2019 NFL: Week 2
Hopefully, most of you reading this remember the movie “Airplane!” My favorite gag in that comedy classic is when Ted Striker successfully lands the plane in Chicago and a gaggle of reporters at the airport rush out to send their red-hot scoop. They run in unison into a block of pay phones (remember those?) and knock the whole thing over.
The collective football media conjured up that image in my mind after opening weekend. There were so many storylines, so many interesting results that it seemed everyone lost their minds to step in with their takes or their conclusions.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: When everyone is freaking out, try to be the person with a clear head. In fact, I’m going to channel my inner Aaron Rodgers and sum up where we’re at with the NFL.
Remember, it’s just one game
Cowboys fans are really feeling themselves, huh? Man, that sight of Dak Prescott throwing for more than 400 yards and tying a career high with 4 touchdown passes had them throwing their oversized hats in the air and dumping Shiner Bock on their heads. And how about Lamar Jackson helping the Ravens set franchise marks for points and yards in a game while launching 5 dimes of his own?
Easy there, fellas. The Cowboys and Ravens benefitted from facing the Giants and Dolphins. Neither of those teams played defense. In fact, I wouldn’t even call what they did last Sunday football. I’ve seen people at Halloween parties get more quality use out of a uniform.
And that goes for some of the teams that lost their openers. The Browns might not be true Super Bowl contenders, in my opinion, but they’re not the team that got their doors blown off 43-13 against the Titans either. Despite the sting of getting embarrassed at home, they can right the ship with a win over the Jets on Monday night and hopefully burn the Tennessee game tape.
And don’t think I don’t see you, Bears Nation. Your panicky behavior on Thursday night was inexcusable.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Egads, maybe the preseason isn’t all bad?
Rams head coach Sean McVay raised eyebrows when he sat his starters for the entire preseason in 2018. A few teams even followed his example when he did the same thing this year.
And the logic behind such a decision is clear. There’s no sense letting your most valuable players, the ones you’ve invested serious money in or high draft picks on, rip up their knees or get concussed during games that don’t count.
Then I plopped myself down in front of the TV for the first Sunday games, and …
Yeaaaah, maaaaaybe a drive or two in the preseason couldn’t hurt. When the Rams offense played their 2018 regular season opener, they had the advantage of playing a Raiders team that tripped and bungled their way to a 4-12 record. It took just one half before Jared Goff and the offense got on track and ultimately pulled away for a comfortable win.
This year? No such luck. They played a 1 p.m. game on the east coast against the Panthers, who are a real team. And yes, L.A. put up 30 points, but Goff’s timing was off, a Johnny Hekker punt got blocked and the reliable Greg Zuerlein shanked a very makeable field goal.
The Rams weren’t unique. Turns out there was a lot of sloppy football being played all around the league. The Packers offense looked blah in Matt LaFleur’s new offense, while the Eagles, Seahawks and 49ers left a lot on the table despite coming away with wins.
Not saying teams need to go back to the old way of doing things, but perhaps a small amount of action in the second or third preseason game would do wonders, simply for offensive timing. It’s either that or we can just adjust to early season ugliness as the new normal, which is probably for the best.
Leave the rookie alone
Kyler Murray, by all accounts, had a terrible first three quarters of football. He admitted it, and Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury (still can’t believe he’s in the NFL) admitted it, so let’s leave that alone for now.
What’s important is that he found something in the fourth quarter and rallied his team to a tie against the Lions.
What’s also important is that it wouldn’t have really mattered if he hadn’t manufactured a draw. He was making his first NFL start. He needs a minimum of 16 starts before I’ll even consider making a decision on his ability to last in the pros. He’s going to have games where he looks like he did late on Sunday. He’s also going to have outings where you’re going to wonder if he’s ever played the game before.
Most quarterbacks who are forced to play right away will go through this. Murray is no different.
Antonio Br …. yeah, right. I’m not going there
I considered recapping the strangest story to come out of the NFL in quite some time in this space, but why waste the time?
And I have nothing to say about the allegations that broke early this week. There are people much smarter than me in this world who can speak on this. Until then, I’m going to just wait and listen.
Xoxoxo for Tom Brady
I give up. I’ve hated this man for years and I can’t have the negative emotions in my life anymore. He’s broken me.
