It is hard to even figure out where to start when talking about what happened yesterday in the NFL. From our President insulting many talented players in the most popular game in our country to the most entertaining set of games we have witnessed in a long time, Week 3 packed about as many headlines into a single 96 hour span of time as one could imagine. Since so much occurred over such a little time, I will discuss our President's actions and the players reactions in a first part of this article, and continue on to what happened within the games in the second half. If you don't like politics, I'm sorry, but you cannot ignore it nowadays. It is everywhere, and since it was a headline, I cannot let it be water under the bridge. With the Michael Bennett incident in late August, it has now manifested itself into the game of football, along with our everyday lives. So stop talking about how much you hate politics. It's the common cold of our social structure in America: yeah, not many people like it, and a lot can't stand it. But we have to find a way to deal with it, cope with it and heal. This is the same with politics in football: players, coaches and owners are asking for a solution, not a problem.
Disclaimer: I do not have an extreme bias to the left or right in politics, I simply say what I feel on specific topics. If you do not want to read about how I support peaceful protest, then exit now. But, I promise you my reasoning for my support towards the subject is somewhat different and logical. However, I do also agree with standing for the National Anthem, which makes this an interesting piece.
Part One: Trump Tweets and Reactions
Correct me if I'm wrong in the comment section, or commenting on the Facebook/Twitter post, but Donald Trump took to Twitter over the weekend after Steph Curry, the point guard for the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, denied an invitation to the White House. I did not look into the reason, but this happens all of the time. Hell, Tom Brady did it in February and nothing was mentioned, not a word. Donald Trump then took back the invitation that Steph Curry denied, and let the world know via Twitter. The Warriors, in turn, claimed that they did not feel welcomed by the President at the White House, and denied the invitation altogether. NBA superstar LeBron James had this to say about Trump's recall of the invitation:
This then leaked over into the NFL, who took Trump's tweets towards Steph Curry as an attack towards minorities, especially towards African Americans. Most of these events and confrontations between massive figures in politics and sports led to what was the largest demonstrations of protesting professional sports has seen in a long time, leading our President to respond via Twitter:
Now, hear me out here. The players in the National Football League are not trying to DISRESPECT ANYONE that has served overseas or have served anywhere and fight for everything that we have. They are doing it to fight for the injustice that they see is going on in our nation (police brutality, hate crimes, public displays of racism, etc.). If you, for one second, think that these players are trying to disrespect our great men and women who have risked their life for the freedom that everyone gets to enjoy and cherish in this country, stop. Simply stop. They're not disrespecting what veterans have done. They are taking a stand for what they see is injustice towards them, and an injustice that the President continues to portray. And, if support and attention is not brought to the issues that socially divide us today, then we will always live in a divided world, nothing will be solved. The stage that NFL players have is a stage where they can talk to these masses, where they can make a change. They understand that, and that is what they're trying to do.
Note: I also respect the hell out of Alejandro Villanueva, the Pittsburgh Steeler lineman, for showing his belief when it was not the "thing to do" by standing outside of the tunnel, hand over heart, looking towards the flag. I respect that, and since it is his personal belief that he should do that specific action, and it is protected under law, I agree with it. Our country was founded on the prinicples of freedom of speech and expression when you do not believe something is right. I know people who did not stand of recite for the Pledge of Allegiance in school, but we do not call them "sons of bitches" or "anti-Americans". We call them friends. We call them colleagues. But, a player in the NFL who takes a knee and does not sit out of respect to the flag, but also calls for attention to injustice while taking that knee gets ridiculed by our President. Think about that note for a second.
Back to Twitter and our President's takes. A few issues with what Big Don is trying to do here. Number one is the attempt to limit the First Amendment, which is the fact that you are able to freely express yourself through words or actions as long as it is protected under law. Number two; Week 3 in the NFL saw their ratings increase, and ratings in the first three weeks in 2017 have surpassed last year's through the 2016 season's first three weeks, according to Yahoo! Sports. So to say attendance and ratings are down is a blatant lie. And number three: if you want to fire every single person for protesting the National Anthem, you would have one person left on the Steelers roster, the Seahawks and Titans would not have a player on their team, and several owners would not be owners of NFL franchises. And does anyone know where the kneeling came from? Oh yeah, Colin Kaepernick, who went to a group of veterans and asked them what a proper way to protest inequality without disrespecting our country would be. The collective answer from the group? Take a knee. Don't sit. Well, players are doing just that. Protesting inequality and police brutality in a way that military veterans suggested to protest. Before I move onto my next part, which is actually covering what actually happened on the field Sunday, I'd like to leave you with two more tweets that really opened up my mind and made me disappointed in our President due to his hypocracy.
