NFL WEEK #1 – FIRST IMPRESSIONS
1. The quality of play was surprisingly high. Most offenses looked to be in mid-season form, evidenced by the first 11 games going 7-3-1 to the OVER. Penalties league-wide were down, it seemed, especially false starts and motion penalties. This was a big surprise given the players and coaches had less prep time and no preseason games.
2. Rarely do I write this comment let along think it, but the quality of officiating was also quite good. It seemed that referees "let them play" for the most part, instead of calling tick-tack fouls. I hope this liberal interpretation of the rule continues. It's much more fun watching games with few penalties.
3. The week's five biggest losers, so far, still with two games to go (Monday Night):
1) Philadelphia Eagles -- what a shit show of a team
2) Detroit Lions -- blowing a 23-6 fourth-quarter lead to Mitch Trubisky? Really
3) Minnesota Vikings -- a dismal effort, destroyed in every phase of the game against rival Packers, despite the misleading final score
4) NY Jets -- yeah, they weren't supposed to win, but the way they lost was embarrassing
5) Indianapolis Colts -- didn't shock me, but a loss to Jags, forecast as NFL's worst team mandates the Colts inclusion on this list
4. Hey everybody – quit overreacting to Tom Brady and the Bucs losing a game. They got beat by the best team in the NFC. Lots of teams get romped by the Saints. If fans want to point fingers after the Bucs lose as a favorite, go ahead. But there's no shame in getting beat by New Orleans in the Superdome. Please, stop. It's one damn game, people.
5. I loathe fantasy football. Call it a contest of who can post the best bullshit stats in garbage time. I suppose there's some skill to fantasy sports, but there's something very wrong with a contest that rewards players who roll up big individual numbers in the fourth quarter after their team is splattered all over the scoreboard and losing by double digits. For instance, Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 438 yards. Big deal. His team was losing 31-12 with 10 mins left in the game, then he ran up meaningless numbers in what amounted to a scrimmage. Meanwhile, Drew Brees threw for HALF that number of yards, and his team hammered Tampa Bay. Stats are way overrated.
6. Some gutsy performances:
-- The Washington Redsk....err, uhh, FOOTBALL TEAM....just wow. Not only winning the game, but coming back in a contest that early on looked like it would be a blowout.
-- Mitch Trubisky....I thought this might be his final game when the 4th qtr. started. Surely, the Bears would lose by 20, then he'd be yanked in Week 2 in favor of Nick Foles. Then, Trubisky took a Superman pill and went to a different planet. Credit where it's due.
-- Burrow starting as a rookie for the Bengals won't be a headline right now, but keep an eye on this kid. Showed lots of leadership, especially in clutch situations. Cincinnati should have won the game, and the fact they didn't shouldn't be a disappointment. If Burrow can stay healthy behind a horrid OL, he appears on his way to being an upper echelon QB.
-- Just what the loaded Kansas City needs....another weapon on offense. That rookie RB (Edwards-Helaire) was fabulous in his NFL debut.
-- Arizona.....this offense is for real. Think Hopkins at WR makes a difference? 14 catches today, all in clutch time, against a top defense.
7. I liked having no fans. Perfectly fine with me. The "look" and "sound" of the game seems identical, which should be credited to the NFL. I don't need the gimmick of fake crowd noise to enjoy a game, in fact, I find it annoying. Sounds like old highlight reels. But I can understand why some fans want that. Players probably prefer it, too. Technically speaking, the product looks as good as ever, even with COVID.
8. And speaking of COVID, I saw in someone else's thread that a few thousand NFL players, coaches, and staff had been tested -- and zero positive cases. That's stunning. I don't expect we can stay this lucky for 17 weeks, but whatever has been done up to this point deserves applause. Just, wow!
9. The Jacksonville Jaguars deserve their own thread (probably Washington, too). Jags were down 14-3 and I thought, here we go again. Another stink of a season coming. But you could sense the Jags were still in it.....then they took the lead in the second half and ended up with one of the biggest upsets of the day. Not sure it will last, but for those of us who thought JAX and WASH would be automatic wins on the schedule, think again (Note: I had a losing day, but at least got those two picks correct -- small salvation).
10. My TOP-10 and BOTTOM-5 (three games pending):
1) Kansas City
3) New Orleans
5) Green Bay
32) NY Jets
And one more thought from the Sunday Night game:
Note: All opinions expressed are those of Nolan Dalla. Send complaints and threats to him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Headline Photo Credit: Getty Images