Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 1 Open Game Discussion

Dallas Cowboys DB Jourdan Lewis
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Somehow, someway, there is going to be an NFL season of some sort. Use this thread to discuss all the action of Week 1 -- the Houston-Kansas City opener on Thursday night; the Cowboys' visit to L.A. and the Rams on Sunday night; the Monday night doubleheader of Steelers-Giants and Titans-Broncos; and all the rest of the action. 

Comments

194 comments, Last at 16 Sep 2020, 11:04am

2 It seems like the media is…

It seems like the media is big on pushing DeShaun Watson and Mahomes as being a major QB rivalry, which I don't really understand. Maomes is simply far ahead of Watson. DVOA isn't a perfect assessment of QB performance but Watson hasn't even been in the top 10 the past two seasons. Lamar Jackson and Mahomes as rivals makes a lot more sense.

3 Big miss on the overturned…

Big miss on the overturned TD! Ball was about a yard underthrown, otherwise the DB wouldn't have been able to make a play on it. 7-point swing, plus the bad touchback on the punt.

5 I thought it was good…

I thought it was good coverage personally. It wasn't the perfect throw, but it was good enough. I think both offense and defense deserve credit on plays like that. The NFL isn't always a 0 sum game. 

8 Yeah, more of a good play by…

Yeah, more of a good play by the D than an error from Mahomes. Not a huge gaffe to miss a 50-yard throw by a few feet. Still, it made a difference... and MVPs have higher standards!

4 Texans matriculating down…

Texans matriculating down the field nicely. A lot of YAC on short passes. Good to have the terrible KC run defense back again.

10 An underplayed angle for the…

An underplayed angle for the Chiefs - they get so much mileage out of screen and smoke routes. Andy Reid wizardry at its finest.

11 On one hand, seeing all…

On one hand, seeing all these damn masks on the sidelines and stands is aggravating. 

On the other, I'm going to be intrigued by the fog-level of Andy Reid's shield all night. That's gotta drive him crazy eventually, right?

16 The shield is a weird choice…

The shield is a weird choice. I figured all the play callers would favor the mask, seeing as it disguised what you’re saying.

The shield is transparent, so it still shows what you’re saying, plus it fogs up. I don’t get it.

18 Everyone keeps blathering…

Everyone keeps blathering about BOB's 4th down decision. I think its a closer decision than people make it out to be. However, the major story line(as it should have been in their playoff loss) is that the defense for the Texans is getting gored to death once again! I mean, why isn't the focus on the fact that BOB did nothing to help his defense at all.

 

Maybe its cuz people are acting like its just a given that defenses will die at the feet of the Chiefs, but 49ers shut them down. You can beat this offense. 

20 Given how well Houston was…

Given how well Houston was moving the ball, and how they're 9.5 point underdogs, I think it was a bad call to punt.

But when your opponent scores every time they touch the ball, without even needing to throw past the line of scrimmage, it doesn't really matter what your offense does.

23 Mahomes is not playing well

Whatever the stats say, Mahomes has had a bunch of plays where he just throws it to no one. Houston could easily have a couple interceptions in this game. I'm guess on some of those are WR making the wrong move, but not used to seeing him do that stuff very often..

Luckily, HOU seems even more out of sorts than KC tonight.

 

24 Mahomes had a down game, relatively to him,

And he was still great, the defense made plays and the run game moved the ball. Oh and Reid is still a wonderful play caller. Turns out the Chiefs aren't done yet.

29 Fantasy starter decision

Hey guys I have a tough fantasy decision this week, It’s a standard 1 point ppr league and I’ve got to pick one of these 5 guys to start this week it’s either Antonio Gibson Vs philly, Jonathan Taylor or Paris Campbell both vs Jacksonville, aj green vs the chargers, jerry jeudy vs the titans. I was locked on Gibson all week but seeing him listed as 2 on the depth chart is making me second guess, I’m worried about Taylor’s workload he’s gonna get and the other guys all have question marks too so I’m really torn here, who would you guys go with and why?  

