38 thoughts on “2021-2022 NFL Season: Week 1

  1. Sun
    Jaguars-Texans
    Chargers-WFT
    Seahawks-Colts
    Jets-Panthers
    Vikings-Bengals
    Cardinals-Titans
    49ers-Lions
    Steelers-Bills
    Eagles-Falcons
    Browns-Chiefs
    Packers-Saints
    Broncos-Giants
    Dolphins-Patriots
    Bears-Rams

    Mon
    Ravens-Raiders

    1. Forgot to comment on this: I really didn’t/don’t like this.

      It’s going to take some time to get used to defensive players with single digit numbers. To me, it doesn’t look good.

  2. Pre-game thoughts on the Cowboys-Buccaneers game–more about their teams in 2021.

    • I’m curious about the Cowboy defense. I think it will be disappointing if the front seven is not improved, although I have no idea about who’s their interior linemen. I’m guessing Quinn can at least get the defense to be average. If so, the Cowboys have a chance of being a playoff team.
    • Offensively, given my sense of Kellen Moore, they’re going to be pass-first, and fairly aggressive. They seem to have enough skill positions to put up points, too.
    • With the Bucs offense, I’m wondering if it will change significantly. Last year, they were kinda primitive. Their run game was really vanilla in my view (comparable to Brian Schottenheimer). They were more diverse and creative in the Super Bowl, though.
    • I’m also curious to see Brady. He looked bad at times, including in the NFCCG. Was this due to being year one in a new offense, or was Father Time catching up?
    • I expect their defense to be really good.
    1. Post-game thoughts

      • Cowboys defense got 4 turnovers–one really crucial one, preventing the Bucs from scoring in the 4th. (One didn’t really count as it was an INT on a Hail Mary, although if the DB could have avoided one Buc player, he might have scored.)
      • What stands out to me: Cowboys offense stalling in the red zone, especially after getting the ball on two turnovers.
      • As to Father Time, Brady looks like he’s kicking the former’s ass. He didn’t look old at all.
      • Bucs defense didn’t look great.
    2. Bucs, Cowboys

      Both defenses got dominated. You can tell the Bucs front seven is better than the Cowboys though. I super surprised by Ant Brown. He seem close to Pittsburgh form, but it could be the defenders of the Cowboys making him look good, but I hope not. But Gronk is the one that looked really good. He looked twice as quick as he did last year and he played really well.

      This is the best I’ve seen Dak play. Normally I feel he has tendencies to hold the ball when nobody can break free, but he seem to get the ball out quickly for the most part in this one. He really didn’t have too many bad throws overall too. He plays like this and the Cowboys got a chance, because they won’t pass this much against other teams, I’m guessing.

    3. For sure, both offenses moved the ball on ball defenses. Last season looked similar to this as well–with offenses able to put in long drives. (I’m wondering if the officials are helping the OL. If so that, would explain a lot. I actually don’t mind and even like this to some degree.)

      I mentioned the battle between Father Time and Brady, with Brady winning that one. Add in Gronk and AB. I agree with you–they did not look old.

      He plays like this and the Cowboys got a chance, because they won’t pass this much against other teams, I’m guessing.

      How many times did he throw–close to 60? I doubt he’ll do that regularly, but the heavy passing is Moore’s (and McCarthy’s) MO. (They should never had paid Zeke as much as they did if they were going to make this change.)

      1. Ant Brown and Gronk are not old though. If they were QBs, they would be in their prime. But as receivers, I would say just outside their prime?

      1. I didn’t think Ant Brown looked that good (ie: elite), but again it was hard to gauge. I actually thought Amari looked like the best receiver on the field last night. Plus you sort of placed Brown and Gronk in 44 year old Brady category. At this point what Brady is doing is unprecedented.

