The NFL Delivers One Hell of a Season Opener

Fans in the stands. America’s team, fresh off Hard Knocks. The G.O.A.T., fresh off his seventh Super Bowl. Nearly 800 yards passing. Two lead changes in the final two minutes. Redemption for the two players that nearly cost their team the game. Ed Sheeran chilling with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell? This game had everything.

There could not have been a better season opener than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

It’s clear that Tom Brady still has whatever makes him Tom Brady, but Dak Prescott reminded the casual NFL fan with 403 yards passing, and a fourth quarter go-ahead drive, that his $40-million per year contract coming off a serious ankle injury was deserved.

After watching the snooze-fest fifth season of Hard Knocks on HBO, which featured Dak Prescott being held out of preseason practices and games with issues in his throwing arm, it was definitely a surprise to see him drop back to pass over 60 times, with 58 total attempts. Ezekiel Elliot only had 11 rushing attempts on the day, and a big reason for such a pass-heavy game plan was Tampa Bay’s stout run defense led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and an extremely strong-looking Vita Vea.

Rob Gronkowski grabbing two touchdowns in a game in the season opener, after doing the SAME THING in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs feels surreal. How many people questioned his decision to return when he was five games deep into the 2020 season with only 12 catches and no touchdowns? Since then? He’s gotten into the end zone 11 times in his last 16 games!

Nobody was happier to see Dak Prescott return than Amari Cooper. He had 13 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in tonight’s game on 16 targets. He saw his targets and receptions fall dramatically after Dak’s injury last year, going from an average of 13 targets and 9 catches in the first four games of 2020, to nearly 7 targets and 5.5 receptions per game with Andy Dalton under center.

There’s nothing better than a redemption story, and this game presented two of them. Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein missed an extra point and a 31-yard field goal earlier in the game (he also missed a 60-yard attempt, but who could have expected him to make that?), so everyone on the Dallas sideline was certainly holding their collective breath when he lined up for a 48-yard attempt to give the Cowboys a late lead- but Greg the Leg nailed his kick, which came on a drive that was facilitated by a major mistake by the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay was close to putting the game away mid-way through the fourth quarter (and covering for anyone who took the Bucs -8.5) when Damontae Kazee found a way to get his helmet on the ball and cause WR Chris Godwin to fumble inside the 5-yard line. On Tampa Bay’s final drive, it was Chris Godwin who made the catch put Tampa Bay in range for a game-winning attempt by Ryan Succop.

Was that catch a missed offensive pass interference? Well, what would an NFL game be without a little controversy. I’ll let you watch the clip below and decide for yourself.

While Dallas didn’t open with a win, they still have to be encouraged about Dak Prescott’s health and progress, as well as their run defense. Tampa Bay showed that they’re still the top dog in the NFC, but if they want to stay on top, they’re going to have to find a way to fortify their secondary so that they aren’t beat by route technicians like Amari Cooper or speed demons like CeeDee Lamb.

Hopefully we’ll get a Cowboys/Buccaneers rematch sometime in the postseason, and if we do, according to George Wrighster, if Dak Prescott comes out on top, it might be the last we see of Tom Brady in pads:

Have a take you’d like us to address? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, tweet us, @unafraidshow, or send us an email at immad@unafraidshow.com.

2020 NFL Week 4: Four Teams Up, Four Teams Down

2020 NFL Week 4 was a wild one, from all of the close games to the postponements of games due to COVID-19. There are teams that should be enthusiastic about their hopes, and others who should be gearing up for the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.

Best Team In the League: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs beat the Patriots 26-10 on Monday night thanks to their (wait for it) defense. They were opportunistic and forced four turnovers by the Patriots’ backup quarterback combination of Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. Mahomes did his thing and did not turn the football over (officially), and the Chiefs look like the most complete team in the league after four weeks.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts are a force to be reckoned with. They have allowed a combined 29 points in their last three games since losing their opener to the Jaguars. Even though two of those opponents were the Jets and Bears, defense wins championships in this league (unless you are playing Patrick Mahomes). If Philip Rivers continues to not turn the ball over, the Colts will be primed to contend in the AFC South.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns put up 49 points against the porous Dallas Cowboys defense in 2020 NFL Week 4. Even though Nick Chubb is out for the foreseeable future, the Browns have a potent running game with Kareem Hunt. Kevin Stefanski has transported what he did with Dalvin Cook in Minnesota to Cleveland. Once again, if Baker Mayfield does not turn the ball over, the Browns will be able to compete. However, against the stout Colts defense, they will be put to the test. Indianapolis at Cleveland has quietly become the game of the week for Week 5.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked like they were primed for criticism this week until they got a lucky fumble before halftime against the Chargers. This play completely changed the game. Tom Brady was able to have a Brady-esque performance, throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns in the 38-31 victory. If Brady is able to avoid the pick-sixes on outside throws, which he has two of now this season, the Buccaneers will contend for the NFC title. Not just the South, the title. Their defense is able to get pressure on the quarterback. They also are good at getting opportune turnovers.

