This week in the NFL, Cam Newton returned to his old form as the Carolina Panthers humiliated the Dolphins on Monday night; the LA Rams continued to impress viewers with a 33-7 win over the Houston Texans in which Jared Goff threw for 311 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions; and former Chargers kicker Josh Lambo helped lift the Jaguars to a W over his old team with a field goal in overtime, proving that no matter what city they are based in, the Chargers are first-rate choke artists.
There’s something wrong with Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio was once a proud city. Right on Lake Erie, it used to be one of the many industrial and industrious cities that represented American values of resilience, hustle, and determination. Now, Cleveland has the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, respectable baseball and basketball franchises, and the worst team in football.
Not even the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions were as pathetic as the Cleveland Browns. After going winless in 2008, the Lions were able to steadily improve their record and even able to reach the playoffs three years later.
The Browns have not made the playoffs since 2007 and have been the laughingstock of the NFL for most seasons following their return to the league in 1999. The team has not won on a Sunday in almost two years — that’s astonishing — with their last win being on a Saturday in 2016 against the San Diego Chargers (RIP). The title of winningest QB in FirstEnergy Stadium, where the Browns play home games, is Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.
The Browns’ last loss came on Sunday against the Lions. They were able to hang with Detroit long enough and kept the game even, until the fourth quarter when they were outscored 14-0 and ended up losing 38-24. The outlook for the Browns the rest of this season is pretty grim, and they can at best hope to win a few games for the fans or just lose out and secure the first overall pick in the draft.
Seahawks’ Sherman goes down on Thursday Night
Last Thursday, the Seahawks and the Cardinals squared off in Arizona and Seattle came out on top, winning by a score of 22-16. The biggest story of the night, however, was the Seahawks losing one of their defensive leaders and fan-favorite CB Richard Sherman in the third quarter.
It was discovered that Sherman suffered a ruptured achilles tendon and he will miss the rest of the 2017 season. The injury is a tragic loss to Seahawks fans and fans of good football and trash-talking, but the incident further brings into question the safety and risks of teams playing Thursday night games on short weeks.
Sherman himself has been critical of Thursday night games in the past and has called out the NFL’s hypocrisy in advocating for player safety while scheduling these games, apparently to pull more viewership ratings and revenue out of players putting their bodies on the line week after week.
As a passionate football fan, I love the Thursday night games because it means less time between Monday night and the start of the next football week. But if the players are asking for more time to recover it’s only right that the league listens.
The 49ers come out on top in the Toilet Bowl
The 49ers proved on Sunday that yes, the New York Giants really are that atrocious. The battle of two of the worst teams in the league ended with San Francisco winning 31-21 and avoiding a winless season.
The game was highlighted by an 83-yard touchdown from receiver Marquise Goodwin, who just hours earlier that same day had lost his son due to complications with his wife’s pregnancy. Goodwin has come to the forefront of the 49ers receiving corps this year, especially after the team had to place veteran wideout Pierre Garçon on injured reserve.
The loss for New York added fuel to the fire under head coach Ben McAdoo’s hot seat and raised questions about how the team is so bad after making the playoffs last year and coming into the season with plenty of cause for optimism.
Zeroes and Heroes
The Denver Broncos lost 41-16 to the New England Patriots on Sunday night at home. This loss came a week after they were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles, 51-17.
A few identifiable problems with Denver are their defense and quarterback woes. Since Peyton Manning retired after Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have done little to address the absence of a true starting QB on the roster. First round pick and former Memphis QB Paxton Lynch has been sidelined for most of his time on the team. Meanwhile, it appears that the Broncos believed that if Trevor Siemian could piece together a few wins here and there, they didn’t really need to go looking for a franchise QB.
Most recently, the team brought Houston flameout and disgrace to football Brock Osweiler back to the active roster. Osweiler bounced around in the off-season after riding along last year on Houston’s defense and putting a dark spot on receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ career. The Broncos have dropped to 3-6 on the season and it’s safe to say Vance Joseph is no longer “having the time of his life,” as ESPN on-field correspondent Sergio Dipp put it week 1 on Monday night.
Drew Brees is looking as good as ever since entering the league with the Chargers in 2001. His stellar play this season has taken the Saints to a 7-2 record.
On Sunday the Saints beat the Buffalo Bills, 47-10. Last year, their defense was ranked 31st in points allowed; this year it has shocked opposing teams with ferocious play. The Saints are at the top of the NFC South and are entering the Super Bowl conversation as playoff time nears.