Week 1 NFL Game Recaps
Bears 41, Colts 21
Chicago looked really sloppy on its first few drives. In fact, color analyst Dan Dierdorf commented, "Their first drive looked like they were in a scrimmage." At one point, Cutler was 1-of-10 for 13 yards and the aforementioned pick-six.
Well, it took the Bears a couple of drives, but they finally got into gear, though it helped that Dwight Freeney was knocked out in the first quarter with an ankle sprain. Chicago was damn near unstoppable, compiling 428 yards of offense. Cutler finished 21-of-35 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and the interception, meaning he was 20-of-25 for 320 yards and the scores following that slow beginning.
Eagles 17, Browns 16
I think he was speaking for many Philadelphians because QB Dog Killer was absolutely atrocious. He tossed four interceptions, all of which looked like they came from a rookie. One was thrown way late across his body. Another was forced into double coverage. The third was a weird, off-balanced, side-armed pass. The thing that hurts most is that QBDK had running room and may have picked up a first down on the ground. He would have scrambled prior to his contract, but it now appears as though he's mailing it in.
QBDK finished 29-of-56 for 317 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned four interceptions; the final one being a pick-six that was tossed into double coverage. The second score won the game at the very end, but it almost didn't happen because Browns' rookie linebacker L.J. Fort dropped a possible interception on the prior play.
Brandon Weeden was absolutely awful. His stat line (12-of-35, 118 yards, four interceptions) is pretty indicative of how he performed. Actually, his numbers could have been a lot worse because the Eagles dropped three potential picks. Weeden, who played like he was drunker than Derek Anderson, simply doesn't look like an NFL quarterback. Perhaps he'll improve as he ages and matures.
Lions 27, Rams 23
Ser Stafford went 32-of-48 for 355 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, all of which occurred in the first half. He also had a potential fourth pick dropped in the end zone. Fisher's excellent game plan really frustrated Stafford, but talent ultimately won out. Stafford engineered a pair of 80-yard scoring drives in the fourth quarter, both ultimately concluding with a Kevin Smith touchdown.
The bad news for Bradford is that left tackle Rodger Safford was carted off the field with a neck injury, which delayed the game for what seemed like 10 minutes. Center Scott Wells also went out with a foot issue, but Saffold's exit was much more significant because he was taken to the hospital and forced to stay overnight for observation. Besides, his replacement was Wayne Hunter, who can't help Bradford's David Carr Syndrome.
Texans 30, Dolphins 10
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The biggest take-away from this game is that the Texans' defense is the real deal. It made the Dolphins' offense look incapable of moving the ball and didn't allow a touchdown. Defensive end J.J. Watt deflected two passes into interceptions in the first half, and, the Houston defense produced a turnover in four straight possessions to basically win the game before halftime. The Texans' offense played flat throughout the early going, but the team's defense was so dominant, the offense didn't have to do much to have 24 points at the half.
Houston controlled the ball in the third quarter. The defense played prevent to drain the clock in the fourth quarter, and stopped Miami twice on fourth-and-goal. Watt was an absolute animal for the Texans. He was a dominant force for four quarters and looks like he could be a NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. All of Houston's defensive starters had good plays, including the secondary.
However, Foster came alive before halftime with a 14-yard touchdown behind the right side of his line with a great block from center Chris Myers. Foster scored again a bit later; this time from one-yard out. He totaled 79 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.
It looks like it is going to be a painful season for Miami.
Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
The Falcons were a machine. They punted only once. Matt Ryan went 23-of-31 for 299 yards and four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). Those numbers would have been much better if the Chiefs kept up; Ryan already tallied 203 yards by halftime.
Vikings 26, Jaguars 23
Peterson was a monster. He rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. He made a number of tough runs, breaking a ton of tackles like the Peterson of old. If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't have thought for a second that he was coming off major knee surgery. I would have only questioned why he had 17 carries, but that number will increase steadily as the season progresses.