Four Down: New York Jets are the Worst Team In the NFL

How is Adam Gase still a head coach in the NFL? His play-calling is stale and predictable. The New York Jets were not able to get a sustained rushing attack going with Frank Gore against the Denver Broncos’ defense in 2020 NFL Week 4. His defense, led by Gregg Williams and his (just somewhat) shady reputation, got seven unnecessary roughness penalties, which possibly cost the Jets the game. They were playing a quarterback who had never sniffed an NFL field until trash time in Week 3. They got three interceptions, but none of them were based on good scheming. Sam Darnold’s development has been greatly hindered by having to play for a stubborn head coach. The Jets and Broncos did not even shake hands at the end of the game, showing the stubbornness and sheer arrogance of the Jets head coach.

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos reaped the benefits of playing the Jets in 2020 NFL Week 4, and still almost lost the game. Brett Rypien, making his first career start, made horrible decisions. The Broncos need Drew Lock back to have a chance against some of the teams they are playing the next few weeks (Patriots and Chiefs). Melvin Gordon looked good, but the team is still far too injured to compete. Also, head coach Vic Fangio’s decision making late in games is still in question. Even with a nine-point lead, the Broncos looked grossly incompetent at ending the game. There should not even be a situation where Rypien can get lit up like that at the end of the game.

New York Giants

The New York Giants play hard on defense, but their offense is too depleted right now. They have scored a total of 47 points this season. To put this in perspective, the Cleveland Browns had 49 points in one game this week. Daniel Jones still looks like a developmental project. With the Giants being primed for a top draft pick, it is entirely possible they go after Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields if Jones does not show improvement.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans only lost by eight points to the Minnesota Vikings in 2020 NFL Week 4. They have been victims of a tough schedule to start the season. However, they are yet again stuck in a hole to start the season, and it cost Bill O’Brien his job. His decision of trading DeAndre Hopkins is looking worse and worse each week. To make matters worse, the Texans traded their first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to the Miami Dolphins in the Laremy Tunsil trade. Thus, there is no reason for the Texans to tank. Even with O’Brien’s firing, expect the Texans to bounce back against the Jaguars this week.

Do you agree with our four up and four down? Tweet us @unafraidshow with your opinion.

Hot Takes House: Dallas Cowboys, AP Poll stinks, Patriots Shame, Mo Bamba Speaks

Dallas Cowboys

The Hot Takes House is open for business. These are hot takes and fun from the weekend. Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week piece. Do not read any further if you are easily offended.

Fun Fact: The MD on MD 20/20 alcohol does not stand for Mad Dog. It stands for Mogen David.

1. Why on earth does the AP Poll have Georgia ranked #8? They have ZERO quality wins and the only good team they played DEMOLISHED him?

Georgia was inexplicably ranked #2 in the nation with wins against Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tenn State, Missouri, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. None of those wins were against teams currently even in the top 35. Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Clemson all had better resumes. So, how on earth do they play their first good game, get destroyed and fall to #8?

Georgia is a talented team, and they made it to the CFB Championship game last season. But that was last season. With a loss to LSU and their soft schedule, Georgia is now eliminated for the College Football Playoff unless they make it to the SEC championship and beat Bama.

I am continuously puzzled by the obvious bias of the AP Poll towards the SEC. I understand their bias toward Alabama because they are the champs and look better than last year. The Top 10 for Week 8 should look like this.

2. Find somebody to believe in you the way Jerry Jones believes in Jason Garrett. Jones said, “[Garrett] is an asset that I think will get us to where we want to go, and that’s a championship.”

