The USFFL began its 21st season this week. Anticipation is high for the start of the season, the coaches were chomping at the bit, and all games were completed far ahead of Sunday’s deadline. This year the USFFL retained what I believe is an all-time high 30 of 32 coaches from the previous season. this year we welcome Joe Golden and Jess Geller to the USFFL family. Joe Golden is a returning coach, and I believe this is Jess Geller’s first tenure in the league. In addition to the new guys, we will also see some old names with new clubs this year. Anthony Tangorra, who did a great job with the Atlanta Falcons last year is hoping to upgrade to the Los Angeles Chargers and Justin Herbert’s high powered offense. Jon Fries saw the writing on the wall for the Texans and embattled QB Deshaun Watson, and chose to claim the Falcons. The season opens with many questions unanswered – Will Commish Tim Ervin deliver an unprecedented four-peat? If, not who will step up to take away the crown?
Week 1 is my favorite time of the season, everyone is undefeated, every team has a chance at the coveted USFFL championship trophy.
In other USFFL news, this season brings in the first Optional Wait List Showdown (OWLS) tournament. The OWLS allows current USFFL waitlist members to participate in some Strat-o-Matic action while waiting for a league coaching spot to open up. This year four waitlist coaches are participating in the OWLS. Check out the OWLS thread in slack for more details.
With that, lets get to the recaps.
the NFC West is out to a fast start with 3 of the 4 teams in the division claiming week 1 victories. The NFC South has one winning team, the Saints, and all other Divisions have two undefeated teams.
Week 1 Game of the Week
Baltimore Ravens 31 – Cleveland Browns 25 OT
Cleveland and Baltimore played a fairly even game until Cleveland started taking control early in the second quarter. Trailing 10-7 Cleveland would score 18 unanswered points to build a 25-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. Cleveland’s scores came on two Nick Chubb TD runs, a 39 yard TD strike from Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry, and two Cody Parkey FGs. A blocked Cody Parkey XP and a failed two point conversion would come into play later in the game. Baltimore scored on their first two possessions, a Justin Tucker FG and a seven yard TD pass from Lamar Jackson to ‘Hollywood’ Brown, but for the next two quarters the Browns’ defense completely shut down the Ravens’ offense.The Baltimore offense finally got on track midway through the fourth quarter. Lamar Jackson led the Ravens on two long TD drives sandwiched around a Cleveland three and out to tie the game. The first drive covered 84 yards and was capped off by an eight yard TD pass to Nick Boyle. A successful two point conversion pulled the Ravens to within seven at 25-18. The second drive covered 89 yards and was culminated with an eight yard TD pass to the other tightend Mark Andrews. The last score came with 52 seconds remaining in regulation. Cleveland again went three and out and punted giving Baltimore a final ‘Hail Mary’ attempt. The pass fell incomplete and the teams headed to OT.Baltimore won the OT toss and following a 33 yard Devin Durvenay KO return the Ravens had the ball at their 37 yard line. With the Browns’ defense looking gassed, the Ravens put together a seven play drive that ended the game on a Lamar Jackson one yard QB sneak. The key play on the drive was a Lamar Jackson 42 yard end run. Until that point the Browns had kept Jackson in check, limiting him to negative yardage. The TD gave the Ravens a hard fought 31-25 victory. The win was the Ravens’ second consecutive OT victory over the Browns.Tom called a great game. He totally shut down the Ravens’ run game until late in the fourth. A roll or two different and Tom would be writing this summary. I look forward to our next game in Cleveland.
QBs- Ben Rothlisberger led all quarterbacks with 55 attempts and 334 yards in week 1. Justin Herbert was 36 for 46 for 377 and 3 TDs,
Receivers – Keenan Allen had 12 receptions for 125 yards. Terry McLaurin had 6 receptions for 151 yards a whopping 25 .2 ypc and 2 touchdowns.
Running Backs – Derrick Henry ran for 182 yards, Melvin Gordon had an audacious 9.3 yards per carry, and Josh Jacobs had 3 rushing TDs.