With the Raiders and Chargers game now over, it's time to recap the 2012 opening week of football. There were a lot of highs and lows, so we will break down each game and give our sense on what went right and what went wrong. Check it out.
By: Josh Stanley
-In the opening game of the season, the Cowboys looked impressive. The first half was a little shaky for both squads as neither team scored in the first quarter and the first touchdown didn't come until after the 2-minute warning, but regardless, it was a good start. The second half featured a less sloppy game with both offenses finally going. For the Cowboys, Tony Romo looked like the Tony Romo who tore apart the Giants in Week 14 last season with four touchdowns. In this game, Romo connected with possible budding star Kevin Ogletree twice, Miles Austin once and threw for over 300 yards with only one interception. The biggest game to me goes to DeMarco Murray, who probably ran for the quietest 131 yards I've ever seen. Murray broke off a big 48-yard run that should have been a loss, but he managed to spin off defenders and scamper down the side line. Defensively, DeMarcus Ware looked good with five tackled and two sacks and Sean Lee led the team with 12 tackles. For the Giants, Eli Manning had an okay game with only 213 yards and one touchdown. Manning would have had more yards, but his receivers seem to have a case of the drops, especially Victor Cruz. Mr. Salsa still had a team leading six catches for 58 yards, but his day could have been way bigger. In the run game, Ahmad Bradshaw had a good 78-yard, one touchdown game, but his backup, rookie David Wilson, fumbled early in the game, which led to his benching. Overall, both teams didn't look too bad for not playing a real game in months, but they both could work on something for their Week 2 matchups.
Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
-This game looked like it might be close, but then the second half happened. Going into halftime, the Chiefs were right there with the Falcons down only 20-17. What followed next was a completely different game. A different Chiefs team came out in the second half, a team that just plain sucked. The Falcons put on 20 unanswered points without any challenge. Quarterback Matt Ryan was just playing with the secondary and ended up with 299 yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. His newest target, sophomore Julio Jones may be turning into his new favorite target as he pulled down two touchdowns to go with his 108 yards. The run game was basically non-existent as starter Michael Turner ran for less than 40 yards, so we may be witnessing a new era in Atlanta. For the Chiefs, it's clear they played pee-wee football on defense, but their offense wasn't too bad. Jamaal Charles returned from his torn ACL last year and ran for 87 yards on 16 carries. Matt Cassel had a few bad throws with two interceptions, but he looked good early. But the moral of this game was the Falcons are a force on offense and the Chiefs are a force, well, nowhere. The Falcons could be on to something this year, but they got unfortunate news today finding out that starting cornerback Brent Grimes is out for season. We will see in Week 2 how the Falcons prepare without him.
Eagles 17, Browns 16
-I watched every snap of this game and I really regret it. This was one of the worst games of the week from an offensive stand point. Both quarterbacks had better days throwing to the other team as they each put up four interceptions. If you will, Michael Vick had the better day with two touchdowns, but who really can say either one did well. The only bright spot on offense for the Browns was Trent Richardson blowing Kurt Coleman's head off, but Coleman got the last laugh as he finished with two interceptions. For the Eagles, Jeremy Maclin had a good day with 96 yards and a touchdown, but he may not play in Week 2 or 3 with a hip pointer. LeSean McCoy had a DeMarco Murray type day running for a quiet 110 yards, but he did turn the ball over. So with all the turnovers, lets turn to the only good part of this game. As I said above, both teams picked up four interceptions. Coleman had the two for the Eagles and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had the other two. For the Browns, Craig Robertson, L.J. Fort, D'Qwell Jackson and Joe Haden each had a pick. Jackson returned his for a touchdown and also added a fumble recovery. Unfortunately for the Browns, Haden had a good day, but will be suspended for the next four games for taking the NFL illegal, but college favorite Adderall. I see the Eagles cleaning up their act next week, but I think the Browns are in for a long season, especially with their best cornerback out till Week 6.
Redskins 40, Saints 32
-The Saints somehow got the NFL to allow everyone suspended to play, but they didn't get the only person they needed back, coach Sean Peyton. The Saints clearly weren't the same team Sunday as they got destroyed in all facets of the game. The scoreboard doesn't show how this game played out. Take out the end of the fourth quarter where the Saints just played catch up and put up garbage points and you have a double-digit win for the Redskins. The obvious MVP of the game was rookie, looked like a veteran, quarterback Robert Griffin III. In his first career start, Griffin put up 320 yards passing, 42 yards rushing, two touchdowns and no turnovers. The new favorite running back for head coach Mike Shanahan, Alfred Morris, ran for just under 100 yards and had two touchdowns. RG3's favorite target, Pierre Garcon, had 109 yards and a touchdown, but he injured his foot and will have to hope he can make it for Week 2. For the Saints, Drew Brees looked a little rusty with two interceptions, but he did throw for over 300 yards and had three touchdowns. But let's address the elephant in the Saints room, the run game. Luckily for the Saints, they weren't the worst rushing team, which is pathetic, but 10 carries for 32 yards between Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram is just awful. I know the Saints aren't a running team, but you have to establish something. This upset was pretty big and it will be interesting to see how each team plays in Week 2.
