What has football people talking this week…
Smoking Hot- Packers Aaron Rodgers- Even those of us who watch football for a living are in awe over one of the gutsiest performances I’ve seen in many years. He willed his team to win on ONE LEG in what will be remembered as a legendary season opener. Let’s give Mike McCarthy some credit to in adjusting the game plan to get the ball out of his hand to keep Kahlil Mack off his back.
Tampa’s Ryan Fitzpatrick- For a journeyman QB to take an inferior team on the road and win a division opener as a big underdog says volumes for this guy. His 21-28 for 417 and 4 TD,s plus a rushing TD himself would have been the performance of the weekend if not for the page written at Lambeau. I think it will hard to give Jamis Winston back this job when he comes off suspension. Ryan has the respect of everyone in the building and now has results to back it up.
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes- Another division road winner, although not exactly in a hostile environment (looked like more red/Chiefs fans in attendance than Charger fans). An impressive display of arm talent that spoke more of leadership hitting plays at the opportune time than pure numbers but he did throw for 4 TDs. These division wins on the road are giant and count the same now as they due in Dec. KC has a 4 year dominance over the Chargers but this will give Mahomes increased confidence/respect in his own locker-room.
This is supposed to be a 3-man list but I could not leave out the performance of Alex Smith, again on the road. I’m not sure people realize how hard these road wins are to come by regardless of who the opponent is. Look at the point spreads each week. They favor home teams 80% of the time. The talent level is so equal that this fine line crossed over by QB’s that can perform under tough spots, not turn the ball over and Alex’s 118 QB rating. His poise, his leadership and his game management in general no doubt left the Washington brass with the impression that they made the right call about their QB.
As Expected These Guys Performed Above the Norm
Drew Brees – even in a loss, which was no fault of his he threw for 439 yds and had a QB rating of 129.5- Ho Humm
Philipp Rivers – If anyone could ever sue for lack of support, it would be Phillip. Another 400 yd passing game all for naught.
Tom Brady – A boring 26-39 and 3 TD’s, rating of 102 and oh ya, “ANOTHER WIN”.
Bottom Three Performance
Ben Roethisberger Pitt- Beyond the numbers Ben looked a bit slow and sluggish. His accuracy and decision making was not sharp despite the 335 yards. The 3 INT’s and the end result of a tie with the Browns lands him in this spot for week 1.
Matt Ryan ATL- A lot has already been said of the red-zone woes of his team and it’s not all Matt’s fault (the receivers really struggled to spate and the offensive innovation has to be better) but the 57.4 rating and coming off 2017 where Matt’s red-zone completion percentage was near the bottom of the league this trend is definitely concerning. Matty-Ice was ice cold in Philly.
This is low hanging fruit but Buffalo’s Nathan Peterman showed he is still not ready for prime time. Most fans remember the game vs Chargers last year that he gifted the home team by halftime in which he threw 5 int’s on 16 first half attempts (Tom Brady has thrown 5 or fewer int’s over the course of a full season, twice in his career)and produced a QB rating of 17.9. Well this week vs the Ravens it he was also benched after going 5-18 with 2 more int’s. Coach Sean McDermott says he is undecided about a QB for next week. Seriously? He might have a mutiny on his hands, from within, if he rolls out Peterman again. This performance bottoms out our list for this week.
College QB Thought of the Week:
The Pac-12 may have had 2 great ones come out last year in UCLA’s Josh Rosen and USC’s Sam Darnold but this years crop is a steady group that NFL scouts are already talking about. Washington’s Jake Browning, although lacking in pure arm talent gives you accuracy, steady leadership and some all time passing numbers to consider for a top 10 program. Across the state in the Palouse, graduate transfer, Gardner Minshew threw for 3 TD’s and ran for another at Washington State in his first start vs San Jose State. More important than the numbers generated by a pass happy, spread system though, this kid showed a quick release, an ability to read coverage and some arm strength that will get him on pro scout’s radar’s early this fall.
Steven Montez of Colorado showed poise and leadership that can only be judged by winning in comeback fashion on the road. He went 33-50 for 351yds without an interception. He dropped balls in over coverage with touch and skill and can drive the ball on a line, when needed. He has the size and arm to take to the next level. Oregon’s Justin Herbert has gotten the lion’s share of the Pac 12 QB attention and righty so coming into this season. He has yet to face a real test but his ho-hum 20-26 and 250 have him near the top of most NFL draft boards already as he has done nothing to disappoint. This group is gonna be fun to watch as we go thru the fall.
Photo Credits: Melinda Nagy, Shutterstock