Monday, September 26, 2016

Pack Back on Track

  • 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.

  • I loved seeing how pumped up all the Packers were to start the game. It was clear that it was a intentional effort. The players were playing with attitude, and even Jordy was showboating for the crowd! *Swoon*

  • 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.
green bay packers packers jordy nelson randall cobb atlvsgb

  • 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.
green bay packers packers aaron rodgers clay matthews should be on barneys get psyched mix

  • 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.

  • 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-liE-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.

  • I thought this Cam Newton photo was photoshopped. It is not.

  • 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.
HULU angry arrested development anger jeffery tambor

  • 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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Packers Score First in New Vikings Stadium

  • Whatever, Minnesota can have silly opener win in their stupid, ugly new stadium. Don’t even care. At least Jordy had the first ever touchdown in the stadium. He’ll always have that.

  • Minnesota pulled out the win 17-14, managing to keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands at the end, so there was no chance for a Hail Mary. I’m not sure how likely it would have been; Green Bay struggled mightily in the passing game, averaging just 4.4 yards per pass (yuck) to Minnesota’s 7.3.

  • Okay, so it turns out I was pretty much wrong about everything. I was most concerned about Green Bay’s run defense and felt fairly confident in their secondary and their offense. As it turns out, the run defense was pretty good, holding Minnesota to 30 yards on 22 carries! Meanwhile, the Packers offense, even with Nelson back on the field, looks worryingly similar to last year. They really need a third receiver and/or tight end to step up.
Someone please help them!

  • That receiver will not be Davante Adams, apparently. I’m so done with him (still). Is he really the best third option? Really? Adams fumbled his first reception of the night, and I knew he was going to fumble that as soon as he tried to make a move. Thank God for Randall Cobb, coming up big with the forced fumble. Way to fight for that, Green Eyes.

  • Minnesota’s secondary was struggling quite a bit, which should have meant a big night for the Green Bay passing game. Should have. Two weeks in, the Packers’ offense seems to be heavily reliant on penalties. It seems to be the only way they can move the ball.

  • With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, down 10-7, Green Bay elected to go for it on 4th & 2 on the Minnesota 14. I absolutely love the call! Especially from Mike McCarthy, who has never met a fourth down he didn’t want to punt away. I was so glad -- until I saw James Starks in the backfield. Honestly, can someone tell me why you even bother having Eddie Lacy on your roster if you’re not using him on fourth-and-short? That’s everything he’s designed for!

You don't earn the nickname "The Hulk" to ride the bench in short yardage situations.

  • While we’re on the question, why have James Starks on your roster at all?

  • It can be difficult to determine if the quarterback or receiver’s at fault on an incompletion, but Rodgers sure looked off. A lot of overthrows, it seemed. Fans are just not used to seeing him miss throws that frequently. Plus, his Spidey-sense didn’t seem to be going off against the pressure -- he fumbled three times on Sunday night! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO IF MY QUARTERBACK ISN’T PERFECT.
Neither does Mike McCarthy, apparently.

  • Speaking of fumbles, how bad are the Vikings at recovering fumbles? In their defense, a lot of luck is involved in recovering fumbles, but of the six fumbles, Minnesota only recovered two, one of which they immediately fumbled back to Green Bay. 

  • The Packers defense really missed Sam Shields, who was out with a concussion. Maybe he could have done something -- anything -- to stop Stefon Diggs, who had nine receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown. That’s two more yards than the Packers’ passing offense.

  • The only thing Diggs wasn’t ready for was his moment in the spotlight after the game.

  • Diggs helped the newly-minted Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford have one of the best games of his career: 71% completion rate, 286 yards, two touchdowns, and a 121.2 passer rating. I still don’t know what to think about Bradford, though. I never know what to think of him. I almost never have to think him because he’s been injured, like, 50% of his career.

  • Already down Shields, the Green Bay defense had a string of injuries: they lost Letroy Guion to a sprained MCL, Morgan Burnett to a hamstring injury (whaaa?!?), and Clay Matthews to an unspecified injury. Ruh roh. 

  • The biggest injury news of the game was Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was unable to leave the field under his own power after tearing his meniscus. (Get better soon, AD!) Grossest-looking injury goes to Sam Bradford, who banged his non-throwing hand on a defender’s helmet. It looks like a watermark!

