AFC South football is back! Well, a version of football is back. All four AFC South teams played on Thursday night, here’s everything that happened…
Indianapolis Colts 16-24 Buffalo Bills
For much of the game the Colts offense looked lost, back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett looked in good touch for his time in the game. He gave way to former Temple man Philip Walker. The pace of the game looked far too quick for Walker, who was picked off twice. The star of the show on offense for the Colts was the third quarterback that took snaps, Chad Kelly. Playing in the city where his uncle Jim is a legend; Kelly looked a threat with both his arm and his legs. With this rushing touchdown standing out.
Kelly looks much more like an NFL calibre quarterback than Walker.
The Colts defense looked slow and ponderous all evening. Consistently letting the Bills move up the field on blown coverages or penalties. Indy was missing a number of star names on the defensive side of the ball, but the performance didn’t bode particularly well for the depth on this squad.
On thing the defense did well was force turnovers. Two fumble recoveries in consecutive drives halted the Bills momentum somewhat. However, the Colts would continue to get gashed up the middle. The poor performance against the run culminated in the fourth quarter, when former rugby star Christian Wade sped through for a 65 yard touchdown on his first NFL touch.
Jacksonville Jaguars 0-29 Baltimore Ravens
What a mess. The Jaguars were missing around a third of their roster for this game, it showed. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew had an atrocious evening behind a porous offensive line. Minshew lost his helmet more than once, including on a brutal hit near the goal line. There was very little if any good to talk about for the Jags in this one.
The defense had a slightly better evening, starting off well they tired badly as they saw the field so often. They were able to keep the rush quiet early and force Lamar Jackson to throw. Making a comment on the state of this team based off the first preseason game in which they were missing so many starters would be foolish. But I can guarantee that Tom Coughlin is fuming today.
Tennessee Titans 27-10 Philadelphia Eagles
Marcus Mariota is officially under pressure. Back up Ryan Tannehill went 12-16 and threw for two touchdowns in a stellar performance. Tannehill is a veteran presence that has led teams to the post season in previous years. For a squad of talent like Tennessee the steadier option might be the best path to success this season.
Despite the win Tennessee suffered with discipline issues all evening. They conceded a huge number of penalties which made finding a rhythm tough. However the worst play of the night came from a blown coverage from starting corner Adoree Jackson. Jackson was beaten by depth chart bottom feeder Marken Michel for a 75 yard touchdown. As a single event, it isn’t worrying. But Jackson has to make sure these mistakes don’t become a regular thing.
Houston Texans 26-28 Green Bay Packers
Houston started backup Joe Webb at quarterback, with the vet playing the whole game. Despite putting up 26 points, the game was won by a Packers defense that made plays all evening. The only upside in the offense was the rushing ability of Webb, who converted multiple first downs with scrambles. The biggest loss of the night was wide receiver Keke Coutee who exited the game with a dreaded ‘high ankle sprain’.
Zero sacks, zero quarterback hits, zero tackles for loss. If the Texans were hoping someone would step up to fill the whole left by the absent Jadeveon Clowney, they will leave Green Bay disappointed. The Texans line did okay for most of the game, but the lack of pressure allowed Green Bay’s backups to convert multiple third downs.
The Texans also conceded a touchdown after a muffed punt return. Winning teams are almost always good on special teams, given that most players that took part in this game will make their living in that phase of the game. A mistake isn’t a good look.