By Gary Gramling
September 17, 2017

8:22 PM: Now I'm gonna wrap it up! Bradley Roby breaks up the fourth-down pass and rips Dez Bryant's helmet off in the process, and it feels like the Broncos are done dunking on the Cowboys. I give you permission to converse with loved ones until the Sunday nighter kicks off. Thanks for being here!

8:11 PM: I'm not gonna wrap this up, but I'm gonna think about wrapping this up. A few programming notes: Late-game update to the Sunday FreakOut column is imminent, and of course, you can get the full breakdown and analysis of all Monday games from me and my best friend in the world, Andy Benoit, on The MMQB: 10 Things Podcast. Subscribe now and you'll have it in your feed when you wake up tomorrow morning, and you'll also grow half an inch taller.

7:32 PM: The Seahawks escape with a win against a 49ers team that has one-fifth of Seattle's talent. And had Russell Wilson not single-handedly saved the day, they'd be walking away with one of the most humiliating losses in franchise history. It's time for an open tryout. Is there anyone in the Pacific Northwest willing to block someone?

7:25 PM: With the exception of a meaningless Week 17 loss in Philly in which they didn't dress their starters, the Cowboys' three losses in the Dak Prescott era have come by one, three and three points. Right now, they are getting manhandled in Denver, and a defense that just shut down the (Beckham-less) Giants is making Trevor Siemian look like he's worthy of joining the Avengers (think about it, Tony Stark). It's 28-10 Broncos midway through the third. They also just showed a shot of a very sad Jerry Jones that I'm sure many of you enjoyed.

7:04 PM: Russell Wilson might save the Seahawks literally on his own. He leads a 10-play, 82-yard drive, rushing for 27 yards and throws for another 23, including on a scramble drill (the offensive line seemed to forget to block for him) that ended with a nine-yard TD pass to Paul Richardson. The Seahawks have their first touchdown of the season, and it only took 112 minutes and 54 seconds. Blair Walsh misses the PAT though, and the lead is just 12-9. 

6:57 PM: O.K., complete mess in L.A. Philip Rivers leads the Chargers down the field, they're out of timeouts with the ball on the 26 and no timeouts left, but still 19 seconds on the clock. They don't try to get it closer (rookie Younghoe Koo had already missed from 43 today), instead moving the ball back a yard and centering it. They line up to spike it and stop the clock, but Koo thinks he's coming on, mass confusion, Rivers freaks out on his kicker, but the Dolphins for reasons unknown save them by burning a timeout. After that, Koo comes on and pushes the 44-yard attempt wide right.

Anthony Lynn is a good coach, the Chargers have a good team, but this somehow seems like a fitting end to a home opener played, humiliatingly, in a freakin' soccer stadium.

6:51 PM: Cody Parkey is good from 54, 4-for-4 on the day, Dolphins have a 19-17 lead. (I'm a little disappointed, just because I was hoping to see if the Dolphins were smart enough to allow the intentional TD to get the ball back in a one-possession game.) Philip Rivers will have it at his own 20, 1:01 to go and two time outs.

6:44 PM: Meanwhile, in a soccer stadium somewhere in California, Jay Cutler has the Dolphins knocking on the door of a fourth-quarter comeback. The Dolphins trail 17-16 with two minutes left, facing second-and-long inside the L.A. 40. This is shaping up to be a very Chargers loss. Cutler, meanwhile, has been solid today aside from some red-zone stalls.

6:39 PM: Todd Gurley is vaulting everyone today, including on an 18-yard catch and run TD. I'm not a big fan of vaults, which are often unnecessary and increase injury risk, but after what went down last year it's just nice to see Todd Gurley not get tackled.

6:29 PM: The Broncos and Cowboys trade really dumb plays, with the Broncos taking advantage. Trevor Siemian takes a terrible sack on third down to put the Broncos on the edge of field-goal range (just like Monday night, did he not watch Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI?), but Demarcus Lawrence, the man who recorded the sack, picks up a leverage penalty on the field-goal attempt (which Brandon McManus hit from 50). The Broncos take the free 15 and score three plays later, 14-7 Broncos.

6:04 PM: I was just about to write something nice about the Jets, who were hanging around in Oakland. But then they allow Cordarrelle Patterson, lined up as a running back on the play, to run untouched in a straight line into the end zone, and it's 28-13 Raiders.

