What a week it’s been so far. The Raiders, the Jaguars, the Browns AND the Buccaneers all won games on the same game day. And the world hasn’t stopped – yet. But it might be a sign that the end is near.
How else can you explain the sudden skill player injury bug that the Dallas Cowboys befell. First taking star receiver Dez Bryant and then taking down Tony Romo and Jason Witten (who hasn’t missed a game in a decade).
And is there another logical explanation as to why the relentless Front 7 of the Buffalo Bills with goliaths like Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus couldn’t generate any form of pass-rush against Tom Brady? No. (Good offensive line play is not a valid answer here, got it?)
So, before the apocalypse of a Raiders season with more than 4 wins can become a reality, here are the Top 5 OMG moments of the week:
1. The Eagles were a walking dumpster fire
Saying that the Cowboys – Eagles game was good would be a lie. Even if you were a Dallas Cowboys fan you probably weren’t a fan either. It was one of the sloppiest games I have ever seen in my life and it both teams weren’t playing very well, but while the Dallas Cowboys still managed to get at least some offensive plays done, the Eagles were a complete disaster.
Nothing seemed to click on that Eagles offense on sunday. The offensive line was non-existent at best and it caused the running backs to end the game with -2 (!) rushing yards (DeMarco Murray had 2 yds, while Sproles had -4. Sam Bradford also added 9 yds on the ground). That’s normally a rushing yard total only existing in Madden, or the German Football League…
To say that it was awful would be an understatement and remember: Chip Kelly’s fast paced up-tempo offense is supposed to rely heavily on the run game. That won’t work with an O-Line like that. Even the best running backs need some space to work with and Philly most certainly doesn’t lack these type of running backs.
So with no running game Sam Bradford was tasked with carrying the Offense on his shoulders – and to say the least, he failed.
While the numbers don’t look too bad (23-37 for 224 yds, 1TD, 2INTs) the game tape tells a different tale. Most of his 224 yds came in garbage time when he and Jordan Matthews finally had decided to play together and score a late 4th quarter TD. Other than that last TD drive, Bradford looked awful and out of sync with his offense.
He overthrew open receivers all day and especially the first Interception was a real head scratcher (he threw the ball right into Sean Lee, who perfectly covered a receiver). But the worst thing about his performance was definitely his decision-making. Whenever the Eagles faced a 3rd and long (which happened quite often) and needed a long gain, Bradford’s answer almost always was a screen pass to his running back, which resulted in (surprise, surprise) not in a first down.
And then there were the penalties… OMG, the penalties…
I’ve watched the Bills – Patriots game before and there were already a loooot of penalties but this game managed to be even worse…
Yes, the Cowboys actually had 18 penalties (which is totally not ridiculous) and the Eagles only 8, but it hurt the Eagles way more because the penalties always seemed to come when the Eagles actually had completed a pass/ gained a first down. Basically the Eagles seemed to beat themselves on nearly every play and it probably won’t help that both starting inside linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso (most likely out for the year after yet another knee injury) were lost to injury, The Eagles are now 0-2 and it looks as if the bold moves Chip Kelly made are backfiring quickly.
Especially Evan Mathis absence on the once good Offensive line was felt badly yesterday.
If Kelly isn’t able to get his offense going, it’s going to be a long season in Philly – and full of booing Eagles fans…
2. The Cowboys are running out of skill position players … and still win
Yes, that is quite impressive, even though it probably speaks more about the horrible play by the Eagles than about how good the Cowboys are. Dallas went into the game without DEs Randy Gregory (ankle), Greg Hardy (suspension), LB Rolando McClain (suspension) and most notably without WR Dez Bryant (foot).
Dallas D managed to play fairly well even without these 3 starters, but the real question would be how Dallas would make up for the loss of Dez. And at first it appeared as if it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Romo managed to move the ball well on their first scoring drive and Terrance Williams stepped up to get the Cowboys into the redzone. That’s where Dez was missed dearly. The fades to TE Gavin Escobar weren’t nearly as effective as hoped and the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal. Then Terrance Williams dissappeared for a huge portion of the game before re-appearing again late in the 4th quarter with the game-winning TD.
But before that the worst-case happened for Cowboys fans. Tony Romo was hit by a defender and wnt down hard, falling on his shoulder and fractured his clavicle. You only had to look into Jerry Jones’ face at that moment to realise that it was serious.
And then the cameras showed Brandon Weeden on the bench and you knew it was serious. Cowboys fans every must have been scared to death by the prospect of former first-round pick Brandon Weeden stepping on the field. Especially since the game wasn’t decided yet, Dallas was only leading 13-3 and it was nearly a full quarter left to play.
