Sam Darnold (yes, that same one) completed 23 of 34 passes for 304 yards and rushed for two touchdowns for the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, securing a 24-9 win AND (AND!) a 3-0 start. Imagine doing that with the Jets. You can't!
Some highlights and lowlights:
Sam Darnold's touchdown run gives panthers early lead
Can we talk about the change of scenery Sam Darnold has had since being on the godforsaken New York Jets? Darnold went 4-for-5 for 68 yards on this touchdown drive, and capped it off with a five yard run to put the Carolina Panthers up 7-0 on the Houston Texans.
Christian McCaffrey declared out quickly with hamstring injury
It's never a good sign when players are injured and are declared OUT immediately. Running back Christian McCaffrey headed into the blue medical and never came out.
davis mills throws first nfl touchdown
Here's a stat for you: Texans QB Davis Mills is the first quarterback to throw a touchdown in his first start since Ryan Mallett. Mills threw a 64-yard touchdown drive (impressive), and took the score to a comfortable 7-6.
Jaycee horn carted off in third quarter
The injuries really mounted up for the Panthers. Probably their best players, in McCaffrey and then Jaycee Horn were both quickly declared out with injuries. Horn was carted off with a no-contact injury in this play.
tommy tremble touchdown gives panthers lead
Tight end Tommy Tremble (yeah that's a real name) gave the Panthers a 14-6 lead with a 7-yard touchdown after a 91-yard touchdown drive.
Most teams are announcing their captains for the 2021 season if they're into that sort of thing. Being that the leader of the offense is the quarterback, that means one of the team's captains is typically the QB. So, it's pretty puzzling that starting QB Tua Tagovailoa isn't one of the Miami Dolphins' five captains for the 2021 season. Hmmm... cue the rumors.
The New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins meet frequently, but Week One's matchup has another point of significance. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones and second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa will meet as opponents for the first time since being teammates at Alabama. Jones is looking forward to it. "Tua's an awesome guy. He's really a good, talented football player. Learning from him and Jalen was great, obviously. Now that we're all getting a chance here in the NFL, I think it'll be cool to go up against each other."
Cam Newton was cut from the Patriots about a week ago but hasn't spoken about it yet. On Wednesday, Newton teased a video where he's presumably going to talk about it set to be released on Friday. However, he gets the rumors out of the way by assuring fans that he isn't announcing his retirement. At least, not yet.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is one of a select group that are due (huge) new contracts pretty much any day now. But, it doesn't look like it will be happening that soon for Mayfield. Apparently both sides are fine with waiting it out. The Browns get the benefit of seeing Mayfield develop further (and with the motivation of last year, I expect he will) before paying him. Mayfield gets the benefit of the old "betting on myself" trick. It's worked out well for quite a few guys.
It may be a revenge game for Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold as he plays the New York Jets this weekend, but rookie Jets QB Zach Wilsonâ isn't thinking of it like that. "He's doing his own thing now. He's got a great situation going for him. I think the organization already decided to go one way, and it's not because Sam isn't a good football player. It's just that they wanted a fresh start."
Jameis Winston has been announced as the starter for the âNew Orleans Saints, and it wasn't exactly an easy road for him. However, he's thankful that he's getting a second chance as a starter, even if it means trying to fill the shoes of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. "It's a blessing to have this opportunity to lead the pack, and I'm just grateful for it. It's been more than a year removed for me having the opportunity, and I'm not taking it for granted."
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named a captain for the 2021 season, a big honor for being a rookie. Because it was voted on by his teammates, Lawrence is already feeling the love in the locker room despite being a rookie. "It's a really cool feeling, especially as a younger guy, just having that support from my teammates. "
As it's more than likely his last season in a Green Bay Packers uniform, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is ready to experience this season for all it's worth. "I'm speaking personally, and I can't speak for everybody. But I feel that I get with the energy in the locker room is not pressure. It's focus. I think it's the right perspective and the right type of focus. We know we have a talented team; we know what the expectations are. We're going to enjoy this year for all that it has to offer, and each other."
- other notes -
Greg olsen's son gets heart transplant
Starting things off with a feel-good story: Eight-year-old TJ Olsen, son of recently retired tight end Greg Olsen, received a heart transplant over the weekend. He is currently still in recovery but is in good spirits.
TJ was born with a heart defect and has had multiple heart surgeries throughout his life. Olsen's foundation, The HEARTest Yard, focuses on care for children who have conditions like his son. You can find more info or even donate here.
jalen ramsey wishes rams went after julio jones
Los Angeles Rams corner Jalen Ramsey has never shied away from speaking his mind. Now he's questioning why his team wasn't more "in" on star wide receiver Julio Jones before he was traded to the Tennessee Titans over the weekend.