5:58 PM: Roger Goodell has successfully subdued Zeus; the king of the gods is no longer throwing lightning bolts upon Denver. The Cowboys and Broncos are now playing football again.

5:54 PM: Antonio Gates just made a 7-yard TD catch in a crowd, giving the Chargers a 17-10 lead early in the third quarter and surpassing Tony Gonzalez for the most TDs by a tight end. His teammates mob him, partly because of the record and partly because that Kent State 2002 NCAA tournament run Gates was a part of was awesome.

5:50 PM: In Seattle, Carlos Hyde is a one-man army for the 49ers. He had a 61-yard run to set up one field goal, then a 27-yarder plus 15-yard facemask to set up a second one. And that's how the Seahawks are letting a team they should beat by a thousand at home hang around. Heading into halftime, t's 6-6!

5:41 PM: Apologies for the delay. I decided to honor the Cowboys-Broncos weather delay. (And also, I had to finish writing the Sunday FreakOut).

4:57 PM: Trevor Siemian looking sharp early in Denver. But right now, they're in a weather delay with the Broncos up 7-0. Weather delay! That's interesting, right?

4:40 PM: Aw, the phone runs out of battery! I'm down to three devices, four games. Jets, do me a favor and don't do anything to make your game in Oakland interesting in the next 15 minutes. Thanks!

4:27 PM: Jets hold the Raiders to seven points on the opening drive—Raiders were intimidated, didn't even dare go for two. Multiple plays on that drive where the Raiders didn't score a touchdown. A fun year for the Jets.

4:15 PM: Tyrann Mathieu starts overtime with a pick of Jacoby Brissett! And then Phil Dawson proves why all coaches love placekickers unconditionally, drilling the 30-yarder. Season (at least momentarily) saved for the Cardinals.

4:10 PM: No go on the Eagles' prayer, and in Indy another kicker successfully ice, this time it's the veteran Phil Dawson. Dawson had hit the woulda-been-game-winning 42-yarder but Chuck Pagano got the timeout in. Dawson comes back out and misses. So look forward to more icing of kickers. Always icing of kickers.

4:08 PM: Onsides kick recovery for the Eagles! That's still the most exciting play in sports, as Trey Burton (I love Trey Burton) tips it to himself. Eagles have one last shot, down 27-20, five seconds left, at the Chiefs' 39.

4:06 PM: Stuff to Watch For, Late Games

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos: The Broncos had some issues against the run last year, so facing the Cowboys . . . We’ll also see if Trevor Siemian can build on a pretty O.K. season debut against a defense that probably isn’t as talented as the Chargers’ but looked very fast last week.

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers: Something weird is going on with Lawrence Timmons, who left the team for reasons unknown. So the Dolphins go in cold after an injury-filled offseason, and are now without two of their three ILBs (Raekwon McMillan, of course, tore his ACL in the preseason). This might be a rough day in front of the 72 Chargers fans who come to this game.

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders: You’d like to see the Raiders simply blow the Jets out of the water here, but this Oakland team did have a bad habit of playing down to inferior competition a year ago.

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams: I’m not sure this Washington defense is going to get right, but they can do some things, and this should be a much better litmus test for McVay/Goff than last week’s laugher against the Colts.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: Kyle Shanahan and the Niners had some very basic game-management issues last week, and that was at home. A trip to Seattle probably isn’t good for what ails them. The one hope is that their talented young defensive line (Bucker-Armstead-Thomas), a bit of a disappointment last week, has a chance to feast against this Seattle front five.

4:01 PM: By the way, I haven't mentioned Colts-Cardinals much because it's making me so, so sad, but Carson Palmer has brought the Cards back, they're 13-13 with less than two minutes to go, Jacoby Brissett trying to lead the Colts to points from deep in his own territory.

3:54 PM: Oof, Tyrod Taylor's throw just a little off on a 4th-and-11 from Carolina's 33 in the final seconds, potential winning TD just off a wide-open Zay Jones's finger tips. Panthers escape a game they were desperately trying to give away down the stretch.

Meanwhile, another TD run for Kareem Hunt, as the Chiefs look incredible, pulling away with a 27-13 lead now.

3:49 PM: The Panthers had a chance to put away the Bills, first-and-goal on the 1 with less than three minutes left, but couldn't punch it in. The series culminated in the nightmare scenario for Panthers coaches: Throwing high and wide for a wide-open Christian McCaffrey on a gimme throw. They settled for three and a 9-3 lead instead of 13-3. The Bills now have a chance to drive for a game-winning touchdown.

