A Rough Week 1 in the NFL
My top rated NFL QBs are Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers. All went down in more ways than one in NFL week one.
Patrick Mahomes was ambushed at home by the up-and-coming Detroit Lions on Thursday night. Mahomes was a pedestrian 21of 39 for 226 yds with 2 TD passes and one pick. That pick, by Lions’ rookie Brian Branch, was a pic six that went 50 yds the wrong way for the Chiefs. In fairness to Mahomes, he hit his wideout right in the hands which was then deflected to Branch. The Chiefs were without TE Travis Kelce and also without a running attack as Mahomes was the Chief’s top rusher with 45 yds on 6 carries. The loss breaks the Chiefs’ opening game win streak at 8. Mahomes and the Chiefs travel to Jacksonville Sunday looking for their first win.
Joe Burrow faired worse that Mahomes, playing his opener in a brutal rainstorm in Cleveland and going down to the Browns 24-7. Burrow was making his first start after signing his new monster NFL contract for 5 years at $275 million. Unfortunately, the ROI for week one was not ideal for the Bengals. Joe was in a rain-drenched funk all afternoon and completed a mere 14 of 31 for a measly 82 yards and zero TDs. Those my friends are McQuilkenesque numbers! Clearly the calf strain that held Burrow out of most of training camp was also responsible for a good deal of rust forming on the golden boy from LSU. It won’t get any easier as the Baltimore Ravens’ tough defense visits Cincinnati this week.
Josh Allen and the Bills had to believe they had the Jets right where they wanted them: without Aaron Rodgers as the 39 year old QB went down with a torn achilles after only FOUR offensive plays. But Josh Allen did not step up in the pocket nearly as much as he stepped up to take the blame after the Rodgersless Jets upset the Bills on a 65 yard punt return by Xavier Gipson in OT. Said Allen, “It sucks when you feel like you’re the reason, and I am the reason we lost tonight.” Josh was 29 of 41 for 236 yds but with 3 big picks against only one TD. He was described by Peyton Manning on the Deuce as, “holding the ball too long,” and “indecisive.” The Bills and Allen will get to turn things around when the Las Vegas Raiders come to Buffalo this weekend.
Just a Freak Play
It was simply agony to watch Aaron Rodgers go down and out with a sack by the Bills’ DE Leonard Floyd. Floyd, the former first rounder out of Georgia, is not huge at 6’3” and 240. He’s just quick like a cat (er, not a Bulldog). He was matched on this play against 5 time Pro Bowler OT Duane Brown. Ironically, Brown is 38 and was playing his first game since shoulder surgery last year. So it was a 38 year old protecting the 39 year old franchise QB. The pass was to be a quick three-step drop so Brown chose to “cut block” Floyd. It didn’t work, as the athletic Floyd leaped over the block and got to Rodgers. But this was not a monster hit. It wasn’t close to the usual type of career-ending injuries we have seen many times over in the NFL (think Lawrence Taylor snapping Joe Theisman like a pretzel). No, Rodgers saw Floyd coming and tried to twist away. Floyd just hung on to Rodgers’ legs in an effort to bring him down. The impact was slight, almost subtle. Most of us thought nothing of it, but the tell was how Rodgers quickly slammed the ball down at the ground knowing immediately he was not going to walk away from this sack. This was not the same as so many others he had walked away from over his 19 years in the NFL.
MRI confirms Rodgers Injury
Tuesday the MRI confirmed Aaron Rodgers has a complete tear of his left achilles tendon. He is out for the season. Is he out forever? Right now no one, including Aaron, knows for sure. But chances are rare that a 40 year old comes back to play in the NFL off a torn Achilles. Such a shame for Aaron given his apparent “rebirth” in New York and his new-found dedication and devotion to the opportunity. Such a shame for Jets fans who have been energized by Aaron’s early impact on the team, bringing hopes and dreams of a return to the Super Bowl. The Big Game has eluded Jets fans for 55 years since the bold and brash Joe Namath delivered on his guarantee of a victory. And what a pity for the Jets team and organization who bet the future on a player who will go down as the most accurate passer in the history of the NFL, but will probably never complete a pass for the Jets.
Anyone who played in the NFL knows the game is bigger than money. And certainly Aaron Rodgers did not continue his career for the compensation. In fact, when traded to the Jets by the Packers (at his request) he tore up his contract and lowered his compensation so the Jets would have more cap space to sign additional talent to the roster. But if this is Aaron Rodgers’ last season he will still be compensated for his two year guaranteed deal. He will make a total of $75 million over 2023 and 2024. The Jets have an additional non-guaranteed option for 2025. Per Spotac, this means Aaron Rodgers will make $342,500,000 over his entire NFL career including the 2023-24 guaranteed years. It is the highest earnings in the history of the NFL. You might guess the runner-up is Tom Brady with $333,000,000. Matthew Stafford (who signed a big extension after his Rams won the Super bowl in 2021 will make $328,300,000 through his current 5 year deal and Matt Ryan is a bit of a surprise in fourth at $303,700,000.
Thanks for the memories Aaron. In my humble opinion, you have been worth every penny .
For more on Aaron Rodgers see today’s Fast Facts