The first Sunday of the NFL season is always an epic day. And not because “every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl” because they don’t. In fact, it didn’t take long for a number of them to show that they have no chance.
No, yesterday was epic because there’s so much action. So many storylines. Like the Packers beating the Seahawks and the Cowboys dominating the Giants on Sunday Night Football. Or the Ravens defense going into Cincinnati and absolutely humiliating Andy Dalton and the Bengals. And one of the unfortunate storylines from yesterday was injuries. David Johnson – sprained wrist, Stephon Tuitt – suspected torn biceps, Ronald Darby dislocated ankle, J.J. Watt played through a finger coming through his skin. And Odell Beckham didn’t even play last night.
But the biggest story of the weekend: Jacksonville. AKA Sacksonville. And no, this isn’t some unnecessary take on the Jags just to make my stats look good and put my record further out of reach. I’ve never been about that.
This is about giving love to a defense that showed no mercy to the Texans. Holy crap. 10 sacks, 4 forced turnovers in the 29-7 win in Houston. It was like the ’85 Bears threw on half-black, half-gold helmets, walked into Houston and went to work on Tom Savage. But it wasn’t Richard Dent and Dan Hampton who beat the living crap out of Tom Savage. It was Calais Campbell. He was an absolute monster. Unblockable. Broke the franchise record for sacks in a game. And he did it in the first half with 3 ½. And a total of four before the game was over.
Usually when I mention the Jags, it’s like a bat signal for Daneeka to call in and spit lava on Blaine Gabbert, aka Plain Garbage, and talk about how disgusted she is with the team. But not today. My gal has to be fired up.
Especially after seeing Campbell turn Tom Savage into a tackling dummy. Which he kind of already was. And Savage received a, well, Savage reception from Texans fans who were booing him in the first half. Think about that. Think about just how badly things have to go for you to be booed at home in the first half of the first game of the season. And think how badly things have to be going for you to win the starting job in camp and then have it ripped in the third quarter, because that’s what happened when Deshaun Watson replaced Savage.
And I know the Texans were without left tackle Duane Brown, who’s holding out and who suddenly got a lot more leverage. But the way Campbell was tearing it up, you could’ve had Jonathan Ogden and Anthony Munoz lined up against Calais and I’m not sure it would’ve mattered. Because it wasn’t just Campbell who was doing damage. And no, I’m not going to go with some tired joke about Dante Fowler Jr treating the Texans offense like it was a guy who insulted his driving. Fowler had a big game – three tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a 53-yard scoop and score just before the end of the first half.
And it wasn’t just the defense. Leonard Fournette had 100 yards rushing and a touchdown, plus 26 more yards through the air in his regular season debut. Blake Bortles numbers won’t win any beauty pageants, but he did what he had to do. Namely, didn’t turn the ball over and wasn’t sacked. That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s just the second time in his career that he’s had a game like that. And he led the offense on a 75-yard td drive in the third quarter when they needed it. Fact is, Blake Bortles is at his best when his turning and handing the ball to Leonard Fournette. Actually, him turning and handing it to ANYONE is better than him standing in the pocket, attempting to read a defense and then actually throwing the ball. Bortles has never looked better than he did yesterday. And it’s because they didn’t need him to do anything. Keep doing nothing, Blake and you’ll be fine.
The dark lining to this silver cloud of Sacksonville awesomeness was the news that Allen Robinson is lost for the year with an ACL. That is a brutal blow for Robinson and the offense, but if Fournette keeps showing up the way he did and the defense keeps ruining opposing quarterbacks, I’ve only got one question: Daneeka, how are you feeling today?
Because the Jags looked damn good, taking the rock out of their quarterback’s hands, pounding it on the ground and snot-bubbling fools defensively. They wanted to get tougher physically and it’s already clear, they’ve done just that. Now, it would appear, when I talk about the Jags, it’s for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.