    4. You said AB looked close to PIttsburgh form, which is Hall of Fame caliber, and you said Gronk looked really good, twice as fast as last year, or something like that. They’re both over 30. For WRs, I think they decline quite a bit after 30. I’m not sure about TEs, but Gronk’s body is beat up. I agree, though, what Brady is doing is on another level.

      1. Gronkowski is 32, just a year older than Travis Kelce. It seems like Gronk has far more miles on him, especially since his injuries have been bad, but dang. When he plays like this he’s the best tight end in the game. I don’t know how he holds on to the ball sometimes, the way he gets beaten up.

        I thought Godwin looked like the best receiver on the field, with Cooper a close second. I was actually surprised by Lamb. He looks like a different receiver to me, more like what I expected two years ago. I might have to rethink him.

        Elliott led the game in rushing yards with 33.

        The game was kind of obscene. Fun to watch, but more titillating than satisfying.

        You know how in fantasy we give bonus points for very long field goals? I think the bonus should apply to misses as well. If you MISS a 60-yard FG, you should get one point.

        1. What really surprised me about Gronk is last year he probably played like 50-60% of the snaps? Just a guess, but it did seem like Brate and Howard was on the field as much as Gronk. Brate and Howard had no targets in the game against the Cowboys and I don’t even recall them playing much. Are these guys hurt? Also, I think Scottie Miller hardly made the field, partly because of Ant Brown, but my guess mostly because the Bucs didn’t want to take Gronk off the field. And for good reason, because he looked good running around.

    5. Wow, I didn’t realize Kelce was over 30. On a related note, I’m pretty sure most WRs’ production declines after 30, but I’m not sure what the threshold is for TEs. Gronk does seem way older than Kelce, though.

      I didn’t really have a strong sense about the best WRs, but Goodwin dropped a deep pass and fumbled the ball in/near the end zone at a critical moment. I feel like this puts him out of contention as the best WR that day. Lamb’s drops put him out of that, too.

      One last thing about the game. The Bucs may have won, but they didn’t play well. I’m thinking of three of their four turnovers. They’re lucky the Cowboys didn’t capitalize, including missing FGs and an extra point.

      If you MISS a 60-yard FG, you should get one point.

      I thought you were going to say something like–you should receive a negative point if a team misses a short FG.

  3. Seahawks-Colts

    Colts played the way I would have: Rely more on the run game, especially with the QB under center, limit Wentz’s throws or give him a lot of high-percentage throws, and limit his scrambling. They did this for the most part and had some early success. But Seattle’s run defense adjusted and was solid for the most part.

    The Seahawk offense looked solid.

    Chargers-WFT

    This was a solid game. The two teams were fairly evenly matched and both teams played fairly well. Gibson fumbling near the WFT goaline was the decisive play.

    Heinicke came in for Fitz and looked solid.

    Against Brandon Staley’s offense, I think you have not only be willing to run, but run consecutively and sometimes on 3rd and medium. My understanding is the defense is designed to stop the passing game, and they don’t mind giving up runs so much (which is hard to believe).

  4. Pats, Fins

    The biggest surprise of this game was how good Mac Jones looked to me. He was great at moving in the pocket and rarely made a bad decision. He definitely didn’t look like a rookie. I thought New England’s front seven on D did look pretty good, and I would say better than Miami’s. After one game, I would lean closer to Reid saying they could be a good team, but I thought the Pat’s average at best, skilled position players stifled their offense. Even minus the two fumbles, I didn’t think Harris was make decisive enough decisions running the football. I also didn’t think the Pats receivers did much. If the Pats don’t get more production from their receivers, they will need to be willing to stick with the run game on early downs. New England was often in third and short especially in the first half, which kept the chains moving.

    Tua looked okay at times, but he struggled to get the ball to his receivers outside of quick slants. That could be because the Pat’s defense is good, but I’m going to guess not. He just struggled at times. That being said, he could be good enough, though. I didn’t think he played bad, and he was mostly poised sans his one really bad interception. I wasn’t that impressed with Miami, except for the fact they won in New England. Miami’s pressure failed to disturb the rookie QB, and their offense could only manage 17 points.

