2022-2023 NFL Week 1

I’m not sure if I’m going to comment every week as I no longer have NFL game pass (or whatever it’s called now). My comments, if I have any, will be based on highlight footgae. That’s how I “watched” the Rams-Bills games on Thursday.

Here are some thoughts on that game:

I was kinda surprised by the number of turnovers in this game, particularly by the Bills. Had the Bills protected the ball better, I’m guessing the final score would have been even uglier. (I saw Stafford struggle with ball security in the earlier part of last season, but since they went on to win the Super Bowl, I assumed his ball security got a lot better. But then I heard the commentator say he threw the most INTs last year; and just seeing the INTs in this game, I’m wondering if his ball security is still shaky.)

Question for those who watched the game: Were the Rams in shotgun/spread formations a lot? That’s the impression I got. In general, was the running game a factor with both offenses?

With regard to both questions, I think this could impact the Rams pass protection–and based on the highlights–it didn’t look so good. My sense is that McVay’s offense (with the OL talent they’ve had) won’t be able to provide great pass pro–if the run game isn’t a factor. The latter manifests itself in more long-yardage (read: obvious passing situations). The Rams offense, like pro-style offenses, will struggle a lot more in these situations, compared to really good spread/pass-first offenses (e.g., Chiefs, Patriots with Brady).

17 thoughts on “2022-2023 NFL Week 1

  1. I only saw three games (if you count the one on right now) but I did a box scores deep-dive, so here are a few observations with perhaps some commentary.

    Bills at Rams (Thursday)
    Darryl Henderson 13 carries; Cam Akers 3.
    Cooper Cupp 15 targets; Tyler Higbee 11; Allen Robinson 1.
    Von Miller 2 sacks; 3 tackles for loss.
    Buffalo: 15 QB hits; LA 2
    Buffalo: no punts

    Saints at Falcons
    Jameis Winston: 23/34, 2 TD, 0 INT
    Marcus Mariota: 20/33, 0 TD, 0 INT, 12 carries, 72 yds, rushing TD
    Cordarrelle Patterson: 22 for 120, TD
    New Orleans carries: Kamara 9, Hill 4, Ingram 4
    Drake London and Kyle Pitts: 7 targets each
    New Orleans targets: Landry 9, Thomas 8, Juwon Johnson 5, Chris Olave 3

    49ers at Bears
    What a sloppy mess of a game. You can’t tell ANYTHING from this one, which is too bad. I wanted to see the QBs fresh and excited.

    Trey Lance: 13 carries led the game
    The 49ers have a safety named Talanoa Hufanga. He had the Niners’ lone INT.

    Steelers at Bengals
    This game was nuts and not in a good way.
    I think Najee Harris’s foot is going to be an issue all season.

    Joe Mixon: 27 carries
    Alex Highsmith: 3 sacks (in an OT game)
    TJ Watt: 3 tackles for loss

    1. Bills at Rams

      The QB hits numbers stands out. But the turnovers should be mentioned as well, for both teams.

      Saints at Falcons

      What stood out (from the highlights) is Mariota’s fumble and his muffed snap on a critical 3rd down near the end of the game. With regard to the former, he should have slid, especially given his injury history, and he would have avoided a fumble and protected himself. With regard to the mishandled snap, there’s no guarantee the Falcons would have converted, but that miscue decreased their chances.

      49ers at Bears

      Did you watch the whole game? If so, how did Trey Lance look?

      Steelers at Bengals

      What stands out is the amount of turnovers the Bengals committed. It’s unreal they kept the game close.

      1. Well. Did you see the two Josh Allen interceptions? Not his fault. One was a tip; the other was a mistake by the receiver.

        No, that Niners game wasn’t on TV. What people are saying is he showed flashes of brilliance. The one-game takeaway seems to be all the potential is there but it might need more time.

  2. Broncos at Seahawks

    I saw the entire game. What I saw with the Broncos offense was similar to what I’ve seen with the Seahawk offense in the past two years–one successful run is followed by a lot of passes, including play action passes. It’s like they’re allergic to running the ball a lot, even when it’s successful. It seemed like the Broncos were getting 6+ yards per carry, and the word “gash” comes to mind. On the other hand, they didn’t run the ball enough for “gash” to be appropriate. And because of that, they did the Seahawks defense a big favor.

    But the same could be said for the Seahawk offense. This was far from ground-and-pound, and much closer to a spread offense. It was one-dimensional, which is a shame because I think Rashaad Penny could be effective. If they give him enough carries, I think he’ll hit “home runs.”

    On another note, Geno Smith looked solid–much better than I’ve seen. And if he consistently plays like this he’ll make me eat crow.

    1. As I said during our fantasy draft, I like Geno Smith. I think Jets fans liked him too. I hope this is the start of a solid Seattle tenure for the guy. And I hate the Seahawks.

      Yeah, the Denver runners looked good and I also didn’t understand what the deal was. At first I thought, “Oh yeah, all those fantasy owners who have Javonte Williams are right — Melvin Gordon IS stealing all his monster numbers,” but then when Gordon got the ball in the second half, he looked almost as good. So Denver’s doing something right with the run game.

    2. “Like” as in you think he is a legit starter or just a good backup? Man, he has looked bad almost every time I’ve seen him. He has tools, but by the end of watching him play, I would always have a low opinion of him–e.g., I didn’t think he was even a good backup.

      Yeah, the Denver runners looked good and I also didn’t understand what the deal was.

      I think Russ is the reason. Same thing would happen in Seattle over the previous two seasons.

