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The good, bad and ugly: NFL Week 1 observations

Khalil Mack is good at football. Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and what a wild one it was! We saw all sorts of great, and not so great, action. Whether your team won or lost (or tied if you’re a Browns or Steelers fan), I think everyone is generally excited that the NFL is back in session. Well, maybe there are a few exceptions. Anyway, here’s the first installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

The Good

-Jets’ rookie Sam Darnold became the youngest quarterback to start an NFL season opener since the merger. It started off the worst way possible with a pick six on his first throw. He proceeded to go 16 for his next 20 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. But more than that, he looked the part. Most rookie quarterbacks tend to look frazzled at some points. Darnold looked more composed than his counterpart Matt Stafford of the Lions who is a nine-year vet.

-The Bears’ Khalil Mack tried to earn every penny of his estimated $90 million dollars that is guaranteed in his new deal in his first game! Mack not only had a pick six, but he also got a strip sack in which he recovered the fumble himself. He took control of the game by forcing the Packers to account for him by changing their blocking scheme. No matter what they did, Mack did what he wanted.

-Tyreek Hill almost single-handedly won that game for the Chiefs with his performance. He totaled seven catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, one of which went for 58 yards. Throw in his 91-yard punt return for touchdown, and he’s off o a great start.

The Bad

-The Saints and Bucs decided to play seven on seven ball Sunday with a final score of 48-40. The quarterbacks combined for 856 yards passing and seven touchdowns through the air. It was a 25-letter alphabet kind of game because there was no D anywhere in sight.

-The Cleveland Browns broke their losing streak…with a tie. Even though they were a plus five in the turnover department against the Steelers, they still only managed a tie. Ties like this are worse than having to kiss that one aunt at the family reunion that smokes, drinks coffee, and generally has an aversion to toothpaste.

-The Panthers beat the Cowboys 16-8. The two teams combined for 284 yards passing, which I believe is a shade more than what Ryan Fitzpatrick had against the Saints in the first half! This game epitomizes what early season football is like when starters barely play in preseason and nobody is in rhythm.

The Ugly

-Nathan Peterman’s start for the Bills was bad. Not as bad as his first start last season (five picks in the first half), but it was still historically bad. Peterman was 5/18 for 24 yards and two picks with a zero passer rating. 2006 was the last time an NFL quarterback had done that (Joey Harrington).

-Texans coach Bill O’Brien used the line “that’s not my job” when answering a question as to why he didn’t use a timeout to possibly force the booth to look at a potential non-catch before halftime. Excuse me?!? EVERYTHING is YOUR job as an NFL head coach! Giving excuses like that pisses me off and makes me realize some coaches don’t value the fact that there are only 32 of these jobs IN THE WORLD!

-There was a rash of unfortunate injuries this week. I felt badly for Falcons safety Keanu Neal, Patriots running back Jeremy Hill, and Titans tight end Delanie Walker. These guys are gone for the season, and all were expected to be huge keys for their teams’ success this season.

I, like many of you, am happy that football is back. Sure, the ancillary things that are politicized to no end draw attention to and away from the game. However, at its core, this game captivates a larger audience than any other major pro sport in this country. As much as it divides, it also brings people together. Here’s to another football season under way.

 

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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