Lions 27, Rams 23
-Both the Lions and the NFL learned one thing quickly on Sunday, the Rams are for real. Well on defense at least. The Rams were looking like they were going to pick up the win until they shut it off early. Going into halftime up 13-10, the Rams confidence had to have been at an all time high, along with the Lions "uh-oh" meter. Unfortunately for the Rams, as their defense was playing out of their minds, the offense was mediocre at best with quarterback Sam Bradford throwing for only 198 yards and a touchdown. And the run game going for less than 100 yards didn't help either. But getting back to defense, the plays they made were the big bright spot. As I said in an earlier article, the Rams straight stole Janoris Jenkins in the draft. Well, Jenkins picked off one of the league's best quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford, as did his teammates Jo-Lunn Dunbar and Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan managed to take his back to the house to put the Rams up 13-7. What really changed in the game was the fourth quarter. The Rams really looked good for 50 minutes, but in the last 10 minutes they were outscored 14-3. The Lions finally got Stafford to calm down and play his kind of game as he marched down the field with ease. Of course Calvin Johnson had another 100-yard game, but the win wouldn't have been possible without running back Kevin Smith. Smith scored all 14 of those points in the fourth to go with his 100 yards of total offense. The Lions escaped with the victory and I'm interested to see how next week goes when they play another NFC West opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. As for the Rams, I hope to see more progress in Week 2.
Jets 48, Bills 28
-This was probably the most lopsided game of the week and worst Sunday for the Bills in franchise history. To recap, they were down 27-7 at halftime, 48-28 at the end of the game and they lost two players, one starting wide in David Nelson for season and one starting running back in Fred Jackson for at least three weeks. Basically to sum it up, the Bills have easily claimed worst in the league through Week 1. But to recap the actual game, the Jets looked dominant. Mark Sanchez disregarded the Tim Tebow noise surrounding him and threw for 266 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Rookie Stephen Hill caught two of Sanchez's touchdowns and it looks like he could be the new No. 1 wide in New York. As for running back Shonn Greene, he looked like that one back from the 2009 playoffs after running for almost 100 yards and a score. For the lowly Bills, they didn't have much to be happy about. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had three touchdowns and three interceptions, but less than 200 yards. Pretty obvious that he got all the scoring in garbage time. There isn't much left to say about this game. The Jets dominated, but I wouldn't call them a force yet. The Bills are a terrible team based on that performance, so the Jets need to prove it in Week 2. The Bills on the other hand, they can't get much worse can they? I hope not.
Texans 30, Dolphins 10
-If anything was learned during the Hard Knocks episodes with the Dolphins, it was that they have a lot of problems. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions, Daniel Thomas fumbled the ball and the offense scored no points. Basically, the Dolphins preseason in a nutshell. Going 0-4 in the preseason is not all that bad since it's the preseason, but when you are a team trying to rebuild, the preseason matters and it looks like the losing play continued. The Dolphins got bailed out on a punt return for a touchdown or else this game would have had zero positives for the Dolphins. But to stop talking about the bad, lets move to the good, which is only on the Texans side. Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster came into the game with an injury question, but I think that was answered after he ran for 79 yards and had two touchdowns. Veteran Andre Johnson snagged Matt Schaub's only touchdown and if Johnson can stay healthy, I think you will here about that connection a lot this season. As for the defense, we already know the Dolphins did nothing on offense, but how did that happen. Well, you can start with Brian Cushing, who forced a fumble and had an interception. Move on to the cornerbacks and veteran Jonathan Joseph had a pick, as well as Kareem Jackson. This game wasn't really a good challenge for the Texans defense and we will have to wait until Week 2 to see if the loss of Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans is going to hurt them. For the Dolphins, I think they are in a Buffalo Bills situation right now thinking, it can't get much worse than this can it? We will see.
Vikings 26, Jaguars 23
-I think the big story in this game is quite obvious, my Vikings are tied for first in the division. Ok, just kidding. The big story, Adrian "Purple Jesus" Peterson is back. Peterson who was recovering from a blown up knee in Week 16, came back to make the start of the season and he ran for 84 yards on 17 carries and added in two appearances in the end zone. Unfortunaetly for the Vikings, that was about it on offense. Christian Ponder turned in a boring 270 yards with no touchdowns and no turnovers. I guess you have to be happy with no turnovers. For the Jaguars, Blaine Gabbert is acting like he know how to play football after throwing for over 250 yards with two touchdowns and zero turnovers. Amazing. Holdout Maurice Jones-Drew, who looks like a hobo right now, ran for 77 yards on 19 carries, so it looks like he may not miss a beat. But the big story for this game was the fact that it went into extras. The Jaguars marched in the fourth and were up by three with 20 seconds left, but the Vikings managed to get in field goal range to watch new kicker Blair Walsh hit a 55-yarder to send it to overtime. In OT, Walsh kicked another field goal to give the Vikings the lead, but it was the defense who stopped them from countering the field goal, thus propelling the Vikings to an undefeated season. Ok, 1-0 like 15 other teams isn't a big deal, but when the Packers, Lions and Bears are in the division, you have to take every bright spot and blow it out of proportion. Week 2 will bring bigger tests for both teams though, so what they do next week will really show what's in store for these two teams.