As for Jones-Drew, he gained 77 yards on 19 carries, but wasn't nearly as explosive as he was in 2011. Rashad Jennings started, but in an ironic turn of events, he was the one who left the game with a knee injury. Players who hold out typically get hurt, so that was shocking. Nevertheless, direct your hate mail toward Adam Schefter, who said that Jones-Drew would not report to the Jaguars prior to the season opener.
As for Gabbert, he was 23-of-39 for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He made a couple of really nice throws, including his beautiful touch lob to for a 39-yard score to Cecil Shorts, which looked to be the game-winner. However, he also showed his mental limitations on too many occasions. He settled for too many checkdowns. Also, he was still tentative against the pass rush, overthrowing Justin Blackmon in the end zone under pressure.
- Percy Harvin caught six balls for 84 yards. He actually received a goal-line carry in the third quarter, but was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
- Kyle Rudolph was thrown to quite frequently on third down. He hauled in five receptions for 67 yards.
- A disappointing debut for Blackmon. He had just three catches for 24 yards. As mentioned, however, Gabbert missed Blackmon in the end zone for an easy touchdown.
Redskins 40, Saints 32
However, this game is all about Robert Griffin. Forget the fact that he was far and away the most impressive rookie quarterback in Week 1; outside of Matt Ryan, he was arguably the top signal-caller period on Sunday afternoon.
Griffin started the game 8-of-8 for 149 yards and touchdown (with 24 rushing yards) before his first incompletion occurred in the end zone. He would end up finishing 19-of-26 for 320 yards and a pair of scores with 42 rushing yards on 10 scrambles. He was really amazing; he looked like a poised veteran, wanting to throw before running, even after his top receiver, Pierre Garcon, left the contest with a foot injury.
Sproles did save his fantasy owners with a touchdown on his five catches for 35 receiving yards. The other Saints who found the end zone were Lance Moore (6-120) and Jimmy Graham. Moore needs to be picked up in all fantasy formats, as he seems to be the player who will benefit most from Robert Meachem's absence.
Jets 48, Bills 28
It's really amazing that the Jets posted 48 points in their opener. Seriously, how does something like that happen after they couldn't find the end zone once during the preseason? Forty-eight points is a franchise record for an opening game. Weren't they supposed to be completely offensively challenged?
Mark Sanchez was on fire. He went 19-of-27 for 266 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Tim Tebow, meanwhile, played just seven snaps, carrying the ball five times for 11 yards. He also hauled in an attempted onside kick.
Tebow was on the field on the first play as a receiver. Sanchez, as you might imagine, looked the other way and threw way wide of his target. At that point, I didn't think the Jets stood a chance, but they went on to completely dominate the Bills on both sides of the football. Buffalo's treasured offseason acquisitions seem pretty irrelevant right now.
Patriots 34, Titans 13
The second storyline is that both Jake Locker and Nate Washington were injured on the same play. Locker appeared to complete a deep pass to Washington, who fumbled the ball. Locker then tried to bring down the Patriot who had possession, but hurt his non-throwing shoulder while making the tackle. The play was reviewed and it was ruled an incompletion, but the damage was done.
The good news is that Locker is expected to play next week. I haven't even heard anything pertaining to Washington, so I assume that he's OK.
Brady's scores went to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both of whom had six receptions for 60 and 59 yards, respectively.
Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16
A 10-minute delay ensued. The crowd booed mercilessly. FOX brought in Mike Pereira, who explained what happened. The officiating crew apparently forgot to charge Seattle with a timeout on a Doug Baldwin injury. The lead ref then announced that the Seahawks did, in fact, have a third timeout to use because the clock was stopped during the Baldwin injury. Pereira came back and then angrily said, "That's not true. Just because the clock was stopped, doesn't mean there's no charged timeout."
Some of the replacement officials did well this weekend, but these guys, as well as the ones in the Green Bay-San Francisco game, were particularly atrocious.
