The first week of the 2013 NFL season has come and gone, faster than the NSYNC reunion and Chip Kelly’s high octane offense. And what a first week it was. We saw Peyton Manning throw for an NFL record 7 TD’s in the Broncos opening night win against the Ravens. We witnessed Adrian Peterson take his first carry from scrimmage 78 yards to the house for his first rushing TD of the year and then fail to gain 20 yds the rest of the game. We saw Colin Kaepernick show shades of Joe Montana and Steve Young with his arm, throwing for 400 yds plus vs Green Bay. We saw the Giants commit 6 turnovers and suffer their first loss in the house that Jerry built. I also think we saw a record of first half safeties for an opening weekend. Chip Kelly brought his high flying offense to Fed Ex Field last night and Mike Shanahan is still trying to catch it. This weekend was wild, unpredictable, and fun. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for week 2. Here are some key stories from Week 1 in the NFL.
NEW ENGLAND IS IN TROUBLE.
The Bills were not supposed to hang with the beasts of the AFC East. They were 10.5 dogs and from the opening tip it looked like Belicheck was going to have his way with young rook, EJ Manuel. Instead the Patriots made many un-Patriot like mistakes. Stephen Ridley had a major case of fumblitis, giving up the ball twice. The lack of a TE presence was clearly evident as Brady didn’t have many options that he trusted to throw too. Amendola was very Welker like, catching 10 balls for 104 yds but he may be on the injury report for this week after straining his groin during the game. Shane Vareen, who filled in well for Ridley with 14 carries for 101 yards, will now be out for about a month with a broken bone in his wrist. The Jets come in to town this Thursday, and the Pats are beat up. In Bill We Trust? Who knows?
HELLO CHIP AND WELCOME TO PHILLY
Chip Kelly made his long awaited debut to the NFL last night with a 33-27 win over his conference rival Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field last night. I don’t think anyone in that stadium or at home knew what they were seeing when Philly raced out to a 33-7 lead. The offense was moving so fast that Washington defenders had to be tired. I was tired watching them. Michael Vick was very efficient completing 15 of 25 passes for 203 yds and had 9 carries for 54 yds. He threw 2 touchdowns and ran for 1. Lesean McCoy was unstoppable. He carred the ball 31 times for 184 yds and scored a TD . Desean Jackson was his usual self catching 7 passes for 104 yds. The Vick/McCoy/Jackson trio is going to a problem for everyone this year if they continue to click at this pace. The Redskins finally slowed the game down in the second half and RG3, who looked anemiec for the first half, started to get his groove. He finished with 329 yds passing, completing 30 of 42 passes. He threw 2 TDs as well as 2 pics, but isn’t as nearly the threat that he was last year without really being able to run. I thought that was the clear difference between the two QB’s last night. One moved with no fear, while the other clearly has some trepidation in that department.
HOW BAD ARE THE JAGUARS? REALLY BAD
Anytime you get shut out in football that has to be a killer to your morale. How bout getting beat 28-2 where the only points you can muster up is a safety? I guess we can consider that a shut out too technically. The Jaguars failed to even score a field goal in their disaster vs Kansas City. The Jags could only muster 178 yds of total offense. That is pitful. Lesean MCoy himself produced 184 yds. The Blaine Gabbert era has to be officially over now right? I mean this team was getting returning RB Maurice Jones Drew back. That didn’t really help. They are without top draft pick Justin Blackemon, who is currently suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. They just look like a team lost. KC on the other hand looks like they may contend in the AFC West. Alex Smith looks rejuvenated as the main signal caller in KC. Andy Reid looks like Santa Claus in his oversized red shirt on the sidelines, and the Chiefs have Jamal Charles back. The Chiefs also feature a scary good defense that will give some teams fits this year. Should be interesting to see what happens when they play Denver twice this year.
DO THE SAINTS ACTUALLY HAVE A DEFENSE?
I think the Saints could be the surprise team in the NFC this year if their defense continues to hold up. The surprising thing about this game was how the Saints made key stops when needed in this game. Atlanta is a very good team who will be in the hunt all year long, but the Saints held home court in a touch battle of NFC South foes. Drew Brees was Brees like in the Superdome tossing for 357 yds and 2 scores. But the D was in Matt Ryan’s face all game and made things difficult for the Falcons All-Pro wideouts.
SAY IT AINT SO GENO!
The New York Football Jets are somehow 1-0. Somehow they were in a game that they had no business being in thanks to the bonehead stupidity of Lavonte David, the Tampa Bay linebacker who had a 15 yard late hit on QB Geno Smith to set the Jets up with a 48 yd field goal by Nick Folk with 2 seconds left to go. Smith, a rookie out of West Virginia, got his first start of his pro career due to a shoulder injury to Mark Sanchez, made the most of his time in the spotlight. He actually played a pretty good game for his pro debut. He was calm under pressure and made some clutch throws when he had to. Geno was 24 for 38 for 256 yds and also led the Jets in rushing (a major area of concern for this team) with 47 yds on 6 carries. This game marked the return of Darrelle Revis to game action and to Met Life Stadium. (Revis played with the Jets for the previous 4 seasons) Revis was very active on the field, but the Jets defense found ways to make life difficult for QB Josh Freeman. If it wasn’t for David’s stupid move, we’d be talking about the Bucs in a more pleasant light but that comes down to discipline, something that I am sure Coach Schiano will be all over this week at practice.