By: Wyatt Amaral
-The Andrew Luck era got off to a shaky start in the Windy City. After the Colts jumped out to an early 7-0 lead due to the first defensive touchdown in 2012, reality set in. The early pressure that the Colts got on Jay Cutler quickly disappeared and Cutler picked apart the Colts defense to even the score at seven. The trend continued for Cutler, and the most sacked quarterback of the past two years was given all day to throw to his old friend from Denver, as Brandon Marshall gathered in 9 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. The Cutler-Marshall connection looks fully intact for the 2012 season, as does the new Luck to Reggie Wayne connection, which went for 9 hook-ups and 135 yards. At the end of the day, however, it was not enough to stop the Bears who look like a force to be reckoned with in the NFC North.
Patriots 34, Titans 13
-As usual, Tom Brady began the season in mid-season form on Football Sunday. Brady continued his perfect record in season openers and the Patriots won their league-high 11th straight opener. The game went according to plan for the most part, other than the Titans having to watch a very scary play in the second half for the future of the franchise. After Jake Locker threw a perfect ball to Nate Washington, Washington was sandwiched and laid dead still as the ball popped into the air for an interception and after the tackle was made by Locker, he also laid injured on the field. Fortunately, Locker is expected to return next week as the Titans take on the Chargers. Meanwhile, the Patriots hope to continue their hot play in Baltimore next Sunday night on national television.
49ers 30, Packers 22
-In one of the Week 1 shockers, the early super bowl favorite fell to the top defense in the NFL. The 49ers defense made the well-oiled machine known as the Packers offense look inept for the first half and Alex Smith finally looked like a first overall draft pick as he lead the Niners to the win. Randy Moss scored a touchdown, his first in a San Francisco jersey. The game put on display the replacement referees, especially on Randall Cobb’s punt return for a touchdown. The line judge threw a flag on a clear block in the back that should have brought the return back, before he decided to say it was actually a block in the back on the kicking team. After a brief discussion, the referees decided to have no penalty on the play. Fortunately, it had no outcome on the game as San Francisco won a nail biter.
Buccaneers 16, Panthers 10
-Cam Newton threw for over 300 yards, but the yardage had no correlation to the result unfortunately for Newton and the Panthers who outgained the Bucs by nearly 50 yards. Josh Freeman and the Bucs were able to weather the storm, literally, as the game was at one point halted at half time for thunderstorms, to get their first victory of the 2012 season.
Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16
-An extra time out didn’t quite do the trick for the new look Seahawks who were unable to put the final score on the board to pull out the win in the desert. With thirty seconds left, the Seahawks called a timeout they did not have, but were not penalized. Russell Wilson looked nothing like a rookie on the final drive as he looked to match Kevin Kolb’s game winning drive after starter John Skelton went down with an injury. The Kolb drive looked flawless; raising an interesting question for the Cards coaching staff since Kolb easily may have worked his way back into the quarterback competition in Arizona.
Broncos 31, Steelers 19
-Peyton Manning. The name summed up the game as Manning looked like he was back to his old self. Throwing career touchdown number 400, Manning later watched Tracy Porter seal up the victory with a pick six, helping to shed the nightmares he probably had from Super Bowl XLIV. The Steelers and Ike "Swaggin'" Taylor were unsuccessful to avenge their post-season loss from last year and once again, Demaryius Thomas wrecked shop on the Pittsburgh D. The renewed Broncos look to continue their strong primetime showing on MNF in Atlanta next week, which should be a good indicator of where these two contenders are early in the season.
Ravens 44, Bengals 13
-The Ravens started the season with a bang as they won by the largest margin in all of Week 1. After looking like a tight one part way through the third quarter, the Ravens quickly blew it open with a few unanswered scores, one of which came on behalf of Flacco’s arm, who had one of the more impressive starts in his career. Ed Reed also scored another defensive touchdown on a play where he injured his hamstring. The new no-huddle offense looked very good for the Ravens, who are seeking to finally couple a strong offense with a playmaking defense in a 2012 Super Bowl run.
Chargers 22, Raiders 14
-Dennis Allen did not get off to the start he would like to be off to in Oakland Monday night. This game was riddled with errors by Oakland and San Diego did not play a strong game by any means. Fortunately, for the Chargers, the Raiders made enough mistakes to the point where they did not have to be good. Carson Palmer, who was traded for a pair of first rounders, did little other than score a touchdown in the last minute of the game. The Raiders also botched two punts, primarily because their long snapper was injured in the first half, and the blocked punt and bad snap played a key role in turning the tides in favor of Southern California’s football team. Both teams will look to improve on a badd Week 1 performance and have a chance in the easily winnable AFC West.