32 That is a tough decision, no…

That is a tough decision, no doubt about it. I think I would go Taylor bc workload concerns aside the Colts might go up big and even if they don't he should get 10 carries or so against what is likely to be a bad D. But I could also see going with Gibson (Rivera isn't gonna give all the carries to JD McKissic) or Green (but Burrow is a source of uncertainty, and the Chargers DBs are solid). Jeudy and Campbell are basically complete unknowns at this point.

33 Predictions: Falcons 31…

Predictions:

Falcons 31 Seahawks 27

Packers 27 Vikings 14

Ravens 23 Browns 20

Patriots 28 Dolphins 10

Lions 23 Bears 21

Eagles 17 Redskins 16

Raiders 34 Panthers 30

Bills 29 Jets 20

Colts 44 Jaguars 7

Bucs 27 Saints 24

49ers 21 Cardinals 20

Chargers 31 Bengals 21

Cowboys 30 Rams 27

Steelers 26 Giants 20

Titans 20 Broncos 17

34 It's time for a new season…

It's time for a new season of FO gameday chat! Join a star-studded cast of your favorite FO posters as we say smart, analytic and totally backed by data things about the football games...in real time!

We use the now-ubiquitous discord, so just hit the link: https://discord.gg/GRsRs7

Please note that it'll probably take a few minutes for one of our admins to matriculate you into the chat

36 CBS Sports' online…

CBS Sports' online scoreboard displays team nicknames instead of the locale they are from. That means that for Washington it literally just say 'Football Team.' Hilarious.

37 Washington FC

Why not go with something like Washington Football Club long-term?  Go European-style, Washington FC, I kinda like it.

38 It's incredibly generic and…

In reply to by Mike Y

It's incredibly generic and boring. Right now they are like a team created in a video game but the player just decided to leave everything on the default settings. The logo is just a big yellow W. I think it's hilarious and would like for it to stay permanently, but that's just because I think stupid things are amusing.

 

Not to mention a European soccer-style name doesn't exactly fit in with the culture of American football.

42 Washington

European Soccer club names dull / generic?  I rather like Wolverhampton Wanderers and Queen of the South - more imaginative than the usual NFL template of "City + animal". 

Personally though, I think South American or African clubs are what Washington should look to for inspiration.  I want a DC version of Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarves, Hearts of Oak, The Strongest, Anti Drugs Strikers, or Meat Commission!  That said, I think borrowing from the now defunct South African team, Dangerous Darkies might not end well!

45 You've picked out a few…

In reply to by moose

You've picked out a few interesting examples which aren't typical. Most soccer teams are just named after the city they are from, sometimes with FC, SC, or United thrown in. Wolverhampton Wanderers basically follows the template of the North American sports teams' names.

143 Ironically the Wolverhampton…

In reply to by moose

Ironically the Wolverhampton Wanderers are universally known as Wolves. Even their logo is a wolf!

P.S. their winger Adama Traore could probably be an all-pro running back or safety if he wanted to, the dude is ripped 

40 Talkin bout my generation

Nextgen stats just ran a commercial with the Chambers Brothers “Time Has Come Today” as the theme/background music. It’s a great song and the lyrics are a reasonable fit, but the song is a quintessential baby boomer tune, released in 1967.   struck me as an odd choice for a ‘next generation’ company. 

44 The Colts kicker is rocking…

The Colts kicker is rocking the Eric Dickerson sports goggles, but he looks more like Wierd Al Yankovic.

46 The early returns on the new…

The early returns on the new look Patriots offense are not great. They have just 7 points despite two picks from Fitzpatrick at the half. It's hard to be a great offense if you are genuinely run first as the Patriots have so far been.

47 What does everyone think of…

What does everyone think of the piped in crowd noise so far?  I think it makes things more wierd, not loss.  It’s often incongruous and mistimed with what’s actually going on.

57 Virtual fans

They (briefly) tried the same in the Spain with La Liga.  Beforehand, they were boasting about how sophisticated the computerised crowd recreation graphics would be.  Unfortunately the result resembled a 90s version of Fifa / ProEvo, with an added "floatiness" that made me suspect I'd accidentally imbided magic mushrooms. 

