Way-Too-Early NFL Overreactions After Week 1
Assumptions are always dangerous. That's even more true when formulating hot takes after Week 1 of the NFL season.
The opening Sunday in the NFL is one of the most intoxicating Sundays of the entire football calendar. After months of speculation and analysis of offseason moves, we finally get to see teams on the field and have real results to talk about.
It's also a dangerous time to start drawing conclusions. Yet, we live in a hot take world, and sometimes we just can't help ourselves.
Here's a look at spicy takes some might draw from Week 1, but we definitely need some time because the narrative could shift by the end of Week 2.
Cleveland Browns Offense Will Be Fine with Jacoby Brissett
The Cleveland Browns won a season opener for the first time since 2004 when they beat the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The most impressive aspect of it was that they did it with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.
That's one game down for the Browns and 10 to go as they wait for Deshaun Watson to return from his 11-game suspension. On Sunday, the team got enough points to sneak out the 26-24 win on Cade York's 58-yard field goal with eight seconds left.
That was despite Brissett completing just over half of his passes (18-of-34) for 147 yards and one touchdown.
Nick Chubb was the engine that made the offense go. He racked up 22 carries for 141 yards. However, the Panthers only had eight in the box on 22.7 percent of his carries, per Next Gen Stats. Kareem Hunt saw a loaded box on 45.5 percent of his 11 carries.
Eventually, teams are going to load up the box, turn up the pressure and make Brissett beat them.
The Browns defense deserves the bulk of the credit for this win. According to PFF, Myles Garrett racked up six pressures and two sacks. Jadeveon Clowney had two pass deflections and a half sack.
Not everyone is going to roll out a rookie left tackle to block Garrett. So the Browns offense is going to have to continue to develop if they are going to be a winner.
Green Bay Packers Offense is Lost Without Davante Adams
It's pretty easy to look at the abysmal performance of the Green Bay Packers offense and draw conclusions about the departure of Davante Adams this offseason.
The Packers put up just seven points, and Rodgers didn't even crack 200 yards passing. They definitely missed their playmaking receiver. The Packers receivers didn't even combine to match Adams' stat line in his Las Vegas Raiders debut, but it's too much to say the offense is going to be lost without him.
For one, that's forgetting what the Packers offense looked like in Week 1 last year. A year ago to the day the Packers managed just three points in a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. Rodgers had 133 passing yards and two picks.
Then he went on to win MVP.
The Packers have some things to figure out, but it was always going to take some time. Second-round pick Christian Watson had a crucial drop on a would-be touchdown. Rodgers took four sacks.
Those are all things that will get better as the young receivers get time to develop and the offensive line gets time to jell.
Rodgers, Matt LaFleur and the Packers backfield are too good to have a bad offense over the course of a season.
Indianapolis Colts Are Overrated
The Indianapolis Colts came into the 2022 season as the favorites to win the AFC South and still remain the favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook.
After tying the Houston Texans 20-20, it's probably not a popular time to place a wager on the Colts to come through.
The Texans face the longest odds to win the division and obviously don't have much hype coming into 2022. But this result was more a good reminder that strange things happen every week in the NFL than an indictment on the Colts.
Frank Reich's squad outgained the Texans 517-299. They held the Texans to just 2.8 yards per carry and dominated the line of scrimmage.
There were just too many costly mistakes for them to end the day in the win column. Matt Ryan had four fumbles in his Colts debut as he struggled to get the quarterback-center exchange throughout the game.
Jonathan Taylor had 161 yards on the ground. Michael Pittman Jr. went over 100 yards receiving. The defensive line trio of Kwity Paye, DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart had eight pressures and eight run stops, per PFF.
The defense didn't have its best player in Shaquille Leonard.
The foundation of this Colts team is not shaken. They just have to clean up some mistakes that should be expected with a new quarterback.
Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams Are in Trouble
There's no way around it. The Los Angeles Rams were a disaster in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills were able to beat the Rams in every facet of the game, and Matthew Stafford was especially bad. He gave fans reason for concern by going 29-of-41 for 240 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.
After a preseason marked by concerns over Stafford's elbow, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that there's real trouble brewing in Los Angeles.
There are issues, to be sure. The offensive line is the primary one. According to PFF, the O-line gave up a 48 percent pressure rate. It's the seventh-worst mark since 2016.
That's to be expected. The Rams were breaking in a new left tackle in Joseph Noteboom, who has the unenviable job of filling Andrew Whitworth's shoes.
Noteboom will get better. Head coach Sean McVay will figure out how to maximize what the Rams have on offense, and the defense won't be forced to defend Josh Allen every week. The Rams are far from finished.
Philadelphia Eagles Will Have a Top-5 Offense
It certainly looked like the Philadelphia Eagles are bound to have one of the five best offenses in the NFL. The Eagles won a shootout 38-35 against the Detroit Lions, and it sure looked like they were going to be able to move the ball however they wanted.
The ground game was dominant. Four different players had rushing touchdowns, and they had 216 yards on 39 carries. Through the air, A.J. Brown was everything the team hoped he would be with 10 catches for 155 yards.
There are a few things to note, though, that might throw a little water on the fire that will be the hype around Philadelphia's offense.
First is that Jalen Hurts had some inefficiencies as a passer. According to Next Gen Stats, his completion percentage over expected was -9.4. His number for 2021 was -0.2. In essence, he really wasn't more accurate than he was last year—and possibly worse.
It's also important to keep this performance in the context of playing the Lions. Dan Campbell has done many things to get the franchise back on track, but there's a reason the team had the No. 2 pick last year.
The Lions finished 29th in ESPN's defensive efficiency last season. They'll be fortunate to elevate their defense to mediocrity in 2022.
San Francisco 49ers Made a Mistake with Trey Lance
Maybe this one is true. But it's way too early to make any declarations.
Trey Lance's debut as the unquestioned starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers sure brought a lot of questions. The second-year quarterback went 13-of-28 for 164 yards as the 49ers offense put up just 10 points in a loss to the Chicago Bears.
Inevitably, there are going to be those who want to turn the offense back over to Jimmy Garoppolo. His presence is going to create that possibility throughout the season.
But it isn't even time to have that conversation. The weather was not great. It can be difficult to get the passing game going while playing in a swamp. The entire 49ers offense was out of sync, not just the quarterback. The team committed 12 penalties for 99 yards.
Lance's running ability might have made their offense even more viable given the conditions. He had 13 carries for 54 yards to lead the team in rushing.
If Lance struggles in a similar fashion at home against the Seahawks next week, then sound the alarms. For now, chalk this one up to a learning curve in a difficult situation.
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