With temperatures in the Los Angeles area soaring into the high 90s and low 100s these past couple of days, the Water Cooler Quarterbacks found themselves improvising air conditioned, indoor activities for their students during the break times which, of course, also meant they were spending a little extra time talking football while the students were playing.
#1 - An improved Denver defense? Not so much
After being given a 17-point halftime lead in Game 1 and an 11-point halftime lead in Game 2, the Broncos defense gave up 10 drives that netted 491 yards, used up 38:01 and allowed 24 points. On the bright side, in both games, the defense did make a goal line stand in each game (4-1-DEN1 in the 3rd quarter vs Indianapolis and 4-2-DEN2 in the 4th quarter vs Kansas City) as well as an interception. They're going to have to step it up if they want to beat Seattle.
#2 - A record-setting offense in Denver? Not likely
In 2013, through the first two games, the Broncos offense had 30 drives, 817 yards and 83 points. Thus far in 2014, Denver's offense has 20 drives, 594 yards and 55 points.
#3 - Passing penalties heavily favor the offense (no duh, right?)
In the Broncos game, saw the Chiefs Dwyane Bowe start up the field, make a move toward the center of the field then make a sharp to the outside, then extended his arms to initiate contact as he ran into the Broncos Chris Harris who was backpedaling at the time and pushed Harris into the end zone. This gave the ball to the Chiefs with a first and four at the Denver 4-yard line. Only an offensive holding call, a sack and a missed field goal led to Kansas City getting no points. Has the NFL really come to the point where the defensive backs are expected to let the receivers roam free and only attempt a tackle after the catch?
#4 - A Tale of Two Brandons
Brandon Marshall, LB, Denver
A quiet, consistent presence during the KC game. The real Brandon Marshall made 6 tackles (3 on passes, 3 on runs), assisted in 2 tackles, made 1 sack, and forced 1 fumble. His combined 8 tackles were second highest in the game, trailing only Denver's Nate Irving (7 tackles, 4 assists).
The other Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago
The other Brandon Marshall made 5 catches, earned 48 yards, and scored 3 TDs, including a highlight reel 1-handed grab for a 17-yard TD reception with 18 seconds left in the 1st half to get Chicago on the board.
#5 - Oakland's Tribute to the Keystone Cops
We've decided that the game film the Raiders are watching each week during their game preparations must be including short clips from old Keystone Cops movies. In Week 1, the Raiders showcased a running back punting the ball to his own quarterback. In Week 2, it was wide receiver James Jones fumbling twice . . . on the same play. Whatever will they come up with to entertain us in Week 3?
#6 - Maybe a new stadium wasn't such a good idea
We were left wondering if the San Francisco 49ers might not have made a tactical error by moving into a new stadium. The Niners have played three games in their new digs with less than stellar results. They lost to Denver 0-34 in the preseason to christen the new stadium. They followed this up with a 21-7 win over San Diego in the preseason. Their regular season debut in the new venue was a 20-28 loss to Chicago which saw them blow a 20-7 lead in the second half. So, three games: a 1-2 record and they have been outscored 69-42. In their last three games at Candlestick Park, the Niners posted a 3-0 record and outscored their opponents 76-54.
#7 - John Elway wins the Master of the Understatement Award
According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Elway commented after Sunday's win against the Chiefs that "We [the Broncos] haven't peaked, yet."
#8 - The return of Ironman football
After seeing J. J. Watt catch a 1-yard pass for a touchdown, we started wondering if we might see a resurgence of "ironman" football. You remember, the style of play in which players play both offense and defense? Wouldn't that be amusing?
#9 - Shame on so many for playing Smoke and Mirrors
Shame on so many bloggers, professional reporters, legal beagles, et al who have been turning a serious issue like domestic abuse into a game of smoke and mirrors to push their preexisting anti-Goodell agenda. It is somewhat appalling and quite disturbing. Let's consider a few things as the calls for Roger Goodell's head continue to roll in:
Fact: Ray Rice punched his fiancee hard enough to render her unconscious. Where is the outrage aimed at Rice for such an act?
Fact: the State of New Jersey declined to bring Rice to trial for that act. Where is the outrage at New Jersey for their choice?
Fact: the majority of the outrage has been directed at Roger Goodell for his handling of the situation. Really?
Conveniently forgotten: In a letter to the team owners and the clubs -- which was made public on August 28, 2014 -- Goodell stated:
"At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals. We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence. We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place. My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn't get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will."
That letter went on to outline a new NFL personnel policy (one that applies to ALL people working with the NFL) that addresses the issue of domestic violence. That policy included proactive steps (such as expanding the education on domestic violence given to rookies), community outreach actions (such as creating community programs to raise awareness), proactive supportive steps (such as confidential counseling for at-risk personnel) and more stringent disciplinary actions to be levied in cases of domestic abuse.
When all is said and done. It is still a case of Ray Rice having hit his fiancee. Let's get the outrage where it belongs.
#10 - Two clubs got it right
In light of the explosion of reactions following the release of the TMZ video, two NFL teams got it right: Minnesota (though there has since been a bit of waffling in their case) & Carolina each deactivated a player -- Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) and Greg Hardy (Carolina) -- for last Sunday's game. Both have since been put on the Commissioner's Exempt list -- in essence a paid leave of absence -- pending the outcome of their respective legal cases.
Seahawks D terrible on 3rd downs
You didn't misread that. After two games the Seahawks are allowing a league worst 55% conversion on 3rd downs.
#11 - Who'd have thought
We tend to doubt too many of us would have predicted that Buffalo, Houston and Arizona would be alone atop their respective divisions after the dust settled in Week 2. To be fair, Houston DID start 2-0 in 2013 on their way to an impressive 2-14-0 record and Arizona DID finish the 2013 season with 10 wins. But still . . .
#12 - RG III's ankle
There are rumblings in some quarters that Washington head coach Jay Gruden may prefer Kirk Cousins for his offense than RG III. A lengthy recovery, if Cousins play well, might just spell the end for Griffin who took Washington to the playoffs in his rookie season then went 3-10 in 2013 as Washington stumbled to a 3-13-0 season.
#13 - Changes in Week 2 undefeated teams
After two weeks in 2013, there were eight undefeated teams: Denver, New England, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans, Miami and Houston. After two weeks in 2014, there are seven (only two of which -- Denver and Houston -- were on that list in 2013): Denver, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Carolina, Arizona, Houston and Philadelphia. Given the Week 3 schedule, there is the potential for the NFL to have NO undefeated teams going into Week 4.
#14 - The ridiculousness of mocking the NFL draft
Here we are, just two weeks into the 2014 season wherein many teams are still trying to hit their stride. We are also just three weeks into the 2014 NCAA Division I college season wherein no-one knows just how many (nor which) players will choose to declare for the NFL. Yet, there are already writers preparing mock drafts for the NFL's 2015 Draft. Really? Seriously? Oh, and for what it's worth, one CBS mock draft obviously believes that Oakland will be the worst team in the league in 2014 (that article gave the #1 overall pick to the Raiders) and that the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl (it gave Seattle the #32 overall pick).
LET THE SEASON ROLL ON