D.A.'s First Quarter NFL Superlatives

Damon Amendolara looks back at an unforgettable start to the 2019 season

Damon Amendolara
October 04, 2019 - 12:22 pm
Antonio Brown Patriots

USA Today Images

It feels like we just awoke to a new NFL season, one dimpled with Antonio Brown's antics and Andrew Luck's achy bones. Alas, 25 percent of the season is already in the books and with the calendar turning to October, it's time to celebrate some of the most deserving. Here's our First Quarter Superlatives. 

Most Disappointing Trend: The Backup Quarterback
No offense to Jacoby Brissett, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen and the rest of the replacements, but no one wants to see these guys. The league is built on the success of quarterbacks, and injuries have ravaged the landscape. We can only hope Drew Brees is back soon, Sam Darnold and Mitchell Trubisky heal, and we don't lose any more stars (even if Minshew Mania is a revelation). 

Best Bozo the Clown Impersonation: AB
I'd use his full name here, but in sparring with Baker Mayfield online, he insisted his initials were his football persona, so we'll go with that. He waved goodbye to $30M guaranteed because he "wanted his freedom" from Oakland. Then he punted another $9M guaranteed by lasting only a week in New England. If he couldn't keep it together with a Hall of Fame quarterback and coach, and an organization that protected him from having to speak to the media, he's lost to the ether forever. 

Biggest PR Makeover: Matt Patricia
This time last year, the Lions were dealing with a mutiny. Patricia's "Belichick Light" routine was wearing thin and the wins weren't following. Another rough season may have doomed him for good. Instead, a strong defense, gritty rushing attack and smart decision-making has the Lions are huge surprises in the NFC North. Incredibly, we are considering Detroit a "well-coached" team for the first time in the history of football.  

Worst Stock Drop: Eli Manning
We had seen some ugly Eli performances before this year, but you could still defend him by pointing at the Giants other shortcomings. The first two weeks this season were beyond gruesome for New York before they switched to Daniel Jones. The rookie's immediate success has highlighted the limitations of Eli, and has shown how badly the organization stagnated under him. 

Best of the McVay Muppets: Matt LaFleur
This offseason, every GM and owner were looking for the next Sean McVay. Where could they find their own young, cool, offensive prodigy? Kliff Kingsbury's Cardinals are underwhelming. Zac Taylor's Bengals are a trainwreck. But LaFleur's offense in Green Bay has had pockets of brilliance, and a 3-1 record atop the division. Sure, it's a lot easier when it's Aaron Rodgers slinging it instead of Kyler Murray or Andy Dalton. But LaFleur has seemed to develop a solid relationship already with his QB, and the defense is better than we expected. 

Best Skeleton Impersonation: The Falcons
No guts, no heart, no intestinal fortitude. Atlanta continues to be the biggest tease in the NFL, and the strangest case of underachievement. Last week was a Dan Quinn Classic: a must-win (and winnable) game followed by a total dud. Getting owned by the Titans 24-10 with barely a pulse on a day that could've gotten the Birds back to 2-2 has become a signature for one of the best rosters in the league. 

Best Halloween Costume: (tie) Gardner Minshew and Cam Newton
We end the column with two winners, one on the field, one in the postgame presser. Minshew has taken Jacksonville and social media by storm. The mustache, the headband, the jorts. It's all too perfect as an outfit while bobbing for apples. But can anyone top Cam's "Mrs. Doubtfire" look a few weeks ago? While Newton's career might be flickering, at least we have the NFL's greatest babushka

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 9:00AM-12:00PM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.