The early games were mostly bad again, at least until the fourth quarter where there were some exciting finishes. The penalty flags continue to pollute the action, and by my unofficial (and anecdotal) tally, two out of three of them were either bad calls – where maybe it looked like holding from the ref’s angle, but it wasn’t – or something minor and away from or irrelevant to the action. If you designed a robot to make holding calls at random on players who made contact with opponents, it would likely be no worse.
This was arguably the greatest Thursday night game in NFL history. It was fairly well played, there were zero turnovers, zero reviews (that I caught – I got pulled away for five minutes watching my daughter) and only a normal amount of penalties. The game-winning FG attempt block was disappointing (I’d like to have seen whether Nick Folk could have delivered), but even that wasn’t a random bounce because longer field goals need lower trajectories and are more susceptible to being blocked. All told, it was a game largely decided on the merits and competitive until the very end.
This had to be one of the five worst NFL weeks I’ve ever had. Not only did my two remaining one-and-done survivor teams lose with the Seahawks (I have one re-buy pool through Week 6 where I took the Titans), but I’m 4-11 against the spread, having lost all four of my best bets. Moreover, my team, the Giants, are losing 27-0 to the Eagles, and I had Victor Cruz going in a tight NFFC matchup which I’ve now lost. Of course, Cruz is likely done for the year with a torn patellar tendon too.
It wasn’t the blowout it looked like in the first quarter, but I’d have preferred that to what actually happened: horrific officiating (the PI call that continued a Colts drive midway through the fourth quarter was among the worst in NFL history), rock-bottom announcing (this has to be where Phil Simms takes a 12-step probability and game theory course), awful tackling and an ending that drove home the nihilistic absurdity of the contest.
• For some reason, the Giants offense huddled between plays for most of this game and lost the tempo that allowed them to dominate the Redskins and Texans. They were still able to pull through, but the effort wasn’t as crisp.
• Odell Beckham caught a touchdown and looked like a good fit for the team’s offense in his NFL debut. I don’t think he took targets away from Larry Donnell so much as Donnell wasn’t necessarily a focal point to begin with. The three-TD game was nice, and Donnell has soft hands for a big target, but he’s one of four primary looks for Eli Manning, and the distribution won’t necessarily be predictable week to week.