Every week this NFL season, we’ll celebrate electric comedies, investigate colossal mistakes, and explain inexplicable moments from the latest list. Welcome to Winners and Losers. Which one are you?
Winner: Bill Belichick
The Patriots dynasty was built on the marriage of the greatest coach in football history and the greatest quarterback in football history. Even those of us who aren’t Pats fans have to marvel at the combination. Was Brady really a GOAT, or just a pawn in Belichick̵
Brady’s Bucs lost 34-23 to the Saints, and it wasn’t that close. Brady threw two interceptions for the first time since 2018, including the only pick-six thrown by any quarterback this week:
Meanwhile, the Patriots have adapted well to life without Brady. They now have Cam Newton, a quarterback with an almost completely different skill set than Tom Brady. New England adapted perfectly to that skill set. Newton ran for 75 yards – more than double Brady’s career high of 31 yards – and most of them came up on designed running games that certainly weren’t on the New England log last year. Here is the first touchdown of Cam Patriots:
Of course Brady is 43, which makes him older than any successful quarterback in NFL history. If his performance this year is lagging behind his performance in New England, it may have more to do with his age than retiring from Belichick to Bruce Arians. Meanwhile, coaches don’t necessarily decline with age the way athletes do. 68-year-old Belichick could go on up to 80 if he feels like it. We will never be able to put a Brady first on a different coaching staff to see if he is successful or not, so using the 2020 season to gauge Belichick’s greatness versus Brady’s greatness isn’t really fair. (And the Bucs played a team that could make the Super Bowl this year while the Pats played … a team that probably won’t.)
But if Brady is successful, it will be thanks to Tampa Bay’s ability to harness its strengths. If Belichick is successful this year, it will be because he is able to coach a quarterback who plays nothing like Brady. Through a game, he seems more than capable of doing it.
Loser: D’Andre Swift
You don’t lose a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter without it being a team effort. Had happened only three times in the past 15 years earlier on Sunday when Detroit turned a 23-6 fourth-quarter lead into a 27-23 defeat. Most embarrassing of all: it happened against Mitchell Trubisky, who launched touchdown passes in the fourth:
But even if you don’t lose a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter without it being a team effort, only one player will be remembered when someone talks about the Lions’ opening season defeat to the Bears: D’Andre Swift, taken in the second round of the April project. Swift was injured during Sunday’s game and it was unclear if he would play a significant role. He didn’t and only took the ball three times for 8 yards, while 35-year-old Adrian Peterson, just signed, had 14 carries. But he was on the pitch after Trubisky’s demolition of the Detroit defense, and had a chance to score a go-ahead touchdown with six seconds left. Instead, he let a softly flowing passage from Matt Stafford slip smoothly between his fingers.
This is, frankly, stunning. Swift’s ability as a receiver was one of her assets as a potential customer. The RingerSwift’s draft guide called it a “natural hand catcher”. The Pro Football Focus draft guide named Swift the best receiving player in the class, stating that Swift had “natural hands off the pitch” and that any team that called him “better have a plan to take advantage of the its receiving capacity “. Bleacher reportSwift’s profile also noted his “soft hands and forward travel”. Swift has only had three crashes in three seasons in Georgia. Self whatever running back would have made a critical drop in their first NFL game, it wouldn’t have been Swift. It reminds me of an almost identical situation three years ago when Zay Jones, the owner of the NCAA all-time reception record and “best hands in the draft”, picked in the second round, lost a winning pass in his second career game. .
Pros should get over your losses, but I guess it’s hard to get over the lifelong expectation to get into the NFL and failing at something you’ve done so easily all your life. It wasn’t that the speed of the NFL match or the strength of the NFL defenders made him drop the pass: it was him and the ball, as if he had been so many times in his career, yet the ball rolled through his soft hands and natural and ended up on the floor. You don’t lose a 17 point lead without it being a team effort, but I guess it would be pretty hard to convince D’Andre Swift of that right now.
Winner: Green Bay’s extremely bad choice
The biggest NFL draft headache was Green Bay’s decision to take quarterback Jordan Love out of Utah State to No. 26. Not only was Love a questionable first-round choice – last year he made 17 interceptions in 13 games despite playing at the Mountain West conference – the Packers already have a quarterback named Aaron Rodgers.
And for the record, Aaron Rodgers is very good:
Rodgers had 364 yards and four touchdowns while Green Bay scored 43 points, more than any other team in Week 1. Only one quarterback, Matt Ryan, had more yards and only one, Russell Wilson, had more fantasy points. (Stupid fast yards.) Rodgers looked like the best quarterback in the NFL on Sunday, a big change from a quarterback who had shown signs of modest decline in recent years. Rodgers averaged just 250.1 yards last year, the second down in a full season as a starter. After Sunday, however, it certainly doesn’t look like the Packers will need a replacement anytime soon.
