Week 1 NFL Game Recaps
Ravens 35, Steelers 7
Or maybe, the Ravens are the better team. They dominated the line of scrimmage against the Steelers, as Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs (3 sacks) in particular made life very difficult for Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben committed five turnovers (three picks, two fumbles). Some were his fault, while others weren't; but they were all pretty much the result of Baltimore's relentless pass rush.
Roethlisberger went 22-of-41 for 280 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. All of the pressure really got to him, and he made some poor throws in Baltimore territory as a result.
Bears 30, Falcons 12
At any rate, Ryan went 31-of-47 for 319 yards and a pick, as he was playing in catch-up mode the whole game. Ryan was constantly harassed by Chicago's front - he was sacked five times and hit many times more - but because he threw the ball so much, he was able to hit four different targets five times: Tony Gonzalez (5-72), Julio Jones (5-71), Roddy White (8-61) and Jason Snelling (5-32).
Bengals 27, Browns 17
Looking at the stat box, you may notice that McCoy had a 56-yard completion to Mohamed Massaquoi, but that was the result of busted coverage. His impressive passes were far and few between.
McCoy barely had any support from his running game. The offensive line couldn't open up anything for Peyton Hillis, who rushed for 57 yards on 17 carries; more than a third of his yardage came on a 17-yard scamper. Hillis did help McCoy in the passing attack, catching six balls for 30 receiving yards.
Bruce Gradkowski stepped in for an injured Dalton and led the Bengals to a victory. He lofted the 41-yard, game-winning touchdown to A.J. Green while the Browns were caught off-guard, seemingly unready for the play.
Texans 34, Colts 7
Of course, Kerry Collins (16-31, 197 yards, TD) and his dreadful offensive line were so terrible that you can't exactly blame them for quitting. Collins was sacked on the second play from scrimmage, as Jeff Linkenbach had no chance of stopping Mario Williams.
On the first play of the next drive, Collins was strip-sacked and lost a fumble, leading to a Derrick Ward rushing touchdown. Collins then fumbled the snap on the initial play of the third drive, allowing Houston to find the end zone yet again (Ben Tate run).
Now down 17-0, the Colts really needed to put a nice drive together and score at least a field goal to give themselves a chance. Collins moved the team to midfield and things were looking good until starting guard Joe Reitz committed a 15-yard face mask penalty. The infraction killed the drive and Indianapolis kicked the ball away, allowing Houston to score another touchdown. Game over.
Jaguars 16, Titans 14
I know Jacksonville's run defense did a great job containing Johnson on his few attempts - he was held to three rushing yards - but it doesn't matter. Keeping the ball out of CJ2K's hands like that was really irresponsible. Munchak's not going to win (m)any games with this strategy.
Johnson actually had more attempts in the second half. One more, to be exact. He finished with a whopping nine carries for 24 yards. I'd buy low, if possible.
As for Britt, he had a monstrous performance, grabbing five balls for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Bills 41, Chiefs 7
I'd say Kansas City looked lost without Charlie Weis, but this all started at the end of last year. The team lost consecutive home games to the Raiders and Ravens by a combined score of 61-17. Matt Cassel looked completely lost in those two contests, and the same could be said of him in this game. He went just 22-of-36 for 119 yards, one score and a pick. This means that in his previous three outings, Cassel is just 42-of-87, 304 yards, one touchdown and a whopping six interceptions. That's a 3.5 YPA.
Time for Andrew Luck? I'll probably slot a quarterback to the Chiefs in my next 2012 NFL Mock Draft update.
Eagles 31, Rams 13
Let's begin with the latter, which obviously is the most important element. It all started when Steven Jackson pulled his quad on 47-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Jackson had another 9-yard run, but then had to leave the game. A pulled quad doesn't sound serious, but soft-tissue injuries tend to linger.
Later in the game, Danny Amendola was knocked out with a dislocated elbow. According to the team, his season is in doubt.
Right tackle Jason Smith (sprained ankle) and corner Ronald Bartell (stinger) were also hurt, but the big blow was to Sam Bradford, who suffered a finger injury in the fourth quarter. The Rams are fearful that Bradford may have suffered nerve damage, and Steve Spagnuolo went on to say, "I'll be praying all night."
- The Eagles scored their second touchdown on a fumble return. Late in the first quarter, Bradford stumbled trying to get the ball to his running back. He lost control of the ball, which was returned 56 yards by Juqua Thomas-Parker.
- Rookie tight end Lance Kendricks had two huge drops, including one that would have set the Rams up with a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line.
- Brandon Gibson dropped a potential first down in the second quarter.
