- That’s how you start a game, boys! The opening drive looked like the Green Bay Packers we all know and love -- up-tempo, sharp, undefendable.
- Green Bay defeated the Detroit Lions 34-27, which is awesome, but it was a lot more awesome when they were leading 31-3 with one minute before halftime. The second half was, uh, less awesome, so let’s just concentrate on the first half. Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers rekindled their bromance and the connection was pretty strong.
- There was so much more variety in the playcalling in the first half. It was still great to see some creativity -- Ty Montgomery in the backfield, Trevor Davis getting snaps, a clear effort to target Jared Cook, James Starks playing receiver, Nelson in the slot. Even when the new looks didn’t work, they made the defense have to think a little more and guess a little more.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 25, 2016
- Ty Montgomery had a nice heads-up play. Detroit kicked off following their first-quarter field goal, and the ball came down just outside of the endzone, just inside the sidelines. Montgomery, knowing the rules, stepped out of bounds, made sure his feet were out, then reached in to grab the ball. Since he, the returner, was out of bounds when he touched it, that makes the kick out of bounds, and an out of bounds kick is a penalty that puts the ball on the 40-yard-line. Nice work there, Ty. #StandfordEducated.
- The Packers defense had some nice moments, but were clearly missing some of their big names. Linebacker Clay Matthews, safety Morgan Burnett, nose tackle Letroy Guion, and linebacker Datone Jones were all out for the game with injuries. Add to that Demarious Randall leaving for a key stretch of the game (he returned), and the Packers had some big gaps on defense, like when rookie corner Josh Hawkins let Lions receiver Marvin Jones turn a short catch into a 73-yard touchdown because he thought Jones had stepped out of bounds. =(
- On the offensive side, fullback Aaron Ripkowski left with a back injury and Cook suffered an ankle injury. (Come on, Jared, you were just getting going!) So, all in all, even though I’m going to spend the bulk of next week’s post complaining about the Packers having a bye in the fourth week, it could actually be great timing for them, considering the limp bodies they have littering their training rooms.
- Amazingly, none of Sunday’s injuries was a hamstring, but that won’t stop me from complaining about the Packers’ constant hamstring issues.
|The training and medical staff has noticed, right? Like, I don't|
need to send them this screenshot?
- Cornerback Damarious Randall, who showed some brilliant flashes last season as a rookie, continued his 2016 struggles, getting beat more than a few times. He did, however, have an interception, and it was my favorite kind, where it’s not really a play on the ball; the defensive back is just like, “Gimme that!!!”
- Jordy had a stellar game, with over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He’s so great.
- After going 14 straight games without a passer rating of 100+ -- previous longest streak was four -- Aaron Rodgers finished the game with a 129.3 rating. Rodgers was 15-of-24 for 205 yards and four touchdowns, almost all of which came in the first half. No, seriously, he only had three completions in the second half.
- I’m trying not to be too alarmed by the wildly disappointing second half. Rodgers’ numbers don’t concern me that much because Eddie Lacy was handling things for all of the third and most of the fourth quarters, racking up 103 yards on 17 carries.
- The offense, wavered in the second half, but came through when needed, with Rodgers running for a key third down that sealed the victory. Game over!
- I don’t mind a team playing prevent defense in a blowout, but the Packers defense plays sooooo soft when they have a big lead. It’s not really a wonder that the Lions were able to get back in the game. Though, it should be noted, that Lions do have a pretty good offense.
|Not good enough that Marvin Jones Jr. should have been|
able to put up 205 yards, but good nonetheless.
- Someone told me he was benching Nelson in his fantasy league because the Packers offense had been so spotty. I tried to warn him that don’t ever bet against Aaron Rodgers when he’s pissed, and you know he’s pissed hearing everyone asking what’s wrong with him. (Like in this article, which is a good evaluation of why Rodgers has not been up to his standards of late.) Rodgers does not like to be doubted, and you knew he was going to come out swinging.
- The Packers run defense is currently tops in the league. They've been great, but I'm wary of getting too excited. They played against Jacksonville, who only ran on a third of their plays in 2015; they played great against Minnesota, even before Adrian Peterson went down; and then it's almost impossible for Detroit to run when they were down as far as they were, so I'm just going to stay cautiously optimistic about the run defense.
Stat that won’t make it into my column: the Packers are allowing 1.80 yards per rush attempt. Nobody else in the league is below 3.18 ypc.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 26, 2016
- Yeesh, Houston Texans. It's one thing to lose to a team playing their third-string rookie quarterback starting his first professional game, but it’s another not even to manage a single field goal! The Texans lost the the Jacoby Brissett-led New England Patriots, 27-0.
|JJ didn't even have a sack! =(|
- That’s all well and good for the Patriots, and people couldn’t praise Bill Belichick enough (with good reason), but they’ve got another problem. Brissett suffered a thumb injury in the victory, and second-string quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (Handsome Jim) is still recovering from a shoulder injury. New England is hoping that Brissett and/or Garoppolo will be healed up in time for their Week 4 game against division opponent Buffalo Bills. The Pats are trying to get to Week 5 in one piece, when Tom Brady (Handsome Tom) will return from his justly deserved suspension.
|♫ "Hooooold on, for one more week!"♫|
- Since 2011, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has more rushing touchdowns than anyone except Marshawn Lynch! Such a weapon to have a quarterback who can do the work of a running back.
- While Newton had a rushing touchdown on Sunday, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Minnesota Vikings, who defeated the Panthers 22-10. Everybody, by the way, should be scared of Minnesota’s defense, which had eight sacks on Newton, who is one of the strongest and most mobile quarterbacks in the league.