3:38 PM: Travis Kelce does bad thing, followed by Travis Kelce does good thing.

3:24 PM: In this season of giving, Travis Kelce gifts more free yards to an opponent. I didn't see exactly what happened after a Kareem Hunt 53-yard TD run gave the Chiefs a 13-10 lead, but it ended with a 15-yard flag on Kelce after the play. Really, it doesn't matter what happened. Every time the Chiefs score, seven officials turn to look at Kelce, hands on flags. If he does anything that could be construed as a taunt, the flags are coming out. So, instead of say a touchback, the Eagles start at their own 34 and tie the game with a 40-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. Bet the Chiefs would've liked to see the rookie fill-in, whose already missed a 30-yarder, have to try a 49-yarder there.

3:09 PM: You walk a fine line when you name Blake Bortles is your starting quarterback. We're seeing it today in Jacksonville, where the Jax defense has been good, but hasn't gotten the kinds of gifts they received a week ago in Houston. The offense has to do something, the Titans are putting 17 men in the box to stop Leonard Fournette, and Bortles can't beat them.

And "can't beat them" is an understatement. He's 7-for-18 with two interceptions, meaning his yards per rush (6.0) is almost topping his passer rating (8.1) at the moment. Titans lead 16-3, by the way, and are driving for more.

2:48 PM: Brutal news in Carolina, where Greg Olsen went down with a non-contact foot injury.

2:44 PM: Two quick updates: It's a migraine for Kizer. Also, T.J. Watt is out, and Sam Malone (of The Cheers) will fill you in at the end of this clip.


2:31 PM: Everyone was polite enough be at halftime simultaneously—thanks guys!—so I am now eating lunch. It is a turkey sandwich, which is slices of turkey on top of one piece of bread, and below another piece of bread. I'll send you the recipe if you want it.

2:23 PM: "Stranger Things" (which is a show, that I have heard of but you probably haven't because no one ever talks about it) going on in the Chiefs-Eagles game. Which, by the way, is a great matchup. The offenses are playing well, but the defenses are absolutely lights out. With the game tied 3-3 and less than 90 seconds to go in the first half, Darren Sproles (aw, Sproles!) coughed it up on a punt return, setting the Chiefs up with a short field an eventually a go-ahead field goal.

But then, with 17 seconds left from his own 36, Carson Wentz chucks a prayer down the left sideline, Chiefs DB Terrence Mitchell sets up to field it like a punt, but it bounces off Mitchell's hands and straight up, where it's grabbed by Zach Ertz streaking down the sideline. Eric Murray catches up and trips him up at the 11 to save the touchdown, Eagles call timeout with two seconds left and send rookie kicker Jake Elliott out for his second career kick (usual kicker Caleb Sturgis is out). Elliott's 30-yard kick is good, but wait!, Chiefs had called timeout. So Elliott tries it again and shanks it wide left!

Anyway, that's my way of telling you that the Chiefs lead the Eagles 6-3 in a very good game.

2:11 PM: I knew it! The Bucs D looks rusty. Only four turnovers forced and one pick-six against the Bears.

I know it's the receiver-less Bears (and, by the way, don't you dare drop Mitchell Trubisky into this mess, John Fox), but the Bucs might be really good this year.

(Also, Nick Folk shanked the extra points. Tampa could've just kept Roberto Aguayo if they wanted that.)

2:05 PM: And Kevin Hogan shuts my stupid face! TD pass to rookie TE David Njoku, and the Browns are on the board. The Ravens allow their first points of 2017 85 minutes and 4 seconds into the season.

1:59 PM: Injury update for which I have no specifics: DeShone Kizer out and Kevin Hogan in for the Browns in Baltimore. (At least I'm assuming it's an injury, because there's no way anyone would ever voluntarily play Hogan over Kizer.)

Butch Dill/AP

1:47 PM: So rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone got beat on that Burkhead touchdown. And then he was asked to run with Rob Gronkowski. Somebody get this young man a Vermont Teddy Bear.

1:36 PM: I don't like to pick on people (especially professional football players who are bigger, stronger, smarter, better-looking, richer and probably smell much better than I do). BUT . . .

Case Keenum is at 0.75 YPA through the first quarter of play (four pass attempts, three yards). I am on the verge of openly weeping over the best matchup of September getting ruined by the Sam Bradford injury.