  • Our new punter has not been exactly knocking it out of the park. It felt like the Packers were getting absolutely killed on field position. Minnesota downed five of seven punts inside the 20. The Packers did the same on just one of five. Tim Masthay’s still available, right?

"Just waiting, guys. Kept my uniform and everything."

  • The Vikings acquired offensive guard Alex Boone in the offseason, and, boy, he sure knows how to sweet talk his new team’s fans. Regarding the crowd noise in the new stadium, Boone remarked, “We could barely hear the snap count today a couple times -- a couple false starts, because guys wouldn't know when the snap was going. I'm not saying it's the fans' fault, but I'm just saying it would be nice if they would shut the f--- up a little bit."  So glad you’re here, Alex!

  • At least the Chicago Bears are in the basement of the NFC North, so not everything's backward. I am truly sorry that Jay Cutler got hurt, though. I hope he recovers fast.

  • The Cleveland Browns’ luck is just … so … Cleveland Browns-y. After losing Robert Griffin III in his first game as a Brown last week, backup-then-starter-then-backup-now-starter Josh McCown suffered a shoulder injury. When Cleveland starts rookie Cody Kessler next week, they will be starting their fifth quarterback in their last five games.

  • I promised you updates on Calvin Johnson performing on Dancing with the Stars. I love him! And he’s so sweet!

  • No one needed another reason to dislike Tom Brady, but then it comes out that the man has never eaten a strawberry in his life. That means he’s never had a chocolate-covered strawberry. Or strawberry shortcake. Or strawberry jam. What kind of barbarian hasn’t had a strawberry? But then, THEN, Brady doubles-down and gets all defiant, saying he has “no desire” to try a strawberry.

Oh shut up, Tom. Just stop cheating and eat a strawberry.

  • Speaking of the New England Patriots, things went from thin to thinner at quarterback. Handsome Jim suffered a shoulder injury in the first half after leading the Pats to a 24-0 lead over the pitiful Miami Dolphins. In stepped rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett. The Pats held off a Miami comeback behind Brissett, but now they’re facing a Thursday night game against the Houston Texans (eek) with one available quarterback.

  • I want to write a weekly NFL Winners & Losers column that's literally just a list of which teams won and which teams lost.

  • This has got to be a terrible feeling for a quarterback: the snap goes over your head, it’s bouncing around and you’re trying to chase it down, and the whole time,  you know that JJ Watt is probably about .002 seconds from destroying you.

  • Brock Osweiler looks like the bland boyfriend/fiance of the heroine at the start of a movie whom we all know she’s not going to end up with.

Spoiler alert: she's going to end up with her best
friend, whom she never noticed before now.

  • The Detroit Lions lost to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15, and they don’t have to look far for the reasons. The Lions racked up 17 penalties, 138 yards’ worth, including THREE touchdowns that were called back. Man, it must be tough to be a Lions fan. After years of embarrassing seasons, they finally get a super talented team that always looks to be on the cusp, but is always characterized by sloppiness, recklessness, and a lack of discipline that keeps them from ever getting to the top.

Oh and their best player in decades decided to retire early,
just like their last franchise player.

  • The good news for the New York Giants is that the got the win over the New Orleans Saints, 16-13. The really distasteful part is that their kicker/wife-beater Josh Brown was the one to score the winning field goal.

"Why, yes, of course I remember the Ray Rice disaster. Why do you ask?"

  • Greg Olsen is such a great weapon for Cam Newton. It always amazes me how the Chicago Bears traded him away. 

  • Phil Simms was in midseason form on Sunday, and I highly recommend you read the Phil Simms Quote newsfeed from this weekend.

  • If you wear this hat and neither tap dance nor sing a few barbershop standards with three other guys, you’re letting everyone down, Cam.

  • The Los Angeles Rams got their first win, which I don’t care about, but it was over the Seattle Seahawks, which I definitely care about. =)

  • Poor, cheating Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had a meltdown.

  • Guess which quarterback has the longest active streak of games with a touchdown? No, no, just guess. C’mon. Fine -- Blaine Gabbert! I would have guessed at least 22 quarterbacks before I guessed Blaine.

  • Ugh I hate the Oakland Raiders’ field! It always looks like they’re playing at the nearest local park they could find that was available.

"Okay guys, we have to be off the field by 5; there's a Little
League tournament tonight."

