Brees outduels Brady in New Orleans
This duel between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Drew Brees’s New Orleans Saints was hyped up since the schedule was released in late April. However, it was the newly minted running back, Alvin Kamara, that stole the show for the Saints, delivering the 34-23 win in the process at the Louisiana Superdome.
Brees threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns. The 41-year old quarterback was not happy with his play.
“I’d probably say I played awful,” Brees said. “Certainly, we are used to playing at a much higher level offensively and especially in the passing game. So, we’ll get that back on track.”
Saturday, Kamara inked a 5-year extension worth $75 million in new money, including a $15 million signing bonus. Sunday, the former Norcross High School standout ran for a touchdown and caught another, smiling with a grill with VVS diamonds in it, harkening back to the Cash Money Millionaires era.
The Saints’ defense at times looked like an Army, better yet a Navy, as they goaded Brady into throwing two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six returned by Janoris Jenkins for a touchdown in the second quarter.
“I made some just bad, terrible turnovers,” Brady said. “I obviously have got to do a lot better job.”
Beyond the performance, Brees was effusive after the victory.
“Of course, it’s significant and it’s unique and I’d be lying to you if I said to you it didn’t mean a little bit more,” Brees said. “I’ve got so much love and respect for (Brady) and what he’s able to accomplish.
“We played against each other in college, for goodness sake, in 1999,” Brees continued. “At the end of the day, I think we would both pinch ourselves if you told us back then we’d have the opportunity to play this long and be a part of so many great teams and so many great moments, historic moments.”
Normally, the Louisiana Superdome would be deafeningly-loud, but the state government and the Saints agreed to play this game behind closed doors. The atmosphere felt like a scrimmage or a practice. However, Kamara pledged the Saints would get into a rhythm next week.
“I think it could be that. I don’t think they really did anything to stop us. We just needed to find our flow and get into a rhythm. It’s the first week. I think next week that we will be better.”
Raiders stop Panthers on 4th and 1, spoils Panthers’ party
It was 4th down and one yard to go, the ball was on the Las Vegas Raiders’ 46-yard line. The Carolina Panthers had quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and all-world running back Christian McCaffrey in the backfield. Neither of them got the ball. Instead, fullback Alex Armah took the handoff and was stopped by Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell. The Raiders would ultimately run out the clock, handing Carolina a 34-30 defeat at Bank of America Stadium in Uptown Charlotte.
Why didn’t new Carolina head coach Matt Rhule hand the ball to McCaffrey or sneak it with Bridgewater?
“It’s a great question, and I’m not second-guessing anyone,” Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said after the Panthers’ 34-30 season-opening loss. “That’s something I have to think about walking away with this. We have confidence in our plays and that inside of a yard, that sort of fullback belly/quarterback sneak, that’s kind of the world we are in. It had worked before so we thought it would work again. I think when you write up who to blame for that, I think the one person you can blame is the head coach.”
On the day, McCaffrey ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Bridgewater had a modest afternoon, completing 22 out of 34 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson.
Meanwhile, the Raiders were powered by 2nd year running back Josh Jacobs. The former Alabama standout ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 239 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jason Witten had a catch today, extending his streak to 37 games.
The Carolina Panthers will travel to Tampa Bay and face off against the Buccaneers. Next Monday night, the New Orleans Saints will travel to Las Vegas and will play the Raiders.