I mean, it's early though. Three quarters to go. So . . .

1:27 PM: Joe Thomas plays his 10,000th consecutive snap—while, more importantly being really good while playing those snaps.

Also, pfft, basketball player tweeting about football. Stick to hoops, LeBron. Am . . . am I right?

1:16 PM: Obviously, a big storyline for the Patriots is life without Julian Edelman. I'm not going to criticize Josh McDaniels since while he was winning Super Bowls I was passed out after drinking too much surprisingly affordable beer. Still, I think Rex Burkhead was extremely underused in the opener, especially as they got him matched up on LB Derrick Johnson a couple of times. I'm not saying Burkhead=Julian Edelman (and it helps Burkhead that he keeps getting matched up with linebackers), but it seems like he's the closest thing they have to Edelman at this point. Two grabs on the opening drive in New Orleans, including this one:

12:53 PM: Two-Minute Preview, Early Games

I don’t know why it’s a “two-minute preview” since there’s not a clock on this. But, I guess, try to read it in two minutes . . .

If you have time, my whole, big Week 2 preview is here (and it’s very long).

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: A rookie QB against the Ravens D on the road? That’s no fun for DeShone Kizer, who will probably lose this game of chess to Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosely and Co. (and good luck running on this Ravens D-Line).

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers: Game 2 of the new-look Panthers offense after a slow start/strong finish in San Francisco. Carolina should be plenty familiar with the Bills’ defensive looks, run by Sean McDermott (the Panthers’ long-time defensive coordinator).

Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts: Jacoby Brissett becomes the fourth quarterback to start as a rookie, then start for a different team the next year. So, history being made (kinda). The absences of Andrew Luck and David Johnson gives this one the feel or a preseason game.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: Oh man, could you imagine a world where the Jaguars are 2-0 and the Titans are 0-2! And you wear shoes on their feet and hamburgers eat people! We’ll get a much better read on the Jaguars defensive line, who are good but probably not as dominant as they looked against the Texans’ sieve front five.

Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs: Doug Pederson returns to K.C., can the student become the master? The Eagles catch a break with Chiefs defensive MVP now out for the season (who will cover Zach Ertz?), though K.C. did have 10 days to prepare for life without Berry.

New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints: This Patriots run D is in big trouble with Dont’a Hightower out; with Rob Ninkovich retired and Jabaal Sheard out, New England is without their three edge setters from a year ago and no good replacements. New Orleans has a chance to run all over them. (Brady and the offense should be fine, by the way.)

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers: Ugh! This was the game I had circled for the first month of the season, and now it’s ruined—ruined!—with Sam Bradford out. I’ll still be interested to see if the Steelers offense can turn it around after a crappy performance in Cleveland last week. (They’ve been eight points per game better at home than on the road since 2015).

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs finally get going, with a tougher test than you might thing. This Bears defense is really good—they held the Falcons in check last week aside from one blown coverage.

12:25 PM: Actives/Inactives

Week 2 Actives/Inactives, including Sam Bradford out (ruining that awesome Steelers-Vikings matchup)

12:14 PM: Week 2 Schedule and Betting Lines

Before we get started, let's cover some of the basics you'll need to know. First, read the Wikipedia entry on American football. Done? Good. Now, the schedule and latest betting lines (if you're into that kind of thing), via OddsShark. Get our staff picks against the spread (58% in Week 1! Me and Jacob Feldman a combined 23-9 heading into today!) and straight-up. All times Eastern:

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. (Ravens by 7 12, over/under 38 12)
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. (Panthers by 7, over/under 43)
Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. (Cardinals by 6 12, over/under 44)
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. (Titans by 1, over/under 41 12)
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. (Chiefs by 5 12, over/under 47 12)
New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. (Patriots by 6, over/under 57)
Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. (Steelers by 10, over/under 43 12)
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. (Buccaneers by 6 12, over/under 43 12)
Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. (Chargers by 3 12, over/under 45 12)
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. (Raiders by 13, over/under 43 12)
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. (Dallas by 2 12, over/under 43)
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. (Rams by 2 12, over/under 45)
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. (Seahawks by 14, over/under 42)
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, 8:30 p.m. (Falcons by 3, over/under 56)
MONDAY: Detroit Lions at New York Giants, 8:30 p.m. (Giants by 3, over/under 41 12)

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