The 2019 NFL season kicks off to an exciting start, especially for the Vikings, Patriots, Ravens, Titans and Cowboys – teams with offensive units that have fulfilled their respective game plans to near perfection. But while these high-performing units each began their season on the right foot, Week 1 brought different levels of disaster to a handful of other offensive groups: Michelle Trubiski Bears, Odell Beckham, Jr.-Reinforced Brownies, "Don't risk it, no biscuits" Buccaneers under Bruce Arians , the Falcons coordinated by the Dirk Koetter and the emerging Steelers performed well below expectations.
There are no thoughtful conclusions to make with one game, of course ̵
Chicago's three points at home against the Packers Thursday was certainly not the start that head coach and player Matt Nagy was looking for. The Bears can boast one of the most formidable defenses, but the team really needs quarterback Mitchell Trubiski to make the big jump in his third season if he is to compete for the Super Bowl.
Trubiski, who may or may not be attacking the atmosphere, was inaccurate with his accuracy and decision-making in the opener and ended the game 26-of-45 (58 percent) for 228 yards without any barriers and pick up. His program Sunday does well to illustrate his limitations as a thrower:
Tubiski completed just four of 18 in 10-yard passes, NFL Next Gen Stats, and leaned heavily on dinks and bottom sinking options. While Trubiski found Alan Robinson on several deeper developing routes, he also forced a few passes in coverage early in the game to be selected and then threw a 16-yard break with 2:03 to go and the Bears are 10-3 behind in the fourth quarter. It was a bad throw and a bad decision; unnecessary prayer, which he threw into double cover.
Of course, the Bears' struggles were not all Trumpets. Despite the fact that it remained a one-way race all the time, Chicago was forced to go very hard (Trubiski gave up 53 of the team’s 65 offensive plays) while running the team game – which was a step up from Mike Davis (five rushing, 19 yards) and rookie David Montgomery (six rushing, 18 yards) – failed to find a foothold against Green Bay's strong front. Chicago finished with just 46 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Trubiski was also a regular escape from the Packers invasion. The third-year quarterback was subjected to 21 of his 53 strikeouts, 39.6%, which ranked seventh worse in the week, for PFF. He struggles miserably in these situations, completing only six of 15 attempts, throwing interceptions and taking five sacks to reach a passer rating of 20.1 under pressure for the third-worst in the 16-man standings. He also wasn't much better than a clean pocket: He completed 20 of 30 passes for 185 yards in those falls to record an 83.3 minute mark, good for 20th place among 26 qualified passers.
With no running game, too much pressure, and the steady execution of a clean Trubiski pocket, the Bears constantly diverge. As Nagy said after the match, the team "lived in that third and 7, third and 8, third and 9 world." This makes it difficult for any apostate and any offense that consistently stacks together. The Bears finished 3-for-15 at third down and 0-for-2 at fourth-down opportunities and came out of a 10-3 loss with just 254 yards on offense in 65 games (3.9 yards average).
Anxiety Index: It's getting harder and harder to figure it out
For those hoping that another off-season immersion in Nagi's insult and book will help Trubiski get started quickly, this one the game was a huge disappointment. Trubiski looked out of rhythm from start to finish, navigating the aisles and forcing balls into cover. Round Williams issued a devastating summary of Green Bay's strategy after the game: "We knew that if we could get [Trubisky] to play an apostate, we would have a chance."
Trubiski's athleticism makes him dangerous as a runner, but for this offense to take the next step, Chicago needs its previous second choice to speed up processing and deliver passes with more accuracy and better timing . It's a long season, but in week 1 there was a very small sign close to it. This can make this group difficult throughout the year.
The Browns suffered a huge amount of overs in Week 1 thanks to the team's strong finish last year during rookie Baker Mayfield and their acquisition of superstar receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. during the offseason. However, that group failed to start on Sunday against the Titans and lost in a disruptive blast, 43-13. Mayfield, who finished 25 of 38 for 285 yards, one touchdown and three late fourth-quarter selections, was clearly not his best, but was his performance as bad as it looks?
To begin with, the game of the Browns on earth was effective. The offensive line finished with the eighth-best PFF pass blocking percentage (70.7), with Nick Chub, D Ernest Johnson, Jarvis Landry and Dontrel Hilliard combined for 102 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries – 5. 1 yard experience arithmetic average. And despite what was clearly a blazing performance from the aerial attack, Cleveland was pretty far from Tennessee at the end of the third quarter: When Mayfield found David Nyoku for a 3-yard touchdown with 2:13 to go into the third frame, he reduced the Titans lead to 15-13. At that point, the probability of winning in Tennessee was a modest 57.7 percent.
But then things got out of control of the Browns. Tennessee returned and in the next game Derrick Henry took a 75-yard pass to pay for the dirt, pushing the Titans' lead back to 22-13. Mayfield began to force the issue too much from that point forward: He threw picks at three of the team's next four possessions, and that was all she wrote about the Browns during the first week.
Anxiety Index: No Panic Needed … Still
Mayfield's decision-making absolutely needs to improve if Cleveland's crime is going to cope with his noise, but a handful of problems that arise throughout game, must be corrected. To begin with, the offensive line gave up too much pressure and delivered five sacks, or 11.6 percent of Mayfield's refusals (for reference, he was fired just 1.9 percent of his dropouts in the last nine games of 2018. ). It didn't help that Greg Robinson's left tackle was thrown out for kicking a Titanium player in the head, but head coach and game player Freddie Kitchon was quick to take the blame for not picking up faster passes to get ball out of Mayfield's hands earlier in the moment. This strategy was central to last season's offensive team explosion, and something the offense could focus on in Week 2.