It might seem like the Packers wasted their pick, but then you remember Rodgers is fueled by more grudge than any NFL quarterback. The Packers’ decision to choose Love signaled that they were so eager to move from rusty old Rodgers that they were willing to catch up with a potential Day 2 quarterback. That was the only disrespect needed to bring Aaron back to the old Rodgers.
Loser: Carson Wentz protection
Sunday was the first game for the Washington Football Team and it was glorious. The soccer team came back from a 17-0 deficit against the heavily favored Philadelphia Eagles and emerged with a 27-17 win. But as odd as it was to see the phrase FOOTBALL TEAM painted in the end zones and flashing on my TV screen, the real no-names weren’t in burgundy and gold – they were trying to keep Washington’s pass away from Carson Wentz.
It is difficult to suffer an injury in a position as bad as the one that Philadelphia suffered on the offensive line before the games are played. Starting right guard Brandon Brooks and starting left forward Andre Dillard suffered late-season injuries in the off-season: Brooks in June, Dillard just a few weeks ago. And then, before Sunday’s game, Lane Johnson was declared inactive due to a nagging ankle injury. The offensive line has been a strong point for the Eagles in recent years, but not many teams can remain competent in the trenches after losing three starters. The Eagles hired Jason Peters to play as a right guard following Brooks injury but had to move him to the left tackle to replace Dillard.
On Sunday, the Eagles started Jack Driscoll, a rookie picked in the fourth round, right tackle, and Nate Herbig, who played a total of three offensive shots last year as an unsuccessful rookie, right guard. None of these guys really should have seen the field for Philadelphia this whole season; they were now starting week 1.
It went wrong:
The first layoff was a miscommunication between Jack Driscoll and Nate Herbig. Neither takes Ryan Kerrigan as he gets a free ride to Carson Wentz.
Jason Peters tries to ride Montez Sweat on the pitch but Wentz fails to get into his pocket due to pressure from Kerrigan. (1/8) pic.twitter.com/PoNbVRO8eD
– Anthony DiBona (@ByADiBona) September 14, 2020
Driscoll eventually left the game with cramps and the Eagles had to carry Jordan Mailata, a 6 foot 8,350 pound Aussie who had outgrown rugby. You can see Mailata in the right tackle in this comedy – he’s the absolutely massive guy who looks very confused by the whole thing.
The eighth and final layoff is on Nate Herbig. He is beaten almost immediately by Matt Ioannidis. Yet Wentz fails to see Dallas Goedert in the apartment on the right side of the field.
It appears that Wentz was staring at his target on the left side. Something he did throughout the game. (8/8) pic.twitter.com/RaB4B0uQCp
– Anthony DiBona (@ByADiBona) September 14, 2020
All in all, Philadelphia has given up on eight layoffs, the most it has conceded in a game since 2007. Chase Young, the defensive end Washington enlisted in second overall in the April draft, had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. (Things will get tougher against teams that won’t miss four offensive linemen.) Hopefully Johnson’s injury won’t keep him out for long, because the Eagles really have no chance of playing this way. A team with two-fifths of an offensive line is a strange football cataclysm that makes competitive football more or less impossible.
Winner: The Philip Rivers Curse
Philip Rivers and the Chargers have always been snakebites. During Philip Rivers’ tenure as QB of the Bolts, the team had their 10th fewer defeat of any NFL team … but their third loss for more possession than any NFL team. It often seemed that no matter what happened in a certain game, the Chargers would find themselves behind somewhere between three and eight points with the ball in Rivers’ hands, and more often than not, a hilarious catastrophe never seen before would occur. knocked down on the Magazines. Rivers’ departure from the Chargers allows us to find out: who was really responsible for the Chargers ” Final destination– Destiny style, the team or Rivers?
Rivers, who signed with Indianapolis this offseason, made his Colts debut against the Jaguars on Sunday. Indianapolis was favorite to win AFC South; Jacksonville was favored for having the worst record in the NFL. But with less than five minutes left and the Colts in need of a touchdown, Rivers threw his second interception of the game, sealing a 27-20 defeat:
In their late afternoon match, it looked like the Chargers were heading for an unfortunate end too. Los Angeles had a three-point lead over the Bengals, and no. 1 Overall Choice Joe Burrow was showing the poise of a vet. On the final Cincinnati drive, Burrow completed eight of 10 passes to move the Bengals to the goal line, and then threw what appeared to be a winning touchdown for A.J. Green. But officials flagged Green for interference on the offensive pass. With seven seconds left, the Bengals had time to make another play for a winning touchdown, but instead decided to kick a basket to force extra time. They didn’t work overtime:
The kicker, Randy Bullock, hit the field goal from 31 yards, possibly pulling on a hamstring while kicking. This is Exactly what would happen to the Chargers almost every two years. Instead, the Chargers won due to a strange result that you never expected.