Ben Roethlisberger was my preseason pick for MVP. And who knows, he still might reach that height in 2019. However, to watch him go to Foxborough and just fall short in every way to Tom Brady was just scintillating. I’ve decided I’m just going to appreciate it. We’ll never see this kind of domination in the NFL ever again.
We’ll never see a man who appears to be playing his best football at 42 years old and looks younger with every passing year. That 33-3 win over the Steelers was a masterpiece and a cannon shot heard around the league.
The Patriots aren’t going anywhere and now they’ve got a suffocating defense to boot. Buckle up folks, because Tom and Bill are going to hoist the Lombardi Trophy again.
So, that was Week 1 in a nutshell. All you had to do was R-E-L-A-X. Hacky? Fine, but sue me. It’s early in the season and I’m also shaking off the rust.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Sam, what happened? The Jets were excited for new head coach Adam Gase to whisper the secrets of quarterbacking to young pupil Sam Darnold. That was until Darnold came down with mononucleosis and is now out indefinitely. How does a grown man get mono? I thought that was something that was confined to the years from kindergarten to 12th grade. There was always that one kid that got it and you didn’t see he or she for a month.
Is that how long Sam will be gone? A month? What a bummer.
Injuries: Again, this is another area where it’s best not to overreact, but the people are falling left and right. The Redskins waited for RB Derrius Guice to make his way back after missing his entire rookie year with an ACL tear suffered in the preseason. He played in the first game and is now out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Meanwhile, Le’Veon Bell just had an MRI on his injured shoulder and fortunately escaped major injury, Nick Foles broke his collarbone, Pat Mahomes sprained his ankle, Eric Weddle had his scalp bloodied, and the Steelers had four key players leave and not return in Sunday night’s loss.
Saints still hurting: A few fans in the Superdome on Monday night sported referee jerseys in a somewhat not-thought-out version of a protest against the officials that screwed them in last season’s NFC Championship game. Meanwhile, the Rams have moved on, as cornerback Aqib Talib said, “That’s a New Orleans problem. It’s not an L.A. problem.”
Well, New Orleans has a chance to get some measure of redemption on Sunday against the Rams in Los Angeles. They won’t have a raucous crowd on their side in this one though.
Settle down, Cheeseheads: Aaron Rodgers asked the crowd at Lambeau Field (via the Athletic) if they would kindly avoid doing the wave when the Packers are on offense. That’s a reasonable request. In fact, why are the fans doing the wave when their team has the ball? Seems inappropriate.
He’ll probably be out there: I refuse to touch the Antonio Brown story with a 10-foot pole, that’s true. But at this point, barring some last-second decision by the NFL, he will be in uniform and will play against the Dolphins on Sunday. That’s going to be uncomfortable. At least we’ll be spared the site of Patriots fans giving Brown a standing ovation since the game is in South Florida.
Do you have DirecTV? According the Pro Football Talk, ESPN is warning its customers with the satellite service that they could lose its channels due to ongoing negotiations. That means you might need to make alternate plans if your team is on “Monday Night Football.” Sports bars on a Monday night are actually pretty fun and they usually will have some kind of drink/food specials.
Look at me shilling for the bar industry … gross.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 2
Vikings at Packers: Two weeks and two classic division matchups for Green Bay. Let’s see if the Packers offense can look the part and if Minnesota will have Kirk Cousins throw the ball more than 10 times.
Patriots at Dolphins: I wonder how bad the score can get before halftime.
Colts at Titans: Indianapolis started slow before turning it on and forcing overtime against the Chargers. The Titans, meanwhile, can make a statement with another strong performance. Maybe they aren’t the team that perpetually finishes 9-7.
Seahawks at Steelers: Seattle has the misfortune of traveling across the country and playing in that dreaded 1 p.m. window. And the Seahawks are going up against the Steelers team that is undoubtedly grouchy after being pantsed on national television.
Cowboys at Redskins: New Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was feted in Texas all week after his promising debut. And it’s true, the Cowboys did look more dynamic. Here’s hoping they keep it up against a Washington team that started strong but couldn’t close in a Week 1 loss.
Chiefs at Raiders: You should watch this one just for the Gruden faces.
Saints at Rams: The rematch is here. It would be amazing if this one came down to a referee’s ruling. Perhaps a pass interference that is eligible to be reviewed.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.