10 Things We Know After 1 Week of NFL Football
It happens at the beginning of just about every major sports season, you’re a week or so in and already there are doomsayers burying certain teams and players while others are prepared to hand out championships and MVPs. It’s kind of fun actually, like watching Jets and Eagles fans at the annual NFL draft. In any event, we’ve got one week of NFL action in the books. And while there were no shortage of surprising results and impressive individual performances, it’s a little too early for absolutes… except, of course, for these 10 things.
1) So Suh Me. In case there were any doubt left as to who the dirtiest player in the league is, on Sunday Ndamukong Suh cemented his status as the league’s number one cheap-shot artist when he threw is ample frame at Minnesota Vikings' starting center John Sullivan’s knees from behind on a Detroit interception return. Making this transgression even worse was that it was well behind the play. Suh claimed innocence (as always) but the league fined him 100k anyway. One gets the sense that no amount of penalties, fines, or suspensions will put an end to this. Clearly Suh won’t be happy until he drinks the blood of some maimed quarterback at midfield on Thanksgiving Day.
2) In Todd We Don’t Trust. After watching the Pittsburgh Steelers suffer one of their most putrid home losses in ages, it’s hard not to look in the direction of Offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Sure the Steelers lost Mike Wallace in free agency and have starting-running-back-in-waiting Le’Veon Bell out indefinitely with a Lisfranc sprain in his foot, as well as numerous o-line issues, but that still can’t excuse this awful offensive performance (one desperate late touchdown). Everyone knows that Ben Roethlisberger has been miserable since Haley arrived. When’s the last time a team dumped a franchise QB in favor of a coordinator?
3) Oh Danny Boy. Danny Amendola had a pretty darn good game for New England this past Sunday in Buffalo catching 10 passes for 104 yards despite a groin injury that will most likely keep him out of Thursday’s game against the Jets. Unfortunately for Amendola, and the Patriots, this is almost definitely not a one-time deal. Though we’re pulling for him, expect Amendola to miss multiple games this year, as has been his history. More on the Pats in a bit.
4) Clowney Watch. Again, it’s only one game into the season but it’s hard to imagine any team looking worse this year than the Jacksonville Jaguars did at home against Kansas City. You would think that Len Dawson was quarterbacking the Chiefs the way they dismantled the Jags. How do you only score two points? At home? Against KC? With week two upon us, I don’t think it’s too early to say that if Oakland beats the holy hell out of Jacksonville this Sunday we can declare the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes over.
5) Big D? Not for nothing, but those who predicted that this is the year that the Cowboys would put it all together and ride off with the NFC East may want to hold that thought. Sure, they finally beat the New York Giants in Texas, but it took all of Big Blue’s six turnovers to do it. In fact, before Eli Manning threw that final pick-six the Giants had a very good chance to win it. When Manning and Co. weren’t playing Santa Claus with the ball they were throwing all over the Cowboys to the tune of 450 passing yards. The defense looked as bad as it did the last couple of years under Rob Ryan (can you imagine being under Rob Ryan?), if not worse.
6) It’s Official. Even the regular referees and linesmen make mistakes sometimes. There were several gaffes by the zebras this past Sunday, most notably in the Packers/49ers game. It’s safe to say that if these were the replacement refs, players and fans alike would be calling for their heads.
7) Fitz Alive! To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of Larry Fitzgerald’s career death are greatly exaggerated. Poor Fitzgerald has been toiling with third-rate (if even that) quarterbacks in Arizona ever since Kurt Warner’s retirement. He caught only four touchdowns all of last year, a number which is a miracle given the ragtag arms (attempting) to throw him the ball. This week Carson Palmer, far removed from his short-lived heyday, hit Fitzy eight times including two touchdowns. The Cards still dropped a close one, but it’s clear that Fitzgerald has plenty left in the tank.
8) Seventh Heaven. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that Peyton Manning does not pass for seven touchdowns in another game this season. Four? Sure. Five? Yeah, probably. Six? Mmm… maybe. The point is, he carved up the Ravens D pretty good and still plays six games in one of the worst divisions in football. So a lot of touchdowns this year for Peyton? Yes. Another seven in one game? Nah. Speaking of great quarterbacks…
9) Brady’s Bunch. Tom Brady somehow managed to pull out a game against the Bills on Sunday throwing the ball to a bunch of #3 and #4 receivers and safety valves. It was yet another gutsy performance for Brady but, make no mistake, he needs Rob Gronkowski back in the worst way. Gone are the days when Brady could rely on guys like Reche Caldwell, David Givens, and Troy Brown. That just ain’t gonna cut it in today’s NFL. Brady needs a go-to target (even if he’s not going to him) and Gronkowski is it.
10) Chip of the Iceberg. Chip Kelly’s blur offense will either kill opposing defenses, his own offense, or his own defense. Quite possibly it will do all three.
Tune in next Sunday to see if the Manning brothers can throw for a combined 1,000 yards or whether the dog-tired Redskins or Packers even bother to show up for their game.