Skelton started hot, going 11-of-17 for 124 yards in the first half, but was just 3-of-11 for only 25 yards and a pick after the break. However, Kolb stepped in and looked much sharper, going 6-of-8 for 66 yards and the decisive touchdown on his only drive. Kolb's score was pretty humorous because Ken Whisenhunt was running down the sideline, trying desperately to call a timeout. He has to be pretty happy that it wasn't granted.
At any rate, Skelton suffered a high ankle sprain, but it doesn't matter at this point. Kolb will be starting next week.
49ers 30, Packers 22
San Francisco had a huge edge in two areas. The first was on the line of scrimmage. The Packers simply couldn't block the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers was constantly running for his life. He didn't have time to find his receivers downfield. That would explain why he had just two passes longer than 25 yards.
The second mismatch was in coaching. The Packers just seemed so discombobulated in pass defense. They had so many blown coverages, it was ridiculous. Alex Smith easily picked their secondary apart, going 20-of-26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers finished with better numbers (30-of-44, 303 yards, two scores and an interception), but San Francisco moved the chains so much more easily. Plus, Rodgers should have been pick-sixed in the fourth quarter.
Buccaneers 16, Panthers 10
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
The Bucs' defensive line deserves a lot of the credit, especially defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. He had a superb game, blowing up runs and rushing the quarterback. On the flip side, the Panthers' offensive line was atrocious. It didn't protect Newton well and was God-awful in run blocking. Carolina's offense couldn't extend drives, and as result, Tampa Bay dominated the time of possession. The Panthers had minus-1 yard rushing at halftime and finished with only 10 yards total on the ground. DeAngelo Williams had minus-1 yards on six carries. If Carolina's line doesn't pick up its play, it is going to be a painful season for the running game.
The Bucs produced timely turnovers with interceptions by Ronde Barber and Ahmad Black. Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib blocked a punt in the fourth quarter and that was a huge game-changer. The clutch special teams play led to a Bucs field goal.
Newton dropped in a bomb for 51 yards to Louis Murphy after he beat Talib down the field with five minutes in the fourth quarter. The drive stalled inside the five-yard line and Carolina settled for a field goal.
Broncos 31, Steelers 19
Manning went 19-of-26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He was simply average on his first three drives when he was getting in calls from the sideline, but the Broncos opted to go with a no-huddle approach beginning on the fourth drive. It was at that point that Manning became absolutely lethal. Here's the disparity:
First three drives: 4-of-7, 44 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 sacks.
Fourth drive and on: 15-of-19, 209 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 sacks.
The scary thing about Manning's no-huddle approach is that opposing defenders will be sucking for air in Denver's thin atmosphere. The Steelers looked winded in the second half.
Still though, forty pass attempts? So much for running the ball more with Todd Haley. It's puzzling that Jonathan Dwyer carried the ball just nine times. He gained 43 yards in the process and had some really tough runs. Isaac Redman, meanwhile, flopped around 11 times for 20 yards. Rashard Mendenhall won't play until October, so Dwyer should be added.
Cowboys 24, Giants 17
A few quick notes:
- It's only Week 1, so let's stop it with the Cowboys' coming-of-age talk. It was an impressive victory, but many teams have achieved great wins in Week 1 and have gone on to do nothing. My worry is the eight procedural penalties Dallas was guilty of. It's stupid crap like this that always ends up being its downfall when the season is on the line.
- As for those hitting the panic button on the Giants, remember that they lost to Rex Grossman in Week 1 last year. They'll get their s*** together, though I believe they will lose at Dallas later in the year.
- As my female friend Val said on Wednesday, "What's an Ogletree?" Yes, pick up Kevin Ogletree. He's the new Laurent Robinson. You can check out my other Fantasy Football Add-Drops here.
For thoughts on Ravens-Bengals and Chargers-Raiders, check out my updated 2012 NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.
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2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
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