So Week One of the 2016 has exploded forth into the most exciting opening week since 1999. Takes on all thirty-two teams -
Broncos escape again, Panthers still can't hold a lead - The Broncos defense gets more credit than it deserves and it showed again as they once again didn't stop a game-winning drive - they escaped when the Panthers missed a FGA at the end. The Panthers continued a trend where they struggled all 2015 to hold a lead and here they didn't hold on again. The Panthers also got beaten up with some dirty hits but Cam Newton played tough in the best football tradition.
Against the Indianapolis Colts the Detroit Lions did something doubly astonishing - Matthew Stafford pulled off a spectacular win against a quality opponent (something he simply hasn't been able to do outside of four times in thirty-four attempts) but the Lions wound up exposing the Colts as even dumber than we thought in the Puntfumble game as they gagged up a safety on the final play.
The Chargers suffered a loss they may not recover from as they continue to become irrelevant. One struggles to recall when a team rebounded from blowing a three-touchdown lead at a time when they haven't win anything all decade and are coming off a miserable 4-12 season - Week Two suddenly becomes Must Win for San Diego is staring at failure already. The Chiefs for their part made a statement about their own toughness as they've won twelve of their last thirteen games
The Raiders made a statement - this time they're running for the playoffs. The Saints also made a statement - they're still not that good.
The Patriots are better prepared than people were assuming after Rob Gronkowski and 3/5ths of the starting O-line were ruled out for the game at Arizona. The Cardinals for their part actually overcame stupid mistakes, especially late, for a FGA that astonishingly missed.
The NY Jets got away with Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015 before he finally cost them - they won't get as far in 2016. The Bengals continue to be regular-season muscle.
Other takes -
The Falcons need to start planning for the era after Matt Ryan as he proved again he will never be the answer. The Bucs meanwhile got off to an encouraging start to Jameis Winston's second season.
The Ravens won, but they played poorly in doing so. The Bills meanwhile played worse in perhaps the weakest game on the Week One slate.
The Titans looked like a nowhere team with a nowhere future after gagging against a Vikings team that looked weak after their reaction to Teddy Bridgewater's injury. Week Two usually isn't a must-win in the NFL - like with the Chargers it suddenly is for the Titans, this with a second-year quarterback in Marcus Mariota who has what it takes to make them winners.
The Texans have become the AFC South team - while the Bears proved again that they are worthless.
The Dolphins are irrelevant - but the Seahawks didn't acquit themselves all that well.
The Jaguars played well but need to step it up more, as the Packers got away again.
The Eagles got off to a solid start, and the Browns now see how worthless Robert Griffin III is.
One of the bigger surprises was the NY Giants upsetting a Cowboys team that has a better quarterback in Dak Prescott than what they ever had with Tony Romo.
The Steelers made a mockery of the Washington Redskins 38-16 while the San Francisco 49ers started Blaine Gabbert and Gabbert was almost flawless in shutting out the punchless Rams 28-0; Gabbert's career rebirth in particular serves as a rebuke to Colin Kaepernick.
And so it went in Week One with Week Two beckoning