Most of the time, reunions leave us with a bittersweet feeling. Part regret, part nostalgia, and often a need to show how great we’re doing, thanks for asking. It probably wasn’t much different in the NFL during its unofficial reunion week.
On Sunday, bragging rights were on the line between head coaches and their former players, players with their one-time teams, and head coaches against their old teams.
And because there were no ties — although we did get our first overtime game of the season — we were only left with winners and losers from these handful of reunions.
Winner: Andy Reid’s record against former assistants
Beating the Eagles in 2017 probably isn’t as sweet as it was when his Chiefs did it in 2013, the first season after he was fired in Philly. But this was a much better Eagles team and a win that piled on more supporting evidence that the Chiefs just might be the best team in the NFL right now.
Eagles fans used to complain about Reid not running the ball enough (what don’t they complain about though?) during his days in Philly. That’s been the key to his success this season with the Chiefs, thanks to electric rookie Kareem Hunt, who picked up two touchdowns and 109 yards from scrimmage.
Reid also made the most out of his tight end Travis Kelce. He kept Philly’s defenders guessing and finished with 103 yards on eight catches and an incredible touchdown.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is a Reid protege. There’s no bad blood there, but the former student kept his old boss on his toes by calling a close game until the end.
"Helluva job. I’m proud of you,” Reid said to his former offensive coordinator after the game.
Reid is now 9-3 against his former assistants.
Loser: Mike Glennon in his return to Tampa
Glennon did nothing to make his old team regret letting him walk. Not that you would’ve expected otherwise. After a strong 6-for-6 start, he was intercepted. He lost a fumble on the Bears’ next drive.
Surely, he’d be better on his next possession? NOPE. Glennon threw a pick-six to give the Bucs a 23-0 lead with four left minutes in the first half.
Replaced by Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, the only question left for Glennon’s career at this point is when he’ll be replaced by Mitch Trubisky. If Bears fans have their way, look for it to happen sooner rather than later.
Oh my.... if Mitchell doesn't play in the near future, I'm dusting off my collection of " The Best of T J Hooker " dvds— chuck swirsky (@ctsbulls) September 17, 2017
He at least spoiled the shutout, throwing a meaningless touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play.
After the game, Bears coach John Fox made it clear that Glennon wasn’t the only one at fault.
"That wasn't the Mike Glennon's Bears, that was the Chicago Bears,” Fox said, via the Associated Press. “It was our whole team.”
Fox is sticking with Glennon as starting quarterback, but that won’t quiet those hoping Trubisky gets his chance soon.
Loser: Bruce Arians, even though the Cardinals won
The Cardinals turned in a pair of pathetic three-and-outs on their first two drives, and the Colts jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead. When Arizona finally showed a little life, the team made a terrible decision to throw an end zone fade to Larry Fitzgerald on fourth-and-1. WHYYYYYYYYYY?
The Colts can’t be happy with Chuck Pagano, but Arians did nothing to make them regret letting him slip away after 2012.
It was better, marginally, in the second half. After berating Carson Palmer to the media at halftime, Arians got better play out of his QB — good enough to beat the Colts in overtime at any rate.
Arians is now 6-0 against the AFC South since taking the Cardinals job. But it was an ugly win against a beat-up Colts team, and blaming his quarterback isn’t exactly becoming. The rest of the season could be a struggle for both Arians’ current team and his former one.
Winner: Brandin Cooks staying healthy against the Saints
Cooks and the Patriots swamped the Saints, but the biggest victory for the former Saint was that he was the only New England receiver who didn’t wind up limping by the fourth quarter. Injuries kept players like Rob Gronkowski, Phillip Dorsett, and Rex Burkhead from the field in the second half, but Cooks kept trucking, emerging as the team’s top target.
Cooks earned only four targets and caught two after being shadowed by rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore all afternoon. He added a pair of carries — one a 7-yard loss as the Patriots ground down the clock late in the fourth quarter — to play a minor, but important, role for the winning team. It may not have been the comeback performance he’d hoped for, but Cooks’ ability to stay healthy may have been his greatest contribution for the Patriots.
Winner: Jay Gruden got the better of Sean McVay (this time)
Sean McVay is the youngest coach in the NFL, and that showed on Sunday against Washington. Jay Gruden came out on top, but it wasn’t a total wash for Gruden’s former pupil.
McVay’s rookie mistakes were obvious ones, including using all of his first-half timeouts with 10 minutes left to go in the second quarter. And in a game where Washington leaned on its running game for the win, McVay’s Rams only ran the ball a total of 21 times, despite having a running back who can do this:
Despite a last-minute interception, Jared Goff continued his upward trajectory, which is a more important marker for McVay’s early tenure than wins alone. Gruden may still be the master, but his former pupil is on the right path.
Loser: Sean McDermott’s clock management needs work
Three-and-outs, penalties, you name it, and the Bills’ rookie head coach was clapping. He’s a very encouraging guy! But he could see through his rose-colored glasses, saying after losing to the Panthers that there were no “moral victories.”
You can be forgiven if you thought he used to work for Andy Reid. His clock management certainly made it look like he did. His worst move with the clock: Near the end of the game, trailing by six points, he let 15 seconds lapse off the clock before a crucial third down.
Hey, the guy’s stayed positive but at least he’s kind of realistic.
Sean McDermott: we had an opportunity and we came up short. Proud of the effort pic.twitter.com/0NRQ0AfArn— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) September 17, 2017
Overall, Sunday’s Bills-Panthers game looked like it crawled, half-formed, from the lab that gives us the league’s worst Thursday Night Football showdowns. Neither team found the end zone in a 9-3 grindfest that somehow made each team look worse. Mike Tolbert, returning to Charlotte after spending the last five seasons with the club, gained only 5 yards on three carries. His one reception brought him up to 7 yards on the day.
Afterward, both teams chalked the low-scoring game up to tenacious defenses. Sure, let’s go with that.