    1. Mac Jones was solid. I agree his footwork and movement in the pocket were good. (He even stepped up at the last second to avoid the edge rusher–something Brady was great at.)

      I thought New England’s front seven on D did look pretty good, and I would say better than Miami’s.

      I was a little disappointed, to be honest; my expectations were a bit higher for the front seven and just the defense overall. Based on week 1 games, I wouldn’t rank the Patriots among the best defenses I’ve seen.

      if the Pats don’t get more production from their receivers, they will need to be willing to stick with the run game on early downs.

      I think that’s their MO, and was their MO last year. They don’t have a pass-catcher that would command double-teams. To win, they need great defense and a run game, ball security, a few key throws–and maybe a trick play or a big play on ST. They were using this formula last year, but their roster was too weak.

      It will be amazing if they make the playoffs and advance. But they’ve done it before with lackluster rosters–although I’d argue this is the most competitive the AFC East has been in Belichick’s tenure. (The best Rex Ryan Jets teams were tough, but I don’t think Miami and Buffalo were any good.)

      I wasn’t that impressed with Miami, except for the fact they won in New England.

      I don’t really agree with this. Tua seems like the weak link. Imagine this team with Deshaun. Also, the Dolphin OCs (I think two guys are calling plays) seemed to do a good job.

      1. I’m not sure what your expectation of New England’s front 7, but they exceeded mine by a little bit. They did a decent job stopping the run, especially Miami running from shot gun. I think Miami rarely ran from shot gun in the second half, after getting stopped on every one of those in the first half. On obvious passing downs, if rushing four, they had okay pressure. The Pats put more pressure on Miami, than Dallas did on the Bucs.

        Tua may be the weak link, but I thought at least in this game he did okay. Using the eye test I would choose Mac over Tua, but in terms of production, I think they were equal.

    2. With the Patriots, I thought they would be a dominant defense, with a really good front seven (although I liked their secondary as well). My expectations were probably too high.

      Tua may be the weak link, but I thought at least in this game he did okay.

      I agree with this–but I feel he’s the one holding the team back. I feel like the team would be a Super Bowl contender with a QB like Watson or even Justin Herbert.

  5. Cardinals-Titans

    The Cardinals defense–or I should say, Chandler Jones–overwhelmed the Titans offense right of the gate. In this game, Jones looked like LT or Derrick Thomas.

    The Titans defense still doesn’t look good, but I’m having doubts about Murray being a long-term QB–at least with the Cardinals OL. He needs a more spacious pocket….Then again, I’m not sure if that’s reasonable. Unless the pocket is really spacious, he doesn’t seem to be able to throw from it–and has to resort to running around, which he’s good at. But is that sustainable?

    Speaking of playing in the pocket, I thought Tannehill looked good, hanging in the pocket, and he looked solid overall.

    I stopped watching this game sometime in the 3rd quarter, though.

    Steelers-Bills

    A defensive battle. Well, the Steelers may have one of the best front sevens, and they could be a dominant defense. I think the Bills helped by being one-dimensional for the most part.

    The Bills defense looked good, too, but I don’t know if that’s because the Steelers OL isn’t so hot–especially in terms of run-blocking. I was hoping the Steelers would shift back to a more run-based team, putting Roethlisberger under center. But after watching them, I don’t know if that’s a hot idea, as the OL doesn’t seem capable of blocking. (Harris really had no chance.)

    But if they can’t run, I don’t like their chances to go far, as Roethlisberger doesn’t look great.

    Chiefs-Browns

    If I told you the Browns fumbled, got a punt blocked, and threw an INT on the 2:00 minute drive at the end. You would know who won. Yep.

    The Chiefs defense looks vulnerable, though, especially on the ground.

  6. Patriots-Dolphins

    The way the Patriots play, you can’t turn over the ball. They did, losing the turnover battle.

