It's time for the Week 1 edition of ‘NFL Winners and Losers'. Each week I will take a look at some of the bonehead plays, stupid decisions and horrible calls. I'll also give credit where credit is due and point out the good surprises each week. Here. We. Go.
Dallas Cowboys: To be specific - Wade Phillips, Jason Garret, Tashard Choice and Tony Romo. Once again, the Cowboys showed why they are the most overrated team in the NFL (just like every year it seems.) Horrible coaching, sloppy play calling, penalties, penalties, and more penalties. Have Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett ever proved to be competent coaches? Wade's father was an NFL Head Coach, Jason's father was a Div 1 NCAA Head Coach, isn't this stuff supposed to be in their DNA?
So Dallas has a three-headed monster at the running back position? Too bad Felix Jones carried the ball only eight times. Marion Barber only had eight carries as well, while Tony Romo threw 47 times! Ingenious. Can you imagine the decision making if the leaders of this team didn't have a football pedigree?
But the bonehead play everyone is talking about is DeAngelo Hall's forced fumble and recovery for a touchdown with no time remaining in the first half. Did anyone ever think of taking a knee? Didn't anyone tell them about Joe Pizarchik! Geeze, watch NFL Films or something.
And Alex Barron had not one, not two, but three holding penalties, the last of which cost Dallas the game when he had his arm wrapped around Brian Orakpo's neck, negating a game-winning touchdown catch by Roy Williams (sounds funny saying that doesn't it?). Alex I have two words for you, Practice Squad.
The NFL Rule: So technically, the referees got the call right and Calvin Johnson didn't score a touchdown. It's terrible but true. The rule is this:
"If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."
Clearly, the NFL needs to change this rule. Johnson scored. He caught the ball, got his feet, butt and his elbow on the ground. It's not even debatable. It was a touchdown. Anytime a rule robs a team of a win like that, it needs to be discussed and changed.
Mike Cardano had this one right in his Monday Morning Quarterback - NFL Week 1 post.
"This exact rule was applied differently in last year's Super Bowl as the Saints were awarded a TD, so I'm lost. Bob Costs has this one right. "If it looks like a TD and feels like a TD, it should be a TD.'"
Jets Defense: In the opening game of the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Jets defense basically acted as Baltimore's offense, giving up 125 yards on 14 penalties. That's just unacceptable.
Jets Offense: Well, they were certainly offensive. Rex Ryan told the players to play like a Jet, and they did. The Rich Kotite Jets. Perhaps Ryan needs to be more clear in the future.
The Jets offense only put up 51 more total yards than what the defense gave up on penalties. New York committed 10 penalties in the first half alone. They even gave up six first downs on penalties. That shows an extreme lack of discipline. When the offense goes 1-for-11 on third downs and you repeatedly screw up, you will get dominated in time of possession and that is exactly what happened. After signing a handful of stars on both sides of the ball, they opened the season with a huge thud.
Arian Foster (And Anyone Who Drafted Him In Fantasy): It may be just one game, but Houston's Arian Foster already looks like the steal of every fantasy draft. Who expected Foster to have the second-best opening day rushing performance in NFL history.
In one of Houston's most important games of the season, Foster ran for 231 yards on 33 carries and scores three touchdowns. This guy was on a practice squad last year! The only running back to have a better performance in a season opener was that model citizen, O.J. Simpson, with 250 yards in 1973. Houston already had one of the best passing games in the NFL. Now with Foster, the Texans might have one of the best overall offenses.
* Side Note: Tony Dungy said on NBC that Houston wouldn't make the playoffs if they lost to Indianapolis in Week 1. Is that a joke? He actually based a team's playoff chances on the first game of the season. Is it just me or is that one of the most ridiculous things any football analyst has ever said?
Seattle Seahawks: Wow. Great job by Pete Carroll and Co. Not only did the Seahawks score 31 points on San Francisco, one of the top defenses of 2009, but they didn't give up a touchdown. Not one. The 49ers could only muster up two field goals in the first two quarters and that was it. A lot of people were jumping on the San Francisco bandwagon heading into the season. It's just one game, but Seattle ran all over them.
Despite what his stat line might look like, Matt Hassleback played like a pro-bowler again. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for one as well. He completed 78 percent of his passes and eight different players had a reception. Did I mention San Francisco had one of the best defenses last year?
Chris Johnson: And the 2010 MVP campaign begins. Chris Johnson started the season right where he left off - running all over opposing defenses and racking up yards. Johnson rushed for 143 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a 76-yard run in the second quarter.
The 24-year-old looks like he is on a mission this year. He felt insulted after not winning the offensive MVP award last year. If he reaches 2,000 yards again in 2010, I don't think anyone will give the award to someone else. - Michael Klopman
Michael, a Penn State Graduate writes for Xtra Point Football, Around the Horn Baseball, and works on the sports page at the Huffington Post.
If you would like to ask Dr. Roto a question, call (646) 915-9367 on Friday nights at 10:00pm EST and ask your question live on the that weeks Fantasy Football 411 Podcast.
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