What We Learned: Week 2
Here at Sports Radio 610 we are always looking to grow as fans of the NFL. We take every week in stride and try to learn more about the game we love. So, each week we present to you ‘What We Learned’, where we tell you the most important things from the last week of games in the NFL. At least to us.
Matt Ryan had a monster game while getting hit repeatedly… In 3 years, he, Rodgers and 1 of the young bucks will be the league’s 3 best.
EJ Manuel outplayed Cam Newton and the Panthers blew ANOTHER game in the final minute.
The Vikings got a KO return TD & a defensive TD, but they had 3 drives inside the 10 end in FGs so they lose on the final play of the game.
Aaron Rodgers has been the best player in the NFL since 2009, and he showed why today: 480 yds, 4 TDs, 146 rating.
RGIII doesn’t feel comfortable running yet, and it’s hurting the Redskins offense. 4 rushes, for 1 total yard.
The Colts FINALLY lost a close game, and the Tannehill outplayed Luck by a wide margin despite getting beat up all day.
Dez Bryant had a monster first half with 8 catches and 130+ yards but Dallas lost two fumbles and the game to KC.
Eddie Royal had the game of his career with 3 TDs and the Chargers might be a good team as they steal one from Philly in a game with NO defense.
In that Philly v San Diego game, both Rivers and Vick were nearly flawless, combining for 847 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs and a 125 rating.
I have no thoughts on that god awful Browns-Ravens game other than that Weeden got hurt and that could be good for Cleveland.
The Cardinals won a game despite going 1-11 on 3rd downs and Reggie Bush came back down to earth.
Jacksonville has a legit shot at 0-16 and it’s possible that MJD is finally done.
The Giants are an absolute mess. Can’t run, can’t get pressure, were 1-11 on 3rd downs and Eli has thrown 7 picks in two games.
Defensive Players of the Day: Mario Wlliams might’ve had the best day of his career with 4.5 sacks, 4 TFLs and 4 more QB hits. My goodness… Dontari Poe had 2 sacks, 2 TFLs… Daryl Smith had 11 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL and 2 PBUs… Brian Cushing 11 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 TFLs… JJ Watt had 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, 2 PBUs and 4 other QB hits…
We actually learned this a long, long time ago, but it seems more obvious than ever that quarterback play trumps all in the NFL.
If you don’t have an upper-echelon quarterback, you’re cooked — especially in today’s NFL, when the passing game has become an even more integral part of winning.
With rules to protect quarterbacks and more emphasis on targeting and protecting receivers, teams with successful QBs have a clear upper-hand.
Witness Week Two of the season, when the likes of Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Freeman struggled yet again and their tams dropped to 0-2. The less than 100-percent Robert Griffin III suffered the same fat. On the other hand, even the less-than super-elite likes of Matt Schaub, Alex Smith and upstart E.J. Manuel proved that good quarterbacks with good coaching can win consistently.
The Colts finally lost a close game, so that was nice to see. I have big questions about their defense (allowed 300+ yards to Ryan Tannehill). Indianapolis also lost OG Donald Thomas for the season. He was one of their free agent acquisitions in the offseason, and that hurts the goal to protect Andrew Luck.
I think it’s very possible that the Redskins are facing a season where they just don’t fire. They’re 0-2 and have a lousy defense. This team gave up a lot for RG3 (properly so), but it’s really affected the overall depth on the roster. I could see them ending up around 6-10 to 8-8.
It seems crazy that the Panthers lost another close game, allowing a Bills TD with 2 seconds to go, but here we are. I believe Ron Rivera could be a mid-season firing.
Very clear that the Broncos are playing at a very high level, cruising by the Giants 41-23 on the road. Thing is, it’s a very long season, so it’s hard to figure out exactly how much to put into September football. LT Ryan Clady has a Lisfranc sprain, which has to be a concern moving forward.
- The league was telling the truth when it said it was okay to hit QB on read option when he reasonably looks like he may have the ball. In the Sunday Night Football matchup between the 49ers and the Seahawks, San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks ignored the handoff and blasted quarterback Russell Wilson. No flag, no fine. Football fans everywhere should rejoice in this sign that the NFL is not actually hell bent on destroying every single defensive strategy. Hitting the quarterback on the read option accomplishes several things. It makes offensive coordinators second guess the frequency with which they’ll expose the most valuable commodity on their team to injury, it disrupts the rhythm of the play itself, and it makes the quarterback less likely to consistently sell the fake. Expect to see this at least a couple times when the Texans take on read option teams this year.
- I’m guilty of looking ahead here, but I was impressed by Richard Sherman’s ability to shut down Anquan Boldin in the Sunday night game. We’ve compared DeAndre Hopkins to Boldin quite a bit, and when the Texans play the Seahawks we’ll get a great idea of how well Hopkins fares versus press man coverage.
- Chance Warmack obviously hasn’t adjusted to the NFL’s backwards policy of prohibiting exposed bellies.
He let the frustration boil over into the post game press conference when he inexplicably called J.J. Watt “just another guy.”