The other major issue that kept Cleveland behind the eight balls was punishment. As a team, the Browns picked up 18 penalties, nine of which came from the offense (for a loss of 86 yards). Coupled with the pressure from the front, these penalties mean that the Browns play behind the chains almost constantly throughout the game. Cleveland faced two third downs of 13 yards, one of 16 yards, two of 18 yards, one of 26 yards and another of 28 yards. One of Mayfield's interceptions came in second and 14, which was followed by a hold on the first down.
The team can better keep on schedule with a little more discipline and more game frequency designed to beat the pressure and get the ball fast. I expect Kitchons, Mayfield and Browns to adapt in Week 2 and bounce back on Monday football against the Jets.
The Tampa Bay Bookers
Apart from Chris Godwin's prolonged breakthrough and the surprising explosiveness of sophomore running back Ronald Jones II, there isn't much to feel good about following the reckless 31-17 loss to the Tampa Bay 49ers at home . Jamie Winston, playing for the first time with a new head coach and famed head chef Bruce Arians, looked just like he always looked. Winston was scattered with accuracy and mad at his decision making and threw three mutilating interceptions – two of which were returned for interruption.
One of the photos was not actually Winston's fault; she was squeezing the tight end of O.J. Howard's hands and the waiting defender's gloves. Another – Richard Sherman's spice – is due in part to a poor route from Patton Barber. But instead of showing much-needed discipline, the fifth-year veteran showed several signs that he was giving up an overly aggressive style that turned him into a turnover machine for most of his career. He also blew the ball twice and nearly threw a fourth hit that was missed. Winston finished with 194 yards and one touchdown on 36 attempts, good for just 5.4 yards on attempt and 45.4 minus mark.
He also did not receive much help. Mike Evans was mostly ineffective with the disease and finished with just two catches for 28 yards. Howard failed to touch the pre-season buzz, causing an interception and losing a blur deep into San Francisco territory before completing four 32-yard catches. Overall, the Bucs blew three times (lost one of them), and right-hander Demar Dotson blasted two Cameron Brate sensors on the same drive with devastating hold calls.
Concern Index: This already feels like a bad case for Deja Vu
Turnovers were a serious problem for the Buccaneers offense in 2018. The team led the NFL with 35 innings, including 26 league interceptions and this sloppy play style it doesn't seem to have disappeared. It all starts and ends with a quarterback game and unless Winston can prove he can play with more consistency and discipline, it will be difficult for Tampa Bay to find a new identity in 2019.
to his role as offensive coordinator for the Falcons, Dirk Koetter began a slow start against the Vikings' quick and physical defense. Minnesota's defensive line gave Atlanta's offensive line a new look – a defeated group that had rookie Chris Lindstrom and Caleb McGary starting from right guard and right – fitting in by stifling Falcons play, ruining the return of Devianman and Devianman to Devian four times while keeping him moving from start to finish.
Ryan completed 33-of-46 for 304 yards and threw two touchdowns for trash and two picks. Atlanta did not get on the board until the fourth quarter, when Minnesota had already made it 28-0 and the game was under control. The Vikings dominated.
Concern Index: I was more worried about the post-game team than its offensive performance
It is too early to count talent-packed and battle-tested crimes led by Ryan, a former MVP, after opening week dude on the road. The team that lost Lindstrom to a leg injury and turned McGary with veteran Ty Sambrailo through the game will need to dial his offensive line and strategize ways to better protect Ryan, but if Atlanta can reduce the breakthrough (they ended up minus three in this category on Sunday) will be fine. The Falcons get a chance to send the ship home next week against the Eagles.
Driven by Ben Roethlisberger Steelers got off to a slow start on the road against heavy defense and the Patriots took advantage. Roethlisberger struggled to find a rhythm with his receivers, completing 27 of 47 passes for just 276 yards (5.9 yards per attempt) and choosing to score 65.6 minus the mark.
Team play was equally ineffective: James Connor rushed 10 times for 21 yards and backup Jason Samuels added 4 yards on two carries. Pittsburgh failed to extend the drives to three consecutive possessions in the second quarter and appeared on two thirds and 1 and one more on fourth and 1. Pittsburgh picked up just three first downs and gained 87 yards in the first two shots and went down by 20 -0. They didn't find the end zone all night with a 33-3 loss.
Concern Index: I'll give them a Mulligan
The Steelers' transition corps outside JuJu Smith-Schuster (six catches for 78 yards) was mostly struggling to get on the same page as Big Ben. Adding free agent Donte Moncrief turned his 10 goals into three catches for 7 yards and Vance McDonald's tight end was less of a focal point of the scheme, as many had predicted, catching two of four goals for 40 yards. Second-year professional James Washington, on the other hand, was a bright spot and a 45-yard bomb went off in the third quarter, while rookie Diontey Johnson grabbed three balls for 25 yards. The hierarchy of passing games feels current and the team can take advantage of the shakeup, which gives its young playmates bigger roles.
As I did with the Falcons, I am ready to give the Steelers a benefit of the doubt, given that they began the year on the road against very heavy defenses. But if we see a recurring performance against the Seahawks defense that delivered 418 passing yards to Andy Dalton (a career high for the Bengals passer) in Seattle last week, I will start to worry.