Re artificial sound - I'm against it in principle but tend to opt for it in practice (UK soccer coverage gives you the choice of "natural" / ambient or artificial).  I regard it as white noise to take away the eerieness of an empy stadium.  Also, if the UK andGerman football leagues are any guide the sound mixers will get better at matching the noise to the action.

58 Virtual fans

They (briefly) tried the same in the Spain with La Liga.  Beforehand, they were boasting about how sophisticated the computerised crowd recreation graphics would be.  Unfortunately the result resembled a 90s version of Fifa / ProEvo, with an added "floatiness" that made me suspect I'd accidentally imbided magic mushrooms. 

Re artificial sound - I'm against it in principle but tend to opt for it in practice (UK soccer coverage gives you the choice of "natural" / ambient or artificial).  I regard it as white noise to take away the eerieness of an empy stadium.  Also, if the UK andGerman football leagues are any guide the sound mixers will get better at matching the noise to the action.

59 The NBA has that, and yeah,…

The NBA has that, and yeah, it's really jarring when the camera angle changes and suddenly it's obviously a 2D screen.

One of the virtual fans got ejected the other day. In a way I'm almost impressed.

48 Good god, how has Kirk…

Good god, how has Kirk Cousins only attempted 4 passes in a game where the Vikings are trailing by 15 points at halftime?!

51 Well, the Patriots offense…

Well, the Patriots offense has looked much, much better in this second half. They march down the field easily on consecutive drives that take up almost the entire third quarter. However, the second drive ends with the dreaded fumble through the endzone play, meaning this game isn't quite over yet.

102 I think a lot of people are…

I think a lot of people are forgetting how bad the Patriots offense was the 2nd half of the year as teams adjusted to Brady's decline.  

 

 

If today is everything we get out of the offense, and the defense is anywhere near as good as last year - this team is going to be pretty good. 

115 Agreed

A healthy o-line made a real difference. Miami invested a lot of money on D and the Pats still moved the ball pretty easily. The big issue is going to be the receiving corps. Even with Newton keeping more defenders in the box, receivers didn't do much to impress (with Harry's TD giveaway the upside down exclamation point). Having a 35 year-old Edelman as their best reciever is not heartening. Pats fans have to hope that the rookie TE's and/or Damien Harris can shine. At this point, it's hard to see Michel as anything more than a JAG.

Just having Newton operate without any visible limitations was a big win. His legs looked good and so did his arm. Considering how late he came to the team and how short the training camp was, they kept things pretty familiar for him. I imagine McD and Belichick will show more exotic stuff as the season develops (and try to preserve him a little better). It's hard to believe that another team wouldn't have been better with Newton over whatever they're running out there as QB. Could be another Belichick coup although his 'genius' sometimes is simply a matter of not giving in to the herd mentality of so many other organizations.

Tough to draw many conclusions about the D from the first week. Fitzpatrick is going to Fitzpat. That said, I thought FO's rating of the Pats D at 17 or so was overly negative, even with all the Covid dropouts. Chung and Hightower were real losses but they're also getting up there and the Pats have been drafting for defense.

 

154 Fool's Gold.

In reply to by RobotBoy

Definitely not sold on the Patriots at all.  The Dolphins are a bad team, still rebuilding.

Belichick found a way to scheme himself to a victory, but it was ugly and Cam Newton running around is exactly how he's been injured the last few years.

When they play good teams, I fully expect them to get exposed.  They have even less talent now than last year and a mobile QB who is past his prime isn't going to cover for that.  If anything, I expect teams to gear up for the run even more as the season goes along.

I tuned in for a few minutes and was not impressed or entertained by this version of the Pats.  At best a .500 team in a division that will be gift-wrapped for the Bills.

 

122 Agree

This is right on two levels - both how bad the Pats offense was and how relatively unimportant Hightower has become to that defense. They clearly still have some issues on offense, but today was clearly a better offense than took the field last December.

129 I think its really hard to…

In reply to by sbond101

I think its really hard to understate how much slower Brady's decision making was last year, and how uncharacteristically he was locking on to one receiver. 

 

There was supposedly some stuff going on and he was really unhappy - so maybe he just got a little unprofessional and it wasn't father time, but I'd be surprised.  He really wasn't a good QB.

