You know it is true what they say, the truly great players make something happen when all else seems lost! This week around the league I saw a number of great players doing exactly that starting with A J Green, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.
AJ Green has been in the league since he was drafted fourth overall by the Bengals in 2011 and in his first three years he caught more receptions (260) than any other player in NFL history during that time in their careers.
In the last two years in particular AJ has no doubt become a player that the Baltimore Ravens fans hate with a passion on account as he seems to be making a habit of scoring late against them to win games!
Another player who showed up in this game was the great Steve Smith Sr. Before the season started Smith Sr announced that he will be retiring at the end of the season and I for one am going to miss everything he brings to the game week in and week out.
Unfortunately for Smith Sr it just wasn’t going to be his day this week thanks to AJ Green and Andy Dalton. I strongly recommend that you all check out the highlights below to see these two great players in action.
Before I move away from the wide receiver position this week I couldn't not mention Julio Jones, wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. Julio is another one of the great young receivers the league is currently blessed with and this week he had a monster game against the Dallas Cowboys with 12 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Don’t just take my word for it look at this beautiful selection of his highlights from last season:
Elsewhere in the league this week we had some normality restored as the Seattle Seahawks got their first win of the season against a Chicago Bears side that put up a decent fight in the first half but collapsed in the second half.
The Seahawks were not the only side to return to winning ways as the Indianapolis Colts somehow found a way to beat the Tennessee Titans. At times in this game I was questioning why I drafted Andrew Luck first in my fantasy league, I think at the time he had just 90 passing yards and had thrown two interceptions, the scoundrel ;)
Like all great players though Luck managed to regain his composure and finished strong with 260 passing yards and two touchdowns as the Colts won 35 to 33.
Whilst normality was restored in some of the league as I mentioned above there were other games that left me wondering what the hell was happening starting with the San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals. Colin Kaepernick the 49ers quarterback is usually a solid player but this week his first two passes were intercepted and taken back for touchdowns by the Cardinals. During the course of the night Kaepernick went on to throw two more interceptions taking his tally for the night to four. It was just quite extraordinary really!
Another game that took me by surprise was the Bills vs Dolphins game in Miami. Don’t get me wrong I love my Buffalo Bills but not even I thought we would win by a margin of 41 to 14. At times during the game it really looked like the Dolphins just could not be bothered, almost like they were already on a plane over here to London ready for their upcoming game at Wembley against the New York Jets.
To finish off this week I want to talk about how many penalties are being given away this year by all teams. I don’t know if it is down to the most recent rule changes or if it is due to a lack of practice time but this year there has already been 714 penalties in three weeks of action adding up to a total of 6166 yards!
Personally this is just unacceptable, I want to see the players on the field making something happen and I don’t want to see a flag every other play. Let’s hope that it is just the kinks being ironed out in this new season.
I think that is enough from me for another week but be sure to check out our podcast ‘Spitball’ when it is realised later in the week, until the stay safe, take care and ‘Thanks for Stopping By’.
This week around the league reminded me of why I love this sport so much, you just simply can’t predict what is going to happen with 100% certainty anymore. Not only did we have some shock results but we also had some great players passing landmarks and breaking records.
Let’s start with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game and that is Peyton Manning. Despite another slow start for Manning and the Broncos by the end of the night Peyton would surpass the 70,000 career passing yards mark making him only the second quarterback in history to pass this mark. In case you were wondering the other quarterback to achieve this great milestone is Brett Favre who currently holds the record at 71,838 yards.
Thinking of quarterbacks Philip Rivers of San Diego also broke a team record this week as he broke the team record for touchdown passes thrown by a Chargers quarterback. Rivers now has 256 career passing touchdowns and it will be interesting to see how many he finishes his career with.
Now those in the know will remember that back in the 2004 draft the San Diego Chargers actually drafted Eli Manning but he refused to play for them and got traded to the New York Giants in exchange for Rivers. If you’re like me and have always wondered what would have happened had Eli stayed in San Diego then you need to check out this episode of the ‘N if L’ by Dave Dameshek.
Now we move onto some of those upsets I was talking about and we start with the Oakland Raiders who took on the Baltimore Ravens at the ‘Black Hole’ otherwise known as the Coliseum in Oakland.
Despite their recent form over the last decade you have to say that the Raiders fans are some of the best fans in the league and nothing makes me smile more than seeing Darth Vader cheering on an NFL.
Back to the game and the tone was set early by the Raiders as on their 6th play Derek Carr found the rookie receiver Amari Cooper for a 68 yard touchdown bomb. The Raiders defence riding on this momentum forced a fumble which led a Raiders field goal. In fairness to the Ravens they did manage to come back into the game and match points with the Raiders until late in the fourth quarter when the Raiders took the game with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts.
