Man, I'm really, REALLY glad I don't bet on NFL football.
1) The Buffalo Bills started the season with a 44 point loss. Veteran cornerback Vontae Davis quit at halftime in week two. And now, they were sending out their rookie QB against a team many pundits have as one of the league's best teams and a Super Bowl contender. In short, nobody had the Bills beating the Vikings in Minneapolis. And this guy, put a ton on the Vikings. Easy money, right?
Like Chris Berman always said, "That's why they play the games."
80 teams have played games as 16 point favorites. Five of those teams them lost and none of them lost by more than seven points. The Bills not only beat the Vikings, they dominated them. Minnesota didn't even cross the 50 yard line until 9:36 remaining in the third quarter. Kirk Cousins threw the ball 55 times, was sacked four times and was intercepted once.
I'm not usually a big believer in "good losses," but this one qualifies for Minnesota. It's an early season game against a non-conference opponent so it won't count as much when it comes to the playoff standings. But a loss like this shows that any team can be beat, including a talented one like the Vikings. In order to win a Super Bowl, they'll need to stay focused. I wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota's coaching staff keep a few reminders of this game around.
2) New England is in trouble again...again.
I know that this Patriots receiving corps is mediocre. I know that this rebuilt defense has just allowed a Detroit running back to rush for 100 yards for the first time in 70 games. And I know all about the drama that's surrounded this team in the last few years. But we've seen this before from the Patriots. Slow starts, early season blowouts, poor play in every facet of the game. None of it seems to matter when January rolls around. Julian Edelman will return to the lineup. Josh Gordon will get a hold of the offense. Rob Gronkowski will get over his retirement threats. And tom Brady will continue drinking from the Fountain of Youth.
3) Sigh, I guess it's time for the weekly Clay Matthews report.
Once again, the NFL rulebook rears its ugly head again. By rule, Matthew's sack on Kirk Cousins was correct. By rule, Matthew's sack of Alex Smith was correct. The rule itself, however, is stupid. All the major rule chances in the last few years have benefitted the offense. When was the last time they addressed the defense?
Last week, I suggested that they they put flags on the quarterbacks. I'll go a bit further. If they want to make this unsafe game safer, treat QBs like kickers and punters. Any time they let go of the ball, no one is allowed to touch them.
4) I don't know if you heard this, but the Cleveland Browns won a game last week.
It's been 635 days between victories for the Browns. Since their previous win, we've had two US presidents, six Marvel movies, three Star Wars movies, two Golden State Warriors championships, and LeBron James has joined two teams.
5) With the success of the Eagles' "Philly Philly" play, it looks like more NFL coaches are willing to open up their playbook. Miami opened up this beauty on the Raiders. New Orleans has used backup QB Taysom Hill in creative ways. And Cleveland got into the act in their big win against the Jets.
6) Drew Brees and Matt Ryan combined stats in Sunday's game in Atlanta:
65 completions, 84 pass attempts, 750 yards, eight touchdowns, zero interceptions
7) Jimmy Garappolo's knee injury will keep him sidelined until 2019 at the earliest. But as bad as I feel for him, this was something that was completely avoidable and he should have known better.
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston told reporters, "I that was his fault. I pray he’s not hurt, nothing serious, but as a quarterback, you should step out of bounds. It’s only an inch. That inch wouldn't have made a difference. You got the yardage you need. You step out of bounds. You’ve got to be smart and think about your team."
I love to see a player that will fight for every inch, but there are times and places for that. That was neither. He's got to be smarter than that. He's not built like Cam Newton or Ben Rothelisberger. So now, instead of getting a better handle of Kyle Shanahan's offense, Garappolo will miss yet another season due to injury.
And as cool Josh Allen's play was in the upset over the Vikings, I hope that he learns something from Garappolo's injury.
8) Since 1980, 134 of the 177 teams that started 3-0 made the playoffs. In that same time period, 173 teams have started the season 0-3. Only five have made the playoffs.
So kudos to Miami, Kansas City, and the L.A. Rams. As for Arizona, Houston, and Oakland...yuck...