That afternoon and night, more of the same continued with the Cincinnati Bengals almost winning, the Tennessee Titans beating the Legion of Boom, and the Oakland Raiders getting manhandled by the Washington Redskins.
With the wild weekend in the rearview mirror, here are the main takeaways from Sunday’s action.
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Seattle’s O-Line too much to overcome
The Seattle Seahawks began the season with a 1-1 start and needed to grab a win. As such, the Legion of Boom would have been expected to come out fierce and will the Seahawks to a tough victory.
Instead, quarterback Russell Wilson was left to carry the team on his own as the running game was nonexistent and the defense gave up 33 points to the Titans, an offense that mustered just 16 in Week 1 against the Raiders.
Seattle possesses an elite quarterback entering his prime but doesn’t have an offensive line to protect him, along with zero weapons on offense, and an aging defense whose window is closing.
The addition of defensive end Sheldon Richardson should have reignited the defense, however, the front seven aside from linebacker Bobby Wagner has been subpar, shown by the Titans’ 195 yards on the ground.
The Seahawks need to overhaul their offense and build an offensive line around Wilson. Until they do, Seattle will be wasting Wilson’s best years and be out of Super Bowl contention.
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The Chiefs are doing the hunting
Some thought the Kansas City Chiefs’ time was running out. It seemed like quarterback Alex Smith was on his way out since they drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes and that 2017 could be a slight down year.
Instead, Smith is having one of the best seasons of his career, throwing seven touchdowns without an interception through the first three weeks.
Coach Andy Reid is also showing us why he is a future first-ballot Hall of Fame head coach after victories over the Patriots, Chargers and Eagles, three teams many thought would make a playoff push before the season started.
The Chiefs also have an unstoppable weapon out of the backfield in running back Kareem Hunt, which could create a dangerous duo for the next half-decade of him and Smith. Hunt, in just three games, has 538 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill has continued improving after his impressive 2016 rookie campaign tallying 277 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns already.
Kansas City has it all. An elite head coach, good quarterback, stout defense and a plethora of offensive weapons. They might be the best and most complete team in the NFL.
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Cam isn’t Super Cam
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s start to the 2017 NFL regular season has not been pretty. The one-time MVP has thrown for 566 yards with just two touchdowns to four interceptions. Not great numbers for a franchise quarterback.
Losing top target and tight end Greg Olsen along with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin often being injured, Newton does not have much room for error. He has never been the most accurate quarterback, shown by his career completion percentage of 58.5%, and will be without elite pass catchers who can help catch a few errantly thrown balls here and there.
As such, it doesn’t look like it will get much better for the Panthers and Newton. They will need to go back to using a strong power running game, playing tough defense, and using Newton’s big arm to stretch the field when the opportunity presents itself.
Newton is a good quarterback, who can make incredible plays, but he isn’t good enough to win his team games each and every Sunday.
The next three games will be telling for Newton as they have New England (away), Detroit (away) and Philadelphia coming up.
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Brady back to being the GOAT
Midway through Week 3, the Patriots were staring a 1-2 start in the face. Was it the beginning of the end for New England if they lost to the Houston Texans and Chiefs at home?
No, it was quite the opposite. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led an amazing eight play, 75-yard drive to take the lead with just 23 seconds left in the game.
The drive might have been lucky as there were a dropped interception and a fumble recovery, yet Brady still drove down the field in incredible fashion, throwing strikes while getting blasted.
The defense might be a little weaker in 2017, but Brady, despite the Week 1 outlier, is as good as ever at 40-years of age.
Remember, Brady didn’t have tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Brandin Cooks in 2016. Consequently, the former Wolverine will only look better as the season progresses.
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Falcons are Super Bowl Contenders
Admittedly, I was a major skeptic of the Atlanta Falcons coming into this season. They had an incredible 2016 season with an improving defense and one of the best offenses in NFL history.
However, I expected that the loss of coach Kyle Shanahan would hurt quarterback Matt Ryan’s performance. They would still be very good, but not historic. Moreover, I thought Ryan’s year was an arbitration.
So far in 2017, Ryan has thrown for just under 900 yards and has led this team to an impressive 29 points per game. The offensive numbers are not as astounding as last season, but their defense has improved, surrendering just 22 points per game so far, making them as good if not better than last season.
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The AFC North is not good
The AFC North has two winless teams in the Bengals and Cleveland Browns. The two teams with winning records, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, couldn’t look worse.
Baltimore lost to a Blake Bortles led Jacksonville Jaguars team by 37 points. Quarterback Joe Flacco and this offense are nowhere near playoff caliber.