I think this game just goes to show the difference a great head coach makes, with Jack Del Rio now in charge of the Raiders I can see them upsetting a few more teams this year.
Thinking of great coaches I can’t go any further without talking about the great job that Bruce Arians is doing with the Arizona Cardinals. When Arians took over in Arizona it was off the back of a 5 - 11 season and his first year he turned that round into a 10 - 6 record. Last year he got them to the playoffs and this year they have started 2 - 0. Keep an eye on this team as they are destined for great things under this coach.
Back to the upsets now and we take ourselves to sunnier climates in Jacksonville, Florida where the Jaguars entertained the Miami Dolphins. This would prove to be an epic battle between the two teams filled with both great and fluke catches all around. Suffice to say the Jaguars ended up surprising us all by coming away with a victory 23 - 20. (you can see the highlights from this game by clicking on the picture below)
Finally this week I want to finish up looking at the teams in the NFL who are yet to win a game this season and I’m sure like me you will be shocked to see who some of the teams are. The biggest team yet to win a game has to be the Seattle Seahawks and I’m really not sure what is happening to them maybe the Kam Chancellor hold out is having just a much of an impact mentally as it physically with him not being on the field. One thing I do know about Seattle is that they have an amazing coach in Pete Carroll and they won’t be winless for too much longer!
Other teams among the surprisingly winless are Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the New York Giants. Which team will pick up a win first, who knows!
Well that wraps it up for another week but remember if you want to find out more about this week's action then tune in to our podcast ‘Spitball’ which will be available later in the week. Until next time my fellow football fans stay safe, take care and ‘Thanks for Stopping By’.
Who here has been missing their football fix for the last seven months, well the wait is finally over as football is back baby! Now if you're a hardcore football fan like myself then my question is why wait seven months for a football fix when there is a perfect filler for the offseason.
What you talking about willis? I hear you asking, well the answer is simple, it’s called the Legends Football League (LFL) which is a seven on seven version of american football played by women in an arena.
Now don’t let the name or uniform you can see in the above picture fool you into thinking this league is a joke as I can assure you it is far from it! I strongly recommend you check out the highlights below and engage with the athletes themselves on social media and I can guarantee you will be hooked for life!
Let’s dive back into the NFL now and I don't know about you but personally when I heard the intro to NFL redzone on my TV the smile on my face went from ear to ear and my anticipation levels went through the roof!
The first thing I remember from the games this week was Travis Kelce’s touchdown for the Kansas City Chiefs, not because it was a spectacular catch or anything like that but more because I wondered to myself ‘when is a Kansas wide receiver actually going to score a touchdown!’
Despite Kansas’s best efforts to bore me with their same old touchdown routine I didn't have to wait too long for the first of the day's explosive plays which came in the Seattle vs St Louis game. St Louis were deep in their own half and had been forced to punt on fourth down.
Before the punt one of the commentators, as if by magic says ‘There have been 7 return touchdowns scored in the pre-season of which two of them were scored by Tyler Lockett of Seattle’. Guess what happened next?? (click on the picture below to find out)
Now when it comes to special teams the St Louis Rams are also no slouches and before the night was through they would unleash their own version of ‘The Flash’ otherwise known as Tavon Austin and the result was just as impressive. (click on the picture below to see 'The Flash' in action)
Before I move on I want to say it is important to remember that the game has three phases which are offense, defence and special teams and all are just as important as each other!
Thinking of offense, this week we also saw an abundance of great catches from both receivers and defenders alike. Trust me when I tell you that some of them were just totally ‘off the chain’ as they say. In fact don’t just take my word for it click on the picture below to check out this week's top five catches!
Finally this week before I wrap things up I want to talk about one battle from the late games which had my attention and that was the battle between Tennessee and Tampa Bay. Normally this game wouldn't even hit my radar but this was different because it saw the first two picks of this years draft going head to head.
On one side you had Jameis Winston who was the number one pick by Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston is a quarterback who is surrounded by hype and scandal alike but does have a proven record of winning. On the other hand Marcus Mariota is a quarterback who at college never won a national championship but consistently posted great numbers during his time at Oregon.
Now I was hoping to have a lot to say about this contest however it is best summed up by their respective first possessions. Mariota led his team to a touchdown within five plays including a 52 yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright whereas Jameis Winston threw an interception which was taken back to the house for a touchdown. Personally I would have taken Mariota first in the draft but hey what do I know! (check out the highlights of the game by clicking on the picture below)
Well that is all from me this week albeit short and sweet but I figured it is just enough to get those football juices flowing again and of course if you want to hear more about this week's action then be sure to check out our podcast ‘Spitball’ which will be available later in the week.
Until next time football fans stay safe, take care and ‘Thanks for Stopping By’.
Adri 'BallHawk' Mallows