Many players (and fans) can probably relate to this sentiment, especially since the payback for Jones looks to be so cheap in terms of getting said "generational guy." In the Rams' case, they already have plenty of financial commitments to big-name players, including Ramsey. Newly acquired quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of them, along with Aaron Donald. Los Angeles did ask about Jones (likely asked the price, if I were to guess) early on, before saying, "no thanks, we're good."
ja'wuan james signs with ravens
This one is, for lack of better words, puzzling. After filing a grievance against the Denver Broncos for cutting him after he tore his Achilles working out away from the team's facility, the Baltimore Ravens have signed James to a two-year deal, even though he won't see the field this year.
Fans are raving about this and calling it "genius," but they do that with every move the Ravens make these days. I'm still filing this one under "a head-scratcher."
bills have no update on josh allen's contract
Buffalo Bills star quarterback Josh Allen is in the group of QBs due their first "big" contract extension following their rookie deals. While it's something Buffalo wants to get done sooner rather than later, GM Brandon Beane gave no updates on Monday when he was asked about a likely extension.
There are no doubts that this will get done, but I can't lie when I say I'm interested to see these Numbers. With a capital N.
aaron rodgers won't show up for minicamp, as expected
This was expected (at least for me), but Aaron Rodgers is not expected to attend Green Bay Packers minicamp, after no-showing at OTAs.
Everyone from the team to the coaches to the front office crossed all their fingers and toes that Rodgers will swallow it up and show up, but alas. It's a no-go. I'm not going to break down the entire feud between him and the team (if you're reading this, you likely already know), but basically, Rodgers is making a point here.
Green Bay can still fine Rodgers a pretty penny for not attending (over $90,000) minicamp, in addition to the $500,000 workout bonus that was voided when he didn't show up for OTAs. Rodgers is saying he's choosing winning over money and wants to be in on certain decisions and generally just wants to be heard.
greg olsen shares update on son's health
Recently retired tight end Greg Olsen shared an update regarding his son's health earlier this week. He shared that his son TJ may need a heart transplant.
Olsen previously played with the Chicago Bears, the Carolina Panthers, and, most recently, the Seattle Seahawks. Olsen's charity, the HEARTest Yard, focuses on helping children with heart defects get proper health care. You can find out more here.
bucs cut OTas to six sessions
Because Tom Brady said so. Brady urged players to negotiate with their coaches when it came to reporting for offseason work, and it seemed to work in Tampa (shocking). The team is now reducing their organized team activities down to six sessions.
The Bucs will still hold mandatory minicamp in early June, and it's likely a more relaxed schedule will be given for those exercises as well.
Other teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers also negociated offseason work. While the details aren't known, players were able to work virtually and in-person, and players, like Cam Heyward, are appreciative.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the media on Tuesday that while most veterans stayed away and OTAs were more for the younger players, he also mentioned "for their protection" that players should work out together at team facilities. Aka, "we don't want a Ja'Wuan James situation.
first look at joe burrow's comeback szn
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow tore his ACL in late November of last season and is determined to be ready for training camp. While he's still not at 100 percent currently, Burrow still took to the field on Tuesday and even did some throwing. We love to see it.
I know it's only May, but this is still a good thing to see if you're a Bengals fan. But I'm still gonna be keeping an eye on that offensive line as well.
Arthur smith isn't talking about julio jones right now
There's still major drama surrounding Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and his (potential) trade, but the Falcons' personnel isn't going to give anything away at the moment. After famously (at this point) saying on Undisputed that he was "out of there" earlier this week, head coach Arthur Smith pulled the "conversations are private" card when speaking of Jones.
A reminder that a trade after June 1 will leave the Falcons with under $8 million in dead cap (before June 1, it would be over $20 million). It's May 26. Tick, tock.
aaron jones says he re-signed with packers regardless if rodgers will be there or not
The rumor mill was turning (and continues to turn) when it comes to the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rumors swirled about that Rodgers told teammates and free agents that he likely wouldn't be back in Green Bay, but running back Aaron Jones said that wasn't the case with him, and he likely would have been back regardless.
It's still up in the air whether Rodgers will be there come September, but another Aaron will be back.
all teams (sort of) cleared for full stadiums
30 of the 32 NFL teams are cleared to return to full capacity in stadiums this fall. The two lone teams are the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts, but their plans should be approved in time for the season to begin.