 

The line and receivers took a lot of flack - but the line was healthy most of the second half, and he wasn't even looking at anyone but Edelman and white on most plays - and as soon as teams started doubling them, it was over. 

 

I'm not a huge fan of Newton - but if he's as healthy as he looked today, he's a much better QB than Brady was last year. And he's got much better coaching than he's ever had, and a team that will absolutely rearrange themselves to suit his talents. 

 

 

54 Tuned into GB-MIN just in…

Tuned into GB-MIN just in time to see Kirk Cousins pick up 30 yards on the ground - some things change, it seems.

Then after a rather perplexing turnover-on-downs, MVS alligator-arms the most perfectly thrown deep ball you'll ever see - but some things stay the same.

Although he redeems himself with a nice grab on a Rodgers special to take them to the goal line. A couple of plays later it's 29-10 Packers. I'm kind of shocked - if anything, I would've predicted the opposite. I wonder if the Vikes are missing the crowd - that's usually their biggest home field advantage, especially against Green Bay.

55 Dick Stockton described the…

Dick Stockton described the Bears’ first TD drive as “like a dentist pulling teeth”, which is the first insightful thing he’s said during this broadcast.

127 He was awful. In the first…

He was awful. In the first few minutes of the game he called it a 1st on a Trubisky sneak attempt when in reality he was stopped for no gain. Then a few plays later he called a blow to head penalty Pass Interference. He's about 5 years past his expiration date.

64 I've been mostly watching…

I've been mostly watching Patriots-Dolphins, but I have seen a bit of Eagles-Football Team. Philly had a 17-0 lead and this game should've been over. From what I've seen the game has been turned around thanks to the Washington defense turning dominant. They now lead 24-17. Pretty shocking.

68 The Eagles can’t block…

The Eagles can’t block anything and Wentz has alternated running ten yards backward into a sack and finding the wide open DB.

Secretly, the Eagles traded jerseys with the Jets.

155 Not Shocking.

The Eagles were losing players to injury like Joe Biden is losing toss-up states...

The Skins have a good defense and they eventually had their way with the Eagle's O-line.

That was the game.

65 *Lane Taylor's leg gets…

*Lane Taylor's leg gets twisted horribly*

Announcers: "Looks like his shoulder gets driven into the ground there."

I don't know who these guys in the booth are, but they are not good.

With Taylor out, the Packers have put in their last lineman - Jon Runyan's kid. Still getting used to that; even yesterday I was glancing through their final roster and was like, "Wait, Jon Runyan retired a hundred years ago didn't he?" Anyway, it's only been a few snaps but Junior looks solid enough so far.

69 On fourth and one with the…

On fourth and one with the game on the line the Panthers give the ball to Alex Armah instead of McCaffrey. Questionable decision.

70 Man, terrible INT by…

Man, terrible INT by STafford puts the Bears in business.  This looks just like the Arizona game from week 1 of last year.

98 As an outside observer I've…

As an outside observer I've often tried to be agnostic and put the Lions' misfortunes in a kind of context of things tending to go wrong in poorly-run organizations, but I might just have to admit that they're cursed.

112 Nice use of 'recency bias'. …

Nice use of 'recency bias'.  I was going to propose that National Jump To Conclusions Day tomorrow be changed to National Recency Bias Day, but then I realized that every Monday is National Recency Bias Day during the football season...at least outside the friendly confines of FO.

145 I feel that a lot of people…

I feel that a lot of people in this forum would enjoy reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It's a fan fiction based on the question "what would happen if Harry was raised by an Oxford professor instead of Vernon Dursley," and Harry applies the scientific method to figure out how magic works. Voldemort is also made smarter so that their battle isn't totally one sided 

It's free to download the book and the audiobook. The latter is fantastically done, the narrator is great and every character has their own voice actor for dialogue. It's more like listening to a radio drama than a normal audio book!

Book: http://www.hpmor.com/chapter/1

Audio book: https://hpmorpodcast.com/?page_id=56

150 Thanks for the tip

I read the first few chapters and it's extremely well-written for fan fiction. In fact, the author is a more competent stylist than Rowling, who really should have let her copy-editors do their jobs.