    Tua did well, but my sense is that he’s not really a franchise QB. This may actually be really premature, but my sense is that he’s going to be like Andy Dalton. If you surround him with great talent, he can be really effective, and maybe you could win a Super Bowl (with a really great defense and run game). But you have very little chance with anything less than that.

    The Dolphins defense looks as good as last year. They seem to have a lot of weapons on offense, too.

    Packers-Saints

    Total domination might be apt here. The Packers offense only had two possessions in the first half. (Well, they had a third with 50 seconds left in the half.) The Saints gashed the Packer defense on the ground in the 2nd quarter. You know defense looked worn down in the 4th getting run on all game? That’s what the Packer defense looked like–in the 2nd quarter. The Saints looked they were in the 4 minute drill, but they kept getting 4-6 yards a carry.

    I think a lot of people had the Packers as contenders, but I wondered about their defense. It was too shaky in 2020, and they were getting a new DC. If things didn’t improve, I didn’t think they had a chance. Based on this one game, I would say they didn’t improve.

    The Saints had one of the best overall teams in the past few years. They looked like it tonight.

    Winston was fine, but he had kind of a bonehead turnover, which was luckily negated due to a Packer penalty.

    Rodgers, whose ball security may be the greatest of all time, had two horrible INTs. (I think they gave up on their run game too quickly, too.)

    I turned off the game at 38-3 Saints, in the 4th quarter.

  7. Bears-Rams

    The Rams OL and run game didn’t seem as good as last year–except at the 5:00 minute mark in the 4th. They started running well–from the shotgun. They operated almost exclusively in the shotgun on that drive, and they looked good.

    The Rams defense looked pretty horrid, though. They really need to improve.

  8. Vikings-Bengals

    Pete Carroll has said that there’s usually a turning point in a season–often when something really goes wrong. Either the team will right the ship, or the season will be lost at that moment. This might be crazy to say, but the Vikings could be facing that now. (I actually don’t believe this, but if this happened in the middle of the season, the way a coach/team handles this type of loss could could make or break the season.)

    First, the Vikings OL was often dysfunctional, especially with regard to penalties. It’s amazing they can sometimes function, and that they came back in this game and had a chance to win.

    Second, the Vikings defense looked dominant in the early part of the game, but the Bengals must have made adjustments, because their offense got going.

    Finally, that last fumble by Cook was brutal–and that’s the kind of think, along with the loss, that can sink a season–if the coach and team don’t handle it well.

    The Viking started off looking bad last year, but then got better (at least for some of the games.) So I guess it could happen again.

  9. Steelers, Bills

    The Steelers could be close to a dominant defense, if the Bills offense is as good as we think they are. The Steelers front four dominated the Bills’ o-line. They often were touching Allen rushing just four. I think all the pressure created some accuracy issues for Allen or he could have just been off. But it’s not only Pittsburgh’s pass rush, but even the secondary got their hands on a lot of balls and were knocking passes out of receiver’s hands. That being said I’m not sure how well the Steeler’s offense will fair trying to dink and dunk all year long. And the Steelers pass pro on plays in which Ben didn’t get rid of the ball early was good if not great. Despite this game, I would still say the Bills will be the better team this year.

    1. I agree about the Steelers. Based on the games, I’d probably choose them as the best defense–and the defense that looked the closest to great/dominant. (The only games I didn’t watch–Texans-Jags and Eagles-Falcons.)

      Actually, I thought the Bills defense looked really good as well, although I can’t tell if that’s because the Steelers offense is not very good (particularly their OL and QB).

      1. re Bills’ defense:

        I thought the Steelers shot themselves in the foot a little in the first half with some penalties, drop passes, and errant throws. They played pretty good in the second half though. And although I think the Steelers dink and dunk way too much, they have the horses to play that game. Their receivers seems to live in the underneath and they have the threat of Claypool on the outside for those once in a while long throws. Even Washington is good as a catch and run guy. That being said at this point, I would still keep them right outside the top three tiers to win the Super Bowl.

