NFL AM: Monday Night Twinbill


Hyde Leads 49ers Over Vikings

Frank Gore who?

Any San Francisco 49ers fans that were concerned about the loss of Gore had their concerns put to rest on Monday night.

49ers second-year running back Carlos Hyde had a monster game in the team’s 20-3 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, as he ran for an NFL season high (through one week) 168 yards on 26 carries, including two touchdowns.

Other than Hyde, there wasn’t a great deal to like about either offense, and it made for a pretty ugly game.

Our takeaways:

  • Hyde looks like the next great back in the NFL as he has size, burst and great vision.
  • Norv Turner found it prudent to give the current best running back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson, just 10 carries for the game, despite not being down two scores until the fourth quarter.
  • Teddy Bridgewater looked panicked for much of the game and took five sacks to go with a really bad interception.
  • The demise of the 49ers defense was greatly exaggerated.  San Fran looked every bit the part of the dominant defenses over the past four years.
  • Jim Tomsula made amazing faces from the sideline all game long.  It’s going to be a great season watching him.
  • Colin Kaepernick is going to have a bounce back season.  He really went through his progressions well and was able to put touch on some passes; you can tell that he worked hard in the offseason.
  • The Vikings have real issues on their offensive line.  They were consistently beat at the line of scrimmage and the failed to protect Bridgewater.

Falcons Beat Eagles In A Thriller

Our latest folder of evidence titled, “preseason results mean nothing,” the unstoppable offense of the Philadelphia Eagles was held to just three points in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons, whose defense ranked dead last in the NFL last season.

“We couldn’t get anything going in the first half,” Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford said after completing 36 of 52 passes, for 336 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions in his Philadelphia debut.

After a furious second-half comeback to take the lead after a Ryan Mathews touchdown run, the Falcons drove down the field and kicker Matt Bryant connected on a 47-yard field goal to take the lead, his fourth field goal of the game.

Philadelphia drove down the field, but kicker Cody Parkey missed a 44-yard attempt that would have given the Eagles the lead with 2:27 to go.

With one last chance, Bradford had a pass go off the hands of Jordan Matthews and into the arms of Ricardo Allen.  Bradford threw a pair of interceptions in his first regular season game in over a year.

“Our defense stepped up at the end of the game,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said.

Our takeaways:

  • It’s only one game, but Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has a much improved defense.  Atlanta was aggressive and took away the Eagles running game.
  • The Philly ground game offseason reinforcements were almost a complete bust.  DeMarco Murray went from leading the NFL in rushing in 2014 to a grand total of nine years on eight carries, while Ryan Mathews had four yards on three carries.
  • The Eagles pace hurts their own defense when they can’t sustain drives, and the defense isn’t that talented to begin with.
  • Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in the NFL.

Suggs Lost For Season, Possibly Career

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs went down with a torn Achilles in the fourth quarter of the Ravens 19-13 loss to the Denver Broncos, the second time he’s sustained the injury in his career.  Suggs will miss the entire 2015 season.

“You try to define why things happen,” Harbaugh said, “and here is a tough break for a guy who has done nothing beyond work above and beyond to a degree I think, at least as hard as he has worked his whole career, I’d say more. He prepares himself to be the kind of leader that you just admire so much. This guy has been such a leader for us. Why does that happen to a guy on a play like that? I don’t even know what happened. I look back and he was on the ground.

“But these are the things in life that happen. Adversity is all about how you respond to it. It’s about how you react to it. It’s how you come back and play the next game and how our young guys step up and how our older guys wrap their wings around those young guys, and they play the way they need to play. That’s what a team is all about.”

Suggs is one of the last pieces from the great Ravens defense that won the Super Bowl a few years ago.

“That’s our leader. The motto here is next man up, and you’re going to hear everybody saying that,” Ravens defensive end Courtney Upshaw said. “But you never want to lose a guy like him. He’s been a cornerstone for this defense for a long time.”

You have to wonder if Sunday was the last game of Suggs’ career as he will be 33 years old next month.  With a Super Bowl ring, six Pro Bowls and a Defensive Player of the Year award in his resume, T-Sizzle has nothing left to prove in this league.

Other Opening Day Injuries To Stars

The opening weekend of the NFL season was a costly one for many teams as legitimate superstars went down all over the league.

Beginning in Dallas, Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant broke a bone in his foot and is expected to miss anywhere from 4-6 weeks. 

“Dez Bryant’s a great player,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s one of the best players we have and one of the best in the league and he makes a huge difference for us.

“Sometimes, those guys aren’t available to you, so the next guy has to go in there and play, and everyone has to do their job.”

Who will be that next guy?

Terrance Williams will take on the role of No. 1 receiver and Sunday night’s hero, Jason Witten, along with Cole Beasley will likely see their targets increased. Look for Devin Street to start opposite Williams.

Another speedster went down in Washington, as DeSean Jackson injured his hamstring in the first quarter of the team’s 17-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Jackson pulled up lame on an overthrown deep ball from Kirk Cousins and he’s expected to miss up to a month.

When asked if he could be back sooner, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said, “you never know with a hamstring.”

Jackson’s conditioning might not have been where it needed to be as he missed most of preseason with a separated shoulder.

Ryan Grant and Andre Roberts will likely see increased targets, as well as Pierre Garcon.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.