Dawn of the Skol, 2016
It's finally happened ladies and gentleman! The 2016 NFL season for our favorite football team has begun. Coming off the up and down season that was 2015, especially with the way it ended and the way that the roller coaster has continued in recent weeks, it's such a nice change to see actually play on the field!
The first half of today's match was all too reminiscent of the low points from last year. Missed field goals, poor offense, and just generally getting outplayed by an inferior opponent were on repeat for the entire half.
But then the progress showed up. First with a pair of field goals by Walsh then a pretty pick six by Eric Kendricks. That was followed up by fumble recovery for a touchdown by Hunter and two more field goals. Defense and special teams won the game. The offense did nothing to lose the game. In a very surprising nugget, Hill wasn't sacked in the game and, while less surprising, he didn't throw an interception.
From one half to the next, those are positive signs but the offense overall was still far from adequate. It's quite possible that this was exactly how it needed to go though.
The scoreboard reflected the best outcome for our fandom while coming in a way that should, and hopefully will, prompt a move from Shaun to Sam. He did exactly what was needed today and that's good but we will need more. This is the best way that it could happen leading to a switch at QB. I think that's the biggest take away from this game going forward, but since I didn't intend to divert from today's game so much, so let me get back to it.
The defense was awesome today.
Kendricks, Hunter, Griffen, Smith, Barr and even Wayne's all came up big in different ways today! One of the most troubling trends from last season was the poor play against running quarterbacks last year. It's a small sample size but through game 1 we handled it beautifully. I'm still glad that we don't have to deal with Russell Wilson during the regular season but maybe the scheme and execution are starting to catch up with that kind of quarterbacking. Whatever the future holds with it, we did a good job managing Mariota today.
The obvious issue that happened far too often today was Blair missing kicks. I can excuse the missed 56 yarder since that would have been one of the longest of his career and is far from a given by any kicker, any day but the 37 yarder and the extra point cannot be misses. In a week, when we're playing against the Packers, those misses may cost the game. It's not realistic to expect the defense to put up 14 points next week but the offense should also be able to get more then 0 (or 12 points, if you want to count the field goals as offense). He did rebound well from the misses though and hopefully has it out of the way now!
The other red flag that I saw was the ineffectiveness of Adrian for practically the entire game. I've been on board with keeping him on the team as long as he remains a top back in the league, with no regard for the economics of it - which is why I shouldn't be a GM. He will get many opportunities to display whether he's starting to decline or if today was just some early season rust since he hasn't been in a game of any kind yet. His performance in the 9ers game was poor so it's a bit of a trend and hopefully the rest of the season trends the same way for him!
In contrast to AP today, Stefon Diggs was back. A touchdown would have been a great capper to his day but a 103 receiving yards on seven catches was a great day and hopefully that's the first of many to come!
So there we go, game one is in the books! What do you guys think of the performance today? Did I miss anything?
-Super Bowl or Bust-