Despite the fact that most of the games didn’t look good on paper, there were still several fascinating storylines to keep our eyes on. Which rookie QB would look the best? Would the Jets make a first down? And if things turned bad for their teams, which of the site’s editors would drink more? Questions were answered, and new ones emerged. Let’s overreact to stuff!
I refuse to do a dumb “Luck” pun
Five rookie quarterbacks started on Sunday, and one of the things that I think a lot of people forgot is that these players did not earn their jobs necessarily because they played better in camp but simply because their teams are looking towards the future. Losing seems a lot more acceptable when you are doing it with a quarterback that you think can win a Super Bowl someday. RG3’s spectacular performance aside, the rookies looked like…well, rookies. That would be a kind way to describe Brandon Weeden’s play, as he looked like a fan who won a “Play Quarterback for the Browns!” radio contest. He finished 12 for 35 with four picks, and managed to get trapped under a flag.
Despite how good Russell Wilson has looked, his mediocre day shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. A majority of the snaps he took in the preseason were against other team’s 2nd and 3rd stringers, and the amount of the time he spent against the ones was still against vanilla defenses. This is not to say that he isn’t going to have a good season, I just think Matt Flynn should have been the guy on opening day. Now before you go thinking “Here’s the Green Bay homer having a boner for Flynn” keep in mind Russell played for the University of Wisconsin so I have a certain fondness for him as well.
No one should be surprised that Tannehill struggled, as your average NFL fan might not be able to name a single one of his receivers at this point. However, I will admit I was a little surprised that Andrew Luck looked so rattled in Chicago. But as I mentioned earlier, the star of the day was Robert Griffin III. It seemed like Shanahan broke into the Baylor facilities and stole some of their playbook. There were a ton of zone read style plays, and wide receiver screens early. As I heard Trent Dilfer say earlier today, and I’m paraphrasing here, I don’t recall ever seeing a pro team adapt to a rookie quarterback’s play style to this extent…ever.
So hey the Jets scored! A lot
As much as I like to stress how unimportant preseason games are, it is always alarming when a team looks as inept offensively as the Jets did. The starters failed to score a touchdown, and the Tebow circus was making the team look more like a punch line than anything else. But much like the Giants always seem to play the exact opposite of people’s expectations, their neighbors share that trait. They hung 48 on the Bills, and did so with a vertical passing game that no one saw coming. As for Tebow? 5 carries for 11 yards. Miss any of those carries? Tune into any ESPN channel to see them all once an hour for the next four days.
NFC Offensive Struggles
If Sunday was your first experience watching NFL football you’d have no idea that Green Bay, Detroit, New Orleans, and Philadelphia are four of the best offensive teams in all of football. The 49er defense held Packers to seven points for almost the entire game, and the Saints offense only mustered ten points through three quarters against the Redskins. Matthew Stafford threw three first half interceptions that almost cost them their opener against the Rams. But maybe the most disconcerting game from an offensive standpoint was the Philadelphia Eagles, who despite having one of the best running backs in all of football found a way to throw the ball over fifty times in a close game. Four of those passes were thrown to the wrong team.
What does it mean? Probably nothing, but it still made for some odd box scores. Which NFC offense turned the most heads in week one? Probably the Chicago Bears, who look like a different team with Brandon Marshall at receiver.
Here’s some thoughts I didn’t want to give their own heading
-It was a good night for Broncos fans in the sense that Peyton Manning’s head didn’t fall off, but not only that…he actually looked like the Peyton of old. A highly competitive AFC West looks a little easier to predict after Sunday.
-While overall the replacement referees haven’t looked horrible, they have made a few unique mistakes. They awarded an extra timeout to the Seahawks, and luckily for the NFL it didn’t end up affecting the outcome of the game. Look on the bright side: there has still been no roughing the passer calls on punt returns!
-Anyone see the slow motion shot of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s reaction to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first quarter? He might want to get checked. For rabies. If you can find a good animated GIF of that, please send it along.
-For a lot of people, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco are forever going to be linked because they were both drafted the same year and started right away. If week one is any indication, they both might be about to take a giant step forward. When asked to comment on this hypothesis, my co-editor Nate lit a Falcons flag on fire and just stared at me while it burned. It was just as creepy as it sounds.
What were your thoughts on week one? Let us know in the comments section.