- I love DeAndre Hopkins’ attitude. I used to oppose starting rookies right out of the gate, and then I met Andre Johnson. His approach and his attitude were such that he could handle starting right away without losing the hunger and drive to succeed. I see those same traits in DeAndre.
“I feel like I can be better than Andre, that’s my mindset. And that’s what Andre tells me. (He says) Don’t try to shadow yourself when you know you can be better,” Hopkins said following the Titans game. In the past, some people had questioned the ability of a stoic personality like Andre to mentor a rookie. I hope DeAndre’s performance and comments like this one have answered those questions.
- This isn’t something I’ve learned, but something that dawned on me when the Titans were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after Nate Washington’s touchdown. I’m always amused that group celebrations of players spasmodically jumping up and down are okay, but when any element of dancing enters the equation its a sign of the apocalypse, and Goodell cracks down on it with all the fury and self-righteousness of John Lithgow in Footloose.
- The Titans are a better defense than I thought. Love or hate Gregg Williams, these guys are playing more physically and with more discipline. Presumably they’re doing this without bounties.
1. Texans are fortunate they played two average teams. They must play better. Schaub must take care of the ball. He’s thrown a pick 6 and a pick inside his own 10. He’s given away 14 points in games that have been won by combined 9 points.
2. Texans Defense is still pretty strong. The front 7 is studly. The back end needs more work. Every team is going to get one or two drives a game. Thats acceptable. It’s unacceptable to allow a 99 yard drive while leading in the 4th Quarter. Aside from that 99 yarder the Texans defense allowed 9 yards on 20 plays. That is studly.
3. I used studly twice in that last segment. According to my computer studly isn’t a word. My word choice is the opposite of studly.
4. I may need to buy my Chiefs/Texans tickets now b/c if KC keeps winning these tickets may skyrocket in value.
5. I said DeAndre Hopkins would be a beast and he’s living up to it. He’s a blossoming star.
6. I will not take the Texans to cover again until they actually do it.
7. Arian Foster looked much better in week two. I still like Ben Tate getting more carries than he’s getting.
8. The Saints defense is allowing 15.5 PPG. They have allowed 31 total points. Thru two games last season they allowed 75 points. That said, how the hell did they need to rally to beat the Bucs?
9. Johnny Manziel is very good. The Texas A&M defense is not. A&M will lose to LSU and maybe Ole Miss. Congrats to A&M on a very impressive backdoor cover.
10. The Crown Royal Black Bold Picks are culturally biased. I don’t like them.
What I learned in the NFL this weekend…
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in trouble. The offensive line is a mess, Big Ben is getting his butt beat out there and the marriage with Todd Haley as Offensive Coordinator is a nightmare, but ask Chiefs fans – Hey there! – and I’ll tell you that pairing was doomed for failure. And the problem is there is no cure in sight – you can’t find good offensive lineman on the street. Hello 6-10.
Who needs a running game? Not the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers showed on Sunday why he is still one the best three quarterbacks in the NFL, lighting up a porous Washington defense that is about as maligned as the Pittsburgh offense. Oh, and then there’s that RGIII guy. I’m glad I’m not playing fantasy football this year.
Speaking of second year quarterbacks, I understand Pep Hamilton was the OC at Stanford when my boy Andrew Luck was slinging it all over Pac-12 schools, but in the voice of Dan Hawkins, “This isn’t intramurals brother, IT’S THE NFL!” Hamilton has neutered Luck to the point where the Colt offense looks like a shell of itself from last season. There’s a reason why Bruce Arians was the coach of the year last year, and yes, I understand the Chuck Strong helped, but I’m not sold on Chuck Pagano as a head coach, and two quarterbacks – Luck and Big Ben –appear to be much better QBs when Bruce is calling the shots as opposed to when he isn’t.
The Eagles. Yeah. How’s that fast-paced offense working for you this weekend…? The Chargers are better than we thought, and the Eagles defense is atrocious. Not even Connor Barwin and his hipster-almost sacks can save that defense.
The Ravens. Ugh. I know it’s hard to criticize Ozzie Newsome, but I’m going to. How in the hell do you NOT go out and either sign/draft a legit #2 WR…? Did Ozzie not get the memo about Jacoby Jones not being a reliable #2,3 or 4 receiver…? Or is it a case of ‘he just needs to be in our system and we’ll turn him into a #2 unlike the last system which gave him AMPLE opportunity for five years’ – or something to that effect.
How bout my KC Chiefs….? For all of you that lambasted me during the offseason when I said the Chiefs would beat the Texans in Week 7 in Arrowhead…. Is that prediction still look so crazy or am I a Chiefs homer who doesn’t know any better…..?
Finally, how bout the AFC West…? That division looked like it might go down as one of the worst in NFL history before the season started, but all four teams won this past weekend and while it is still early, the Raiders and Chargers are better than advertised, the Chiefs are wildly improved and Denver looks like a Madden team in real life. Ultimately, that bodes well for the Texans. See ya in Week 3.
I learned that the AFC North who in recent memory was the most dominating division in football might end up being this years worst division in football