- Amendola dropped a first-down conversion in the third quarter.
- Billy Bajema had a false start on second-and-goal at the Eagles' 1-yard line. The Rams had to settle for a field goal as a result.
- Josh Brown missed a 47-yard field goal in the third quarter.
- Bradford missed an open Amendola for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
Lions 27, Buccaneers 20
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
Here were Stafford's targets:
Calvin Johnson: 10
Brandon Pettigrew: 6
Nate Burleson: 5
Javhid Best: 5
Maurice Morris: 2
Rashied Davis: 1
Tony Scheffler: 1 (and one screen pass ruled a lateral)
Maurice Stovall: 1
Titus Young: 1
Will Heller: 1
Here were Freeman's targets:
Mike Williams: 9
Earnest Graham: 9
Kellen Winslow: 8
Arrelious Benn: 7
Preston Parker: 5
Dezmon Briscoe: 1
Kregg Lumpkin: 1
Luke Stocker: 1
Cardinals 28, Panthers 21
What Newton did was completely legitimate. He was very accurate, both deep and short. The kicker is that he didn't even have much time in the pocket; on several plays he had to escape pressure, failing most of the time, as Arizona's defense was much quicker than any stop unit he faced in the SEC.
I'm really excited to see what Newton does going forward. As Tony Dungy said on NBC's highlight show, rookies don't come in and do this, especially on the road. Newton really looks like something special.
Chargers 24, Vikings 17
Adding injury to insult, Nate Kaeding tore his ACL on the play. He's out for the year. Even worse, five-technique Luis Castillo is also done for the season. He's San Diego's top defensive lineman.
Donovan McNabb went 7-of-15 for 39 yards, one touchdown and an interception that was tipped and impressively caught by Shaun Phillips. McNabb had absolutely no time in the pocket. He was constantly on the run, scrambling for 32 yards.
49ers 33, Seahawks 17
When I bet on Ginn's teams, he screws me by dropping touchdowns and losing fumbles. When I bet against Ginn's teams, he returns kickoffs and punts for touchdowns. This always happens, without fail. The five-point-underdog Sehawks trailed by two late in this game, but Ginn ruined the potential cover by scoring on a kickoff and punt return.
Alex Smith completed 15-of-20 passes, but for only 124 yards to go along with 22 rushing yards and a score. He struggled to move the chains all afternoon, but at least he didn't commit any turnovers.
Smith's top target was Vernon Davis, who had five grabs for 47 yards. Braylon Edwards had just three catches for 27 yards.
Speaking of Baldwin, the undrafted rookie hauled in four grabs for 83 yards and a touchdown, though most of his yardage came on a somewhat fluky 55-yard, fourth-quarter score. Ignore him in fantasy leagues.
Lynch finished with 33 yards on 13 attempts, by the way.
Redskins 28, Giants 14
Eli Manning was awful in the preseason, as he had issues with his accuracy in every outing. That continued at Washington. Though he went 18-of-32 for 268 yards, a rushing touchdown and a pick, he made numerous poor throws and missed open receivers. That said, he doesn't deserve blame for the interception, which happened to be returned for six. Kareem McKenzie whiffed on a block, allowing rookie Ryan Kerrigan to take the pick back for six.
On the other side of the coin, Rex Grossman really looked good in the exhibition contests, beating out John Beck by a mile. Grossman was really sharp against the Giants, going 21-of-34 for 305 yards and a pair of scores. He made only one mistake, which was a fumble that he committed while getting sacked. He also overthrew Jabar Gaffney for a potential touchdown, though Gaffney repaid the favor by dropping a long completion. Maybe Grossman was on to something when he said that the Redskins were going to win the NFC East.
Jets 27, Cowboys 24
Tony Romo went 23-of-36 for 342 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Romo played really well for about 50 minutes, but the pick cost Dallas the game; he forced a ball into a covered Dez Bryant. The blocked punt returned for a touchdown, the penalties and the fumble at the Jets 1-yard line were all huge, but Romo's pick was the worst mistake of them all because it could have been prevented. Romo himself said that he needed to avoid the big error, yet he was guilty of it because he made a dumb decision.
Sanchez's top targets were LaDainian Tomlinson (6-73) and Santonio Holmes (6-70). Tomlinson had just five carries, but nearly as many rushing yards (16) as Shonn Greene (26). Greene simply couldn't find any running room on his 10 carries, and New York had to abandon the run because of an early deficit.
Packers 42, Saints 34
For thoughts on Patriots-Dolphins and Raiders-Broncos, check out my updated 2011 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
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