71 Jags win as 7.5 point…

Jags win as 7.5 point underdogs. Washington looks set to win as 5.5 point underdogs. Maybe the lack of preseason is making the games a little more chaotic than expected.

74 I agree

I think the Colts will have a better season, but two bad picks by Rivers, and two failed fourth down conversions (and a doinked 30 FG) sank the Colts. It looked like a preseason game. 
 

Credit to the Jags though, they took advantage of the Colts bad plays and didn’t make any massive mistakes themselves. 

148 Colts/Jags

In reply to by Ben

As a Colts fan, my biggest problem was play calling.  I did not see the game so don't know if the Jags stacked the box all the time, but (A) for a run-first team that is (B) expected to win big and indeed (C) had the lead the majority of the game.... why did they call a 2:1 pass:run ratio???  I know Marlon Mack was hurt early, but he had only four rushes before he went out in the 2nd quarter.  The backups only totaled 9 or 10 runs between them as well.  Maybe the OL health woes of this week were such that they couldn't run block???

Otherwise, I liked that Rivers hit like 9 different receivers on the day.

Yeah, okay, giving Minshew a 95% completion percentage was maybe something I'd disagree with as well.... sigh.

76 I admire Detroit’s…

I admire Detroit’s dedication to diversity hires, but perhaps hiring someone who is intellectually-disabled wasn’t a sound move at head coach.

131 It Is amazing to me that…

It Is amazing to me that they decided they wanted to make Patricia a head coach after a decade of presiding over bad defenses - and specifically bad secondaries. 

 

The defense got much better when he left. 

78 Tough ending for Detroit

Brutal drop by the rookie.

 

Sidenote: I hope all is well with departed special teams coach, but the Seahawk's has been bad for a long time now. Even with his exit, they manage to give up an onside kick in an age when most agree it's nearly impossible.  ...smh

 

83 Joe Burrow's spirit looks…

Joe Burrow's spirit looks broken already, not 7 minutes into the first quarter of his first game. The Bengals way.

85 Packers D looked very bad…

Packers D looked very bad today, the interception and safety were basically their only positive plays.

Packers O looked good and took advantage of some soft secondary play from the Vikes, and weathered 3 OL injuries well, but man they’re not gonna score in the 40s every week

95 DVOA will not be kind

The Packers VOA (not really any D to adjust with yet) is not going to look much better than the Vikings. As you said Alexander's two big plays are the reason they won. Neither D could stop anything. The Packers miss Kenny Clark, but even he wouldn't have fixed that run D. 

I seem to recall that abbreviated offseasons tend to favor the offense (strikes, lock outs) no pre season games this year and shorter training camps I figure we'll see more of the same. I'm hoping that Minnesota's offense really is as good as I think they are. That would mean this performance wasn't as bad as it felt.

125 The Vikings had 10 points…

The Vikings had 10 points starting the 4th quarter. The whole-game metrics will look bad, and the "per-play" will be skewed by the fact that the Vikings ran about half their plays in that 4th quarter. 

Let's just say that the Packers played prevent defense a LOT worse than a team should play prevent defense but also a LOT worse than they played competitive game defense through the first three quarters to build a 19-point lead. 

139 As I said neither team played D

The Vikings were averaging about 3 yards per play more than the Packers at halftime and about 1 yards per play better at the end of the game. VOA will like it's a per play efficiency stat. More yards is more efficient. I can't remember how the formula treats safeties, but I think that mostly ends up as the Packers getting more plays and doesn't really affect VOA. The game only had 3 punts and both teams had a drive that ended on turn over on downs. The Packers had the better of those drives certainly.

I'm saying it's a game where I think VOA will say that 19 point lead wasn't as dominate as it might have seemed. I could be wrong, and I didn't get to watch the game until the middle of the 2nd quarter on, but it felt like the Packers D only made about 4 plays the whole game. They were the 4 plays they needed to win, but the way Minnesota moved the ball I was worried that the Packers would make a couple mistakes on offense (an MVS tip to an interception say) and that suddenly they would be losing. Fortunately the Packers offense was damn good, but like I said, Minnesota averaged more yards per play for the whole game so what does that say about their offense.

