(Marcus Mariota photo courtesy of the Tennessee Titans)
(Tony Romo photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
It’s Overreaction Monday, where not everything is what it seems, so come in off the ledge, exhale and let’s talk about what we learned from Week One:
1. Biggest winner in Week One: The AFC East. It was 4-0.
2. Biggest loser: Baltimore. It just subtracted former Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs for the season. Suggs not only is a leader on the field; he’s a leader in the locker room. There’s no overstating the significance of this blow.
3. I hope the Cowboys reserved a game ball for Giants’ offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. He deserves one. I know, Eli Manning and Giants coach Tom Coughlin each volunteered to take the blame for that ridiculously stupid call at the Dallas 1. But McAdoo is responsible for the call. OK, so Manning should’ve taken the sack when no one was open, but he doesn’t have to … if a run is called. It wasn’t, and I have one word for you, Ben: Seattle. Seven months earlier, the Seahawks threw the ball at the 1, too, and learned a lesson the hard way. Apparently, McAdoo wasn’t paying attention. So Dallas was gifted another 35-40 seconds, and when you consider the Cowboys scored the go-ahead TD with seven seconds left, yeah, that cost the Giants a game they should have won.
4. I know it’s one game, but I’ll mention it again: The Tennessee Titans drafted the better quarterback. Three years from now we’ll be talking about Marcus Mariota, not Jameis Winston.
5. I guess that answers the question about Mariota taking snaps under center. Question: If that’s what happens when Tampa Bay “throws everything” at him, as Lovie Smith promised, what happens when the Bucs don’t?
6. It’s a good year to be a tight end. Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Tyler Eifert, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jason Witten combined for 11 TD catches in Week One.
7. So the Bengals were the only AFC North team to win. Swell. Nothing matters until they win a playoff game.
8. Sorry, but Adam Jones should’ve been run for that blow to Amari Cooper’s head. Guaranteed, he’ll hear about it from the league office.
9. It’s always safe to take Carson Palmer when he plays at home. He’s 11-2 as a Cardinal there.
10. Let’s wait until next week before assessing Buffalo. The Bills are 3-23 vs. Tom Brady.
(Tom Brady photo courtesy of the New England Patriots)
11. Here’s why I wonder about Detroit: The defense that put the Lions in the playoffs last year flat-out collapsed in San Diego, hemorraging 30 straight points in a 33-28 loss. I know the Lions were without leading tackler DeAndre Levy, but that’s no excuse. It allowed more points in one game than it did in all but one start last season – and that was a 34-9 beatdown inflicted by Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champs.
12. And here’s why I’d worry about Denver: The offensive line and Peyton Manning. Manning was sacked more times (4) Sunday than in any game since he was dropped four times vs. Indianapolis on Oct. 20, 2013. Worse, the 39-year-old Manning looked as erratic in the season opener as he did in the 2014 season finale. For the record, over his last six starts Manning has four touchdown passes and six interceptions … which is why Thursday’s game vs. Kansas City will give you a glimpse of how much a threat Kansas City really is.
13. The more I watch Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah the more I wish I’d drafted him for my Fantasy Football team.
14. OK, so the Raiders might have to wait another year. Again.
15. One season later, the Colts can’t play defense, have offensive line problems and haven’t figured out how to stop the run. Sound familiar?
16. It’s beginning to look as if the Chuck Pagano situation is Harbaugh-Baalke, Part Deux. And we know who survived there.
17. Yes, Kansas City is legit. In fact, make the Chiefs and San Diego the favorites to win the AFC West.
18. Advantage, Kam Chancellor.
19. And that, people, is why we love Bruce Arians. When New Orleans’ Sean Payton went conservative, punting with just under two minutes left, Arians then went for the knockout punch – and got it with a 51-yard TD pass that clinched the victory.
(Bruce Arians photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals)
20. Make that a wake-up call for Ryan Mallett.
21. Memo to Luke Kuechly: That’s why they tell you not to lead with the helmet.
22. “HeadphoneGate” wasn’t a black eye for New England. It was another victory. Reason: It’s one more way the Pats get in the heads of opponents going to Foxborough.