All Weeden had to do was not lose the game, which is a tough task if your name is Brandon Weeden and you’ve been a Cleveland Browns quarterback before.
But the unthinkable happened: Weeden didn’t choke and he managed to win the game. Even crazier, he managed to play really well, completing all of his 7 passes for 73 yards and scoring the game-winning Touchdown.
Let’s hope he can play that well against defenses that are actually preparing to stop him and the Cowboys might be able to stay in playoff contention for the next 8 weeks, so that Romo and Dez can come back and lead them to the promised land.
3. The Dolphins didn’t register a sack against the Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars winning against the Miami Dolphins could be considered enough of a OMG moment already, but the real stunner was the lack of pressure the Dolphins could create against the Jaguars O-Line.
When you have guys like Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and you go up against a line that has allowed 55 sacks last year, you could imagine a sack-fest in the making. Only it didn’t happen and that could actually be considered a miracle.
How is it possible that you have Cameron Wake, who is one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL and had 11.5 sacks last year, and now is aided by 126 Million Dollar man Suh (who is known for wreaking havoc in opposing backfields…. and for kicking opponents, but that’s another story) and they cannot get behind a line that shows the resistance of toilet paper?!
These two have been a major disappointment so far, with Wake not registering one single tackle so far and Suh with only 3 in two games. That’s unacceptable for a team that spent so much money on that line and especially for a team that wants to get into the playoffs.
This defense was supposed to be imposing, with Suh, Wake and Vernon destroying the opposing QBs and RBs and with Brent Grimes covering every receiver there is. So far that resulted in a 1-1 record and a career game for a Jaguars sophomore WR in Allen Robinson…
But on the flip side, Blake Bortles finally showed what he is capable of when he doesn’t have to run for his life on every play and has receiving help. Bortles finished 18-33 for 273 yds (155 of them to Allen Robinson), 2TDs and most importantly NO Interceptions. Hope this can continue and watching Jaguars football might actually become exciting once again. Fingers crossed.
4. The Lions aren’t ready
Last year, the Detroit Lions went 11-5 and sported the No.1 run-defense thanks to first-year DC Teryl Austin and a mighty Front 7 featuring Ndamokong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J Mosley, Ziggy Ansah, Tahir Whitehead and forgotten hero DeAndre Levy. Then the offseason came and Suh (Dolphins), Fairley (Rams) and Mosley (Dolphins, too) went and questions arose if Detroit could replicate their defensive success without the entire interior of their D-Line. But Lions fans could rest easy as they were sure that Austin could figure out a way to stay at the top. And they still had Levy, one of the best 4-3 Outside Linebackers in football.
On Sunday against the Vikings, they didn’t have Levy – and it showed…
The Lions couldn’t stop the run game and allowed Adrian Peterson to rush for 134 yards and that dropped them to 0-2.
And next up are the Broncos – not a good sign for Matt Stafford, who got beat up pretty badly by the Vikings pass-rush, thanks to an O-Line that looked lost. Luckily Denver doesn’t have any good pass-rushers….
Ohhh, they have DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller…. well, that’ll be fun.
5.Raiders, Jags, Browns and Bucs win on the same day
Whenever you were in a sports bar and tried to get a date with a girl and her response was: “Only when the Raiders, Jaguars, Browns and Bucs are winning a game on the same game day” – well, yesterday was your lucky day then. Congratulations!
But seriously, seeing teams that have been win less for years win is always a feel-good story. But having 4 feel-good stories on one day might make you question your sanity.
I mean, let’s be honest, if a friend would tell you that the Raiders won a shootout against the Baltimore Ravens, a week after getting shut out by the Cincinatti Bengals, you would suspect a prank.
You’d be even more suspicious when he told you that the Jaguars won a game against a playoff-contender – in September!
But how would you react if he went further and claimed that Johnny Manziel led the Browns to victory over the Tennessee Titans – okay, you wouldn’t be that surprised because the Titans aren’t a good football team and the Browns have a stingy defense.
BUT – as soon as he told you that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would win against the New Orleans Saints – in the SUPERDOME (!), you’d declare him insane and ask on what kind of drugs he is.
And yet – all of that genuinely happened. I still can’t believe that happened. What’s next? The Cubs will win the World series? England will win the EURO 2016? LeBron will retire to pursue a career as a pot baker? Tommy Wiseau will make The Room 2 and it’ll win an Oscar?!
Be afraid people, be very afraid.