I was pleased to see, as time wound down in the first half of the Jaguars-Panthers game, that second-year QB Blake Bortles gamely led his team to what should have been a game-tying touchdown. But then their rookie kicker missed the new, more difficult, extra point. I guess the “automatic” nature of the old extra point was just ruining every game, as you will no doubt recall.
Remember how games were getting decided by last-second clutch field goals, or two-minute touchdown drives. And never by missed extra points. What the hell, man?!
Thank goodness that now it will be relatively routine to see a game where the touchdowns and field goals are nullified because some poor schlub missed a 22-yard kick for the extra point. Way to go, NFL. Way to solve that terrible problem of games being decided by field goals and touchdowns but not extra points. You sure showed us. Pardon me, now, I have to go throw up. A lot.
This Week’s Sucked And Won:
Broncos offensive line: Denver’s strategy this season is to keep Peyton Manning healthy? Lots of luck. The Broncos surrendered four sacks and their ball carriers averaged less than three yards per carry.
Jameis Winston tied an ignominious record in his NFL debut, becoming only the second quarterback to throw a pick-six in his very first passing attempt. Whose record did he tie? None other than Brett Favre.
Shocking realization of the week:
In the Ravens and Broncos game, each team’s longest play of the day was made on defense. Broncos defender Aqib Talib returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, likewise, returned an interception 24 yards for a score. Neither team produced longer plays than these on offense.
It’s hard to remember an NFL opening day when hardly any rookies made a big splash. Marcus Mariota had impressive numbers, but it was, after all, against crappy Tampa Bay. Running backs Melvin Gordon and T.J. Yeldon both played capably but produced unspectacular results.
This Week’s Great But Lost:
Antonio Brown: 9 catches, 133 yards, one touchdown. Yeah, the Patriots don’t miss Darrelle Revis… much.
On the flip side of my observation about rookies, there was also no shortage of veteran players who joined new teams and promptly looked quite ordinary. The Colts got little out of Frank Gore and Andre Johnson and the Eagles got even less than that from DeMarco Murray. Jeremy Maclin was only average for the Chiefs, as was Michael Crabtree for the Raiders. This just wasn’t a big day for new faces, either young or old.
Thursday Pick: Denver (+3) @Kansas City (Westgate Superbook)
Anyone watching the Chiefs this past Sunday had to be impressed with the team both on offense and defense. But the Denver Broncos were impressive in a different way.
First off, their defense played ferociously, shutting down a Ravens offense that is a hell of a lot better than the Texans team the Chiefs faced. Second, and more significantly, the Broncos showed a genuine commitment to running the ball, controlling the game, and limiting Peyton Manning’s passing attempts in order to keep him (hopefully) healthy and relatively fresh at the end of the season.
Bottom line, this is a divisional rivalry game that the Broncos have owned since Peyton Manning got to town. Nothing I saw on Sunday is going to have me go against that overwhelming trend.
Denver Broncos 26, Kansas City Chiefs 21
“We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets.”
– Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, complaining about the routinely poor quality of the communications system at Foxboro.
“As a number one receiver you have to make number one plays and I didn’t.”
– Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith, stepping up after a tough loss to Denver.
“Sometimes when you are really good, you are a hair from disaster.”
– Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, making absolutely no sense at all and showing that coaching the Lions has now officially caused him to lose his mind.
“It’s my fault at the end of the game. There is nobody else to blame but me. The decision to throw the ball there on third down was not a good decision. It should have been a run, whether we scored or not.”
– Giants coach Tom Coughlin, accepting responsibility for bad decision-making in the closing minutes of the loss to Dallas.
“It’s on me right there, that’s clock management. Obviously just take the sack, take the 40 seconds off the clock. Give them less time. That’s 100% on me, can’t afford to throw it away. Got to sit in there and take the sack.”
– Giants QB Eli Manning, accepting responsibility for bad decision making in the closing minutes of the loss to Dallas.
“I don’t even know if those plays were legal. I haven’t seen that block before.”
– Dolphins DT C.J. Mosley, questioning Washington’s heavy use of cut-blocks in Sunday’s game again Miami.
“We have a coordinator who finally trusts us to run. Something about this staff, no matter what the score, we are going to fight and fight and fight.”
– Bears OG Matt Slauson, on Chicago sticking with the run successfully for an entire game, despite it being in a losing effort.
“That’s what winning football is.”
– Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, correctly assessing the importance of offensive line play.