23. Hard to believe, but since 2006 nobody has more fourth-quarter comeback victories than Tony Romo (28). What was so impressive about what happened Sunday night was A) it was done without Dez Bryant; B) it was done after three turnovers led to 17 Giants’ points and C) he was nearly perfect on the Cowboys’ last two scoring drives, hitting 11 of 12 passes. He not only spared the Cowboys an ugly loss; he spared teammate Jeremy Mincey a lot of tough questions. He’s the idiot who was called for unnecessary roughness after assaulting Erik Flowers — a penalty that should have sealed a Giants’ victory … until, that is, McAdoo/Manning rescued Dallas with that third-down incompletion.
24. It’s not the Houston quarterbacks that concern me as much as it is the Texans’ defense — a defense that’s the backbone of the franchise. But it just got shredded by the league’s 29th-ranked passing offense … at home, no less … for 27 points in the first half.
25. Lovie Smith, call me. I have a realtor you should contact.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF FAME
(Alex Smith photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs)
Kansas City QB Alex Smith. So he doesn’t put up big numbers. All he does is win. Over his last four years, Smith is 39-16-1 in regular-season starts.
San Diego WR Keenan Allen. He tied a franchise record with 15 catches, set by Kellen Winslow in 1984.
Green Bay WR James Jones. Somebody please remind me why he wasn’t good enough to make the Giants.
Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Nobody does a better job with 3-4 defenses, and the latest proof is what his Broncos did vs. Joe Flacco and Baltimore: 173 yards in offense, no touchdowns, 2-for-13 on third downs and two interceptions – including one for the game-winning score.
Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor. He aced his first pro start, missing only four of 19 passes and running for 41 yards. For one week, at least, I can understand why he was a slam dunk as the Bills’ starter. “Guy’s got some magic,” said coach Rex Ryan.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF SHAME
Seattle coach Pete Carroll. An on-side kick to open OT? You gotta be kidding. I don’t care that it was supposed to be a pooch kick. Call it an out-of-the-box idea, and it’s great if it works. But it didn’t. So it’s a bad, bad decision. Again.
Seattle S Dion Bailey. He’s the guy who started in place of Kam Chancellor. He’s also the guy who fell down on the game-tying TD with just under a minute left. I agree with NBC’s Rodney Harrison. Without Chancellor, the Seattle defense looked confused. “They need to get Chancellor back,” said Tony Dungy.
Chicago QB Jay Cutler. Yet another crucial interception against the Packers (this one by Clay Matthews) short circuits another Chicago rally, and what’s new? That makes Cutler 1-11 vs. the Pack since joining the Bears, with 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning. Not only didn’t he take the sack on a third-down snap from the Dallas 1; he kept taking snaps during that drive with 15-20 seconds left on the play clock. In short, he gave the Cowboys a lot of time it shouldn’t have had … and don’t get me started on the play call itself. It stunk.
Chicago offensive coordinator Adam Gase. You have Matt Forte in the backfield, you’re down by eight and you have three cracks at the Green Bay 2. So why doesn’t Forte touch the ball? Better yet, why are you passing on all three downs?
THIS WEEK’S CANTON NOMINEE
Marcus Mariota. He had four touchdown passes … in the first half — and is the first rookie quarterback since 1960 to have a perfect passer rating of 158.3 (minimum 10 attempts).
“The strategy was obviously wrong in the end.” – New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin.
5-0 – Andy Reid vs. Houston
5 — Cleveland turnovers
6 – Sacks of Russell Wilson
9 -1 – Arizona in its 10 home openers at University of Phoenix stadium
10-1 – Philip Rivers when Antonio Gates doesn’t play
10 – Straight home losses for Tampa Bay
12 – Cleveland penalties
15-1 – Denver in its last 16 home openers
0-2 – Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota
26-0 – Jameis Winston vs. everybody else