I respect the hell out of that old man. A 97 year-old who served in the most influential war the world has ever seen is all in for the "kids" that want just social rights. The second is our President, who says he supports peaceful protests, but condemns them when they are because what he said. Next section.
Part Two: New York Football Gets Fun, Tom Brady Is God, Da Bears in OT and Other Highlights
New York football had an exciting week. First, the Jets, who were suppose to go 0-16, picked up a win in dominating fashion over the Dolphins at MetLife, 20-6, with the only score from the Dolphins coming as time expired. The Jets held the Dolphins to just 225 yards, which included 30 total rushing yards, and stopped the Dolphins on 11 of 12 3rd down conversion attempts. Josh McCown threw for 249 yards, 2 TDs and no picks, including a 69-yard bomb to Robby Anderson.
Second, the Bills, who beat the Broncos in an impressive 26-16 showing at New Era Field in Orchard Park. It was a tightly contested game until the second half, where the Bills intercepted Trevor Siemian twice and forced two turnover on downs, showing stout defense when it mattered. Tyrod Taylor put together a solid performance, with 226 total yards, 2 TDs and no turnovers. Steven Hauschka went 4 for 4 on his field goal attempts, with his longest on the day being a 55 yarder.
And finally, the sad, sad Giants. The only team in New York/New Jersey without a win, lost on an insane 61 yard field goal by former practice squad kicker Jake Elliot as time expired. The Giants should not have even been in the game, as Odell Beckham Jr. made two circus catches in the end zone to give the Giants a chance in the fourth. Sterling Shepard put together a solid performance, leading the Giants in receiving yards (133), which included a 77-yard touchdown pass from the Inferior Manning. Carson Wentz had 198 total yards with a passing touchdown and no turnovers. Darren Sproles, however, is done for the season, as he broke his arm and tore his ACL on the same play. Don't ask me how it happened, I watched the play and still didn't understand how he got hurt.
The Patriots pulled off another signature comeback which left my roommate, who is a Texans fan, upset for the rest of his 19th birthday. DeShaun Watson showed great signs of athleticism on multiple occasions, and ended with 342 total yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. The Texans defense, despite the score, looked very tough up until the second half of the 4th quarter, as they sacked Tom Brady five times. Brady, however, looked like the MVP of the league, throwing for 378 yards, 5 TDs and no interceptions, something that a 40 year-old should biologically not be able to do. Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan hauled in two of those touchdowns each and combined for 199 receiving yards. Gronk tagged on the other touchdown, the 70th of his career, making him the quickest TE to reach 70 career touchdowns.
The Bears and Steelers game went into overtime, and boy was it a fun one to watch. The combination of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, AKA the Human Joystick, provided an electric presence out of Chicago's backfield. They were Chicago's top two receivers which isn't a big accomplishment, considering Mike Glennon only threw for 101 yards. The combination of Cohen and Howard totaled 266 yards on the day, with Howard scoring two touchdowns, including the 18-yard dagger in overtime. Antonio Brown was the biggest factor on the day for Pittsburgh, bringing in 10 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons escaped Detriot by the skin of their teeth to remain the only undefeated team left in the NFC. Yes, that is correct. We're three weeks in and only one NFC team does not have a 0 in the loss column. Originally, it was ruled on the field that Golden Tate had caught a goal line slant with 7 seconds left and was in the end zone before his knee hit the ground. After about 5 minutes of review, the officials overturned the call, which prompted a 10 second runoff, causing the game to end. Devonta Freeman had 138 total yards and a rushing touchdown, and Matt Bryant hit all 3 of his field goal attempts. Matt Prater hit all 4 of his attempts, the longest coming from 57 yards out.
Aaron Rodgers worked another miracle in Green Bay, winning 27-24 in overtime in Lambeau, dropping the Bengals to 0-3 on the season. Rodgers finished with 335 total yards, 3 TDs and an interception, while Andy Dalton turned in a solid performance, going 21-for-27 and slinging 212 yards and a couple touchdowns in the effort. With this being the Bengals 3rd loss on the young season, the Lewis-Dalton era may come to an abrupt close before the season ends.
The Browns and Seahawks fell just short of comebacks yesterday, losing by 3 and 6 points. Jacoby Brissett had 3 total TDs against Cleveland, and DeMarco Murray had 115 yards on the ground on just 14 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run against what has been a tough Seattle defense. The Raiders looked bad in Primetime, getting dominated 27-1 by the Redskins. Derek Carr finished with only 118 yards passing and 2 picks, while the Raiders only rushed for 32 yards as a team.
That wraps up what happened over the weekend in the NFL stuck out to me. Not all games will be covered each week, but it will become easier to cover games when bye weeks start next week, as there will be less games to cover each week. Until next week, NFL fans. Stay classy and be respectful of the beliefs of others.