NFL Takeaway- Week 1
Welcome to football season! In honor of the new season, we start a new segment: NFL Takeaway. A look back at things we learned from the prior week.
10. No Dez… No problem- Tony Romo and the Cowboys were able to construct a game-winning drive without their star wide receiver. How will they fair the next 4-8 weeks without him? They should be just fine. Terrance Williams is a solid number 2 receiver, and should have his chance to step up the next few weeks. That coupled with Romo using his safety throws to Jason Witten and his running backs out of the back field should help the Cowboys stay a top the NFC East.
9. Tight Ends Take Flight- Rob Gronkowski was every bit as amazing we expected, and then some with his 3 touchdowns. Jimmy Graham got his first touchdown with the Seahawks. Travis Kelce, the leader of the second tier of tight ends, caught two touchdowns for the Chiefs. Tyler Eifert had 2 touchdowns and over 100 yards for Cincinnati, and the same went for Austin Seferian-Jenkins. With these 5 alone, all being 6’6″ or taller, they create more mismatches than any receiver on their team can. It isn’t unrealistic to believe that this could go on all season long.
8. St. Louis Kryptonite- This is Russell Wilson’s 4th year in the league. He has been to 2 Super Bowls. However, one place has plagued Wilson and the Seahawks in these 4 years… St. Louis. The Seahawks are 1-3 over the last 4 visits to the Edward Jones Dome. The first loss in 2012, Wilson threw 3 interceptions. In 2014, he was sacked 3 times. The struggle continued in week 1, with Wilson being sacked 6 times.
7. Risky Business- Two starting quarterbacks, Josh McCown and Derek Carr, were both injured on running plays. McCown attempted to dive for a touchdown, instead he fumbled and took a hit to the head that gave him a concussion. Carr went to stiff arm a defender and an MRI revealed only a bruised thumb. Carr should be able to play this coming week. McCown on the other hand, will have a tougher road to play this week. Coaches will definitely want to stress to the quarterbacks to run smarter.
6. Roles Reversed- Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray are top tier studs. Carlos Hyde and Joseph Randle are players who had big shoes to fill. Peterson finished with 10 carries for 31 yards, while Murray had 8 carries for 9 yards. On the other side, Hyde had the best week of any running back with 26 carries for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. Randle wasn’t as impressive, but had 16 carries for 65 yards for over 4 yards a carry.
5. Taking Back Time- 3 seasons ago James Jones was the star of the Packers passing game with 14 touchdowns. He followed that with 3 touchdowns and then went off to Oakland and had 6 touchdowns on the season. He returned to the frozen tundra after a season in Cali. One game back and he already has 2 touchdowns. This could spell trouble for teams that thought the passing game would suffer without Jordy Nelson.
4. Texan Sized Problem- Houston played a very tough Kansas City defense, however, there are already some concerns about the quarterback position. Hoyer had a struggle filled day. He barely completed 50% of his passes and threw one interception. Ryan Mallett was brought in later and went 8-13 with 98 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City had 5 sacks. This team is back to the Matt Schaub days. Perhaps J.J. Watt can take some snaps.
3. Silent Cannons- Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning are perennial top 5 quarterbacks. However, week one gave them tough defenses and made them look like average joes. Luck finished with just over 50% completion, for 243 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Manning finished 24-40 for 175 yards, no touchdowns, and 1 interception. He was also sacked 4 times. They will look to up their performances against more stout defenses this week.
2. Rookie Showcase- Ameer Abdullah showed some flash in Detroit this week with 7 carries, 50 yards, and a touchdown. He could have another good week going up against the Vikings defense that is still recovering from Carlos Hyde. Marcus Mariota put on a show in front of the fans and team that passed on him, finishing 13-16 for 209 and 4 touchdowns. He should have a favorable matchup going against Cleveland this coming week.
1. B.A.E. (Brady Above Everything)- Whether you hate the Patriots, or hate Tom Brady, you have to love what he brings to the field (unless he is facing your team). With all of the off field court battles since the Super Bowl, it seemed like Brady could not have as much focus on the game. Turns out he is just that good, firing 4 touchdown passes in the opener. The scary thought is… he may just be warming up.
Stay tuned Takeaway Week 2.
Malachi David covers the NBA and NFL for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @malachee89