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So there I am, Sunday night, on my coach, happy that I would get to put my Patriots at #1 in the Power Rankings. I am eating room-temp buffalo chicken dip with a fork watching the Bears surprisingly outplay the Packers in Lambeau. Then, just as I am transitioning from beer to anxiety, things go from bad to worse in Green Bay as Aaron Rodgers goes down with a bad looking knee injury. He looks to be in pain, possibly crying, can’t put weight on it, and eventually needs to be carted off the field.
Aaron Rodgers is done for the season.
The Bears eventually built a 20-0 lead in the third quarter, an insurmountable lead against Packup DeShone Kizer. But then, just as I am about to flip over to the Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc, this happens:
The race for the Best Faked Injury & Overly Dramatic Comeback ESPY is over. Of course Rodgers hobbled back out, threw for 273 yards and 3 TDs in the second half to lead the Packers to a 24-23 victory. And of course I have to put him #1 in the Rankings.
After a tumultuous off-season filled with controversy real and contrived, many questioned whether this would be the year that the foundation of Patriot Nation began to crumble. There was reported friction between the coach and the quarterback over training methods (and the trainer’s access to the rest of the team). Then Edelman got suspended for PEDs, Gronk threatened to retire, and three of Brady’s other key targets (Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks, and Dion Lewis) signed elsewhere. As the GOAT traveled around the globe with his family all spring and summer it wasn’t far-fetched to believe that he might be done with the whole football thing. He even admitted that it was a different off-season for him, and that he needed a change of pace if he was going to continue his career.
At some point between riding camels in Qatar and dressing as an evil matador at the Met Gala, Tom must have remembered why he was put on this Earth. Not to read too much into a September victory against the Texans, but TB12 appears to be in his prime at 41. It wasn’t just the 3 TDs or the 102 passer rating, it was also the perfect footwork and fearless throws. This guy is not close to done.
Combine what happened in Foxboro with events across the league (Jimmy G suffers his first loss, Matt Patricia’s Lions have their doors blown off by the Jets) and it appears that the Brady/Belichick regime is still very much intact.
You didn’t see that coming, did you? I suppose that is, after all, the point of magic. But as G.O.B. taught us, a trick is something a whore does for money… what we saw in New Orleans this weekend was an ILLUSION! Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t actually walk right into the Superdome and throw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns. It only looked like he led his team to a stunning 48-40 upset over the Saints. How did he do it? We’ll never know… a good Fitzmagician never reveals his tricks.
For the first time since Christmas Eve 2016 the Cleveland Browns played an official NFL football game and did not lose! In fact, by tying the Steelers, the Browns are off to their best start since 2004. That is not a typo… the Browns have not won an opener since Baker Mayfield was in fourth grade!
Honestly, it is difficult to properly translate this franchise’s ineptitude (although HBO did a pretty good job). Here is perhaps the craziest stat: Since benching Brian Hoyer in favor of Johnny Manziel in November of 2014, the Browns’ record is 4-49-1. Bless ’em!
He comes in at #5, but nobody got more attention during Week 1 than the guy who has yet to report to his team. The consensus #1 fantasy football player has given a huge middle finger to nerds everywhere by deciding to protect his body for as long as he can. Poised to sign a huge free agent deal next offseason, Bell has left the Steelers high and dry (for now). His backup performed admirably, but at the end of the day, they tied a team that went 0-16 last year. Not a good look.
If you stayed up to watch all of the Raiders-Rams Monday night game it means that you either don’t have a job, don’t have a kid, or don’t adhere to Eastern Standard Time. I have conflicts in all 3 categories so I didn’t see a snap, but according to the internet it was a 33-13 road victory for L.A.
Apparently Todd Gurley played really well and the Rams D shut out the Raiders in the second half. I would also imagine that Jon Gruden made a bunch of funny faces watching Derek Carr throw three interceptions… would have been fun to see that.
Speaking of Tinseltown, the Chiefs put on a show in L.A. because that’s where the San Diego Chargers play their “home” games now. I put home in quotations because there aren’t actually any Charger fans in L.A. Instead, the stands are filled with fans of the visiting team who strategically scheduled their Disneyland vacation so they could catch a game. It worked out nicely for Andy Reid’s squad, who put up 38 points thanks to huge days from Patrick Mahomes (256 passing yards & 4 TDs) and Tyreek Hill (169 receiving yards & 2 of the TDs), look like the favorites in the AFC West. Regular Season Andy truly is one of the best coaches in football history.
It has been quite some time since Jets fans have had a QB1 to get excited about. After Sam Darnold’s first professional pass resulted in a pick-6 it appeared that they would need to keep waiting… but then the rest of the game happened.
Darnold had an efficient night (16-21, 198 yards, 2 TDs) and led his team to a 48-17 massacre of the Lions. More importantly he has the look of a franchise player that the Jets needed desperately.
On the flip side, it wasn’t a great debut for Detroit’s new head coach. Patricia, despite being a “defensive mastermind,” has given up 41 points to Nick Foles and 48 points to a Jets rookie in his last two games. Makes you think that Belichick may withhold some of the ingredients to the sauce.
Obviously Sunday night’s game will be remembered for Rodgers and the comeback, but let’s not forget what an absolute MONSTER Khalil Mack is. The DE/OLB/BAMF lived up to the hype after coming over from Oakland and signing a huge contract. As the first half came to a close he decided that he would just take the ball from the Packers whenever he felt like it, first with a strip-sack and then with a pick-6 that gave the Bears a 17-0 lead. Must be super embarrassing for whoever let him get away.
Nathan Peterman’s stat line against the Ravens: 5 completions on 18 attempts for a whopping 24 yards, no touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions. That’s good for a quarterback rating of 0.0… Nathan Peterman literally did not register as a quarterback.
Enter Josh Allen and his huge hands. The Bills were hoping to ease their first round pick into the starting role, but Peterman’s ineptitude has left them no choice. As I’ve always said, there are two things that just don’t exist in Buffalo these days: good quarterbacks and sturdy plastic tables.
Also Receiving Votes: Big Dick Nick, Saquon Barkley’s legs, My Bookie, Altitude, Kirk Cousins’ Old Team, Kirk Cousins’ New Team, but not Cam Newton’s stylist.