Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The first week of the 2020 NFL season is more or less in the books and we’re already getting a loose sense of how things are shaking out. I mean, I could hit you with some overwrought resolve that fronts like we ever really learn anything from one week of football, but I’d rather hedge my bets here and say that especially this season everything is still up for grabs.
A fractured offseason, and lack of preseason really turned this year into a tossup. One thing will remain true, however: Tom Brady ($25M) is costing the Buccaneers the same amount as 22 Cam Newtons ($1.1375M). Okay, it’s actually 21.97802197802198 Newtons. Please don’t accuse me of manipulating the numbers to fit my agenda. That agenda, by the way, is to laugh at how washed Brady is looking, and how damn good Newton does.
One earns a certain amount of schadenfreude when they’ve been as good as Brady has for as long as he has. Also, like, 43-year-old quarterbacks are supposed to be washed. This is the life cycle of the position. They’re not supposed to be handed $25M contracts while 31-year-old former MVPs barely get a look until late in the offseason where they’re signed for peanuts.
The seasons of Brady and Newton are inexorably linked. Football logic drummed in our heads that Brady was going to thrive and deliver on the Buccaneers’ big-money promises, and that could still hold true. After all, they did face the Saints on Sunday and the Saints are still the Saints. I bought into it too. But sticking to an obviously wrong point of view while the world crumbles around it is something only idiots do, and I’m no idiot. Mild dope at best.
Meanwhile, Newton looks like the player he was before the injury — except this time with an offensive line he dreamed of having while in Carolina, and with an offense tailored specifically to his strengths. When that came together he completed 79 percent of his passes, racked up 230 all purpose yards and scored two of the Patriots’ three touchdowns on the ground. Granted, this was all against Miami, but he still proved that all the reasons cited as to why he was going to fail in New England, like schematic changes and poor receivers were ridiculous. Meanwhile the same reasons Brady was going to win, familiarity and an all-star offensive cast didn’t help at all.
Patriots’ tight end Ryan Izzo finished with more receiving yards that All Pro receiver Mike Evans. Ryan Izzo is a player I only just now learned existed when I looked at the box score. Good for Ryan Izzo.
But look, it’s one week — so we’ll let this play out a bit. For now Newton looks like the stone cold lock for steal of the offseason, while Brady is the handful of magic beans Jack traipsed home with when his only damn job was to sell that cow.
This table is the last thing I’ll say to hurt you Bucs fans, promise.
We need to talk about that Lions collapse.
The Detroit Lions failed so spectacularly on Sunday that they made Mitchell Trubisky look like a bonafide superstar. That sentence alone should be enough to tell you how bad this was.
Up 23-6 entering the fourth quarter, at some point the Lions looked around their empty stadium and said “Hey, let’s completely shit the bed to make it feel like an ordinary Lions home game,” and hoo boy did they go for it.
Trubisky only had 116 yards through the air in the first three quarters of the game. Destined for another typical Trubisky game. Dude then went off for 126 and three touchdowns in the fourth, in an effort that turned him into a box score superstar for a day. Meanwhile Detroit didn’t do a single thing right down the stretch, and this loss might be one of the most demoralizing we’ll see all season, and it’s only Week One.
For now I’m just appreciating that the Lions collapsed easier than the planned demolition of the Silverdome in 2017, when it took multiple attempts to get the place down.
What can Browns do for you?
Nothing. They lost 38-6 and told us, in a small, almost beautiful way that some things in 2020 can feel like any other year.
Washington should have stopped being racist years ago.
The Washington Football Team is 1-0 since changing its name, and did so in surprising fashion by taking it to the Eagles in the opener.
The Football Team’s defense (I guess this is how I’m supposed to shorten them) is frankly, terrifying. They sacked Carson Wentz eight times on the afternoon, picked him off twice and forced a fumble. Ron Rivera is really, really good at getting guys to love him and buy in to what he’s trying to install on the field, particularly on defense, and it’s showing so far.
Personally, I attribute this even more to sponsor-pressure karmic alignment.
I like how supportive the fake fans are.
For the most part it didn’t even feel like a spate of empty stadiums this week. The TV production was on point to stick to the field as much as possible, and avoid hovering on the empty stands too much.
That said, there was something downright pleasant about the fake fans teams around the league piped in. They didn’t boo the refs, they seemingly cheered when both home and away fans did something well. It was like the stands were full of supportive mothers watching both their children play each other and clapping equally.
It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it was nice. Also we’re getting major shade out of it all, which I’m here for.
Cam Jordan on the weirdness of no fans in the Superdome: “It felt like we were at a Tampa Bay game.”
— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 14, 2020
Gardner Minshew was as statistically perfect as his whole look.
I’m not sure if a look can be “statistically perfect,” but I’m going with it. Dude obviously didn’t get the memo the Jags were going to suck this year, because he lit it up for the only NFL fans allowed to be in attendance this week.
This is going to be one of those games that gets overlooked a ton because it’s the Jags and Colts, but my god Minshew was incredible. 19/20, 173 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT — he found ten different receivers in the process, and ran for another 19 yards on the ground.
It wasn’t long ago that everyone wrote off the Jags as being one of the worst teams in football this year, then they do this. Jacksonville’s top two receivers were Keelan Cole Sr. and Laviska Shenault Jr., both of which sound like made up names from those iconic Key & Peele sketches.
Jacksonville might honestly be a team to watch this year. Seriously.
WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE FEED EZEKIEL ELLIOT?!
Homer Simpson did Ezekiel Elliott’s FEED ME tattoo before Zeke pic.twitter.com/PPeuUPo2Cs
— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 14, 2020
Seriously, he is a peak athlete working hard to be one of the best at his position. He really shouldn’t need a belly tattoo to beg for food. I know Jerry Jones lost his Papa John’s hookup, but he has more than enough money to ensure his star running back’s hunger is satisfied.