    2. The Steelers have really good WRs. Maybe they don’t have one elite WR, but they have three very good ones–and that could put them in the running for one of the best receiver groups.

      But Roethlisberger looks close to being shot. He can make throws, but other times he looks shaky, and his ball security is not reliable. If they have to rely heavily on his passing, I don’t think they can win–unless the have an all-time great defense.

      I heard the Ringer guys complain about the Steelers promise to run the ball more, play more from under center. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they genuinely wanted to do that. I wanted them to do that, but after watching how they ran the ball, with Ben under center, even I understood why they didn’t stick with it.

      That being said at this point, I would still keep them right outside the top three tiers to win the Super Bowl.

      The receivers are outside the top three tiers or the Steelers as a team? And did you mean “tiers” or “top three teams?” I don’t know what you’re trying to say.

      1. In my Super Bowl tiers post (I had three tiers.) I didn’t have the Steelers as one of the teams listed. If I were to make the list again today, I still wouldn’t list the Steelers. That doesn’t mean I might drop out someone like the Colts, but I wouldn’t necessarily add the Steelers. I just wrote that line in there to show my overall feelings of this Steeler team at this point in time. I do have to raise my expectations of the Steelers a little though after the defense dominated the Bills. Again I think part of that was Allen being a little bit off, but you have to put some of that little bit off on the Steelers d-line who was pressuring Allen a lot. I think I saw a stat that said they had 17 pressures on 51 drop backs or something close to that. That’s just crazy, because if Allen takes a three step drop and throws the ball quickly that still counts in the 51 drop backs. You take all of those kinds of plays out and 50% of the time he was feeling pressure possibly.

        I agree the Steelers couldn’t run a lick, but the times Big Ben dropped back and held the ball (ie: not a quick throw), Buffalo didn’t seem to be getting a whole lot of pressure. And preseason, people were talking a little bit of Buffalo’s pass rush. But I didn’t see hardly any of it. Did Jerry Hughes do anything in this game? I didn’t notice him at all.

    3. I just wrote that line in there to show my overall feelings of this Steeler team at this point in time.

      OK, got it. Not being able to make the 3rd tier is pretty bad–basically, they have no chance to win the Super Bowl and they’re not a good team. Your post made created a more favorable impression of the Steelers, which is partly the reason your comment confused me.

      That’s just crazy, because if Allen takes a three step drop and throws the ball quickly that still counts in the 51 drop backs. You take all of those kinds of plays out and 50% of the time he was feeling pressure possibly.

      Do you recall how often they ran quick-hitting plays? My general sense is that they were throwing the ball downfield quite a bit.

      But I didn’t see hardly any of it. Did Jerry Hughes do anything in this game? I didn’t notice him at all.

      Me, too, but what I recall is that the Bills front seven were fairly dominant at the LOS. I don’t know if they sacked Roethlisberger, but I don’t think I wouldn’t say the pass pro was really good, either.

      The Bills defense looked good enough that I would not rule them out as being one of the best defenses in the league.

  10. Ravens-Raiders

    This is the best performance from a Raiders defensive line that I’ve seen in a long, long time. I can’t remember when I saw a similar or better performance–even when they had Khalil Mack.

    The Ravens OL was a bit of a weakness for the team last year. They look worse.

    Their defense doesn’t look that great, either, to be honest. If the team doesn’t improve significantly, they have no shot.

    Still, the boneheaded plays still haunt the Raiders–e.g., the muffed snap, the false start on the goal line in OT; and the INT in the end zone. Ugh.

    But the DL play hard and played well. That was nice to see.

