It’s called the National Football League, but pundits also claim the NFL stands for "Not For Long." And this week, we saw why that is. "Not For Long" illustrates how long the average NFL career is, and how quickly injuries can strike. And it also offers an idea of how long teams can glory in the previous week’s victory or need to suffer through the pain of last week’s loss. Not For Long.
Seattle 3, LA 9
While it has been a long wait for Rams fans to get their team back, some 20 years, they didn’t have to wait long for their first win in LA. That came Sunday.
The Rams kicked off their home opener with plenty of fan fair, Le Bron James and Red Hot Chili Peppers, highlighting the festivities off the field, and considering the team was coming off a very disappointing shutout loss at the hands of the 49ers, the lack of festivities, aka solid offensive execution, on the field was irrelevant to those fans.
So, yes, the Rams seem to be the kryptonite to the Seahawks Super Bowl plans, having have now won 4 of the past 5 against Seattle, and fans can rejoice in THAT fact. But the team still hasn’t solve the glaringly obvious problem of no offense. They’re averaging 4.5 points a game this early season, and more importantly, the problems they had last year, a paltry 3rd down conversion rate and no distinguishable passing attack, are still an issue.
There’s no doubt the Seahawks early season offensive struggles can be solved with time and there’s also no doubt the Rams offensive woes have yet to be solved.
Niners 27, Panthers 46
For fantasy football players cringing at the Rams, Seahawks game, hopefully you had some Panthers playing on your fantasy team.
Cam Newton, Greg Olson or Kelvin Benjamin more specifically.
The same Niners defense that held the Rams scoreless in week 1 (thanks to their lack of passing) got shelled by the explosive Panthers passing game. Newton threw for 4 touchdowns. Benjamin collected 2 of them while Olson notched 122 yards on 5 catches and a score.
The Niners pulled within a score in the 4th quarter to make it interesting, but last year’s top offense didn’t let up. Final in Carolina: 46-27.
The 49ers last-ranked offense from last year is improving but the defense can only hold an explosive offense at bay for so long when it has an extra 12 minutes of possession.
And so the disappointment of the Panther’s loss last week’s is all but forgotten. Same deal for the Arizona Cardinals.
Buccaneers 7, Cardinals 40
Carson Palmer led his team in a clinic over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and while last week, Arizona lost a close one, this one was never in doubt. They never trailed and rolled to a 40-7 win. The Bucs have a shot at a special season, but ONLY if Jameis Winston avoids the same bad turnovers he offered up in this one.
After Sunday’s results, every team in the NFC West is 1-1. Furthermore, half teams that lost last week, won this week.
So maybe the NFL could stand for "Not For Long." Losses don’t last long, but neither do wins.
Need more proof? Let’s go to the AFC West. And check in with the Chargers and Raiders.
Falcons 35, Raiders 28
Last week the Raiders used last-minute magic to beat the Saints in New Orleans. But it wasn’t there this week at the Black Hole. The Silver and Black, down 2 scores with a little over 2 minutes left, pulled within 7, but fell short. The Raiders spent the majority of their offseason money on defense and so far, it’s yet to return any dividends on that investment. They’re the 2nd worst scoring defense and 32nd in total defense. Hopefully that will improve as the season progresses.
Jaguars 14, Chargers 38
Meanwhile the Chargers, after finding a way to lose a 21-point lead and drop an overtime game to the Chiefs last week, made this week’s contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars a sure thing. The defense pressured Blake Bortles into mistakes and the offense hummed with brilliant efficiency. Philip Rivers threw 4 touchdowns, Melvin Gordon collected his first 100-yard game, and the Chargers’ 35-0 3rd quarter lead turned into a 38-14 victory. The Chargers are now the 2nd ranked scoring offense in the NFL and you saw the kind of production Rivers being reunited with Ken Wisenhunt is capable of.
There are currently 8 teams that are 2-0.
Carson Wentz became only the 5th rookie QB to win his first 2 games in the league, Sam Bradford and the Vikings defense opened their new stadium with a win over the Packers on Sunday Night Football. The Giants held off the Saints and did so without scoring 50+ points. The Steelers handled the Bengals. The Texans took care of the Chiefs. The Ravens rebounded to beat the Browns. The Broncos tamed the Colts.
And while the Patriots won their contest with the Dolphins, they lost quarterback Jimmy Garapolo, who’s been stellar in Tom Brady’s stead, but went down with a shoulder injury. Team officials say he could be back in 2 weeks.
So right now, the Pats are without a qualified quarterback, but hopefully, not for long.