Who Fed It And Who Ate It: 2018 Week 1
This weekly article is intended to cover the more outstanding events surrounding a given Sunday's action or issues lingering through the week.
The return of pro football is met with jubilation and anticipation... That will morph into apathy once two crummy teams are playing on primetime. But for now, let us touch upon the more compelling stories of this day...
Good news, Cleveland! The losing streak is over. The bad news is, the Browns still didn't win. Somehow, someway, the Cleveland Browns found away to end a 17 game losing streak and yet officially turn it into a winless streak. How? By playing the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 21-21 tie on a rainy, nasty opening day in northern Ohio. It wasn't for lack of trying, as the Browns defense generated six turnovers and only coughed the ball up once. However, their offense, still a glaring sore spot, turned those extra possessions into 3 paltry points. Teams who enjoy a +5 turnover differential not only win, but win comfortably. So this provides a clear insight into just how much work is needed to be done for this offense, regardless if it's led by veteran Tyrod Taylor or rookie hopeful Baker Mayfield. Cleveland will win a game in 2018. But they must trudge on to find it.
The Baltimore Ravens administered the Ass Kicking of the Week... For a team who have played two nondescript seasons, the Ravens came out like a house of fire on this day. In a 47-3 thrashing of the Buffalo Bills, very little if anything went wrong. The defense picked off the Bills' Nathan Peterman twice, the offense's new receiving corps in Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, and John Brown snagged a touchdown catch apiece, and quarterback Joe Flacco, at least on this day, has quieted his most vocal critics. If he plays like this through the season, talk on Flacco's demise will be greatly exaggerated. By virtue of their win and the Cincinnati Bengals win in Indianapolis, they open 2018 tied for first in the AFC North. We'll see how long this lasts.
...to a Buffalo Bills team that looks like a shell of their 2017 selves. It is hard to fathom as to the direction that head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane is going with the quarterback position in Buffalo. It was plainly evident that they were not enamored with Tyrod Taylor last year, so he was traded to Cleveland this off-season. AJ McCarron was signed as a free agent to ostensibly be a starter at least for the short term, but was traded to Oakland after the 53 man rosters were made. That left second year man Nathan Peterman and franchise future Josh Allen. McDermott named Peterman the starter for Week 1, and like his abrupt entry into the starting lineup last year, he was benched early into the third quarter after another dismal performance. Any member of the Bills Mafia worth their salt may be sizing up McDermott and Beane for concrete shoes with their handling of signal callers in their short tenure. If Peterman gets wheeled out again without Allen suffering a debilitating injury, it will destroy any credibility they have left. That will greatly shorten the leash on both men. Unless Allen has the tools to be a franchise player right out of the box, Buffalo will not sniff the playoffs this year.