NFL Review: Week 1
September 16, 2011 Leave a comment
The NFL season started off with a bang in Green Bay with a great game between the Saints and Packers, and that game along with the entire weekend has set a high mark of what to expect over the course of this season. The Sunday afternoon slate was entertaining to watch, especially if you saw Cam Newton’s debut against the Cardinals; other than that, there were a few one sided wins like the Bills 41-7 win over Kansas City. The true story of this weekend were the night games: the aforementioned Saints/Packers game, the Sunday Night Cowboys/Jets game, and the Monday Night Football doubleheader of Patriots/Dolphins followed by Raiders/Broncos.
The Saints/Packers game was all that I expected and more Thursday night. Two fantastic quarterbacks, both Super Bowl MVPs went head to head with each other and what happened? Drew Brees: 32 for 49 passing for 419 yards and 3 touchdowns, Aaron Rodgers: 27 for 35 passing, 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. As the saying goes, “There’s no way to defend the perfect pass,” and Brees and Rodgers slung quite a few of those in Thursday’s game. This game was entertaining to watch from start to finish, especially watching Randall Cobb defy logic and reasoning by returning a kick from eight yards deep in the endzone all the way to the house with a little help from John Kuhn. And it wasn’t just Randall Cobb making things happen in special teams that night, it was also the dynamic Darren Sproles returning a 72 yard punt to provide a spark. The Saints trailed the entire night, but they still had a shot to send the game to overtime at the end with an untimed first and goal from the one yard line following a pass interference call in the endzone as time ran out. Now, I haven’t won a Super Bowl like Sean Payton has, but his call at the end of the game to pack the line and give the ball to Mark Ingram was not the correct call. The Saints struggled the entire night running the ball (21 rushes for 81 yds) and with the game on the line, Payton thought Mark Ingram (13 touches for 40 yards) was the answer. Eleven Packer defenders responded by stonewalling Ingram at the 1/2 yard line to end the game. Personally, I would have put this game in the hands of Drew Brees and let him make something happen, but again I’ve never coached a team do a Super Bowl.
The Cowboys/Jets game was a barn burner that went right down to the wire and was won by a Nick Folk 50 yard field goal with 27 seconds left. One of the major storylines going into this game was the quarterback play on both sides of the ball, especially from Tony Romo. I’ve got to say, he looked alright for three quarters, but then the all important fourth quarter showed up, and Romo faltered. First there was the costly fumble at the 3 yard line that was the result of an ill advised dive, and then in the final minute threw an interception to Darrelle Revis that set up Folk’s winning kick. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after the game said that he thought Tony Romo looked good in the game, and I immediately brushed off his comments. However, looking back at the game, he’s right; but even LeBron James knows that a game is more than three quarters.
Monday night provided a few historical moments, starting with the game in Miami. Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and 4 touchdowns including a 99 (and a half) yard strike to Wes Welker that potentially got Benny Sapp released. The game was a pretty good one to watch, and I was rooting for Chad Henne (aka, the only quarterback from Michigan that I like) and he put on a good show, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the Patriots as the ‘phins fell 38-24. The second game of the double header was in Denver where Kyle Orton showed which former Bears quarterback deserved their starting role (hint: it wasn’t him). He looked a little disjointed during the first half, and it didn’t help that the Raiders scored 16 unanswered points in the second quarter. Over the course of the game he did throw for 300+ yards, but the Raiders still won by 3 (or 63).
So what did I learn? If you’re a Colts fan, now is the time to panic. And, the Buffalo Bills are not a team to be taken likely. Or maybe they are. Maybe the Chiefs are just bad. Or maybe they aren’t.