It’s clear: The Curse of the Chargers wasn’t actually a Curse of the Chargers. It was a Rivers specific hex and moved from the Bolts to the Colts. Prepare for Indianapolis to lose a game when an anvil falls on Rivers just as he is about to throw a winning touchdown.
Loser: Jamie Collins’ acting method
All athletes take action. The basketball defender acts as if he has just been hit by a Mack Truck while trying to charge a charge; the attacker flails himself dramatically on the ground in the hope of taking a penalty; the baseball catcher frames a field to make it look like it was a strike. They all hope to fool the officials into believing. Footballers act like they’re too tough for that, but we all know they act too. Offensive linemen behave as if a defender over the scrimmage line blasted them; recipients exaggerate contact on calls with interference on passage; players on both sides pretend that their team has recovered the ball regardless of whether or not they have legitimate evidence in their favor. The whole world is a stage, and footballers are players too.
Lions linebacker Jamie Collins took acting to the next level on Sunday, but sadly was not awarded for it. In an effort to convince a referee that opponents were lowering their helmets to keep him at bay, he decided to enact their alleged infractions while using the referee as a substitute. But like so many spectators at overzealous improvisation shows, the official did not like the premise of participatory theater.
Collins was expelled, which represents a strict and literal interpretation of the rules. The referee, Alex Kemp, described Collins’ header as “unnecessary contact with a game official” and said there was no way Collins could have stayed in the game under the rule. Without the offseason defensive signing, Detroit lost a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter.
But while Collins may have cost himself and his team, I think his performance deserves credit. He was so convincing in his role as “Footballer who uses the helmet illegally” that the official really appreciated Collins ‘performance, interpreting Collins’ actions as a genuine malicious act rather than just a demonstration.
Collins was ridiculed for the stupidity of being sent off so early in the season opener, but I, for example, applaud his performance. Well done, Jamie! Brava!
Loser: Bill O’Brien
The Texans didn’t play on Sunday, but they still lost. Houston played the first round of the season on Thursday night, and it was soon clear that the Texans would be better off with star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins than elderly running back David Johnson, the player Bill O’Brien got in return. by Hopkins in a March exchange. On Sunday, Hopkins played his first game for his new team, the Arizona Cardinals, and helped them defeat the reigning NFC champion’s 49ers. Here’s Hopkins walking 33 yards down the 1-yard line towards the end of the fourth quarter: Arizona scored the winning touchdown in the next game.
Hopkins finished with 151 yards out of 14 career receptions. No player has had more catches than Hopkins this week and only two (Julio Jones and Davante Adams) have had more yards. He did it against the best passing defense in the NFL last season, as San Francisco allowed league minima in total pass yardage and net pass attempted yards. Only six receivers had 100 yards against the Niners last year, and none had more than 134 receivers against them in one game.
Hopkins looks perfect for the Cardinals, who are in their second year with manager Kliff Kingsbury and the number 1 of 2019 picks Kyler Murray and Air Raid offense. But Hopkins would be a star on any team. O’Brien’s decision to hand him over to a worse player in a less important position is the kind of terrible decision that will resonate throughout the season, even when Houston isn’t playing.
Winner: COVID-free NFL
It probably looks like the NFL off-season was longer than normal. Time has a way of slowing down when you spend every single day indoors to avoid infecting other people with a deadly virus. But while every other major American sports league featured some sort of hiatus or delay, the NFL was adamant it would start in early September as previously scheduled. I never thought they would be able to make it.
But this weekend, every single person tested by the NFL was allowed to go:
Source: All players and coaches passed COVID-19 tests on Saturday morning and are expected to be ready today for week 1, pending the stadium health check. More positive news for the NFL and NFLPA.
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) 13 September 2020
It seems like a miracle that in a country with tens of thousands of new infections every day, none of the thousands of NFL players, coaches and staff have tested positive. The result was that on Sunday we watched RedZone, made fun of our friends about our fantasy teams, and yelled about the decisions made by the coaches. My sincere wish is that there hasn’t been a pandemic, but I am grateful that the NFL has somehow managed to make it seem like it hasn’t been there for 12 blessed hours.