97 If Kenny Clark is seriously…

If Kenny Clark is seriously hurt it's gonna be a huge problem for the Pack. The Vikings only dropped back to pass like 7 or 8 times before he got hurt but he was making a major impact - they had 2 sacks and a pick in that span. They had very little pass rush after he went out.

At least Rodgers looked sharp as hell, he was slinging it.

99 Agreed, he walked off…

Agreed, he walked off reasonably well so hopefully it's only a short-term thing. But if he's out they almost have to trade for or sign another interior lineman, the guys behind Clark are scrubs imo.

Rodgers played well but guys were pretty open against the young corners most of the day, with no pressure with the Vikes missing Hunter. It won't be that easy most weeks. But if they can build off of that and what looked like a much improved offense as far as its multiplicity, I will be happy.

100 Can We Keep Just a Little Romance, Please?

I know all the caveats. No crowd noise. Game One. Defenses didn't tackle in a non-preseason. Viking injuries.

But, come on people. The man was dissed by everybody in the offseason. His team drafted his replacement-- shocking him. They gave him no reinforcements-- at least for receivers. The world woke up to the fact that the metrics show a decline for basically the past 5 seasons, with the exception of the "Run the Table" stretch in 2016.

He was facing his toughest division rival. On the road. Against a head coach known for defensive prowess. And. He. Lit. Them. Up.

Without the two drops by MVS the numbers would have even more impressive. But to go along with 4TDs and 300+ yards, did anyone catch the TD passes to Adams and Lazard in the first half? or the clinching sideline pass to Adams in the 4th Quarter. it's been said before, but I count on the fingers of one hand the QBs in this league capable of making those plays once-- let alone three of them.

Celebrate the man with some scotch, please. That was a bigtime HOF performance and we ought to give him the credit he's due. At no time because of Rodgers and the 19 pt lead he helped build did I feel the game was in danger-- because he was always going to keep putting up points no matter how soft the Packers Defense got in the 4th quarter.

 

86 After taking a 17-0 lead in…

After taking a 17-0 lead in the second quarter the Eagles offense went three and out, pick, three and out, three and out, pick, FG miss, turnover on downs, three and out, turnover on downs, lost fumble, irrelevant game-ending drive. Terrible.

88 Tom Brady's first TD with…

Tom Brady's first TD with the Buc's is a 2 yard sneak. Looked awfully close to a false start on him, but there's no flag, and it's 7-0. His offense didn't have much trouble moving against what looks like a pretty darn good defense on paper - an auspicious beginning, however this turns out.

89 Dear New Orleans. I know…

Dear New Orleans.

I know with no preseason, its hard to scout your Week 1 opposition, so here's a relatively unknown factoid about the new TB QB ... he likes to sneak the ball close to the goal line.

Maybe tighten up those gaps in the center of the line?

Also, maybe invest in a staff member to learn the tendencies of obscure opponents so he or she can tell your players a little bit about them?

91 WFT Defense? Fluke or hope?

This performance by Washington's D-Line, combined with Eagles' own D being unable to stop anything in the 2nd half, raises a lot of questions for the Eagles...

For me, Chase Young has shined in his debut with 4 tackles, 1.5 sack and a forced fumble to seal the game?!

Just NICE :D

101 What's the highest…

What's the highest proportion of yardage in and NFL game gained in penalties? This Bucs/Saints game may be on course.

146 Seahawks vs Rams 1979

I don't know the record for both teams, but when the Seahawks played the Rams in 1979, their offense achieved minus 7 total yards.  The Rams committed 80 yards in penalties, so the Seahawks achieved 80 of their 73 total yards via penalty, around 110%.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/197911040sea.htm

153 That's the record. There are…

That's the record. There are only two games with negative yardage since 1940.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/196709100rai.htm

And for the record, one game involved the Seahawks and the other the Raiders. =)
There was also this game: https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199212130sea.htm

Seattle had 87 total yards, and 191 yards in penalties.