  • A reporter asked Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams a question that began with how Williams is more than just an insurance policy for the Steelers while starter Le'Veon Bell is out. Williams objected: “No! I am an insurance policy. I'm driving the car till L-Bell gets back. I'm trying to keep us in good position till he gets back. That's good with me. When I came here, I came here to win a Super Bowl. That's the only thing I care about.” Gotta love a teammate with that sort of humility.

  • Jordy Nelson now has his own cereal, Jordy’s Farm Fresh Flakes. All my Wisconsin peeps, go out and buy ALL of these for me! Do I like cereal? No. Do I eat breakfast? No. Does it sound like a box of hay? Yes. Does any of that matter? No.

  •  Next week, the Packers finally get to play at Lambeau. Bring on the Lions!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jordy's Back, the Packers Won, and All Is Right in the World

  • Green Bay Packers football is finally back and so is Jordy Nelson!! Jordy played his first real game in over a year and a half and you know he put some points up on the board, scoring his 50th career touchdown.

  • The Pack defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-23 in a closer-than-it-felt game. Though it seemed as though Green Bay had control throughout the game (maybe that’s just me?? Aaron Rodgers didn’t agree), Jacksonville had a good shot at the win before the Packers defense held them on fourth down with 14 seconds left. It was a great stand by the D, but I kinda felt that it wouldn’t have been necessary if they had maybe defended better the rest of the game. The Packers gave up 320 passing yards to Blake Bortles. Granted, the Jaguars have some great receivers in the Allens (Hurns and Robinson), but 320 is a lot of yards. And while they came through in the clutch stopping the final fourth down attempt, Green Bay gave up three fourth down conversions in the game.

  • The first touchdown of the season went to Mr. Aaron Rodgers who had ran one in to go with his two throwing touchdowns. One of those passing TDs was this crazy impressive throw to Davante Adams. Only Rodgers could get the ball into that small of a window while having a defender pulling on his jersey like that. Bee-yootiful. Watch it from every angle.

  • After Eddie Lacy’s weight was discussed ad nauseum the entire offseason, I’ll just say that Eddie looked good, fast, and tough. Glad to have the old Eddie back.  

  • Sam Shields suffered a concussion in the game, which is really, really scary. Shields has had concussion issues in his past, and last season suffered a concussion that caused him to black out on the field and left painful headaches lingering, which kept him out for four games. It seems that there’s definitely a cumulative effect of concussions, so here’s hoping Shields is okay.

  • Speaking of Shields, how adorbs is it that he had all his defensive teammates sign his cleats? It started out as a joke, Shields said, but “this is who I’m playing for.”

  • The interior defense looked more of the same that we’ve seen over the past few seasons as general manager Ted Thompson seems unwilling to spend any money on inside linebacker (let’s just draft another late-round, unathletic white guy instead!) and it shows. I’m trying really hard to give Jake Ryan a chance, but it’s hard for me not to make snarky A.J. Hawk comparisons. Losing Mike Pennel to a four-game substance abuse suspension is also hurting in the middle of the defensive line. =/
We miss Pennel's size. And creative eye black art.

  • Punters never get any love, so I’ll take some space to say the Jacksonville Jaguars punter was absolutely killing Green Bay. He had at least two punts downed inside the five. (I’m not going to give him enough love to, say, actually look up his name.)

  • Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olsen is the man I would cast as the disreputable car guy in a heist movie whom the team has to hire even though they don’t trust him because he’s the “best in the business.”
But will he betray them??

  • I was concerned about how the offensive line would perform in their first game without Josh Sitton, but they looked pretty solid and only gave up one sack.

  • Jacksonville cornerback Davon House used to play for the Packers, and I love him. I follow his blog -- he’s a pretty good writer! -- and always cheer for him to do well. His answer to a reporter’s question on facing his old team is why:
“I don't know if people are thinking, 'I hate Green Bay and I have to go out and kill them.' No. To me, that's dumb. This is the team that drafted me. To me, I'm excited to show them how much better I've gotten being a full-time starter ... I'm excited about that, but there's no bad blood.”
I'm excited, too, Davon!

  • I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed this before, but the Jaguars helmets are super cool. They’re half-matte, half-shiny. Though not everyone thinks they're as cutting edge as I do.

  • Check out this insane Allen Robinson catch! I want to say that it's just dumb luck, but you can see Robinson's impressive presence of mind to locate the ball in mid-air while he's being tackled.

  • Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville QB, says he is 24 years old. Look at this picture and tell me if you really believe that.
Also, Blake is actually his middle name, so if he's lying about
his real name, what else might he be lying about?