HARD KNOCKS FOR REALS WITH THE BENGALS
The Bengals blew their opening round game with the Bears in Soldier Field this week. They should be 1-0, but instead played very sloppy and gave away a game that they had. AJ Green was Mr. Everything on Sunday. He scored 2 TDs and caught 9 balls for 162 yards. But in the end it wasnt enough for the Bengals to get the W. Andy Dalton, while throwing for 2 TD’s also had 2 costly pics that allowed the Bears to come back. The Cutler-Marshall connection was in full effect in Chicago. Marshall caught 8 balls for 104 yds and 1 TD and Cutler was efficient enough in head coach Marc Trestman’s debut throwing for 242 yds and 2 TDs.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE STEELERS?
Hard times may be falling on the Steel City. Pittsburgh had one of their worst opening defeats ever this week, getting beat at home by the Titans 16-9. The revamped Titans defense sacked Ben Rothlisberger 5 times on Sunday. His receivers couldn’t find much separation and the running game was abysmal. To make matters worse, the Steelers lost All-Pro Center Maurice Pouncey for the year with torn ligaments in his knee. They also may have lost LB Larry Foote for the year with torn biceps in his right arm. What was shocking though was how poorly the team played on offense at home in front of the Steeler faithful. This may be the passing of the torch to another team in the AFC North. Baltimore, Cincinnati, and now Tennessee are all pretty strong teams who are looking to reign supreme in this division. Im not sure if Pittsburgh can keep off after all of their major loses in personnel from this off season. Looks like Mike Tomlin will need to pull out all of the stops to make this team a contender.
Colin Kaepernick is not a fluke folks. Number 7 was just as electric in this game as he was in last years playoff game vs Green Bay when he ran for a NFL record 180 yds and took the heart out of the state of Wisconsin with a performance for the ages. This year, Kaepernick struck again not with his legs, but instead with his arm, throwing for 412 yds and 3 TD’s in a 34-28 win over the Packers. The Packers just can’t beat the 49ers. The Niners are 3-0 against Aaron Rodgers and company in the past couple of seasons. The Packers defense can’t stop a nose bleed. That unit will be the downfall of this team this year if they can’t get it together. They made Aquan Boldin look god like. Boldin, who was left for dead by the Ravens in the offseason, sure came to life in Candlestick on Sunday. He had 13 catches for 208 yards and was all over the field for the Niners. He looked dominant at times. The Niners are a well-oiled machine who will be tough to stop. Can;t wait for San Fran-Seattle next week.
BEST OF THE REST
Seattle is off to a 1-0 start after beating the Panthers in a snooze fest. Maybe all of Seattle’s injuries are starting to catch up to them or the tremendous amount of hype surrounding the team is taking its toll. They should have had an easier time with Carolina, but Russell Wilson proved his worth and grittyness, and the Seahawks found a way to win on the east coast. The Dolphins took care of business against the Browns 23-10. But may have a bigger diva issue on their hands as new teammate Mike Wallace was bitter and upset after the game because he didn’t get enough balls thrown his way. Wallace apparently doesn’t like being used as a decoy, but I know Brian Hartline might. He ended up having a big day, 9 catches for 114 yds. Stop crying Wallace. It’s a team game. The Reggie Bush era has begun in Detroit. Finally Calvin Johnson may have a little help from the former USC speedster. Bush looked like he was a rookie out there shredding through the Vikings defense. Bush had 21 carries for 90 yds and caught 4 passes for 101 yds and a TD in Detroits 34-24 win. AP started things off with a 78 yd TD run on his first carry, but then was only able to gain 15 more yds on his next 17 carries. Weird performance. The Raiders may actually have found a QB w Terrelle Pryor. He was the best thing about the Raiders in their 21-17 loss to Indianapolis. Pryor threw for 217 yds and ran for 112 yds but threw two costly pics that he wish he could have back. Andrew Luck showed he is a multi-dimensional threat giving Oakland fits with his arm as well as on the ground. His 19 yd TD run at the end of the game was the difference. Jared Cook got midevil on the Cardinals in teh St. Louis 27-24 victory over Arizona. Cook had 7 catches for 141 yds and hailed in 2 TDs. Cook was one of the Rams big free agent signings and he made his impact known in week 1. The Giants were extremely sloppy with the ball and lost for their first time in the new Cowboys Stadium, 36-31. Dez Bryant was doubled early and often, leading to big days from Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Although Eli Manning threw for 450 yds, his 3 pics hurt the Gmen badly and so did RB David Wilson’s big drops. Houston found a way to spoil San Diego’s home opener 31-28 with a game winning FG from Randy Bullock sealed the win. Houston was down as much as 21 points in this one but found ways to win when it was all said and done. Big games from Andre Johnson (12 catches for 146 yds) and Matt Schaub (346 yds passing and 3 TDs) led the way for Houston.