Jerry Jones is the new Al Davis. I am not calling for Jason Garrett’s job, but I am questioning Jerry Jones’ judgment. In 8 full seasons is there anything that points to Jason Garrett leading the Cowboys to the Super Bowl? I like the Dallas Cowboys, but the fact remains that Garrett only has two double-digit win seasons, two playoff births, and one playoff win. I know teams get hot and strange things can happen, but I can confidently say the Dallas Cowboys will not win the Super Bowl this season.

3. It never ceases to amaze me how little interest there is for regular season baseball compared to playoff baseball.

I am a baseball fan, but regular season baseball is not must-watch television. I catch at least part of a couple of games per week, but I don’t schedule events around baseball. However, I do schedule events around College Football. The numbers say I am in the majority here. I realize this is a function of scarcity. There are 12 regular season college football games compared to 162 MLB games. But, when playoff baseball comes around, the games can do amazing numbers like the RedSox-Astros game on Sunday night. It got almost 21 million viewers. Those aren’t NFL primetime numbers but very respectable!

4. Patriots fans flipped off Tyreek Hill and poured beer on him after his TD, but he is supposed to keep his cool.

When you buy a ticket to a game, you do not get a license to do and say whatever you want to the players. There is an expectation of trash talk and occasional obscenities, but there are common sense lines you shouldn’t cross. There are a lot of people who could not keep their cool after such a disrespectful violation. The NBA’s Malice at The Palace escalated over fans throwing beer at players. The leagues have to ensure the players’ safety and a family-friendly environment. I must applaud the Patriots organization for banning the fan from future games. There is no place for that behavior.

Here are Fan Rights at games: Seat, Cheer, Boo, Be Entertained, Say anything you want as long as you would say it locked in a bathroom with the player, and you could not sue or press charges for whatever happens.

We saw where trash talking goes too far in the McGregor vs. Khabib fight. The moral of the story is, “Don’t let your mouth write checks that your ass can’t cash.”

5. This clip from “The Shop” got me thinking about my life.

When people have said to me, “OMG you are so articulate. I wasn’t expecting it.” I’m always confused about whether I’m offended and enraged as an athlete, black man, or both.

What do you think? Leave a comment or email your thoughts to immad@unafraidshow.com.

6. Does Tom Brady’s success after the age of 40 make you wish you had taken better care of yourself?

This question resonated in my bones. Most of us all look back on our twenties and early thirties and realize we could have treated our body a lot better. Imagine how much better you would feel if you took care of your body better when you were young. I’m 37 years old and just getting myself back together from an NFL career, and a lot of long nights with early mornings.

Tom Brady is 41 years old and still one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Some of his success and longevity is a result of taking very few hits compared to a typical football player. However, we cannot discount what his the role his nutrition and workout plans have played in prolonging his career.

7. Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman has replaced Matt Schaub as the pick-six GOAT. Nobody has ever done it worse.

Even people who hate Colin Kaepernick believe he should be in the NFL after seeing Nathan Peterman play. I have no clue how Bills coach Sean McDermott ever thought Peterman was good enough to bench Tyrod Taylor for. Decisions like that make me and all Bills fans question his judgment.

8. Who are these idiots who say Pat Mahomes is just a “hot” quarterback and will cool off and be an average quarterback?

This take is even too much for the Hot Takes House. Pat Mahomes is on earth right now. He lives on the street with all the other elite quarterbacks. When you have seen greatness, you don’t need 10 years of evidence to identify guys who are built out of the same stuff!

About halfway into LeBron James’ rookie season in the NBA, you knew he was different. When you saw Aaron Rodgers take over for Brett Favre, you knew he was special.

9. If Oregon wins out to finish 11-1, they will make the College Football Playoffs.

The Ducks are generating serious buzz on the national scene. After 7 weeks of football, they are within striking range of the top 4. Ultimately, the SEC will only get one team in because Alamaba will hand whoever the champion in the East is their second loss in the SEC Championship game. After that Oregon only needs any one of these things to happen: Notre Dame loses a game, Clemson lose late, ACC Champion be anyone but Clemson, eventual Big XII Champion lose one more game, or Big Ten champion finish with two loses.

See, it is pretty simple. I know the media will tell you something else, but Wrighster is never Wrong!

10. Washington Huskies fans… Now that you have had a chance to sleep. Do you want to talk about it?

Too soon?

Hope you enjoyed Hot Takes House. See you next Monday! Send us your hot takes to ImMad@unafraidshow.com, and they may make the next week post.