  • Fantastic Week 1! Of the 16 games played, 11 were one-score games!

  • One such game was the New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders. 32 points were scored in the fourth quarter!! The Raiders were down seven with six minutes left in the game when they began a methodical game-tying drive. Except that it wasn’t game-tying. Oakland scored a touchdown and, instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game, decided to go for two!!! Now, I personally don’t like that call, but Oakland fans have to love the gutsiness: first game of the season, on the road, close game, haven’t led since the first quarter, and playing against one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Raiders converted the two-point try for a one-point lead. There were 47 seconds left on the clock. New Orleans made a darn good march down the field, considering the circumstances, and were left at the end facing a 61-yard field goal with an undrafted rookie kicker, who gave a good try, but just missed the field goal.

I would just assume head coaches are really busy immediately after
games, but the Raiders HC found some time to throw some shade at math.

  • Raiders rookie running back Jalen Richard scored a touchdown on his first NFL carry! It was a pretty one, too:

  • Houston Texans vs Chicago Bears is great because it combines two of my favorite things: Jay Cutler getting sacked and JJ Watt.
Unfortunately, none of the five sacks on Cutler came directly from JJ, but I'm a
glass-half-full girl, so I just appreciate that there were five sacks.

  • The Atlanta Falcons are not bothering to get their fans’ hopes up this year; they’re skipping right to the letting down part.

  • Speaking of teams you should never trust, the San Diego Charger had a huge meltdown on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers were up 21-3 at halftime and somehow lost! The Chiefs outscored the Chargers 24-6 in the second half to send the game to overtime, eventually winning on an Alex Smith rushing touchdown.
That's how your fans feel, too, Philip.

  • Well, well, color me surprised. A (former) Packers player with a hamstring injury.You don’t say? Teams should be wary of any player they get from Green Bay. There’s about a 50% chance they will constantly have a hamstring injury. It’s like manufacturer’s warning.

  • The Detroit Lions looked pretty good in their first game of the P.M. (Post-Megatron) Era. I have a weird soft spot for Matthew Stafford, so I was a little happy, but I have an even softer spot for Andrew Luck and the Lions are division rivals, so I was more sad than happy when the Lions squeaked out a win over the Indianapolis Colts in the final seconds. Stafford completed 79% of his passes for 340 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 128.6 passer rating.

  • With four minutes left, Detroit scored to take the lead, but kicker Matt Prater missed the extra point! Indianapolis, down only six, advanced downfield, looking to be in total control. Luck hit tight end Jack Doyle for the touchdown and the Colts led 35-34. Unfortunately, Indy stopped the clock too much on their last drive, so there were still 37 seconds left. Detroit, full armed with all their timeouts, had consecutive plays of 19, 9, and 22 yards, and just like that, were facing a 43-yard field goal by Prater, who had missed the extra point on the previous drive and was the reason the Lions were looking at a loss instead of overtime. Prater, though, redeemed himself with the field goal and the Lions start their season 1-0.

And people said you wouldn't
survive without Calvin.

  • With the win, Stafford has the most fourth-quarter comebacks since 2011. (The guy he’s tied with? Tony “He’s Not Clutch” Romo.) The main reason for my soft spot for Stafford is I think he’s a capital-E Elite quarterback, and whenever he does well, he proves me right.

He looks worse in a suit.

  • Charles Woodson made his ESPN debut on Monday Night, wearing an ascot, no less. Wonder how he gets away with it? He’s Charles Freaking Woodson; he’ll wear an ascot if he damn well pleases, and you’ll like it.

(Not of fan of the sneakers-with-a-suit thing though. Grrr. Pet peeve of mine.)

  • Poor Terrance Williams! The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver failed to get out of bounds as the Cowboys were trying a desperate last-second comeback attempt. As a result the clock ran out before Dallas could spike the ball and the New York Giants won 20-19.

  • Now, the Cowboys were still on their own 46 yardline and didn’t have any timeouts, so even if they stop the clock, I don’t think they had much of a chance at the victory, but come on, Terrance! The sideline was right there! You even had Dez directing you exactly where to go!

  • But Williams was so sad after the game, I don’t have the heart to pile on him. Dak Prescott, making his debut as Dallas’ quarterback, handled the post-game presser very well: "The guy was trying to make a play. You never want to knock a guy trying to make a play."