Chicago and Detroit played a scintillating 1981 game:
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198111220chi.htm

For the playoffs, there was the Ryan Lindley experience.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201501030car.htm

 

103 Two really dumb (as in dumb…

Two really dumb (as in dumb play, not badly called) DPIs have taken two interceptions off the board for Arizona. Garoppolo is looking like the main limiting factor in the 49ers offense still. Not necessarily a bad QB, but certainly not a great one. If the Cardinals defenders would stop tackling people early when they have double or triple coverage they could be running away with this. As I type this they blow a coverage and lose the lead.

104 Impressive poise by Burrows…

Impressive poise by Burrows and the Cincy O under a minute to play and no timeouts.  Three straight receptions in the field of play in rapid succession and quick resets.

Led to what could have been a winning TD with 0:07 left, but called back on a (correct) penalty.

After which, in true Bengal fashion, the PK pulled a hamstring trying to kick a 30-yard FG on the game's last play, leading to the loss.

 

106 Oooof. Yeah I was following…

Oooof. Yeah I was following along on Gamecast, saw Burrow dink and dunk them down the field, throw a TD that was overturned, then the kicker missed the short kick. Pulled hamstring? Brutal.

Silver lining, it's got to be encouraging for Burrow and the Bengals that he scraped together a nearly-game-winning drive against a tough defense in the clutch.

105 Saints got a big play on a…

Saints got a big play on a de facto onside kick: there was a facemask penalty on a TD so they got to kick off on the 50, kicker kicked it towards the sideline where one Buc was waiting to receive it but another, apparently desperate to keep it in bounds, tried to grab it out of his hands. Long story short, neither got it, and the Saints recovered it in Bucs' territory.

But it looked like the ball would've sailed out of bounds if neither Buc had touched it. In that case, they would've gotten it at the 40, no? Odd, poor play.

Since the first possession, Brady and the offense have accomplished next to nothing outside of drawing some pass interference penalties. It's the first game, it's a good defense, it's an away game, but man, that sure looks like the faint glimmer of a fork sticking out of #12's back.

108 I should stop writing things…

I should stop writing things like that. A few slick Brady passes later, and the Bucs have another score. Looks to be too little, too late for this game, but he and Evans finally have a connection.

120 It's three games in a row...

That's now three games in a row with a pick six for TB12, and all three games are loses.  I haven't verified, but I believe that both are career-long "streaks."

He isn't "end-stage-Manning-bad"... at least not for now... but this line is clearly not good:

23/36 (63.9%), 239y, 2td, 2int, 78.3 rtg

VOA will likely be a bit kinder and give him some credit for the DPIs, but he also gets a small penalty for 1 "normalized" fumble.

 

133 I didn't watch the TB game. …

I didn't watch the TB game. 

 

But last year he was taking forever to make decisions, wasn't going through his progressions, and was telegraphing throws by eyeballing receivers all the way down the field instead of looking off safeties/etc. He was a very different QB than he'd been all his career. He looked like the game was too fast. 

 

If he's doing the same thing right now, get ready for a really rough season - because it's not going to take teams 8 games to see it on tape this year. 

147 I dozed off for a chunk of…

I dozed off for a chunk of the middle, but from what I did see, his timing was generally better than last year, and he did make a few picture perfect throws. How much of that is better supporting cast, and how much is the longest offseason he's had in forever, we'll have to see (and this offseason may not have been terribly restful, given everything going on). He did lock onto Gronk and force a pass at least once, that he's lucky fell incomplete.

151 A Year of Two Halfs

In the first half of last season, Brady was an above average QB. His numbers plummeted in the second half of the season. An appreciable part of that was injuries decimating his line and the limited receiving options. Sanu was supposed to be his new binky - the guy did nothing and couldn't even make the team this year (that might go down as Belichick's worse trade. I wonder if Sanu's injuries were worse than advertised coming in). The pass rush got to him faster than at any point in his career, while his receivers needed forever to get open. It wasn't as if he was going to become a scrambling QB at 42. 

But...some of the good performance in the first half was due to the mediocrity of most of the opponents. I really do believe that the greater part of the decline was due to his body breaking down from the rigors of 16 games. At that age, your throwing arm and battered body are not going to get better in a week, no matter how long you sit in the orgone box.

It's hardly surprising that the first game with a new receiving corps would be even. I think he'll be better for a while. And then he'll be worse.