Masking and vaccination rules will be left up to the teams and local regulations, but things look to heading back to "normal" in the NFL world. NFL teams are still encouraging players, staff and fans to get vaccinated at their earliest convenience.
big story: panthers trade for sam darnold
Another blockbuster trade falls for the 2021 NFL offseason. The Carolina Panthers are trading for current New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. The Jets are picking second in this year's draft and are pretty much guaranteed to take a quarterback. With many questions surrounding the fate of Darnold -- including a situation where they would keep both him and the rookie -- this one is answered, at least for now.
I had thought the Panthers were pretty much a lock for Deshaun Watson, but that situation is up in the air right now. Last year's starter Teddy Bridgewater remains on the roster, and while he wasn't god awful, the Panthers knew they needed an upgrade. Darnold has the perfect opportunity to revive his career with a new coaching staff (and one that knows what they're doing) in a new place.
The Jets are getting a sixth-rounder in 2021 and a second and fourth-rounder in 2022 in return for Darnold.
small story: Aaron Rodgers to host his first night of jeopardy!
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is fulfilling a lifelong dream and hosting one of his favorite shows, Jeopardy! starting today (Monday). His stint will last the next two weeks. I'm sure he'll do well; this is totally his style.
While I was about 95% positive at various points throughout the 2020 season, Rodgers was on his way to retirement, the question is still coming up with this new project. Rodgers said on the Pat McAfee Show earlier today that he would love to take the permanent hosting job.. so does that mean he'll retire from football if it's offered to him?
tweet of the day
The Panthers' social media team is undefeated.
kansas city chiefs
las vegas raiders
los angeles chargers
los angeles rams
new england patriots
new orleans saints
new york giants
New York Jets
san francisco 49ers
tampa bay buccaneers
washington football team
JJ Watt says pump the break when it comes to picking new team
Everyone is sitting on the edges of their seats, waiting for JJ Watt to pick his new team after demanding his release from the Houston Texans. (Funny how that only works for some people.)
It's been over a week, and "reports" have started to arise of which teams are interested, which teams are not interested, which spots he wants to consider/not consider, which spots would be best for a ring -- we've heard about every single scenario by now.
Watt says to chill, and in the words of Cher Horowitz -- "You see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet."
Watt clearly wants to play for a contender (who doesn't) and my pick for him is still the Buffalo Bills.
Steelers begin to restructure players' contracts
The Pittsburgh Steelers are beginning to restructure players' contracts to fit under this upcoming season's salary cap, which is expected to be lower than usual. The first one is defensive tackle, Cam Heyward.
The other looming contract that the Steelers absolutely have to restructure in the coming weeks is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's, which is abnormally large (over $41 million for a large aging man seems like a stretch to me).
lots of cam newton quotes today
A lot of Cam Newton quotes are floating around today. He has talked about his bout with COVID-19, his time with the Carolina Panthers, and the likeliness of him re-signing with the New England Patriots. Rather than regurgitating all of those quotes separately, they all pretty much come from this I AM ATHLETE video.
Mike tomlin tests positive for covid-19
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday. There were reports last week of the team closing their facilities and sending staffers home due to positive tests. My guess is Tomlin was one of them.
Obviously, I'm wishing the best for my personal top rival team's leader, as well as one of my favorite coaches in the league.
texans re-sign dontrell hilliard
The Houston Texans are actually bringing someone back instead of making them run for the hills. The team is re-signing running back Dontrell Hilliard to a one-year deal.
Hilliard joined the Texans last season after being waived by the Cleveland Browns.
eagles will release alshon jeffrey
The Philadelphia Eagles are clearly working on getting younger at the wide receiver position this offseason. The team will release WR Alshon Jeffrey closer to the new league year. They also cut vet receiver Desean Jackson.
Jeffrey is 31 and should still be able to garner some interest from a team looking for receiver help or depth. Cough cough BALTIMORE. He fits them perfectly -- older guy, cheap. Match made in heaven.
jags announce trent baalke as new general manager
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced the hiring of Trent Baalke as their new general manager on Thursday.
Baalke was named the interim general manager when Dave Caldwell was fired in November and will take on the full-time role. He was also the GM for the San Francisco 49ers 2011 to 2016, with some winning under his belt -- something the Jags aren't quite used to.
The challenge for Baalke will be to recreate the culture in Jacksonville and potentially start the transition from a "losing team" to a "winning one." Baalke will have a lot to work with (and high expectations) with new head coach Urban Meyer and (probably) quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
dwayne haskins visiting pittsburgh
Former Washington Football Team and 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins is visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. An interesting potential home for him.
Haskins was let go (I'll put it nicely) by Washington earlier this season, after a mix of not playing well and a video surfacing of him partying mask-less ended up being the final straw. Haskins also visited with the Carolina Panthers.
