Thus far, this has been the most interesting start to an NFL season in recent memory. Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Fitzpatrick (Fitzchise/Fitzmagic!) are the leading candidates for league MVP. Their respective teams are 2-0 and they are leading the league in passing touchdowns with 10 and 8 respectively. There has been two ties, which is never good for the league, but are a direct result of kickers being awful. The Browns, yes those 0-16 Browns from a year ago, are competitive. That isnt a joke, that defense is for real and held a high powered Saints offense to 21 points. If their kicker didnt miss two field goals and an extra point, the Browns beat the Saints on the road. Khalil Mack is no longer a Raider (thank god) and Aaron Rodgers is better on one leg than most quarterbacks are with two.
Oh, and cornerback Vontae Davis “retired” at halftime of the Bills and Chargers game. You cant make this stuff up.
The league is fire right now and it feels like an anomaly due to all of the scrutiny this past offseason. Rule changes regarding player safety were expected to impact every game, but in reality have only changed the outcome of one. Refs arent expected to be perfect, but they have been consistent. Hell, in the Broncos game, you saw the dreaded double pass interference call, which after further review, turned out to be correct. The preseason was a slog, but the regular season has been pretty fluid so far. There have been some high scoring games, incredible comebacks, and it’s been chock full of surprises.
If this pace keeps up, we could be seeing the most interesting playoffs in memory as well. The Jags and Chiefs look like they could run the table for the AFC. While the Rams, Bucs, Vikings, and Packers, are the teams to watch in the NFC. Hopefully, it’s not just the Patriots and the field anymore because it would be refreshing to see some parody in the league. I don’t want Tom Brady or the Patriots to fall off a cliff, as they’ve been the standard in football, but I believe it would be nice to see different matchups in the Super Bowl.
The Rams have blanked two teams with their high powered offense and the Chiefs look to be the only team with the firepower to match them. Then again, the Jags, with that stout defense, would create an interesting matchup with any of the top teams in the NFC. Blake Bortles looked great against the Patriots and could indicate he’s progressing as a QB. Do I believe that? Time will tell, hes thrown for big numbers before, but that elongate throwing motion telegraphs where he is throwing to and I expect defenses to be aggressive and work to force turnovers. Like I said, this has been a really interesting two weeks.
But now, let’s talk about the most interesting and sadly humorous bit of news that happened in Week 2; Vontae Davis quitting during halftime. I admit, I laughed when I first heard this news. The Chargers were blanking the Bills and it was 28-6 going into the half. When the two teams took the field, it turns out that Vontae David wasn’t going to be joining his team. He apparently retired and then posted his reasoning on Instagram. Look, in life, you’re able to quit your job when you want too and you can choose whether or not you notify your coworkers in your decision. Whether or not you do so can say a lot about your character.
But let’s be clear, what Vontae Davis did is going to be a topic of conversation for a long time. He didnt even finish the game and didnt give his teammates the courtesy to tell them that he quit. Yes, he doesnt owe anybody anything, but this will hurt him down the line when discussing his legacy, hes a quitter plain and simple. There will be those who point to how bad the Bills are or how football is a dangerous and taxing sport. Regardless of all that, you’ll know when it’s time to hang up the cleats, he wasn’t ready at the beginning of the season as he was recovering from an injury he incurred last season. If that’s the case, why even try to play when your hearts not in it? Vontae Davis will have to answer that question eventually.
Now let’s get to the worst part about the past few weeks; the kickers. In a word, it has been awful. Far too many games have been decided because of awful kicking. Let’s be clear, there should be no ties in football. There arent enough games and it is unfair to those players who bust their ass for four hours for it to finish on a missed kick. I understand if it’s a blocked kick, that’s a great special teams play. But when you whiff consistently, it is saying something about the quality of kickers today. The Browns are currently in the market for a kicker, especially ones that can kick in a dome, because two missed field goals and two missed extra points is inexcusable.
Kicking, if you really think about it, has been the worst part about the early season. I’m all for the position, I believe that kicking and punting are integral to the sport of football. But where are all the quality kickers at, why is friggin Dan Bailey still a free agent? A good kicker, like Brandon McManus, aka the Gooch, will win you games. But mediocre or bad ones, can force a fan base to lose their shit. I’m all for more offense, but if a game comes down to the wire, the kicker has one job; win the fucking game.
Last season and the season prior weren’t particularly strong. They were lethargic, boring, and generally uninteresting. This season has been dynamite, regardless if your person has found success. Pat Mahomes looking like a future Hall of Famer, the return of Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers playing like a god, and the other fascinating takes this early season makes the NFL that much more watchable than in previous seasons. Will it continue? Who knows, but one things for certain, the NFL is at it’s best when there are a number of contenders. Could be the best year yet.