NFL Week 1 Live Blog
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7:29 PM: As I once wrote in a song about my favorite Jim Morrison lyrics: "This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end." Rodgers to Bennett, as the Packers put together a tremendous clock-killing drive.
Thanks for hanging out today, we'll make some tweaks and be back with . . . something similar next week. In the meantime, you are a failure in life if you don't subscribe to The MMQB: 10 Things Podcast, where Andy Benoit and I will break down all of Sunday's action, and subscribers will have it when you wake up in the morning. No Monday morning commute is complete without it!
Also, I'll be updating my Sunday FreakOut with the late games in the next hour or so, and Jonathan Jones is covering the Sunday nighter. So, Happy Football!(?)
7:28 PM: No Odell Beckham Jr. tonight, in case you hadn't heard.
7:24 PM: That Martellus Bennett penalty didn't just cost field position, it also stopped the clock. That's a free timeout for the Seahawks. That's a much bigger deal than the field position.
7:20 PM: This feels like the end. Aaron Rodgers dinged up a couple of times, but he's getting whatever he wants against a tired defense. And now they're jumping offsides.
7:02 PM: Seahawks D has been out there for a while, with a thin secondary and a tiring pass rush. Feels like they're on the ropes.
6:53 PM: Jacoby Brissett is now a part of our lives. Give him a warm welcome! He's under center for the Colts now.
6:51 PM: That Jimmy Graham drop was just devastating. Third-and-3, perfect back-shoulder throw. Something about a bread basket.
6:47 PM: By the way, The FreakOut, early-game analysis, is up if you want to re-live the magic of four hours ago.
6:41 PM: Packers finally break through, Rodgers catches the Seahawks substituting then finds Jordy Nelson up the seam. Still a one-possession game, but man, with what the Packers have been doing to the Seahawks up front. (I heard somewhere that the Seahawks' offensive line isn't very good.)
6:38 PM: Hmmmm, Kyle Shanahan's offense trying to get on the board here, driving late in the third quarter. Yeah, it's a rebuild. (Panthers D looks good too.)
6:35 PM: My 6-year-old daughter just popped in and said she needed her dinner heated up. Her dinner is a salad. (She likes her romaine lettuce and tomato slices HOT.)
6:29 PM: Russell Wilson had to make some absolutely Russell Wilson plays on that drive. This is a grind for the Seahawks offense right now.
6:25 PM: I've lost track of Rams-Colts, but if I remember correctly last I saw the Rams were up 712-3.
6:15 PM: Ty Montgomery finishing runs! Mike Daniels (who is so good!) sets it up with the strip sack of Russell Wilson, Montgomery finishes it off, the Packers take advantage of the short field to finally get on the board.
6:11 PM: Cam hasn't been great today, but nice TD off a neat little play design. McCaffrey and Stewart in the backfield, McCaffrey draws the coverage, Stewart takes the short pass and an easy TD.
5:46 PM: Wilson creates and makes a throw to Doug Baldwin reminiscent of that Aaron Rodgers-to-Jared Cook throw in Dallas last January. Wilson scramble, and the Seahawks are in business late in the first half of a game in which it looks like points will be at a premium.
5:27 PM: I'm not saying Clay Matthews is back, but he's looked good today. Came off the edge and ruined that third down play. Both defenses looking sharp in Green Bay.
5:15 PM: Also, Niners rookie LB Reuben Foster is sidelined with an ankle injury, which is devastating if you get excited about good linebackers.
5:12 PM: Sure, it's just the Colts, but Jared Goff is killing it today. Just connected with Cooper Kupp to put L.A. up 24-3 on the Indianapolis Grigsons. Which is weird, because usually whatever a project quarterback is in his first couple games as a rookie, especially while playing in a broken offense bereft of weapons, is what he is for the rest of his career. Improvement is a myth.
5:08 PM: Wait, the Panthers have human beings holding up the shade coverings on the bench in Santa Clara? Can't they get poles for that? Poles that aren't living?
4:56 PM: Cam to Russell Shepard on the long TD in San Francisco. Deep crosser, poorly played by the Niners and then safety Jaquiski Tartt outright refuses to make a tackle. Forty yards, those new-look Panthers are on the board!