- The Panthers have averaged more than 40 points (!) in their last seven home games. They were held to 10 on Sunday.
|This is how Cam probably felt.|
- Impressive as they are, the Vikings can't seem to catch a break with injuries. They lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the season before the season even started. Left tackle Matt Kalil had surgery on his hip that will most likely keep him out for the entire season. Corner Xavier Rhodes hasn’t played in a game yet this season (but should return soon). Running back Adrian Peterson tore the meniscus in his right knee last week, which required surgery (he won’t be back until at least December). And now offensive guard Alex Boone was carted off with a hip injury.
|All this after they lost their mascot Ragnar |
in the offseason to a contract dispute!
- I’ve seen this clip about four dozen times since Sunday and it still makes me laugh every time. It’s hilarious to see Odell Beckham Jr complaining while still being held like a disobedient child by Josh Norman. And Norman carries him for, like, seven entire seconds, right in front of the ref, but still tries to pretend like he wasn’t doing anything, raising his hands in a comically over-the-top expression of innocence. Tip: turn the sound on.
- Soooo the Arizona Cardinals are really not very good, huh? They were considered Super Bowl contenders, but have now fallen to 1-2 after getting beat down by the Buffalo Bills 33-18. The Cardinals, who fooled everyone into thinking they were maybe good last week by playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had five turnovers, which probably accounts for QB Carson Palmer’s dreadful 36.0 passer rating.
- I caught the end of the New York Giants-Washington Redskins game, and I’m so glad I did. After Washington’s late field goal, the Giants took over down two points with 1:51 left and two timeouts. That’s when I started chanting, first just barely a whisper, then growing louder: “E-li … E-li… E-li!... E-li! ELI! ELI!” And sure enough, a moment later, Eli Manning throws the the game-losing interception. I never doubted him!
|And we were rewarded with a fantastic Manning Face.|
- Oh, Cleveland. People want to cheer for you, they really do. People feel bad for you and your fans. We’d like to pity-cheer you on. But everything you do is wrong You make it difficult. You’re so bad and so unlucky. Starting your fifth quarterback in as many games, you managed to take the terrible Miami Dolphins down to the last moment. You were lining up for the game-winning field goal, but YOU MISSED IT! Overtime. Dolphins touchdown. 0-3.
- Gosh, I couldn’t even cheer for shellacking the Chicago Bears experienced Sunday night. 1) It meant the Dallas winning. 2) Jay Cutler was out, so the joy of sacks and interceptions just wasn’t there. 3) It was so sad to watch a team get beat that badly. Really sad.
|Oh, and then Jay's coach is said publicly that Jay might not|
get his job back when he's healed up.
- I was going to be bummed about Dallas winning and generally looking pretty decent the past few games, but I’ve decided that this is actually even better. Now, the most disloyal, bandwagonest fans in the league are presented with a backup quarterback who has played very well in the stead of the frustrating, aging, oft-injured, underrated long-time starter. The speed with which the entire fan base will turn on Tony Romo after he throws his first interception is going to be a joy to watch. The absolute best part is just anticipating, knowing, that Jerry Jones isn’t going to be able to resist putting his foot in the middle of it all. Can’t wait.
|"Why, yes, I do have thoughts on our quarterback|
situation, thank you for asking..."
- I was going to say something about how those Pittsburgh Steelers never seem to fade, but then…. well, they had a rough Sunday. The Steelers lost to cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-3. Yikes. They had a great two weeks to start the season, but upon closer examination, they beat the Redskins and the Bengals, so now I don’t know what to think about the Steelers.
- As for the Eagles, I think it’s time to talk about Carson Wentz. The second-round pick has led Philly to a 3-0 record while completing 65% of his passes, averaging over 250 passing yards per game, and throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions. The grain of salt is, of course, the quality of opponents: the Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Bears, and now the Pittsburgh Steelers (who I don’t know about!). Regardless of the opponents, Wentz deserves major propers for his play thus far.
- Where did the Fitzmagic go??? Was it in the beard? New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had just the most dreadful day. He completed fewer than half his passes and had SIX interceptions!! My only question is how the Kansas City Chiefs only won by 21 points when they had an 8-1 turnover advantage?
|"Shhh. Shhh. It's okay, Ryan. Ryan, come here."|
- Here’s what I do for you all. I pay ridiculous amounts of money each month for DirecTV, one of the worst companies in the history of the human race, so that I can get Sunday Ticket and watch all the games. When I came home from a trip last month, I discovered that I wasn’t receiving any channels. I called and they walked me through all the attempts to fix it myself and none of them worked so they said they send someone to fix it. ‘Great,’ I thought, and scheduled the appointment happily, even though they weren’t able to come for a week. They called the day before to confirm. Then they showed up, fixed everything, and we all went on our merry ways. Then, I got my bill they other day and discovered that they had charged me $50 for the fixing their broken product! Swelling with righteous indignation, I called their customer “service” department and ended up spending an hour and 45 minutes and still no one could tell me why, in the three times I was in contact with them, no one ever mentioned they were going to charge me! And they kept on telling me that sending a technician to fix a receiver costs money (gee, really?) but isn’t that pretty basic customer service? Fixing a product of yours that is broken?? Especially considering that I pay over $100 a month, wouldn’t you think part of that covers customer service? Of course, I lost. Cable companies are evil and always win, so I had to pay $50 for to get them to fix their crappy product and I wasted an hour and 45 minutes of my life having a not-fluent-in-English customer service rep read me scripted responses that had nothing to do with anything I was saying over and over.
- Ugh I hate to end O&E on such an evil and horrible note, so here are some beautiful pictures to soothe our nerves.
- Enjoy the bye.