Videos by OutKick
If anyone tells you they know who’s going to be taking home the Lombardi trophy in early February they’re lying to you. Despite the tendency to overreact after 60 minutes, take a deep breath and realize it’s all going to be ok. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways:
1. The Arizona Cardinals have some major problems. We knew their secondary was going to be a work in progress but I don’t think anyone anticipated they’d struggle this much against a pedestrian receiving core. Whether it was 3rd and 15 or 3rd and 5, Bruce Arians’ defense couldn’t get off the field, allowing a young quarterback making his first start to gain confidence and look like an all pro. I’m not taking anything away from the Patriots; they earned this victory. However it’s the Cardinals defense as well as Carson Palmer that have me concerned going forward.
2. Indianapolis needs to count their lucky stars they have a franchise QB in Andrew Luck. While the Colts weren’t able to complete the 18 point comeback, Luck giving them even a chance to steal victory is a credit to his abilities. Defensively this team is a nightmare and with more role players in the secondary getting hurt against Detroit, Coach Pagano needs to go deeper into the scrap heap before he finds himself on the unemployment line. Indianapolis will win games this year but expect plenty of track meets where scoring 40 points becomes the norm.
3. Cleveland is in for a historically bad campaign, even by their abnormally low standards. The Browns’ defense was shredded by rookie QB Carson Wentz; yielding 403 yards while spending 39:20 on the field. All the blame doesn’t fall on the Browns defense, considering RG3 looked like a quarterback ill-equipped to produce consistently at this level. Philly’s defense is one of the more underrated units in the league but for the Browns to lose by 3 scores to this Eagles team doesn’t give their fan base reason for much optimism.
4. One play changes a game. Marcus Mariota’s Pick 6 for the Titans was a prime example; turning what appeared to be a hard-fought potential Titans’ victory into a tough-to-swallow defeat. Tennessee led 10-6 looking ready to strike again from deep in Vikings’ territory. An ill-advised screen pass became a 77 yard Pick 6 for the Vikings, ultimately leading to 19 straight points before an inconsequential TD (not to over/under bettors) from DeMarco Murray made the final score line more respectable.
5. No lead is safe in the modern NFL. Two teams blew leads of 17 or more yesterday with one holding on for dear life (Detroit) while the other (Chargers) let the Chiefs complete the amazing feat. Coaches need to keep their foot on the gas in this day and age rather than playing it safe to churn clock. Taking the conservative approach on offense limits your chances of closing out a game when the opposition seizes all the momentum in comeback mode. We’ll never figure out why teams ease off the throttle in an era where quick strike offenses are the norm, not the exception.