4:38 PM: Whoa! But Naz Jones on the hands team! Great pick, but it comes back on a block-in-the-back call that was, meh, dicey but not atrocious I guess, and also a phantom personal foul call on Jeremy Lane. (Again, not that Lane didn't get away with some cheap stuff in the past, but can't figure out what drew a flag in the altercation with Davante Adams, let alone an ejection. And I'm not sure "karma" appears anywhere in the rulebook.)
4:33 PM: Jeremy Lane and Randall Cobb getting to know each other again. (Remember this cheap shot from Lane?) Cobb picks up the first down then picks up a 15-yard taunting flag.
4:28 PM: Completely inconsequential play, but I'll highlight it because it illustrates why Russell Wilson is super-human (or, maybe, a robot): First play from scrimmage, he's just outside the tackle box, Nick Perry slinging him down, and he manages to get the ball out to the sideline, turning a 10-yard loss into an incomplete pass. The Seahawks did nothing after that though, so . . .
4:25 PM: Hey, nice work by Scott Tolzien there. Checks down quickly to Marlon Mack (all the rookies are making all the plays!), who turns the catch-and-run into a near-TD. (It was actually a TD, the officials missed it and the Colts chose not to challenge. And now they're in third-and-goal). UPDATE: Colts receivers get tangled up on third down and Tolzien hits Trumaine Johnson in the hands for what would have been a 101-yard pick six, but Johnson drops it.
4:15 PM: Trumaine Johnson pick-six in L.A.! Woefully underthrown changeup by Scott Tolzien on his first throw of the day. I'm beginning to suspect that Andrew Luck will not be Wally Pipp-ed.
4:10 PM: It's over in Detroit. Tipped pick-six for the Liones (Southern Utah's own Miles Killebrew). I'm officially projecting the Lions to win this game. It's all over for the early set. Go get something to eat. Or use the bathroom. Or talk to a loved one. I'll watch the early minutes or Rams-Colts for you (Tolzien's about to take the field!).
4:07 PM: Kenny Golladay with the play of the frickin' day! Fries Justin Bethel then makes the diving catch on the goal line, 45-yard TD, Lions have opened up a 28-17 lead.
4:06 PM: The Texans need a hug. They were not competitive today, and while he was better than Tom Savage the bad far outweighed the good for Deshaun Watson (which is to be expected; he probably wasn't going to be ready at any point in 2017, let alone by the second half of the opener).
4:02 PM: Fletcher Cox scoop and score off the Brandon Graham strip sack, and Philly is going to get the win in Washington. Also, Bills win! (And cover!) And the Ravens are done hammering the Bengals, as Andy Dalton set quarterbacking back a decade.
3:59 PM: Raiders are wrapping things up in Nashville. Derek Carr, the man who could be MVP, thread a beautiful TD throw to Seth Roberts to create a little cushion. Oakland up 26-16 in the final minute.
3:55 PM: In Chicago, Jordan Howard had teh winning TD but heard Robert Alford footsteps, like we all hear Robert Alford footsteps, and gacks the potential game-winning TD. One last chance coming up for the Bears. (UPDATE: Brooks Reed on the blindside! Heartbreaker for the Bears, and for our Kalyn Kahler. Falcons get out of Soldier Field with a win.)
3:54 PM: Antonio Brown makes an obscene contested catch on second-and-long, which just seems so unfair to the good people of Cuyahoga County. Looks like the Steelers are going to escape.
3:53 PM: Matthew Stafford drops a corner route to everyone's favorite deep sleeper, Kenny Golladay. Lions miss another two but lead 21-17.
3:44 PM: The Cleveland Browns defeat math, going for it on fourth down, down 11, rather than going for the field goal. Kizer-to-Corey Coleman. Two-pointer coming up, then a decision on the onsides. (UPDATE: Two-pointer works! No onsides, Steelers have the ball and the 21-18 lead, 3:33 left.)
3:34 PM: Sorry, couple of updates after some technical difficulties: Lions scored but couldn't get the 2, and David Johnson is out again, now with a wrist injury, which is completely devastating. Cards still lead 17-15. Elsewhere, Tarik Cohen is your new god, capping off a long Mike Glennon drive with a 19-yard catch-and-run. Cohen has 109 yards and a TD on 12 touches (five carries and seven catches, the latter of which is not only team-leading but is more than every Bears receiver of all time has today—five).