    1. I agree with the Raiders d-line, but it could just be the Ravens has the worse tackles in the game. The Raven’s o-line looked the worse of the teams I saw. I didn’t see the Titans who got destroyed by the Jones nor did I see the Chargers, who I heard was getting a lot of pressure as well. And I know Lamar’s two fumbles is what really cost the Ravens, but dang did he look good. Yeah maybe his passing was just average, but his running was crazy. He looks like a man among boys at times.

    2. I’m pretty sure the Ravens OL had something to do with it. They were also one of the worst I saw–off the top of my head, on par with the Titans, and Vikings (the latter had a ton of drive-killing penalties). To me, the Steeler OL looks pretty bad as well, especially in terms of run-blocking. (I don’t recall the WFT OL was that bad.)

      But even if the Ravens OL was bad, the Raiders pass rush played with an intensity I haven’t seen in a super long time. It’s gotta be before Dennis Allen was the coach–and maybe longer than that. I wasn’t enthused about Gusy Bradley hiring, but credit to him for at least getting the defense to play as hard as they did. (They even had some good hitting for the secondary, although some of that was from Abrams, and that’s his thing.)

      As for Lamar, his running has always been amazing. He’s probably the best running QB ever–at least tied with Mike Vick. Also, Kyler Murray is definitely in the competition as well. But he’s not going to win the Super Bowl if his passing, especially from the pocket doesn’t improve. (He had a nice bomb to Brown.)

      1. I know Maxx Crosby was a close second (if not tied) to the best o-linemen I saw this weekend, behind TJ.

        I thought Lamar struggled getting free in some of the games I saw last year. Almost like he had lost a step. But that wasn’t the case in this one.

    3. I know Maxx Crosby was a close second (if not tied) to the best o-linemen I saw this weekend, behind TJ.

      I agree. I am a little surprised at how good Watt looked. I don’t remember him being that good last year. Melvin Ingram looked pretty good, too. If looked better than Bud Dupree, to me.

      But Chandler Jones looked the best, I think. He had a Derrick Thomas-like game.

      Edit

      One thing I wanted to mention: Carr’s accuracy was shaky all night. Pretty annoying.

  11. Eagles-Falcons

    The story of the game: Falcons offense committed too many penalties. It made it impossible to sustain drives. They reminded me of the Vikings, although their OL didn’t seem as bad as Vikings–but maybe they are. My sense is that if an OL commits a lot of holding or false start penalties, it suggests they’re overwhelmed by the DL. Towards end of the game, the Eagles pass rush seemed to be more effective as well.

    Both teams looked better than I expected. I don’t think they’re going to be great, but I’d put them in the not-great-but-not-bad category.

    Hurts looked better than I thought. The Falcons had some nicely designed blitzes, and Hurts just evaded them. They utilized the read-option effectively, too. (Opposing teams better prepare for this.)

    The score doesn’t reflect this, but the Falcons defense played hard, fast, and had some nice hits. They looked better than I expected. (Then again, maybe the defense didn’t respect Hurts’s ability to throw downfield.)

    Atlanta’s run game looked pretty good. But those penalties limited its use, I think.

    The score was awful for Atlanta, but, strangely, I came away feeling Arthur Smith might be a good coach.

    1. I heard one pundit say the Eagles could have one of the top o-line and d-line combinations. I forgot who said it, but I know he didn’t think either was top five, but both are very good. Did you notice that?

    2. I just heard Mike Lombardi say that. (“If you have a really good OL/DL, I don’t care what the f*** else you have.”) I heard that comment before watching the game, so I paid attention to their OLs.

      I thought both were solid, but Lombardi’s comment elevated my expectations–and those expectations are distorting my perception. Still, even if I didn’t hear this, I don’t think I would have came to this conclusion, not with the OL, anyway. The DL looked solid, and even better at the end.

      Also, as I mentioned, when an OL commits a lot of penalties, that’s a sign they’re not good and/or being overwhelmed by the opposing DL.

      But like all other games in week 1, it’s hard to know if a team is good or the opponent is just weak; or a team is just bad or the opponent is just terrific.

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