What We Learned in Week 1 in the NFL:
- NFL could be changing drug policy to allow Gordon and Welker reinstatement
- Dolphins shut out Pats in 2nd half to win at home
- Dalton gets his first win in Baltimore
- Video of Ray Rice knocking out his wife in elevator surfaces
- Jim Harbaugh may be losing 49ers’ locker room but not game against Cowboys
- Steelers literally kick off season with a win
Football is back. That is all. Well, naturally that’s not all. Let’s go over what we saw yesterday, shall we?
Before the games got underway on Sunday it was released that the NFL and NFLPA are in talks to agree on a new drug policy for the league that will include HGH testing for the players. The new policy would also institute an immediate penalty for DUI’s, which would be a deactivation with pay for the next immediate game following an arrest for a DUI. A penalty of that nature would have certainly affected the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell for Week 1. The test would also raise the threshold for what would trigger a positive test for marijuana and place amphetamines taken in the offseason under the substance-abuse policy rather than the PED policy. Those to changes, if this is approved this season, would apparently re-activate both Josh Gordon and Wes Welker from their current suspensions. Apparently some NFL owners have “expressed displeasure” with the recent suspensions. I can take a wild guess which owners those were. I don’t really understand the logic of enacting a new drug policy and retroactively applying it to players who were suspended under the previous policy. It’s not like Roger Goodell went and changed Ray Rice’s penalty after he openly admitted to “getting it wrong” and revamping the personal conduct policy to presumably hammer the next guy who knocks out a woman in his free time. Geez Goodell sucks.
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There is good news and bad news for Patriots fans. The good news is that Rob Gronkowski made it out of Week 1 healthy. The bad news is they got thumped by the Dolphins in Miami. The Dolphins defense held the Patriots scoreless in the second half of the game going 23-0 after halftime to seal a 33-20 victory. In spite of turning the ball over three times in the first half, Miami’s offense turned it on after halftime and Knowshon Moreno ran for 134 yards as well as scoring the win-sealing touchdown. Also Tom Brady may or may have not cried on the sidelines. I’m gonna go ahead and say that he did cry.
The season started off pretty bumpy for both the Bengals and Ravens. The Bengals couldn’t get into the endzone and had to settle for five field goals in the first half and the Ravens couldn’t catch any of Joe Flacco’s throws. The second half saw a surge from Baltimore with Steve Smith catching an 80-yard touchdown pass from Flacco for the go-ahead score only to see A.J. Green score the winning touchdown on a 77 yard pass from Andy Dalton on the subsequent Bengals possession. The win was Dalton’s first in Baltimore in his career. Unfortunately one team had to win in this game apparently.
The rest of the footage that features Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice knocking out his then fiance Janay has finally come to light. Just remember the Commish had the power all along to ban Rice for a year or longer when he initially punished him. He didn’t need to revamp the domestic violence policy, he had that power all along. I’m not sure which entity failed worse in this case; the legal system in NJ that allows a charge like domestic violence to be handled with the same ease as a parking ticket, the NFL, or the Ravens organization. I’m just going to leave this here.
There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of people in the NFL who don’t think Jim Harbaugh is a total friggin tool and, according to NFL Network weasel Ian Rapoport, some of those people are actually in the 49ers’ locker room as well. This story reported before San Francisco had the good fortune to get Dallas for their first game on the schedule and see that Tony Romo was already in December form and unable to not throw an interception. So the 49ers locker room think that Harbaugh is a total jerk and are worried about if/when they start losing will it get worse. I, for one, had bought into the narrative that San Francisco might be the sexy pick for a team who is going to have a drop off this season, especially considering all of the suspensions on their defense. I honestly didn’t expect Dallas to suck so early and so often in that game but I don’t know if that’s a true judge on how San Francisco’s season is going to play out. They could face a better team and then it will hit the fan.
The Steelers kicked off their season against the Browns on Sunday. Antonio Brown kicked the Browns’ punter in the face, Cobra Kai-style, and then Shaun Suisham kicked the game-winning 41-yard field goal as time expired. The team now has the fun task of trying to correct some of the horrendous mistakes that saw the team almost collectively and mind numbingly blow a 27-3 halftime lead on a short week with a trip to Baltimore coming on Thursday. Sounds like a fun couple of days on the South Side are ahead of this team. This Steelers defense had better figure out what to do against a no-huddle offense before they play an actually competent team or the offense had better figure out how to perform the way they did in the first half of this game the entire season. Still, a win is a win and a few weeks from now there will be no taking this W off of the records just because the Steelers blew a big lead. They’ve already started off better than last season.
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!