3:23 PM: Good news is that David Johnson is back! Bad news is that he just lost a devastating fumble, setting up a short field for the Lions as the Cards protect a 17-9 lead in Detroit.
3:19 PM: Oh goodness. The Bears forget to cover Austin Hooper, and he catches it, stiff-arms Quintin Demps. I assume that, afterward, he took Demps back to the locker room and gave him a swirly. That makes it a two-possession lead for the Falcons, and that's especially bad news for this Bears offense.
3:15 PM: In Cleveland, T.J. Watt picks up a dumb penalty after a sack, but then gets a pick on the very next play! Did you know he and J.J. Watt share both a mother and a father?
3:12 PM: In Detroit, David Johnson is down after taking a big hit and I am now violently ill.
3:09 PM: The Jets pick up the rare offensive pass interference on an interception, as Josh McCown throws an atrocious pick on the goal line, Jets-ing up what was an otherwise nice drive. (CORRECTION! That was the two-point attempt, all is well, I am not smart.)
3:01 PM: Roethlisberger hits Jesse James for another short TD, as James is now surely to be someone's unwise pickup in your fantasy league next week.
2:59 PM: And Watson caps that drive with the short play-action TD pass to DeAndre Hopkins. It wasn't a thing of beauty, but, well, points are points. And it's a two-possession game in Houston, 19-7 Jags.
2:55 PM: Tyrod Taylor just led a TD drive in Buffalo! So . . . yeah, that Bills-Jets game is still going on.
2:45 PM: So I stepped away to get a granola bar and Deshaun Watson got put in the game. Godspeed, young man. (UPDATE: He's moving the ball, with the help of a questionable roughing the passer call. And, my goodness, just got saved from an awful INT by a hands-to-the-face penalty away from the ball. The young man is living well!)
2:43 PM: Oh, and the Week 2 Thursday nighter will be Texans-Bengals, two teams all but literally pooping their pants today. So . . . I guess don't hesitate to make other plans on Thursday.
2:42 PM: There are calls for Deshaun Watson in Houston, but here's the thing: He's not ready to operate an NFL offense, let alone one as complex as Bill O'Brien's. On top of that, they can't block anyone right now. I get it though. Watching Tom Savage is like watching Brock Osweiler on peyote. (And by that, I mean both I and Osweiler himself are on peyote.)
2:38 PM: In Detroit, Matt Prater just hit a frickin' bomb, 58-yarder to close out the half, cutting it to 10-9 Cardinals. Because kickers are people too. People who can kick footballs far.
2:28 PM: Right after Campbell's sack, Dante Fowler scoops up a strip-sack and walks in. Tom Savage has been sacked six times. Chris Clark is in at left tackle while Duane Brown is holding out. 19-0 Jacksonville at halftime. Jaguars are punching the Texans right in the buns.
2:28 PM: Calais Campbell just set a franchise record in his Jaguars debut with 3 1⁄2 sacks! Every team in the NFL should feel great shame at not signing him. He just lit up Xavier Su'a-Filo, who really shouldn't be starting for anyone (and probably shouldnt' have been drafted over Derek Carr in 2014 . . . sorry for the reminder, Texans fans).
2:23 PM: Wonderful catch-and-run TD by Chris Thompson in Washington, breaking tackles and making a play. Because Philly kicker Caleb Sturgis gacked a PAT earlier, Washington has the lead in a game that kinda looks like something you'd see out of the Sun Belt conference.
2:17 PM: Things are happening in Cincinnati, to the Bengals, done by the Ravens. Jeremy Maclin with the 48-yard catch-and-run TD, which is adorable—it's like he thinks he's still on the Chiefs! Then, Andy Dalton picked off by Lardarius Webb (whose first name I need to triple-check every time), who brings it back to the 2 to set up a Terrance West TD. Andy Dalton has been picked off three times today, and there's real excitement when you have no idea who the quarterback is going to throw it to next!
2:13 PM: And just as a write that, a 50-yard catch-and-run on a tipped ball to Antonio Brown. Against the very team that has the same name as his last name. How ironic.
