By Nathan Fioravante
Week 1 of football is truly an exciting time. It is always great to see actual professional football being played after a month of watching the catastrophe and snooze-fest that is preseason football. However, missing 6 months of football can cause the average fan to over-analyze their team’s performance in week 1. A lot can change in 2 weeks, so here’s a look back at all (if not most) of the week 1 reactions.
The 49ers might be ok this season.
2 Weeks Later: Not Very Accurate
Week 1, the 49ers actually looked like a competent team. The defense led by Navorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks stymied the NFL’s current leading rusher, Adrian Peterson to just 31 yards. Bridgewater was under duress the entire night and struggled to find a rhythm against the 49ers defense. Offensively, Colin Kaepernick played well overall, and showed some improvement as a pocket passer. Carlos Hyde made 49ers fans forget about the departure of Frank Gore, as he ran for yards 168 yards and 2 touchdowns.
However, the 49ers have really struggled on both sides of the ball since their week 1 win. The defense can’t stop the run nor the pass as they allowed the Cardinals and the 49ers to score 90 points combined. More worrying is the fact that they made Chris Johnson and DeAngelo Williams both look like all-pro backs. Offensively, Colin Kaepernick has regressed significantly, especially after throwing 4 picks against the Cardinals ( 2 within the first 5 minutes and 57 seconds of the game). The run game has also struggled to make an impact, as the offensive line has struggled to create room for Carlos Hyde. At this pace, the 49ers are staring a 3 win season right in the face.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Should Have Taken Marcus Mariota Over Jameis Winston
2 Weeks Later: Completely Inaccurate
In week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, 1st overall pick Jameis Winston was pitted against 2nd overall pick Marcus Mariota. Jameis Winston struggled as he threw 2 picks, the one being on his very first pass attempt as an NFL quarterback. Mariotta meanwhile, looked extremely impressive and showed great poise in the pocket. Mariota played so well, that some criticized Tampa Bay for taking Winston over Mariota.
However, a lot can change in two weeks, especially the week by week performances of young rookie quarterbacks. Winston would improve in a week 2 road win against the Saints, while Mariota struggled against the Browns the following week as well. In week 3, both Winston and Mariota showed flashes of their potential but did not play well enough to come up with a win. Quarterbacks typically go through high and lows during their rookie season which is why it is way too early to conclude which one will succeed and which one will disappoint.
The Oakland Raiders Are the Worst Team in the NFl
2 Weeks Later: Totally Inaccurate
Week 1 for the Oakland Raiders was tough. All of the hope for the potential this team showed in the preseason was crushed in one day after a horrible 13-33 home loss to the Bengals. Derek Carr, when healthy did not impress, and their supposed leading back, Latavius Murray, only ran for 44 yards. Even worse, was the defense, which made Andy Dalton look like Aaron Rodgers, allowed Giovani Bernard to rush for an insane average of 7.9 yards per carry, and Jeremy Hill to rush for 2 touchdowns. Many after this loss predicted the Raiders to once again finish with less than 5 wins once again.
However, the Raiders have won 2 weeks in a row. More impressive was the fact that both of these wins were on the road. Derek Carr, who looked unimpressive in the preseason is coming into his own and so far has thrown for 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Carr’s receivers have been also playing well, and the arrival of 4th overall pick Amari Cooper has really helped this offense. Latavius Murray also has improved since his week 1 performance, and has since rushed for 204 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4.9 yards per carry. While the defense is still a work in progress, Khalil Mack continues to impress and is obviously the most disruptive player on that side of the ball. While it is too early and premature to call the Raiders dark-horse playoff contenders, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they finish just a little over .500 this year.
Peyton Manning Is Done
2 weeks later: Completely Inaccurate
While the Broncos beat the Ravens week 1, Peyton Manning’s individual performance was less than inspiring. Manning only threw for 175 yards, 4.4 yards per attempt, no touchdowns, and 1 pick. Manning looked lost, and many of his passes sailed without much velocity. Many critics predicted 2015 to be Manning’s official fall from grace.
However, Manning has improved greatly since his week 1 dud. Since week 1, Manning has thrown for 580 yards, and 5 touchdowns. While his arm strength has noticeably declined, he makes up for it with great accuracy and decision making. As of right now, I see now decline in Manning’s play.
What’s wrong with the Seahawks and Colts?
2 Weeks Later: Accurate
The Seahawks losing to the Rams and the Colts losing to the Bills were the biggest upsets of week 1. Both teams showed some major flaws week 1.
The Seahawks defense overall played poorly and allowed Nick Foles to throw too many wide open targets. More worrying week 1 was the offensive line play. They couldn’t create room for Marshawn Lynch and kept letting up sacks and pressure to Russell Wilson.
The Colts were predicted by many to be Super Bowl contenders. However, the Colts showed many weaknesses against the Bills. The defense allowed Tyrod Taylor and the Bills offense to have their way. But more surprising was the lackluster play of the offense. Andrew Luck struggled to get into a rhythm, and Frank Gore rushed for only 31 yards and no touchdowns.
2 weeks later, these teams still show their flaws.. The Seahawks run game has continued to struggle, the offensive line play is still poor, and Russell Wilson is still developing chemistry with new tight end Jimmy Graham. And while the defense shut out the Bear’s offense, let’s remember that they were playing essentially backups minus Matt Forte.
The Colts could have easily been 0-3, but clock mismanagement and poor play-calling by the Titans allowed the Colts to escape with the first win of their season. However, despite the win, there are still some major flaws with this team. The defensive play, despite the strong play of Vontae Davis is mediocre.
But the Colts offense might be more worrying. Andrew Luck has continued to struggle with his accuracy and decision so far this season (thrown for 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions) , and had a qb rating of 20 and 37.1 for the past 2 weeks. And his receiving options have equally been disappointing. They are either hurt (T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen), too old (Andre Johnson, Frank Gore) or young and inexperienced (Phillip Dorsett and running back Josh Robinson).
While it is still too early to write off both of these teams, their play during the last 2 weeks of the NFL season has shown that they have a long way to go before they can be considered Super Bowl contenders again.