The first Sunday of the NFL season is always unpredictable, wacky, fun all in one. It is always a weekend filled with excitement. Full of mysteriousness. And most of all, full of people sitting on their couches all day. Following this enigmatic day, the scoreboard reads:
TheSportsKraze: 8 CV3: 8
There were few storylines that really caught my eye on the weekend.
-Who is Arian Foster?
First of all the Houston Texans monumental upset of the Indianapolis Colts. Going into the 17th matchup of these franchises, Houston was 1 and 15 all time against the defending AFC Champion Colts. When was the last time you can remember Peyton and the Indianapolis offensive juggernaut losing in Week 1? And how about the pass happy Texans getting the job done on the ground. When looking at some initial statistics you would be astonished. Matt Schaub, who threw for over 4700 yards last season threw for 107 today, not to mention he threw an interception. Peyton Manning threw for 433 yards and 3 TDs. But the real story of this game. How about Mr. Arian Foster? The guy just blew up rushing for 233 yards (2nd most all time in an opener behind OJ Simpson) and 3 TDs. Foster is a 2nd year running back out of Rocky Top (Tennessee) that rushed for 257 yards and 3 TDs all year in his rookie campaign. Well he just ripped the heart out of the defending AFC Champs on Day 1. Could the Texans be on the verge of breaking the Colts stranglehold on the AFC South this year?
-The Steelers take care of business without Big Ben.
Pittsburgh won their first of four games without their starting quarterback today over a very tough Falcons team. Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward came up big for the Terrible Towels and took care of Week 1. I will admit that I thought that the Steelers would lose this one without Roethlisberger. But with inspired play from Ward and Mendenhall on the offensive side of the ball, and Bryant McFadden leading the charge on the defensive side of the ball (15 tackles today, 12 solo), this team could survive this month-long stretch in decent shape.
-Welcome back Michael Vick?
This was the best Michael Vick has looked in years. The guy played inspired football and almost brought the Eagles back against a very tough Packers team. Starter Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion in the 2nd quarter, and the electric Michael Vick came to the rescue for the fighting city of Philadelphia. He rushed for over 100 yards and threw for 175. Should Vick start over a healthy Kolb next week? Coach Reid definitely has some thinking to do. It was nice to see the playmaker back in action bringing back some of the memories of the old glory days (in a weekend where his alma mater took their worst loss in school history).
-Are the 49ers a pretender?
Many, including myself picked the 49ers to win the ultra weak NFC West. Well today, they took a good old-fashioned butt whooping from a divisional rival. San Francisco came out smoking but then had a rough end to the first half and continued to get worse as the game progressed. Frank Gore’s rushing attack was non-existent. Alex Smith threw 2 interceptions. And I could go on. Vernon Davis was the only bright spot on the day for the 49ers. Where is that amazing defense we have been hearing about all off-season and theat newly improved offense? Are the 49ers contenders or pretenders?
-Blinded by the hype?
Another team that thoroughly disappointed was the Cincinnati Bengals. This team looked to still be playing a preseason game until the 3rd quarter of this one. And a Patriots team, that definitely has a chip on their shoulder due to the talk of the Jets being the favorite in the AFC East, steamrolled Cincinnati. The only bright spot for the Bengals on this day was Chad OchoCinco and glimpses of a big time aerial attack. Sure Carson threw for 345 yards. But what happened to the smash mouth, run first Bengals (now I realize they were behind so they needed to throw). Palmer threw the ball 50 times today. Cedric Benson only had 15 carries. The real show in this game was the reunited amazing connection of Wes Welker and Tom Brady. These guys picked up right where they left off following Welker’s knee injury. The best slot receiver in football had 8 catches and 2 TDs. Are the Patriots a Super Bowl contender?
-Is Chris Johnson Superman?
Chris Johnson picked up right where he left off at the end of last year. On this day, he led his Titans to an easy victory over an overmatched Raiders team. Johnson compiled 142 rushing yards and 2 TDs. And once again broke loose for a big time run of 70+ yards. The guy is outstanding and looks to only be getting better. The rest of the League needs to beware of Chris Johnson.
-Can Roy Williams catch a break in Dallas?
So in one of the most sloppy games I have ever seen in my life, the Redskins began the Mike Shanahan/Donovan McNabb era with a victory over the rival Cowboys. The Redskins went 0 and 6 in the vaunted NFC East last season and were ecstatic to get that monkey off their shoulders in Week 1. Since the arrival of Williams in Dallas, things have progressively gotten worse as he went from being a big time pick up to a guy that fans in Dallas booed consistently. Once again Roy had a modest evening, of 3 catches for 21 yards, but on the last play of the game, he had appeared to come up with the catch that probably would have won the game for the Cowboys (barring an extra point attempt). Roy’s heart had to be pounding. Then he and the rest of Cowboy nation saw a yellow flag on the field. Alex Barron, the Cowboys 6th year (1st with Cowboys) offensive tackle out of Florida State, had done the unthinkable. Against a weak, 3 man Washington rush, he blatantly held Redskin linebacker Brian Orakpo. So Roy’s heroics are already all but forgotten. Sorry Roy. Mine as well jump on the Miles Austin bandwagon with the rest of America.
So these are just a few stories from an amazing opening Sunday. The NFL is back in the flesh baby.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.