Pittsburgh has an opening at third-string quarterback, with Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph taking up the top two spots. Devlin Hodges and Josh Dobbs are likely no more (not dead, just out of Pittsburgh). Haskins is a guy with a lot of baggage that will probably get him a low-type deal -- low risk if he doesn't work out, high reward if he ends up genuinely turning over another leaf and proving people wrong. I'm in the camp that this is the perfect opportunity for Haskins to learn something from his time in Washington and salvage his career if he wants to.
UPDATE: Haskins is expected to sign with Pittsburgh. How about that.
eagles hire nick sirianni as head coach
The Philadelphia Eagles have found their head coach. Former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni gets the nod in Philly.
Sirianni has spent the past three seasons with the Colts as their offensive coordinator. The Eagles fired Doug Pederson at the end of the 2020 season after attempting to tank (don't act like this isn't the real reason). The only remaining head coach opening in the NFL is the Houston Texans, and ain't nobody wanna go there. Let's be honest.
falcons hire terry fontenot as general manager
The Atlanta Falcons have hired their new general manager, as they announced on Tuesday.
This is the second big hire for the Falcons' front office -- they also hired new head coach Arthur Smith this month. After tons of blown leads and a myriad of disappointment, the team fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn earlier this season.
Fontenot spent the past 18 seasons with the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans will receive third-round compensatory picks in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts under the new rules that organizations will reward teams for minority hires.
Fontenot has a lot of work to do this offseason (-cough JulioJonesandMattRyan cough-).
washington is hiring marty hurney for gm role
Another team in need of a severe change: The Washington Football Team is set to hire Marty Hurney as their new general manager as early as Tuesday, as things are currently in the stages of being finalized.
Hurney was the Carolina Panthers GM from 2002 to 2012, and then again from 2017 to 2020. Hurney joins former colleague Ron Rivera, who was head coach of the Panthers during his time there.
Washington had a bombshell pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with Chase Young, and the hope is that sort of stuff will continue. Although, in my opinion, nothing will change about that franchise until Dan Snyder is out.
sarah thomas to be first woman to ref a super bowl
Say it with me: "QUEEN SHIT." Referee Sarah Thomas will be the first woman to work a Super Bowl as part of Carl Cheffers' crew.
Thomas was also the first woman referee in general, but it's a huge barrier broken on such a large stage.
the bills started things off with a perfect first drive
Buffalo Bills quarterback and MVP candidate Josh Allen did what Josh Allen does in marching his team down the field to open up the night against the Denver Broncos. Allen completed seven out of ten passes in this drive, finishing it off with a touchdown to tight end Dawson Knox.
Buffalo made the broncos call them daddy the entire first half (until the end)
Denver scored at the very end, but the Bills mostly controlled the first half. Allen had two touchdown passes and this methodical touchdown run.
And it wasn't just Josh allen piling on, either
Bills linebacker Jerry Hughes took a turn at making a mockery of Denver. Hughes grabbed a fumble from Lock, and it resulted in a 21-yard touchdown run.
Bills beat broncos, grab AFC East title
If you couldn't tell already by the highlights, the Bills wiped the floor with Denver, 48-19. They also clinched the AFC East division title for the first time since 1995. I was wearing my Dorothy ruby slippers to bed every night and playing with Barbies. Allen had himself a game, and inserted himself into the MVP conversation. Buffalo has a lot to celebrate -- and can do it at their first home playoff game in over twenty years.
Packers start off with a quick seven
Shockingly, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are making it look easy, once again. The MVP-candidate quarterback marched his team down the field and hit tight end Robert Tonyan for an early touchdown on their first drive, giving Green Bay a 7-0 lead.
green bay continued to dominate at halftime
It wasn't perfect for the Packers on Saturday night, but it sure seemed like it at half-time. The Panthers struggled to contain Green Bay's offense as they headed into the second half, down 21-3. We even got the belt celebration back.
Carolina tried to come back in the second half
The Panthers went into the second half down 21-3, but showed some semblance of life in the second half. QB Teddy Bridgewater ran the ball in for a touchdown in the third quarter, while kicker Joey Slye hit a field goal in the fourth, bringing Carolina's score up to 21-13.
green bay got the w
It seemed like it would be a blowout in the first half, but the Panthers rallied, and kind of (maybe?) tried to come back in the second. It didn't work, though, and Rodgers and company showed that they mean business and are a clear Super Bowl contender with a 24-16 win. Green Bay moves to 11-3 so far this season, with two to go.
* Posts throughout this website/blog may contain affiliate links. I may earn from qualifying purchases.