Monday night football:
Both Oakland and Buffalo came close to winning their opening games but both fell just short.
BF @ NE
The Bills played unbelievably well. The Bills Defense provided a second way to defeat the Pats—Tampa 2 with pressure. The Pats did not look good. QB Brady was not nearly as accurate as he was in the preseason. That will come with time. But two things that will not improve much with time are the Pat D and the O line. The running game of the Bills is half of what it will be when the star RB Marshawn Lynch returns from NFL suspension. Even so, the Bills running game gashed the Pats D for 4.7 yards per attempt. The Pats D will miss Seymour who was traded to Oakland for a 2011 1st round draft choice that might never be made due to a work stoppage. During the game Pat MLB Mayo was hurt the extent of which is under the protection of Belichick Security Inc. The D backfield has never been good and will suffer this year because of less pressure on the QB that Seymour produced in previous seasons.
The Bills O looked much better than it did in the preseason. New O Coordinator Van Pelt put a great game plan together. The D held the Pats running game to 3.2 yards per attempt. The only reason the Bills lost at NE was the fumble of the kick return with just over 2 minutes left that gave the Pats the ball at the Bills 30.
SD @ Oak
Oakland looked outstanding on D. But they have had the best D under the radar in the league for a couple of years. The D is clearly better with Seymour moving all over the line causing havoc.
The O was a different matter. The one guy that cost Oakland this game and many others to come is QB(?) Russell. He gives inconsistency a bad name. He went 12 for 30 attempts for 208 yards most of which was on run after the catch. He threw 2 interceptions and 1 TD. The Raider running game was working well but they will face 47 guys in the box unless Russell can become more of a threat passing the ball.
The frustrating thing about the QB is that on one play he will make a great read and perfect throw and on the next toss a pick that will make you wonder what he was thinking—or if he was thinking at all.
The Raiders are also starting the wrong RB. Bush is the guy that should be the prime back. He is not as fast as he was in Louisville because of his leg being full of steel. But he does not fumble and can move the pile. Nothing encourages an O lineman to drive his guy out of the hole better than a 240 RB bashing into his backside. The Raiders ran the ball very well. The O line has gotten better under Coach Cable. The team also makes fewer mistakes. They committed only 6 penalties to the 9 that were called on the Chargers.
The Charger running game works better with Sproles than it does with Tomlinson. LT doesn’t look 100 percent. He has lost a step now that he is 30. It may be rust but don’t bet on it. I predict that he will not have the kind of season that Fantasy players want to see.
LB Merriman also looks more than a step slow. He is coming back from a tough injury. It takes a full 15 months to come back from that. He will get better as time goes on. Even with 1.5 legs, he is better than any of the bench guys.
Around the league
Bear all pro MLB Bryan Urlacker is out for the year. He had his broken wrist operated on yesterday. This will hurt the team badly and they will not make the playoffs.
Eagle QB McNabb has a broken rib. Two things must be said about this injury. First, the team says that we will be back in a week or two. I have had 12 broken ribs after being hit by a car. I can guarantee you that he will be out more than a week or two. If the rib is still broken and a 300+ DT falls on him, it could drive the rib into his lung which is life threatening.
Second, the rules have to be changed about tackling a player in the endzone. The second a player has possession of the ball and breaks the plain of the goaline, the ball is dead and it is a TD. McNabb was hit 6 yards into the endzone by 2 Giants. That has to be a penalty.
Ex-Raider QB Jeff Garcia was signed by the Eagles. He played with the Eagles in 2006 and started 6 games.
The Williams boys DTs for the Vikes won their case against the NFL to prevent the league from suspending them for being detected having taken a banned substance. This decision has huge implications and I will discuss them here tomorrow.
Comm. Goodell said this week he would make a decision on the Jets and Coach Mangini’s failure to put QB Favre on the injury list soon. This is worth watching just for the comedy value.
The Browns looked much better than I expected. Check out my article on which will be up on Thursday.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .