September 7, 2008

NFL Week 1 Quick Hitters

This was a great Week 1 in the NFL, with plenty of unexpected outcomes. Here are some quick hitters.

Welcome to the Show - That wisdom about letting QBs learn on the sidelines for three years is looking less and less brilliant. The Falcons' rookie QB Matt Ryan connected with Michael Jenkins on his first professional pass for a touchdown. The Ravens' rookie QB Joe Flacco played extremely well against the Bengals, avoiding any turnovers or sacks and turning a broken play into a 38-yard touchdown run. Flacco, pressed into premature service because of injuries to Kyle Boller and Troy Smith, should have had a more impressive win than the 17-10 final tally. Fellow rookie Ray Rice fumbled a pitch in the 4th quarter when the Ravens were in scoring range. Yamon Figurs had a punt return for a TD called back for a questionable block in the back call. Todd Heap dropped a TD pass in the end zone. Matt Stover missed a 40+ yard field goal attempt. This could have easily been 34-3.
blahblahblblahblah This goofball is undefeated as an NFL QB.

Friendly Faces in New Places - RB Michael Turner languished in the shadows of LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego, but showed plenty of ability when he got onto the field. He made the most of his debut as the feature back in Atlanta, going for over 200 yards and three TDs. Brett Favre, of course, threw for two TDs in his Jets' debut. Chad Pennington, now a Dolphin, played well in the loss to Favre, though he threw a coffin-closing interception in the end zone in their loss. FB Lorenzo Neal, long the lead blocker for Tomlinson, is now a Raven. With Neal leading the way, the Ravens ran for 238 yards, including 86 for FB LeRon McClain (serving as the primary HB today) and 70 for rookie Ray Rice. He's had a lot to do with Flacco avoiding any sacks, too.

Don't Call It a Comeback - Remember when Donovan McNabb was a fantasy stud? Even without Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, McNabb exploded for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, giving three different receivers, Hank Baskett, rookie DeSean Jackson and Greg Lewis, 100-yard days. Five other receivers caught passes as well. Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker, believed to be a fantasy also-ran when the Steelers added Mendenhall, had 136 and three touchdowns. Parker and Mendenhall combined for 35 carries, proving that once again the Steelers will adapt with their tools. Favre, as described above, did well also. Ray Lewis stripped a fumble the Ravens and Chris McAllister had an interception. Arizona QB Kurt Warner started slow, but along with Edgerrin James led the Cardinals to a convincing win. Jake Delhomme led the Panthers back with a last-second touchdown, giving them a win that will look even better when Steve Smith returns.

We Don't Know Jack - Tom Brady is apparently out for the season. St. Louis' offense is apparently as inept as their D now. Home teams won for the most part, except on the West Coast. Actually, teams west of the Mississippi are winless except for the Cardinals, who got to play another West Coast team. The Louisiana Superdome is technically simultaneously east, west and north of the Mississippi, but it's on what is known as the East Bank of the river. Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Washington and Seattle do not look anything like potential playoff teams. Check back next week to see how little of that seems to matter.

Well, we can be sure of one thing. The Redskins made a HUGE mistake when they hired Jim Zorn...and then promoted him after failing to secure any of the head coaches they actually wanted. When asked in the locker room after the Skins' brain-meltingly boring loss to the Giants, Zorn was asked why the Skins weren't in a bigger hurry when they got the ball with about six minutes to go. First Zorn corrected Sonny Jurgensen, telling him there were eight minutes left. Then he explained that he didn't want to give the Giants the ball back with too much time. Umm, ok. Except the score was 16-7. This means one of three things - Zorn just wanted to cover the spread, Zorn thinks there is a nine-point play in pro football, or, and this is the theory that is gaining the most steam, Zorn thought 16 minus 7 is 8. Ouch. Not a good start in Zorn's stint coaching the "black and gold" (as he described the Skins when he was first hired). Now that I think about it, maybe he's just not very bright.

Photo credit - Dr. Ralph Lebron
News of the Weird - Chad Javon Ocho Cinco nee Johnson got approval from the NFL to have his new legal name on his back. As you can see in the photo above, he wore that name in warmups. Unfortunately, the league forgot to check with their bosses, the sponsors. Reebok apparently has a contractual commitment from Chad that requires Johnson goes on his back. In the game, he wore his former surname.

In other news, the Ravens scored on a true double reverse. Flacco faked a handoff left to Rice (Direction 1), he then turned and gave the ball to a receiver coming on an end around to the right (Direction 2). That receiver pitched the ball to WR Mark Clayton moving right to left (Direction 3) who scored thanks to a nice block downfield from Flacco.

The Bills scored two touchdowns on special teams. One came the traditional way from a Roscoe Parrish return. The other came on a fake field goal, with punter Brian Moorman throwing a TD pass to a defensive end. It was the first TD pass by a punter in half a decade.

13 Responses:

Flying with Enoch (Jesse Caron) said...

That's terrible news about Tom Brady. Especially for those of us who have him on our fantasy teams and got him with our first round pick!
I started a support blog for anyone interested.

BluCollar Redskin said...

"Well, we can be sure of one thing. The Redskins made a HUGE mistake when they hired Jim Zorn"

So your sure of this? After one game?

Your an idiot.

Sarah said...

"Your" an idiot, indeed.

J-Red said...

Yeah, I'm absolutely sure. I also managed to master your v. you're and their/there/they're back in first grade.

As a "blucollar redskin" you must really have liked the work ethic of Durant Brooks on Thursday. That's a guy who puts in a hard day's work.

Dean said...

You're Redskin coach doesn't seem to be too brite. Can't believe dude thought that 16-7 was a won possession ball game.

Hey, did anyone catch Ted Cottrell's masterful execution of the prevent (a win) defense out here in San Diego? I started a support blog for anyone interested. Sorry, Jesse, couldn't resist.

J-Red said...

I forgot to mention that the Bengals deferred after winning the opening coin toss. The deferral option is new to the NFL this year, but it has not found a lot of favor so far. It worked like a charm for the Bengals, as the Ravens' Todd Heap fumbled on their first drive.

The strategy is clear: if the other offense is weak, defer and enjoy some good field position after their three-and-out.

Dean said...

j-red, I thought the deferral option had always been around been around (winner of coin flip got the choice between receiving the kick-off or which end zone to defend) or at least around for the last few years.

At any rate, I'm a big fan of deferring and receiving the ball first in the 2nd half.

big tuna said...

all your stupid teams screwed up my fantasy team this week from McGahee not playing to Carson Palmer sucking and Chris Cooley sucking. Thanks a lot Maryland/DC.

J-Red said...

McGahee not playing has been known since about August 5th. Don't blame me for your failure to go to

The option to defer is new to the NFL this year. Prior to this year, if the winner of the coin toss chose to kick, the other side got to choose which end zone to defend and still had the option to receive the kick again in the second half. If the winner of the coin toss selected which end to defend, the other team got to choose whether to kick or receive (and always would pick receive) and then would get to choose again before the second half.

Prior to this year, a team would only opt to defend part of the field in the most onerous of wind conditions.

michael said...

I derived genuine pleasure from Tom Brady getting injured. Does that make me a bad person?

"ben" said...

"Prior to this year, a team would only opt to defend part of the field in the most onerous of wind conditions."

Yes, in fact we've seen that, even in overtime.

J-Red said...

Now as for how that strategy works out....

big tuna said...

I get it, the Lions suck.

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