 

156 The offensive line was rated…

The offensive line was rated #5 last year for Brady:

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/nfl/offensive-line/2019

Having time to throw wasn't the issue last year.  Locking into two receivers was a big part.

 

158 Brady.

I agree with your assessment.  It was a combination of several factors which contributed to the Pats last season.

From what I saw of the game yesterday, he's still learning the offense and the receiving corps.

He made some great throws and forced a few Gronker bombs in to coverage.

It could have been worse.

He will get better in the offense, but that O-Line will need to protect him or it's going to be a long season.

As you saw, the Saints are a machine.  They do that to many teams.

157 Picking against the Cards this year...

...is like voting against your own interests.  People do all the time, but it's very foolish.  I think I predicted in one of the other threads that the Cards would make the playoffs and probably win 10 games this year.

Based on what I've seen of the division, only Seattle looks like a true division threat.

The 49ers don't have a WR corps and they have real problems with mobile QB's.  Murray looked like a video game RB out there darting around San Fran defenders.  He's better than Russell Wilson as a runner, clearly.  I also don't believe Jimmy G is the future for San Fran at QB.  He's mediocre and still a project at best.  The more evidence we collect, the more it seems that Belichick might have actually known what he was doing in trading him away.

The Rams are better on both sides of the ball than I thought they'd be, but they have the same problems that I saw coming in to the year.  They outplayed the Cowboys on both sides of the ball for the whole first half, yet were still down by one point.  That should never happen in your home opener in your new Tecmo Bowl stadium.  Yes, they won against a quality opponent, but were they that impressive?  Goff is going to have real problems with teams who focus on rushing the passer.  They are so thin at the key positions that I can't see them holding up all year in the West.

Seattle is like a gladiator who never gives up.  They were outplayed by the Falcons for portions of the first half, but kept grinding and finding ways to work the ball down the field.  Their defense is mediocre and that will be an issue against the better teams but it's obvious that this should be an offense driven team focused on RW's ability.  It's going to look like a doppelganger knife fight when they play Arizona, though.

 

 

109 I'm 10-3 in spread picks so…

I'm 10-3 in spread picks so far. I think the best assumption for Week 1 is to not assume too much change. e.g. Is a Colts team with a decrepit Philip Rivers really going to be that great? Are 43yo Brady + 1.5 year retired Gronk going to be that good vs the team with the best cumulative record over the past 3 years? Sometimes conservative projections are the way to go.

114 Oh, right, that new Rams…

Oh, right, that new Rams logo. It looks like the off-brand stand-in for the Firefox logo they would have in a network TV drama.

118 Quite a momentum swing: it…

Quite a momentum swing: it was all Rams in the early going, until a drive stalled out near the goalline and the Rams' rookie kicker doinked a FG (to be fair, it looked like the guy coming off the edge might've been able to block it if he hadn't adjusted the kick leftward). Suddenly the Cowboys remembered how to play football, and marched on down the field in about two minutes (thanks in part to a Jalen Ramsey whiff). Should've been 10-0, but now it's 7-7.

Bad news for the Cowboys (and the rest of the NFL): the Rams don't miss Gurley at all. Their no-name committee is running all over this (theoretically quite good) front 7. Again, it's early, but so far this is the best rushing they've had in years.

123 Wow, the Rams were pretty…

Wow, the Rams were pretty clearly the better team on the balance, but between some red zone troubles and some well-timed magic from Elliott and Prescott, it's Dallas with the lead at the half.

Neither team has had many answers for the other; only one punt between them.

Given how Dallas has been rolling since their early stumbles, and how all of their weapons - including Ceedee Lamb, having a really nice first game - are firing on all cylinders, I fully expect McCarthy to go full McCarthy and spend the whole second half trying to sit on his lead and run out the clock. /cynical GB fan'd

UPDATE: Heh.

159 No.

Neither of these teams are contenders for different reasons.

Rams don't have depth and their QB is one-dimensional in a league where mobile QB are the norm.

Dallas has an unimaginative HC and a QB who is not a proven winner.  They are consistently less than the sum of their parts every year.  I would not be surprised if Washington won the NFC East in come from behind type fashion.