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NFL 2017: ICY HOT TD Week 1

(originally written 9/13/17

This piece was supposed to be posted in time for this past Thursday night game, which technically marks the beginning of Week 2. Unfortunately, as it tends to do, time got away from me, and I was left with the option of 

A) posting this article on time...but lacking the quality you've come to expect from my work, or

B) posting a quality article, but with the risk of being too late to matter to most of you.

Obviously, Option B won out. (Unless it turns out I inadvertently chose Option C: an article both late and sucky.)

What the hell is NFL ICY HOT TD, anyway? I'll tell you—ICY HOT TD = In Case You Had Other Things To Do.

While some of us are able to watch NFL football all Sunday long and follow it up with postgame analysis/highlight shows well into the night...many of us can't. I aim to bring those fans bits of trivia, data, and news  they likely missed on Game Day.

Such as:

⦁    Chiefs RB Kareem Hunter made his NFL debut with 246 yards from scrimmage, including 78 and 58-yard runs. That's a yardage record for any player in his league debut since the 1970 merger. (KC beat NE 42-27.)

⦁    In that same game, Chiefs QB Alex Smith became the first QB to ever pass for 300+ yards, 4 TD, and 0 INT againt a Bill Belichick-coached team—even his Browns from way back! The 42 points allowed are also a Belichick he won't brag about.

⦁    In Green Bay's 17-9 victory over Seattle, Aaron Rodgers' streak of 251 passes without an interception ended; he'd last thrown one 11/13/16 at Tennessee, a stretch of seven-plus regular-season games.

⦁    In losing to Buffalo 21-12, the New York Jets put up the league's second-fewest yards from scrimmage (214, ahead only of Houston's 203) and saw Josh McCown suffer his eighth straight loss and 17th in 18.

⦁    Highly-touted Panther Christian McCaffrey's NFL debut went as follows: 13 carries, 45 yards accompanied by five catches for 36 more yards. He also lost a fumble, but since they were playing the 49ers, no harm was done (other than to his fantasy owners.) 

⦁    In that same game, another highly-touted rookie, LB Reuben Foster of San Francisco, went down after only 11 snaps with what looked like a major ankle injury—fortunately, it seems Foster will return around midseason.

⦁    Cincinnati fell 20-0 to Baltimore, marking their first scoreless season opener since 1979. Meanwhile, Baltimore has now done so three times (2000 Steelers, 2006 Buccaneers), all on the road.

⦁    Though the Lions got past the Cardinals 35-23, it was not a happy debut for Lions punter Kasey Redfern. On his second-ever NFL punt attempt, he dropped the snap in the end zone, and was injured trying to run the ball to safety—three torn knee ligaments, out for 2017. He's already Detroit's second punter to go down with injury.

⦁    Tennessee made the wildly unusual choice to open the 2017 season with an onside kick, which was recovered by visiting Oakland at the 50. Coach Mike Mularkey simply said he "wanted the ball on offense" and did not second-guess his choice at all—even though the Raiders took advantage of the short field and reached the end zone four plays later, eventually winning 26-16.

⦁    Rookie Raiders K Giorgio Tavecchio, subbing for 18-year Raider Sebastian Janikowski, kicked four FG in his NFL debut—including two from 52 yards!

⦁    Jared Goff and the Rams destroyed Indianapolis 46-9, marking Goff's first career win after seven defeats. The game officially made LA's Sean McVay the youngest head coach in league history—31 years, seven months, 17 days at kickoff.

⦁    Big Aaron Donald, he of the past three Pro Bowls. ended his contract holdout and rejoined the Rams—though not with the extension he sought, and too late to maintain his consecutive games streak (48). 

⦁    Dallas TE Jason Witten surpassed legendary WR Michael Irvin atop the franchise's all-time receiving yards list in the second quarter of their 19-3 win over the Giants. Witten finished Week 1 with 11, 947 yards—Irvin had 11,904 from 1988-1999.

⦁    WR Brandon Marshall (NYG) and RB Adrian Peterson (NO) didn't exactly dazzle in their debuts with new teams. Marshall, the well-traveled six-time Pro Bowler, had exactly one (late) catch in the loss to Dallas, while Peterson—a Vikings star 2007-16 and 2012 league MVP—managed just six carries for 18 yards in his return to Minnesota.

⦁    As far as soul-crushing defeats go, the Week 1 winner would have to be the L.A. Chargers. On Monday Night Football, with seconds to go, rookie Chargers K Younghoe Koo drilled the game-tying FG...which did not count, since Denver called time-out prior to the snap. 
Shelby Harris blocked the re-kick, and though I felt for the Chargers and Koo...Harris' efforts for Denver sealed a Week 1 fantasy win for me personally. So for this week only, I am for allowing kickers to be "iced".

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