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Sunday, June 16, 2024
The Observer

Herko: NFL Week 1 (over)reactions

New York Knicks Trending on ‘X’ after Giants and Jets Games

It was a football weekend with highs and lows in New York City. The Giants and Jets were two of the most talked about teams going into the season, but both games saw New York fans with varying amounts of concern for the season.

The Giants could not get anything done on either side of the ball. The Cowboys defense would just not leave Daniel Jones alone. He spent most of the game trying to hide from Micah Parsons and the Dallas D-Line, really earning that 8.4 quarterback rating. On the bright side, it did rain the entire night so he also got the turf's crumb rubber in his face throughout the game.

And then there’s the Jets. The stars of Hard Knocks. Aaron Rodgers had to be helped off the field after playing four snaps in a Jets uniform. One of the most talked about moves during the offseason, the Jets worked hard to prepare an offense that would make Rodgers happy, signing Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, fellow Green Bay refugees. And while Zach Wilson did a great impersonation of an NFL quarterback, it was the defense that really shined.

All may not be lost in New York if they can limit points by one of the best offenses in the NFL and keep generating turnovers. But losing Rodgers for the season (and maybe ever) throws a massive wrench in the plan.

But worry not New York Sports Fans, the Knicks host the Celtics at home on Oct. 25.

Was Tom Brady the best QB at Gillette? 

Tom Brady made history yet again in New England this weekend. During a ceremony at halftime honoring his time with the team, Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced that Brady would be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on June 12, 2024.

A football game interrupted the Tom Brady Party with many questioning whether the 46-year-old would have been more productive on the field than the two quarterbacks who actually played.

Jalen Hurts went 22/33 for 170 yards and only one touchdown, plus a near game-losing fourth-quarter fumble. Mac Jones was a bit better going 34/55 for 316 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. Why he was throwing 55 passes is a great question, however. He was 17th among all quarterbacks in yards per pass and 14th in passer rating. In a game that had a lot of field goals, it was no wonder that Jeffrey Lurie looked miserable watching his reigning Super Bowl runners-up struggle against a relatively unexciting Patriots team.

Failing to Beat Fictional Woodland Creatures

One of the biggest surprises of the week was the lackluster play of the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Third Year star Ja’Marr Chase made headlines Thursday by taunting the Browns’ less-than-intimidating mascot before their divisional match-up. But he changed his tune after the game. He recorded five catches for 39 total yards in the loss “to some elves.”

The highest-paid player in the NFL, Joe Burrow, had his worst game since high school, completing only 14 passes for 82 yards. He was benched with five minutes to go. Maybe he can use some of that money to refund all of the fantasy managers who drafted any player on the Bengals offense. Special shout out to Tee Higgins who failed to catch a pass on eight(!) targets Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys: Super Bowl Champions? 

Get rid of the question mark. Enough said.

Wide Receiver Wanted: Apply in Kansas City

In a normal week, the defending Super Bowl Champions losing in the first week would have been the main headline. Buried in the madness that was Sunday and Monday Night was the Lions’ complete exposure of the Chiefs. 

Losing Travis Kelce hurt the offensive’s playmaking ability. But looking at the Chiefs depth chart after the fact, there are no ‘wow’ players running routes out there. Kadarius Toney (who is listed as WR1 on the depth chart) had one catch on five targets, a stat line that doesn’t even convey how poorly that game went for him. He's been featured on some ... "creative" social media posts as a result.

Mahomes is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But he can’t catch the passes he throws (usually). Any team that plays the Chiefs should put their best defender (or best two) on the star tight end and dare any other receiver to make a play. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Isiah Pacheco will get yards and maybe a rookie will make a splash play. But otherwise, that offense is going to struggle.

The Curse of Acrisure Stadium 

There weren't a ton of high expectations surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers going into the season (outside of Yinzer Nation, of course). However, the Steelers somehow managed to do the impossible and suck even more than anyone could have imagined.

Najee Harris could not do anything on the ground, getting only 31 yards on six carries. Granted, the Steelers only ran the ball 10 times so I’m not sure if that can be even considered giving the running game the good ol’ college try. Kenny Pickett probably would have loved more running plays because he threw two picks and was sacked five times in the 30-7 loss to San Francisco. It took the Steelers more than 28 minutes to get a first down.

Brock Purdy was one of the big question marks going into the season. There was speculation that he wouldn’t be able to recreate the magic of last season or that his elbow would slow him down. Let’s just say certain head coaches might wish their young quarterbacks (who were taken in the first round of the same draft that Purdy was selected last in) were playing more like him. 

Considering Pitt lost this weekend as well (they share Acrisure Stadium with the Steelers), it may not be too long before Pittsburgh fans start blaming poor performances on a certain missing ketchup bottle rather than the players, the coaches or the front office. 

1,785 Yards to Go 

Tyreek Hill made headlines during training camp saying that he would be getting to 2,000 yards during the season which was met with skepticism considering the difficulty of the feat. For one, it's never happened before. Second, the health of Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tugavoilia is also a concern.

For now, these concerns have been laid to rest as he had 215 yards in the Dolphins’ 36-34 victory over the Chargers. Hill, now on pace for 3,655 yards, would shatter Calvin Johnson’s 2012 record of 1,964 yards.

Notre Dame Better Than Florida State

Cam Akers started the game for the Rams Sunday against the Seahawks. But it was former Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams who finished for Los Angeles in the backfield. Willams scored two touchdowns in the game, while Akers only scored one. 

Akers, who was drafted out of Florida State in 2020, got more carries in the game. But inefficiency problems appear to have followed him into the 2023 season. If these problems continue, Williams could replace Akers as RB1 in LA.

This shouldn’t surprise Notre Dame fans. We already knew we were better.

Not Actually a Surprise

The Panthers and Texans are still not good football teams. Adding rookie quarterbacks did, in fact, not improve the situation. With such a chaotic week one, it’s nice to have some consistency.

Of course, Week Two starts in a few hours so all of this could change very quickly. Except for the stuff about the Cowboys. Those are my Super Bowl Champions.

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