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NFL: Football Returns With Great Opening Weekend

football

Week one of the NFL season is now in the books, after reminding us of all the things that make the game so engrossing. Frantic comebacks, hilarious blunders and kicks to the face were all to be found in the first week’s scheduled games, as well as a couple of impressive upsets. Here we’ll take a look back at all the action and see where things went right and wrong for all thirty-two teams.

 

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (16-36)

  • The Seahawks are going to be the team to beat this year. Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin both went over a hundred yards and the dual threat allowed Russell Wilson to toy with the Packers defense.
  • The Seahawks D is still the best in the land, and they hunted Aaron Rodgers, sacking him three times, including one strip sack that led to a safety.
  • Green Bay showed that you need to be at full strength to stand a chance against Seattle. They lost Eddie Lacy and Bryan Bulaga early, and could not protect Rodgers after that.
  • The Packers defense is still underperforming. Dom Capers’ job is really on the line now.

 

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (34-37)

  • Welcome back to the big time, Atlanta Falcons. After going behind early, the Falcons came back ferociously to take down the Saints at home. Matt Ryan was immense, throwing 31/43 for 448 yards and three touchdowns.
  • The offensive weapons for the Falcons are massive, but this game was won when their defensive line finally started winning in the trenches in the third quarter.
  • Brandin Cooks is Sean Payton’s newest toy, and he looks impressive already. 95 all-purpose yards off eight plays is a good way to introduce yourself to the NFL.
  • This game was a barnburner. It will be a great battle for the NFC South title this year.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (23-16)

  • Five field goals gave the Bengals a fifteen point lead at half-time, which says a lot about this game. Andy Dalton’s 25/38 for 301 yards and a touchdown was solid, though.
  • You have to feel good about the Bengals defense, but Baltimore’s incompetence did help.
  • Joe Flacco went 35/62. Baltimore will continue struggling until they can find offensive balance.
  • The Ravens did briefly lead though, adding to the theory that you can do nothing for three quarters in this game and still come out on top. Sometimes.

 

Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears (23-20)

  • Buffalo have long since been written off, but they’ve been building for this year since Doug Marrone’s arrival. A talented young team, they laid down a huge marker by beating Chicago.
  • EJ Manuel is still a bit ropey at quarterback, but he guided the team pretty well yesterday. He was aided and abetted by a pretty strong running back committee, too.
  • Marc Trestman is thought very highly of, especially his work with quarterbacks. But Jay Cutler is still hit and miss, mixing his 349 yards with two picks at crucial times
  • Chicago still have trouble stopping the run, and only managed to sack Manuel once. That defensive line needs to contribute more.

 

Washington Redskins at Houston Texans ( 6-17)

  • It’s back to basics in Houston. Strong defense, lean on the run game and throw when the moment is right. Foster ran for 103 yards, while Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 14/22 for 206.
  • There will be tougher games ahead for Houston, as receivers Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins had a field day against the Washington secondary.
  • Robert Griffin III- 29/37 for 267 yards. No touchdowns, but no interceptions. Purgatory.
  • Washington are full of impact players on offense, but they need to make more happen. No touchdowns, despite generating four hundred yards of offense, is a poor return.

 

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (26-10)

  • Big upset in Kansas. Jake Locker spread it around pretty nicely for the Titans. He’d be a fine quarterback, if he could just stay fit.
  • Picking off Alex Smith three times is no mean feat. Tennessee have game changers on defense. In a weak division, could they be in for a big year?
  • Kansas City look like they will take a big backward step this year. They were dogged by salary cap issues in the off-season, forcing them into several tough choices.
  • Alex Smith made more yards on the ground than Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs won’t win too many games with stats like that.

 

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (20-33)

  • The shocks keep coming. Knowshon Moreno ran for 134 yards in the Miami sunshine. Not bad for someone supposedly on the roster bubble a few weeks ago.
  • The Dolpins won by getting in Tom Brady’s face. Two strip sacks were telling in the end.
  • The Patriots were up early, but couldn’t deal with the pass rush. Maybe trading Logan Mankins wasn’t such a good idea? Didn’t get much on the ground, either.
  • Probably just a blip for the Patriots, but they really didn’t put much pressure on a rebuilt Miami offensive line. One sack on Ryan Tannehill is abnormally low.