      1. I thought the Bronco’s offense looked pretty good, but of course they were playing against the Seahawks. Although, I thought the Seahawks D looked better than I thought, too. The Bronco’s offense was moving the ball pretty well for the parts I saw. And if they never fumble in or near the end zone twice, they probably would have won pretty easily.

    3. You blame Russ for orchestrating a type of offense that probably 80% of the rest of the NFL is running as well?

      This is a fair point, but there are at least two different contexts for this: a) the head coach prefers this approach or b) the QB really wants to play this way. My sense is that Hackett actually likes a more pro-style approach–going back to his days in Jacksonville and to some extent even in GB. The Broncos look good running the ball in 21 or 22 personnel as well–which kind of reinforces my impression that if he had his druthers, the offense would be more balanced.

      Also, today I heard a Denver reporter say that Russ is clearly the most powerful person in the organization–more than Hackett. It reminded me of the situation between Romo and Garrett, prior to 2014, when Jerry Jones would talk about Romo’s brilliance as an offensive mind. Basically, it seemed like Romo had more power than Garrett. And I blame Jones for enabling this. (I also blame Aaron Rodgers for this approach as well.)

      By the way, Russ not having enough say was a big source of the conflict in Seattle–and by this I mean he basically wanted Carroll to give him everything he wanted (e.g., utilize more hurry up). I really think a big reason Russ chose Denver was that they would give him this type of power.

      I thought the Bronco’s offense looked pretty good, but of course they were playing against the Seahawks.

      You didn’t think they gave up on the run too quickly?

      I will say this, as well: I think the fumbles at the goal line partly stem from their pass-first style. Short yardage running can be the most difficult situations to run, especially at the goal line, because the defense either knows this is likely and/or their urgency to stop the run is high. Neglecting running the ball for most of the game–not allowing it to get into a rhythm and beat up on opposing defenses–and then expecting it to do well in these predictable situations is not sound thinking. You can expect the run game to be effective in such circumstances–and yeah, I think the defense could be more physical and effective, which can lead to a turnovers. (I got a similar impression of the Seahawk offense in the last two seasons.)

      I don’t think they Seahawk defense was really good–except in crucial situations. (They should have at least had one INT, if not two.)

      1. You expectations of Seattle’s defense was higher than what they showed against Denver? I just thought overall Seattle tackled well in space and their DBs played pretty well overall. Even though Denver was moving the ball consistently, I didn’t think it appeared “easy” for whatever reason.

    4. You expectations of Seattle’s defense was higher than what they showed against Denver?

      Well, it was better than what I’ve seen in previous seasons. I agree with you: while the Broncos moved the ball, it didn’t look as easy as in year’s past. (Keep in mind the way the defense played in the past is a really low bar.)

  3. More box score deep-diving.

    Eagles at Lions
    The biggest takeaway is both teams got into the end zone five times. People are predicting Man Campbell will be the coach of the year. I wouldn’t rule it out.

    Eagles carries: Hurts 17, Sanders 13 (for 96 yds), Gainwell 5, Scott 4
    Eagles targets: Brown 13, Smith, Goedert, Gainwell 4 each
    Lions targets: St. Brown 12, Chark 8, Hockenson 7

    Patriots at Dolphins
    Tua: 23/33, 270 yds, 8.2 avg, 1 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks (for 28 yds), passer rating 104.4
    Patriots carries: Harris 9, Stevens 8 (of course)
    Dolphins carries: Edmonds 12, Mostert 5
    Patriots targets: 9 players caught the ball; nobody had more than 6 targets

    Ravens at Jets
    Flacco 59 attempts!
    Ravens carries: Drake 11, Jackson 6. Dobbins may play next Sunday.
    Jets rushing: Michael Carter 10 for 60. Take out his long of 22 and he’s 9 for 38. Give him the ball!

    Ravens targets: Andrews 7, Bateman 5, Duverney and Robinson 4 each
    Jets targets: Breece Hall 10, Michael Carter 9, Corey Davis 9, Garrett Wilson 8, Elijah Moore and Tyler Conklin 7 each

  4. Bills/Rams:
    What stood out the most is how quickly Allen got rid of the ball especially as compared to Stafford. The Rams o-line isn’t great, but Stafford holding on to the ball on numerous plays wasn’t helping at all.

    Dolphins/Pats:
    Man, the Pats didn’t look good. Byron Jones wasn’t playing and it didn’t look like the Pats’ receivers could do much. The Dolphins D look way different too, with much less blitzing. Tua played alright, but man, he has to throw some bombs (at least one). I didn’t watch the whole game, but I don’t think any of Tua’s passes travelled longer than 30 yards in the air. Maybe not even 25 yards.

    I didn’t see the Charger, Raider game, but the score was really bad early on, but the final score seem close. Is the Chargers going to be as good as people say? The Chargers didn’t score the last 20+ minutes of the game. Maybe they just took their foot of the gas.

    1. I’m hoping that with the guys on his team he’ll unleash some long ones soon. How can you not?

      I only saw the last part of the Raiders game but it looks like that CB Nate Hobbs, while he doesn’t quite shut down half the field, doesn’t get tested much. That’s got to affect a team like the Chargers. And I’ll repeat what I said last pre-season about the Chargers. They look great on paper but I need to be convinced they’re a really good team. Them losing to the Raiders the way they did at the end of last season didn’t do much to convince me otherwise!

      1. Early on, the Rams looked like they were trying to establish the run with Stafford under center. But in the second half, with the defense unable to stop the Bills, Stafford was playing mostly from the shotgun.

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