NFL insiders give their biggest takeaways from Week 1 including Aaron Rodgers’ roller coaster of a night and another dominant day for Tom Brady.
It’s hard to know where to start, so let’s start with this: The Detroit Lions are terrible.
There’s nothing else to say. Sure, we could look up scores in the history books and find another season opener that was worse than Monday night at Ford Field.
When all you have to do is ask your father, or your grandfather, and he’ll tell you the same, sad story:
The Lions give you hope, then the Lions lose by 30 against a rookie quarterback.
And even if you haven’t heard that one before, you’ve heard plenty like it.
Then again …
The Lions just unveiled a new coach (Matt Patricia), and a supposed franchise quarterback with a huge contract (Matthew Stafford), and promising running backs and a healthy offensive line and… stop it.
It’s always the same. No one can block. Or tackle. Or catch a pass when it counts. Or stop throwing interceptions.
This is how a new era starts? You dip a toe in the water, you’ve got frostbite by halftime.
That’s the long, sad history. You’ve heard it all before. Seen it all, too. Felt it, over and over — and over some more.
All the Lions did Monday night in their season opener is remind you why you can never trust them.
But it’s early?
Ok, now with that out of the way, let’s offer some perspective: it’s early.
Just a single game.
Ah, forget that, too. Monday night’s national embarrassment reminds you that New England’s assistant coaches haven’t won when they left Bill Belichick’s cocoon. And that Patricia has a lot more to prove than he did before the opener.
Meanwhile … what happened to Stafford? He threw four interceptions. One was returned for a touchdown.
He wasn’t just inaccurate. He made poor decisions, and played his worst game in years.
Clearly, somebody’s got a cruel sense of humor. Stafford played some of his best football the last two years.
He’s got the same receivers, the same coordinator, and much of the same offensive line.
Yet he looked unsettled, as if he were playing with strangers.
That’s a mystery, too.
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Patricia dragged down
Again, some perspective: Patricia didn’t arrive with pixie dust in his pocket.
He got here with a plan. And no plan can make up for a lack of difference-makers on the defensive line or keep Ziggy Ansah healthy.
Ansah, the team’s best pass rusher, hit the locker room midway through the second quarter and took whatever hope the defense had with him.
The oft-injured star had two sacks before he hurt his shoulder. Without him, the Lions couldn’t pressure Darnold.
Even a rookie, if given time, will slice an NFL secondary apart. Not that he had to. The Lions’ defensive backs couldn’t cover a bed if they had a stack of blankets.
The Jets’ receivers ran free. As did the running backs. And the problems that surfaced in the preseason erupted on national television Monday night.
How fitting. And how utterly, comically unsurprising.
Here came a man swathed in the aura of the NFL’s greatest modern franchise. A defensive guru sporting a beard, a pencil, and hope that he was the one.
On Monday night, that hope sunk under the weight of a dismal and depressing franchise.
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