NFL 2019 Week 1 Was a Big WTF???
Statistically Speaking… NFL 2019 Week 1 Was a Big WTF???
So week one is in the books and… well it isn’t exactly what we had expected.
There was the…Anomalies
San Francisco 49ers
In the 2018 season, the 49ers recorded a league low seven takeaways. SEVEN! Two of which were interceptions. Yep, you read that right, two interceptions for the entire season. Sunday against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the 49ers intercepted Winston three times. Two of the three were returned for touchdowns. So the 49ers have already bested their last year interception total.
So the question is was this a vast improvement on the 49ers defense of just another day at work for Winston?
Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
n the 2018 season, Watkins played 10 games. In those games he was targeted 55 times for 40 receptions and 519 yards. He also had three receiving touchdowns. His catch percentage was 72.7 % and he averaged 9.4 yards per catch.
Flash forward to the first game of the 2019 NFL season. Watkins was targeted 11 times with nine catches for 198 yards. His catch percentage was 81.8% and he averaged 18.0 yards a catch. And oh yeah, he had three touchdowns receiving touchdowns.
With Tyreek Hill out for an unspecified amount of time with a shoulder injury, you might want to take a look at Watkins.
Pittsburgh Steelers Offense
There have been the quiet whispers of how would the Steelers operate without Antonio Brown in a Steeler uniform? If Sunday Night’s Game against the New England Patriots is any indication…not well.
The Steelers scored three points. They had three third down conversions. The wide receivers were abysmal and that includes the stats they could accumulate during garbage time (which when you lose by 30 points in the entire fourth quarter): JuJu Smith-Schuster was targeted eight times catching six for 78 yards before limping off with a toe injury. James Washington was targeted six times for two receptions and 51 yards. But none looked as inept as Donte Moncrief who was targeted ten times managing to haul in three receptions for seven yards!
But it wasn’t just the receivers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed in 27 completions of 47 attempts for 276 yards and one interception.
The Patriots secondary is elite. They are ranked in the top five by Pro Football Focus. Nevertheless, it has to be concerning for a once prolific offense to score three points.
It gets slightly better for the Steelers in week two. They play the Seattle Seahawks at home. The Seahawks secondary is ranked the second worst by Pro Football Focus.
There was the…Knew but Underestimated
Cleveland Browns Offensive Line
To be certain it wasn’t all their fault…but they didn’t help. While all the hype was around the pretty shiny offensive weapons the Browns had, there was always some quiet speculation about the 21st ranked offensive line. The cracks along the offensive line became a sinkhole that swallowed up the highly touted offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked five times while tossing three interceptions. Running back Nick Chubb rushed 17 times for 75 yards.
It was an exercise in futility in Cleveland, nothing worked.
Seattle Seahawks Secondary
According to Pro Football Focus the secondary in Seattle is ranked 31st out of 32 teams. The Legion of Boom no longer exists. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton passed for a career high 418 passing yards. Wide Receiver John Ross had a career high 158 receiving yards.
The Bengals came into the game a nine-point underdog. They left Seattle losing 20-21. It wasn’t just the secondary of Seattle. The offense sputtered until the fourth quarter when Tyler Lockett decided to join the fray. He was targeted two times for one catch and one touchdown.
The defensive line for Seattle cannot be expected to do it all. The secondary needs to step up, not asking for the Legion of Boom…just stop being Doctor Doom.
Then there is…What to expect Week 2
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals, the line is even and the over/under is 45.0. Andy Dalton isn’t Jameis Winston and John Ross is on a hot streak. Jimmy Garoppolo was pedestrian at best with 18 completions on 27 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown, one interception and one sack. Running back Tevin Coleman is in a walking boot and “It” man George Kittle managed eight receptions on 10 targets for 54 yards and zero touchdowns.
This looks like one of those times where the defenses are in play.
Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders the Raiders just beat up on the Denver Broncos with precision passing by Derek Carr. Carr went 22-of-26 for 259 yards and one touchdown. He threw zero interceptions. And although rookie running back Josh Jacobs only averaged 3.7 yards a carry…he did carry 23 times for two touchdowns. Let’s just say Gardner Minshew II on surprise quarterback duty threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs. Carr should keep his hot streak rolling.
You know what you got in the Chiefs…Patrick Mahomes, LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce.
Cleveland Browns v New York Jets Monday Night Football game, the line is Browns favored by 2.5 with an over/ under 45.5. Something tells me Baker Mayfield will shine in prime time. There are no current stats to prove that theory…it’s just a theory.
And for those of you wondering, Jets running back Le’Veon Bell in his debut performance averaged 3.5 yards on 17 carries. He was also targeted nine times for 6 receptions. He finished with 92 all purpose yards and one receiving touchdown.
Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers, the line is 3.5 favor of Steelers with an over/under 46.5. I know it’s early but if the Steelers can’t score on the Seahawks secondary…just throw in the towel. And as for Seattle…maybe get Lockett involved a little earlier, and have Chris Carson hold onto the ball a little better. In the first week Carson was clearly the number one back…but that doesn’t mean Rashaad Penny is out of the equation.
Come talk to me on Twitter @neverenoughglt
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