2:07 PM: In Cleveland, the Steelers have 62 yards of offense and 69 yards in penalties as they start a drive at their own 9 with a little less than four minutes to go. They're getting out-classed by the Browns. The Cleveland Browns, not a family of really classy people whose last name is "Brown."
2:07 PM: Bears rookie Tarik Cohen, who is approximately the size of a thimble and is completely awesome, reverses field and breaks off a 46-yard run and the Bears are in business late in the first half. Glennon is 7-for-9 for 46 yards (a Gabberterian 4.6 YPA), though I'm not sure what you do with this receiving corps. Nonetheless, the Bears are hanging in with the defending NFC champs, down 10-3 and driving. (UPDATE: And they ended that drive. With a touchdown. Which, I imagine, is what they wanted to do. Jordan Howard from four yards out.)
2:02 PM: Pick-six for Ryan Kerrigan in Washington! Tipped at the line by newbie Stacy McGee. So, stuff happening in that Eagles-Redskins game, but it's not exactly beautiful football.
1:56 PM: Andy Dalton is the only human in the world who didn't see the underneath coverage here. Seriously, my mom just called me and said, "Just a reminder, C.J. Mosely is sitting in the middle of the field." (And I said, "Yeah, no s--- mom.")
1:54 PM: Ronald Darby injured in Washington. Don't know what the injury is, but he requires a cart to move, and they won't let you play while sitting on a cart. (Bummers across the league!) Philly is thin at corner.
1:51 PM: Allen Robinson goes down with a knee injury in Houston, out for the game. However, the way the Texans are going offensively, that early Jaguars field goal could hold up. (However, if Houston gets two safeties . . .)
1:48 PM: The Jets already have a first down. Josh McCown to Eric Tomlinson on the 25-yard pass on a blown coverage; first first down of the season comes 18:37 into the game in Buffalo.
1:42 PM: Giorgio Tavecchio just kicked a 20-yard field goal for the Raiders in Nashville. That's the first non-Janikowski field goal for the Raiders since Brad Dalusio's 37-yarder in Week 17 of the 2001 season.
1:38 PM: There's some DeShone Kizer for ya, Cleveland! I said last spring, I'm not sure any of the rookie QBs were QB-ready but Kizer, based on the fact that he ran something resembling a pro-style offense, was closest.
1:36 PM: Yuck. Cardinals get a fumble giften to them inside the Detroit 15, go nowhere on three plays, get gifted a "leaping" penalty (I didn't see it, but I imagine it was someone trying to leap the line, I just heard Chris Myers say "leaper" 14 times in a 33-second span) on the field goal setting up a first-and-goal at the 5, and go nowhere. Settle for three anyway.
1:30 PM: Oh goodness, off that unforgivably bad Eagles turnover Washington dials up a great play-action call, Cousins drops it right on the money to Terrelle Pryor for the 60-yard TD, and Pryor drops it. Would've come back on a holding call anyway. But still, this game is starting to look like a football version of the Washington General vs. the Washington Generals.
1:27 PM: Wentz feeling deep shame again. Eagles motion Agholor and try a little swing pass on a 2nd-and-9 as they approach field-goal range, Wentz throws it high and as a lateral, bad ideas on both counts. Fumble, Washington falls on it.
1:23 PM: Mariota scores on a keeper, but the thing that will make Titans fans giddy is that Corey Davis catch down the sideline to set it up. After not playing a snap in the preseason, the No. 5 overall pick showed exceptional body control on the leaping catch in tight coverage down the sideline, ass cheek in, 23 yards on the 3rd-and-8. If you're a Titans fan, I suggest you go buy a Davis #84 AFL Houston Oilers throwback. I'd respect you very much.
1:19 PM: Justin Bethel, a liability in coverage at times last year, gets the pick-six of Stafford to put the Cardinals on the board. And, by the way, Blake Bortles led a field goal drive to open things up in Houston. I missed that. Good on him.
1:16 PM: Hated Carson Wentz underthrowing Torrey Smith on what would've been a walk-in TD (be more accurate!). But he made up for it by escaping two sacks (young Roethlisberger-like) then finding Nelson Agholor for the long TD off the scramble play. But are Torrey Smith and Wentz still friends? We'll find out.
