tie.
Shame on the Steelers for playing Cleveland to a draw. Only pansy ass soccer teams play to a draw.
10) The Nathan Peterman era
I’m sorry, Bills nation.
I don’t know what to say. If there’s any silver lining, at least the Nathan Peterman era is over and you can get on with Josh Allen instead of having to suffer through two or three more losses before the inevitable takes place.
- Brady and Gronk looked good. The 27-20 scoreline doesn’t tell the story of that Patriots/Texans game
- Green Bay? Shrug. I don’t know what else there is to say about Aaron Rodgers.
- We all should have put James Conner on our fantasy teams.
- Denver did a nice job against Russell Wilson. I don’t think Seattle is going to be much of a threat in the NFC.
That’s about it, happy Monday