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ARMOLD: Despite 0-1 starts, York County pro football fans shouldn't panic — yet

ELIJAH ARMOLD
YorkDispatch


Allow me to add a third certainty to the old adage that "nothing is certain except death and taxes."

Over reactions by NFL fans are just as certain after Week 1.

York County is rather unique in that it is home to a trio of sizeable fan bases, and all three of those groups watched as their favorite squads got off to inauspicious 0-1 starts.

If all the Internet general managers had their way, each team's roster would have been set out with the trash the next morning and the rest of the season rendered meaningless.

Sure, there are some who welcomed these teams back into their hearts with the benefit of a good night's sleep. But for the rest ... well let's all take a moment to just step back and look at these games with a 'glass-half-full' approach.

Eagles: Philadelphia fans, while perhaps the most frequent and notorious of the pessimists, probably have the most reason to be optimistic going forward.

Sure, they're down on the Birds now. But, let's be honest, if Jordan Matthews catches that pass on the final drive, the Eagles faithful are likely getting up Tuesday to Google travel deals to Santa Clara in February — the site of the 2016 Super Bowl.

Yes, the first half of that game was atrocious all around.

But fans should definitely take the second half as a good sign. Philly was able to outscore Atlanta 21-6 in the final 30 minutes and nearly took home the "W."

Sam Bradford finished with 336 yards passing, the third-highest total of his injury-plagued career.

That reminds me he finished the game without injury! With Bradford's past, that should be looked at as a huge positive.

If you want to be negative, it's easy to say the Eagles are wasting the talents of one DeMarco Murray. Why go get the leading rusher from a year ago only to have him carry the ball eight times?

But, you could also say that is one less game of wear and tear on Murray. That's not an insignificant fact when you consider he's coming off a season of nearly 400 carries (392).

And hey, worst case, you certainly didn't show future opponents much of your running game at all, what with only 16 total rushing attempts.

While Cody Parkey didn't do the blood pressure of Eagles fans any favors, kicking woes are some of the easiest to rectify. After all, I'm sure there was a time when the Eagles faithful were high on Parkey after stepping in for a free-falling Alex Henery.

Steelers: The Pittsburgh defense looked like anything but the typical Blitzburgh attacks the Black and Gold fans are accustomed to. And that secondary? You might be able to see some members on your next carton of milk — is that still even a thing?

That unit looked terribly discombobulated, and the departure of Dick LeBeau was painfully apparent. That was perhaps best exemplified by the play where no one lined up opposite Rob Gronkowski, allowing Gronk an easy touchdown.

But, is there really THAT much shame in getting torched by one of the greatest to ever play the position in Tom Brady? And, the Steelers aren't slated to face another QB arguably that threatening until Andrew Luck comes to town on Dec. 6.

Keep in mind, it's not as if simply replacing an aging core that gave up the sixth-most passing yards a season ago was a guaranteed fix anyway. So, in a way, this performance was somewhat to be expected, if one took a realistic approach heading in.

Besides, it's not like the Steelers got blown out. Yes, it wasn't as close as the 28-21 final score, thanks to a garbage time score from Antonio Brown. But, it's not as if the offense was entirely lame.

DeAngelo Williams was able to produce an impressive 127 yards rushing, behind an offensive line again missing its Pro Bowl center.

And it's hard to make any sort of adjustments when coaches can't communicate, thanks to the typical "gamesmanship" on display in New England.

Antonio Brown looks to be his usual self, LeVeon Bell is a week away from returning and Martavis Bryant will be back in three.

Although not the typical "Steeler Way," that offense can likely be counted on to mask a few defensive mistakes the rest of the way. But only a few.

Josh Scobee did miss a pair of field goals, but, again, kicking woes seem to be a wrinkle that often gets worked out fastest.

Ravens: OK, so the offensive line was horrid and the running game was non-existent. As a result, Joe Flacco didn't look good either. Pressured on 64 percent of his drop backs, Flacco displayed his hardly-secret Achilles heel — happy feet against a pass rush.

It could have also been a product of former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, now the head coach in Denver, knowing how to stop his own run scheme. Also that was DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller on the other side, not exactly easy stops for the best of offensive lines.

Even with all of that, the Ravens came within a final-minute turnover in the end zone of beating Denver.

A "bright" side (pun intended) to the poor play by the offensive line could come in the form of Penn State math genius John Urschel. If it gets too bad, the young lineman is likely to get his shot earlier than expected.

OK, OK, something good to take away. The defense.

That unit did sack Peyton Manning four times and bottled up C.J. Anderson, a trendy pick by "experts" to have a break-out year.

They were also tough against the pass, even scoring a touchdown, albeit thrown by a player who looks more like Chad Pennington than a two-time Super Bowl participant.

Looking ahead, outside of the pair of match-ups against Pittsburgh, Baltimore faces few offenses and QBs likely to light up the scoreboard.

Losing Terrell Suggs is certainly a blow to the defense, but by no means a death blow. Was Suggs really that much of a factor in that game before getting hurt anyway?

This was a season that some saw as the beginning of the end for Suggs anyhow, and the team did just sign Jason Babin, not a horrible stop gap on such short notice.

Reason not to believe: OK, fine. For those of you who just love to wallow in doom and gloom, here's your confirmation that your panic is not misplaced.

Of the 49 Super Bowl champions to date, only nine were Week 1 losers that season.

Worse yet, since the playoff expansion in 1990, only 25 percent of the teams that started 0-1 reached the postseason.

And these teams had better not drop their games this week. Since 1990, only 12 percent of 0-2 teams have gotten a chance to chase a Lombardi Trophy.

Since I just can't help myself from beaming with optimism, I'll give you the bright side to all of that.

Six of the past 14 champs, including last year's winner in New England, started 0-1. And, in each of the last five seasons, at least four playoff teams began their year with a loss. In fact, five such teams accomplished that feat last year, including the Ravens.

So as Thursday kicks off Week 2, let's all just sit back, and in the now infamous words of Aaron Rodgers, "R-E-L-A-X."

Unless, of course, your team starts 0-2. Then yes, by all means, panic.

— Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com; @EADispatch on Twitter