Week 2: Four Downs With Chris
This was in many ways a wacky week 2 in the NFL. With fresh football to digest we are spared from the less palatable headlines. Here are four of the my most interesting takeaways from the week of football.
First Down: Browns Stun The Saints
The Browns treated their home crowd to a thrilling 26-24 victory over the favored New Orleans Saints. Cleveland got off to a 17-3 lead that took everyone by surprise. Drew Brees struggled in the beginning of this game; he had under 10 yards in the opening quarter. The Saints came back and scored 3 of the last 5 scores in the game. After earning a healthy lead the Browns barely squeaked by. This makes me question what we should takeaway from the game. Are the Browns this good or did the Saints have a bad day?
I think its a little of both. Cleveland has talent, especially on defense. With stable quarterback play and a good running game, they had the ammunition to win. Its hard to buy Cleveland as a world beater, though. Brian Hoyer played well but needs to prove he can do that on a regular basis. Once Drew Brees found his groove, he gashed the Browns defense. Twice on the last drive, New Orleans should have stopped the Browns offense. New Orleans has a history of stumbling on the road. The Saints blew it as much as the Browns won it. Credit Cleveland, just don’t get carried away yet.
2nd Down: Im sorry Dean Pees
In two games the Ravens have allowed 7 field goals and only 1 touchdown. If the Ravens can continue to average 14 points allowed a game, that would be really good. I was critical of Pees after the Bengals game. I thought we were too passive and allowed the Bengals to have their way. The defense, kept us in the game. I was wrong-even if it was too passive the results were good. If it was not for one boneheaded play against AJ Green the Ravens may be 2-0 right now. The defense got more pressure against Ben Roethlisberger. The defense forced 3 turnovers and surrendered only 6 points. I may have my reservations about the defense, but if its keeping teams out of the end zone, there is nothing to complain about.
3rd Down: Enough Penalties?
The Sunday Night Football showcase featured the Bears and the 49ers. It was the opening of the 49ers new beautiful stadium. The officials called a combined 26 penalties in the 49ers loss. There were stretches where it seemed that there was a flag on every play.
The penalties hurt the 49ers the most. They had 16 penalties, costing them over 100 yards. A few of the penalties kept costly Bears drives alive. The flags tainted what was otherwise a great game. While both teams played a sloppy brand of football at times the penalties seemed excessive.
Colin Kaepernick was flagged for inappropriate language, the holy grail of BS penalties. Anyone who calls this has a stick where the sun don’t shine. Its naive to think that the players watch their language at all on the field. This was a costly 15 yards for a word.
The flags were ridiculous but they hurt both teams and the game was called consistently. Some games you get away with a little more contact in the secondary, this was not one of those games. The refs called every conceivable penalty on every ticky-tacky thing. It may have been ridiculous but at some point the players had to adjust.
Don’t look now, but the Arizona Cardinals lead the NFC West at 2-0. The Cards have such a strong team. They have playmakers on offense and defense. They play a physical and stingy style of football. The Cardinals are going to be a tough team this season.
The Cardinals get half the attention of the Seahawks and 49ers. That being said its hard to knock the Cardinals on anything. They just got a victory in New York with their back up quarterback. They beat a very strong Chargers team in week 1. After an impressive 2-0 start, we have to take Arizona seriously.