After playing three poor teams, who have a combined two wins, the Ravens have mustered just 17 points per game. In addition, Flacco is only averaging 122 yards per game through the air.
The big Flacco payday is finally catching up with the team in a debilitating fashion.
Despite having a winning record, the Steelers have looked quite bad to this point on the road. Their home victory against the Minnesota Vikings was nice, but then again quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t play.
On the road, Pittsburgh has lost to the Chicago Bears, a flat-out bad team, and played the winless Browns close.
The Steelers are still a good team and will easily win the division, but need to fix their woes on the road and get running back LeVeon Bell and the running game in gear if they want to seriously contend for a Lombardi Trophy in February.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Tomorrow will be overreaction Monday in the NFL. Fans across America will have seen their team play one game (except for Miami and Tampa Bay) and will be making assumptions about the rest of the season based upon on one 60 minute sample.
As always, many of these conclusions end up being very far from the truth.
As such, here is The JR Report’s advice on what overreactions are legit after the NFL’s Week 1 action.
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Where it’s wrong to overreact
The Patriots will be the Patriots
The New England Patriots were without wide receiver Julian Edelman. Wide receiver Philip Dorsett was just traded to the team and it was WR Brandin Cooks’ first game with quarterback Tom Brady.
Moreover, all-pro safety Eric Berry had the evening of his life completely taking tight end Rob Gronkowski out of the game.
Offensively, everything went against New England. Brady will be fine and the chemistry between him and the rest of the offense will only improve as the season progresses. Remember, they still put up 27 points against an elite Kansas City Chiefs defense on an off night with many injuries.
On defense, there were also many new pieces added during the offseason that included cornerback Stephon Gillmore. There was also an unfortunate injury to stud linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
Coach Bill Belichick will turn around the defense and Brady will do the same with the offense. The rest of the NFL should not think this is the end of anything with New England.
The Patriots will be back and better than ever during Week 2’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
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Arizona will be OK
The Arizona Cardinals lost in ugly fashion as they gave up 20 fourth quarter points and quarterback Carson Palmer threw three inceptions. However, the Cardinals will not be a below .500 team like they were last season.
Arizona still has a good defense, a stellar running back and a pretty great duo in Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals were a little unlucky on the road against a possible playoff team in the Detroit Lions. Don’t overreact. Look for Arizona to bounce back in a major fashion against the Luck-less Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.
*** Update: With Cardinals running back David Johnson injured for what could be half the season, the future is not quite as bright. Nonetheless, Arizona will still look to be an improved team in 2017 and will stay afloat in the NFC wild card race until Johnson returns. ***
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Jared Goff is still 1-7
Yes, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff looked great today, however, it was against the Colts.
Remember, Indianapolis had what many people thought was the worst defense in the league in 2016. Even with quarterback Andrew Luck, they only won eight games. Now, they don’t have Luck so their league worst defense is now joined by a league worst offense as they have no hope without their MVP under center.
Without a doubt, Goff is an improved quarterback in 2017. But no Los Angeles fan should get ahead of themselves.
Goff will look good early, but 2016 Goff will be present shortly as their schedule becomes brutal with the Dallas Cowboys, (Jacksonville Jaguars?), Seattle Seahawks, Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans all in the next 10 weeks.
Football is never a stranger to controversy, and as the 2017 NFL draft finished up this weekend, another questionable decision was made. Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals.
It’s hard to forget Mixon’s past. By this time most people have seen the 2014 footage of Mixon punching a female student and breaking four bones in her face. He was suspended during the entire 2014 season, and never really made a comeback until the 2016 season.
Let’s ignore the debate about whether he should’ve been a first-round draft pick—he definitely has the talent. In his senior year, Mixon ran for 1,274 yards, had 538 receiving yards, and scored 15 touchdowns.
There’s a moral component to think about which the Bengals seem to have justified in their heads.
The thought process goes, “well he’s a bad guy, but we drafted him in the second round, so its okay!” And somehow this is supposed to make it better.
Everyone wants to think that character is important in sports. These are guys that we look up to as we see them go through college, get drafted, and have careers in the spotlight. Athletics host many household names, but, as we know, many of them fall short in the role model department.
There is a long history of teams compromising their moral fiber to pick up a good player, and the Mixon pick is just another part of the saga.
Has Mixon stated his regret? Yes. Were his actions deplorable? Undoubtedly. Should he have been drafted? It is hard to say.
We are finally learning that character doesn’t make even a tiny difference in professional sports. There are always amazing, larger-than-life guys in sports and we shouldn’t forget those guys. However, the Bengals just cared about what player could help them win on Sundays.