1:10 PM: Blocked punt TD in Cleveland (for the Steelers, but still exciting for the home fans in a way)! Steelers don't need that offense. But the real story is that grown-man TD by Amari Cooper. He had zero catches inside the opponents' 10 last year. Stays up on the spin-around tackle, then pushed into the end zone via mosh pit for the 8-yard TD.
1:04 PM: Titans start the year with an onsides attempt! Raiders recover, but bless you, Mike Mularkey. Balls of steel. Make Football Fun Again.
12:57 PM: Stuff to Watch For, Early Games
The games. You should definitely turn on and watch the games. But, more specifically . . .
Falcons at Bears: Open the door to The Sark! Can the Falcons' offense keep humming post-Kyle Shanahan? Also, the Bears are underrated on defense and, even with Kyle Long out, have a damn (can I say damn?) good line in front of Jordan Howard.
Jaguars at Texans: J.J. Watt plays football again! Andy Benoit had a great breakdown of the Texans' five-across defense, which was already close to unstoppable without Watt. Also, Blake Bortles, man. This might be one of the few weeks the Texans have the edge under center.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Soon-to-be-very-wealthy gentleman (I'm really obsessed with contracts this weekend, sorry) Kirk Cousins has a whole new cast of characters. How will that work? Also, Carson Wentz has a chance to break out as a true franchise quarterback now that he has an upgraded set of weapons. This could be the start of something special. (Plus, the Josh Norman Magical Mystery Tour begins! Alshon Jeffery up first.)
Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions: The Cardinals seem to be teetering on the edge of oblivion: big question marks on the offensive line, lots of changeover on defense, what does Carson Palmer have left? I think Detroit is underrated; short on big names, but solid and deep on both sides of the ball. Can Tate and Golladay be enough weaponry for Matthew Stafford?
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans: Oh man, is this ever sweet. Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota return. I'm on the Carr for MVP bandwagon, though I expect the Raiders to slide back a bit record-wise due to a poor defense when you move past the defensive line and a stacked AFC West. I know Mariota has some MVP buzz going, but I think he's at least a year away from moving into the conversation.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals: This might be the return of classic Ravens—run-heavy on offense but, more importantly, elite on defense. I haven't slept for weeks as a worry about the Bengals. This offensive line, blocking people doesn't seem to be a strength for them. Nice fellas though.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns: All right Ben: 115.3 passer rating and 22-to-7 TD/INT ratio at home last season, 78.5 and 10-to-10 on the road last season. That included a 23-for-36, 167-yard performance (that's a 4.64 YPA that would make Christian Ponder blush) in a 24-9 win in Cleveland last November. What's the deal, guy? Martavis Bryant is back, so we'll see is that's the special sauce. As for the Browns, all eyes will be on DeShone Kizer, but don't sleep on this defense. Lots of speed, lots of raw talent, even without Myles Garrett.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills: The game you want to watch if you have a current member of the Buffalo Bills or New York Jets in your immediate family. Though, seriously, I know the deal with the Jets, but I can't believe the Bills are a touchdown-plus favorite over anyone.
12:30 PM: Week 1 Schedule and Betting Lines
Before we get started, here's when everyone is playing as well as betting lines (if you're into that kind of thing), latest odds via OddsShark. Get our staff picks against the spread (c'mon Breer, Chiefs +8 1⁄2 were a lock!) and straight-up. All times Eastern:
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. (Bills by 7 1⁄2, over/under 42)
Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. (Falcons by 7, over/under 48)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. (Texans by 6, over/under 38)
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. (Eagles by 1, over/under 50)
Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. (Cardinals by 2, over/under 49)
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. (Titans by 1 1⁄2, over/under 50 1⁄2)
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. (Bengals by 3, over/under 41)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. (Steelers by 10, over/under 46 1⁄2)
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. (Rams by 4, over/under 41 1⁄2)
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m. (Packers by 3, over/under 50 1⁄2)
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m. (Panthers by 6, over/under 47)
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m. (Cowboys by 4, over/under 46 1⁄2)
MONDAY: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings, 7:10 p.m. (Vikings by 3, over/under 48)
MONDAY: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, 10:20 p.m. (Broncos by 3, over/under 43)