Enter the reality zone, where an Anti-Week One NFL Overreaction barrier is firmly in place.
Many Packers fans are wondering about Aaron Rodgers, who passed for just 133 yards and was intercepted twice in Green Bay’s lopsided loss to New Orleans.
Count me among those surprised by Rodgers’ poor performance. We’re stunned because we bought into the Rodgers mystique. The league’s MVP basically said, by his actions, that he didn’t need to be around the Packers during the off-season. He thought he could go try to be the host of Jeopardy! and do a lot of other things, and not have that affect his play,
The Saints took a look at the situation and put their $100 million cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, on Davante Adams, one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. The Saints challenged Rodgers to be on time and precise with his passes, and he wasn’t.
“It’s just one game,'” Rodgers said afterward. “We played bad. I played bad. Offensively, we didn’t execute very well. One game. We’ve got 16 to go.”
The Packers can easily bounce back because they have the Lions next. But I don’t think Rodgers and the Packers can completely fix what was broken in the off-season. The only reason he came back to Green Bay was for one more shot at winning the Super Bowl. I don’t see them getting there.
- NFL’s Top 5/Bottom 5
- Look Back at Raiders OT Victory
- Previewing Fresno State at UCLA
The Top 5/Bottom 5
I’ll rank the NFL’s five best and five worst teams weekly this season. Don’t get mad if your favorite franchise is at the bottom. Be optimistic and think “HIGH DRAFT PICKS.”
1. Tampa Bay (1-0) — A fast, physical defense struggled at times against Dallas, but Tom Brady and the offense were in mid-season form. Until somebody beats the defending Super Bowl champions, the Bucs belong at the top.
2. Kansas City (1-0) — Cleveland was totally in control of this game. Then Chris Jones shows up on defense for the Chiefs, and Pat Mahomes throws for two touchdowns faster than you can say “State Farm Discount.”
3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) — Take the same dominant Rams defense and bring in a quarterback who can dominate from in the pocket. The result is a stomping of Chicago in Matt Stafford’s Rams debut.
4. Seattle (1-0) — The Seahawks’ new offense and Russell Wilson are a match made in heaven. Wilson was a model of efficiency (18 of 23/4 TD passes) as the motor of an offense that also gained 140 yards rushing in turning back Indianapolis.
5. Pittsburgh (1-0) — The Steelers made a big statement with their win in Buffalo. Their defense stopped the Bills and quarterback Josh Allen cold, which isn’t easy to do.
28. Atlanta (0-1) — When the new head coach apologizes to the hometown fans after the first game, it’s never good. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they play at Tampa Bay next.
29. Houston (1-0) — Tyrod Taylor (291 yards passing, 2 TDs passing, no picks) played great and beating Jacksonville was a good win. Don’t know that the Texans will get many more.
30. New York Jets (0-1) — Welcome to the NFL, Zach Wilson. The rookie signal-caller was sacked six times. The Jets face New England next and Wilson won’t have starting left tackle Mekhi Becton, who dislocated his knee cap on Sunday.
31. Detroit (0-1) — The Lions simply don’t have enough talent to hang with many teams, and they lost cornerback Jeff Okudah for the season in the loss to San Francisco.
32. Jacksonville (0-1) — The Jaguars actually were favored by a field goal to win at Houston, which was presumed to be the NFL’s worst team. That debate is settled — for now.
Premature Celebration for Me and the Raiders
When my brother Derek threw that TD pass to Bryan Edwards on the first possession of overtime for the Raiders on Monday night, my entire family jumped into the pool. When I came back into the house, it was eerily quiet. The ball was on the 1-yard line because Edwards’ knee touched the ground.
I had a million swings of emotion the rest of the way as Las Vegas had to overcome an end-zone interception and penalties before prevailing against Baltimore. Watching that game was emotionally draining for me, and Derek told me he was drained when it was over, too.
Thank goodness Carl Nassib got that strip-sack of Lamar Jackson. And, I was very happy for Zay Jones, who caught the winning TD pass. Zay has put in an unbelievable amount of work, not just to become a better receiver but to make the Raiders better, too.
Fresno State at UCLA
Perhaps you thought that this is exclusively an NFL column. It’s not. I’ll be writing about all things football, including Valley high schools and Fresno State.
I’ve got a confession. My favorite team until sixth grade was UCLA when I switched allegiance to Fresno State.
I remember playing in the Rose Bowl against UCLA my junior year with the Bulldogs in 2000. They were ranked No. 16 in the nation. We got behind early before rallying and falling short, 24-21.
As a team, our takeaway was that we could play with anybody on a big stage. Though we lost, that game jump-started us for the rest of the season and 2001 as well. In fact, the week after losing to UCLA, we beat Cal.
Saturday’s Fresno State-UCLA game pits two programs on the upswing. Kalen DeBoer is a great recruiter who has installed sound schemes on both sides of the ball. More importantly, his players know that he cares about them. Chip Kelly finally has the players at UCLA that fit his system, and the Bruins are feeling like this could be their year.
I can’t wait for this game. It’ will be epic.
About the Author
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 overall draft pick, and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with GV Wire’s Bill McEwen. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Healthcare.