This much anticipated NFL season nears as the Hall of Fame game kicked off the preseason Thursday night. The hype surrounding this preseason game was something A-typical this time of year. But when you have Matt Nagy completely changing the Bears offense, and Lamar Jackson getting time under center for Baltimore, people wanted to get a taste of the sport they’ve been craving through the slow baseball months.
For all the hype, this preseason game was more of a punting competition than an offensive explosion.
The Bears drove down the field easily a handful of times only to turn the ball over, or punt. On the Bears first drive, a tipped pass resulted in a Baltimore interception. However, the Bears got the ball back and quickly took a 7-0 lead. From here RG3 managed to flash some of his old-self and helped Baltimore climb to a 10-7 lead.
The Bears and Ravens both kept their best players and plays on the bench as not to expose themselves to injury and scouting as expected, though to the disappointment of many oddly hopeful fans. RG3 stood out completing passes into tight windows and flashing some of his vintage athleticism. Lamar Jackson, on the other hand, looked much more like a rookie than the national media and audience expected.
Though those close to the team have continued to report that Jackson looks to be Flacco’s backup for the foreseeable future, the national media has attempted to create a quarterback controversy that lost some steam during this game.
While Lamar flashed potential with a few good throws and bursts of athletic prowess, he threw a number of inaccurate balls that lead to turnovers and an endless amount of punts as well. To his credit, the players around him were mostly guys that won’t make the practice squad. Yet, for many, the performance was mostly a letdown. With RG3 as a walking example to learn from, the Ravens may be concerned about Jackson’s lack of concern for taking hits, especially in games as meaningless as the Hall of Fame game.
Each team managed to put together a scoring drive in the second half, Baltimore early in the third quarter, and Chicago late in the 4th. In between were punts that lulled the country to sleep. Towards the end of the game, the Bears generated a burst of offense that brought the game close at 17-16. The Bears went for the win on the two-point conversion and failed to give Baltimore the first NFL victory of the year.
While it is nice to have football back, the hype around preseason games and the way guys look practicing in shorts has reached an unreasonable pitch that will continue to leave fans disappointed as they tune in to watch roster-bubble players fight for spots. From here on out this hype will only likely build as fall approaches and the craving for football swells to its yearly peak.