Every-Thing Sports

NFL Week One: Good, bad & ugly

Photo via Kansas City Chiefs/Facebook

Football is officially back! The games now mean something and all the players fans were waiting to see are now in uniform (unless they're hurt or suspended). The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here's how I saw week one of the 100th NFL regular season:

The Good

-Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes and their offense picked up where they left off last sason. They beat the Jags 40-28, and it wasn't even as close as the 12 point difference would suggest. Losing Tyreek Hill early in the game didn't make a difference as Sammy Watkins filled that big play role with nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Chiefs are still scary.

-The Ravens beat the Dolphins 59-10 behind Lamar Jackson's huge day. He went 17/20 for 324 yards and five touchdowns with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. "Not bad for a running back" was his comment in reference to some suggesting he should play wide receiver in the NFL coming into the draft last year.

-The Vikings offense looked like a well-oiled machine with a healthy Dalvin Cook. 23 touches for 120 yards and two touchdowns helped the Vikings beat the Falcons 28-12. Kirk Cousins only passed the ball 10 times in the victory. Getting a plus three mark in the turnover margin will help you win big when you're outgained by 76 total yards.

The Bad

-The Lions went up 24-6 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. How they let the Cardinals back into the game and allowed it to end in a 27-27 tie is beyond me. The Cardinals are an awful team. Kyler Murray is a rookie quarterback playing behind a bad offensive line. Could be the makings of a long season for the Lions.

-The Steelers put up a shade over 300 total yards against the Patriots in a 33-3 loss Sunday night. I'll be looking closely at the team who lost arguably the best running back and wide receiver this past offseason. This offense looked flat to say the least. They keep this up and fans will long for the days when they had divas as playmakers.

-The Redskins were up 20-7 over the Eagles at halftime. The Eagles won the game 32-27. If there ever were a game to steal in your division, it was this one and the Redskins blew it. Biggest contributing factor: the Redskins only had 28 yards rushing, but had 96 yards in penalties. Mind you, there were no turnovers committed by either team.

The Ugly

-The Dolphins lost by seven touchdowns and reportedly some players have asked for trades. They will be historically bad because some of those players didn't step up and play better. How can you ask for a trade when you're apart of the reason why the team played so poorly? Sure they're tanking, but those guys are all pro football players. Play better.

-The Jags lost quarterback Nick Foles to a broken clavicle. He was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return and isn't eligible for a return until week 11 at the earliest. Losing your season opener is one thing, but to lose the guy at the position you thought was going to carry you beyond purgatory in that opener is totally different.

-13 teams on opening weekend scored as much or less than the Astros scored on Sunday in their 21-1 romp over the Mariners. As much as the league has changed the rules to promote more scoring, it still amazes me that some are unable to generate points. The Bears and Packers combined to score only 13 in the Thursday night game. I wonder how many prop bets were won on weird stats like this?

Week one is in the books. We don't have another week without NFL football for another five months. If this week is any indication as to how the rest of the season will go, we should all be encouraged. We should also drink plenty of water, diet and exercise because it'll test our health with as exciting as it was.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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