Prescott was kinder than owner Jerry Jones, who chimed in
with a helpful, "He was coached to get out [of bounds]." Thanks, boss.

  • I find the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr and the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant playing around pre-game really charming. They’re just like real humans!

  • The Minnesota Vikings traded away their 2017 first-round pick (!) for Sam Bradford (!!), but it was Shaun Hill who quarterbacked the team on Sundays. I say  “quarterbacked” because he showed up and played quarterback, but didn’t really contribute anything to the Vikings’ 25-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans, nor did any of the offense: 0-for-3 in the redzone, no passing touchdowns, no rushing touchdowns. The defense carried the day, scoring two touchdowns, and kicker Blair Walsh contributed four field goals (and one missed point after touchdown).

  • Will Fuller, of whom I was a big fan in college, had a great first career game, catching five receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown.

Yay, Will! Now please do
something about your hair.

  • [Journalism side rant: This is the worst article I've ever seen. It starts in media res, and the first two sentences of second paragraph are talking about a entirely different team than the two who played in the game that, ya know, the article's supposed to be describing. That same paragraph features an unattributed quote that is also lacking a clear subject. The third paragraph opens by referencing a play that has not yet been mentioned. Then there's another unattributed quote. In paragraph four, the author says that the Bears won the game. Another unattributed quote. Paragraph five talks about Chris Clark replacing Alshon Jeffrey, which is sure to come as a surprise to both, since one plays for the Texans and the other plays for the Bears. Paragraph six has your run-of-the-mill unattributed quote. Paragraph seven pleads with the audience to help write the article. Paragraphs eight and nine time travel to before the game occurred. Paragraph 10 is just a random quote -- with attribution! -- but, alas, not correctly attributed. Paragraph 11 finally mentions the subject of the article title for one sentence. In paragraph 12, a slimmer of coherence breaks through as it is actually factually accurate for one entire sentence. The 13th and final paragraph reverts back to the time before the game was played. No way the "author" isn't a bot, right? Fin.]

  • Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver got the first touchdown of his career just by being alert. Stay ready.

  • Speaking of Steelers wide receivers, I. Love. Watching. Antonio. Brown.

  • I didn’t need another reason to like Troy Aikman, but if I did, here’s his view on his network hiring Skip Bayless:

  • The obsession with stats is getting ridiculous. I saw this one pop up in Thursday's game: the Denver Broncos became the first defending Super Bowl champions to win their season opener after being down 8+ points. That's not impressive or interesting in the least! I feel bad for the poor unpaid intern who spent hours sifting through database after database to find a statistic that literally no one cares about.

  • It’s only one game, but it’s got to be really disheartening for the Carolina Panthers to open up their season by missing a last-minute field goal to lose to the team that beat them in the Super Bowl, who are now quarterbacked by a guy who has never thrown an NFL pass before.

  • Maybe this is only funny if all your friends on social media are parents and post “first day of school” pictures that have comprised 90% of your newsfeed the last month, but DeAngelo Williams’ “First Day of the Regular Season” picture made me giggle.

  • Two Monday Night Football games this week? Come on, I know that I should be cheering more football, but not football that starts after my bedtime! MNF is a lot of fun, “playing under the lights” and all, but it’s exhausting after watching 10 hours of football the day before -- I can’t do seven more! Some of us have lives, you know. (Not me, but some of us.) So I’m sorry if anything happened in the San Francisco - St. Louis (fine, Los Angeles) game last night, but I'm not going to know about it.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo looks like a 1940s gangster. Put him in a zoot suit and fedora. He’d be called Handsome Jim.

I know, I know, I really wanted to make this a fancy
photoshop job, too, but my skills are limited to Paint.

  • Also, Garoppolo won his first NFL game, leading the short-staffed New England Patriots over the Arizona Cardinals in Tom Brady’s justly deserved absence. Arizona was a missed field goal away from the victory, but were expected to win rather handily.

The bright side for Arizona is that Larry Fitzgerald scored his 100th
career touchdown. Congrats, Fitz!

  • Man, the RGIII Comeback is really struggling to take off the ground. Griffin has not played in a game since December 2014, and now, in his first start with his new team, the Cleveland Browns, he suffered fractured bone in his left shoulder (ow). Griffin has been placed on IR, but could be designated to return. I kind of feel like Griffin and Cleveland are a good match for each other, but only in a really depressing way.

  • Get ready for the Packers to manhandle the Minnesota Vikings Sunday night!!