 

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (14-19)

  • The Jets really ground the Raiders down here, executing Rex Ryan’s strategy for the year. Run the ball well, hope Geno can throw a few passes and defend like a Rex Ryan team.
  • In fairness to Geno, 23/28 for 221 yards is impressive. Shame about the pick, though.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew had 11 yards on 9 attempts for Oakland. Consider this though- his longest run was 12 yards. Who do you think won the battle on the line?
  • David Carr was very solid for a rookie quarterback, but he lacks talent around him.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (17-34)

  • Philly avoided a huge upset, by putting 34 unanswered points past the Jags defense. Still though, Nick Foles has got to be more careful with the football. Three turnovers? Woof.
  • The Eagles are a team set up to rally back from behind. The fast tempo and quality receivers are hard to live with. Jeremy Maclin is a huge boost to the offense.
  • Jacksonville are all heart, and get better every time they play. For a team lacking in so many areas, they sure do compete well.
  • If the Jags are going to win games, Toby Gerhart has to do better on the ground.

 

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (27-30)

  • When is a blowout not a blowout? When the victims rally and nearly win the game. Pittsburgh were up 24-3 in the second quarter, with Leveon Bell running wild.
  • Antonio Brown also had a big day, but it will ultimately be remembered for him kicking the Browns punter in the face, while attempting to hurdle him.
  • The Browns are no joke defensively, and the game got tight when that unit tightened up.
  • If the Browns can follow the Jets game plan (see above), then they might salvage this year. Terrance West ran for a hundred yards, while Brian Hoyer did pretty well.

 

Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams (34-6)

  • An upset of sorts, mostly because people aren’t sure what to make of the Vikings. If they keep going like this, nobody will be in any doubt about how good they are.
  • The Rams had no answer for Cordarrelle Patterson, who upstaged Adrian Peterson in the backfield with 3 carries totalling 102 yards.
  • Whatever hope St Louis had with Shaun Hill, the game was up when he left injured.
  • Louis really do have a fine team. They just need a guy to throw the ball really well. Another lost year.

 

San Francisco 49er’s at Dallas Cowboys (28-17)

  • That score line looks close. It was not. The Niners dominated Dallas from the off. They were 21-3 up in the first quarter, mostly due to the Cowboys errors.
  • Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde looked great here. Tougher tests lie ahead.
  • Back surgery is a tough one, Tony. Three picks was no big surprise. Dallas surrendered this game early.
  • It could be a long year again in Dallas. Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin had their way with the secondary.

 

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20-14)

  • Derek Anderson stepped up big time in Cam Newton’s absence. 24/34, 230 yards and two touchdown passes from the backup? That was unexpected.
  • The Panthers defense is massive. They went after Josh McCown and forced him to make really bad mistakes which essentially decided the game.
  • Tampa tried the Ravens trick of doing nothing for three quarters and rallying in the fourth. It didn’t work out for them, either.
  • The Bucs had to win this game. In that division, home advantage is going to be huge. Josh McCown looked like the rusty backup quarterback. Tampa are in trouble already.

 

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (24-31)

  • Business as usual for Denver, as they blew the Colts away in the first half. If they can continue taking the ball away like last night, they will be a serious force again.
  • That offensive line looked a lot better last night. A well-protected Peyton is a death knell for the opposition.
  • Indy seem to love falling behind and trying to score a late comeback. Really good teams don’t tend to lose from winning positions, though.
  • Completely inadequate coverage on Julius Thomas, as he scored three touchdowns. No pass rush either,and now Robert Mathis is out for the season.

 

New York Giants at Detroit Lions (14-35)

  • The new and improved mobile Matt Stafford is going to be a pain for defenses. He eluded defensive pressure on the run like we’ve never seen before from Stafford.
  • The Lions run game struggled really badly though. Just as well they have so many players they can throw to.
  • Eli can’t take all the blame for his two picks, but it could just as easily have been four. His decline goes on.
  • New York got almost nothing from their receivers, and that against a supposedly weak Lions secondary? Worrying.

 

San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals (17-18)

  • The Cardinals got going when they needed to, coming back from 17-6 down. Carson Palmer and Michael Floyd are really starting to click.
  • Still no major pass rush in Arizona, but the secondary is so good that it’s still tough to beat that defense.
  • 21/36 doesn’t look real pretty for Philip Rivers, while he was only saved from throwing a second pick by a defensive penalty against Arizona.
  • The Chargers defense remains an area of concern. That secondary does not make plays often.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Video via Youtube/funnyflora

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