Here is my wrap-up of all the action in the NFL this week – minus the Monday night games. As I’ve mentioned, Internet is hard to come by, and I wanted to make sure I got this up while I was online!
New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers: Saint 34 – Packers 42
There was no Super Bowl Hangover for the Packers here. They got off to a hot start and the offense of the Saints couldn’t keep up; although, they got close before Clay Matthews stopped rookie Mark Ingram on the goal line as time expired. Both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers looked great in their first games, throwing for 419 yards and three touchdowns and 312 yards and three touchdowns, respectively. Both teams running games left something to be desired and will need to be more productive as the season wears on. Both teams showed they have what it takes to be competitive this seaons.
Philadelphia Eagles @ St. Louis Rams: Eagles 31 – Rams 13
The Eagles came out relatively flat, with some errant throws from their new $100 million man, Michael Vick. Then Steven Jackson ripped off a 47 yard touchdown run to make it an early 7-0 lead for the home team and made it look as though it was going to be an interesting game – unfortunately for the Rams, he injured his leg on the play. The Rams continued to run the ball well, but with the Eagles new trio of CB, Sam Bradford was unable to complete any long passes.
Vick was relatively effective in the game, but only completed 48% of his passes – his lowest number as an Eagle. LeSean McCoy looked great out of the backfield, and DeSean Jackson made a good case for his new contract. As an Eagles fan, I would like to see Vick get Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek more involved in the passing game. Overall, the Eagles appeared dominant in their opener, but they need to clean up a few aspects of their game – namely the run defense.
Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears: Falcons 12 – Bears 30
Raise your hand if you had the Bears winning this game? No? I didn’t think so. Matt Ryan threw the ball well, although he couldn’t find the end zone. It didn’t matter – the Bears had everything working (I’m looking at you Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Jay Cutler, and Matt Forte) and looked like a team that could compete with the Packers for the NFC North title. If they can keep this up, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did just that.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns: Bengals 27 – Browns 17
Cincy can’t seem to catch a break in the QB department. Andy Dalton was injured during the game, and somehow, the Bengals beat the lowly Browns in the opener. Cedric Benson may have had something to do with that, running for 121 yards on 25 carries for a TD. The Browns were disorganized under their new regime, and should get things cleaned up for next week – if they do, they should be optimistic about Colt McCoy’s 213 yard, two TD day.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs: Bills 41 – Chiefs 7
This just goes to show that no one knows what their talking about in the preseason. I, among many others, believed the Bills would be in the running for the top draft choice this season – if this game was any indication, we were wrong. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 208 yards and four TD and Fred Jackson added 112 yards on 20 carries. Fitzpatrick’s day might be attributed to Eric Berry injuring his knee in the first quarter – but I don’t think it would have made a difference. The Bills didn’t do a whole lot right and nothing went right for the Chiefs. As Chiefs defensive tackle Kelly Gregg put it, “When things started going bad, they just went bad. Landslide.”
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lions 27 – Buccaneers 20
The Lions came into this season with lofty expectations after building up their defensive line and finally having a healthy Matthew Stafford, who threw for 305 yards and three TD. The surprising story line of this game was the non-existent run game of the Bucs – Josh Freeman led all rushers with 26 yards. If the Bucs have hopes to repeat their 10-6 season and have a shot at a playoff spot, this is not the way to go about it.
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Titans 14 – Jaguars 16
After their stunning release of David Garrard, I didn’t think the Jaguars had a chance to beat anyone – even the Titans. I was surprised. Maurice Jones-Drew looked good in his debut after knee surgery and the Jaguars defense kept them in the game and eventually, helped them win it. But – I’ve said it a million times before – this is a QB-driven league, and while Luke McCown managed the game well, he only threw for 175 yards and no TD. I don’t expect it to be good enough over a 17 week season. You don’t get to play the Titans 16 times.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens: Steelers 7 – Ravens 35
Yeah – I wrote that the Ravens probably won’t be as good this season and that the Steelers should beat them – handily. Well, I’ve been wrong before and it’s the beauty of writing about this game. The Ravens defense looked inspired, forcing seven turnovers. Joe Flacco looks like he might be ready to take the next step, throwing for 224 yards and three touchdowns, and nothing went wrong for the Ravens. It was a big game, but only one in a long season.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans: Colts 7 – Texans 34
The Colts without Peyton Manning look lost. They couldn’t get anything going. That wasn’t the most worrisome part of the game though. It was that backup running back Ben Tate was able to rush for 116 yards. The Colts have never been known for their defense, but if they play like this the rest of the way, it won’t matter when Manning comes back.
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals: Panthers 21 – Cardinals 28
Patrick Peterson made up for some sloppy play at CB and returned a punt 89 yards for the go-ahead score. Frankly, who cares. For those out there who said Cam Newton wouldn’t be a successful NFL QB, take a look at this stat line – 422 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. He’s the only QB to throw for more than 400 yards in his rookie debut. Kevin Kolb also made some noise in his debut, throwing for more than 300 yards, along with an impressive day from Beanie Wells. Both of these teams have bright futures.
Minnesota Vikings @ San Diego Chargers: Vikings 17 – Chargers 24
I was going to try to recap this game – and rather than write a paragraph that you don’t want to read, I’ll say this. The Chargers escaped late, narrowly escaping an inevitable slow start again and the Vikings couldn’t get anything going.
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers: Seahawks 17 – 49ers 33
I once wrote that I though Alex Smith still stood a chance at being a good NFL QB. Looks like I wasn’t completely wrong. He got some help from Ted Ginn Jr., who ran a kickoff and punt back for a touchdown within a one minute span. Jim Harbaugh got another win over Pete Carrol and looks like he has the 49ers on the right track in a weak NFC West.
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins: Giants 14 – Redskins 28
Rex Grossman outdueled Eli Manning. No, seriously. The Giants are short-handed because of the injuries that plagued them during the preseason and just got beat by the Redskins – who had four sacks after finishing 31st in the NFL in that category last season. I don’t expect that Grossman will continue to look this good when he faces a healthy secondary, but for at least one week, he’s got a win.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets: Cowboys 24 – Jets 27
I, unfortunately, did not get an opportunity to watch this game, but I watched the highlights. I’m not sure if the Jets underperformed for most of the game or if the Cowboys over performed for it most of it. I think the truly better team came out on top here. That being said, if the Cowboys and Jets can fix their little problems (I’m looking at you Jason Witten, Cowboys Specials Teams, and you Shonne Greene), these teams could be legitimate contenders in their respective conferences.