The first week of the NFL season is in the books, and it was quite a wild ride. The mere return of meaningful professional games would have been enough, but a bunch of entertaining matchups and amazing finishes provided for an even better weekend.
New Orleans 10, Indianapolis 41
By now the Thursday opener has had time to sink in. Peyton tears up the Saints for 31 points in the second half, but it was the Colts defense that impressed holding last year's No.1 offense to three measly points. The Colts are in an unprecedented circumstance as the defending champions with little pressure to repeat; more pressure is on arch rival New England Patriots who, with all the offseason improvements, everyone has winning the Super Bowl.
Denver 15, Buffalo 14
Kevin Everett's life threatening injury is more important than anything else here. The Broncos out gained the Bills 470 to 184 in total years, but trailed for the first 59:59 of the game! Jason Elam rushed onto the field and kicks the winner as the clock ticks down. Denver's defense is already great, but if Jay Cutler, Travis Henry, and the Bronco offense keeps it up, throw them into the long list of contenders in the AFC.
Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 10
I did not catch much of this game, but did notice the Titans running all over the Jags, while Jacksonville's was limited on the ground. Go figure. Maybe it is as simple as it sounds: Vince Young is a winner, he just somehow wins these types of games.
Miami 13, Washington 16 (OT)
Almost had a freak finish at the end of regulation. Jason Campbell shows promise, but these two teams are not going anywhere this year.
Carolina 27, St. Louis 13
I am going to continue the new trend of patting myself on the back as I called this upset. However, no one foresaw Steven Jackson being contained so well though. The injury to left tackle Orlando Pace pretty much kills the Rams season.
New England 38, New York Jets 14
The biggest story of the week, as the Patriots may have actually exceeded the large expectations placed before them. Tom Brady went off, and with Randy Moss stretching the field and keeping defenses conservative, that gives Brady more time in the pocket to tear up opposing defenses. There is already talk of a 19-0 season, but it will be interesting to see how the elite teams attack this scary offense. Say, San Diego on Sunday night.
Atlanta 3, Minnesota 24
Adrian Peterson continues to impress, emerging as the early frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year. The Viking defense dominates again, although it was against the woeful Falcons.
Pittsburgh 34, Cleveland 7
Big Ben and company looks goo, but similarly, it was against the woeful Browns. The Browns used two quarterbacks, neither of which were named Brady Quinn. After a beatdown by the Steelers, you have to wonder how great that Dallas trade is looking now. The Browns look like they could end up with one of the worst records in the league, consequently giving the Cowboys one of the top picks in next year's draft.
Philadelphia 13, Green Bay 16
The Packers won this game on defense and special teams. Watch out, when Favre gets the offense rolling, they could easily steal the NFC North division.
Kansas City 3, Houston 20
I am not sure whether to be impressed with Matt Schaub and the Texans, or whether it is just that the Chiefs are that bad.
Tampa Bay 6, Seattle 20
Ditto. A solid win for my boys up in Seattle, as the offense showed glimpses of their sharp 2005 form, and the defense was dominant. But then it was against the Buccaneers.
Chicago 3, San Diego 14
Watching games throughout the first week, and it is clear that defenses are far ahead of offenses. It takes more time for complex offenses to get in rythm before they start clicking and wearing down defenders. This was a defensive struggle, and the Chargers only blew this one open towards the end. After sitting out the preseason and coming in rusty against a great defense, LT had a rough start. Some are saying he had a bad game, but he still scored two touchdowns folks.
Detroit 36, Oakland 21
The battle of the losers was quite entertaining. The Lions put up points, and may finally make that breakthrough on offense that is expected in Mike Martz's second year. Daunte Culpepper gives the Raiders a better chance to win than McCown.
New York Giants 35, Dallas 45
What a game! I normally do not like divisional matchups as the featured Sunday Night game, but those NFC East teams always have great shootouts. Romo and Manning went wild, but Eli's fourth quarter shoulder injury kills the Giants season.
Baltimore 20, Cincinnati 27
Big win for the Bengals, although it is encouraging for the Ravens that after so many turnovers they still had a chance to win it at the end. It is a pity that Steve McNair and Ray Lewis are already hurt.
Arizona 17, San Francisco 20
Again, the defenses looked better than the new offenses here. Alex Smith came up big in the game-winning drive in another nationally televised thriller. Great finishes like these are why everyone is so glad that football is back!